The Charlotte News

Tuesday, February 5, 1952


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that U.N. command headquarters in Tokyo released a statement indicating that caution should be exercised in finding optimism from recent minor compromises by the Communists in the negotiations for an armistice in Korea, that the recent agreements involved minor points of dispute and that the major points remained unresolved. The statement appeared to be contradictory to the more optimistic view reported the previous day. The headquarters bulletin indicated that it was true that progress had been made in the previous week, but cautioned that progress had been made before, each time with a feeling of relief, only to encounter further roadblocks, a pattern which it regarded as central to the Communists' efforts to frustrate as a means to obtain more favorable terms.

No significant progress was made this date in the subcommittee regarding prisoner exchange, where the voluntary repatriation issue continued to serve as a roadblock. It was still hoped by allied officials that the prisoner exchange question could be turned over to staff officers for resolution of details within the coming days.

The committee addressing the final issue to be determined, instructions to belligerent governments, met for the first time this date, but made no progress, and would meet again the following day.

The staff officers working on truce supervision agreed that ten observer teams would police the demilitarized zone, and the allies indicated that only two major points remained to be settled, that of troop rotation and the number of ports of entry to be inspected during an armistice. The staff officers were not considering the primary issue of dispute, however, whether the Communists could rebuild airfields during the armistice.

In the air war, U.S. planes blew up two Communist ammunition depots and razed two big supply centers, the latter less than 50 miles from the negotiations site at Panmunjom. A total of 592 sorties were flown this date. American F-86 Sabre jets exchanged fire with some enemy jets out of a formation of about 100 MIG-15s, but the allies made no report of damage.

The ground war remained relatively quiet, as U.N. infantrymen on the western front captured a hill position without firing a shot, the enemy having taken the hill on Monday night in a fierce attack and then withdrawn. The allies then withdrew from the hill on Monday afternoon after the enemy attacked behind an artillery barrage.

In Paris, the three-month U.N. General Assembly meeting adjourned this date after voting 51 to 5, with two abstentions, to approve the Western plan to postpone discussion of the Korean political issues until after an armistice had been concluded. The resolution called for a special session of the Assembly to meet in New York as soon as a truce would be completed, and also for an emergency session should no truce occur and events in Korea make it necessary. The Soviets had favored having the U.N. consider the Korean armistice immediately, a move which the Western powers believed would only serve to undercut the ongoing talks at Panmunjom.

James A. Michener, author of Tales of the South Pacific and Return to Paradise, tells of being with U.S. Task Force 77 off Korea, with its commander, "salty" Rear Admiral John Perry. The latter had indicated that no man in the task force was required to risk his life more than four times in a row and so he planned to stop the "bravest man in the Navy" from flying any further low-level missions after he had been shot down twice into the ocean and floated in icy waters where other men had frozen to death. He was therefore going to assign to desk duty Commander Paul Gray, squadron leader of Fighter Squadron 54. Mr. Michener imparts of Commander Gray's bravery.

