The Charlotte News

Friday, November 14, 1952


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that counter-attacking South Koreans met in battle with the Chinese Communists as darkness and a blinding ground fog descended on "Pinpoint Hill" this night. Associated Press correspondent John Randolph, reporting from the central front, said that the Communist artillery fire and stubborn infantry resistance had combined to deny the South Koreans recapture of "Pinpoint", the dominant height on "Sniper Ridge". It had been the first time in the month-long battle for the Kumhwa ridges that South Korean shock troops had failed to seek their objective in a daylight attack. After 13 hours of steady fighting, the South Korean troops were partially up the slopes, but remained short of the crest. Screaming Chinese infantrymen had taken the hill early this date in human-wave attacks which brought them into the South Korean entrenchments where hand-to-hand fighting ensued. The South Koreans had taken and lost "Pinpoint" 14 times during the prior 32 days. The artillery shelling and bad weather hampered radio communications.

Otherwise along the front, action was light.

Rain and heavy clouds grounded the Fifth Air Force warplanes this date, and the previous night, light bombers had destroyed 115 enemy trucks in North Korea.

At the U.N. General Assembly meeting in New York, the debate on Korea before the Political Committee resumed this date, as delegates continued to work behind the scenes for a compromise on the voluntary repatriation of prisoners, the remaining roadblock to an armistice. A delegate to the meeting said that no concrete decisions had been reached and that further meetings would be held. The Western resolutions proposed to the Assembly stated that no prisoner would be returned by force or prevented from being returned by force, while the Soviet-bloc resolutions demanded immediate return of all prisoners, regardless of their personally stated desires. The Soviet proposal also would set up an international commission to work out a peaceful unification of Korea. Resolutions put forth by Mexico and Peru would accept the Russian proposal on the commission but adhere to the Western position on return of prisoners. India was said to be preparing its own resolution.

U.N. general counsel and principal director of the legal department since 1946, Abraham Feller, had committed suicide the previous day, leaping from his 12th floor apartment in front of his wife. He had been credited with writing some of the most important statements of Secretary-General Trygve Lie, who had earlier in the week tendered his resignation from the post. Mr. Lie said that Mr. Feller had killed himself because of the strain of defending U.N. employees "against indiscriminate smears and exaggerated charges." A Federal grand jury and Senator Pat McCarran's Internal Security subcommittee had been looking into charges of subversive affiliations of some American employees of the Secretariat. The counsel for the Senate subcommittee said, however, that Mr. Feller had not been a target of the investigation. A statement issued on behalf of three members of the subcommittee, Senators James Eastland of Mississippi, Homer Ferguson of Michigan, and Willis Smith of North Carolina, said that Mr. Lie's assertion was "irresponsible". Associates of Mr. Feller indicated that he had been a close friend of Alger Hiss.

Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., established himself as the liaison between President-elect Eisenhower and the Truman Administration this date, emphasizing that his job was to gather information and not to provide it. He said to reporters that he had already been provided some information by the Administration, but declined to say what it was or with whom he would be meeting among Government officials. He said that he would gather data on all departments, and not, as previously reported, limit himself to the State and Defense Departments. The President reportedly had directed his officials to cooperate fully in providing information to the Senator.

In Augusta, Ga., President-elect Eisenhower awaited the arrival of Governor Dewey for a policy conference regarding Korea and other problems facing the new administration. Press secretary James Hagerty said that he knew of no plans for General Eisenhower to visit Moscow, in addition to his upcoming trip to Korea, as had been reported by a Paris newspaper.

Tom Fesperman of The News tells of two potential Cabinet members having flown into Charlotte this date, one being Governor Dewey, who was applauded and practically mobbed by local and state Republican leaders, who took him into the airport restaurant to discuss matters. No one took much notice of Walter Williams, national chairman of the Citizens for Eisenhower, who had also stopped. Governor Dewey said that he had no plans beyond finishing his term as Governor, and was not looking for a Cabinet appointment. Mr. Williams, likewise, said that reports of his possible appointment were just reports and nothing more. Both men were scheduled to talk with General Eisenhower later in the day in Augusta.

Off Norfolk, Va., a fast Navy attack transport, engaged in amphibious war maneuvers, had been rammed midship by a Texaco tanker 50 miles east of Cape Henry this date, with the Navy reporting that at least five had been killed and six injured. All of the casualties had been among Army personnel aboard the Navy transport.

