The Charlotte News

Thursday, May 28, 1953


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports, via Forrest Edwards, that violent fighting had erupted along the Korean battlefront this date, as more than 8,500 Chinese Communists had hit allied positions on the east-central and western fronts, throwing elements of three regiments, about 6,500 men, into an assault along a 20-mile sector of the central front prior to dawn, taking five outposts from the South Koreans. A few hours later, three Communist battalions, more than 2,000 men, had struck five strategic outposts on the western front. The South Koreans drove the enemy from the five outposts on the central front during a full day of fighting, some of which had been hand-to-hand, and fighting still continued for the other outposts.

Allied fighter-bombers hit enemy troops and artillery and mortar positions, and supply centers northwest of Yonan and north of Sinchon in western Korea. Sabre jets went aloft without finding any enemy MIGs with which to do battle.

The battleship U.S.S. New Jersey continued to bombard the port of Wonsan on the east coast.

In Seoul, the South Korean Government, in a note to the U.N. Command, this date indicated its opposition to the latest allied truce proposal. The contents of the note were not disclosed, but a spokesman for South Korea said that it was very important, giving the details of the Government's recommendations, but not put in the form of an ultimatum.

Admiral Arthur Radford, appointed by the President to become chairman of the Joint Chiefs on August 1, told the Senate Armed Services Committee this date that he considered the Air Force long-range bombers "most important" in protecting the security of the country, and had agreed in the past with top-ranking Air Force officers regarding the key role of strategic bombing and could do so in the future. He assured that he would abandon his past feuds with the Air Force if confirmed as the new chairman. Senator Margaret Chase Smith of Maine, a member of the Committee, described the Admiral as "the leader of the opposition" regarding the B-36 bomber and the inter-service row which developed over it in 1949. The Admiral said that he was in complete agreement with General Carl Spaatz, former Air Force chief of staff, regarding the proper air roles and missions of the Air Force and Navy. No clash developed with Senator Stuart Symington, former Secretary of the Air Force, though while Secretary, he had engaged in a public quarrel with the Admiral and other Navy advocates who favored carrier-based Naval air power over long-range Air Force strategic bombing. The Senator praised the Admiral's statement this date that he would work primarily for the United States and not in favor of any particular service.

The President, at his press conference this date, said that he did not share Senator Taft's view communicated the previous day that the country might as well forget the U.N. as far as the Korean War was concerned, saying that if you were going to go it alone one place, you of course would have to go it alone everywhere. The President said that the whole U.S. foreign policy was based on the notion that no single free nation could live alone in the world and that the country had to have friends. He said that Senator Taft, however, was entitled to his beliefs.

The President this date nominated Nelson Rockefeller of New York to be Undersecretary of Health, Education and Welfare, to serve under Secretary Oveta Culp Hobby. Mr. Rockefeller, future Governor of New York and Vice-President, had been serving as chairman of the President's committee on Government organization. He had served in the State Department during FDR's last five years. He had also served in the Truman Administration in 1950 as chairman of the Point Four program of technical aid to underdeveloped nations.

Congressman Sam Yorty of California, future Mayor of Los Angeles, this date in a speech prepared for delivery in the House, accused Secretary of Defense Charles E. Wilson of proposing reductions in military spending without knowing what effect they would have. Mr. Yorty had called for the resignation of Mr. Wilson, and said that he had sought in vain for an explanation as to why the Administration had reduced spending requests made by former President Truman in his last budget submitted in January. He said that the only logical reason he could think of was that the Republicans were embarrassed by their campaign promises of getting something for nothing, including tax reductions, a balanced budget and a better defense all at the same time. Mr. Yorty had asked to speak with the President regarding the matter, and sought data from Air Force Secretary Harold Talbott and Navy Secretary Robert Anderson regarding the effect of the proposed reductions. The current Air Force chief of staff, General Hoyt Vandenberg, said that his views had never been sought nor offered regarding the Eisenhower defense budget.

The State Department confirmed this date that it had evidence that two ships owned or operated by British Hong Kong firms had transported Chinese Communist troops along the Chinese coast during the Korean War, naming the two ships, owned by the same company which had been identified in the testimony of Senate Investigations subcommittee assistant counsel, Robert F. Kennedy, a week earlier, though having since been denied by the shipping company. A deputy Secretary of State for foreign affairs had testified at the same hearing that the State Department had investigated another case in 1951, in which a British-owned ship was alleged to have carried Chinese Communist troops. The information was made public this date by Senator Karl Mundt, acting chairman of the subcommittee in the absence of Senator Joseph McCarthy, who had left on an extended ten-day trip to an undisclosed destination for an undisclosed purpose.

