The Charlotte News

Tuesday, April 14, 1953


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that small-scale, fierce fighting had erupted all along the Korean battlefront this date, with South Korean infantrymen smashing two Communist attacks against "Texas Hill" on the central front, the focal point of bitter fighting during the previous week, the South Koreans having captured the strategic knob and beaten back three enemy counterattacks on Sunday. Other South Koreans had killed 68 Communists in a two-pronged attack by 150 to 175 enemy troops on sister outposts north of the "Punchbowl" on the eastern front, the attackers having been driven back in a two-hour battle. Two smaller Chinese units had struck at American main line positions southwest of "Old Baldy" on the western front, and both attacks were stopped.

Eight B-29s, guarded by jet fighters, dropped bombs on the 30-acre main rail yards at Pyongyang, in the day's largest airstrike.

Allied planes guarded the route this date over which the Communist motor convoy would transport the sick and wounded U.N. prisoners of war to be exchanged the following Monday, to guard against accidental bombing along the roads. The Communists were set to turn over 600 U.N. prisoners in all, at the rate of about 100 per day, while the U.N. was set to release 5,800 prisoners, the latter to begin transport by train probably during the coming weekend, as the prisoners had to be moved from Pusan to the transfer point at Munsan, taking about 15 hours. There was still no direct reply from the U.N. Command regarding the invitation by the Communists to resume truce negotiations, though U.N. supreme commander General Mark Clark had already stated that after the exchange of the sick and wounded prisoners, the truce talks could resume.

It was known in the Pentagon that some Air Force and aviation industry leaders were alarmed regarding reports that Secretary of Defense Charles E. Wilson was supporting proposals to cut jet bomber production sharply, increase defenses by concentrating on production of fighters and guided missiles, and to rely primarily on a relatively small aircraft industry operating at high production rates. The officers had refused to discuss the matter publicly, after Secretary Wilson had recently issued orders forbidding such discussion. Mr. Wilson had told reporters that in the case of a national emergency, he would favor reliance on quick conversion of civilian plants to military production and establishment of new military production facilities as needed. The opponents of his plan said that while it would be more economical presently to close down unneeded plants and limit production to a comparative few, the nation could not again afford to risk production delays which would result from attempts at reconversion or building new plants in the event of war.

In Augusta, Ga., the President, in a special message to Congress, recommended this date the sale of 550 million dollars worth of Government-owned synthetic rubber plants to private industry, urging Congress to authorize the sale. The RFC, said the President, had recommended the program in its recent report. The synthetic rubber industry had been built up during the early days of U.S. involvement in World War II, when the Pacific war had cut off access to natural rubber. The facilities presently supplied nearly all of the nation's synthetic rubber, amounting, in 1952, to 806,500 long tons of the total consumption of 1.26 million long tons of new rubber. The facilities were presently operated for the Government by several rubber, petroleum and chemical companies. The President stressed that it was necessary to have an adequate stockpile of natural rubber and a "healthy, progressive" synthetic rubber industry, to meet the necessary security requirements for the country in the event of war.

The French-backed Indochinese kingdom of Laos ordered general mobilization this date, as Communist-led Vietminh guerrillas struck across the Laotian northeastern border and encircled the small town of Sam Neua, 100 miles southwest of the large French base at Hanoi. The French high command had announced the previous night that it had evacuated the town, and French and Laotian forces apparently were falling back toward Luang Prabang, the residence capital of the ailing King of Laos. The French said that they had ordered the evacuation because of the difficulty in defending the mountain-encircled town. Laos called up all able-bodied men between the ages of 18 and 35, to fight alongside the French against the Vietminh. The Laotian regular forces numbered only 13,000 men, but mobilization was expected to boost the number to about 60,000.

In Tehran, police used tear gas and clubs to smash demonstrations regarding Premier Mohammed Mossadegh's attempts to wrest control of the Army from the Shah. The lower house of the Iranian Parliament failed, by one member, to raise a quorum and thus delayed until Thursday any legislative action on the proposal to curb the Shah's power, including his control of the Army. The previous night, a group of Army officers had threatened an armed revolt to protect the Shah, and crowds, including supporters of both the Premier and the Shah, defied a military ban on demonstrations.

