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The Newspaper Curtain


The case of Nieman Fellow William Worthy has demonstrated once again that John Foster Dulles cannot reasonably fulfill the office of Secretary of State.

Worthy, who has just returned to this country after 41 days in Communist China, has shown that American newspapermen in that country can perform a valuable service to the United States. Dulles, says Worthy, should recognize this and reverse his decree that newspaper correspondents must not travel to China.

Worthy has not yet had a great opportunity to communicate his impressions, but he has explained some of the differences between Russian and Chinese communism. Worthy was not taken in by the Reds. His comments do not bear out Dulles' insinuation that only writers favorable to the regime would be admitted to China.

He frankly describes the regime as totalitarian, and notes critically that people "say what is safe to say. I don't know whether they believe it or not." His reports indicate that the Chinese national character has given a slightly different tone to communism, that while it remains the "same system, it is less noticeably oppressive and regimented" than the Russian.

Even Dulles might profit by reading Worthy's dispatches, for he has always treated the Red Chinese regime as more immoral than the Russian. The concept of degrees of immorality must indeed appeal to Dulles, for it now allows him to take up the position that the United States cannot permit its nationals to travel in an unrecognized country. He has, apparently, double-thought about the fact that American reporters were allowed to travel in presumably less immoral, though equally unrecognized, Soviet Russia from 1917 to 1933.

Dulles' other arguments have as little basis in sense. He repeatedly tries to tie the question of reporters in China to that of the ten Americans held prisoner there. At one point he said that until the Chinese released them, he would not feel secure in permitting American correspondents to travel in that country. On another occasion he alleged that the Chinese were stubbornly holding the prisoners to force the U.S. to allow newsmen to enter the country. If this should be the case, it seems that the U.S. cannot lose, and it would be in any event a small ransom to pay, for a government that bought the release of four airmen downed in Hungary in 1951 by paying a $120,000 "fine."

But it is fruitless to apply rational arguments to an analysis of Dulles. His recent actions are only part of one great irrational process. Dulles tries to act toward Red China as he would toward an ill-mannered neighbor, or travelling companion. Not only does he refuse to consider diplomatic recognition or U.N. membership for the world's largest country, he concludes that it is dangerous to learn anything about it.

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