In London, a report gathered from Moscow Radio indicated that the Soviets this date had removed their army commander in East Germany from all duties except command of Soviet troops and appointed a Russian "supreme commissar" to supervise governmental affairs of the Soviet-occupied zone. The term "supreme commissar" was the equivalent "high commissioner" used in the Western zones. The report also said that the Soviet Control Commission was abolished, an action taken much earlier by the Western occupying powers with respect to their commissions. The act suggested that the Soviets were prepared to provide East Germany's Communist-dominated Government the trappings, if not the substance, of sovereignty. One observer commented that it appeared that the Soviets were merely rearranging their set-up to match what the Allies had done earlier. The President, at his press conference, made mention of the report but said he had only just been informed of it and so had no comment and that the Administration had not yet had time to consider what it meant.

A U.S. District Court judge in Washington ordered a physical examination of Henry Grunewald, the Washington influence peddler, to determine whether imprisonment would endanger his health or life, postponing his sentence for contempt of Congress until the following Thursday. If a court-appointed heart specialist determined that he was in sufficient health, the judge intended to sentence him to jail. Mr. Grunewald had pleaded guilty in March, and the court had refused to allow him to withdraw the plea.

In Czechoslovakia, a buying panic, resulting from rumors of an imminent currency reform, had broken out in some parts of the country, as reported in a Czechoslovakian newspaper, which denied that there would be any revaluation of the Czech currency.

Reports from Katmandu in Nepal indicated that the British Mount Everest expedition had failed in two attempts to reach the top, yet to be accomplished—albeit not for much longer.

In Raleigh, a young Methodist minister stationed himself on the south steps of the State Capitol this date and promised to fast in the manner of Gandhi, in protest against the scheduled execution the following day of two convicted black rapists. The 28-year old minister from the Greensboro area, a graduate of UNC and the Duke Divinity School, had sent word to Governor William B. Umstead that he was planning the fast in protest against capital punishment in the state and set forth a special plea to the Governor to commute the death sentences in the cases of the two black men. He said that he was on assignment by the North Carolina Methodist Conference to work with Quakers in a community peace movement.

Also in Raleigh, N.C. State authorities were reluctant to comment on a panty raid conducted by its students on nearby all-girls Meredith College, but said that it would conduct a "very thorough" investigation. About 65 males, most of whom were students at State, were scheduled to appear in court the following day to answer charges of participating in a riot. The police had broken up the affair with teargas, employed under a full May moon. At least three Wake Forest students from its nearby campus, not yet moved to Winston-Salem, and one non-student were also arrested. The raiders never got close to their objective, as police, hearing in advance about the raid, cut them off at the gate to Meredith. One student described the raid as a manifestation of "pre-exam tension". Final exams were presently in progress at Meredith and were to begin at State on Saturday. Those police needed to get a sense of humor, as they had in Chapel Hill about such activities. They treated Meredith like the Forbidden City.

In Kannapolis, N.C., a resident told of having made a recent fishing trip to a lake off Highway 151, the lake being inside a private pasture which held four buffalo. With the permission of the property owner, the man opened the gate and drove his 1952 Buick inside the pasture, parked and began fishing. A buffalo saw the Buick and began butting it on its right front fender, digging a horn into the car, leaving a deep hole. One observer commented that apparently the buffalo had seen its own reflection and was attempting to do battle with itself. The other three buffalo did not join. The man then moved his car, which had $125 worth of damage. Guess he should have known that you can't drive a Buick in a buffalo herd.

A photograph appears of a fire hydrant on the main street of York, S.C., below which was a plaque dedicated to "Bull", "one of the most intelligent, friendly and affectionate dogs that ever existed", placed by his master and friends. It is not clear what Bull did or what connection he had with the fire hydrant. Perhaps, he was a fire dog who put out fires.

On the editorial page, "The Sharon-Amity School Controversy" tells of a controversy in that section of the city regarding both City and County School Boards, with a group of fringe area residents having sought the extension of the City schools to include their neighborhood, while another group of residents opposed the extension and wished to remain in the County School system.

It indicates that if the school systems were consolidated, such problems would not arise and construction of new schools in the fringe areas could follow population trends without regard to city and county boundaries. But consolidation still remained in the future, and in the meantime, it finds, the only democratic way to settle the issue was for the County School Board to agree to hold an election to enable the people to decide.

"The Intangibles Count, Too" indicates that unlike some other cities, the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce was a special organization, with the result that the whole community had a stake in its successful drive for membership. It had long ago recognized that such things as parks and recreation, streets, water lines and modern sewage disposal facilities, city planning, better air service and airports, better hospitals, health care and schools, and cultural centers were all as important as the economic side of the community. It finds, therefore, that the local Chamber of Commerce was especially enlightened in its effort to improve the total community, and hopes that business and professional men who supported such efforts would respond to the membership appeal.