Parenthetically, no matter how faithfully conveyed in written reports from the front, the writer can only relate the facts as they are conveyed to the reporter and, in some cases, observed by the reporter from a limited, subjective vantage point, when relating war stories, or, for that matter, any stories. The glorification of heroic acts and super-human survival in the face of life-threatening wartime circumstances is understandable during wartime, to enable those at home to understand better not only what is at stake in the grander sense but also of the human sacrifices being made to transact those aims, as set forth by the policy-makers and military planners, to enable better assessment of the worth of the action. But a careful approach, a coign of vantage, both by reporter and reader, always has to be maintained to avoid over-glorification of war to the point where it becomes a thing of aspiration by the young, to want to show one's mettle through wartime heroics and exploits, thus encouraging, in the end, further war—sometimes, for lack of fulfillment of that aspiration in time of war, transacted on the home front, in the neighborhoods of the young "hero" who never got the chance to go to war other than vicariously in the prints and at the movies, and sometimes with cruel and untoward results, hasty, untrained action, sometimes undertaken unilaterally, other times in vigilante concert with others of the same frustrated stripe, in the end producing tragedy. For example, one only need look as far as Dallas in November, 1963, no matter what actually occurred there. There is a great difference, obviously, between the reality of life-threatening experiences brought on in service to one's country and humanity generally, whether in war or by dint of circumstance in everyday life, the impromptu rescue of someone from a burning vehicle by the side of the road, for instance, and the subsequently related story in print or on film, viewed only vicariously by either the reader as prelude to evening dinner or by the audience in the theater munching leisurely on popcorn and sipping a soft drink, suddenly sensitized to the action through quickening of the pulse and anticipatory pounding of the heart. And it is that marked difference, the difference between the related incident, and the reality of the experience, the genuine threat of the moment to worldly existence, which must always be borne in mind, to avoid the creation of circumstances, consciously or unconsciously, by which to shine as a "hero". We make that general observation as an aside, without intending pointed reference to either Mr. Michener or Commander Gray, both of whom, no doubt, acted faithfully to their respective duties as reporter and airman within the context of their times.

Senator Joseph O'Mahoney of Wyoming stated this day that top Pentagon leaders were gambling that Russia would not cause another world war before 1954 or 1955, but that he wanted to be more certain that, in the meantime, the country's defense program would be keeping up with that of the Russians in terms of air power. The chairman of the joint committee assessing the budget asked that Secretary of Defense Robert Lovett and the secretaries of the Army, Navy and Air Force return for a second day of public testimony on the proposed 52.1 billion dollar military budget.

Senator Burnet Maybank of South Carolina announced this date that he was introducing a bill to extend for a year the Defense Production Act which formed the basis for wage, price, rent and credit controls. The current statute was set to expire at the end of the fiscal year, and the President was expected soon to deliver a message to Congress expressing his views on controls.

Newbold Morris, the Administration's appointee to clean up corruption in the executive branch, had received letters from both cranks and well-wishers, urging that certain individuals be targeted in the investigation. He declined to discuss the substance of the tips and suggestions.

The President, reversing his withdrawal from the New Hampshire primary the previous week, agreed to remain in the March 11 contest with Senator Estes Kefauver. He said that he had changed his mind based on urging from DNC chairman Frank McKinney and many other Democrats in New Hampshire. Mr. McKinney had asked him to remain in the primary to avoid the prospect of delegates who were pledged to the President being unable to participate in the national convention.

Major Stuart Cramer, Jr., an influential Charlotte industrialist who had been active in the state Republican Party until recent years, endorsed General Eisenhower for the Republican presidential nomination this date, and urged other North Carolina Republicans, Independents and dissident Democrats to do likewise and elect the General in November. Major Cramer had attended West Point with the General, graduating in 1913, two years ahead of him, and had met with the General from time to time during the succeeding years.

In Stockholm, a Latvian refugee stated this date that he had fought his way out of the Soviet Embassy with a knife the previous day after being attacked by six Russians. The lumberman had spent eight years in Sweden and said that he was lured to the Embassy by an Estonian who had befriended him, at which point the Russians took him prisoner, attempted to seize his passport and threatened to fly him out of the country. As he fought his way out of the Embassy, he was followed by two Russians on foot and a Soviet Embassy car, but finally reached safety in a Swedish factory where he told his story. Swedish police took him to security police headquarters for questioning, and refused to provide statements to the press. When the police arrived at the factory, the two Russians had fled in their car. A Soviet press attaché at the Embassy claimed that the whole story was comprised of the "usual lies".

In Hollis, Okla., a 22-year old German farm worker who had immigrated to the United States because he was "tired of war", had been drafted after only seven months in the country. He expected his citizenship papers soon.

In Durant, Okla., a highway department worker was nearly hit by a truck which swerved and missed him, but then, after sliding through wet concrete, hit a barricade which then went flying through the air, hitting the highway worker, crushing his knee and causing cuts.

