Nieman Fellow William Worthy, correspondent for the Baltimore Afro-American, whose recent journey into Communist China has provoked much controversy in Washington, has clarified his position in the dispute over his wartime draft status in the Capital.
In answer to assertions by Robert Cartwright, a high State Department official, that Worthy had pleaded guilty to failing to report to a conscientious objectors' camp during the Second World War and had served one day in jail for this misdemeanor before finally entering a camp, Worthy said the following:
"In 1943 I was classified as a conscientious objector. I refused to enter a conscientious objectors' camp because the government was assigning men geographically on the grounds of race and color.... I did not serve one day or any longer time in jail, and I never went to a conscientious objectors' camp."
Worthy accused Cartwright of trying to "becloud the issue of freedom of movement and freedom of the press," and further explained that there was no need for his going to an objectors' camp, since he was found to be eligible for 4-F classification because of a duodenal disorder.
He pointed out that the facts of his case had always been available to the government and that he had received passports without any difficulty in 1951, 19533 and 1955. He also declared that when he was cleared for visiting military installations, he "listed all the facts in the case."