The Charlotte News

Saturday, January 31, 1953


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports, via Robert B. Tuckman, that planes from three U.S. carriers, the U.S.S. Kearsarge, Oriksany and Philippine Sea, and the battleship U.S.S. Missouri, had this date attacked the northeast Korean port of Wonsan, already in rubble from the longest siege in American naval history, having begun February 16, 1951, longer than the second-longest siege, that of Vicksburg, Miss., during the Civil War. Allied fighter-bombers had caught a large contingent of North Korean troops in the open, reportedly killing 50 of them.

In ground action, only scattered patrol skirmishes occurred along the frozen front, with the second day in a row registering below zero temperatures, with the coldest point being on the western front at nine below.

The Air Force, in its weekly report, indicated that five U.N. warplanes, including a B-29 bomber, had been lost, compared to six enemy MIG-15s. During January, U.S. Sabre jets had destroyed 40 MIGs against two lost Sabres. Over the course of the war, the Sabres had a 1 to 11 ratio of losses to the MIG-15's, an increase from 1 to 8 based on the high January kill ratio. The previous day, Sabres had shot down a Russian-designed enemy bomber off the west coast of Korea, the first time such a bomber had been downed in 14 months and only the second time during the war.

In Washington, Fleet Admiral William Leahy, former chief of Naval Operations, said this date that it might be "a bright idea" to free Chinese Nationalists for raids against the Chinese mainland coast. Government sources reported that the President, barring a change of present plans, would announce in his State of the Union message the following Monday that the U.S. Seventh Fleet would be withdrawn from protection of Formosa, a move which would enjoy strong backing in the Congress. Admiral Leahy had made a courtesy call on the President and made his statement to reporters in response to questions afterward. He said that the subject of Formosa did not come up during the conversation with the President.

In Taipeh, Formosa, officials of the Chinese Nationalist Government declined comment on the reports that President Eisenhower might release the U.S. Seventh Fleet from guarding the neutrality of Formosa, to which it had been assigned at the start of the Korean War, on June 27, 1950, by President Truman.

Army chief of staff General J. Lawton Collins, who had returned from his tour of Korea this date, said that "Operation Smack" was a "perfectly sound and legitimate operation", angrily denying that it had been specially staged for the brass and press who had been invited to observe it. The combat raid on a specific objective, which had been repulsed 15 yards from that objective, had been carried out the previous Sunday. General Collins had been invited to a public hearing before the House Armed Services Committee to provide details the following Tuesday. The previous day, Senator Leverett Saltonstall of Massachusetts and Representative Dewey Short of Missouri, respective chairmen of the Senate and House Armed Services Committees, issued a joint statement saying that the raid had been an appropriate military operation. The commander of the raid on the ground indicated that the objections raised by some in Congress had been "uncalled for" and probably resulted from a lack of civilian understanding of what had occurred.

Secretary of State John Foster Dulles arrived this date in Rome, making clear that the U.S. wanted to know what Europe was doing about unification for defense, hinting that the U.S. might alter its aid policy toward Western Europe if the nations refused to unite. This date, he met with Prime Minister of Italy Alcide de Gasperi and other officials of the Government. It was clear that the Italian Government was desirous of action toward unity as well, and wished to know why other nations were lagging.

The President would have to decide whether to turn over to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee testimony provided by General Walter Bedell Smith, the nominee to be Undersecretary of State, to the Federal Loyalty Review Board, as requested by the Committee, considering his confirmation. They specifically wanted to review his testimony while director of the CIA, regarding a State Department foreign service officer, John Davies. The Committee also decided to hold a closed hearing the following Monday on the appointment of James B. Conant, retiring president of Harvard University, as the High Commissioner to West Germany.

Congressman Daniel Reed of New York, chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee, who had proposed a measure to provide an 11 percent tax cut, without hearings or ability to amend the bill from the floor, effectively erasing an 11 percent tax increase enacted in 1951, was likely to be frustrated by the Rules Committee, whose chairman, Congressman Leo Allen of Illinois, indicated that it was safe to assume that the bill would not be sent to the floor for several months.

