The Charlotte News

Thursday, December 18, 1952


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports, via George McArthur, that Allied warplanes had hit a large Communist troop massing area near Pyongyang this date, as the Communists boasted, via loudspeaker broadcasts along the front, that they would be in Seoul by Christmas, and stated in dropped leaflets from Communist planes, "Yankee, go home." The Air Force said that more than 70 buildings had been destroyed and 30 more damaged. There were no signs that the Communists were massing anywhere along the front for an offensive move.

Sabre jets over northwest Korea had shot down one enemy MIG and damaged another, as ten Sabres clashed with 22 MIGs over Suiho reservoir, almost directly above the Yalu River boundary with Manchuria.

In ground action, the most pronounced lull in months settled over the frozen battlefront, as the temperature dropped to ten degrees.

President-elect Eisenhower the previous day met with General MacArthur to discuss the latter's claimed plan to end the Korean War. There was no indication of whether the two Generals agreed. According to the new President's aides, he was contemplating the proposals. He would meet this day with Republican Congressional leaders, one of a series of such meetings he would hold before the New Year.

In Paris, the NATO Council of Ministers agreed this date to spend $239,600,000 in 1953 for airports and other solid defenses against Soviet aggression, a little more than half of the 428 million sought by NATO supreme commander General Matthew Ridgway. The Council decided that they would meet again in Paris the following spring, with no date having been set, after a prospective meeting between Prime Minister Winston Churchill and President Eisenhower.

At the U.N. in New York, the General Assembly pushed toward a formal appeal for direct Arab-Israeli peace talks regarding Palestine, after the Assembly had adopted the previous night a resolution urging similar face-to-face negotiations between France and Tunisia, the latter seeking its independence, with France boycotting the debate on the issue. The special political committee had already approved the proposed Arab-Israeli resolution, but the Arab spokesman from Iraq sought full debate on the question before the Assembly voted. The Arabs had served notice that they would ignore the resolution unless Israel met their demands for resettlement of, or payment of compensation to, some 900,000 Arab refugees who had fled Palestine during the Arab-Israeli war of 1948.

In London, NBC radio correspondent Romney Wheeler quoted diplomatic sources in Moscow that the Chinese delegation was "putting the squeeze on Russia" for aid in building atomic bombs, offering, in exchange for the technical knowledge, to grant Russia access to uranium deposits in Sinkiang Province.

The President's special Health Commission proposed this date a solution for paying medical bills, calling for a board program of Federal and state support to make voluntary prepaid insurance plans available to cover the cost of medical care for everyone. Federal and state funds totaling 1.5 billion dollars annually would be provided to pay all or part of the cost for those who could not afford to pay their share, while others would pay their own premiums. The plan differed from both a system unsuccessfully put forward by the President and a proposal put forward by the AMA. The president of the AMA called the new plan "compulsory health insurance". The Commission said that the people should be able to choose their own doctor and that the doctor should work without government interference, that emphasis would be placed on organizing groups of doctors to provide complete medical care in close conjunction with medical centers and hospitals. The Commission proposed that Federal Social Security funds for old age and survivors insurance would be used for prepaid medical plans for those receiving Social Security benefits, without regard to the ability to pay. As a result, some three million persons already receiving those benefits would automatically be brought under the program without further contribution. Millions of others would receive prepaid medical care from Federal funds when they reached age 65. The President issued a statement saying that he hoped that the Commission's proposal would not be a "dead report" and would be followed up and its recommendations carried out. He emphasized that the Commission's proposal had been worked out without any interference from him.

In New York, Joseph Ryan, president of the International Longshoremen's Association, had been rejected by the district attorney as a witness before the New York County grand jury, investigating waterfront conditions, because he had refused to sign a waiver of immunity.

Also in New York, a 2 1/2-year old boy, whose mother had died the previous September and who had been living since with relatives in Indianapolis, would be able to join his father for Christmas in Frankfurt, Germany, where his father was in the Army. He had flown to Frankfurt via TWA the previous day.

