The Charlotte News

Thursday, November 13, 1952


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports, via William C. Barnard, that screaming Chinese infantrymen numbering about 1,000, behind heavy artillery fire, early this date had forced South Korean troops from "Pinpoint Hill" on "Sniper Ridge" in a furious close-quarters night battle. It was the 14th time during the month that the height had been overrun by the enemy. Associated Press correspondent John Randolph reported that the enemy had hit the allied positions at 11:10 p.m., about five hours after allied artillery had routed about 750 enemy troops advancing on "Sniper" from the east. The South Korean troops had spent the day mopping up remnants of the enemy after recapturing the hill early Wednesday, but had failed to dislodge the troops entrenched on the "Yoke", the maze of tunnels and caves from which the Communists struck in the Thursday night attack. Earlier in the day, U.S. warplanes had dropped napalm, bombs and machine gun fire on entrenched enemy troops in the "Sniper Ridge-Triangle Hill" area.

South Korean troops charged that the Chinese artillery had fired gas shells into their positions during the assault on "Pinpoint". The account was without further confirmation. American officers with the South Korean troops began an immediate investigation, indicating that there had been numerous past instances during the war in which phosphorus or smoke shells, or even fumes from high-explosive shells, had been mistaken by troops for gas. A team of U.S. chemical warfare officers were ordered to the front within an hour to make the technical investigation.

North Korean Communists attacked U.N. positions on the eastern front the previous night, but were blocked by napalm, which an allied staff officer said the Eighth Army troops probably had in drums along their defense lines and simply detonated when the enemy approached.

The weather was the best in three days, but cloud cover shielded most of North Korea from effective air attacks.

The Eighth Army's public information officer this date predicted that there would be a news blackout during the trip of President-elect Eisenhower to Korea, but that a final decision had not been made on the matter. The date of the General's arrival was a closely guarded secret. About 300 correspondents would be permitted to cover the visit and then report on it after it was concluded.

At the U.N. General Assembly meeting in New York, Nationalist Chinese Foreign Minister George K. C. Yeh charged before the Assembly that Joseph Stalin and "his Communist stooges" did not really want a truce in Korea, and called on the U.N. to declare Communism a threat to world peace and security. He said that the Chinese Communists had suffered such huge numbers of casualties that the Communist Government did not dare to face its people "empty-handed". He suggested that the fundamental problem in achieving the peace in Korea, therefore, was that the Communists did not want a truce unless it would "solidify and strengthen the ranks of world Communism". He said that the effort to resolve the voluntary repatriation issue blocking the truce, by transferring prisoners to the care of neutral countries, might result only in a delayed manner of forcibly repatriating those prisoners who did not wish to be repatriated, that the Communists could be expected to apply direct and indirect pressure on the prisoners once they were in the neutral countries. He said that the Peiping Government was merely a Soviet puppet, as was the Communist regime in North Korea.

Senator John W. Bricker of Ohio, a member of the Senate-House joint Atomic Committee, told a reporter from his home in Columbus that he wanted an explanation of whether the tight security was necessary regarding the recent Eniwetok atomic tests, and that if so, whether the eyewitnesses who had reported anonymously on the tests, claiming that there had been a hydrogen bomb detonated, showed that the security was not properly enforced. He said that he would demand an official explanation in Washington the following week.

In Augusta, Ga., President-elect Eisenhower, in the last weekend of his post-campaign vacation, reportedly would steer clear of any policy commitments to President Truman when they conferred at the White House the following Tuesday afternoon. He would mainly be present as a listener, although the unnamed associates of the General indicated that he agreed with the President that the session would amount to a demonstration of unity.

It was reported from Augusta that efforts to settle a strike of technical workers at the nearby Savannah River hydrogen bomb plant had failed this date and a union spokesman said picket lines would be re-established the following Monday. Two hundred technical workers had gone on strike the prior Monday, protesting the firing of six of their number, with union leaders contending that they had been fired for union activity. The picket lines had been withdrawn, however, the prior Monday night, pending further attempts to settle the dispute. A union official claimed that the pickets had shut down all work at the plant, where 37,000 workers were involved in its construction. The union insisted that the fired workers be re-employed, but the company refused to comply with the demand, saying that five had been discharged because the work the firm had been engaged to do was coming to a close and that the sixth person was fired for excessive absenteeism.

