The Charlotte News

Friday, April 17, 1953


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that U.S. Sabre jets had shot down four enemy MIG-15s and probably destroyed another this date, as allied fighter-bombers hit enemy positions on the Korean front.

In the ground war, Chinese Communists sent 1,000 men against five Korean hills on the western front, overrunning a portion of one key height before withdrawing to their own lines in the face of fierce allied counterattacks, with the U.S. 7th Division defending four of the five outposts.

U.N. and Communist representatives this date agreed to hold a liaison meeting the ensuing Sunday to discuss resumption of the armistice talks, suspended since the previous October when the U.N. representatives had walked out in frustration over the stalemate regarding voluntary repatriation of prisoners, the only remaining issue blocking an armistice. The agreement came just 15 hours after the U.N. had informed the Communists that they were ready to resume the talks, provided the Communists did not stall on the issue of voluntary repatriation. The letter from the U.N. Command to the Communists indicated that Switzerland would be the appropriate neutral country to receive custody of prisoners who did not wish repatriation, and that the Communists would be provided 60 days to persuade the Communist prisoners expressing a desire not to return home that they should return, and thereafter that Switzerland would arrange the "peaceable disposition" of those who refused repatriation. This program tracked that which Chinese Communist Premier Chou En-lai had recently stated in a radio broadcast would be acceptable to the Communist Chinese and the North Koreans. A broadcast from Peiping, heard in Tokyo, indicated, however, that the Communists would continue to insist on forced repatriation.

A convoy carrying sick and wounded American and British prisoners neared Kaesong, six miles from the neutral area where the exchange of the sick and wounded prisoners was set to begin the following Monday.

A late bulletin indicates that Russia had notified the U.S. that North Korean authorities were preparing to release seven American civilians seized nearly three years earlier at the outbreak of the Korean War. The State Department stated that North Korean authorities had also reported through Russia that three other Americans, including a Catholic bishop, were dead, and that three others were missing.

The Soviet press in Moscow had reported with unusual speed on the President's speech the previous day before the American Society of Newspaper Editors in Washington, providing it neutral coverage absent the customary abuse. Some foreign diplomats in Moscow believed there was a good chance of an official answer to the President, and some of the more optimistic observers believed that it portended easing of world tensions and possibly settlement of some of the outstanding differences between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. But neither press nor radio in Moscow praised the speech, while also not condemning it. All of the accounts followed the same script.

A White House official, who had asked not to be named, told reporters this date that the Administration intended a peace offensive, of which the President's speech had only been the first round. He said that the concept had been discussed in advance with Republican Congressional leaders and with such allies as Great Britain and France, and that all had approved it in general terms. He said that the State Department's Voice of America radio was broadcasting the speech behind the Iron Curtain, and that copies of it were being submitted to all American embassies, legations and consulates, as well as being distributed to the foreign offices of all of the free world governments.

Tom Fesperman of The News tells of the President's visit to Salisbury, N.C., the previous afternoon, following the Washington speech, to help celebrate the Rowan County bicentennial, finding that the President did not appear in great spirits during the event, had forced a smile only sporadically, managed his two-armed wave at the crowds only a couple of times, and had spoken for but eight minutes, when most had expected a twenty-minute speech. The crowds, however, despite the chilly wind blowing, appeared happy over the day's events, and most had never realized that the President had an upset stomach all day. Some 10,000 people had greeted him at Shuford Field at Catawba College at around 6:00 p.m. He told the crowd that he had come to a birthday party, and that he was not going to spoil it with an "address", as had been listed in the program. He said he would refrain from reciting the things that the people assembled knew better than he, that George Washington had stood there, that Daniel Boone had started his journey from there, and that it was the gateway to the West. He concentrated instead on the challenge which the forebears had given to the people in the present, that they had never lost sight of the basic need for religion, and that the world presently needed the same courage they had displayed.

Judging by the photograph, the President, depending on perspective, either had been given too much Cheerwine or not enough. Anyway, he had on his party hat.

In Augusta, Ga., the President was reported to be feeling better after an attack of food poisoning, was no longer running a fever, but remained in bed at his vacation headquarters, and would play no golf this date. Press secretary James Hagerty stated that the attack had started before the President had flown to Washington from Augusta the previous day.

Soon, no doubt, it will be back to Dead Man and the number nine hole.

The House Appropriations Committee this date voted to recommend halting the Government's low-rent housing program, proposing cuts into the 1954 budget requests of 23 Federal agencies.

Near Clover, S.C., two persons were killed and four injured when an automobile in which they were riding failed to make a curve and was demolished. One of the two killed was a sergeant in the Air Force, stationed in Illinois. Three of the injured were teenagers. The car had an Illinois license plate, but the other person killed was from Gastonia, as were the injured. The police indicated that they did not know who had been driving the 1951 Ford, a picture of which, appearing to growl, is included. Whoever, incidentally, inscribed "30" beneath the picture's caption must have seen in their driver education course the notoriously grisly film of that signal title and been impressed by it. We were never exposed to it.

