The Kansas City Times from Kansas City, Missouri on July 3, 1958 · Page 22
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The Kansas City Times from Kansas City, Missouri · Page 22

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Thursday, July 3, 1958
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> L THE KANSAS CITY TIMES, THURSDAY, JULY 3,1958. Call East Germans Kidnapers. (Continued From First Page.) Russians turned them back to East German officials June 8, and have insisted the problem of releasing them involves only the United States and East Germany. ‘They are holding us as political hostages,” Maj. George E. Kemper of Escondido, Calif., cried angrily. As senior officer present, Kemper acted as spokesman for the Americans. Jeered by Captain. “You’re a sovereign state but not on the first night that we were in East Germany,” Capt. Frank Athanason, Greenville, S. C., jeered at the East German posted as the Communists’ spokesman. “You’re kidnapers,” some of the men yelled. The East German spokes man said the prisoners would be released quickly if the United States would sign an agreement to recognize the East German regime as a legal government. The men are being held in a Greystone villa here. They have three bedrooms, a din ing room, a cjubroom, and a garden court to play volleyball. They see Communist-line films but Kemper said there has been no intensive effort to instill propaganda. _ The Americans’ spokesman is a 43-year-old artilleryman. Kemper, dressed in green Army fatigues and combat boots, said before a battery of Communist newsreel cameras: “They are holding us as political hostages. We are being used as tools. We are not being told about what is going on in the political negotiations over us. A Mystery to Him. “I can’t imagine why we are being held. We got into East Germany accidentally.” Kemper said his group surrendered voluntarily to East German police after their helicopter got lost in a thunderstorm and ran out of gas. He disclosed that the East Germans promptly turned the Americans over to the Russian army: They spent the first night in a Soviet camp but the next morning the Russians returned them to the East Germans. Kemper’s statement was the first evidence of direct Russian involvement in the helicopter case. The Soviet Union, rejecting U. S. demands for immediate release of the prisoners, has contended the case is one solely under East German jurisdiction. The United States has refused to grant East Germany diplomatic recognition. The U. S. Position. The United States holds Russia is responsible under postwar accords for dealing with cases of this kind on behalf of the Western powers. Direct negotiations between the East German foreign ministry and Col. Robert P. McQuail, U. S. liaison officer to the Russian army, ran into deadlock last month. The United States refused to bow to Communist de mands for signature of i protocol covering the handover of the prisoners and their helicopter. Washington held that would imply diplomatic recognition of the Ger man satellite regime. Kemper said he learned about McQuail’s negotiations from East German newspapers, the only publications al lowed his group. But he knew nothing about the American position or U. S. State department approaches to Russia. Alexander Gruettner, the East German foreign minis try official running the news conference, refused this re porter permission to tell the men about the current status of the helicopter negotiations. Brushing aside insistence that it was a necessary basis for further questioning of the prisoners, Gruettner said they could be sufficiently informed by East German newspapers. Tells About Incident. This is Kemper’s account of what happened to his group: “We’re members of the 3rd Armored division. We left Frankfurt in this helicopter —a sort of taxi service—at 9:45 a.m. Many of us didn’t know each other. “We were due in Grafen- woehr, a training area in West Germany, at about noon. “Our helicopter became lost. We had navigational difficulties because of a thunderstorm. Our pilots repeatedly tried to make contact by radio wjjh the base, but we received no reply. That might have been due to the bad weather as well. “As our gasoline ran low, we landed to find our directions. We then took off again and landed again to determine where we were. We talked to someone near the autobahn (highway) and found out that we were in East Germany and had to go southwest to get back on course. Gas Supply Fades. “We started again. But the helicopter ran out of gas. The pilot was forced to land in a field with stumps and the helicopter was damaged. * The ground where we landed was soft and as the helicopter sank in, its tail came up, and it was slashed off by the rotor together with our radio antenna. “We all got out of the aircraft and realized the importance of contacting the authorities so that we could be returned quickly. “One of the officers went up to the highway and contacted the police. We waited until the policfe came. They turned us over to a Russian officer in a Russian camp. We were told that night by a Russian major that we would have breakfast with the German army and then be returned. “I was not questioned by the Russians but the pilots and some of the officers were. “The next morning we were put individually