Republican Congressional leaders said this date, following a meeting with the President, that they could easily get together on what to do about price and wage controls, as to whether they should be removed before their expiration date on April 30 and whether the President should be provided authority to reimpose controls in the event of future emergencies.

The ruling by a U.S. District Court in Washington the previous day that certain provisions of the Federal Lobbying Act were violative of the First Amendment right to petition the Government, prompted influential members of Congress from both sides of the aisle to urge new legislation to exert control over professional lobbyists. The consensus was that a new law should be passed if the present one was finally to be held unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. The current law required that paid lobbyists had to register with Congress and file quarterly reports listing their contributions and expenditures, violations of which would bar them from lobbying for three years afterward and subject them to fines and jail, the penalties having been ruled by the Federal Court to infringe the Constitution.

Gordon Dean, chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, indicated that there was no doubt of the existence of a supply of atomic weapons in the Soviet Union, disputing a statement of doubt made recently by former President Truman, wondering whether the Russians had a workable atomic bomb. Three leading members of the joint Atomic Energy Committee in Congress had also issued a joint statement indicating that the former President's remark had been "highly unfortunate".

The former President had been offered a job by a newly-formed national organization of restaurant and nightclub owners for $375,000 over a five-year period, the exact nature of the job, however, having been cut off at the end of the page.

From Stranraer, Scotland, it was reported that the British ferry steamer Princess Victoria capsized and sank in a hurricane, carrying an estimated 100 to 130 persons to their deaths in raging seas off the coast of Northern Ireland. A reported 183 persons had been aboard the vessel, including several children, and the first survivors had arrived in a coastal town 15 miles from Belfast. The vessel had reportedly sunk quickly. Several airplanes, including American planes, were assisting in spotting survivors. Among the passengers had been two members of the Government of Northern Ireland and a member of the Parliament.

In Nashville, Tenn., a man who had attempted suicide for the 10th time, and for the second time from a bridge superstructure, had been rescued by dozens of strangers who had risked their lives from the top of the river bridge the previous night to prevent him from jumping. One man, however, had shouted: "Go on, jump, old buddy. Hit the water." And a girl called out, "Make up your mind; I'm late for a date." Meanwhile, volunteers had scrambled up the bridge superstructure, where an employee of a flooring firm and a truck driver finally were able to corner the desperate man, with one of the two saying repeatedly, "Jump or fight, buddy." A few hours later, in the City Jail, the rescued man, 27, complained, "Nobody cares for me."

In Marshall, N.C., it was reported that North Carolina Republicans, embroiled in an intra-party squabble over patronage between the Eisenhower and Taft supporters prior to the convention, would meet on February 28 in Charlotte for their Lincoln Day dinner.

In Charlotte, the local FBI office announced the arrest of a magazine sales representative, charged with keeping a 19-year old crippled youth in involuntary servitude and slavery. The man had been arrested in Mississippi on the basis of a complaint filed before the acting U.S. Commissioner in Gastonia, serving in Charlotte during the illness of the regular Commissioner. The complaint charged that the man had held in involuntary servitude the teenager for the purpose of remaining in his employment as a magazine salesman under threats of violence and personal abuse during a two-day period the previous August in Charlotte. The charged individual had worked as a manager of a magazine sales crew composed of five physically handicapped youths. One member of the crew had charged in August that the supervisor had beaten him, resulting in the defendant having been charged with assault and sentenced to 30 days on the road, suspended on payment of a $50 fine and costs, with other conditions being that he would repay money owed to his employees and allow them to leave his employ.

On the editorial page, "The Republicans Are at It Again" indicates that the North Carolina Republicans were feuding with one another over an old bone of contention, patronage. It had been 20 years since they had control of the White House and thus had any say regarding patronage appointments, leading in the interim to lines having been drawn in the state party hierarchy between Governor Dewey and Senator Taft in 1944 in 1948, and between General Eisenhower and Senator Taft in 1952. It was thus not surprising that the intra-party squabbling had flared into the public arena during the week.