"Senator Taft, Meet Senator Taft" indicates that if there was anything consistent about the Senator it was his inconsistency. In November, 1951, when he was preparing to run for the Republican presidential nomination, he put out a little book titled A Foreign Policy for Americans, full of inconsistencies, while offering support for the U.N. and its purpose of punishing aggression the moment it started and deterring future aggression through joint action of the members. He stated that the fact that it had largely failed had caused the country to use other means to meet the present emergency in Western Europe, but that there was no reason to abandon the concept of collective security.

The previous night, an address of the Senator had been read by his son to an audience in Cincinnati, in the absence of the Senator who was in the hospital, indicating that the country might as well abandon any idea of working with the U.N. in the Far East and reserve a free hand there, that if the armistice talks failed, then the allies in Korea ought be apprised that the U.S. was withdrawing from further talks.

In his book, he had devoted nearly an entire chapter to criticism of the Truman Administration for curtailing air strength, coupling it with a demand that the Air Force be made the main bulwark of the defense effort. Yet, according to press reports of late, he was very disappointed that the President had not cut more from the defense budget.

At about the same time the speech was being read, the President had released a statement reaffirming U.S. and allied support of U.N. principles in the Korean truce talks, referring repeatedly to the U.N. Command as distinct from the U.S. command, in direct contradiction to Senator Taft's suggestion that the U.S. ought go it alone in Korea.

Late the previous day, leading Republicans withheld comment on the Senator's statement, but were clearly upset about an apparent rift in the Republican leadership regarding settlement of the Korean War. It indicates that if the Senator was preparing to dictate foreign policy, having solidified his leadership on domestic policies, the President faced a battle of greater magnitude than he had the previous summer for the nomination, with the stakes being the country's survival.

A piece by W. E. J. in the Manchester (England) Guardian, titled "A Country Diary", a regular feature in that newspaper to this day, should be read rather than summarized, concluding: "There are young badgers in the sett down the valley, but these two seemed to have no pressing cares and all the night in which to enjoy themselves."

Drew Pearson indicates that if the President and Congress wanted to balance the budget without jeopardizing national defense, they would have to abandon the present uncoordinated system of dispensing money to the armed services. In the past, the Joint Chiefs had allotted appropriations to the Army, Navy, and Air Force, letting each individual service decide how each should spend its own share, but under the current strict rules against interservice bickering, no criticism or opposition was allowed, with the result that Congress had heard only one side of the story regarding certain weapons, such as atomic artillery of the Army and supercarriers of the Navy. If there was to be unification, it would be necessary for someone to determine which weapons gave the most protection for the least money and convince the admirals and generals to agree on that basis.

The supercarrier was the best illustration, as it could not fit through the Panama Canal, and yet a carrier force cost seven times more money, took nine times more manpower and used 13 times more fuel than an equivalent group of Air Force bombers. Small carriers were in a different category, were cheaper and more efficient, and necessary to do battle with enemy submarines. He proceeds to provide some data as to why the supercarriers needed careful scrutiny by the Administration if it really wanted to save defense money. Carriers were also more vulnerable to air attack than small planes, as well to submarine attack, atomic attack, being sidelined after accidents, and bad weather. He indicates that Congress ought consider those factors as it determined whether to continue to fund supercarrier construction.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop tell of the increasing problems in getting anyone to fill Administration positions, given the mood in the Congress to investigate practically everyone. They cite the case of L. Corrin Strong, a millionaire who had worked for the election of the President before the Republican convention and during the fall campaign, and, in consequence, had been named Ambassador to Norway. At the time of the appointment, it barely caused a ripple, despite Mr. Strong's lack of apparent qualifications for a diplomatic post, though no less so than many others who purchased ambassadorial positions.

But in the meantime, allegations had arisen that Mr. Strong might be a "security risk" because he and his wife had been acquainted with Alger and Priscilla Hiss, though not close friends. A rumor had also developed that he contributed to the Hiss legal expenses, though the rumor had been false. Mr. Strong had nevertheless indicated that "even the worst man has the right to a fair trial" and said that had anyone asked him, he might have contributed.

The Alsops indicate that if mere acquaintance with Mr. Hiss raised a doubt of loyalty, then Secretary of State Dulles should also be re-investigated, as he had recommended Mr. Hiss to head the Carnegie Endowment.

The State Department security officer, R. W. Scott McLeod, was carrying things much too far, as in the case of Mildred McAfee Horton, former commander of the Navy Waves during World War II and president of Wellesley College, who had been appointed to a short-term assignment at the U.N., until her appointment fell through for reasons of which she had yet to be informed, only with hints that it was withdrawn to avoid embarrassment to the State Department and to Ms. Horton.

