The Pulitzer Prize Story: News Stories, Editorials, Cartoons, and Pictures from the Pulitzer Prize Collection at Columbia University

By John Hohenberg | Go to book overview

XI. ON CIVIL LIBERTIES:
THE HUMAN RIGHTS ISSUE

Mr. Blank was fired by the State Department in 1947. The reason: security.

What followed was a nightmare.

Mr. Blank was refused knowledge of the charges against him. He was told none of his questions would be answered. He was denied an appeal. He was denied the right to be confronted by his accusers. Finally, he was told he just had to be fired. He couldn't resign.

This was the story Bert Andrews broke in the New York Herald Tribune on November 2, 1947, being careful not to identify either Mr. Blank or six others discharged with him. Andrews did not criticize or defend the State Department. Nor did he attack or defend the records of the persons involved, or presume to judge them innocent or guilty.

What interested him was the shocking procedure that was used in what had been, up to that time at least, a democratic government. He got together documented evidence, including this quote from Mr. Blank at a "hearing" before his superiors at the State Department:

"I'm not blaming you gentlemen: you are held within certain rules and regulations, but I'd like to know what to talk about and what to say. It's extremely difficult in such a situation. I don't know who said anything about me or what has been said about me, and the press release makes it even worse; I mean, the kind of a statement where nothing has been developed. I mean, I am not trying to get mad or

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