Letters, Apr. 8, 1946

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Bogeyman?

Sirs:

It becomes more & more apparent that the military is attempting to build up a war hysteria against Russia in order to ... place control of atomic energy in the hands of the Army & Navy. If there is any group in the U.S. more incompetent and incapable of running the affairs of the nation than the Army, I have never heard of it. GOD help us if they ever gain control.

TACK C. BUCKLE Huntingdon, Pa.

Sirs:

. . . Why declare that Russia is the sole hand which stirs the potent brew ? All through our press and in the statements of our leading politicos, I see references to "aggression in Eastern Europe," "the Red menace in Iran" (how that Red bogeyman haunts us still!), and other seemingly terrifying militaristic moves. But what of the presence of British troops in Greece ? . . . What of the massacres freedom-seeking Indonesians by British and Dutch troops?

HENRY H. BAGISH

East Orange, N. J.

Esteban Franco

Sirs:

I have just returned from Spain after two and a half years there, and I want to congratulate TIME for its splendid job of reporting and fair analysis of present-day Spain [TIME, March 18]. . . .

Spaniards are referring to Franco as "Esteban" these days; when you ask them why, they look around furtively and explain gleefully: "Que se marche este bandido!" ["May this bandit get the hell out!"]

BARNABY CONRAD JR. Washington

Hangman's Folly

Sirs:

I was greatly interested in the piece about Pierrepoint, the British hangman [TIME, March 18].

I was with the 6833rd Guardhouse Overhead Detachment stationed at Shepton Mallet Prison in England for about six months.

As it was the only U.S. Army prison in England that was equipped for executions, I had occasion to meet Pierrepoint several times on his professional visits there.

His appearance is the exact opposite of the common conception of a hangman; to see him in one of the local pubs drinking his pint of ale, one would think he was a farmer who had come to the village to sell his produce. One of his favorite jokes on meeting a person is to say, "What a lovely neck." I will never forget the shudder that went over me when he told me: "Ah, you are a large man, you would drop nicely." He told me one time that he was taught the trade by his father, who hanged himself when he became too old to enjoy life, and that he [Pierrepoint]would some day do the same himself.

He is surprisingly agile for a man of over 70. After throwing the lever that released the trap, he would always spring out on the plank over the trap, and, taking hold of the still quivering rope, would look to see if the man had dropped satisfactorily, and then look around and say: "Dropped lovely, didn't he?" This usually managed to make at least one witness faint. . . .

L. E. DAVIDSON Captain, A.U.S.

Cortes: "Fascist-Minded?"

Sirs:

In the March n issue of your estimable publication appears a brief reference to the death of Mr. Leon Cortes Castro, in which it is stated that this illustrious ex-President of my country was a man of fascist tendencies. Nothing could be farther from the truth. . . .

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