In Defense of My Father's Political Ties

In Defense of My Father's Political Ties

I do not understand the editor's comment (''From the Editor,'' April 4) that my father should have revealed that he joined the Communist Party even if he had joined the party. Revealed to whom? Joe McCarthy?

The only answer my father might have given to an accusation that he was a Communist would have been a wry smile. The idea that someone could pin the label of Communist on him would have seemed too outrageous to deserve a more elaborate answer, as it would have to any of his colleagues at the Monitor.

His reporting repeatedly got him into hot water with the Soviet authorities and got him kicked out in 1949. If he was a secret asset of the KGB, he used a very deep cover indeed. When he started writing for the Monitor in 1939, he lambasted the Communists. It took the upheaval caused by Stalin's death to erase the damage sufficiently to allow him to reenter Russia in 1956.

In 1938 my father was in Moscow trying to extract my mother and me from Soviet clutches, which he finally succeeded in doing in 1939, with the help of Ambassador Davies. If he attempted to convince the NKVD (the Soviet secret police) that he was a card-carrying, dyed-in the-wool Red by joining, I do not think anyone would have blamed him, least of all his boss, foreign editor Charles Gratke, at the Monitor. I certainly do not, since it may have saved my life as well as his and my mother's.

Edmund Stevens Jr., Lincoln, Mass.

No political affiliation needed

The mere fact that you feel a need to explain, and indeed apologize for, whatever political affiliation a former or current employee had or has seems frightening. Was Edmund Stevens's possible membership in the Communist Party any more ''relevant'' than any other reporter's political association? Must the Monitor fear that others will question its integrity based on the personal and private views of the staff? Either Mr. Stevens was an excellent journalist or he wasn't. We all deserve a better standard of decency.

Steven S. Rothblatt, Los Angeles

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