Mr. EICHHORN. William A. Eichhorn, 10 Cambridge Lane, Manhasset, N. Y.; executive vice president and treasurer of the American News Co.

            The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Eichhorn, have you a prepared statement?

            Mr. EICHHORN. No, I haven't. I have this here which I would like to read.

            The CHAIRMAN. You proceed in your own manner and then counsel will examine you.

            Mr. EICHHORN. This is a letter which we sent out in March to all of our branch managers throughout the country. It is over the signature of the president of our company.

            Mr. BEASER. Mr. Eichhorn, it may help a little bit if I ask you a few questions about the company so that we get straight how your operation goes.

            On the board we have put up an organizational chart, so to speak, of the comic groups distributed by the American News Co. May I ask one thing: The American News Co. is a wholly owned operation?

            Mr. EICHHORN. It is a corporation.

            Mr. BEASER. It operates what otherwise would be called the distributor and wholesaler end of the─

            Mr. EICHHORN. The wholesale distributors.

            Mr. BEASER. You have branch offices, so to speak, in most of the cities?

            Mr. EICHHORN. Approximately 400 around the country.

            Mr. BEASER. You also operate the stands at railroad stations and streetcar terminals, too?

            Mr. EICHHORN. Only some, through a subsidiary company.

            Mr. BEASER. Those are line operations, are they not? Line in the sense those are employees in the wholesale department?

            Mr. EICHHORN. No, we have a wholly owned subsidiary company called the Union News Co. The Union News Co. operates newsstands in certain railroad stations, subways, hotels, and so forth.

            Mr. BEASER. And the people behind the counter on those stands, are they your employees?

            Mr. EICHHORN. Employees of the Union News Co.

            Mr. BEASER. And the people who operate your wholesale establishments in the various areas of the country, they are employees, your employees?

            Mr. EICHHORN. That is correct.

            Mr. BEASER. So you have direct control over them?

            Mr. EICHHORN. That is correct.

            Mr. BEASER. In other words, when you now read a letter which you sent out, those are, in effect, instructions and not suggestions?

            Mr. EICHHORN. That is correct.

            Mr. BEASER. You may read the letter and then I will go on.

            Mr. EICHHORN. The subject is "Obscene literature":

             During the past year or so there has been quite a lot of agitation and publicity in connection with the circulation of obscene literature. It has been discussed in the press and both private groups and public officials have made statements about it. A year ago at this time we sent you a letter stating the policy of our company, but it may be helpful to repeat it at this time. You have our full permission to quote this letter to any dealer, any Government official, any newspaper, any private group, and, in fact, to anybody at all if you should be called upon for a statement of our company's policy.

             Ever since its organization 90 years ago it has been the policy of the American News Co. that it will not and does not knowingly distribute any obscene publications. Many of our publications are entered as second-class matter with the United States Post Office. Such material is censored by the Post Office authority and under its regulations obscene material is not acceptable. We ourselves do not censor because it would be impossible to censor the great number of magazines and books which we distribute both in the United States and in foreign countries.

             Furthermore, we have no legal authority to censor anything. Nevertheless, our company has a fine record as a distributor of publications which has lived up to all reasonable standards of acceptable literature. We feel that this is due in large part to the fact that the publishers for whom we distribute are reputable concerns who desire to conduct their business in full compliance with the law.

             If any particular publication is complained to be obscene by any responsible public authority or private group, we will cooperate to the fullest extent in determining whether it is obsecene. If it is determined to be obscene we will not distribute it. We feel, however, that the difficult situation on obscenity would be made by authorized public agencies, otherwise the private standards of particular groups may be imposed on the reading public which would be an unjustified impairment of the liberty and freedom of the public.

             We have never required any retailer to accept an objectionable publication as a condition to obtaining any other publication which we distribute. All our publications are fully returnable.

             Very truly yours,

P. D. O'CONNELL, President.

            Mr. BEASER. Let me inquire for a moment as to your relationship with the publishers.