A former Government economist, Harold Glasser, refused to tell the Senate Internal Security subcommittee this date whether he had conferred with Communists regarding advice he had given to former Secretaries of State Marshall and Acheson. He also refused to disclose whether he was presently or ever had been a Communist during his 12 years in Government service, relying on his privilege against self-incrimination. Mr. Glasser said that in April, 1947, as a Treasury Department economist, he had attended the Council of Foreign Ministers in Moscow, acting as an adviser to then-Secretary Marshall on matters affecting Trieste. Mr. Glasser had been identified by witnesses in other hearings as a Communist.

In the vicinity of Seattle, a twin-engine C-46 transport plane, with an unknown number of persons aboard, had vanished in the rugged Cascade Mountains prior to dawn this date, with the plane's last radio reports indicating engine failure and that the pilot was lost. It was speculated that there were 22 passengers and five crewmen aboard, all of the passengers having been military personnel, but there were also reports that some had departed the flight during a prior stop in Spokane. The plane was operated by a non-scheduled airline, and had originated at Washington's National Airport at midnight on Sunday.

In Raleigh, one State House committee was hearing from opponents of a proposed intrastate minimum wage law, to cover workers not covered by the Federal minimum wage law, limited to workers employed by companies engaged in interstate commerce. Another committee voted approval of a measure to increase the number of regular Superior Court judges by redistricting the state. The entire House prepared to debate a proposal by Governor William B. Umstead to issue 85 million dollars in bonds.

The President planned to interrupt his week-long golf vacation in Augusta, Ga., on Thursday, not only to address the American Society of Newspaper Editors in Washington, but also to throw out the opening pitch of the Washington Senators' baseball season, as they would meet the World Champion New York Yankees at Griffith Stadium. Originally, the President, as further explored on the editorial page by Robert C. Ruark, had decided to opt for golf rather than throw out the traditional opening pitch, as had his predecessors, but the opening game, scheduled for the previous day, had been rained out, and so the opportunity now existed for him to comply with the tradition, while also playing golf in Augusta. After the President would stop in Salisbury, N.C., Thursday afternoon to help celebrate the Rowan County bicentennial, he would be driven to Winston-Salem or to Charlotte to board a plane to return to Augusta—no doubt by then full of Cheerwine and bicentennial frivolity.

Golfer Ben Hogan, who had won the 1953 Masters Tournament with a record 274 over 72 holes, denied a published report that he had withdrawn from a game with the President after it had been arranged, saying it was "absurd", "preposterous" and "ridiculous", that he had not played with the President the previous day because the President had a game arranged with Jack Westland and Mr. Hogan had one arranged with others. Mr. Hogan said that he was staying in town this date for the specific purpose of teaming up with the President should a game be arranged. The President, according to press secretary James Hagerty, had thus far failed in his attempt to shoot below 90 on the course, but refused to provide the score for 18 holes.

Dead Man also would not reveal the President's score, even for nine holes, and apparently Eleven was not privy to it at all, nada.

Michigan Congressman Gerald Ford was not, insofar as it was reported, present in Augusta, and those attending the President's safety were likely thankful for it. Rumors, however, that the Congressman might attempt a meet-and-greet with the President at Griffith Stadium on Thursday had placed all Secret Service agents on high alert for a possible slip-and-fall into the President's lap.

On the editorial page, "Planning Will Prevent Urban Ills" indicates that every property owner in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County ought take a look at a survey report currently on display in the lobby of the Courthouse, that a reading of it should prompt strong public demand for adequate planning for the entire metropolitan area. The purpose of the report was to change public inertia into active public interest regarding zoning and planning. The long-range objective was the creation of a joint City-County planning board, with a small staff and modest annual budget of $35,000.

It indicates that in many of the established business and industrial areas, it was too late to do anything other than costly acquisition of right-of-ways for widening of streets to accommodate greater traffic, but in the fast-developing fringe areas beyond the city limits, a sound current investment in planning and zoning could save millions of dollars in future years, as well as stabilize property values.

"For a Better Health Program" indicates that the City Council had agreed to reconsider its refusal the previous week to lend the City's Health Officer, Dr. M. B. Bethel, to the County Health Department for the ensuing three months, and it assumes that the Council would reverse itself after hearing the following day from the State Health Officer and representatives of the Medical Society, the City Board of Health, the Jaycees and the Chamber of Commerce, plus the League of Women Voters.

It again urges consolidation of the City and County health departments to afford greater efficiency, but reminds that the mere temporary loan of the Health Officer to the County was not a disposition of that greater issue.

