The Charlotte News

Monday, August 3, 1953


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the U.N. Command had staged this date an elaborate trial run regarding the exchange of 3,313 American and other allied prisoners of war in Korea, set to begin in mass exchange on Wednesday. One hundred and fifty allied soldiers played the role of the liberated prisoners, and were removed from the exchange point at Panmunjom to Inchon, where U.S.-bound troop ships would await their transport. U.S. Eighth Army commander, General Maxwell Taylor, observed the practice run, saying that they wanted to make the returned prisoners as comfortable as possible, for as short a time as possible before beginning the journey home. It was necessary, therefore, he said, to get the bugs out of the operation.

Allied and Communist Red Cross representatives cleared the way for the first joint inspection of North and South Korean prisoner of war camps, signing an agreement which had first been opposed by the Communists, enabling 60-man teams to begin their work on Tuesday morning. The U.S., Denmark and Britain would be allowed to send teams north of the Communist line for the first time legally, while teams from China and North Korea would cross to the south, all teams permitted to visit the other side's camps to distribute gifts and observe the movement of prisoners for the exchange.

The Neutral Nations Commission, comprised of Poland, Czechoslovakia, Switzerland and Sweden, had chosen the following Saturday as the tentative date for dispatching its inspection teams into North and South Korea, designed to police the Armistice.

At McChord Air Force Base, near Tacoma, Washington, Secretary of State Dulles departed for his journey to Japan and then to Seoul in Korea to talk with President Syngman Rhee regarding the wording of the security pact between Korea and the U.S. Before departing Washington, the Secretary had said that the U.S. would not finally determine its position in the upcoming political conference or its procedures until there had been "wider consultation". He said his talks with President Rhee would be exploratory and not binding on the U.S. He would seek maximum coordination between South Korea and the U.S. prior to the conference, set to begin in October. The primary issue at stake was reunification of Korea, which had been demanded by President Rhee in return for his acceptance of the truce.

In East Berlin, Communist radio reported fights breaking out in scores of Eastern Zone communities this date, where police had beaten back people protesting a Communist ban on travel to West Berlin to obtain the free food being provided by the U.S. At Potsdam, according to the report, a group of anti-Communists had sought to incite the population to revolt. Rail stations in East Germany were reported to be surrounded by police to enforce the ban on travel to obtain the Western food. Columns of bicyclists attempting to ride to Berlin on the highways had been turned back by the police. The Northwest German Radio, broadcasting from the West, said that workers had retaliated with widespread strikes, many of them at the large Leuna synthetic fuel refinery, where many workers did not show up for the Sunday night shift. At Potsdam, a band of 150 students from the school which trained Communist agitators, marched against "Fascist agitators", prompting a fight with the workers and those who sought to obtain the free food. In other places in East Germany, there were confrontations and fights, with those returning with the free food parcels being attacked and their food confiscated.

Associated Press correspondent Elton C. Fay reports that the Defense Department was making a new study of how to meld into a smooth fighting machine such weapons as supercarriers and bombers, atomic cannons and guided missiles, plus other weapons still in the developmental stage. The study was being undertaken by the Pentagon's Weapons System Evaluation Group, a military-civilian agency organized in 1948. It would provide the groundwork for recommendations by the new Joint Chiefs, as requested by Secretary of Defense Charles E. Wilson.

During the weekend, the President signed the bill appropriating 34.4 billion dollars for defense during the current fiscal year. Representative Sam Yorty of California, the most outspoken House critic of the five billion dollar cut to the Air Force budget, had issued a statement the previous day claiming that Republican Congressmen planned to continue the argument on behalf of the budget cut via prepared television programs, which he said would appear as "nonpartisan" reports on national defense, while actually being professionally written scripts to be delivered on tv. He said the planned programming would contain "misleading propaganda" and demanded equal time to reply on any television station which donated its time for such a program.

Congress was planning to adjourn this date in mid-afternoon, following a White House conference in which it was decided to postpone action on raising the Federal debt limit until the following year, if possible. The President had proposed an immediate 15 billion dollar increase in the ceiling, as the Government was presently within 2.5 billion of the 275 billion dollar limit. The Senate Finance Committee had recommended postponing for as long as possible action on the increase. Secretary of the Treasury George Humphrey said that the Government would seek to abide by the current ceiling for the rest of the year if possible. Senator William Knowland of California, acting Senate floor leader, said that the Senate would hopefully avoid a special session during the fall to consider it further.

