The Charlotte News

Saturday, January 10, 1953


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports, via George McArthur, that 300 allied warplanes had struck a vital enemy railroad network near Manchuria this date after 17 B-29's had bombed the area, north of Sinanju, the previous night. Pilots reported that huge clouds of smoke obscured the ability to assess the damage fully, but that five buildings had been destroyed and the rail lines cut in at least four places, with five bridges also knocked out, the smoke being visible from 30 miles distant.

The President said that politically inspired attacks on the Korean War policy were to blame for 47,000 military desertions, that, as quoted by columnist Doris Fleeson, "kids" were being "systematically taught to believe that the peace of the world is not worth fighting for", an interview which the White House described as accurately related. The President had accused the Chicago Tribune, the Scripps-Howard and Hearst newspapers, and General MacArthur for the problem, that the deserters were usually from areas reached by those sources. He said that General MacArthur had set a bad example when he had not obeyed and would not report to his commander-in-chief, causing subordinates to say that if he could get away with it, then they could too.

Key members of the House Armed Services Committee this date predicted that Congress would press for early action to end the Korean stalemate if the new President did not do so. Six Republicans and four Democrats on the Committee were convinced that the Korean situation was difficult but not hopeless. They issued their statements after Joint Chiefs chairman General Omar Bradley and Secretary of Defense Robert Lovett were quoted as telling the Committee in closed sessions that they did not know how to end the war. The members indicated that the new President would obtain considerable support in an effort to effect a resolution in Korea, but expressed doubt that Congress would approve a longer period of the draft or considerably increased costs of the war. One member, Congressman Dewey Short, indicated that the previous day's meeting included some discussion of use of atomic weapons in Korea, but that General Bradley had not indicated whether they would actually be deployed. The General had reportedly said that one of the reasons the European build-up was lagging was the dangerous hope that a war could be won with the atomic bomb alone, that there was no critical shortage of ammunition in Korea, and that there was a necessity for maintaining strong land-based and carrier air forces. The General also supported Secretary Lovett's proposal to create a military staff for the Secretary of Defense, presently barred by law, but did not fully support Mr. Lovett's broader plan for delegating some responsibilities of the Joint Chiefs.

Senator John Bricker of Ohio said this date that the Senate Banking Committee should advise President Eisenhower to suspend wage, price and rent controls on his first day in office, January 20. The President, under the Defense Production Act, had the power to suspend controls, but Congress could also suspend controls by passing a resolution in both chambers. The AFL had said the previous day that Republican leaders in Congress had received word that wage and price controls were to be ended soon after the beginning of the Eisenhower Administration, before their official expiration on April 30. Senator Bricker said that he had not heard what the new President planned to do about controls, but that he would make his motion to the Banking Committee without waiting to find out. Chairman of the Committee, Senator Homer Capehart of Indiana, told a reporter that he intended to demand that Congress pass a law to set up a system of standby controls for use in emergencies, a move favored by the new President. Senator Burnet Maybank of South Carolina, who had chaired the Banking Committee in the previous Congress, said that it was too early to speculate on what Congress might do regarding the extension or change of controls.

House Republicans hoped to start the following week the job of attempting to cut ten billion dollars from the President's proposed new 78.6 billion dollar budget, without waiting for the inauguration of President-elect Eisenhower and his budget recommendations. Speaker of the House Joe Martin called the President's proposal a "phantom budget", and indicated that the new Administration would submit its own program and a balanced budget to support it.

President-elect Eisenhower this date announced the appointment of General Walter Bedell Smith, presently CIA director, as Undersecretary of State, and of Lloyd Mashburn, the California labor commissioner and AFL union member, as Undersecretary of Labor. Eisenhower headquarters said that General Smith was retiring from active service in the Army to serve in the civilian capacity.