            As is customary I gather among other distributors, you made advances to publishers?

            Mr. EICHHORN. I don't know what you mean by that.

            Mr. BEASER. When you accept a magazine for distribution, do you give them advance royalty?

            Mr. EICHHORN. Money, you mean?

            Mr. BEASER. Yes.

            Mr. EICHHORN. Only in some cases.

            Mr. EICHHORN. Do you finance printing costs?

            Mr. EICHHORN. No, sir. We have no financial interest in any publication or any publication concerned.

            Mr. BEASER. Strictly distribution?

            Mr. EICHHORN. Strictly distribution.

            Mr. BEASER. Do you charge a handling charge in any way for handling the magazines of the publishers, any magazines?

            Mr. EICHHORN. We have a handling charge on returns, unsold copies that come back. We charge the publisher handling charge for handling the returns.

            Mr. BEASER. In other words, the more returns the publisher gets, the more it costs him?

            Mr. EICHHORN. Well, it costs him for the returns, yes, it costs us to handle them. All we get is our handling cost.

            Mr. BEASER. So that, actually, the incentive there is to get them sold, naturally?

            Mr. EICHHORN. Sure.

            Mr. BEASER Now, how many publications do you distribute, Mr. Eichhorn?

            Mr. EICHHORN. I really couldn't tell you; seven or eight hundred titles.

            Mr. BEASER. How is the selection made as to what you will distribute and what you will not distribute? Who does it? How was it done?

            Mr. EICHHORN. Various officials of the company. If the publisher wants to distribute through our channels he comes to us and submits his publication and our officials talk it over and decide whether or not we want to handle it.

            Mr. BEASER. Is that based on the content of the material, or is it based on salability, or what?

            Mr. EICHHORN. Everything.

            The reliability of the publisher, his reputation; the content of the magazine, and whether we think it is salable or not.

            Mr. BEASER. Now, we have up there some exhibits and horror comics which I gather the American News Co. distributes. We had some testimony today, this morning, about St. Johns' publications.

            Mr. EICHHORN. I was not here this morning.

            Mr. BEASER. How do you decide which ones of those you will send out, which ones you will not? Have you any criteria?

            Mr. EICHHORN. No. As a matter of fact, we no longer distribute St. Johns' publications beginning next week.

            Mr. BEASER. Why is that?

            Mr. EICHHORN. He is changing his method of distribution to one of the other national distributors.

            Mr. BEASER. His total output?

            Mr. EICHHORN. Yes, sir.

            Mr. BEASER. How about the others? Do you look through their publications before you distribute them?

            Mr. EICHHORN. No.

            Mr. BEASER. You distribute them by name, naturally?

            Mr. EICHHORN. Yes.

            Mr. BEASER. What responsibility do you think a distributor should exercise in the realm of screening the type of material which he will carry and send out?

            Mr. EICHHORN. When we find a publisher putting out any titles that are objected to by officials or anybody else, then we take it up with the publisher and tell him we don't want him to put any more titles like that out.

            Mr. BEASER. Then you actually wait for an official complaint?

            Mr. EICHHORN. That is correct, unless we see that he is constantly putting out things like that, then we will warn him and tell him.

            Mr. BEASER. Do you get many complaints from parent-teacher groups, parents, about crime and horror comics?

            Mr. EICHHORN. I don't know what you mean by many. We get them here and there around there country, in various cities, campaigns are started by parent-teachers and organizations at different times.

            Mr. BEASER. As a result of that have you taken any action to look into the content of some of these crime and horror comics?

            Mr. EICHHORN. No, we don't look into the content of them at all. If they are found objectionable and the authorities tell us they are objectionable, we won't distribute them.

            Mr. BEASER. In other words, you wait for a case under the obscenity statutes?

            Mr. EICHHORN. Yes, we don't hold ourselves up as censors.

            Mr. BEASER. You will send out anything until the obscenity statutes are violated, then you will go to the publisher and tell him you will no longer carry the obscene publication although you will still carry his material?