Four Republican governors and at least one Democratic governor supported the position of the President this date in urging a slow policy with regard to tax reduction, in advance of the scheduled trip by the President to the conference later in the day, following the state funeral of Senator Taft in Washington. Democratic Governor Lawrence Wetherby of Kentucky supported the President's slow approach to tax reduction, to be implemented only after balancing of the budget, still in substantial deficit. Republican Governor Dan Thornton of Colorado joined three other Republicans also in support of the President's plan. Republican Governor J. Bracken Lee of Utah, however, dissented. The President would return to the capital the following day. Texas Democratic Governor Allan Shivers, who had supported General Eisenhower during the fall campaign, said, in an address prepared for the opening session of the conference, that "significant progress" had been made in the field of Federal-state relations, which he attributed largely to the President.

In the Mediterranean off the coast of Turkey, planes and the ships of four nations searched in vain this date for an Air France Constellation which apparently had crashed in the area. Passengers aboard included a young American mother and her child. The pilot had radioed a distress signal, indicating that he was preparing to ditch at sea after its two left engines had shut down. The plane had been en route from Rome to Beirut, Lebanon, and Tehran. The American aboard was the wife of an Iranian citizen, traveling on her 27th birthday.

In Texarkana, Tex., seven persons had perished early in the morning in a fire which swept through a second-story hotel in the business district. Four others had been injured, two of whom critically, as the flames gutted the hotel which occupied a single floor above a café and clothing store. The cause of the fire was as yet unknown.

The U.S. Public Health Service announced this date an allocation of 21,000 cubic centimeters of gamma globulin to the State Health Department of North Carolina to combat polio in Avery County. The inoculation provided temporary treatment for about a month, designed to interrupt an epidemic.

Emery Wister of The News tells of General Mark Clark, U.N. supreme commander in the Far East, being a prospective candidate to become president of the Citadel in Charleston, though the appointment was not yet confirmed. He was requesting his resignation from the Army so that he could accept the position. General Clark was on his way to Charlotte in the evening, where he would spend the night with a friend with whom he had served in World War II and in Japan, Dr. Paul Sanger, and would depart the following morning for Washington for a meeting at the Pentagon. Currently, he was in New Orleans visiting with his son, who had been married earlier in the day. His arrival in Charlotte would be covered by WBTV and WBT radio.

Correspondent Harry Shuford of The News indicates that police were grilling a black man suspected in connection with the knife slaying of a nurse, stabbed to death in the 1500 block of Elizabeth Avenue in Charlotte the previous night as she was walking home from work. The suspect was not yet identified and the clues which connected him with the crime had not been revealed by the police, other than that he lived in the vicinity of the crime. A dying statement made by the nurse late the previous night had given detectives little on which to establish a lead. She had mumbled, almost inaudibly, something like, "A Negro man was chasing me, and I ran, but I don't think he caught me." Because she could barely be heard and was garbling her words, Police Chief Frank Littlejohn said during the morning that the statement might have little bearing on the investigation. She had been discovered lying on the sidewalk by a passing motorist, and after police responded and an ambulance dispatched, she died within a few minutes after arrival at the hospital. She had been discovered only about ten minutes after leaving the nursing home where she worked. The County coroner said that the weapon used was a thin, long knife, probably of the switchblade variety.

In Romulus, Mich., a bolt of lightning struck a man's house, toppled the chimney, went through the house, danced over the man's eyeglasses, threw him to the ground and burned his left ear. Be on the lookout for that bolt of lightning. It is probably a Negro. That is how they are.

On the editorial page, "UMT—The Long-Range Answer" indicates that the President's calling for another look at universal military training, with a view toward establishing it concurrently with the draft, was a realistic approach to the problem of maintaining a ready military reservoir and equalizing the burden of service.

He had been a staunch supporter of UMT up until at least March, 1952, but had opposed it during the campaign as long as a draft remained necessary.

It thinks that having both UMT and the draft would be complementary to one another, as UMT was designed to train young men for the military, though not obligating them to enter military forces except in time of emergency. It would provide a reservoir for men who would be able to continue their regular work without the draft hanging over them. It would decrease the need for a standing army, and if war were to come, the trainees would be in a much better state of preparation to enter the military and fight.