At Vatican City, Pope Pius XII this date directed that conditions for receiving Communion and celebrating Mass in the Roman Catholic Church might be relaxed when necessary to meet the needs of modern life. He issued a new "apostolic constitution", dated January 6, the day of the Feast of the Epiphany, permitting bishops to authorize afternoon Mass after 4:00, to accommodate workers who otherwise might not be able to attend church. He also ruled that consuming plain water no longer would constitute breaking of the fast before Communion, and that in certain circumstances, some nourishment, not including alcoholic beverages, might be consumed up to an hour before Communion. Theretofore, Catholics had been obliged to abstain from both food and water from midnight until receiving the Sacrament at Communion. The Pope indicated, however, that those who were not greatly inconvenienced by those requirements should continue to follow them. Communion symbolized the receipt of the body and blood of Christ, instituted, according to belief, by Christ at the Last Supper.

Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, set presently to be executed the following week after their conviction in March, 1951 for providing atomic secrets to the Russians, appealed formally this date to the President for clemency. U.S. District Court Judge Irving Kaufman, who had presided over their trial and issued the death sentences, had already indicated that filing of the petition by this date would trigger an automatic stay of execution until five days following the President's announcement of his decision on clemency. Pickets had been marching in front of the White House in recent days, advocating clemency for the Rosenbergs.

In Chapel Hill, the wife of Representative Carl Durham died at her home the previous night at age 58 after being seriously ill for several months. The Congressman, who had been sworn in for his eighth consecutive term a week earlier, had returned to the home and was present at his wife's bedside when she died.

In Raleigh, all was harmony on the surface as the new Governor, William B. Umstead, and the new General Assembly went to work this date at the State Capitol. There were also indications that the session would be relatively short, with the new Speaker of the State House, E. T. Bost, forecasting a 90-day session. The members gave praise to Governor Umstead's inaugural address, describing it variously as "progressive", "forward", and "magnificent". They generally agreed that the Assembly would go along with the Governor's comprehensive program which he had outlined, including State aid to build new school facilities and improve the state's mental institutions. (You could just combine the two and save a lot of money—as, from our experience, they were pretty much combined on the juvenile level anyway. Yet, in hindsight, public schools provide an excellent life-training ground for dealing with mental defectives in life generally, as one will encounter from time to time on the streets and in the stores, if not professionally.)

Storms in widely separated areas of the nation had claimed 22 lives and disrupted transportation and communications this date, as the season's worst storm thus far gripped the Northeast, while torrential rains had eased somewhat in Florida and in the Eastern Gulf states, as well as in the Pacific Northwest. Sixteen of the deaths related to storms had taken place in New England, which had up to 20 inches of snow, and three had died in upstate New York in snowy conditions, changing to sleet and freezing rain, with more snow on the way. There had also been two deaths in New Jersey and one in Oregon. Freezing temperatures were expected in northern Florida.

In Moscow, the Soviet newspaper Trud reported that a Moscow tailoring workshop, operating under a speed-up system, had produced men's suits with erratic measurements and demanded that the shop do away with rules which limited the time for taking measurements to five minutes and for fitting, to 12 minutes, the limitations on time having resulted in suits with pants too long or with pants so short that cuffs had to be added, as well as wrinkled suits. (We paraphrase the newspaper story, which apparently meant "pants so long cuffs have to be added", unless it was referring to the long-outmoded fashion of cuffed pants as the norm, and that cuff material had to be stitched onto the too-short pants—but we do not speak Russian, except "nyet".)

On the editorial page, "Some Ideas on the Federal Budget" indicates that Congressional assessments of the President's 78.6 billion dollar budget proposal submitted the previous day ranged from "realistic" to "fantastic", but that the most succinct comment had come from Senator Homer Ferguson, who called it "only a point of departure", a comment which the piece finds true. It predicts that the new President's budget advisers would depart from many of the recommendations and that then Congress would take exception to many of the recommendations of the new Administration.

It finds that in light of certain realities anent the deficit bound to result from defense spending, an amendment proposed the previous day by the new chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee, Congressman Daniel Reed, had been absurd, as it would limit the Government to a 25 percent tax on individual incomes, unless three-fourths of the membership of the House and Senate voted for a higher tax. Such a limit was likely to cut Federal revenues by 16 billion dollars per year, impracticable in light of the national debt, requiring a large, regressive national sales tax to replace the missing revenue.

