The Charlotte News

Tuesday, January 13, 1953


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the U.S. Fifth Air Force had sent a 440-plane strike against Communist rail facilities in northwest Korea this date, in the area of Sinanju, the seventh such blow in five days. This raid was the largest ever to hit the Sinanju area. There had been two much larger raids, however, the previous summer on Pyongyang, with another larger raid the prior May. The damage assessment indicated that there was complete destruction. U.S. Sabre jets flying protective cover had downed two enemy MIG-15s, probably destroyed one and damaged a third. The fighter-bombers hit in morning and afternoon raids of 220 planes each, only a few hours after B-29s had hit the area with 100 tons of bombs in a strike the previous night.

In the ground war, two fresh Chinese Communist armies, of about 70,000 men, had moved into the line on the western front, but allied intelligence officers indicated that there was no sign that any new enemy offensive was afoot. One badly mauled Chinese army was being removed from the line.

Russia accused nine doctors, most of whom were Jews, of killing two top Russian leaders and plotting the deaths of others through faulty treatments and incorrect diagnoses. Newspaper accounts of the allegations appeared to stimulate further anti-Anglo-American and anti-Zionist feelings, as the announcement asserted that the plot was carried out at instructions of British and American intelligence services and Zionist organizations. It said that an investigation would be completed in the near future, but indicated that the arrested doctors were paid agents of foreign intelligence organizations, with the majority being members of "the terrorist group … connected with the international Jewish bourgeois-nationalist organization 'Joint'," apparently referring to the Joint Distribution Committee, a Jewish organization which had sent millions of dollars to aid European Jews. Spokesmen for that organization said that such charges were too ridiculous to merit comment. Diplomats in London speculated that the arrests might lead to the most wide-scale purge and largest Soviet trial since 1936. The Soviet news agency Tass said that military leaders had been the first targets, until arrest had thwarted their "villainous plan".

The President asked Congress this date for "earnest and prompt consideration" of a Presidential commission report urging complete revision of the new McCarran-Walters Immigration Act. The report, released at the beginning of the year, had recommended abolition of the existing quota system and admission of 100,000 additional immigrants per year. The law had been passed over the President's veto the previous June and had gone into effect on Christmas Eve, and the President charged that it discriminated against some religions and nationalities, including Southern Europeans. President-elect Eisenhower had said during the campaign that he believed that there were "unfair" sections in the law which should be revised. The law was generally aimed at keeping those out of the country who had previously been members of groups considered subversive.

Eight Senators were introducing this date eight civil rights bills based on recommendations of the Justice Department and the 1947 Presidential Civil Rights Commission. Senator Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota said in a statement that the eight measures did not include any on equal opportunity in employment, but that he and Senator Irving Ives of New York planned to introduce such a measure soon. The measures introduced this date covered poll taxes, anti-lynching, and tightening of laws against some forms of segregation in transportation. Co-sponsors of the bills with Senator Humphrey were Senators Paul Douglas of Illinois, Herbert Lehman of New York, Warren Magnuson of Washington, James Murray of Montana, Matthew Neely of West Virginia, John Pastore of Rhode Island, and Wayne Morse of Oregon.

Following the President's order the previous day that the Justice Department drop the grand jury antitrust investigation of five big oil companies for unspecified national security reasons, provided they would stipulate to submission of documents in a civil antitrust action to be brought by the Government, representatives of one of the companies, Socony-Vacuum Oil Co., arrived at the Justice Department this date to discuss a compromise, but had been turned away on the basis that the offer was for all five firms at once or none. One of the companies, Standard Oil of New Jersey, had called the plan an insulting form of blackmail and said that it would not accept the terms. That was considered to be a death knell for the deal.

President-elect Eisenhower met with his Cabinet designees and other top officials again this date, after meeting with them for 4 1/2 hours the previous day, discussing "the future duties of the Administration, foreign and domestic." Press secretary James Hagerty refused to comment further on the nature of the meetings.

The conference of Republican Senators this date upset a compromise plan and eliminated Senator Wayne Morse, who had switched from being a Republican to an independent during the presidential campaign, from two major committee assignments. Republican Senators decided to take all of the eight majority seats on the Armed Services Committee and all seven on the Labor Committee, eliminating seats which Senator Morse would have occupied as a Republican, based on seniority. That left him only assignments to two minor committees, one dealing with the District of Columbia and the other, Public Works. By law, every Senator was entitled to two committee assignments. The Senator had indicated that he would fight on the Senate floor any effort to prevent him from two major committee assignments. Under the proposed compromise plan, Senator Morse would have remained on the Armed Services Committee, but would have been eliminated from the Labor Committee. A voice vote by the Republican conference, however, rejected that compromise. Senator Sherman Cooper of Kentucky was given the eighth majority seat on Armed Services. All other committee assignments were based strictly on seniority.