The piece indicates that it had no idea how things would turn out, but laments the spectacle, as the newspaper had hoped that someday a two-party system might develop in the state. But thus far, there was no evidence that North Carolina Republicans had learned a very basic lesson, that a strong party was built from the grassroots up, not from the top down. It suggests that the undignified squabbling cost the party respect of potential converts and distracted the leadership from more important work, especially the building of a healthy party organization at the precinct, town and county levels.

"N.C.'s Out-Moded Local Governments" again indicates that the fact that the General Assembly had to approve of certain local government undertakings, such as setting the salary for a local sheriff, impeded efficient local government operations and ought be amended. A State Representative from Robeson County was considering introduction of a statewide bill which would give county commissioners full authority to fix the pay of all county officials and employees. It regards the move as a correct one, following recommendations which had been made by the Commission on Public Local and Private Legislation, authorized by the 1947 General Assembly. It favors amendment of the State Constitution and the General Statutes to clarify the distinctions between general, local and private laws—the piece on the page the previous day by the North Carolina League of Women Voters having set forth the definitions of each category of law, public or general laws applying to the whole state, with some localities sometimes excepted, local laws applicable to specific towns and counties, and private laws passed, usually en masse, to provide remedies for citizens injured in some manner by the State or local government entities.

"The Dutch Treatment" indicates that eight years earlier, U.S. airmen bound for Germany had looked down at the Netherlands and seen mute testimony to Nazi destructiveness, with the destruction of dikes and the heart of Rotterdam bombed without warning after the Dutch capitulation. Much of the overseas empire of the Netherlands and its trade were also lost during and immediately after the war. But with U.S. aid, the country had staged a remarkable recovery and announced during the week that it would not seek any direct American economic aid in 1953.

Americans were not accustomed to that kind of announcement and thus stood incredulous. Recent New York Times dispatches from the Netherlands had credited the recovery to the Government's policy, established early in 1951, in the monetary, investment, credit and fiscal sphere, whereby the Dutch had decreased controls, raised tourist allowances, unfrozen capital accounts of non-residents, reduced credit restrictions, while maintaining a high rate of taxation. Confidence in those fiscal policies had encouraged savings and the high taxes had deterred the public from undertaking risky investments.

The conservative Dutch fiscal policy was joined with its advocacy for Western union, with the Dutch delegate to NATO having said that the "luxury of nationhood can be saved only if a great part is lost—voluntarily merged to form a pool of real power". In two Dutch towns, over three-fourths of the electorate had turned out to vote on a referendum regarding European federation, with 93 percent and 97 percent, respectively, favoring a European government with democratic representation and a European constitution. The piece concludes that other peoples who would heed the example of the Dutch might find themselves decreasingly "in Dutch".

A piece from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, titled "Got the Blues", indicates that W. C. Handy, "the father of the blues", had been invited to President Eisenhower's inaugural ball to play his "St. Louis Blues" on his trumpet. At 2:00 a.m., his turn finally came, but because he was blind, he did not realize that the President had already left the ball 30 minutes earlier, afterward saying that it was a very big night for him to play for the President.

It indicates that, at 79, Mr. Handy had been heard by the world. Edward VIII, formerly the Prince of Wales and presently the Duke of Windsor, had said that the "St. Louis Blues" was his favorite selection, and vast crowds in New York and elsewhere had acclaimed Mr. Handy for having been the first musician to write down "the work songs, love songs, devil songs, over-and-overs, slow drags, pats, stomps and spirituals of the Southern Negro."

Mr. Handy had been dozing in a railway station in Mississippi waiting for a train which was nine hours late when he heard blues for the first time, played on a guitar by a lone musician, a number titled "Where the Southern Cross the Dog", referring to a crossing of the Southern Railway and the Yazoo Delta, nicknamed the "Yellow Dog". Mr. Handy set it down as the "Yellow Dog Blues". The guitar player, comments the piece, had not been playing the music for anyone in particular, as the blues was "a musing kind of music anyhow", which a fellow really sings for himself.