It indicates that Senator Harry F. Byrd of Virginia had proposed a constitutional amendment the previous day, under which the President would have the line-item veto, possessed by some governors, permitting a veto of individual items in appropriations bills, instead of having to take or leave the entire bill. That would be practically impossible to get through Congress, however, as the members would want to continue to tack on riders regarding porkbarrel items in appropriations bills. It finds buried in the President's proposed budget an example, "Arkansas River bank stabilization—$4.8 million", finding that, while needing to see a detailed report before knowing for certain, it might be Senator John McClellan's pet project of preparing the unnavigable Arkansas River for "navigation". It concludes that the line-item veto amendment could bring a degree of efficiency and economy to the Federal budget procedures.

"Coltrane Is Back on the Job" finds it commendable that Governor Umstead had restored assistant budget director D. S. Coltrane to his full authority, restricted in his duties by former Governor Kerr Scott, apparently because Mr. Coltrane had supported Mr. Umstead in the election, while his opponent had been supported by Governor Scott. The piece believes that Mr. Coltrane ought receive his $3,500 in back pay, which he had refused during the time that his duties had been restricted. There had never been any evidence that Mr. Coltrane had been inefficient or delinquent in his performance, and was held in high esteem by members of the Appropriations Committee of the 1951 General Assembly and by the Advisory Budget Commission.

"Enough Praising, Cooing, Applauding" relates back to its New Year's Day editorial in which it had deplored the "fussings, shoutings, and blamings" of 1952, about everything from taxes and inflation to incompetence and subversives, placing blame for the Korean War, China, and other such issues. Now, however, it finds a trend in the opposite direction, noting a considerable amount of "praising, cooing and applauding". The new Administration was not yet installed but it was already being credited with all sorts of great decisions. One expensive dope-sheet, which did not wish to be quoted, had become "positively ecstatic" about John Foster Dulles's reply to Premier Stalin, which the sheet had found greatly superior to anything Secretary of State Acheson had been able to say to the Soviet Premier. It also quotes from a magazine, issuing a forecast of great optimism under the new Administration.

It finds that all the "sweet talk" placed the new Administration in a hole, as people would assume everything would be rosy until they finally woke up to the reality. Moreover, when the new President really did do something good, there would be no flowery phrases left to describe it, as they would have been used up in the forecasts. It suggests therefore that all of the "florid gush" be stashed away alongside the "fussings, shoutings and blamings".

A piece from the Winston-Salem Journal, titled "The Case of the Bezoared Possum", relates that an editorial in the Journal had solved the mystery of a death which occurred more than 100 miles away several weeks earlier, involving the editor of the Southern Pines Pilot having discovered in her rose garden the body of a possum, whose death was unexplained by physical examination. The editor had wondered why the possum had come into her rose garden, conjectured that it might have sought the fruit of a persimmon tree, but consigned its death to the realm of mystery, until Bill Sharpe, editor of State magazine, read the story and recalled an editorial published in the Journal the previous October regarding persimmon pudding and the habits of possums who ate green persimmons, that if a possum ate too many, the persimmon's juices could cause hairballs in the stomach and the possum's death from the bezoar.

Thus, the editor had realized what had killed the possum in her rose garden, and the piece indicates that the only question remaining was who would receive the Pall Mall award, Mr. Sharpe, the Southern Pines Pilot editor or the Journal editorial writer.

Drew Pearson indicates that throughout the Administrations of Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover, Washington had remained dry, along with the rest of the nation, during Prohibition. Only when the Democrats had returned to power under FDR in 1933 had the Eighteenth Amendment been repealed and Prohibition abandoned on a nationwide basis. Under the new Republican Administration, however, things would be different than under the last Republican Administrations, as during the present weekend, a new establishment, the Capitol Hill Club, was opening right across from the House of Representatives Office Building, replete with a plush lounge, little tables around the bar and a total of 13 rooms for conferences and relaxation. The club was organized for the exclusive use of Republicans by Republicans, including Secretary of State-designate John Foster Dulles, who had contributed $500, as had Secretary of Commerce-designate Sinclair Weeks, Secretary-designate of the Air Force Harold Talbott, and Postmaster General-designate Arthur Summerfield. Other contributors included John Hanes of North Carolina, former Senator Owen Brewster of Maine, a lifelong dry, Senator Frank Carlson of Kansas, Clare Boothe Luce, and Patrick Hurley. The club was contained in a house belonging to former Republican Congressman Charles Dewey of Chicago. (He should advise Ms. Luce, as well as Senator McCarthy, to lay off the booze.)