In New York, William Remington went on trial this date on charges of perjury in connection with alleged false denial that he had given Government secrets to a Soviet courier. It was his second perjury trial, this one based on alleged commission of five counts of perjury during his first trial two years earlier. One prospective juror was dismissed for cause for having been a juror in the trial of Alger Hiss, and knowing, as a result, one of the Government prosecutors.

North Carolina Governor William B. Umstead, who suffered a mild heart attack the previous weekend, was reported to have had a restful night and to be in good condition, according to his doctor. He would need, however, a short period of rest. As indicated, the Governor would die 22 months hence.

In Raleigh, a proposed State constitutional amendment to limit a single county to only one State Senator was introduced in the State House this date. The author of the measure said that both Guilford and Mecklenburg Counties would be entitled to two Senators each if the state were redistricted according to the 1950 census. The 1951 Assembly, charged by law with redistricting, had not done so.

Tom Fesperman of The News tells of Mecklenburg County's legislators seriously considering a bill to combine the Sheriff's Department and the County Police Department, of concern to local officials, with several opposing the proposal.

Across the country, colder air pushed into Southern areas, while spring-like weather continued in wide sections of the West and Midwest. It was warmer in some sections of the normally frigid Rockies than in some parts of Florida. Much colder air predominated from northern Minnesota across North Dakota and northern Montana, dropping temperatures to near zero at Great Falls, Mont., while at Helena, a short distance south, the temperature was 50. At the same time, it was 41 in Jacksonville and 42 in Tampa, Fla.

The world is coming to an end, any day now. Erratic weather patterns are the harbinger. This sucker's going to be over probably by 1954.

We saw it on the television.

On the editorial page, "State Minimum Wage Law Needed" indicates that Governor William B. Umstead, in his inaugural address the previous week, had urged the enactment of a state minimum wage law to cover industrial and service workers who were not covered under the Federal Wage & Hour Law, those workers involved in intrastate commerce.

A report by the Congressional Quarterly showed that average wages for non-farm workers in the state compared unfavorably with wages elsewhere in the nation, a chart of which it provides. Although North Carolina had the largest number of non-farm employees of any Southeastern state, the average weekly earnings of those workers was the lowest of any state in the nation, and there were only two states with lower average hourly wages generally. As all workers in interstate commerce were subject to the Federal minimum wage, it was apparent that North Carolina's low wages in intrastate jobs dragged down its standing. It favors the adoption of a minimum wage law, as higher wages would give the people a higher standard of living, enabling them to purchase more goods and services and thereby create greater tax revenue for the state, which needed to expand its basic services.

"Prohibition Is a Farce in Mississippi", with the statewide referendum before the General Assembly to repeal local option in North Carolina, indicates that Mississippi had de jure prohibition, while in practice, the bootleggers openly did business, enabling those who wanted alcohol to buy it freely. Meanwhile, the State was collecting a sizable revenue from the illicit traffic. A story on the page recounted the effort in the coming Mississippi General Assembly to eliminate the tax on bootleg whiskey, with the prohibitionists and the bootleggers appearing to be on the same side, the bootleggers saying that the tax was unfair, while the prohibitionists claimed the State made a mockery of its own laws by taxing illegal product. Three governors had asked that the tax be repealed and each time, the General Assembly had refused. Governor Hugh White, the current Governor, might have better luck, the piece posits, though it doubts the prospect, as no prohibition law had ever worked anywhere. In Mississippi, there were some sections where prohibition was overwhelmingly supported, with bootlegging done in secret because of intense law enforcement, while in other areas, where the wets predominated, bootlegging went on openly, roughly equivalent to the county option ABC system. It therefore invites careful attention by the prohibitionists of North Carolina to the article on the page regarding the hypocrisy of the Mississippi prohibition law.

"Three Reasons for Getting a Chest X-ray" urges every adult to participate in the Mecklenburg County survey, providing free chest X-rays to detect tuberculosis early. It provides several statistics on the disease.

"Changing Tunes" indicates that the Republicans were more candid about the patronage aspects of the Post Office than had been Democrats in recent years. After conferring with the President-elect and other Republican leaders the previous day, Senator William Knowland of California had announced a policy for appointment of postmasters, whereby clearance for each appointment would be had with the appropriate member of the House from that particular district, and in the case of cities involving multiple districts, with approval by the appropriate Senators. The Republicans thus did not intend to foster the fiction that the appointment of postmasters was nonpolitical, just because the applicants had to take a Civil Service examination.