It should be noted that a little known codicil to the blues will was written in 1952 by Little Tricks Dickie, a blues singer out of Southern California, who penned, in just a half hour expended the prior September, having learned his craft in Durham among the bitter-enders, "Where the Cross-Dog Meet the Southern in a Crow's Coat, Riding in That Olds Mobile Burthen", updated in 1962 with the "Kick Me 'Round Black and Blues" version, and again in 1972 with his symphonic adaptation, "Variations on a Theme: Blues Pipes Squeaky Leaks Squealing Need the Big Fix Pig-Style".

Drew Pearson imparts that Army chief of staff General J. Lawton Collins had rushed his trip to Korea to straighten out bickering over the South Korean army. Conflicting reports had been sent to the Pentagon regarding how large the role of the South Korean army should be, with General James Van Fleet, the outgoing Eighth Army commander, having been optimistic about turning the fighting over to the South Koreans, while U.N. supreme commander General Mark Clark had been pessimistic anent that prospect. The U.S. training mission had demanded seasoned South Korean officers to help speed the training of inexperienced new troops, which would take South Korean officers away from the front, causing the battle commanders to warn that the South Korean army, being short of good officers, could not spare them. The problem had been given to the President by General Collins just a day after the President was inaugurated. After listening carefully to the General, the President ordered him to go to Korea forthwith and come up with a detailed plan on how large the South Korean army could be made and how long it would take.

Former House Speaker Sam Rayburn and Senate Minority Leader Lyndon Johnson, both of Texas, had staged a private dinner for former President Truman just before he left office, in an effort to persuade him to stay away from the oil reserve issue. The dinner featured chili con carne, Texas style, a favorite of President Truman, and he had several large helpings prior to Senator Johnson and Representative Rayburn raising the question of the oil reserves. They sought to convince the President to leave the oil reserves under the Interior Department rather than transferring them to the Navy, which they feared would cause embarrassment to President Eisenhower if he had to transfer them back. But before they could raise the topic, the President, sensing that there was a lobbying effort coming, suddenly announced that he had to leave. At that point, Mr. Rayburn suddenly posed the issue to the President, to which the President responded that he had already made the transfer to the Navy, indicating the importance of the oil reserves to other parts of the nation.

The National Security Council was so embarrassed that it would not reveal a CIA report indicating that the criminal prosecution of the five U.S. oil companies in the Near East should not be dropped, contrary to the advice of former Secretary of Defense Robert Lovett that the prosecution should be dropped to prevent it from playing into the hands of the Russians by potentially causing American companies to lose their Near Eastern concessions, basing his opinion partially on the CIA report of the previous spring. The CIA more recently, however, had submitted a new report in which it stated that its survey of the previous spring had been in error and that reaction to the Government's prosecution of the oil companies had not been negative. It also observed that if the prosecution went forward, there would be some reaction in the Near East, but nothing about which to be concerned, and that if the prosecution were dropped, the reaction would be worse, playing into the hands of Russia by making it appear that the big oil companies were dictating U.S. Government policy.

Senator Charles Tobey of New Hampshire, 72, was one of the most vigorous members of the Senate, and had members of the new Administration worried about his championing of small business and of FTC commissioner John Carson, a holdover from the Truman Administration, reappointed to the FTC shortly before President Truman had left office. Though Republicans had expected to knock him out immediately, Mr. Carson was a protégé of Senator Tobey and also had other friends on the Senate Interstate Commerce Committee, and, as an independent Republican, was the former secretary of Republican Senator Jim Couzens of Michigan.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop indicate that the President's State of the Union message to Congress, set for the following Monday, would provide him the opportunity to reassert national leadership, but that if he failed to do so, he might find the power of decision slipping from him.