"What If Taft Had Been President?" indicates the importance of choosing a vice-presidential candidate who was able to assume the presidency, with the lesson imparted by the death of Senator Taft, for the hypothetical situation where he had won the 1952 Republican nomination and then become President. It counsels against, therefore, letting geography and party harmony dictate the choice of the vice-presidential candidates, the typical scenario.

It finds that neither of the vice-presidential candidates in 1952, Senator Nixon and Senator John Sparkman of Alabama, were of presidential timber. They were chosen for the sake of balancing the tickets, while such better qualified men as Governor Earl Warren and Senator Estes Kefauver were passed over.

It also believes that a searching physical examination be required of every likely contender for either the presidency or vice-presidency, with the results made public. It would decrease the possibility that a physically unfit person would be nominated and elected.

After the last four years, we think a law ought be passed that no one can run for the presidency without a thorough psychological examination, also made public, and regular examination and, if necessary, treatment provided, should the electoral college prove so unsound of mind collectively as to "elect" a candidate mentally unfit to serve.

"A Nationwide Attack on Slums" indicates that after years of talking about slums, U.S. cities were now doing something about them. The National Association of Housing Officials had reported that dozens of cities across the country, taking their cue from Charlotte and Baltimore, were using conservation programs to keep standard housing from deteriorating into substandard housing, and rehabilitation programs to force property owners to renovate and improve substandard housing, while in areas where rehabilitation was not feasible or desirable, using redevelopment to clear away the slums and public housing to furnish new, low-cost housing for low-income groups.

Old housing ordinances were being revised, or new ones written. In some cities, special departments were being established to enforce housing code regulations.

It concludes that Charlotte could be proud that its realtors and City Fathers were working together to help set the pattern for slum rehabilitation, but finds grim irony in the fact that Charlotte might be prevented by the combination of the unwieldy State law passed by the General Assembly and an unenthusiastic City Council from participating in urban redevelopment.

"The Merchant and the Motorist" indicates that a recent survey of the downtown parking problem by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce had offered food for thought for Charlotte merchants, as the Chamber had found that in many cities, a relatively small percentage of those who parked on the streets were shopping, with the consequence that on-street parking bans did not cause a decrease in business. Yet street parking slowed downtown traffic to a crawl, and opening up two additional lanes by abolishing on-street parking, would enable better flow, while cars could be parked in off-street facilities.

The prices of parking in off-street lots was going up, as parking lot space became more scarce, occupied increasingly by new buildings. Increasing numbers of motorists, as a result, were heading to the suburbs to shop, and so downtown merchants had a great stake in improving the city's traffic flow.

Head 'em up, move 'em out.

A piece from the Boston Herald, titled "The Pleasures of Blackberrying", indicates that it did not claim that a person looked forward to a day of blackberry picking with the same enthusiasm felt for wild strawberries or wild raspberries, but after July, many began thinking of picking juicy blackberries on the hill above the maple sugar grove.

It goes on telling about the process of picking the ripe berries.

It concludes: "One should not let his mind dwell unduly on material things, but in late afternoon as a man ambles down through the sugar grove and across the pasture, he thinks that a delicious blackberry cobbler, with feather light dumplings and plenty of heavy cream will make a very acceptable ending to the day's labors."

In time, no doubt, it will also make you fat as a house. But in 1953, obviously, people were not overly cautious about their personal health regarding heart attacks, cancer and whatever else nature had in store for the unwary. It was not, as many people with very dim memories or none at all of that era would have it, the best of times. It was, in fact, pretty sorry, an attempt to wallow in escapism from the nuclear reality besetting the world. Stop dreaming of that which never was and idealizing it, via soft-soaped television retrospective imagery largely created in the 1970's, in a way that causes you to think that we need to "make America great again". That has to be the dumbest, most narrow-minded expression anyone ever devised for a political campaign—right up there with Warren G. Harding's "return to normalcy" in 1920. And, if the present time of pandemic, wildfires, and divisive social unrest is the product of making America "great again", we shall take the old America that wasn't apparently so hot, four to twelve years ago.

You are responding only to acetate reality.