            Mr. EICHHORN. Yes.

            Mr. BEASER. In relationship to your dealer what choice has the dealer got as far as crime and horror comics?

            Mr. EICHHORN. He can refuse to take anything we send him. If he gets something that he doesn't want, he can immediately send it back. If he feels he does not want to handle any future copies of that particular title all he has to do is tell us he wants no more of X, Y, or Z magazine in the future and he won't get them.

            Mr. BEASER. That is a selected list he has?

            Mr. EICHHORN. He can take whatever he wants.

            Mr. BEASER. What was the occasion for this letter to your agents? Had there been complaints about the fact that dealers were being forced to take what they did not want?

            Mr. EICHHORN. No. It was the fact that these various organizations around the country were putting on campaigns to eliminate comics that they felt were harmful to their children, in of that kind. Not because of dealers refusing to get stuff they didn't want.

            Mr. BEASER. Are you concerned at all as to the effects on children which some of the crime and horror comics which you are distributing may have?

            Mr. EICHHORN. Naturally we don't want to put out anything that is going to be harmful if we can avoid it. We can't hold ourselves up as censors.

            Mr. BEASER. Well, you actually do when you refuse to accept some magazines which you have in the past refused, have you not? You have refused to distribute certain magazines in the past.

            Mr. EICHHORN Yes.

            Mr. BEASER. At that point you do act as a censor?

            Mr. EICHHORN. When we first take it on, yes, but after we take on a line, then we expect that publisher will continue to give us the same type of magazine that we have agreed to distribute.

            Mr. BEASER. Have you had in the past complaints about a particular crime and horror comic, a particular one, I mean, rather than generalized?

            Mr. EICHHORN. Yes.

            Mr. BEASER. Which ones have you had complaints from?

            Mr. EICHH0RN. I wouldn't know offhand. It would be in a particular city, somebody would complain about a particular title. It would not be a thing all over the country.

            Mr. BEASER. Have you as a result of that dropped the carrying of any crime or horror comics?

            Mr. EICHHORN. Yes, we in certain cities won't put out particular magazines that have been complained of.

            Mr. BEASER. That is a particular issue, not a particular company's; product; is that it?

            Mr. EICHHORN. It might be a particular issue, and it might be a particular title that we will not send in there at all, any future issues.

            Mr. BEASER. Take Weird, for example, if you had a complaint about Weird, would you stop handling Weird, or would you stop handling the May issue of Weird?

            Mr. EICHHORN. If we had complaints about the May issue of Weird, we would probably call it in from the dealers' stands and send it back to the publisher. If the complaint was that Weird as a title as a continuing future issue was not acceptable we would not send any more Weird magazines into that particular city.

            Mr. BEASER. What would you do in order to ascertain whether it is or is not good? Would you, yourself?

            Mr. EICHHORN. No, that would be up to the officials, whoever objected to it.

            Mr. BEASER. Supposing you had a complaint that Weird was putting out some things, your testimony is that you would wait until there had been a court case?

            Mr. EICHHORN. No. If any duly constituted authority, city, State, National, any duly constituted authority tells us they don't want us to distribute Weird magazine, we will not distribute it.

            Mr. BEASER. Regardless of the reason they gave you, or do you wait for the reason to be obscenity?

            Mr. EICHHORN. No, for any reason at all. If they say it is objection able, we won't distribute it in that place.

            Mr. BEASER. Now, you also distribute in foreign countries?

            Mr. EICHHORN. No, not very much, outside of Canada.

            Mr. BEASER. Canada is the only foreign country you do distribute?

            Mr. EICHHORN. Comics, yes.

            Mr. BEASER. I am talking about comics.

            Mr. EICHHORN. Yes.

            Mr. BEASER. None of these I suppose are yours, are they?

            Mr. EICHHORN. No.

            Mr. BEASER. I was under the impression that you distribute comic books in at least 35 foreign countries. Is that so, or am I wrong?