In New York, the New England supervisor for the Federal Bureau of Narcotics testified to the New York State Crime Commission this date that he had been informed that wealthy former convict Thomas "Three-Finger Brown" Luchese, a garment manufacturer, had replaced imprisoned Frank Costello as the new "coordinator of rackets". Mr. Luchese had reportedly assigned "group leaders" in various geographical divisions of the country, while he acted as coordinator. During the 1950 mayoral campaign in New York, Edward Corsi, the Republican candidate, charged that Mr. Luchese was a supporter of Vincent Impellitteri, who won the election. The new Mayor, however, said that he did not know "Three-Finger Brown" but did know Mr. Luchese, whom he believed to be a reputable businessman.

In Westport, Mass., a mother and her eight children perished in a fire at their home, while the father and a son were away at work. The children had ranged in age from 3 to 17.

In Greensboro, N.C., former State Senator George Penny entered a plea of nolo contendere to state income tax evasion, and the judge sentenced him to pay a $5,000 fine within 30 days and to work off the tax liability within a year, as conditions of probation, suspending an unspecified prison sentence. Mr. Penny was in the land auction business and had maintained few records, had stated to the court that he had no acquaintance with an income tax form's complexities, and that his tax returns had been handled by his secretary and a bookkeeper.

In San Francisco, a preliminary air raid alert was flashed to officials in nine area counties early this date, after heavy rain short-circuited the civil defense alarm network. The red alert which warned the public, however, was not activated. That's good, because those sirens make you run for the hills.

On the editorial page, "The Crisis in the United Nations" indicates that the U.N. was facing its greatest crisis in its seven-year history, and that the resignation during the week of Secretary-General Trygve Lie had underscored the rift between the East and the West which threatened to split the world organization beyond repair.

There had been no reconciliation on the issue of voluntary repatriation, remaining as the roadblock to the Korean truce. The Richmond News-Leader, in an editorial regarding the Geneva Convention, said that the U.S. should re-examine its position on the prisoner of war issue, as the Convention supported the Russian position to have prisoners repatriated, regardless of their personal desires. The piece indicates that it would not necessarily result in truce, even if the U.N. finally acquiesced on the prisoner of war issue, as the Communists might erect yet another roadblock to peace. Yet, maintaining this stance promised to prolong the struggle.

Another problem facing the U.N. was the dubious effectiveness of collective security which merely stopped aggression without punishing the aggressor.

The structure of the U.N. had been premised on the idea of the Allies in World War II not becoming aggressors, but in the Korean War, Communist China, which did not presently have representation in the U.N., and Russia had been the aggressors. It thus posits the question whether collective security against one of the Big Five nations, sitting as permanent members of the Security Council, with unilateral veto rights, could ever work within the present framework of the organization.

Although the U.N. forces in Korea had strong moral support from more than 40 member nations, many of those countries had not contributed manpower and resources in proportionate strength, and so it wonders whether any organization of nations could succeed in preserving the peace until its members had the willpower to do so.

It suggests that these and other issues facing the U.N. had likely prompted President Truman to invite President-elect Eisenhower to the White House the following week for a conference on peace. The weight of these problems would begin to press on the new President as soon as he would take office, and would press on him even earlier, as he visited Korea. With the fate of mankind in the balance, it suggests that it did not help to have Senators Pat McCarran of Nevada and Willis Smith of North Carolina stand on the sidelines and shout that the U.N. ought be moved out of the United States unless it took action to eliminate from its employees "spies and saboteurs". It concludes that more than the location of the U.N. was at stake, rather its very survival.

"To 'Leer' Is To Assault" believes it likely that the newspapers in the North, as well as the Communist press all over the world, would exaggerate the conviction in Superior Court in Yanceyville of the black tenant farmer for assaulting a 17-year old white girl by "leering" at her from a distance of 65 feet. It finds, however, that there would be some justification in such exaggeration.

It quotes from the "statute" in effect at the time, which provided that threats and a display of force causing another to apprehend danger, abandon his course or do other than he would have done, constituted an assault. It also provided: "If by other means, such as looking at a person in a leering manner, or watching, and then following, one causes another to become frightened and run, then he is guilty of assault." (This latter language, incidentally, sounds more in the nature of a case annotation listed below the statute or a jury instruction based thereon rather than an actual part of any statute, as statutes are not usually fact-specific. That is more likely the case, since the State Supreme Court on appeal did not mention in its opinion any statute on assault, referring only to the interpretation by prior cases of the common law definition of assault. Indeed, it appears that the only statute in effect in 1952 pertaining to assault was one, not defining assault, but only fixing punishment for different forms of it and specifying the competency and sufficiency of certain evidence, leaving to the common law its definition. See pages 317-318 of 1949 Session Laws, regarding N.C.G.S. 14-33.) The piece finds that by application to the instant case, the definition appeared too loose, because of the distance between the tenant farmer and the girl and the lack of evidence that he had an intent to commit an assault.