On the editorial page, "Barking up the Wrong Tree" regards the column this date of Robert C. Ruark anent universal military training, in which he found that it was not good, but better than the present situation. The piece agrees.

It says, however, that it did not accept the reasoning of those who bemoaned the President's "welfare state", as "defense" expenditures amounted to more than half the Federal budget—actually 83 percent, based on the figures presented the previous day by Drew Pearson—, while expenditures for health, social security and welfare amounted to only three percent. The country was already a military state and the church groups, farm and labor groups who were taking aim at UMT could better criticize this increasing militarism. It thinks that the rationale for this increase in defense spending, to provide a convincing threat to the Russians so that they would not undertake aggression, was naïve, as Russia would continue to increase its military as the U.S. continued to build up its own. Two years hence, at the point when it was presently estimated the country could catch up to Russia, there would be calls for more spending to meet the newly expanded Russian production, and so forth. The country could spend itself into bankruptcy by trying to keep up with this arms race.

It favors instead spending more money on the Point Four program of the President, to provide advisers and expertise in the areas of industry and agriculture to enable developing countries to progress so that they would not be easy targets for Communism, while also opening new markets for American seeds, tools and books and enabling those countries to view the U.S. as a solid ally.

It posits that if the country prepared for war, war would occur. The peace program, therefore, should be expanded. It views UMT as part of the effort to spread the preparation of manpower for the military over the whole country in a just manner, and suggests that by this training, the threat of war would be reduced. UMT also would train men at a time when they could best afford to leave civilian life, before entering the job market, whereas the present system took older men who had already established families and a work life. Thus, it favors UMT and hopes that its opponents would instead turn their energies to establishment of a program of peace, as that was a cause in need of support.

As to the budget issue, it appears that the author of this editorial differed markedly from the occasional Saturday editorial bemoaning the "welfare state" and urging cuts of the budget in that area rather than in defense. Either that or the editors had finally become wise to the fact that only a small percentage of the budget was devoted to the social welfare program.

"Sympathy vs. the Law" tells of Superior Court Judge Susie Sharp showing great wisdom in her resolution of the adoption case before her the previous day, as reported on the front page the previous week, in which the foster parents, with whom care of a four-year old boy had been placed for 26 months on a temporary basis, were vying for adoption with the Welfare Department's chosen adoptive parents. Judge Sharp had no choice under the law but to abide by the Welfare Department's determination and to order the surrender of the child to the chosen adoptive parents. The Welfare Department thought it better for the young boy to be with another family. Given the length of time he had been with the foster parents, the piece suggests, it was somewhat cruel to force the separation, but the Department had the final say, and while not infallible, reliance had to be placed on their judgment.

Judge Sharp would eventually be appointed by Governor Terry Sanford in 1962 to the State Supreme Court and would become Chief Justice by election in 1974, serving for five years, succeeding William Bobbitt, referenced in an editorial below.

"There's a Better Answer" criticizes the standards of evidence being used by the Senate Internal Security subcommittee of the Judiciary Committee, as criticized also by the Alsops this date. The Christian Science Monitor had provided a summary of the types of evidence being adduced against John Carter Vincent, State Department official accused of having directed a pro-Communist Chinese policy in 1944 as the adviser to Vice-President Henry Wallace on his mission to China. The subcommittee had relied primarily on the hearsay testimony of former Communist Louis Budenz, who had given conflicting testimony the previous August regarding whether Mr. Vincent was a Communist sympathizer.

Otherwise, as the Monitor had pointed out, they had raised questions with Mr. Vincent as to whether he had been praised by any Communist official, to which he replied in the negative. He was then questioned about a banquet which he had attended, presumably accompanying then-Secretary of State James Byrnes in a foreign ministers' meeting in Moscow, at which a Soviet official had offered a toast to Mr. Vincent, as had been done also to other members of the U.S. delegation. Mr. Vincent was then asked whether he wished to change his testimony, to which he replied that he did not consider a dinner toast to be responsive to the question originally asked.

