The Charlotte News

Thursday, July 23, 1953


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports, via Robert B. Tuckman, that there had been persistent reports that the truce in Korea might be signed within three days, gaining strength this date from a North Korean broadcast hinting that the armistice was complete and that the Communists were ready to approve it formally. There was as yet no official confirmation from either side. Several external indicators pointed to the accuracy of the report.

The U.S. sought to hold President Rhee to his stated acceptance of the truce despite new South Korean threats to resist it, with Secretary of State Dulles declaring the previous day in a written statement that the U.S. assumed the President would abide by his assurances.

In ground fighting in the war, Chinese Communists seized four outposts northwest of the central road hub at Kumhwa the previous night, after earlier repulsing a South Korean attempt to capture a dominating hill in the Kumsong River area. The enemy force won the first outpost just after dark in a 15-minute action, after both sides had hurled intensive mortar and artillery fire at one another during the brief engagement. Two and a half hours later, a smaller contingent of enemy troops drove South Korean defenders from three other outposts in the same area. Earlier, South Koreans had fought with bayonets, knives and rifle butts to the top of "Sam Hyon Hill", overlooking the Kumsong River area and the important Bulge area, but were repulsed in a 5.5 hour fight by a reinforced Chinese regiment. North of that hill, allied air and ground observers reported sighting Chinese troops.

The U.S. Eighth Army commander, General Maxwell Taylor, toured the central front with South Korean President Syngman Rhee and informed commanders of the two allied forces holding the Kumsong line that the enemy offensive had been repulsed and that the allies presently occupied "the shortest and most defensible line consistent with their mission" in the area.

In the air war, allied fighter-bombers dropped more than 300 tons of bombs on enemy front line positions this date, particularly in the Bulge area. U.S. B-29's fought off enemy jet night fighters early in the morning, while on bomb runs over two enemy airfields in northwest Korea.

New riots in the uranium mines of East Germany were reported this date as a fresh wave of arrests by Communist police spread over the Russian zone. The U.S. High Commission newspaper said that troops of the East German people's army had been rushed into a uranium mining area along the Czech border to put down the new uprising. Some 200 miners had been arrested during the week for open rioting, demanding the release of 1,200 comrades arrested in the anti-Communist revolt of June 17. Schwarzenberg and Johanngeorgenstedt were named as the principal trouble centers, where mines produced uranium ore for Russian atomic bombs. Refugees who fled to West Berlin told of night raids by police into hundreds of homes and mass roundups of suspected troublemakers in many cities, beginning the prior Tuesday. The new minister of justice had been busily carrying out her announced program of cracking down on strikers through the court system. Hundreds of protesters who had been acquitted and released following the June 17 revolt had their cases reopened for an increase of their light penalties. Many workers within the Justice Ministry had reportedly been fired and some arrested for the light treatment. Twenty-one members of the people's police and 562 other refugees, including a former state secretary in the East German Construction Ministry, had fled to West Berlin police the previous day, seeking asylum. Unconfirmed reports of partisan resistance along the German-Polish border persisted.

HUAC this date voted to call the Rev. Jack Richard McMichael, a Methodist pastor from Upper Lake, Calif., for questioning the following Thursday, having received testimony from two foreign witnesses in the recent past that he was a member of the Communist Party. Reverend McMichael denied the charge. Chairman Harold Velde of Illinois said that a subpoena had been issued, but declined to say whether the testimony would be taken in open or closed session. The Committee had voted to defer action on another person, a former Union Theological Seminary faculty member, regarding whom it had also received testimony of his being a Communist. After questioning of Methodist Bishop G. Bromley Oxnam for ten hours, the Committee adopted a motion that there was nothing to support his being affiliated with Communism. He had testified that he had become suspicious of Reverend McMichael when both were connected with the Methodist Federation of Social Service, and had resigned from that organization because he did not have the time to stay and try to force out Reverend McMichael. He said he could not discuss his suspicions except in closed session, as they were based on confidential information.