It finds, however, that the jury had heard the evidence and rendered its verdict, finding him guilty, a verdict more acceptable had there been one or more black citizens on the jury or had it been brought in from another county. It finds the most questionable aspect of the case to have been the decision of the judge to place the tenant farmer on probation for five years, that it would have been better to have suspended the sentence of six months without adding the excessive period of probation.

It notes that the defendant's attorneys had said that they would appeal the conviction to the State Supreme Court, where, the editorial hopes, the evidence could be considered in a "calmer, cooler atmosphere, with a better chance of full and equitable justice."

As indicated, the following February, the State Supreme Court would reverse the conviction, finding that mere leering was insufficient to constitute an assault without evidence of a threat of imminent force accompanying the leer.

The provision of the 1949 statute, incidentally, affording a greater sentence than 30 days for, among other types of assault, "(3) Assault or assault and battery by any man or boy over eighteen years old on any female person..." utilizes an interesting choice of words, as opposed simply to specifying "male".

"Pilot Project for the World" tells of one aspect of TVA's usefulness which did not obtain much publicity, that being its importance to the worldwide effort to conserve water power and turn great rivers to more productive uses. Engineers from 75 different countries had visited the TVA project, 1,761 just in the previous year. As a result, there were 15 similar projects in operation from India to Peru, and nearly two dozen others which had embraced part of TVA's concept.

All of these projects had taken land which was virtually useless and made it productive.

In addition to the visiting engineers, many TVA experts had gone abroad to help with the planning and construction of major projects.

Nevertheless, it was doubtful that the U.S. would follow the valley authority plan in the future, as President-elect Eisenhower preferred a system which would retain more local and state authority over such vast enterprises. Even so, TVA stood as a model for those nations where state and local control were not so important, and, it concludes, its benefits would go far beyond its original conception.

"This Fellow from Dakota?" tells of a young circulation manager of the Tupelo Journal in Mississippi having decided to return to his native North Dakota after someone had poured sugar in the gas tank of his car, and then taken him for a ride and given him a haircut with a razor, while suggesting that he leave town. Although the mayor and police of Tupelo had offered him protection, given that his wife was pregnant and distraught, he had decided that it was the better part of valor to return to Fargo. It regards the incident as suggestive of times having changed, when a newspaperman could be run out of town.

When Deadwood Dick and Calamity Jane toured the Dakota territory, one of the favorite sports aimed at those from the South, from places such as Tupelo, was to shoot a .45 pistol at the feet of the tenderfoot while an audience of grinning cowhands hollered "dance". He would find cockleburs under his saddle blanket and dark suggestions that he should return home. While some did, others, such as young Teddy Roosevelt, got back in the saddle again after being tossed from a raw bronc given him instead of his regular mount, and later led the Rough Riders, whose respect he had earned. (Incidentally, someone, the printer's devil or the author, used that notorious "lead" for "led". Although technically acceptable within the context of the particular sentence, it so compresses the timeframe between Teddy's remount and his leading of the Rough Riders that "led", or at least "would lead", would be preferred. He just didn't get up out of the dust after being thrown and then lead the Rough Riders.)

It indicates that it could not imagine any of North Dakota's Non-Partisan Leaguers or Senator William Langer leaving town just because someone had suggested it. It believes that when the circulation manager returned to Fargo, his fellows would lend him a six-shooter and tell him to return to Tupelo.

Drew Pearson tells of Premier Pinay of France having issued feelers for an early visit to the U.S. to confer with President-elect Eisenhower or President Truman. At stake would be the entire structure of the Western European defense system. The President had sent by special courier a secret communication to General Eisenhower the previous week, indicating this issue. The French were upset regarding U.S. discussion of the Arab demands for North African independence at the U.N., threatening to withdraw from NATO if the U.S. did not back the French against the Arabs. They would also indicate that their resources had been severely depleted by the war in Indo-China and were ready to dump it in the lap of the U.S., the same way the British had dumped Greece in 1947, leading to the Truman Doctrine of military aid. The Pinay Government was in danger of being voted out of office, notwithstanding the fact that it was the most efficient regime which France had produced and was definitely pro-American. It would need U.S. political support to remain in power, and that would have to come either through support with respect to the Arab problem or in Indo-China. A large Chinese Communist army was reported to be on the Indo-Chinese border, and peace in Korea would release more matériel to feed the Communist revolt against the French.