In Raleigh, the State House began consideration of the 620 million dollar biennial appropriations bill, with a debate over whether to add four million dollars to accommodate a 12.5 percent increase in teacher pay rather than only a 10 percent increase, the former incorporated in the Senate bill passed the previous day. The Senate Health Committee approved a substitute measure to amend state law on the training and licensing of nurses, expected to be opposed by the State Nurses Association, which wanted a board consisting entirely of nurses, whereas the proposed bill would establish a ten-member board to replace the present five-member board, the expanded board to be comprised of four nurses, two from a list of four persons nominated by the State Medical Society, two from a list of four nominated by the State Hospital Association, and two from the public at large, all to be appointed by the Governor.

On the editorial page, "The President's Principles and Program" praises the speech the previous day in Washington by the President, in which he placed the burden on the Soviets to act in accordance with their words in their current peace initiative, by agreeing to terms which would end the fighting in Korea, agreement to free elections in a united Korea, an end to aggression by the Communists in Indo-China and Malaya, unification of Germany and creation of a European Community with full independence for the East European nations, and agreement on an Austrian peace treaty. The piece indicates that only the latter of the five issues would likely be settled in the near future, that the remainder would involve major deviations from current Communist plans.

The President had said that only progress would need be shown on each of those issues before the U.S. would begin to accept steps toward disarmament, and that the savings on defense ought then be invested in schools, homes and food for all peoples.

The speech had not mentioned the questionable doctrine of "liberation" of satellites, which had been mentioned often by Republicans during the fall campaign, but he did mention the benefits to be obtained from eliminating the unnatural division in Europe between East and West.

If the Soviets did not respond positively to the message, it ventures, then the U.S. would need to continue its leadership in strengthening and uniting the free world until such time as the Communists became convinced of their error. It finds that in the meantime, the President's statement of principles and program had been a good one, taking initiative in the cold war which demanded "the respect of friend and foe alike".

"It's Up to the People Now" indicates that in November, 1954, the people of the state would be asked to approve an amendment to the State Constitution limiting each county to one Senator. It indicates that such an amendment would be unfair to the more populous counties, such as Guilford, Forsyth and Mecklenburg, each of which, under the 1950 census, ordinarily would be entitled to two Senators each. Since the State House representation was not based on population, the Senate was the body which provided some greater representation for the more populous areas of the state. To eliminate that design, as the amendment would do, would be unfair to the larger counties.

"Two Bad Bills" indicates that the bills introduced before the State House to authorize ABC elections in Valdese and Lake Lure should receive an unfavorable report, as had been given the measure proposing to hold a statewide referendum on whether to prohibit all liquor sales or have statewide ABC controlled sales. It favors retention of the present local option rule, county by county.

"Rewarding the Trained Young Driver" indicates that Allstate Insurance Company had agreed to reduce its liability insurance premium by certain percentages when every member of a household under 25 had completed a driver education course, the percentage to be based on the amount of instruction and practice shown on the certificate. The North Carolina Commissioner of Insurance, Waldo Cheek, had approved the proposal. It hopes that other companies would follow that lead, as such a trend would encourage the establishment of more driver training courses with higher standards. Governor Umstead had recommended establishment of such courses in every high school in the state, and, it comments, when the goal was attained, there would be a gradual decline in traffic accident deaths and the number of traffic accidents generally.

Sam Ragan, writing in the Raleigh News & Observer, indicates that in 1889, Henry Grady had made a speech in Boston about the funeral of a farmer from Pickens County, Ga., in which he stated that each part of the accoutrements involved in the funeral, the coffin, its nails, the tombstone, etc., had come from places outside the South, that only the corpse and the hole in the ground to which it was interred were native to the region.

The Southern Association of Science & Industry, in its 1953 Southern Industrial Directory, had pointed out that each of the items to which Mr. Grady had pointed as being imported from outside the South more than a half century earlier were now manufactured by numerous firms within the South.

All of which may serve only to say: let the dead bury the dead.

The Camden (S.C.) Chronicle, in an editorial, tells of the Supreme Court, in a 7 to 0 opinion, having reversed Dr. Edward Rumely's conviction for contempt of Congress for refusing to disclose a list of the persons who had purchased books he published, critical of the New Deal, basing its decision on narrow grounds, because the committee before which he had been summoned to testify had not been empowered to investigate publishing activities, and not premised on the First Amendment, as the defendant had contended. But Justices William O. Douglas and Hugo Black had separately concurred in the result, pinning their rationale on freedom of the press, that demanding a publisher's list of purchasers amounted to harassment which might ultimately have a chilling effect, resulting in censorship, finding that the Senate had authorized the committee broadly to investigate the matters on which the defendant was found in contempt and thus reaching the constitutional issues which the other five Justices had found unnecessary to the decision.