The President, following the House having ignored his plea the previous night and approved without major change a total of 4.43 billion dollars in new foreign aid funds for the year, cutting about 1.1 billion from the Administration's requested budget of 5.14 billion, about 2.5 billion less than recommended by former President Truman in his last proposed budget of the prior January, now looked to the Senate to restore the cut funds. The House approval was by a roll call vote of 288 to 115, supported by 128 Republicans and 159 Democrats, plus one independent, with 82 Republicans and 33 Democrats voting against it. A solid bloc of Republicans had resisted six Democratic-supported attempts to raise the amount of the aid.

In Charlotte, the president of Queens College, Dr. Charlton Jernigan, had died the previous night of a heart attack at age 48, his funeral to take place the following afternoon on the campus. He was highly informal and struck strangers as a merchant or salesman or lawyer, but rarely as a college president. He liked to watch televised fights at home or play golf. He had become president of the College in August, 1951, after being head of the classics department at Florida State University.

In Jamboree City, Calif, an 80-year old retired Iowa physician had accompanied his grandson to the Boy Scout Jamboree and then got a job, as he said they guessed he was 65, assigning him as head of the Illinois Section Health Lodge. In 1911, he had helped introduce the Scouting movement in Shenandoah, Iowa, where he practiced medicine for more than 50 years.

In Morganton, N.C., a deputy sheriff saw a young girl in the driver's seat of a car, thought she appeared too young to drive, sounded his siren, but the car kept going, eventually causing him to radio to Valdese for help, where a roadblock was erected across the right lane. But the car then swerved around it to the left, side-swiping a parked car in the process. At Connelly Springs, another roadblock was set up and again the car went around. At a triple roadblock, the car sideswiped the car blocking the left lane and kept going, reaching a speed of 85 mph between Connelly Springs and Icard. Eventually, the car ran off the pavement and careened wildly, but managed to get back onto the pavement, whereupon officers set up a fourth roadblock in Catawba County, which finally brought the car to a stop. The driver was a 19-year old waitress without a driver's license. She was charged with driving without a permit and with speeding and driving while intoxicated. "It was sort of dizzying for everybody concerned." But her name was Betty, not Dizzy.

In Princeton, N.J., a laboratory car at RCA's David Sarnoff Research Center was reported to be able to steer itself along a prescribed course, stop when it approached a metal obstacle and turn out to pass a slower vehicle. The system worked by electric cables under specially constructed highways, utilizing electronic equipment to control the steering, picking up wave impulses from the cables. Betty could use that, but we suspect that's probably 500 years into the future, after man first reaches the Sun.

Up to three inches of rain fell in sections of drought-stricken Texas during the previous night, as thunderstorms swept across the central and Southern plains states. Several drought areas reported the heaviest rainfalls in a year, but the rain was not enough yet to eradicate the drought conditions.

In St. Charles, Mo., a baby named Frost was followed in its arrival by a cool spell earlier in the month, and warm days had followed another baby named Sommer, while babies Wetter and Showers arrived a few days afterward, followed by three inches of rain flooding the streets, whereupon baby Flood arrived.

On the editorial page, "To Redevelop or Not To Redevelop—That Is the Question for the Council" indicates that the Charlotte City Council had to face up to the question of urban redevelopment sooner or later and preferably sooner. State legislation had made it more difficult to carry out redevelopment programs, as a provision of the law hamstrung the power of eminent domain to the extent that it limited severely the areas which could be redeveloped. The Charlotte Redevelopment Commission, however, believed that it could still carry out a feasible redevelopment plan, even if not as large as in other cities. It had recommended to the Council that the first step should be to test the constitutionality of the State law, a move which the editorial supports. But it also believes that there was no point in spending money on a test case unless the Council believed that urban redevelopment was worthwhile in eradicating slums and replacing them with useful, tax-producing property.

The previous day, the Council had delayed for two weeks giving its assent to the test case. The members of the Commission were serving without pay and had tried to work with the cumbersome law, merely making the recommendation of a test case, at no cost to the City, and if the Council did not agree, then it could call a halt to the entire program forthwith, allowing the members of the Commission to avoid their very difficult assignment and return to their personal responsibilities.