There was also the factor of growing anti-Americanism and isolationism among the French, as the French were becoming increasingly wary of Germany and were bucking the Western European Army, thus compromising NATO. The Soviets sought to divide the allies and it would take superhuman steps by an inspiring leader to bring the alliance together again. It was, Mr. Pearson posits, the greatest problem faced by the new President, as the problems in Europe were planting the seeds of another world war.

Sinclair Weeks, the Boston banker who had supported General Eisenhower against Senator Taft at a crucial point in the Republican convention the previous July, would probably not be appointed Secretary of Defense, to follow in the footsteps of his father, John W. Weeks, who had been Secretary of War in both the Harding and Coolidge Cabinets. But he would likely become the new Ambassador to Britain. The elder Weeks had been responsible for providing a key promotion to then-Brig. General MacArthur, advancing him to Maj. General. In light of the coming coronation of Queen Elizabeth the following June, to become Ambassador to London was an excellent appointment. He notes that the present Ambassador was a Republican, Walter Gifford, head of A.T.&T., and he had resigned.

In the political shakeup in the Defense Department, it was expected that General Omar Bradley would be displaced as chairman of the Joint Chiefs, as General Bradley, as the campaign had progressed, did not like General Eisenhower's statements regarding Korea and so switched his preference to Governor Stevenson. General Bradley had been General Eisenhower's top field commander during the Normandy invasion in 1944, but had upset General Eisenhower with his recent book, revealing the friction with Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery during the Battle of the Bulge and the manner in which General Eisenhower had appeased the British commander. Since that revelation, General Eisenhower and General Bradley had not been so friendly. It was anticipated that General Walter Bedell Smith, presently head of the CIA, and former Chief of Staff to General Eisenhower, would accede to the position of Joint Chiefs chairman. General J. Lawton Collins would likely be replaced as Army chief of staff by General James Van Fleet, currently U.S. Eighth Army commander in Korea, as General Van Fleet had provided to General Eisenhower during the campaign a copy of his letter, in which he had urged, without success, superiors to train South Korean troops more rapidly for front line duty, helping to bolster the campaign statements of General Eisenhower that he would, as President, ultimately withdraw American troops from front line positions in Korea, and leave the fighting to the South Koreans.

Marquis Childs indicates that whenever there was a landslide victory changing parties as had occurred in the 1952 presidential election, there was some group who had supported the winning candidate who would benefit. In the case of FDR in 1932 and the subsequent landslide in 1936, it had been labor. In the case of General Eisenhower, it would be the oil companies and especially the large individual oil operators in Texas. They had contributed large sums of money to ensure that General Eisenhower would carry Texas and other doubtful states. At stake for them was the ownership of the tidelands, whether it would continue to be controlled by the Federal Government or would go to California, Texas, Louisiana and other states for leasing to the large oil companies. Geologists in the Department of Interior had conservatively estimated the value of the reserve at 40 billion dollars.

General Eisenhower, at one point in the campaign, had appeared to be on both sides of the issue, but finally reaffirmed his original view that the states had the right to the tidelands oil. Governor Stevenson favored continued control by the Federal Government, in accordance with the Supreme Court ruling on the matter, which would require an act of Congress to overturn.

Deceased former Secretary of Defense James Forrestal had believed it imperative to conserve the tidelands as a last strategic reserve, that turning it over to the states would entail more rapid and perhaps more wasteful exploitation of the oil. Obviously, the oil companies believed that they could strike a better deal with the states than with the Federal Government or they would not have worked so hard for state ownership.

The Republicans and the Southern Democrats would work to pass a bill turning the tidelands oil back to the states. Outgoing Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn had sought to persuade the President to change sides on the issue, though having supported Governor Stevenson in the election.

The Department of Justice had been pressing anti-trust charges against a half-dozen oil companies, alleging that they had entered into cartel agreements to divide markets and resources in the Middle East and Latin America. The Federal District Court judge overseeing the litigation had upheld the right of the Government to compel the companies to produce their records of foreign deals. As President, General Eisenhower and his advisers would be pressed to drop the suit, would be told that even if the agreements technically violated laws against cartels, the arrangements were essential to maintain stability in the Middle East. Such arguments would be persuasive in view of the country's responsibility in that part of the world, on the verge of upheaval.