In Chicago, one of two Siamese twins who had been separated the previous day was "doing badly" this date and physicians doubted that he would survive. Doctors performing the surgery said that they had to make a choice between the two, who had a single, fused outer brain covering containing a single sagittal sinus vein which drains blood from the brain back to the heart, and opted for the smaller of the twins, as he showed the greater chance for ultimate survival.

In Davidson, N.C., a retired Davidson College professor, Dr. Caleb Harding, 91, who had taught Greek for 57 years, died at his home this date after being ill for several years. He had lived in Charlotte all of his youth, had attended Davidson starting in 1876, and, after graduation and obtaining a master's degree, had received his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University in 1888, then becoming a professor at Davidson, establishing one of the longest terms of continuous service to the College. He had retired from active teaching in 1945, becoming a professor emeritus.

In Miami, a man from Charlotte who had clung to mangrove bushes for 28 hours in cold weather in Angel Fish Creek, twenty miles south of Miami, was in satisfactory condition in the hospital. He had been released from the hospital two weeks earlier with a badly burned hand. He had lost his balance in a tugboat and fallen overboard into the creek, but was not missed for a half hour, and then was presumed drowned after a Coast Guard search turned up no sign of him. He had been rescued late the previous day by a fishing boat.

Ralph Gibson of The News reports that FBI director J. Edgar Hoover had written a personal letter to Robert Harris, a teller at the Bank of Charlotte, commending him for his coolness in confronting a would-be robber who had been given a three-year prison term in Federal District Court in Charlotte the previous day following his plea of guilty, facing a maximum of twenty years. The letter also commended a second teller, Emery Sullivan, a former Marine, who had caught and subdued the robber after he had handed Mr. Harris a note and then fled when Mr. Harris dove under the counter, reaching for a telephone. The robber was an honorably discharged veteran with no police record, from Pennsylvania. He had been seeking funds from the robbery to enable him to travel to Honduras to take a job with a local construction company.

On the editorial page, "Budenz, Too, Should Take the Stand" reminds that Professor Owen Lattimore, indicted for perjury allegedly committed the previous summer before the Senate Internal Security subcommittee investigating the Institute of Pacific Relations, alleged to have Communist sympathies, despite its members consisting of very prominent Americans, had not been yet proven to be disloyal. It finds that some of the seven charges against him, even if proven, might indicate only that he did not have an extraordinary memory or a voluminous diary. For example, he was charged with lying about his denying acquaintance during the Thirties with certain persons who had been Communists, and denying that he had lunch with a Soviet ambassador during the brief mutual non-aggression pact between Germany and Russia in August, 1939. It suggests that it was difficult to recall whether someone had said 15 years earlier that a particular person was a Communist or a Bull Mooser. It was even more difficult to recall the exact date of a luncheon more than a decade earlier. It was glad, nevertheless, that the case was proceeding to court so that the evidence on both sides could be adjudicated.

It asserts, however, that Louis Budenz also ought testify before the grand jury, as he had contradicted himself on matters more important than luncheon dates during testimony before the subcommittee. He had said that he had left the Communist Party in 1945 and then, during the ensuing five years, provided 18 hours per week to the FBI as an informant regarding his former associates, telling the State Department and Collier's that Mr. Lattimore had, during that period, not been a Communist. But, in March, 1950, he had contended that Mr. Lattimore was a Communist, a charge made during the same week when Senator Joseph McCarthy had begun his anti-Communist charges of either 57, 81, or 205 Communists in the State Department. In other instances, he had also testified inconsistently, for instance, in 1950, stating that he had no information regarding the political affiliations of diplomat John Service, but in 1951, also under oath, testifying that the latter, based on official information Mr. Budenz had received, had many contacts within the Communist Party. He had also reversed his position regarding diplomat John Carter Vincent, who had been called home earlier during this week from Tangier by the State Department because of "reasonable doubt" regarding his loyalty.

It indicates that the truth would not be known until all who contradicted themselves could be heard and their testimony closely scrutinized, including Mr. Budenz.

