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A Letter From The Publisher: may 22, 1964

4 minute read

“It goes without saying that a lot can happen in the two months before the Republican Convention.” —TIME, May 8

Covering Nelson Rockefeller from handshake to handshake in Oregon last week, Correspondent Nick Thimmesch realized that quite a lot was happening. Nick has been following Rockefeller ever since the New York Governor set out on the campaign for the 1964 Presidential nomination, and he knows how the candidate performs and what reaction follows.* And so, at midweek, he cast a sidewise glance at the polls that unanimously predicted a victory for Henry Cabot Lodge, and sent the editors in New York a wire: “There is a strong flow toward Battling Nelson.”

Soon after the Oregon result was clear, the editors decided to postpone the nonpolitical cover that was coming off the press and switch to Nelson Rockefeller. Working largely from the reporting of Thimmesch and San Francisco Correspondent Roger Stone, who covered the general side of the Oregon campaign, Writers David Lee and Ronald Kriss put together the cover story for Senior Editor Champ Clark. In the process, all of them found renewed confidence in an old principle: political polls may stir up a lot of publicity, but they are no substitute for knowing, thinking journalists.

Correspondent George de Carvalho is beginning to rank as an expert on exotic rivers. Five years ago, as our Rio de Janeiro bureau chief, he suggested and did the reporting for the color story on the Amazon (Nov. 23, 1959). Not long after he became Beirut bureau chief in 1962, he began to visualize color pages of the Nile. Last summer he sold his idea to the editors; the results, thousands of miles, words and transparencies later, are the eight pages of color pictures and a timely story.

From the correspondent’s suggestion to the printed pages, the project came under the major care of two senior editors (Henry Grunwald and Cranston Jones), two associate editors (Peter Bird Martin and Charles P. Jackson), two contributing editors (Robert Jones and Arnold Drapkin), two editorial researchers (Deborah Hall and Rosemary Frank), one map maker (Robert Chapin) and one photographer—Laurence Lowry. While all those idea-and-word people had their moments, Photographer Lowry probably had the most excitement.

He found the Egyptians leary about letting him take aerial photographs of bridges, and the Russian technicians at the Aswan dam unwilling to speak to him. But he made his way through the Red tape, and won the cooperation of the Arabs. He took the opening picture in the color pages—a view of the Aswan cofferdam—with an F-8 Fairchild camera from a DC-3 owned by a United Arab Republic airline. With the door removed from the plane, Lowry stood in the open, a rope lashed around his waist and an chored to the tie-down rings. He took the picture on the last color page—a gold and green view of Giza—from a helicopter flown by a U.A.R. Air Force crew, firing away with his F-8 from a sitting position in the doorway with his feet on the landing gear. This was more or less routine for Lowry, an expert in aerial photography, but he felt a bit queasy when he was shooting the interior of one of the dam tunnels. “Things kept falling from the ceiling,” he said. “I think the workmen there are either very courageous or very fatalistic.”

* By now he is so familiar with Rockefeller’s speeches that he uses a simple set of abbreviations to note the subjects covered: FUNVAL—fundamental values; MOAT —mainstream of American thought; FISTEG —fiscal integrity; GOVECLOP—government closest to the people; EQUOP—equal opportunity; BOMFOG—brotherhood of man under Fatherhood of God.

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