into small automobiles and taken to large building, which we believe was in Frankenberg. [Frankenberf? Is a town near Karl-Marx-Stadt, about 50 miles from the West German border and not far from where the helicopter came down.] AH Are Questioned. “In Frankenberg we had breakfast and we were questioned individually. All of our personal papers were taken from us, but these were later returned. “The next night we were moved in a closed truck. For a time we thought we were being returned. But instead we were moved to a sports club. “We stayed there until last Wednesday night when again we were awakened at 11 o clock and moved again by closed truck and brought here.” The East German spokesman interjected to say that the Americans could blame the U. S. government for their prolonged imprisonment. He said the prisoners would be released quickly if the United States dealt with East Germany on a normal government-to-government basis. He charged the United States was dodging negotiations of this kind in an effort to thrust East Germany back into the position of a zone of occupation. “The German Democratic Republic is a sovereign nation,” he declared. A Cry of Derision. This unloosed a storm of derision from a group of the American prisoners standing at the doorway to the news conference room, listening to the exchanges with Kemper. “You’re a sovereign state, but not on the first night that we were in East Germany,” shouted Capt. Frank Athanason, Greenville, S. C. “Two of your people in civilian clothes took me to Russian headquarters on that night. A Russian officer signed a receipt for me. 1 stayed under Russian control that night. “That is not the action of a sovereign state.” The East German retorted that the procedure was normal under the mutual troop stationing agreement between Russia and East Germany. ‘Yeah,” said Athanason, “mutual agreement or were you getting instructions?” Offers No Reply. The East German did not reply. Tension grew when an East German reporter referred to a kidnaping charge leveled at the Communists last month by John Foster Dulles, U. S. secretary of state. “That’s what it is,” yelled Lt. Thomas J. Westbrook, Macon, Ga. An uproar followed with some of the other Americans shouting “kidnapers.” The East German spokesman retorted that his government had laid down no political conditions for the release of the prisoners. He said: “It is the Americans who have made conditions. These conditions are not acceptable to a sovereign state. It would mean a return to the occupation status.” In Comfortable Quarters. The American prisoners are comfortably housed in three bedrooms. They have the run of a dining room, a clubroom where they can play chess and cards and read newspapers, and freedom to enter the large garden where a volleyball net is set up. “We have been treated courteously,” Kemper said. The East German spokes- man refused a request by this reporter to see the prisoners alone so as to be able to convey back personal messages to families. He said this was a matter for the Red Cross. “We are soldiers and we can do our duty by waiting,” Kemper declared as the news conference broke up. Ip Berlin, it was announced that the American Red Cross today handed over nine parcels to the East Germans for delivery to the prisoners. The East Germans promised immediate delivery. TO RUN AGAINST COY A. Congress Woman Has Rival Backed by Husband. Moorhead, Minn., July 2. (AP) — Marvin A. Evenson, Moorhead businessman, is seeking nomination to oppose Rep. Coya Knutson (D-Minn.) —with the support of Mrs. Knutson’s husband, Andy. Evenson, 45, announced yesterday he was filing so that “Minnesota’s ninth district will no longer be denied representation in Congress.” He charged that Mrs. Knutson was absent for 41 of the first 92 roll calls at this session of Congress. ^ Knutson, operator of a cafe at Oklee, was a member of a committee which persuaded Evenson to make the race. Earlier he had asked his wife to quit Congress because he claimed her presence there was breaking up their family life. Despite his plea, she filed for re-election. The cyclotron, orx atom smasher, was invented and successfully constructed by Dr. E. 0. Lawrence in 1930. IKE SIGNS NUCLEAR BILL. Greater Exchange of Atomic Data Is Provided. Washington, July 2.(AP)— President Eisenhower today signed legislation paving the way for greater exchange of atomic weapons information and materials with friendly nations. He acted on the legislation as the United States and Great Britain were reported near agreement on a pact for sharing secrets and materials needed to produce nuclear weapons. , HAIL DAMAGES PLANES worth Air Force base in a sud-1 den storm, Maj. James G. Bridwell said. / Twenty of the ships suf-' ered only minor dents in \ their upper wing surfaces and were not taken out of serv-' ice, the major said. The others were put into hangars for a survey. Windshields and car tops also suffered damage when he sudden storm hit Monday night.’ Bombers Are Pelted at South Dakota Base. Rapid City, S. D., July 2. (AP)—Hailstones as large as three inches in diameter damaged 32 B-52 bombers at Ells “Beacon Wax” Stops SuijjittS uiojj sjooij Floor-scuffing is the average housewife’s nightmare, especially m this weather. 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