AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE
WASHINGTON: A US war correspondent who was fired for breaking a military embargo and scooping the world on the German surrender in World War II has got an apology, 67 years later.
The Associated Press offered the apology to reporter Edward Kennedy, who defied military censors and filed a dispatch May 7, 1945 on the surrender ending the war in Europe.
The news was perhaps the biggest scoop of the war, but led to his
dismissal by the AP and
his expulsion by the US military.
AP president and chief executive Tom Curley apologised yesterday, saying, “It was a terrible day for the AP. It was handled in the worst possible way.”
Kennedy was among 17 journalists taken to a ceremony in Reims, France, in the early morning hours of May 7 where German forces signed a surrender, but they all had to pledge to keep the news a secret to allow a second ceremony to be staged by Russian forces in Berlin.
The journalists were first told the news would be held up for only a few hours, but later extended for 36 hours, until 3:00pm the following day.
Curley said Kennedy did the right thing.
“Once the war is over, you can’t hold back information like that. The world needed to know,” the outgoing wire service chief said.
Kennedy died in a traffic accident in 1963. But his daughter, Julia Kennedy Cochran, told the AP of the apology, “I think it would have meant a lot to him.”
In a memoir, Kennedy said he tried to no avail to get a military censor to lift the embargo.
He then used a military phone which was not monitored by the censors to file his account to AP’s office in London, which put out the dispatch within minutes.