In Nairobi, Kenya, a special court sentenced 31 members of the Kikiyu Tribe, including 15 women, to jail terms of one to three years each this date for membership in the anti-white Mau Mau Society. They had been arrested at the Society's oath-taking ceremony.

In Austria's Tyrol, three lives were believed to have been lost in Alpine avalanches, including a hunter and two workers who had been buried at Fieberbrunn.

In Shelton, Wash., a Navy four-engine Privateer crashed on an Olympic Peninsula hillside the previous night, probably killing all 11 men aboard. It had been raining at the time. A large flash had been seen by a local dairy farmer at the time the plane crashed about a mile and a half from his farm.

In Raleigh, Dr. William Basil Fox, a 37-year old assistant professor of botany at N.C. State, was fatally wounded at his home this date, shot in the back of the head with a .22-caliber rifle. The sheriff indicated that he was told that Dr. Fox had been playing in the bedroom with his 4 1/2-year-old son, while his wife was preparing breakfast, and that the child had accidentally discharged the rifle.

In Salt Lake City, a Federal District Court Judge had started a one-man noise abatement campaign the previous day to halt sounds emanating from the Federal Building mailroom, which he described as sounding "like a bowling alley". He had hailed into court the local postmaster and 25 postal employees for an explanation, providing a lecture and then fining a supervisor $100, suspended, and citing 24 other workers for contempt. All concerned promised to do their best to maintain quiet in the future. The postmaster explained that the condition had been present for 20 years and was a function of the structure of the building. The judge, however, found that the noise sounded to him like "a careless, reckless, slamming, banging of packages".

In the Queens section of New York, ten residents complained of a 17-year old boy's singing almost every day from 7:30 in the morning until 9:30 at night, one complainant indicating to a local magistrate that if he could sing, he would not mind, but that he yelled in a way which cut "through you like a saw". The boy indicated that he had sung one song for a vocal teacher three years earlier and had been informed that he had "possibilities". But the magistrate, after learning that the boy remained home from school to practice his singing, stated that there was a talent scout looking for him, the truant officer. He decreed that the boy sing only in the school auditorium or in the nearly-soundproof basement of his apartment house, and not for 14 hours.

We know the feeling. We once had a neighbor who set up her own karaoke unit, replete with an ample amplifier, magnifying her off-key voice through the echoing neighborhood, driving her neighbors to the point of distraction. But obviously, to her, underneath her headphones, she believed that she was singing every bit as songbird-perfect as the voice tracks which her karaoke performances were meant to accompany and mimic. 'Tweren't so.

In Washington, a dealer in beef complained to police that a truck loaded with $10,000 worth of meat, more than 8,000 pounds of assorted cuts, had been stolen from a warehouse.

In New York, the executive director of the American Heritage Foundation, who had headed a campaign to maximize voter registration and voting, had promised to eat crow publicly if the presidential vote failed to reach 63 million. Thus far, the official count was about 60 million, not including the votes of soldiers abroad. The man thus decided to follow through and eat his crow at a Times Square restaurant. He said that the meat was "rather dark and stringy—but edible".

Complete returns from the November 4 general election showed that North Carolina voters had approved the three amendments to the State Constitution, the closest contest having been on the amendment to allow counties to increase from 15 cents to 20 cents on each $100 the amount of property tax which could be levied for general fund purposes. That amendment had won approval by 449,900 to 355,602 votes.

On the editorial page, "Free Advice to Election Officials" indicates that two problems had to be solved by the Mecklenburg County Board of Elections, one being the slow count of votes on election day and the other slow voting for the long lines. The solution to the first problem would be the installation of modern electric voting machines, but the second problem was not so easily solved. It occurred in part because of a single registration book, with a better method being to divide registered voters by certain portions of the alphabet and thereby maintain more than one registration book. The physical arrangement of many polling places, especially those located in private homes, was bad, sometimes creating congestion. The process of distributing the ballots was also too complicated, and some polling places needed more booths. The ballot boxes were too small and became jammed, resulting in wasted time punching the ballots away from the openings.

