STALIN NEAR DEATH
Joseph Stalin has suffered a paralytic stroke and is very seriously ill.
The 73-year-old Soviet leader reportedly had a brain hemorrhage on Sunday March 1. News of Stalin's critical condition was flashed to the world by Moscow radio at 12:15 EST this morning.
The broadcast, attributing the report to the official Soviet news agency Tass, said the Russian Premier is suffering from loss of speech and paralysis. It added that his right arm and leg are paralyzed, he is breathing with difficulty, and his heart is affected.
The dramatic radio announcement magnified recent speculation that a struggle long has been under way inside the Kremlin for a successor to Stalin.
Deputy Premiers Georgi M. Malenkov and V. M. Molotov are generally considered leading rivals, with events of the last several years strongly hinting that Malenkov's star is in the ascendancy.
As far as is known, Stalin was last seen by someone from outside the inner circle a week ago, on February 17, when he received the new Indian ambassador, to Moscow, K. P. S. Menon, and a leading Indian fellow-traveler, Saifuddin Kitchlu, chairman of the Red-front All-India Peace Committee and recent Stalin Prize winner.
Kitchlu and Menon saw Stalin separately and Kitchlu later described the Russian leader as looking healthy, strong and vigorous.
Last night's broadcast said he suffered a brain hemorrhage 12 nights later, during the night of March 1.
This was the text of the broadcast, which attributed the report to the Soviet news agency Tass:
"Government statement about the illness of the chairman of the USSR Council of Ministers and secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Yosif Vissarionovich Stalin (Joseph Stalin):
"The Central Committee of the Communist party of the Soviet Union and the Council of Ministers of the USSR announce the great misfortune which has befallen our party, and our peoples the grave illness of Comrade J. V. Stalin.
"During the night of March 1, Comrade Stalin, when he was in Moscow in his apartment, had a hemorrhage in the brain which affected vital parts of the brain. Comrade Stalin lost consciousness.
"A paralysis of the right arm and leg developed, a loss of speech occurred, serious disturbances developed in the activities of the heart and breathing."