Roscoe Drummond, writing in the Christian Science Monitor, indicates that the U.N. had been tested and found not wanting in the Korean War. It was not a situation into which the U.N. was supposed to become embroiled, at the time of the Charter in mid-1945. The Communists had believed that the new organization would not get involved in an open conflict and so took advantage of that assumption by attacking South Korea in June, 1950.

President Eisenhower, in his broadcast about the truce a week earlier, had been able to pronounce what might prove to be one of the "precious verdicts of history", regarding the U.N. having met the challenge of aggression, "not with pathetic words of protest, but with deeds of decisive purpose."

Mr. Drummond indicates that the defense of Korea was not in itself a great and powerful initiative by the U.N., that it had been a tentative, partial, hopeful action, one which most of the free nations had not believed they could join. Other than the U.S. and South Korea, contributions of manpower and materiel had been only slight, though troops of several nations had shown great valor in the fight.

The U.N. action, led by the U.S., was in contrast to the League of Nations, without leadership, abstaining when Japan had invaded Manchuria in 1931. When Italy engaged in aggressive action against Ethiopia in 1936, the League again closed its eyes.

That which Secretary of State Dulles had said, that for the first time in history, an international organization had stood against an aggressor and "marshaled force to meet force", was truth.

Aggression had been rendered not only unsuccessful, but the aggressor had lost territory and paid heavily, enabling economically useful and militarily valuable areas to be added to South Korea north of the 38th parallel. The Chinese and North Korean forces had sustained nearly two million casualties and the North Korean Army was virtually non-existent after the war.

A Senator recently had inquired of U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., whether there might be some way to get Russia out of the U.N., to which Ambassador Lodge had replied that it was better to have "the arsonist in the fire department rather than running around the country", so that you could turn the hose on him once in awhile.

Drew Pearson provides the inside story of how Assistant Secretary of State Walter Robertson had finally persuaded South Korean President Syngman Rhee to accept the truce in Korea, explaining why Mr. Robertson and Secretary of State Dulles were flying back to Korea, as they considered the truce only a stopgap which could produce for the U.S. more headaches than benefits. Speaking privately, Mr. Robertson had been less than enthusiastic about the truce, saying that it would cause more difficult problems than it would solve, but that he did not make policy, only carried it out, finding himself quite frustrated.

During his talks in Korea for two weeks in June and early July, he had wooed President Rhee primarily by listening patiently, viewing him as a great patriot, stubborn only for the sake of his country. He had been told that table-pounding would be the best way to convince him, but he believed that if that would work, then it should have worked earlier. When he first met with the President, the latter told Mr. Robertson that he had been accused by the West of being a "violator" and wanted to know what he had violated, while Mr. Robertson simply sat and listened. After days of listening, he was able to get him to understand that the way to obtain unity for Korea was to continue with the U.S. and not commit his country to national suicide by fighting on alone in spite of the truce.

Just at the time he appeared ready to compromise, U.S. Army radio in Tokyo had reported him being unyielding, based on news reports relayed to Tokyo via wire service organizations. President Rhee, however, took these broadcasts to be official statements of the Army, and so they caused further problems.

Mr. Robertson had finally persuaded him to cooperate by arguing that Communist China really wanted something more important than Korea, trade with Japan and the rest of the world, and especially access to the tin, rubber and raw materials of Indo-China and the Malays. Mr. Robertson argued that China would trade Korea and its unity for those larger objectives. But those objectives would pose serious problems for the U.S., the primary reason Mr. Robertson was flying back to Tokyo and Seoul with Secretary Dulles.

Mr. Robertson said that the Western trade embargo against Communist China was affecting them more than the U.S. realized and they wanted to be rid of it. They also wanted a seat on the U.N. Security Council. If they could get some of those things, they would likely abandon North Korea and allow it to be unified. That was the actual reason why Mr. Robertson had mixed feelings about the truce. He believed that President Rhee would obtain the desired unity for Korea, but that China would then drive for what it wanted, the vast riches of Southeast Asia, the tin and rubber of the Malays, the wealth of Indo-China, the quinine, the spices, the rubber of Indonesia. That was the main goal of Japan during the late war and it was the main goal now for Communist China. It was an area which hated its past rulers, the British, the French and the Dutch, according to Mr. Robertson, while it also admired the Chinese because they had stood up to the Western world. Thus he was quite concerned about the upcoming peace conference, to begin 90 days after the truce.