"No Bricker Amendment This Year" indicates that the proposed Constitutional amendment sponsored by Senator John W. Bricker, to amend the ratification requirement of the Constitution for treaties to include executive agreements and to require majority approval by both houses for implementation of treaties, in addition to the existing two-thirds Senate ratification requirement, would not be voted on during the current session of Congress, rightly consigned to limbo.

It finds that Senator Bricker had been able "to bamboozle many Americans, including some members of the Senate and a few newspaper editors", into believing that the existing ratification requirement could be used to enable world government through U.N. treaties. As confidence had grown in the Eisenhower Administration, the perceived need for the change had diminished. It finds that it would do serious damage to the ability of the President to carry out his responsibilities in the foreign policy-making field and so advocates not reviving it.

"Wise Investment" indicates that the building committee in Charlotte had asked and obtained permission from the City Council to employ a full-time inspector for the auditorium-coliseum project to ensure that specifications were met in every detail, the inspector to receive $165 per week, an amount, it finds, which would be well spent on the four million dollar project, to avoid slips or shortcuts. It recommends that the Council honor the request.

"Smoothing the Royal Road" cheers the British Government for allowing Princess Margaret to wed a divorcee, Capt. Peter Townsend. The Princess, under existing succession law, was third in line to the throne and would become the regent were her sister, Queen Elizabeth, to predecease Prince Charles, age 4, prior to his reaching majority, and the Government proposed to change the law, presumably to remove her from the line of succession so that she could marry and avoid the problems encountered when King Edward married Wallis Simpson and was forced to give up the throne in 1936. It finds that the young Princess shared her uncle's zest for living her own life and that it ought not be denied her. It suggests that the throne was in good hands and that there was plenty of other royal blood around, from which monarchs could be derived in the fine English tradition.

"May Margaret have her hero—or play the field a while if she chooses—and by all means live happily ever after."

A piece from the Asheville Citizen, titled "Tut! Lads", indicates that in Charlotte, the News was complaining editorially about a conspiracy against people who tried to put an ice cube into a quart-size thermos bottle and then gashing the hand when attempting to break the cube with an ice pick, becoming then convinced that it was a conspiracy by the Mercurochrome magnates or those who laundered handkerchiefs. The piece finds it nothing of the kind.

"What are the effete, handkerchief-carrying editors of The News doing while the world is in crisis—while Britain is embattled over Princess Margaret and Group Capt. Peter Townsend; while Doggie in the Window goes slinking off the Hit Parade; while Mickey Mantle has a sore knee, and while Perle Mesta is turning down that $7,319.50 in terminal leave pay—what? what? what? They are sitting glumly around the office trying to cram two-inch ice cubes into a one-inch thermos bottle, and shedding blood over it!"

It concludes that a mountain man did not trifle with "sissy contrivances like thermos bottles", though if he had to get an ice cube into "one of those low-country jimcracks", he would merely crush it slowly with his fist, that they needed nothing to cool their "pot-likker" but the natural refrigerant of the mountain air. It assumes that it was the pot-likker which was "defying the usual ingenuity of The News at fitting square pegs in round holes…"

Cool the beverage first in the refrigerator, and then pour it into the thermos. This is 1953, when you have all those marvelous Philco appliances at your disposal with which to cool anything you wish in a matter of seconds, and even frost free, if you are willing to spend a few extra dollars for that option. But remember, kids, never go inside, as the doors latch tight to keep all the food nice and cold, in an age a few years before magnetic catches, another marvelous innovation of the new age to come of 1960, no doubt to be derived from the scientists at NASA, of which you will learn soon enough.