The chairman of the Board proposed to increase the number of precincts by splitting up the larger ones, but the piece believes that proposal was not getting to the heart of the problem, that the better solution was to streamline the voting process and install machines.

"Postmasters and Politics" comments on a letter to the editor in this date's column, taking issue with a News story which had indicated that postmasters were under the Civil Service system, whereas the letter writer had indicated correctly that political considerations determined still who received postmasterships. It explains that there was a difference from the ordinary method of qualification for Civil Service jobs and that of postmaster, that while taking a Civil Service test, postmasters were not necessarily appointed on that basis. Instead, the top three applicants were referred to the Postmaster General, who normally discussed them with the local Congressman, and then the Senate was required to confirm the appointments. Thus, there was still a political process involved and under the Democratic Administration, the jobs normally went to Democrats.

Senator Mike Monroney had sought to place the Post Office under the usual merit system, indicating that a problem with the present system was that the patronage still involved in appointments inhibited most postal workers from even attempting to compete in the exams. The legislation, however, had thus far been defeated by a bipartisan group of Congressmen.

It indicates that present Democratic-appointed postmasters would not likely lose their jobs as long as they did them well, and it was likely that unless the law were changed, the new appointees would be Republicans during the Eisenhower Administration. It hopes, therefore, that the new Republican Congress would pass legislation along the lines recommended by the Hoover Commission or approve a Presidential reorganization plan such as that which had been submitted by President Truman and rejected.

"It's a Long Race" wonders where the horsepower race among automobile manufacturers would end. One manufacturer, in testing tires, had let its competitors know that the tests were being conducted in an automobile driven by a 400-horsepower engine. It concludes that it was all very well, but that it would not be happy about the prospect until the skill and caution of American drivers kept pace with the increasing horsepower beneath their feet.

A piece from the Greensboro Daily News, titled "'Here They Are'", indicates that the retirement of the "Amos & Andy" radio program struck a memory cord which depended on the generation in which one grew up. About 20 years earlier, the familiar organ music which began the radio program came on the scene and millions had listened all over the country, with some movie houses broadcasting the show to audiences in the evening. It became a fad and the program set part of the climate for the early evening, especially during the winter, the cast of characters in the program becoming part of the family meal at dinner time.

It indicates that the program's popularity was not hard to explain, as the characters projected to the nation "real people, somewhat souped up, yes, but mostly genuine, warm-hearted and completely human." It indicates that in the present climate, the humor, achieved through blackface, offended some, but that the greatness of Gosden and Corell, the creators of the program, transcended the makeup. It finds that the characters represented were still to be found nearby, in every town.

It does not indicate that the television show had premiered in mid-1951 and had thus supplanted the radio program. It, however, was short-lived, ending the following April, though remaining in syndication for more than a decade thereafter.

Drew Pearson indicates a rumor that Justice Felix Frankfurter was going to resign, providing President-elect Eisenhower an immediate appointment to the Supreme Court. The Justice, despite being accused by Republicans of having been the architect of the New Deal, had become a strong supporter of President-elect Eisenhower, gradually drifting away from the Truman Administration, as he now had few friends in high places there, with the exception of Secretary of State Acheson. Though he might retire as early as the coming week, private hunches were that he would not, that he would remain until the beginning of the Eisenhower Administration, unless he wanted to create a vacancy which could be filled by his old friend and student, Mr. Acheson.

The speculation was completely wrong, with Justice Frankfurter remaining on the Court until his retirement in 1962, giving President Kennedy his second appointment to the Court.

The Mayflower Hotel in Washington was preparing a new apartment for the President after he would leave office, one which would be a temporary residence until he could find a new house in Georgetown and until he returned from his round the world trip. It would mean that he would be a potential thorn in the side of the Eisenhower Administration.

This report, too, turned out erroneous, as the former President would return to his home in Missouri, where he would live the remaining 20 years of his life.

Those who had talked to President-elect Eisenhower came away with the distinct impression that he was not going to appoint John Foster Dulles Secretary of State, that it would likely go to Paul Hoffman or John J. McCloy.

That speculation, too, was off the mark.