"Winnie Plays a Hard Role Well" tells of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill having risen in Commons the prior Tuesday to announce that Admiral Louis Mountbatten had been appointed as Mediterranean commander, and been heckled because the latter would be subordinate to General Matthew Ridgway, supreme commander of NATO, and would not command the U.S. Navy strike force in the area, that reserved to Admiral Robert Carney. The Prime Minister had brushed off the criticism, saying that he thought it "very remarkable" that Admiral Mountbatten had received the top job.

It finds the episode to be in remarkable contrast to the Prime Minister's statement on November 10, 1942, at the start of the Allied North African campaign, that he had not "become the King's First Minister in order to preside over the liquidation of the British Empire", finding a rationalization on which to accept his nation's subordinate position, as he had with regard to the D-Day operations in 1944. He had done so with great dignity and understanding, "which, among old and stanch allies, means more than the nationality of commanders."

"A Knuckle Rap Isn't Enough" tells of the Articles of War providing a variety of punishments for soldiers who strayed, ranging from death to confinement at hard labor to less drastic results, such as discharge, loss of rank, forfeiture of pay, and fines. Minor infractions often brought restrictions of privileges for enlisted men or an admonition for officers. The latter differed from a reprimand in that it did not go into the officer's files and resulted usually in a letter from a superior, advising the officer of the error.

Lt. General Lewis A. Pick, chief of the Army Corps of Engineers, and two colonels serving under him, F. F. Frech and George T. Derby, had received admonitions from Army Secretary Frank Pace, in consequence of disclosures by Senator Lyndon Johnson's Preparedness subcommittee, that there had been extensive drunkenness, loafing, looting, waste, confusion and corruption at Moroccan airbases constructed, hastily and faultily, under the direction of those three officers. The Secretary had said in his letter that the officers had not provided adequate inspection of the bases, or fully informed their superiors or the Senate investigators of the problems and shortcomings of the project.

The piece wonders what kind of example was thus set. After the Koje Island prisoner riots in Korea the previous February, the commanders had received a reduction in grade. Another officer, who had accepted gifts and favors from contractors doing business with the Army, had merely received a transfer. While a Senate committee might make grave charges which were not necessarily true, the subcommittee in question had a reputation for being exhaustive and careful in its investigations and its report ought result in more than a rap on the knuckles for the three officers. It suggests that a full hearing before a court martial was in order.

A piece from the Raleigh News & Observer, titled "Too Close Home", indicates that Robert S. Allen, the columnist formerly associated, prior to the war, with Drew Pearson, had reported that the House Investigating Committee which had uncovered the scandals in the IRB, had more sensational evidence which was not likely to see the light of day, for it came too close to home, involving more than twenty members of Congress, including present Republican floor leader Senator Styles Bridges, and about evenly distributed between the two parties.

It indicates that it was one area where Congressional investigations invariably broke down, that the present Congress had done more investigating than its predecessors and in many instances, committees had done excellent work, whereas in other cases they had appeared more interested in publicity for individual members than anything else. They were all, however, in lockstep in treading lightly on matters when members of Congress were involved.

It observes that under the Constitution, Congress had nearly unlimited power and was possessed of the sole responsibility to control its own members, who could not be held accountable "in any other place" for what they did or said as members of Congress. It advocates that the Congress take responsibility for its own and show the courage to discipline them when needed.

Drew Pearson indicates that now that the President-elect had returned from his tour of Korea, more could be written about the talks he had while there. He indicates that, actually, the talks had mainly been bull sessions at which military strategy was considered far into the night. Ground commander, General James Van Fleet, had been a West Point classmate of the new President, and General Mark Clark, U.N. supreme commander in Korea, had served under the General in North Africa, with Joint Chiefs chairman General Omar Bradley also having been a West Point classmate. All four, therefore, had sat around during the evenings considering the problems and alternatives faced in resolving the war. The sessions sometimes lasted until after midnight, explaining why daytime activity had been limited. The President-elect had told the military chiefs when he had arrived that he was completely exhausted, having had no real rest for six months since the start of the campaign in early June, that his so-called vacation in Augusta had been a bust, which was one of the main reasons for the slow trip home by cruiser, with a stopover in Hawaii. (But you can't do more than a little putting aboard ship, unless, that is, you view the entire ocean as your fairway.)

