To Rex Barley [Letter 495]

Item Reference Code: 045_11A_026_001

Date(s) of creation

December 5, 1962


Rex Barley


[Page 1]
36 East 36th Street
New York 16, N.Y.

December 5, 1962

Mr. Rex Barley
Los Angeles Times Syndicate
Times-Mirror Square
Los Angeles 53, California

Dear Mr. Barley:

In reply to your letter of November 29, I do not question Mr. Nick Williams’ [editor of the Los Angeles Times] intentions, and I fully believe that it was an honest intention to keep my column up-to-date, as you stated. But this does not change the fact that he had no right to edit my column without my consent.

I have not given you cause to assume that I make statements without reflection—and, therefore, I must repeat that the editing has altered the sense or the meaning of my column. a) Its meaning consisted of the full context in which Mr. Kennedy chose to visit the Soviet Ballet. b) I am the only judge of what I intend to say under my signature.

I do not understand why Mr. Williams chose not to consult me. There were many ways to bring the column up-to-date, without cutting it.

I must remind you that the most important provision of our agreement, as far as I am concerned, is the provision relating to alterations of my text. I shall, therefore, expect to be consulted about any proposed changes in the text of my column in the Los Angeles Times, and I reserve the right of final decision on such changes. If we are unable to reach an agreement, you have the right not to publish that particular column.

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I must add that I have noticed small changes before, but they involved one or two words, were purely formal and were obviously dictated by considerations of legal precision—and, therefore, I did not mind them. I trust that this was not taken to mean that I am willing to have my columns edited in content without my knowledge.

I would have preferred to discuss this with you in person, and I tried to reach you by telephone last Friday afternoon, but was unable to do so.



Ayn Rand



In Barley’s reply of December 14, he included a lengthy statement from Editor Nick Williams, in which Williams disputed “Miss Rand’s argument that the opinion expressed in the Bolshoi column was distorted by the deletion.” He was, he continued, merely removing a factual error in AR’s piece, but was “willing to agree with Miss Rand to omit her column on those occasions when we feel we must delete parts of it.”