Robert C. Ruark tells of sympathy for reporter Fred Othman, who had recently interviewed Ambassador to Mexico William O'Dwyer, former Mayor of New York, and then had written that the Ambassador intended to remain in Mexico after the election, regardless of who won. Mr. Othman was then called a liar by the Ambassador, the second time the latter had called a reporter a liar, although refraining this time from using the word "bastard".

He indicates that Mr. Othman was a very nice person and a painstaking reporter, had intended to give Ambassador O'Dwyer a break when everyone else had been attacking him. Mr. Ruark suggests that there was a lesson reporters had to learn in dealing with men in high places, that they would most likely deny what they had told the reporter during an interview if, in print, it appeared less palatable to the public than it had during the interview. It applied to Presidents, generals, and the local police sergeant. Another axiom was that the person who extended the soft hand to "a guy in the grease almost invariably gets spattered."

Mr. Ruark had been informed by the old hands in the business that Theodore Roosevelt would send out trial balloons by way of quotations to reporters and then issue angry denials the following day if the public impact was unfavorable. He would then make the reporter a member of what he called "The Ananias Club". FDR dodged quotes he did not like and on one occasion had been moved to award an "Iron Cross" in time of war with Germany to a reporter whose sentiments had displeased him.

On one occasion, Mr. Ruark had a factual basis for portraying a three-star general as less than fit for his command and had cleared his report through the general's own public relations chief, surrounded by staff, only then to have the general deny the contention while hiding and burning much of the evidence, and the public relations officer also then deny knowledge of the material which had been cleared through him. It had cured Mr. Ruark of any trust extending beyond basic precepts of home and mother.

He indicates that he had known very few reporters who deliberately falsified facts or quotes and had known equally few who had ever sought to "get" someone, unless the person richly deserved it. He had also never known many who were of importance and who rewarded a helping journalistic hand with thanks. They usually instead bit it off, as had been the case with Mr. Othman in tangling with Ambassador O'Dwyer.

A letter writer from Campobello, S.C., says that he had lost on every side of the election, finds the result to have been because the voters in the South were tired of the President and disgusted with the "rascals whom Truman appointed to all the places of honor", and because the people in both the South and the North had not liked the "ugly deal" at the Democratic convention. He says, cynically, that the voters were tired of all the success and prosperity achieved in the previous 20 years, and so he was planning to set up a committee of seven to collect money to establish factories in which to build Hoover Carts, as he believes their day would soon come again.

A letter writer tells of Westbrook Pegler having indicated in two columns on successive days, appearing in the Charlotte Observer on October 10 and 11, two different opinions, one suggesting that the Reader's Digest had a very low opinion of the intelligence of millions who had made it rich, and that the nation which bragged on its extravagant spending on schools was "so ignorant that the candidates had to shun the real issues underlying these counterfeits and pretend to be as ignorant themselves as the 'mass mind' which they had to consult."

A letter writer indicates that one day in October, 1951, he and his wife had gone to the Golden Years Club at Hawthorne Center in Charlotte out of curiosity, after being invited by friends and reading an announcement in the press, and found it wonderful, that older people looked forward to the regular meetings twice weekly, that the Club prevented people who had retired from taking an easy chair and relaxing for the rest of their years, that seeing others on the dance floor in their eighties made one feel that there was a good future ahead. He also appreciates the devotional time and the picnic dinners.

A time set aside for discussing and studying philosophy and engaging in some intellectual discussion on great literature, for instance, as well as current events and the usual stuff, would also keep grandma's and grandpa's minds focused and prevent them from wandering into the great void of incomprehension during the Golden Years. The mind, as well as the body, also needs daily exercise to be fit and not flabby.

A letter writer from McBee, S.C., indicates that South Carolina was no longer a strictly Democratic state, but was now "independent" and would vote as it pleased. Nearly 50 percent of its vote had been cast for General Eisenhower, though he had lost that state. He concludes that they had voted for the man rather than the party and he was proud of the fact. He says that "by the grace of God we have chosen a great leader to lead us out of the dung-hill of despair and out of the darkness of corruption and into the light."

Oh, you will be enlightened, all right. Just wait about 22 years.

A letter writer from Blacksburg, S.C., thanks the newspaper for restoring the "Evening Prayer" to the front page, as it gave her comfort and spiritual strength.

A letter writer congratulates the newspaper and all who took part in giving the public both sides of the news during the presidential campaign, believes that everyone should be glad that they had a free press.

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