When Mr. Robertson had been asked whether Communist China would be able to gain admission to the U.N., he responded that the U.S. would be one of 16 nations at the peace conference and would have no more vote than anyone else, and so he said he would bet that the Chinese would obtain what they wanted.

Marquis Childs indicates the need for public understanding and sympathy for the returning American prisoners of war who were held in Korea. When the sick and wounded prisoners had been returned three months earlier, a blunder had caused bad feelings all around, when inept Army public relations officers referred to some of them as "mental patients", isolating them for a time in the Valley Forge Army Hospital. It was true that some had been subjected to brainwashing, which took the form of prolonged interrogation for weeks and sometimes months, awakening prisoners at intervals each night and subjecting them to the same questions and the same repeated insistence on the Communist "truth", redundantly, until the subject's will was broken and he repeated in parrot-like manner the "facts" with which he was brainwashed. Physical torture was not a characteristic of the process.

A Chinese Communist propaganda film was shown throughout the Soviet orbit, consisting in its first two-thirds of supposedly germ-carrying insects and animals dropped in American "germ bombs", and depicting the investigative work in China of an international commission of scientific authorities, who had been handpicked for the purpose. That portion was likely to convince only the most gullible or those who wanted to be convinced by the content. During the last third of the film, however, four young American Air Force officers gave testimony before the "international commission", providing their names, home addresses and serial numbers, telling in detail how they had been instructed to carry the germ bombs, naming the bases from which they had supposedly flown and where they had dropped them. They appeared somewhat tense and spoke somewhat jerkily, but otherwise appeared normal. One of the officers, a young Southerner, ended his recital by saying that he was not married, and that when he returned to the U.S., he wanted to marry and have a son, but questioned whether he could tell him that he had done "this awful thing". Another of the young officers showed emotion as he completed his recital, saying that he and his crew had taken a shower after returning from a germ bomb mission, but that they did not know how they could ever wash away the feeling of what they had done.

There had been fears that some of the brainwashed prisoners would decide to remain behind in North Korea, but the Communists had announced that all had decided to return. Mr. Childs concludes that the "greatest care and consideration must be given the victims of this sinister cruelty."

James Marlow indicates that anyone who had ever sat in the Senate gallery and heard Senator Taft speak could not help but think that the people whose views he represented were lucky to have him fighting for them. No one had worked harder or more earnestly for what he believed during his 15 Senate years, representing the views of many millions of people. He finds that the Senator had been a healthy force in a democratic society, which had to have opposing views in order to arrive at intelligent majority decisions and, when necessary, reasonable compromises.

On some of the most far-reaching Senate decisions, a majority of his colleagues had voted against him, while respecting him and listening attentively.

Mr. Marlow asks where the country and the world might be at present had he won his fight against the draft in 1940, as the Nazis were overrunning Europe by the millions, while America had an ill-equipped Army of only 275,000 men. He continued his fight against the draft right up until four months prior to Pearl Harbor. He denied that he was an isolationist, but the effect of some of his views, had they been adopted, would have been to isolate the country more than it was at present.

He opposed the legislation which made the country a member of the U.N., and was against U.S. alliance with NATO. But he was more aligned with majority views on domestic issues. He would likely be most remembered in that realm for his co-sponsorship of the Taft-Hartley Act, which had replaced the Wagner Act passed under FDR in 1935, shifting labor legislation more to the benefit of management and away from the large labor unions, which had been perceived by the public during the Wagner era to exert too much control over American economic life. Senator Taft knew that he would make enemies among union leaders with the Act, and he had. But judging by his overwhelming re-election in the Ohio Senate race in 1950, it had not hurt him to any significant degree.

Mr. Marlow ventures that the Senator probably expressed more opinions on more subjects during his time in the Senate than most Senators because he worked hard at keeping informed. Sometimes he appeared to put his foot in his mouth and had to explain later what he had meant.

He concludes that the President had lost a strong assistant when the Senator had died the prior Friday morning, for more than any other Republican presently in the Senate, he could bring the body into line behind the President, despite his having yearned for so long to be President, himself.

A letter writer from Indianapolis compliments Charlotte, after a recent visit with his son who lived in the city. He says that it was the third time he had visited Charlotte and that it was one of the finest cities he had ever visited. He compliments the helpful members of the Police Department and the people.

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