OPINION

March 5, 1953

STALIN AT DEATH’S DOOR: London, 4 – Joseph Stalin, according to information received at 9.15 p.m. Greenwich time, was still alive last night. Kremlin officials, who had been concealing the fact that Stalin suffered a stroke last Sunday (March 1) which left him semiparalyzed, appear to be prepared to face the passing of one of the most powerful personalities in modern history, someone who had been put on a pedestal by millions of subjugated peoples. According to unconfirmed initial reports, Vyacheslav Molotov appears to be the most likely to deputize for Stalin, but it is Georgi Malenkov who is effectively taking over as head of the Communist Party, the huge State and its satellites. CHURCHILL: British Prime Minister Winston Churchill has expressed his sorrow at Stalin’s illness. EISENHOWER: US President Dwight D. Eisenhower has expressed his sympathy with the Soviet people and the hope that God will watch over them. MOSCOW PATRIARCH: Patriarch Alexios of Moscow has has ordered services in all Orthodox churches for Stalin’s recovery. He himself will preside this evening at a service in Moscow Cathedral. POPE OF ROME: According to an unofficial announcement from the Vatican, Pope Pius XII is also to hold a service for Stalin. The pope must feel deep sympathy for the great atheist who is shortly to appear before God, as his soul is burdened with the merciless persecution of his fellow human beings.