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A Letter From The Publisher: Feb. 2, 1962

3 minute read

AS we expected, and could not hope to avoid, TIME’S cover last week on the outlawed General Salan ran into heavy trouble in Paris. Around midnight Monday, two plainclothes police inspectors marched into the plant where TIME’S European edition is printed and ordered the presses stopped. They produced orders from Prefect of Police Maurice Papon, citing author—ity dating back to the revolutionary decrees of 1790.

TIME’S Paris publishing staff drove around the darkened city, seeking some official who could modify the order to allow printing of copies for distribution outside France. But it was 10 a.m. before an official agreed there had been a misunderstanding: the order applied only to TIME sales in France; the presses could roll again. On one condition: Salan’s face could not appear on the cover in France.

By then, however, important French government leaders had read the story and had no quarrel with it. And though a total ban in Algeria had been anticipated, TIME was told that if the cover portrait were blacked out, the issue could be sold everywhere. The result was a rather brackish-looking cover that quickly sold out at all Paris kiosks.

The fact that censors had held up a foreign publication, as they have previously censored French journals, brought protests from numerous French dailies. Said France’s biggest. France-Soir: “Will France share with totalitar ian countries the sad privilege of not being able to tolerate not criticism but the simple enunciation of an opinion?”

Much of the Salan story’s vivid reporting of the look and feel of Algeria during its ugly three-way war is the work of TIME Correspondent Edward Behr. 35, who was educated in Paris, London, and Cambridge, served in the British army in India, and worked for Reuters. For the past four years, he has covered Algeria and the rest of North Africa for TIME. This week W. W. Norton publishes Behr’s The Algerian Problem ($4.50). The book recently appeared in England, where both the Manchester Guardian and the London Sunday Times praised it as “the best book in English on the subject.”

HOW does a man often criticized in the pages of TIME feel on learning that he is to be on TIME’S cover?

Leary is the word for Krishna Menon. Delhi Correspondent Charles Mohr endured a scathing but brief attack on TIME during their first interview (“I don’t suppose you are responsible for all the tripe that appears in TIME”) but in subsequent sessions Menon relaxed, and shared with Mohr one of his birdlike lunches of puffed rice, hot salted nuts and many cups of tea. Perhaps the explanation lies in the answer Menon once gave to a scolding by Nehru’s sister, Madame Pandit. “My dear girl,” said Menon, “a politician may be either loved or disliked. But he has to get into the newspapers some way.”

The fact that Menon can be engaging as well as enraging is well known to TIME’S London Parliamentary Correspondent Honor Balfour, who got to know him nearly 25 years ago when Menon was an ascetic and red-hot rebel against the British raj and living in a humble bed-and-breakfast room in London. Says Miss Balfour: “Many people find him formidable, impenetrable, severe. He is. There’s no gentleness here, no namby-pamby. But there is great warmth and sincerity and ardor. As I’ve known Krishna, he’s always been a splendid human being.” There are other views, and the range of them is explored in this week’s cover story.

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