DECEMBER 13, 1957
NEW YORK—I have received an appeal in my mail asking whether it would not be possible to give Christmas amnesty to all GIs who were prisoners-of-war in Korea and succumbed, as the writer states, to "cold, starvation and torture and brainwashing" and, therefore, cooperated with their Communist captors and are now spending their young lives in prison here.
I am afraid the gentleman who wrote me—he says he took part in World War II but not in the Korean War and that he had neither friends nor family involved in the Korean War—is not very familiar with what actually happened to prisoners-of-war in Korea. He seems to feel that the Air Force took a different view from other branches of the service and gave its men different instructions.
As a matter of fact, I think that all soldiers, no matter what branch of the service they were in, received similar instructions and, as an article in the New Yorker magazine pointed out, one feels on careful consideration that perhaps there was less reason for cooperation by these young men with their captors than we were at first led to believe.
Their youth, however, does make one feel that their cases should be reviewed periodically. And if any of them can be released with the hope that they will lead useful lives I think it should be done, for certainly continuing a life in prison has no value for the community and none for the imprisoned individual.
I was in the Hotel New Yorker here the other day, and I wish I had had the time to visit the hotel's interfaith Meditation Chapel. It is situated on the fourth floor, in the executive suite area, and I am told that it is a beautiful, peaceful and restful place where harried people can try to think of this season as the true spiritual period in which all of us should be thinking of the infant Jesus and the joy of our particular religion.
The chapel can be used by people of any faith for rest and meditation.
The subway strike has disrupted the lives of most people here in New York in the last few days, making it more and more difficult to get around the city. Taxis have been difficult to get, buses have been crowded and all sorts of surface traffic has moved at a snail's pace.
Most of us who have to make appointments on time have found life complicated and sometimes aggravating. But all things come to an end, and we have been hoping for a right solution of the strike to serve the good of all those concerned.