During these bull sessions, General Van Fleet had assured that U.N. forces were strong enough defensively to hold the Chinese armies, no matter what force they faced. General Clark had said that the alternatives were to continue to hit the enemy within the present confines of the war, trying to discourage it while not advancing, to extend the air war into Manchuria and destroy the supply bases there, or to extend the air war into Manchuria and simultaneously advance the land forces to the border of Manchuria. He said that under the latter scenario, he could not guarantee that the Chinese would not continue the war from Manchuria. The President-elect had made no definite commitment on the course he intended to follow.

Mr. Pearson notes that General Clark had suggested that the President-elect leave Korea after only two days, as he feared a bombing attack by enemy planes, but the new President had declined and instead stayed the planned three days.

He informs that the political orders radioed to Eisenhower headquarters in New York from the cruiser as it brought the President-elect to Hawaii, had been signed by Attorney General-designate Herbert Brownell, suggesting that he would be the "big political gun" of the new Administration, Mr. Brownell having originally served under Governor Dewey. As the new patronage boss, he had made a concession to Senator Taft, warning Secretary of Labor-designate Martin Durkin that the Senator, who had publicly objected to Mr. Durkin's appointment on the basis that he was a Democrat and had opposed Taft-Hartley, would be allowed to name one of Mr. Durkin's assistants, and that the President would appoint his other assistant secretaries, with little input from the Secretary.

There were still plenty of hotel accommodations available for those wanting to attend the inauguration, and he provides the address to which to write, should you be so inclined. We intend to stay home by the fire, without any air conditioning on.

The President's remarks about the President-elect's trip to Korea being a "piece of demagoguery" and also criticizing General MacArthur for his public statements that he had a definite plan for the solution to Korea, which the President had said he should have shared with the White House, adding that he believed that the General had no such new plan, could have the effect of bringing together the two Generals, who had been at odds for a long time, in a way that the urging of former President Hoover had not been able to effect during the campaign.

First Lady Bess Truman could not afford to retain her personal secretary after she would leave the White House and so had been telephoning friends to try to locate for her a job, and Missouri Senator-elect Stuart Symington, whom the President had sought to defeat in the primaries—but would support for the Democratic presidential nomination over Senator Kennedy in 1960—had promised to hire her.

The Navy had been so upset by a magazine article debunking "Operation Mainbrace", the recent naval maneuvers of the NATO nations in the Baltic, that Assistant Secretary of the Navy, John Floberg, had telephoned five large airplane manufacturers and asked them to withdraw their financial support for the publisher of Air Force, published by the Air Force Association, a private organization supported primarily by air-minded private corporations. Mr. Floberg had indicated that otherwise, Navy contracts with the five companies might be canceled.

Query whether Mr. Floberg was soliciting a bribe, a felony under Federal law, in consequence of which he ought be fired and prosecuted. After all, he was engaging in a quid pro quo—or, as we heard someone recently call it, a "quinn pro quo"—, withdrawal of support for the publication in exchange for maintenance of the contracts with the Navy. The answer, insofar as bribery is concerned, is no, for the fact that Mr. Floberg did not seek any personal benefit from the exchange for performance of his official duties. Had he, for instance, solicited, during the late campaign, support for Governor Stevenson to avoid cancellation of the contracts, ostensibly to preserve his job in an ensuing Democratic administration, then the answer would be, depending on his circumstantially proved corrupt intent, yes, in addition to which he would be subject to prosecution most assuredly under the Hatch Act, preventing Federal employees from engaging in political campaigns. Note the distinction, which is not so subtle, Trumpies.

