The Charlotte News

Friday, December 19, 1952


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports, via Milo Farneti, that hundreds of allied fighter-bombers had hit Communist troop and supply concentrations this date, as the skies had cleared over the western front in Korea. U.S. Sabre jets reported one enemy MIG-15 damaged in two dogfights over Suiho Reservoir. Clouds and snow flurries during the morning had grounded attack planes.

Ground action continued light, with allied artillery fire against enemy troops near "Sniper Ridge" being the largest action. There were no further reports of Communist loudspeaker and radio propaganda barrages along the front lines, in contrast to the claims being broadcast the previous day that the Communists would be in Seoul by Christmas. There remained no indications that the Communists were preparing for a major offensive.

The President this date, in a speech before the National War College, defended his foreign policies during his Administration, declaring that they had produced "a situation in which it should be clear to the Soviet leaders they cannot gain their objectives by the use of force." He said that it appeared that the Communists had been bent on testing, sooner or later, the authority of the U.N. and the strength of the free countries by force and that if the test had not come in Korea, it would have come somewhere else. The fact that it was met and stopped had caused the Communists to desist in waging further aggression. If it had not been met, the President said, the free world might presently be in retreat before Communism "on a dozen other fronts". He indicated that historians might recognize mistakes which had been made, but that, on balance, they would say that never in history had a great nation responded to new and unaccustomed problems as had the U.S. during the previous seven years, and that never had such a greater or more enlightened effort been expended for a nobler purpose, the aim of world peace.

Secretary of State Acheson would return this date from Paris to confront a difficult decision, whether to fire suspended career diplomat John Carter Vincent, as recommended by the loyalty review board of the Civil Service Commission, which had found the prior Monday that there was "reasonable doubt" of Mr. Vincent's loyalty. Secretary Acheson could accept or reject the findings.

Professor Owen Lattimore, indicted by a Washington grand jury earlier in the week for seven counts of perjury before the Senate Internal Security Committee the previous February and March, was arraigned this date, stating loudly "not guilty". His trial would likely be set for the following March. The assistant U.S. Attorney prosecuting the case had asked the judge to restrict Mr. Lattimore's movements to D.C. and Maryland, but the judge refused. He also refused, at the request of defense counsel Thurmond Arnold, to admonish the Justice Department for contributions to newspaper stories about the case.

The State Department had asked for the immediate release of two brothers, Noel and Hermann Field, who had been arrested in Czechoslovakia in 1949, first Noel, a former State Department employee, who disappeared in Prague, and then his brother, a few months later, when he had gone to Warsaw with the intent to travel to Prague to look for his brother. Prague radio reports regarding the purge trials of former Communist officials the previous month had led to the conclusion that the Fields had been questioned while in Czech custody. The diplomatic note asked why the two brothers had been arrested and held without being allowed to see U.S. consular officials, demanded that arrangements be made for such contact and for their prompt release and repatriation.

In Petersburg, Va., John Maragon, the former Kansas City bootblack who had become a regular fixture at the White House for a time, involved in the influence-peddling investigations regarding freezers, furs and French perfume, before being convicted in 1950 on two perjury counts for lying about his bank account in Texas and denying that he was on the payroll of a perfume company while employed by the State Department during a mission to his native Greece, was released from prison after about 19 months.

Senator Taft announced this date that he would be a candidate for Majority Leader of the Republicans in the Senate, after consulting with Senator Styles Bridges, the present Minority Leader, who informed that he desired to be the president pro tem rather than Majority Leader, and also with Senator William Knowland of California, who told Senator Taft that he did not intend to be a candidate for the position.

Senator Karl Mundt of South Dakota stated this date that some Southern Democrats would be given a strong voice in the new Republican Senate, in recognition of the support from the South given President-elect Eisenhower in the election. He said that Republican leaders were discussing a proposal to create in certain committees the post of vice-chairman, to be filled by "cooperative" Southern Democrats. He said that the policy would be followed in practice more than in name. He cited Senator Walter George of Georgia, outgoing chairman of the Finance Committee, and Senator Richard Russell of Georgia, outgoing chairman of the Armed Services Committee, as examples, though Governor Stevenson had carried his largest plurality in Georgia, while losing Texas, Virginia, Florida and Tennessee.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that the cost of living had risen two-tenths of a point the previous month, to reach the record high set the previous August. The index was at 191.1 percent of the 1935-1939 base period, the BLS indicating that higher home rents were mainly responsible for the increase.

In New York, Albert Anastasia, reputed "lord high executioner" of Murder, Inc., appeared before the State Crime Commission this date but remained silent in response to key questions regarding waterfront racketeering, repeatedly asserting his Fifth Amendment privilege not to incriminate himself.

In Cincinnati, the secretary of the Norwood Eagles Lodge reported that they had received five U.S. mail bags full of 2,000 copies of the Ohio Tavern News, all the same issue, resulting from the letter-addressing machine having stuck on the Eagles plate in the mailing office in Columbus.