He relates that Congress had voted in 1837 to banish the official bar from inside the halls of Congress because Daniel Webster, and to a lesser degree, Henry Clay, had spent most of their time there, resulting in drunkenness absorbing more time than legislation. At about the same time, a ring of saloons around the Capitol had also dried up, at a time when there was a saloon for every 90 people in the city. The ban on bars around the Capitol remained until 1933.

The local ABC liquor board, which ruled on licenses in the District, had previously denied a license to a woman who operated a liquor store right next door to the location of the new club, but when the Republican leaders had applied for a drinking license, considered less desirable than a license for a store to sell liquor, their application was immediately granted, albeit after demanding that the applicants be fingerprinted in accordance with District law. Some of the Republicans objected and so the Democratic commissioner for the District, the attorney for the largest liquor dealer in town, overruled the board, so that the Republicans would not have to be fingerprinted.

Secretary of Agriculture-designate Ezra Taft Benson recently dropped by the office of his soon-to-be predecessor, Secretary Charles Brannan, and inquired as to how many secretaries he had, to which Mr. Brannan replied two, both getting around $7,000 per year. Mr. Benson wondered whether it would be all right to employ one male secretary instead of two women and pay him $10,000. Mr. Brannan said that he assumed it would be acceptable as long as the Civil Service Commission did not catch him near a typewriter, as no one who was a typist could receive more than $7,000. Mr. Brannan also imparted that there were two cars and chauffeurs allotted to the Secretary, and that Mr. Benson's wife and family could have access to one, only for State duties, but probably could take Mr. Benson's children to school, as long as Mr. Pearson and Jess Larson, who was in charge of allocating automobiles for Government officials, did not find out. When Mr. Benson asked Mr. Brannan whether one of his six children could drive one of the cars to school instead of having a chauffeur, Secretary Brannan did not attempt to answer.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop tell of the appointments to the State Department, with General Walter Bedell Smith, CIA director and chief of staff to General Eisenhower during the war, having been asked to become Undersecretary of State in charge of policy—as announced this date on the front page. The present Deputy Undersecretary, H. Freeman Matthews, was to continue in his present post, as was Assistant Secretary in charge of Far Eastern Affairs, John Allison. Henry Byroade, Assistant Secretary for the Middle East, was also likely to be retained. But Douglas MacArthur, a foreign service officer who was the nephew of the General, was currently slated to replace Charles Bohlen as counselor for the Department.

Governor John Lodge of Connecticut, brother of former Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., had originally been asked to become the new Ambassador to Italy, but after he refused the appointment, Clare Boothe Luce, wife of the publisher of Time and Life, Henry Luce, at the suggestion of Governor Lodge, would serve in that position.

Harvard University president James B. Conant had been asked to become Ambassador to Germany, though it was doubtful he would accept the position.

New York banker Douglas Dillon, future Treasury Secretary under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, had been chosen to become Ambassador to France, though the appointment was not yet final because of political objections in New Jersey. Current Ambassador to France, James Dunn, would likely be transferred to Spain. Dr. Ralph Bunche was under consideration to become Ambassador to either Russia or India. The former Ambassador to Russia, George Kennan, author of the containment policy while chief planner for the State Department, was being touted as the replacement for Ambassador Jefferson Caffery in Egypt.

Secretary of State-designate John Foster Dulles had not originally wanted the post, but rather was to have headed a staff of planners with wide authority in foreign and defense policy, a plan put forward in 1948 by Governor Dewey, who had intended to name Lewis Douglas, former Ambassador to Britain, as Secretary of State and Mr. Dulles as chairman of that planning staff. Right after the election, the planning staff proposal was revived, with Mr. Dulles to become the chairman and former Senator Lodge to become Secretary. But the Senator had refused on the ground of his difficult relationship with Senator Taft, and Mr. Dulles was induced to accept the position as Secretary. Senator Lodge was tapped to become Ambassador to the U.N.