On the other hand, in the instance cited, might those companies have threatened to sue Mr. Floberg, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1983, should he follow through with his threat and cancel their contracts, on the theory that, while acting as an official under color of state law, he deprived them of a right under the Constitution, freedom of speech and the press, that is financial support of a publication?

The Congressional Quarterly indicates that the end of the Korean War was the principal foreign policy problem facing President-elect Eisenhower and the new Congress, with both houses controlled by Republicans. A study conducted by the Quarterly regarding foreign policy had shown that the settlement of the war was the primary concern of the Congress. In the meantime, foreign aid programs of recent years were expected to continue, with change in emphasis from the West to the East and some reductions. The Truman Administration had emphasized the build-up of Western European defenses, but the Republicans were planning to emphasize Asian defenses, with some members of Congress favoring aid to Nationalist China.

It was expected that aid to Western Europe would continue, but in a decreasing amount, as the President-elect had stated that he would agree to a less costly military aid program, with expenditures in Europe to taper off. Congress was ready to cut economic and technical assistance programs as well, and the President-elect had stated that he might consolidate foreign economic and technical assistance under one agency to curtail waste and duplication.

The President-elect believed in psychological warfare as a means of penetrating the Iron Curtain, especially in the satellite nations, such as Poland and Czechoslovakia. Congress in the past, however, had not shown great enthusiasm for these programs.

The President-elect was a strong supporter of the U.N., and Congress was likely to continue to approve of the U.S. providing about one-third of the expenses of the organization. The President-elect favored formation of regional security pacts for the Middle East and for the Pacific nations, similar to NATO. Past voting indicated that Congress would approve such plans.

The President-elect believed in "trade instead of aid" and was not an advocate of high tariffs, contrary to the Hoover Administration, preferring instead to see the non-Communist nations support themselves through trade with one another rather than depending on U.S. aid, a position which Congress would support. Congress, when considering whether to renew the reciprocal trade agreements, set to expire the following June, would likely provide escape clauses to protect U.S. agriculture and industry when necessary. The President-elect had taken no position on reciprocal trade, but his prior statements suggested that he would disfavor cutting of foreign aid to protect domestic markets from foreign competition. He had expressed agreement with a Congressional ban on trade in arms with Iron Curtain countries, but believed that Congressional intent should be made clear. He favored encouragement of U.S. business to invest abroad, while Congress had been reluctant to provide Government guarantees for such investments.

The President-elect, during the campaign, had called for substantial changes in the national origins provisions of the McCarran Immigration Act, passed by Congress in 1952 over President Truman's veto. The piece indicates that unless Congress changed its views, the new President would have an uphill battle to amend that law, which would become effective December 24.

The new President had supported the exchange of atomic information under proper safeguards, and Congress had rejected an attempt to reserve atomic information from NATO nations in 1949.

Marquis Childs tells of having had an opportunity to look at the "brilliant, seemingly limitless distances of the Arizona desert", where the "far-off mountain ranges are like blue shadows on the cloudless horizon and it is not hard to keep out of sight and out of mind the worrisome reminders of the gnawing fears that haunt our time." On returning from his trip, he had found the dilemma of resolving the Korean War to hold a darker and more threatening appearance in that it had almost been taken for granted against the background of certain assumptions, one of which was that neither Russia nor the U.S. was desirous of a larger war, hearkening an eventual settlement of Korea by simply dividing the peninsula into northern and southern nations. But that comforting belief could no longer be taken for granted.

The possibility of a larger war, he warns, did loom. The American people were impatient for the war to end, an impatience expressed during the campaign, and the new President would be under great pressure to satisfy this impatience, especially given his campaign promises to do his best to effect a solution, while cautioning that no magical means existed to end the conflict. That impatience had existed long before the campaign, the Republicans merely having exploited it. As Mr. Childs had traveled about the country during the previous three months, he could easily see that the continuing bloodletting in Korea was the most important source of dissatisfaction to the people and he records that the signs of impatience were mounting.