The column indicates that those who were riding around in limousines would be fired by the new President when he took office, whereas those riding in taxis and trolley cars would keep their jobs. Scotch and soda would replace bourbon and branch water as the preferred drink at the White House.

Vice-President-elect Nixon had indicated that he would seek to block filibusters in the Senate by means of rulings from the chair as the presiding officer. Mr. Pearson says that his colleagues, however, would never allow him to get away with it.

Governor Stevenson had told personal advisers that he did not wish to run the Democratic Party and would rather quit politics. But former campaign manager Wilson Wyatt and Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas had persuaded him to put off a final decision on the matter until February.

Joseph Alsop, in Paris, tells of the task of President-elect Eisenhower appearing more formidable from his vantage point in Paris than it did in America, that throughout Europe, the Republican victory was being seen as an isolationist victory, with high officials thinking it probably the case, and the public convinced that it was so. People in high places believed that Senator Taft would likely design the new American foreign policy, while General MacArthur planned the new defense policy. American allies were discouraged and ready to run for cover and anti-Americans were crowing in triumph. It thus was incumbent upon General Eisenhower to enunciate his new foreign policy as soon as possible.

He would take office in the midst of a major crisis in U.S. relations with other Western allies, a crisis made worse by the fear of Republican intentions, and one which could not be met unless General Eisenhower temporarily set aside the Republican efforts to bring about economy in foreign and defense spending, as the job of cementing the Western alliance would almost certainly demand heavier spending, not less. Otherwise, the Soviets would likely extend their power into areas which were now precariously held by the West.

The French problem in Indo-China had grown worse and, likely in consequence, the project of the European Defense Community, the common NATO army, was under threat, directly impacting the ability to strengthen Europe's defenses with German divisions. NATO was also threatened by economic strain afflicting both Britain and the European countries. Britain and France, especially, were desirous of a readjustment of the economic relationship between the U.S. and the other Western allies in terms of having to rely on U.S. aid. Thus, policy was necessary to enable the allies to pay their own way.

All of these things and more, which he promises to elucidate further in another column, would greet President-elect Eisenhower as soon as he took office. In addition, another problem was to be confronted, summed by a Washington cynic in the words, "We never don't do what we can't not do."

Marquis Childs tells of the issue of saving Iran from the Communists having remained in the background, after having been ignored during the campaign cycle. In the meantime, the extent to which Iran was open to Westerners had greatly narrowed. It was another problem awaiting President-elect Eisenhower to resolve.

During the campaign, a group of military and civilian advisers had met with the President to formulate a plan for resumption of oil production in Iran. It had stopped the previous February, thus cutting off revenue to the Iranian Government, with the consequence that the civil servants and the army were not being paid. Premier Mohammed Mossadegh nevertheless insisted that the British could never return to operate the Anglo-Iranian Oil Co., and the Iranians lacked the technical expertise to do so. The plan put forward at the White House proposed that a half-dozen of the large companies, both British and American, would offer to pool their resources and operate the company. Top Defense Department officials and the State Department were optimistic about the proposal. But representatives of the Justice Department indicated it could not approve the plan as it would be a clear violation of U.S. anti-trust laws, which prohibited the formation of a cartel.

Nevertheless, the Defense Department continued to assert that practical choices needed to be made to keep Iran within the Western sphere. They cited the example of the need for uranium outside the U.S. and asked the Justice Department representative whether the Department would similarly veto uranium acquisition were it essential to form a cartel to obtain it. The Justice Department did not provide an answer to the rhetorical question and the meeting had ended with no agreement regarding Iran.

A letter writer, as indicated in the above editorial, takes issue with a November 7 News article which had stated that the postmasters were under the Civil Service system, when in fact they remained political appointees, at least to some extent.

A letter from Joe E. Josephs, chairman of the county Get-Out-The-Vote campaign, expresses appreciation to The News for its cooperation in the campaign and especially to publisher Thomas L. Robinson, for his initiation of the campaign and molding the group of volunteers. Many of the volunteers had come from the League of Women Voters. He also thanks other newspapers, radio and television stations, and other organizations who helped them get out the vote, which had resulted in a record turnout for Mecklenburg County.

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