"Who Fell on Their Faces?" indicates that it could not get as exercised as some other publications regarding the apparent naïveté of 10 U.S. news and radio editors who had dispatched somewhat rosy stories about life in Russia recently. Time had stated that the editors "had fallen on their faces". The New York Post had called the travelers "Rover Boys in Moscow", and the New York Daily News had described them as "gullible".

The piece indicates that none of the traveling editors appeared to have presented themselves as Russian experts, that they had been aware of being shown what the Russians wanted them to see. Moreover, their copy had been subject to Russian censorship, and had any of them heavily criticized Russia, their reports would have been censored completely. That they had been dismissed as "fatuous dupes" before returning to the U.S. and having the opportunity to report openly of their observations thus appeared quite unfair. It also raised the question whether East-West relations had so deteriorated that honest reporting of observations about Russia immediately became suspect. It indicates that Americans would be in the best position to evaluate Soviet shenanigans if they were exposed to all available information on life inside Russia, regardless of the source, including the biased stories out of the Soviet press. It concludes that it had been Time, rather than the traveling editors, which had fallen on its face.

"Freedom's Fire Needs Stoking" indicates that Jomo Kenyatta, the African who directed the Mau Mau terrorists in their attacks in Kenya against whites as well as blacks friendly to Europeans, had been convicted and jailed, enabling law and order to take a significant step in the stamping out of wholesale butchery in Kenya.

It relates that Mr. Kenyatta had studied in London many years earlier, as well as in Moscow, the Communist philosophy having remained with him while he jettisoned ideas of British democracy. It indicates that the Kremlin had brought in rising young revolutionaries from around the world and made them future leaders of other countries, while bright students from Asia and Africa had come to the U.S. and to other Western nations with few having returned to their homelands in positions of real leadership. It suggests that the American Revolution had an appeal which would outlast the attraction of Communism, but that democracy was hard to sell when competing with the promises made by Communism to peoples without proper sustenance. If the free world was to avoid the results which had transpired in Kenya, it had to train operatives among the natives to counter those now being exploited by Russia. That job was overlooked by many American leaders, and even shunned because of reluctance to meddle in the business of other nations. It urges imbuing young nationalists with the spirit of the American Revolution. (It might be noted that Ho Chi Minh said that he took his inspiration from George Washington and the American Revolution. The piece appears to view things in terms too strictly black and white, without accounting for hybrid philosophies and beliefs accumulating in a single influential individual and morphing then into variants of the original themes formative of impelling forces.)

A piece from the State Magazine, entitled "Not Really!" indicates that a man in New Jersey who had married a woman from North Carolina, and had thus fallen into the habit of reading the State, was puzzled and a little hurt, writing that in his opinion no other state exceeded North Carolina, and yet during the years he had worked in and out of the state, he had noticed that he was classified as a foreigner, indicating that he assumed the word was misunderstood.

The piece assures the writer that the application of the word to him was not meant as derogatory, that for a long time, many North Carolina communities were so insulated and infrequently visited by outsiders that anyone who ventured in was considered a "foreigner". The term had been applied in the Smokies to a man from nearby Asheville. It indicates that it had never heard the word used in the Piedmont because strangers were not so rare there. It notes that it was now often used in a jocular sense by people quite aware of its misapplication.

Drew Pearson indicates that it had been years since the White House had to deny a statement inspired by a Secretary of State. In 1922, Secretary Charles Evans Hughes had to deny a press conference statement of President Harding that the 4-Power Pact, banning the fortification of Pacific islands, applied to the mainland of Japan, and that several times Secretary Acheson had to deny off-the-cuff remarks by President Truman. But the previous weekend, the White House had denied news stories which had originated with Secretary Dulles, having stated at a press conference that the U.S. would accept peace in Korea at a line drawn along the narrow waist of the peninsula, about 80 miles north of the present battlefront, which had already been agreed during the truce talks as the truce line. He had also stated that the U.S. would probably confine Chiang Kai-shek to Formosa and put it under a U.N. trusteeship. The New York Times and other newspapers had promptly printed stories which attributed the statements to "high official sources", whom experienced observers knew to be Secretary Dulles. A few hours later, the White House issued a flat denial of the statements, indirectly rebuking the Secretary. That was done to accommodate the conservative wing of the Republican Party which would become quite upset at any abandonment of Chiang, and because Mr. Dulles had provided Moscow with advance tip on how far the country would go in the Korean peace talks. A diplomat friendly to the Administration suggested that Mr. Dulles was naïve in revealing his hand, that the Russians would easily figure out that he had made the statements and act accordingly in direction of the Chinese and North Koreans during the soon to be resumed peace talks. The diplomat had referred to it as "kindergarten diplomacy".

