Thomas made his way to Washington, D.C., where he encountered
the Community for Creative Non-Violence. The Community were a
group of individuals much of whose time and energy was spent manipulating
reluctant news media to focus public attention on "the plight
of the homeless," an issue society might just as soon have
swept under the carpet.
The Community impressed Thomas as being creative. Members
of the Community were theists who said they preferred to trust
in the Creator for the meager resources with which they captured
media attention. They were relatively independent, refusing even
to apply for tax-exempt status.
Secondarily, Thomas thought, the Community was doing some
practical things with people on the streets, which set a good
example of working to promote non-violence.
Thomas conceived a plan by which to get back on the other
side of the Atlantic Ocean while opening his own issues for wider
public consideration. He wrote to Alex, and asked him to send
the manuscript which Thomas had penned on Barnsbury Road.
While waiting for the manuscript to arrive, Thomas worked
for the Community. Scavenging materials to keep the soup line
going, to construct the medical clinic, and to provide "hospitality"
-- a blanket, space on the floor in one of the Community's three
buildings, and a sympathetic ear -- for people who didn't have
anyone else to care about them.
When the manuscript arrived Thomas called the Embassy of
the Soviet Union.
"I have a manuscript which I believe details clear
hypocrisy in the professed ideals and the practices of the United
States government," Thomas told the person who answered the
phone. "I would like to make a gift of it to the people of
the Soviet Union."
The call was transferred to Victor Doroshenko, Under Secretary
for Public Information. Thomas repeated his message.
"We would be very happy to have it," Mr. Doroshenko
At noon Thomas was admitted to the embassy on 16th Street,
and ushered to a high ceilinged, richly appointed sitting-room.
"Good afternoon, Mr. Thomas." The Under Secretary
for Public Information introduced himself. "What is your
book about?" He asked, motioning for Thomas to be seated
on a brocade sofa.
Thomas' narrative lasted about fifteen minutes. As he spoke
he began to realize that it might sound as if he were describing
normal Soviet policy which the Soviet government might just as
soon see swept under the carpet.
"Thank you, Mr. Thomas. Is there anything we can do
for you?" Mr. Doroshenko seemed to be speaking perfunctionarily.
"Yes," Thomas took the offensive. "You can
tell me whether you are concerned with peace."
"Certainly, we are very concerned with peace,"
Mr. Doroshenko said.
"I am very happy to hear that, because my first concern
is peace," Thomas said. "I believe that fear is the
greatest contributing factor to the animosity and hostility existing
between the United States and the Soviet Union."
"I quite agree," Mr. Doroshenko agreed.
"I reason that the root of this fear is misunderstanding,
which comes, in turn, from a lack of communication." Thomas
"I couldn't agree more," Mr. Doroshenko went
"Good. In order to illustrate to the American people
that they have nothing to fear from the Russian people I am going
to surrender to you," Thomas concluded.
Mr. Doroshenko didn't answer immediately. "What will
you do if we take you to the Soviet Union?" He finally asked.
"I will continue my quest for truth, justice, and
freedom." Thomas confided.
"I don't think we can use you there," Mr. Doroshenko
"I'm here now, and I'm not going to leave. I suppose
you can lock me up, send me to Siberia, or shoot me, but I think
it would be in everyone's best interest if you just let me go
ahead with my plans to show that people don't need to fear one
another," Thomas argued.
"If you don't leave, I will have no choice but to
have you arrested."
"What will you have me arrested for?" Thomas
"Trespassing." Mr. Doroshenko replied.
"As I understand it, the basis of Marx's whole theory
rests on the evils of private property. If you, a communist country,
have me, a stateless person, arrested by a capitalist police force
for trespassing on your 'private property,' then it might appear
that you are as hypocritical as the United States."
The Under Secretary reflected for some time. It was obvious
that he had no real desire to have Thomas arrested. "You
can apply for admission to the Soviet Union through the regular
channels," Doroshenko offered.
"Fine, I'll apply and wait here for the answer."
Thomas was skeptical.
For at least twice was long as it had taken Thomas to explain
his story, Mr. Doroshenko attempted to persuade him to leave the
embassy. To no avail. Finally he called the United States Secret
Three S.S. officers entered the Soviet embassy.
"Good Afternoon, Sir," one of the Secret Service
men began. "What is the problem here?"
"Mr. Doroshenko invited me here to discuss a book.
We both agreed that peace is very important, that a state of hostility
exists between the United States and the Soviet Union which results
from fear, misunderstanding, and lack of communication. I told
Mr. Doroshenko that I intend to dispel American fear of the Soviet
Union by surrendering to them," Thomas explained.
"Well, now, they want you to leave," One of the
S.S. men reacted.
"They invited me here," Thomas reminded.
"The D.C. trespassing regulation includes failure
to quit as a violation," another S.S. man advised.
"I don't think that D.C. regulations apply on Soviet
soil." Thomas observed. "I'm not going anywhere."
"He's crazy." One S.S. man said to another, as
they handcuffed the prisoner.
"I think he's the only sane one here." The third
"Sanity might all be a question of how one perceives
Reality," Thomas thought as his captors led him to the Emerald