The piece indicates that it did not know whether the charges were true but was distressed at the technique being used by the subcommittee, chaired by Senator Pat McCarran of Nevada. The previous year, when Ambassador Philip Jessup had been accused on the same basis, he had stressed his America First activity prior to the war, to show that he was actually an ultra-conservative. Mr. Vincent was employing a similar tactic, stating that he was a "Jeffersonian Democrat, a Lincoln Republican and an admirer since youth of Woodrow Wilson", and had never "joined any political organization, 'front' or otherwise".

It wishes that some witness before this subcommittee would respond that it was probably the case that some Communists had praised the witness, but that such praise did not mean the witness was sympathetic with Communist aims, that as Russia had been an ally during the war, it was only natural that they would raise toasts to diplomats. This hypothetical witness would also admit to having read works by Marx and Lenin and to have discussed matters with Communists, as it was the duty of foreign service officers continually to inquire, debate and evaluate, to become better informed on foreign ideologies. Such statements especially needed to be made to such bodies as the McCarran subcommittee, which placed such a premium on conformity.

"Judge Bobbitt Fills the Bill" welcomes the effort to draft Judge William Bobbitt as a candidate for the North Carolina Supreme Court in the coming Democratic primary race, in which there were already three announced candidates. Judge Bobbitt had not yet announced his candidacy but his supporters believed that he would enter the race if other bar associations in the vicinity supported him as much as did his fellow Mecklenburg lawyers. The piece hopes that he would announce, as he fit the requirement of judicial excellence for the State Supreme Court.

Judge Bobbitt would run but lose in the primary. He would, however, be appointed to the Court by Governor William B. Umstead in 1954, and would serve until the mandatory retirement age, reached in 1974, after being appointed in 1969 Chief Justice by Governor Robert Scott, son of Governor Kerr Scott, in office in 1952.

Drew Pearson again discusses the fact that Dr. Emil Weil remained in Washington as Hungarian minister to the U.S., despite having administered a drug to Cardinal Mindszenty four years earlier to coerce his confession to alleged treason, and the fact that he was in the U.S. to build up Communist contacts within the several hundred thousand Hungarians in the country. Congressmen Jack Dempsey of New Mexico and Wayne Hays of Ohio had complained about the presence of Dr. Weil but the State Department could not obtain documentary proof of what had happened at the Cardinal's trial, despite the reliable facts having been related out of the Hungarian underground through Hungarian exiles within the U.S. Senator Alexander Wiley of Wisconsin had urged early action to send him back to Hungary. Mr. Pearson believes that there was enough evidence to send him packing, especially in light of the recently paid demand by the Hungarian Government of $120,000 in fines to obtain the release of four U.S. airmen, forced down over Hungary in late November and tried as spies.

George Allen, one of General Eisenhower's closest friends, was flying to Paris to give the General a personal report regarding his campaign and the worries of his supporters that the steady progress of the Taft campaign was sewing up the nomination. Both Senators Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., of Massachusetts and James Duff of Pennsylvania were working very hard at making speeches on behalf of the General, but had accumulated few delegates. Privately, the General's friends were basically in agreement with the President that primaries were "eyewash", the reason that they were not very happy with the progress of the campaign.

Senator Fred Seaton of Nebraska had recently been appointed to fill the term of deceased Senator Kenneth Wherry until a special election could be held. He had been in the newspaper and radio fields for several years, requiring him to travel quite a bit, and his young daughter had stated that being in the Senate would mean that he would be home more.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop tell of the Internal Security subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee effectively trying John Carter Vincent for treason for the fact of his having been an adviser to former Vice-President Henry Wallace in his 1944 mission to China. In fact, the result of that mission was to recommend the replacement of pro-Communist China theater commander, General Joseph Stilwell, by anti-Communist General Albert Wedemeyer. But that fact was not given any focus by the subcommittee. Instead, during four days of interrogation, they stressed tangential issues, no proof being offered whatsoever that Mr. Vincent was a Communist, and indeed suggesting that he did not know what Communism was. Chairman of the subcommittee, Senator Pat McCarran of Nevada, and the other members of the subcommittee, had concentrated on trying to show that Mr. Vincent had somewhat misjudged the Chinese situation late in the war and during the postwar years. In the process, they showed ignorance of the formulation of American policy toward China.