Some top Republicans, such as Vice-President Nixon and Senators Styles Bridges and Joseph McCarthy, had either received considerable support from the China lobby, in the case of the former two, or had been a great friend thereof, as had been Senator McCarthy. The removal of the naval blockade on Formosa by the U.S. had not, according to U.S. intelligence, diverted a single Communist Chinese soldier from Korea to guard against potential attack from Formosa on the mainland. Chiang had become so worried that he would be attacked from the mainland that he had asked the State Department not to discuss the matters publicly. The British, anxious for trade with Communist China, believed that the time was ripe for driving a wedge between China and Russia, that it had been Mao Tse-Tung, following Stalin's death, who had urged the Russians to press for peace in Korea. U.N. supreme commander in the Far East, General Mark Clark, supported that view, believed that Mao needed time to build up China and that the drain of the Korean War had been greater than the U.S. had realized, that with proper incentive, Mao might become another Tito.

The Congressional Quarterly indicates that as a member of the House, former Representative Leonard Hall, the new RNC chairman, had generally voted with the Republican majority on domestic issues, but had sometimes differed on foreign policy. He had voted with his party majority on 63 key votes between 1945 and 1952, and against it on 14 important measures, the latter usually involving foreign policy and universal military training, usually voting for foreign policy measures and also supporting UMT.

It goes further in providing detail on his record.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop tell of President Eisenhower having summarized his relations with Congress to a recent visitor by saying, "I speak my piece, and then it's up to them." They observe that it was laudable to cooperate with Congress, as long as Congress was willing to reciprocate. The President's popularity with the voters appeared high and he had a potential majority in Congress for any legislation proposed, and yet the Administration had not decided what it wanted to do, permitting the Congressional reactionaries to take the initiative.

On April 7, the President had asked Congress to extend for one year the reciprocal trade agreements act which was set to expire on June 12. But the Republicans who wanted to return to the era of Smoot-Hawley, when tariffs were high, were still powerful in Congress and were also represented within the Administration. Departing from the practice of FDR and President Truman, the Administration did not send its own tariff bill in an effort to tamp down protectionist opposition. The Republican members of the House Ways & Means Committee were largely protectionist in orientation, and one member, Representative Richard Simpson, with the support of the Committee chairman, Dan Reed, introduced his own tariff bill, which would strip the President of the power to review recommendations of the Tariff Commission while increasing its membership so as to pack it with protectionists. The bill would also cater to special interests by providing, for example, steep sliding scale duties on lead and zinc. The Assistant Secretary of the Interior, Felix Wormser, was previously an official of the country's largest lead and zinc smelting company and president of the American Lead Institute, which had led the charge for tariff protection.

Another provision of the proposed measure set a low ceiling on oil imports, which had the backing of a coalition which included John L. Lewis and the UMW, the National Coal Association, and the independent oil producers. The coal producers wanted to keep out fuel oil competition and the oil producers wanted to prevent a threat to the oil price structure, presently protected in many areas by state regulatory commissions. But this protectionist legislation would increase substantially the cost of power to consumers in many localities. It would also create economic chaos in such friendly, oil-producing countries as Venezuela, and destroy American export markets worth hundreds of millions, possibly billions, of dollars.

Robert C. Ruark indicates that he believed that the President had bypassed an opportunity by not providing the opening-day baseball pitch for the Washington Senators, opting instead to take his golf trip to Augusta—though the editors note that since the column had been written, the opening game had been called because of rain and the President would be able, after all, to return to Washington on Thursday to throw out the first pitch. Thus, to a large degree, the column becomes superfluous, as with most of Mr. Ruark's stuff. And so if you have a special interest in reading about why a politician ought cater to baseball and how President Truman had been a pretty good athlete and ambidextrous, able to throw out the ball with either hand and also throw a curve ball, then you can pore over it.

Along the way, he suggests that golf was thought to be a rich man's game in the mind of plebeians, despite it being one of the least expensive sports to play. He finds that tennis had an implication of sissiness and that polo was for people with Long Island-British accents. He does not regard basketball or football, concludes that the President ought not make too much of his golf game as it did not fit with the public demand, having too much of a "connotation of Wall Street, stockbrokers, bawdy locker-room jokes, gambling and whisky."

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