Also in Cincinnati, a 25-year old man drove his automobile onto railroad tracks, parked it and walked away as a train smashed into it. The man told a patrolman that he would no longer have to drive his wife to work. He was cited for ignoring a flashing red light.

In Camp Grohn, Germany, a loudspeaker called out for "Private J. Stalin", causing everyone to stop, but the young Polish soldier, who was in the U.S. Army under the alien enlistment program, explained that his name was pronounced that way but was actually Jan Stalun, no relation to Premier Stalin in Russia.

In Raleigh, newsmen would do their best to shoot turkeys the following day at a turkey shoot sponsored by the State Department of Agriculture at the State Fairgrounds, the winners to receive the turkeys by courtesy of the state's turkey industry.

Donald MacDonald of The News tells of a student commuter of Charlotte who traveled 1,140 miles roundtrip every weekend to attend classes at the NYU graduate school, flying from Charlotte to New York every Friday in pursuit of a Ph.D. in business education, while working in Charlotte as a member of the faculty of Kings Business College during the week. He explained that he disliked New York as a community and loved the Southeast, particularly Charlotte, and so chose to continue to reside there while pursuing his studies, which NYU afforded on a flexible schedule with a variety of courses available geared to his area of interest.

On the editorial page, "State Gas Price Regulation Is Out" indicates that Governor Kerr Scott's Gasoline Price Committee had produced a report which was pretty much a dud, calling for state regulation of gasoline prices, lest the people be left at the mercy of the oil companies. It rehashed what everybody already knew, that the big oil companies played the routine of following the leader in adjusting prices upward or downward, that price-cutting in the areas of price wars was uniformly transacted, and that the state's antitrust and anti-monopoly laws were quite weak.

The State Utilities Commission could not do an effective job of regulating the oil companies because it did not even have the facilities to assess local utility investments, and so would be lost if it branched into the worldwide oil industry.

It suggests that the findings of unfair pricing practices in the state be called to the attention of Senators Tom Hennings of Missouri and John Sparkman of Alabama, who had been investigating the world oil cartel, as it was a national problem if it was a problem at all, and could be solved only at the national level.

"Why Civil Defense Is in Sorry Shape" indicates that state civil defense directors had visited President-elect Eisenhower the previous day, during which their national president had blamed President Truman and his Administration for the snafu in civil defense. The piece indicates that it was not that simple, that the President and Civil Defense administrator Millard Caldwell had, if anything, tried too hard to set up an effective program, based on assurances from the Senate Armed Services Committee two years earlier that Congress would supply adequate backing, up to three billion dollars, for a vigorous civil defense program. Mr. Caldwell had then formulated a budget of 600 million dollars, but received only 43 million with which to do the job. Related programs had received similar treatment, regarding proposals to disperse government and to decrease vulnerability to enemy attack.

The Congress began taking the attitude that it was better to apply money toward making the military defenses strong, acting as a deterrent to a direct attack on the United States, rather than putting money into first aid and firefighting and other preparatory precautions for when an attack might occur, as such an attack would be catastrophic.

It suggests, therefore, that there had to be agreement between Congress and a civil defense program, with adequate appropriations to carry on its work, before the civil defense administrators in the states could proceed effectively.

"Dr. Caleb Richard Harding" tells of the Davidson College Greek and Fine Arts professor who had just died at 91 after a prolonged illness, having spent 57 years, through 1945, as a professor, the longest continuous service in Davidson's 115-year history. Students had referred to him as "Dickie" Harding, found him a great believer in classical education, deploring the trend away from the study of Latin and Greek, believing that vocational and scientific education tended "to sacrifice the brilliant person to the dullard", and insisted on education which taught "straight thinking". He had contributed greatly to the life of the students at Davidson, was "a man of culture, of genteel demeanor, and of scholarship." It indicates that his many friends throughout the South would mourn his death.

A piece from the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, titled "Power Race on Again", tells of a year earlier, one automobile manufacturer having declared that they would call a halt to the horsepower race, asserting that there was no real use for more than 160 to 180 horsepower, that the only real need for pushing an average car along at 60 mph was about 30 horsepower. But, according to trade reports, that manufacturer had changed its mind, claiming that its competitors were forcing it to continue in the horsepower race, and that it planned in consequence to release a 200 horsepower engine the following year in its top models.

The piece regards this competition as dangerous, only adding to the problems of the carnage on the highways, and suggests the need for the government to intervene to regulate future super-powered cars, unless there were voluntary restrictions placed by the manufacturers.

Hey, they go down to them races and they want to be like the race car drivers. V-rooom, v-rooooom.

Some of these gasaholic idiots need to start at least getting tickets for noise ordinance violations.