There had been symptoms of that latter prospect of late, two such incidents having occurred the previous Tuesday, the first when Daniel Reed, chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee, announced to the press that he would push through his 11 percent tax cut bill regardless of obstacles, not allowing amendments from the floor or hearings on the bill. Neither Secretary of Treasury George Humphrey nor any other official of the Administration had been consulted on the tax bill, and Mr. Reed had told members of the Committee that he intended to get the bill passed regardless of opposition in the Administration. On the same day, two committees, one from each house, reported a bill defining the President's power to reorganize the executive branch of the Government, both voting to reduce sharply the President's power in that regard, by limiting the number of Senators or Congressmen necessary in either house to veto a reorganization plan to a simple majority of those present and voting, whereas existing law, set soon to expire, had required a constitutional majority of all the members of either body. The President had as a top priority reorganization of the executive branch, as shown by his appointment of the Rockefeller Committee on Government reorganization, one of the first acts he had undertaken as President. Yet all of the Republicans on the Senate and House committees voted to limit the President's power in this crucial regard.

Mr. Reed and other leading Republicans believed that the power to make policy ought reside in Congress. The matter was also a function of the lack of experience in and around the White House in dealing with Congress. A Republican leader, Congressman Clarence Brown, reportedly had discussed the reorganization bill briefly with the President, and the fact that the President had made no protest suggested that he was not completely aware of the consequences of the proposed change.

With White House policies still unformed, it was inevitable that the Republican Congressional leaders would move into the vacuum to start creating policy. Most of them looked to Senator Taft for leadership, posing the real danger that the President would lose the power of decisive leadership, passing instead to Senator Taft and the others who had fought against the President's nomination at the Republican convention the prior summer.

Marquis Childs also deals with the proposed change in reorganization powers. Joseph Dodge, director of the Bureau of the Budget, had appeared before the House Committee on Government Operations, considering the reorganization bill, urging that any plan of reorganization should be rejected by constitutional majorities of either house, as was the case at present, not simple majorities, as the proposed legislation provided. Under the latter change, as few as 25 Senators could block a reorganization plan, as a quorum was provided by a simple majority of the 96 Senators present. Mr. Dodge had said that he wanted the present law extended beyond its current expiration date of March 31.

The Democrats on the House committee had voted to extend the existing measure, enabling Minority Leader John McCormick to state that the Republicans in Congress were letting down President Eisenhower, an effective Democratic strategy.

But the Republicans in the House believed that the President would send them only the most desirable and perfected plans for reorganization, making the matter moot. Yet privately, they were saying that someone at the White House had approved the change to a simple majority. They also held a low opinion of the staff work being performed thus far in the new Administration and were concerned that only one or two persons from the executive branch had thus far come to the Congress to sit down with the right committee chairman and discuss matters.

A letter writer from Spindale, N.C., indicates a belief that the newspaper took fair viewpoints on all things, expressing anger at the "dopes who are already nailing Ike to the cross without a fair trial". He indicates that he was a veteran and had put up with "the other side" for 20 years, thinks that President Eisenhower ought be given at least two months to make good. He relates that he had been discharged from the military seven years earlier, partly disabled, and had been doing menial labor for 75 cents per hour since that time, appears to attribute his hardship to the Democrats.

A letter writer praises the editorial, "Restatement", suggests that it had the approval of several businessmen with whom he had discussed the piece, which had opposed the proposed State Constitutional amendment to allow creditors to garnish wages to collect debts.

A letter writer responds to the same editorial, wondering whether the editors had considered the small loan business, which had grown to a large size in the state because creditors could not collect from their debtors, resulting in loan charges which often amounted to half the amount of the debt, making a mockery of state usury laws, but justified on the basis of the high percentage of loss in making small loans. He suggests that if the proposed amendment were passed, small loan charges would be reduced and banks would be more willing to make loans in more cases at reasonable rates.

A letter writer, who had served ten years on the Board of County Commissioners, indicates that he had studied the matter of consolidating City and County departments to save money and make local government more efficient, had concluded that the merging of the governments would not work as their interests were different, with the City Government interested in commerce and the County Government interested in agriculture. He indicates that the consolidation of the Rural Police and the Sheriff's Department would not work, that it would result in false economy while removing great service to the people.

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