The Big Three Conferees dispersed under cover of an all but newsless fog of military security. But here & there was vouchsafed a glimpsesuch as Franklin Roosevelt's afterdeck chats with Near Eastern potentates (see INTERNATIONAL); here & there a sound, like the short snort from Socialism's old warhorse, George Bernard Shaw. Snorted Shaw: "[The Yalta Conference is] an impudently incredible fairy tale. . . . Will Stalin declare war on Japan as the price of surrender of the other two over Lublin? Not a word about it. Fairy tales, fairy tales, fairy tales, I for one should, like to know what really passed at Yalta. This will all come out 20 years hence, when Stalin writes his war memoirs. . . . But I shall not then be aliveI shall never know."
Taking Mr. Shaw's lead, one of TIME'S editors has written the following political fairy tale. Since fairy tales, like more solemn reports, have their implications and their moral, TIME wishes to make it clear that it admires and respects our heroic ally, recognizes great mutuality of interests between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R.but that in any argument between Communism and Democracy, TIME is on the side of Democracy.
With the softness of bats, seven ghosts settled down on the flat roof of the Livadia Palace at Yalta. They found someone else already there: a statuesque female figure, crouching, with her eye glued to one of the holes in the roof (it had been through the Russian revolution, three years of civil war, 21 years of Socialist reconstruction, the German invasion and the Russian reoccupation).
"Madam," said the foremost ghost, an imperious woman with a bullet hole in her head, "what are you doing on our roof?"
Clio, the Muse of History (for it was she), looked up, her finger on her lips. "Shh!" she said, "the Big Three Conference is just ending down there. What with security regulations, censorship and personal secretiveness, the only way I can find out anything these days is by peeping. And who are you?'' she asked, squinting slightly (history is sometimes a little shortsighted). "I've seen you somewhere before."
"Madam," said a male ghost, rising on tiptoe to speak over his wife's shoulder (he also had a bullet hole in his forehead), "I am Nicholas II, Emperor and Autocrat of All the Russias, Tsar of Moscow, Kiev, Novgorod, Kazan, Astrakhan, of Poland, Siberia and Georgia, Grand Duke of Smolensk, Lithuania, Podolia and Finland, Prince of Estonia, Livonia and Bialystok,
Lord of Pskov, Riazan, Yaroslavl, Vitebsk and All the Region of the North, Lord. . . ."
"Nicholashow nice to see you again!" cried History. "Wherever have you been? And the Tsarina Alix! Your four charming daughters, I presumegracious, but those bullet holes are disfiguring. And the little hemophiliacTsarevich Alexei! Ah, yes, I understanddoomed for a certain term to walk the night. . . . Why, I've scarcely given you a thought since that time when the Communists threw your bodies down the mine shaft in Ekaterinburg [now Sverdlovsk]. Whatever brings you here?"