Both Mr. Strong and Ms. Horton had been exposed to extreme annoyance and embarrassment by the security procedures, "which will soon have the effect of preventing this government from hiring anyone who can read and write."

The confirmation of Charles Bohlen to become Ambassador to the Soviet Union, eventually confirmed, was another example of an attack by Mr. McLeod on the reputation of an honorable public servant, going so far as to send his gumshoes all over Europe trying to dig up dirt on Mr. Bohlen, in the process giving rise to damaging rumors among the puzzled Europeans, who were understandably confused by the methods of this "new American gestapo".

Another case was that of Theodore Kaghan, an able American information officer in Germany, who had defied Senator McCarthy, and was blackmailed into resigning from the State Department through threats of summary dismissal by Mr. McLeod, who then told the newspapers that Mr. Kaghan had left voluntarily.

The Alsops indicate that those cases and many others added up to the notion that Secretary Dulles could not be excused from responsibility for the administration of his own Department, despite much unfairness having been dealt him since taking the job of Secretary. They view his first duty as ensuring that common decency and old-fashioned Americanism be made to prevail again in the State Department.

Marquis Childs indicates that the British, according to a recent investigation, had done about 25 million dollars in trade with Communist China, a small amount in terms of the total volume of Britain's world trade, but by the Senate's arithmetic, it was estimated that it should cost the British about a billion dollars in U.S. aid, based on the reaction by Senator Joseph McCarthy's Investigations subcommittee. The investigation had shown that the British had delivered strategic materials and transported Communist soldiers in British ships to China, allegations denied by the British.

Senators who had for long opposed Western European alliance greeted this news happily and, comments Mr. Childs, Senator Everett Dirksen of Illinois could be counted on to make the utmost use of the charges whether they were proved or not. But for others who accepted U.S. responsibility in a divided world, the disclosures were of deep concern, including within the Eisenhower Administration, which had to fight to keep the 5.8 billion dollars it was seeking in foreign aid, a cut of nearly two billion from that proposed in the last budget submitted by President Truman.

The trouble would occur on the floor of the Senate rather than in the committees, as Senator Alexander Wiley, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, had already indicated that he believed that the full amount requested by the Administration was necessary, and with nearly unanimous support from Democrats on the Committee, the recommendation was likely not to be reduced. But on the floor, Republicans would seek to amend the appropriation bill with repeated cuts, amid oratory which would charge the British with trading with an enemy in Korea, costing the lives of American soldiers, irrespective of the notion that it would also be costing some British lives in Korea as well. The resulting emotional response would be difficult to withstand, especially if the truce talks were to collapse in the meantime.

In all likelihood, the debate would come as the President prepared to meet Prime Minister Churchill and the new French Premier in Bermuda in mid-June. To avert such a problem, Senator Taft might try to sidetrack the foreign aid bill, but that would only postpone it. The British and French had a right to know at the meeting in Bermuda whether the country intended to carry out its obligations inherent in U.S. leadership of the Western alliance. Both France and Britain, especially Britain, had strained their war-weakened economies in the rearmament effort.

Mr. Childs thus concludes that it was time for the Administration to undertake a frank proposal of what could actually be expected from the Congress, and the President's forthcoming speeches would deal with that problem.

Robert C. Ruark tells of General Brehon Somervell having caused some shock recently when he advocated use of poison gases as legitimate warfare, urging the Government to reassess its policy in that regard. He found it nonsensical to reject gas as inhumane while accepting guns which could blow people's heads off, cripple and maim them, as well as atomic bombs and napalm.

Mr. Ruark indicates that he did not know how right the General was on gas, but he had never understood the rules of war in any event, for if killing was the purpose, then it was so. All wars were immorally conceived and executed, and soldiers who were decorated in war would have been hung in civilian life for the same conduct. As Shakespeare had once said, war is a business of "carrion men groaning for burial".

He finds it ridiculous to set up killing as an object in warfare and then to prohibit certain kinds of killing and maiming. During World War II, using napalm and firebombs, the Allies had been burning about 15 miles of Tokyo per night in the latter days of the war and nobody had minded. But when the atomic bombs were dropped on Japan to end the war, killing a relatively small percentage of the Japanese, compared to a coastal invasion of the country, while saving untold numbers of lives, people were horrified.

During World War II, gas had been transported overseas for the contingency that the Germans might start using it. When the Germans sank Allied ships in the harbor at Bari, Italy, it became a sea of mustard gas.

He indicates that he objected to war but that when one was ongoing, he saw no point in being nice about the way one won it. Rules were for games and war was not a game.

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