Drew Pearson indicates that Governor Dewey of New York had taken two tough defeats from Democrats in the 1944 and 1948 presidential elections, but that it had been the Democrats who came to his defense the previous week regarding what they termed as the "give-away" of Niagara Falls power. Democratic Senators, led by Dennis Chavez of New Mexico, had blocked the bill, giving Governor Dewey a chance to testify against it this date. The Governor wanted to have the Falls power turned over to the State of New York for development, whereas many Democrats wanted it turned over to the Federal Government, both being opposed to the Miller-Capehart bills turning the power over to a combine of private utilities. The latter bill, as Mr. Pearson had reported earlier, had been rammed through the House Public Works Committee by Congressman George Dondero of Michigan.

The Buffalo Chamber of Commerce had taken issue with Mr. Pearson's reporting on the matter, pointing out that extensive hearings were held regarding Niagara, going back to 1951, a fact which was true. But, he points out, the final vote in the committee chaired by Mr. Dondero had involved "ramming". It was highly unusual for a chairman not to give an important bill a final reading before a committee voted on it, but Mr. Dondero had refused to do that. He had also refused to read a letter from the Budget Bureau representing the views of the President, and later criticized the Bureau for sending him the letter, which had opposed the Miller-Capehart bill and asked Congress to delay action until the Federal Power Commission could make recommendations on the matter. Two members of the committee had arrived late and Congressman Dondero had refused to allow another vote so that they could vote no. He had later accused Congressman Tom Steed of Oklahoma of leaking to Mr. Pearson, but did not deny the ramming. The result of not allowing Governor Dewey to testify would be that no action on the power from the Falls would be taken during the current session of Congress. It might mean, however, that the Senate would launch a thorough study of various power projects, including Bonneville Dam and Hells Canyon in Idaho-Washington.

He indicates that the latest Communist offensive in Korea had hit allied lines harder than had been publicly reported. Three crack South Korean divisions had caved in, one of which had been decimated, losing over three-fourths of its men. As a result, General Mark Clark, allied supreme commander, had rushed five full U.S. divisions to the front, putting more U.S. troops on the battle line than at any time in the previous two years. He had also cabled the Joint Chiefs for permission to shift two divisions from Japan to bolster his reserves in Korea, but had been authorized to move only one division. At the height of the battle, the only thing which prevented the enemy from tearing through the South Korean divisions to the 38th parallel was the abandoned artillery, ammunition and other equipment by the allies, which the enemy was so eager to inventory that they failed to exploit their gains. More U.S. equipment had been lost than at any time since General MacArthur's disastrous retreat from the Yalu River in late November and early December, 1950, following the September end-around landing at Inchon, permitting the retaking of Seoul and eventually Pyongyang and the move north, after the allied forces had been nearly pushed off the peninsula.

The Communist offensive had come as a complete surprise to the U.N. Command. It was aimed at capturing valuable hydro-electric installations and tungsten mines just above the 38th parallel, as disclosed by captured Chinese Communist prisoners, who also revealed that the plan was to push the battle line back to the original 38th parallel and then agree to a cease-fire, enabling the Communists to save face by not giving up any territory during the war. The Eighth Army estimated that the Communists could have maintained the offensive for 30 days and that the only way to stop it would have been to order an all-out counter-offensive and thereby sacrifice thousands of U.S. lives on the eve of the armistice. It was the reason for the U.N. negotiators continually demanding an immediate cease-fire, after all of the essential terms of the truce had been agreed in mid-June, just before President Rhee had thrown a wrench into the works by releasing 27,000 North Korean prisoners of war who had resisted repatriation, and then publicly announcing that South Korea would not participate in a truce which did not provide for unification of the country.

Joseph Alsop indicates that the President met with the National Security Council the previous week in an unprecedented meeting, regarding the subject of domestic air defense. It was not clear that any conclusions were reached and the President would likely want to consult with the new Joint Chiefs taking office August 1 before making any decision. The fact of the meeting, however, implied that the Administration was worried about the air-atomic striking power of the Soviet Union.