There were endless questions on the origin of the directive governing the mission to China of General Marshall in 1946. General Wedemeyer had posed two alternatives to American policymakers, that they leave Chiang Kai-shek to the mercy of the Communists who would likely win, or support him and thus become involved in a civil war in China and very likely war with Russia. As the diaries of the late Secretary of Defense James Forrestal showed, Secretary of State James Byrnes had first suggested eluding this dilemma by forcing the Chinese Nationalists and Communists to come together in a political coalition. The former Secretary was not called to testify in the hearings and instead Mr. Vincent was held responsible for the decision of his boss. "The lawyers and the Senators were able to beat both Vincent and the facts of history over the head with their brass knuckles, without any irritating opposition."

The Alsops wonder whether American liberties and decencies were still worth "a tinker's dam" when such an investigative procedure could be used in a case involving a capital charge.

Robert C. Ruark discusses universal military training in the face of the Korean War, where it appeared alright to send off young men en masse to a foreign land to fight a war, but it was not alright to train young men at home under UMT. Some were calling the country a "garrison state" and comparing the situation to an "Iron Curtain nation", a "Socialist state" or a "Fascist state". He wonders what a "garrison state" was if it was not complete defense preparedness in peacetime, which the public seemed to desire. Such a state appeared only to obtain when young men were being pulled from home to train as soldiers on the off chance that they might be needed somewhere, someday.

He had heard that UMT would produce a militaristic point of view for the nation, but if that were the case, it had already been in place for the previous decade. Nor did the argument that it would impair morals hold water, as someone 18 1/2 years old could not learn in a barracks any more than that which he could learn just as easily in a college dormitory or around the local drugstore at home. Indeed, the young man was likely to have less leisure time as a trainee than he would have otherwise to investigate "the potentials of booze, babes and bad companions".

He concludes by indicating that he did not think that UMT was good, but that it was not as bad as what was extant, "either as a peril to the individual, to society or to the eventual fate of the nation."

A letter writer from Pittsboro opposes the present "welfare state", believes it was resulting in the Government taxing the people to death.

A letter from Congressman Hamilton Jones of Charlotte indicates that he had brought before the Veterans Affairs Committee the question of immediate consideration of two bills previously pending before the Committee, containing recommendations of the Hoover Commission made in 1947. The Committee had gone on record unanimously favoring hearings before the entire Committee on both bills. Both bills had been voted down by the Committee, one via a motion to table. He had voted with the majority in each instance because he believed that both bills required large expenditures of funds which were not necessary to the veterans' program. He indicates that the defeat of the bills showed that a majority of the Committee were economy-minded. He explains this matter in detail, as follow-up to his letter of January 25, responding to a prior editorial in the News, which had criticized pigeonholing by committees of certain bills designed to implement the remaining recommendations by the Hoover Commission.

A letter writer favors Senator Taft for the Republican nomination, as the candidate to put the New Deal "on the defensive by compelling it to answer all the incriminating facts available". He opposes the "me too" approach of prior Republican nominees. He believes that Senator Taft had "all of the facts necessary to tear Truman's domestic and foreign programs to shreds, and to choke him down with his own 'red herring' (à la Hiss, et al.), 'I like good old Joe' and other similar idiosyncrasies peculiar to his temperament." He concludes that Senator Taft was the candidate to challenge the veritable Pandora's Box of ills which had been released by the New Deal during the previous 20 years, and that he would do so with brass knuckles.

A letter writer from Raleigh, an instructor at Needham Broughton High School, wishes 15 copies of the January 30 edition of the newspaper containing the address to the North Carolina Press Institute by Dr. Edwin McNeill Poteat on the roles in the society of the ministry and journalism. She congratulates the newspaper for its taste and discrimination in publishing the speech. The editors note that copies were on the way.

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