UNITED PRESS BUREAU, ROME -- The Rome bureau of the United Press was reopened at 10 a.m. today when I entered our offices in the Foreign Press Building, placed my typewriter on a stack of German newspapers and began writing this dispatch.
I thus completed an assignment given to me in North Africa last August by Hugh Baille, president of the U.P. While he was on a front line tour of the Mediterranean battlefronts he instructed me to follow the Allied armies into Italy and reopen the Rome Bureau at the earliest opportunity.
(When the news of the reopening of the bureau was received in New York, Baillie cabled Packard as follows: "Hearty congratulations triumphant accomplishment your mission.")
Since I was interned on the day Mussolini declared war on the United States, Japanese have occupied our offices at 54 Via Delia Mercede. The stack of newspapers I am using for a typewriter table includes a copy of the Volkischer Beobachter. Adolf Hitler's own paper. On the front page is a dispatch telling how well the Germans are defending Rome.
I have been carrying the keys to the offices ever since I was returned to the United States in a diplomatic exchange and then subsequently came back to the Mediterranean theater of war. Shortly after I reopened the bureau Swiss and Swedish newspaper correspondents came in to renew their contact with the United Press.
Italian newspapers, including Rome's Il Messaggero, published as usual yesterday and described hard fighting in the Alban Hills, southeast of Rome. They gave no hint, however, that the fall of the capital was imminent.
The United Press staff in Rome at present consists of Eleanor Packard, James E. Roper and myself. Robert Vermillion and Clinton B. Conger are stationed in Naples.