The piece finds the decision to be historic in its implications, coming "just after a period in which one national government had sought to harass the newspapers of this country because the newspapers were brave enough to point out the tragic results that would ensue if its policies were followed." It concludes that politicians who had axes to grind always hated the newspapers, whereas those who were truly trying to serve the public did not.

Drew Pearson indicates that the President had attended only two private parties since coming to office, one having been a reception at the home of Senator Taft, and the other an unpublicized gathering at the Fort Myer home of General Omar Bradley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, where the President met the five children of toy manufacturer Louis Marx, each of whom was named for a famous American general of the Army, including General Eisenhower and General Bradley. The other three godfathers for whom the children were named were also present. (His intelligence appears a little off on the names and number of sons.) Mr. Pearson indicates that, contrary to some reports, the President was not a stockholder in the Marx toy company, though he had invested in the Charm-All Lipstick Co., organized by Mr. Marx after the war, an investment which did not earn him very much money. Did he ever get a Big Bruiser for Christmas or did the lipstick cover it all up?

Mr. Pearson next relates a series of snippets.

He comments that it had been 26 years since a background press conference by the State Department had backfired as badly as that of John Foster Dulles when he indicated that the U.S. would be willing to accept a trusteeship in Formosa and establishment of a Korean peace line along the narrow waist of the peninsula. In 1927, during the Coolidge Administration, Undersecretary of State Robert Olds called in three reporters, one each from the A.P., U.P. and I.N.S., and planted the story that Russia had threatened to invade Nicaragua to obtain control of the Panama Canal, the trumped-up justification for the unpopular landing of Marines in Nicaragua. Only the A.P. had been willing to print the story without ascription to the State Department.

When the librarian of the Madison, Wisc., "Free" library banned the book by Jack Anderson and Ronald W. May, McCarthy: The Man, the Senator, the Ism, the local bookstores received so many orders for it that they could not fill them.

One of the Greek shipowners whose activities the column had previously called into question had made so much money that he purchased the French gambling Casino Monte Carlo—the owner, not identified, having been Aristotle Onassis.

The Army wanted to carry the atomic shell, to be fired from the atomic cannon at Frenchman Flat, Nev., on May 7, across the country by boat, plane, train and truck to maximize its publicity, but the Atomic Energy Commission refused to grant its permission to do so. The Army had then requested permission to carry a dummy shell across the country, and so far there had been no decision. If that is nixed, they could always request carrying one of the shelled dummies across the country.

Marquis Childs tells of the Administration having developed two different plans for resolving the Korean War, either disengaging American troops or effecting a truce. Disengagement was also favored in Indo-China, relieving the French of the responsibilities there through slow Vietnamization of the war with the Vietminh guerrillas. Secretary of State Dulles had told a group of journalists, on condition that it would not be ascribed, that the Administration was prepared to accept a truce on the basis of a line 80 miles north of the present battle lines, across the narrow waist of the peninsula, along with a trusteeship over Formosa. When that statement had reached the front page of the New York Times, Republicans in Congress, led by Senator Taft, reacted by saying that no peace in Korea would be acceptable without the country being unified. A couple of days later, Senator Karl Mundt of South Dakota said in an interview that there would have to be a housecleaning within the State Department to remove from the top jobs the remaining holdovers from the Truman Administration, implying that if they were not removed, the Department's budget would be cut. After those announcements, the Administration quickly denied any commitment to Secretary of State Dulles's statements regarding a truce line or the Formosa trusteeship.

Thus, the Administration appeared to be faced with the choice of either submitting to the Republican demands to end the war only by unifying Korea, inevitably meaning expansion of the war along the lines previously favored by General MacArthur, or permitting it to remain in its current stalemated position with disengagement used to afford a gradual way out of American involvement in the ground war, albeit still necessitating U.S. air and naval support.

Mr. Childs concludes that Secretary Dulles had shown in the past that he understood the realities of Korea and the U.S. position in Asia generally, understanding that the Soviets could never accept, because of its proximity to strategic centers in Siberia, a Korea wholly held by a hostile power, and that the U.S. could not agree to Korea being held by the Communists because of its proximity to Japan, in which U.S. interests remained important. Those continued to be the harsh Korean realities.

Robert C. Ruark plugs the television program, "Who Said That?" which had been on the air for about seven years without, he suggests, proper appreciation. He proceeds to explain how the program was extremely funny and entertaining, that he had recently appeared on the program, on April 6.

A letter from Bernard Baruch in New York thanks the newspaper for its March 27 editorial, "Always the Special Interest".

A letter from a major in command of the 449th Field Artillery Observation Battalion, Mecklenburg County's National Guard Unit, thanks the newspaper and the local radio stations for their cooperation and assistance in publicizing the formation of the new unit, and explaining to the citizenry its functions and duties.

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