• U.S.

Forum, Sep. 1, 1975

7 minute read

From Right to Left in Portugal

To the Editors:

Finally a cover story on the Portuguese situation [Aug. 11]. And what a cover it is. The gentleman on the right (Costa Gomes) could pass for Frankenstein’s twin brother; the one in the center (Gonçalves) looks like he’s ready to bite someone on the neck, and the one on the left (Carvalho) really looks like he’s on the left.

Paul Hegeman

Eastport, N. Y.

Seeing the TIME cover on Portugal, I thought “My God, a TIME, lost in the bowels of the Post Office for 23 years, has finally arrived.” It seems hard to believe, even in the most boring summer since Watergate, that TIME has to stoop to the Red menace to attempt to lure readers.

Maybe things are not all we would like them to be in Portugal, but there are damned few places, including our own country, that are following the perfect path to human bliss.

Deirdre Murray Whiteside

New York City

Portugal and its kindly people would be far better off if the Salazar-Caetano administration had never been overthrown.

Charles V. Montague

Palma de Mallorca, Spain

You seem to feel that Portugal has already been taken over by the Communists. It sounds as if you are writing the obituary before the patient is dead.

Ellen Groff


How sickening it is to hear the words Red threat after 15 years. As far as I am concerned, TIME is as much responsible for Communist paranoia as Senator McCarthy, Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan. Your only saving grace is that you are factual.

Wayne Spitzer

Newtown Square, Pa.

Exciting Betty

The exciting aspect of Mrs. Ford’s comments on abortion and “having affairs” [Aug. 25] is not so much the substance of them, as it is the freedom which she and her family feel to express their diversity of views on the topics. What a perfect model of the dynamics and purpose of freedom of speech in a democracy—to get controversial issues into the public dialogue where the various legitimate and not-so-legitimate points of view can be argued out.

How different from the repressive Nixon years!

Diane Chegwidden Jones

Fort Lee, N.J.

Mrs. Ford mentioned that her honesty relative to her recent operation for cancer may well save the lives of countless women. On the other side of the coin, her honesty on abortion, which she supports, could well affect the decision of other countless women to destroy the lives of their babies, human beings.

Mrs. Lucien M. Grant


Atoms-and-Coal Formula

The recent Harris poll showing that 63% of the American people accept civilian nuclear energy as clean, inexpensive and safe [Aug. 18], while only 19% oppose construction of more nuclear power plants, and a mere 5% believe them to be dangerous should help to reduce the emotional content of the often heated nuclear debate.

Our nation’s need for energy, both liquid fuels and electricity, is crucial. The close relationship between energy reduction, jobs and a healthy economy is becoming every day more clear. Factual information devoid of accusations and largely unsubstantiated charges and countercharges must form the basis for reasonable discussion and public decision. Conservation must be pursued. But realistic use of what we now have—coal and nuclear energy—is essential today and in the years immediately ahead. Those who want accurate information should read Schmidt & Bodansky’s “The Energy Controversy: The Role of Nuclear Power.”

Dixy Lee Ray

Fox Island, Wash.

Dixy Lee Ray was chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission 1973-75.

Nixon’s Palace Guard

Exploiting and profiteering—that’s what members of the guard [Aug. 11] are doing. Is it not tragic enough that they tried to steal the democratic system of government? Now they want to exploit their crime by selling books detailing their actions. To buy one of the guard’s books is to line their pockets. Haven’t we paid enough?

Barbara Lobley

Seabrook, Texas

Well you’ve done your worst to Richard Nixon, but he’s still the most admired man on my list. I thank him for making the world a safer place.

Gilbert Hawkins


The only tax funds that should be spent on Nixon are the $140,000 or so that would pay for his well-deserved 20-year residence in a federal pen.

John R. Kennedy

Oklahoma City

Why is everyone still standing around waiting for Nixon to admit that he feels guilty about Watergate? Do we really expect Abbie Hoffman, Lucky Luciano and Charles Manson to admit that they feel guilty? Guilt is something that human beings tend to feel as little of as they can. And Presidents are no exceptions.

Gail White

New Orleans

Historic Moment

The Viking-Mars landers have, in addition to the biology packages described in TIME [Aug. 18], two other sets of instruments connected with the search for life. There is an organic chemistry laboratory that will search for the molecules of life among the Martian sand grains. There are also two television cameras on each lander to search for large animals or vegetables near the landing site. Unlike the microbiology instruments, these experiments make few assumptions about the detailed inner workings of hypothetical Martian organisms. The launch delay of Viking, if ten days or less, will have little effect on the scientific objectives of the mission, although the delay may make a July 4, 1976 landing more difficult. But whatever the landing date, Viking, if it works successfully, represents a historic moment: the first serious scientific search for life on another planet.

Carl Sagan, Professor of Astronomy

Director, Laboratory for Planetary

Studies, Cornell University

Ithaca, N. Y.

The Incontinent Press

As a reporter, I found your article on the effects of press revelations on the efficiency of the Central Intelligence Agency [Aug. 4] disturbing.

The article was particularly meaningful to me because I had just finished collaborating on a story exposing the existence of a CIA base in this area—a story about which, I should add, I felt considerable trepidation.

I wrote the story mainly because my fellow reporters expected it of me and also because I would have gotten into considerable trouble with my editor if I had not. After reading your article, I think I would be happier about myself had the story I did never appeared, and I think there are occasions when we of the media should ask ourselves whether, in our eagerness to write a big story, we are not tampering with something far more important.

Our subservience to the “scoop” mentality has caused us to lose our sense of perspective. We need to get it back.

John W. Floors

The Daily Advance

Elizabeth City, N.C.

Quick, Just Judge

The article entitled “The Reluctant Judge” [July 28] is an unfair characterization of the most conscientious and hard-working judge I have ever known. It is common knowledge in Savannah that his work days begin at 7 a.m. and include most weekends and holidays. The overall impression conveyed that Judge Alexander A. Lawrence is habitually dilatory and unsympathetic in his handling of civil rights cases is totally inaccurate. Judge Lawrence has administered the law in school integration, busing, the Civil Rights Act and civil liberties cases with scrupulous regard for the rights of the complainants, and his opinions are usually prepared with much greater dispatch than the briefs of the lawyers who argue the cases before him.

George H. Chamlee

Savannah, Ga.

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