            Mr. EICHHORN. Not to my knowledge.

            Mr. BEASER. The American News Co.?

            Mr. EICHHORN. Not to my knowledge.

            Mr. BEASER. In other words, the Romance group would not be distributed by you in foreign countries?

            Mr. EICHHORN. That is right.

            Mr. BEASER. You have no branches anywhere except in Canada?

            Mr. EICHHORN. We have one in London, England.

            Mr. BEASER. Are you concerned at all as to the type of material which you send over there, the impression which it will give about the United States?

            Mr. EICHHORN. We don't send any comics to London.

            Mr. BEASER. Just Canada?

            Mr. EICHHORN. Yes, sir.

            Mr. BEASER. I see.

            No further questions, Mr. Chairman.

            (On June 9, 1954, the subcommittee received the following information which corrects Mr. Eichhorn's statement regarding foreign distribution of comics by the American News Co., Inc.)


New York, N. Y., June 8, 1954.


                 Senate Office Building, Washington, D. C.

             DEAR SENATOR HENDRICKSON: On Friday, June 4, I testified before you in the Federal Courthouse here in New York City. At that time, your committee's counsel said that he understood that our company distributed comics in 38 foreign countries. I testified that I did not think this was so, and that distribution of comics of publishers for whom we distributed was made directly to foreign countries by the publisher themselves.

             After I returned to the office, I realized that this was not entirely correct. The publishers do sell copies direct but our company also distributes some copies of comics to dealers in foreign countries.

             Attached, you will find a list in duplicate, of foreign Countries to which we distribute magazines and on this list we have checked off those countries to which we distribute comic magazines to dealers. We do not distribute all comic magazines that we handle to all of these countries, but we do distribute some copies to each of the countries checked off on the attached list.

             I am sending this to you so that the record will be straight and I regret that I did not give you the entire correct picture when I appeared before your committee.

                          Very truly yours,


Executive Vice President.


v Arabia

v Argentine Republic


v Bolivia


British East Africa

Belgian Congo



v British Guiana

v British Honduras

v British West Indies

v Burma

v Canal Zone

v Ceylon

v Chile


v Colombia

v Costa Rica

v Cuba



v Denmark

v Dominican Republic

v Ecuador

v Egypt

Egyptian Sudan


v El Salvador

v Ethiopia

Federal Malay State

v Fiji Islands


v Formosa

v France

French Indochina

French West Indies


v Greece

v Guam

v Guatemala

v Haiti

v Hawaii

v Honduras


v Hong Kong


v Iceland

v India

v Indonesia

v Iran

v Iraq


v Italy

v Japan

v Kenya Colony

v Lebanon

v Malaya



Marianas Islands


v Mexico


v Netherlands Antilles

Netherlands East Indies

v Netherlands Guiana



v New Guinea

v Nicaragua

North Rhodesia



v Pakistan


v Paraguay


v Persian Gulf

v Peru

v Philippine Islands


v Portugal

v Portuguese East Africa

v Puerto Rico

v Republic of Panama




v South Africa

South Rhodesia

South Siam

v Spain

v Spanish Morocco

Straits Settlements

v Sweden



v Tanganyika Territory


v Transjordan

v Turkey

v Uruguay

v Venezuela

v Virgin Islands


Direct shipments

            The CHAIRMAN. Senator Hennings?

            Senator HENNINGS. I have no questions.

            The CHAIRMAN. The Chair thanks you very much, Mr. Eichhorn, for your appearance this afternoon. You have been very helpful.

            Mr. BEASER. Mr. J. Jerome Kaplon.

            The CHAIRMAN. Will you swear that the evidence you are about to give before this subcommittee of the Committee on the Judiciary of the United States Senate will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?

            Mr. KAPLON. I do.

            The CHAIRMAN. I want to welcome a fellow New Jersey citizen here. Thank you for coming.

            Will you state your full name and address, for the record?

Testimony of Mr. J. Jerome Kaplon.