Army & Navy: Test Case

Private Travis Hammond, a good-looking, curly-haired U.S. soldier from Keltys, Tex., was accused of raping a pretty, 16-year-old English shopgirl. This was the first test of the four-day-old U.S.A. Visiting Forces Bill rushed through Parliament under uneasy protest and with grave doubts in both the U.S. and Britain. The bill removed from British courts the power to handle criminal charges against U.S. soldiers. Last week Britons watched to see how a U.S. court would act—and approved in practice what they disliked in theory.

In a north-county rural chamber, amid frowning portraits of side-whiskered yeoman justices, eleven U.S. officers sat in judgment. Private...

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