William R. Matthews, editor of the Tucson Daily Star, was undertaking an editorial campaign to persuade the new Administration that the only way to prevent Korea from becoming a larger war was to accept the Communist position on prisoners of war, pointing out that the Geneva Conventions did not require that the wishes of prisoners of war be taken into account in repatriation, that therefore the U.S. could approve turning over all prisoners to the Communists, including those expressing a desire not to be repatriated. That editorial campaign had attracted great attention.

An article, titled "Is Korea Worth a War?" had also appeared in the November 23, 1952 issue of Look—the title of which is reminiscent of the same question, an ominous one as things would transpire, regarding the Dutch East Indies which John F. Kennedy had echoed in his expanded senior honors thesis, Why England Slept, published in 1940—, in which the author, London Economist editor Geoffrey Crowther, questioned the value of Korea in the larger scheme of Western defense, also suggesting that the role of U.S. forces in a stalemated war on the frontier of Communism was no more than that which Britain had done during its century of maintaining order in the world—the Pax Britannica. Such signs could be read by the men of the Kremlin, potentially causing them to strengthen the Soviet determination to prevent any settlement of the war on the belief that the West would eventually give up the burden of the conflict. Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Vishinsky had shown that determination in contemptuously rejecting the compromise plan submitted in the U.N. by India's delegation and approved by the General Assembly, to form a prisoner of war commission from five nations to determine repatriation after an armistice, in the hope of resolving the remaining issue blocking a peace settlement, placing the onus of maintaining the war on the Communists after their foregone rejection of the proposal.

A letter writer tells of the repaved and widened 36th Street having been officially opened during the week by the Mayor and City Council, that there had been a suggestion to rename it because of its widening into a broad thoroughfare. He suggests that it be called North Boulevard.

A letter writer from Florence, S.C., suggests that the people would be happy for the ensuing four years with President Eisenhower and Vice-President Nixon, that they would provide a "businesslike and honorable administration". He extends an olive branch, as a "Jeffersonian Democrat", to the "opposing national Democrats" and expects the new President to be re-elected in 1956.

A letter writer from Spindale, N.C., says that he had recently attended a Superior Court session and provides summaries of several cases involving homicides in which what he regards as lenient sentences had been handed down, though not explaining the particulars of each case—a dangerous pursuit where homicide is charged, as various degrees and types might be alleged and various defenses might lie to attenuate guilt of higher degrees or result in acquittal. He had concluded that murderous "criminals" were being let off easy with light sentences, wants "technicalities, loopholes and antebellum methods" eliminated so as to have justice meted out in capital cases "swiftly and surely".

As to swift and sure justice, it was already typical in 1952 for death sentences in North Carolina to be executed in less than a year after the murder or other capital offense for which conviction occurred, unless a reversal on appeal, assuming the defendant's lawyer deigned to prosecute one, intervened to cause a new trial. He seems to desire frontier justice, out the back door of the courthouse after the verdict directly to the gallows. Go to law school and find out something about the different types of homicide before making wild, slap-happy assessments gleaned from visits to a court and resultant casual, probably erroneous, observations anent crime and punishment—about which this writer demonstrates little or no knowledge, preferring to view evidentiary presentations in white and black. Did he also propose to second-guess the surgeon on his performance in the operating room?

His energies would have been better directed at urging refrain from having guns around to make homicide of any type, or any killing of a human being for that matter, that much easier.

The writer would be better off, perhaps, sticking to politics, where he seemed to possess some good knowledge, and leave behind the legal system until becoming better acquainted with the whys and wherefores of the law.

A letter writer takes issue with the statement of Ernest Norris, chairman of the board of Southern Railway, that he had declared "war on creeping socialism", wondering whether, with a month left in the Truman Administration, he was anticipating Republican socialism, in which case the writer suggests that Mr. Norris could say, "Et tu Eisenhower—then fall Southern R.R."

A letter from Charlotte Fire Department Chief Donald Charles expresses appreciation to the newspaper for its support in the recent successful bond election to enable construction of a new fire station.

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