A piece from Business Week discusses the movement toward "trade, not aid" in foreign policy, necessitating lowering of tariff barriers to enable Western European countries to obtain dollars from trade with the U.S. to stabilize their own economies and thus become less reliant on U.S. aid. It suggests that the Eisenhower Administration would find it tough going in the new Republican Congress to obtain substantial reductions in the tariffs, when the reciprocal trade agreements would come up for renewal the following June, at which point they would otherwise expire. It also points out, however, that substantial lowering of the tariffs or even elimination of them would not completely resolve the problem, that before such changes would stabilize the balance of trade with Western Europe, the problems of currency convertibility and developing of resources in the underdeveloped areas of the world also had to be resolved.

There was also a view that there was a basic disequilibrium between the economies of the United States and Western Europe, stemming from the late 19th Century when the U.S, with its vast resources, had begun to build the manufacturing supremacy which it presently held. The piece ventures that if that view were correct, it would take many years to effect a solution.

Drew Pearson tells of Congressional election investigators having come across information regarding Texas oilman H. R. Cullen of Dallas, one of the wealthiest persons in the United States, who had tried to influence the election in 20 of the 48 states, by placing a minimum of $53,000 behind his chosen candidates during the 1952 campaign. Mr. Pearson indicates that, naturally, if elected, these legislators would back the legislation favored by Mr. Cullen, such as rights to tidelands oil being returned to the states and the 27.5 percent oil depletion allowance. Mr. Cullen had pinpointed his money on particular candidates and did not confine his efforts to Texas or the Southwest, but rather, for instance, spent $1,000 to defeat Connecticut Senator William Benton, who had the courage to oppose Senator Joseph McCarthy. He had spent $5,000 in Wisconsin to help Senator McCarthy in the primary, and $3,500 to help re-elect Senator William Jenner of Indiana, who had called General Marshall a traitor. Mr. Pearson provides a detailed accounting of how Mr. Cullen had spent his money, including $5,000 to former Congressman Martin Dies of Texas, infamous chairman of the old HUAC during the 1930's, who had been elected again in 1952 after having been sent home in defeat in 1944, and a $5,000 contribution to the Eisenhower campaign in Texas. All of those to whom he had contributed appeared supportive of tidelands oil and preservation of the oil depletion allowance. Mr. Pearson notes that the only family to top Mr. Cullen in individual contributions had been the Rockefellers, who, in the aggregate, had contributed $85,000.

The President had recently confided that he expected to raise "yellow-legged chickens" after he departed the White House, but could not say what else he might do, indicating that after working 16 to 18 hours per day for so many years, he would find it hard to adjust to an environment in which he had little to do. He believed that anything less than a 10-hour workday would feel like loafing. The Congressman to whom he made those statements, Toby Morris of Oklahoma, had responded that he believed that writing the memoirs of the President's experiences would be enough to keep him busy.

Marquis Childs indicates that the most difficult assignment in the new Administration would be that of Secretary of State-designate John Foster Dulles, who would have to develop a new and constructive foreign policy, but also would have to rebuild the State Department and its foreign service, which had fallen into a demoralized state based on attacks regarding loyalty. Emblematic of these attacks was the recent suspension of John Carter Vincent, who had been in the foreign service for 28 years, on the basis of "reasonable doubt" of his loyalty, as found by the loyalty review board of the Civil Service Commission. His personal loyalty had not been questioned, but rather reports which he had submitted were found to favor the Communist Chinese more than the Nationalists and Chiang Kai-shek, whom he had regularly criticized. He was also found to have associated with persons whom he might have known to have been Communists or Communist sympathizers.

The effect of such a suspension was to communicate to other foreign service officers in the field that they should mind their own business and not stick their necks out by communicating information which might, years later, depending on changes in political circumstances, come back to haunt them. The results were vapid and useless reports, with field officers remaining neutral, communicating largely perfunctory information regarding ceremony. A foreign service officer, such as Mr. Vincent, might be stationed in a place where there were Communists and anti-Communists in roughly equal balance, and he might obtain beneficial information from a Communist or former Communist, but would not volunteer such information for fear that it would lead later to suspicion of his loyalty.

Part of the problem leading to this result had been the President's order of May, 1951, changing the standard for assessing loyalty to "reasonable doubt", from the former standard of "reasonable grounds to believe" disloyalty. A second part of the problem had been making confidential reports from foreign service officers in the field available to Congressional committees.

Mr. Childs cautions that such a mentality might give grounds for economy in the State Department, making the Administration and Congress more reliant on objective information from such sources as the New York Times and its worldwide network of correspondents. Mr. Dulles was reported to be having difficulty obtaining able persons to assist him in the policy-making offices to be filled, which, under the circumstances, was no surprise.

Robert C. Ruark, in Lisbon, tells of Portugal's past explorers, listing them and their accomplishments, says that there was no moral to the piece, that he envied the old explorers who "lived big and loose and nondependent on Milton Berle."

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