The NSC credited the Soviets with the capability at present of destroying nearly 40 percent of American industrial potential and causing the death of about 13 million Americans. That calculation had been made in stages, based on the Project Lincoln report of MIT, the Truman Administration policy paper, NSC-141, and the more recent report by a group of scientists and industrialists, headed by Dr. Mervin Kelly, president of the Bell Telephone Laboratories, all showing that the Soviet air-atomic capability was not only strong but growing. A new group had been named by the NSC, headed by General Harold Bull, wartime deputy chief of staff for operations to General Eisenhower and presently with the CIA, with that group recruited from the armed forces and other interested agencies, assigned to provide recommendations for action at the previous week's meeting.

The NSC estimates, founded primarily on the Kelly report, had not taken into account war-gaming potential, as had a British estimate, which found that an air-atomic attack by the Soviets on the British Isles would cause two million deaths, a great number, but still quite a lot less than 13 million, with the British Isles far more vulnerable to attack than the U.S.

It was known that the Soviets had the capability of launching 500 TU-4 bombers, each capable of delivering 80 kiloton atomic bombs, packing four times the power of the Hiroshima bomb of August, 1945, and that their stockpile would soon reach 100 such bombs. If an attack were launched in broad daylight and in good weather, it was estimated by the Kelly report that a maximum of 15 percent of the attackers could be intercepted by the weak Air Defense Command, with virtually none capable of being intercepted at night or in bad weather.

Mr. Alsop concludes that the Soviets were currently capable of hurting the country very badly, though not yet able to inflict a crippling attack, but as their stockpile grew, so would their power to launch a crippling strike, perhaps the following year, with the power to destroy the year after that. It was a dilemma which the NSC had to solve.

Marquis Childs finds unfair the delay in having HUAC hear the testimony of erstwhile staff director of Senator McCarthy's Government Operations subcommittee, J. B. Matthews, who had been forced to resign for his controversial article in the American Mercury, which had charged that in the previous 17 years, some 7,000 U.S. clergymen had been aligned with Communism. It was not only unfair to the witness but also to the clergy. In his article, he had named 102 such members of the clergy, four of whom were Old Testament prophets, Amos, Hosea, Isaiah and Micah, thus leaving 98 contemporaries, some of whom were found either not to exist or were dead, finally boiling down to 93 names, of whom 15 were black bishops or clergymen, three of the Methodist Church, with more than nine million members. Others of the latter group were of the black Methodist Episcopal Church, the African Methodist Episcopal Church and the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church.

One was the Reverend D. V. Jemison of Selma, Alabama, president of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc., whom black leaders were amazed to find on the list, as he was a conservative who had spent much of his life propagandizing the viewpoint of Booker T. Washington, that hard work would bring to blacks their reward and eventual recognition as equals.

Mr. Childs goes on listing several more of those in the article, finding that Mr. Matthews had included 528 members of the clergy for merely signing a petition in opposition to the McCarran Internal Security Act. The Reverend James A. Pike, dean of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York, had wondered when one had become a traitor in the United States for opposing Federal legislation.

Mr. Childs finds it highly doubtful that a single person listed or included in larger groups could be shown to be an espionage agent, even though some undoubtedly had pro-Communist leanings. He urges that Mr. Matthews ought be permitted to testify forthwith, to enable him to explain his charges and to clear the cloud over the nation's churches.

James Marlow discusses Assistant Secretary of State Walter Robertson, who had returned the previous week from his several conferences with President Syngman Rhee of South Korea, effecting his cooperation in the truce. He describes Mr. Robertson as being ideally suited to the role, as he was calm and patient, and had listened to the old man at length, enabling in the process President Rhee to calm down. Mr. Marlow provides his credentials, that he had headed U.S. lend-lease to Australia during the war and worked for the State Department in China in 1945-46, where he had gotten to know Chiang Kai-shek and his Nationalist Government intimately, as well as the leading Chinese Communists. He found Chiang to be a patriot, as he found President Rhee, not regarding the latter as an eccentric.

In the end, he was able to sign an agreement with President Rhee, not made public, and draft a joint statement, which had been disclosed, providing that South Korea would not seek to obstruct the truce.

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