It was a bit surprising, comments the piece, for the fact that seven Republican members of the Post Office & Civil Service Committee of the House had, while in the minority, previously filed a minority report indicating support for the Hoover Commission's recommendations to place postmasters under the Civil Service system completely and remove them from patronage. It supposes that some of the Democrats now would suggest that the Commission's recommendations be implemented, though they had previously blocked it.

A piece from the Christian Science Monitor, titled "Why Unions Lose Friends", indicates that the Army, in its effort to house troops manning anti-aircraft batteries and shelter them against winter weather, had to give up the erection of prefabricated winter huts by the soldiers themselves because of the refusal of union construction workers to do other needed work unless allowed also to build the huts under contract. The result was that the men in the antiaircraft batteries were putting up their own tents on Quonset frames, affording less protection and warmth than the intended huts, and would be sleeping in colder conditions, with the taxpayers ultimately to pay more for the huts, and the unions losing friends in the process because of insistence on make-work.

Kenneth Toler, writing in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, as indicated in the above editorial, tells of the hypocritical status of Mississippi's prohibition law.

Drew Pearson tells of Secretary of the Treasury-designate, George Humphrey, being chairman of seven large corporations, president of three, and on the board of directors of 34, companies with total assets of 2.6 billion dollars. Examining his record and that of the other colleagues in the prospective Cabinet, it appeared the President-elect had picked a conservative businessman's Cabinet, but one which was first rate, well ahead of those who had populated the Cabinets under Presidents Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover in the Twenties. He provides detail of Mr. Humphrey's background, indicates that no one of his caliber had sat in the Cabinet since the time of Secretary of the Treasury Andrew Mellon. Despite his business background, Mr. Humphrey had not been anti-labor.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop tell of the President, in his State of the Union message to Congress, having lifted the "paper curtain" regarding the detonation on November 1 of the first hydrogen bomb on Eniwetok. They indicate that, while the public should be grateful for the limited disclosure, it was still worth considering how the paper curtain had operated to exclude the people from decisions of great national import and hide facts of national significance.

The theory of the hydrogen bomb had been published in 1945, shortly after the Hiroshima bomb had been dropped, by Hans Thirring, an Austrian scientist, who had no access to classified U.S. information. The theoretical possibility of a hydrogen bomb was known in the U.S. as well at that time, and at the end of the war, the question had arisen as to whether a project like that which had developed the atomic bomb, should be undertaken to develop the hydrogen bomb. The President referred the matter to a committee of scientists, headed by Dr. Vannevar Bush. That committee wound up recommending against the development, as long as the U.S. had exclusive possession of atomic weapons, placing it far ahead in the arms race, and the President adopted that recommendation. From 1945 until 1949, important research was conducted in secret on the hydrogen bomb, but no development took place until after the Soviets had detonated their first atomic bomb in August, 1949.

At that point, some of the scientists who were aware of the practical possibility of a hydrogen bomb insisted that U.S. policy be altered to permit development of it. But there was great division among the scientists and among the commissioners of the Atomic Energy Commission. Commissioners Gordon Dean and Lewis Strauss were the primary advocates for development of the hydrogen bomb, while then-chairman David Lilienthal led the opposition. The military chiefs of staff supported development, but the State Department took a neutral attitude. The President eventually announced, somewhat ambiguously, that he had ordered the AEC to continue its work on the hydrogen bomb, and shortly thereafter, Mr. Dean replaced Mr. Lilienthal as chairman of the AEC, at which point Mr. Dean secured from the President priority status for development of the hydrogen bomb. The appropriations for the project were requested right at the start of the Korean War.

Frederick C. Othman tells of a soap company out of Pittsburgh having developed a souvenir white soap with an indelible color image of President-elect Eisenhower engraved into one side. A patented sheath protected that side of the soap from water, so that the image remained as long as the soap bar was usable. The man who headed the company and developed the idea had originally ordered soap with the likenesses of both General Eisenhower and Governor Stevenson, but the manufacturer had only been able to develop the one with General Eisenhower, much to the ultimate delight of the soap company, which reported brisk sales of the new soap, though the mini-bars were not doing so well, as the hotel chains apparently were not buying. The soap dealer was using the slogan, "Clean up with Ike."

Some other person possessed of entrepreneurial spirit can come up with a black soap, with an image of the Vice-President-elect on it, and sell it to the Democrats under the slogan, "Dirty down with Dick."

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