JOURNEY - 1957
DEFY WARNING, SET OFF FOR CHINA
Moscow Insist on Their 'Right to Travel'
by Max Frankel
Letters Pro & Con FILMOGRAPHY
TO RED CHINA: Robert Cohen of Los Angeles, one of American youths who
Moscow for Peiping, bids Soviet girl farewell at the station. The
students, who were in Moscow for the Communist-sponsored international
youth festival, will tour Communist China for three (six) weeks
Aug. 14 - Despite the warnings of their Government and the appeals of
of their parents, forty-one young Americans left Moscow by train today
for a three-week (six-week) tour of Communist China. A brass band
blared and a thousand flower-bearing Russians waved as the
express rolled from the Yaroslav station. The gay group of
was quartered in a well-equipped Soviet sleeper for the six-day trip to
the Chinese frontier.
But most Americans aboard the train seemed never to have had any
doubt about the wisdom of the journey. All were among the 160
who came for Moscow's Festival of Youth and Students which ended last
Last Wednesday came the Invitation from the Communist All-China
of Youth to visit their country.
The Americans were embarking on what most of them descnbed frankly as a
low-cost adventure. All defended the trip by saylng they had the "right
to travel." Their ages range from the late teens to the early twenties.
They went despite a clear warning yesterday from the State Department
their passports would be revoked, that they might have difficulty
passports in the future and that they might "make themselves liable to
prosecution for trading with an enemy."
[In the State Department view the Trading With the Enemy Act, providing
fines and imprison- ment, may be applied in this case on the ground
the Korean war (1950-53) has not been officially ended.]
All the Americans making the trip showed their passports and turned in
their passport numbers to get visas issued by the Chinese Embassy
These visas, however, were issued on separate pieces of paper so there
would be no official record that any of the youths had been in China.
The State Department contends that these making the trip are none the
violating passport regulations against travel to and in China.
A. Herter, Under Secretary of State, in a special message to each of
travelers yesterday said the United States and China were in a
of war," and further maintained that the youths would be "willing
of Communist propagandists if they made the trip.
In a statement, thirty-one of the travelers said they held "widely
political views and rejected "the notion" that they were tools of
Having read Mr. Hereter's letter, they said, they wished to reaffirm
belief in the right of United States citizens to travel.
They insisted that their action was "consistent with loyalty to our
Among the ten who did not sign the statement were at least two young
who agreed that they were being "used" by the Chinese to embarrass the
Steve Tyler, whose last permanent address was listed as New York,
this viewpoint just before the train pulled away, but added that he
the right to travel was more important.
Shelby, Tucker Jr. of Pass Christian, Miss., an Oxford University
who had rejoined the group after twice having withdrawn, said he
he could offer the Chinese "a fairer picture of America than that which
will be depicted by a certain few in our group."
All expenses in China were guaranteed. Travel to Peiping was
and fifteen of the Americans were aIso promised free return plane fare
to Prague after the tour. The minimum cost to the others would be
about $7O for return rail travel through the Soviet Union.
Stanley Fukson of Los Angeles and Richard Sherman of Chicago dropped
at the last minute. Albert and David Maysles, rothers, of Boston,
Chinese visas but did not board the train. They were thinking of
Jacob Rosen of New York, one of the leading American organizers here
the festival, went to Kiev today as an "observer" of the Communist
World Federation of Democratic Youth. He said he would go to Peiping by
plane after the session.
Throughout the preparation for the trip there was little serious open
about its advisability.
By last night, after the State Department plea and warning, the
in the group was such that those who wavered were described as
Most of the young people acknowledged the attraction of a free trip to
an exotic and forbidden place, and some suggested that taIk of
amounted to rationalisation.
Most of the preparations for the tour were made with the Chinese by
and Robert Williamson, also of New York, and the Rev. Warren McKenna,
Episcopalian clergyman of Boston. Boistered by the overt
and even frivolity of most of the travelers those who seemed to be
in doubt joined in the merriment at the station today.
The Soviet national anthem and the Moscow Festival song were thumped
by the band. Hundreds of bouquets and parting souvenirs were
at the Americans. Banjo-strumming Guy Carawan and Peggy Seegar,
of Los Angeles, sang "America, the Beautiful." The stationnmaster
wished them a happy journey-In English.
The Americans were a bit flabbergasted by the attention their trip was
receiving in the United States press.
The group settled down after the platform farewells in four-bed
of their car. Dan O'Connell, of Chicago, newly elected spokesman
for the group, said, "There are some aboard who may change their minds"
before the border is reached.
In addition to those named in the foregoing, the following were listed
by American correspondents as having embarked on the trip.
From New York--Louis Alhonote, Morris Block, Eugene Bronstein, Jerry
Ninel Goldstein, Fay Goodman, Joanne Grant, Sheila Greenberg, Sam
David Hollister, Elaine Hyman, Larry Moeyer, Betty Pamilton, Larry
and Patricia Tyler.
From Los Angeles--Noel Carawan, Robert Cohen, Dean Hoxsey, Noel Kidder,
and his wife, Susan, Elaine Kuznitz, William March and Sandra Mecoli.
From elsewhere--Harry Blocksberg of Pompton Lakes, N.J.; Judy Collins,
Ben Daniels and Ginger Maddox, all of San Francisco; Richard lane,
Park, Calif.; Earl Williamson, Berkeley, Calif.; Lorraine Nowacki,
Nina Landau, Madison, Wis.; Sahag Avedisian, Pawtucket, R.I.; Fred
Alexandria, Va., and Sally Belfrage, now living in London.