Before Time Inc.'s Washington Bureau chief, James R. Shepley, returned from Europe where he was an observer at the Meeting at the Summit, he visited some of his many close friends in the armed forces now stationed at various places on the Continent. And when I saw him a few days ago, Shepley spoke of one impression he received which naturally struck me most happily.
"SPORTS ILLUSTRATED," he said, "has a whale of an enthusiastic audience among the officers and troops in Europe. It seems to be the magazine which brings them right back home. It represents a part of their lives which they think of with real affection. And whenever the conversation went to magazines, the big subject was SPORTS ILLUSTRATED."
This was good to hear from a trained, if not entirely disinterested observer, and it served to confirm feelings we've had about the warm response SI has received from servicemen everywhere since its very beginning. Many of you have doubtless seen their letters from time to time in The 19TH HOLE.
From Alaska, SFC Robert Winter wrote us: "Congratulations on your wonderful magazine; it's the most popular thing of its kind in the outfit."
From the USS Wasp: "SPORTS ILLUSTRATED is tops with us on the ship."
From Eniwetok, you may recall, five uniformed golfers asked for help when they got into some arguments and wagers on whether a par-six hole exists on any course in the U.S. "We have agreed that your answer will determine who is right and who is wrong; so please don't fail us. We love your magazine and anticipate each issue with avid interest." With encouragement like that, SI could hardly fail; it was a pleasure to get the word back to Eniwetok. The answer, duly recorded in our June 20 issue, was yes, several par sixes, and even a par seven.
In a world where some curtains are iron and bamboo and a Meeting at the Summit may make or break the future, perhaps a letter from Lt. Col. Joseph C. Rively in Germany sums up best one of the things everyone here hopes will happen when SI goes abroad: "As one of your charter subscribers, I want to express my satisfaction with SI. I presume that SI is enjoying as much success elsewhere as it is in Europe. It is a great aid to all American ambassadors of good will and good sports on the international scene, as well as a positive adjunct to free peoples' crucial struggle for men's minds."
TIME INC.'S JAMES SHEPLEY