General Smith was anxious to have as his successor as CIA director, Allen Dulles, but there was some dispute about it, and so it was not clear that General Smith would accept the position of Undersecretary. The choice of General Smith by Secretary-designate Dulles, however, had signified that the Secretary wanted a Department team who could work as well with the President as with himself. The same impression was conveyed by the choice of Mr. MacArthur, who had served as political adviser to General Eisenhower during the war. General Smith's appointment also had other implications, as he had knowledge and experience in civilian administration and defense, and, as former Ambassador to Russia, had obtained special personal knowledge regarding the Soviets.

The Alsops conclude that all of the appointments in the State Department, including the new ambassadors, implied that there would be a high degree of continuity in foreign policy, as well as re-examination thereof as needed. They find that, all in all, Secretary-designate Dulles had gotten off to a strong start.

Marquis Childs indicates that President Truman was entitled to his message contained in the State of the Union, setting forth the picture of a divided world and the continuing responsibility of America since the end of the war to lead the free nations. But he finds that it was becoming monotonous to have the President insist consistently in statements, reports and special interviews that all had been for the best during his Administration regarding domestic policy. Mr. Childs thinks that the President ought know that the decisions he had made would give him an important place in history, no matter what either he or his detractors would say now or later. He thus thinks it appropriate to take a hard, realistic look at the domestic program of the President and its results.

He finds the domestic achievements to have been great, as the statistics provided by the Census Bureau had made plain. There had been remarkable advances in ownership of homes and farms, with three-fourths of all farms currently being operated by their owners, a reversal of the trend which had been ongoing toward tenant farming and all of its associated evils through the late Twenties and into the Thirties. Realism would have to acknowledge that the prosperity, however, owed a great deal to World War II, the rehabilitation of the war-stricken nations afterward, and spending of huge sums for defense since the end of the war, currently about 40 billion per year.

The President had glossed over the fact that prosperity had begun to decline in late 1949 and early 1950, when unemployment totals had climbed and some industries had begun to experience a depression. He claimed that the trend in that direction had been checked before the start of the Korean War, a claim which Mr. Childs finds questionable, as the ending of the economy program in defense and the beginning of large expenditures for Korea had started a new economic boom.

Despite all of the remedies applied by the New Deal since 1933, the massive unemployment of the Depression had continued into 1941, when large war contracts started to expand industry. The unemployment total had been reduced, but 7 to 9 million persons willing and able to be employed could still not find employment in private industry.

Regarding farms, surpluses of food and fiber were invaluable during the war, but had the war not occurred, the millions of bales of cotton and bushels of corn might have perished in warehouses and silos. In recent months, farm prices had been steadily dropping, examples of which he provides, as foreign sales of major commodities had declined, one reason for the drop in prices. Had it not been for various kinds of aid programs at home and abroad, surpluses again would have been accumulating at unmanageable rates, a fact which had to be of immediate concern to the new Administration as it sought a resolution to the war. While in the past, declining farm prices had forecast a depression, the question ahead concerned more than the farmer and his right to an equitable return for his product, but also whether the country could fulfill the Eisenhower promise during the campaign to bring about a prosperity which would not be based on defense spending. "Even with due discount for what the late Wendell Willkie called 'campaign oratory,' this is a large order."

The Congressional Quarterly addresses the question which would likely face the new Congress, whether farm prices should be supported at a high or low level. It explains the support system and indicates that under present law, basic crops were supported at 90 percent of parity, a complicated formula designed to give the farmer a fair return in relation to his purchasing power. Non-basic commodities were supported at varying levels, ranging from 60 to 90 percent of parity. Two base periods were used to figure parity, price relationships in the period 1909-14, as well as those for the most recent decade.

Farm organizations, especially the American Farm Bureau Federation, believed that the parity method was too complicated and unwieldy and urged adoption of a simpler formula.

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