The Charlotte News

Wednesday, January 14, 1953


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that U.S. Sabre jets had destroyed at least eight enemy MIG-15s this date, probably destroyed one other and damaged six, in the largest air battle over North Korea since the prior September. The Sabres were providing cover for more B-29 and fighter-bomber strikes on the key Communist transport center at Sinanju, hit for the sixth straight day. It was the first day of those strikes that the enemy jets, however, had taken to the air. It was the highest toll of enemy MIGs since the prior September 4, when 13 had been destroyed and four damaged.

In ground action, there were no major engagements, with several patrol skirmishes across the front.

The Defense Department announced that U.S. battle casualties in Korea had reached 128,721, an increase of 191 since the previous week. Of the latest casualties, 49 had been killed in action, 148 wounded, with the totals in those categories being 20,317 and 95,419, respectively, and the number of missing reduced by five, to 12,985.

The Defense Department also said this date that it had called for the draft of 471 physicians and 258 dentists in March, most of the doctors to go to the Army. In all, 4,246 doctors and 2,181 dentists had been called up for service since July, 1951.

The President, in his annual economic report to Congress, said this date that the nation could achieve production of half a trillion dollars annually within a decade, provided it conquered the serious threat of depression after the current year. He said that there was "unparalleled prosperity" in the country, with high employment and stable prices, which would likely continue through 1953, but that after that point, when defense spending could safely be reduced, there would be serious tests of the ability of the country to avoid a depression, more serious than at any time since the war. He said that with appropriate action, however, the difficulties could be met and that a decade hence, the nation could be producing goods and services at the rate of 475 to 500 billion dollars per year, 40 percent above the present level of 345 billion. The report ignored a 2 to 1 split within the President's Council of Economic Advisers regarding the outlook for deflation in the ensuing three years when defense spending was likely to decline. The President made no specific recommendations to the new Congress, but followed two of his economic advisers, who had recommended prompt expansion of markets to hold the inevitable dip to manageable proportions after the reduction in defense spending.

President-elect Eisenhower met this date with Secretary of Defense-designate Charles E. Wilson, Secretary of State-designate John Foster Dulles, appointed Mutual Security Agency head, Harold Stassen, and Undersecretary of State-designate General Walter Bedell Smith, currently CIA director. The new President had decided the previous day to send Messrs. Dulles and Stassen to Europe at the end of January to conduct a survey of the problems facing NATO and determine future requirements for U.S. economic aid for Western Europe. It was believed that this day's conference would deal with that prospective trip.

In Belgrade, Marshal Tito was elected Communist Yugoslavia's first President this date by the Parliament, acting under a new Constitution. In his acceptance speech, he promised to increase industrialization and improve living standards. Tito had headed the Government since the withdrawal of Nazi forces from Yugoslavia in 1944, and was the only candidate standing for election. He would have about the same powers as he did formerly. Inside the Parliament building, the chant arose, "Hero Tito", and outside approximately 100,000 persons took up the chant.

In Wasmes, Belgium, an explosion of fire damp in a coal mine killed 13 miners and injured 13 others the previous day, after a miner set explosive charges to open a new underground gallery at a depth of about 3,200 feet.

In Eureka, California, 14 parrots, all named Laura, purchased in Cartagena, Colombia, for $15 each, pets aboard a British freighter, were ordered destroyed by Eureka health authorities after it was disclosed that one of the parrots had died of parrot fever, communicable to humans and potentially fatal. The sailors aboard the ship had protested to no avail, denying that the dead parrot had parrot fever, claiming that it had lost its will to live after breaking its leg.

In Raleigh, the State Senate approved the report of its Rules Committee, incorporating recommendations of Lt. Governor Luther Hodges to streamline the State Senate's committee structure. A proposal was also introduced and passed, to form a special commission to study possible use of eight television channels set aside by the Federal Communications Commission for education and non-commercial purposes in the state. A State Senator indicated that Governor William B. Umstead wanted to name the study group during the present week. The television channels in question were reserved only until the following June 2.

Governor Umstead was still making good progress in his recovery from a mild heart attack the prior weekend, and said that he did not want the illness to interrupt state and legislative business. He remained in the hospital in Durham.

Also in Raleigh, an executive of the Southern Railway testified before the State Utilities Commission that a proposed reduction in grain shipments could cost 23 Southern railroads a loss of 30 million dollars per year. The State Farm Bureau had proposed that the railroads adopt a grain rate schedule similar to that used by the Norfolk Southern for grain handled between Norfolk Southern points, and was seeking lower rates for intrastate shipments. The Commission had ordered the railroads to show cause why the rates should not be adjusted.

The Charlotte Chamber of Commerce directors elected John F. Watlington, Jr., senior vice-president of Wachovia Bank & Trust, as president of the organization, succeeding H. H. Everett, who had been selected 1952 Man of the Year for Charlotte. Mr. Watlington had been the 1951 Man of the Year. The story provides the other officers selected as well.

Tom Fesperman of The News again discusses the proposal by the Mecklenburg legislative delegation that the County Police Department be merged with the Sheriff's Department, to be taken up this date by the County Commissioners, who were divided on the issue.

On the editorial page, "County Police, Like the FBI, Ought To Be Kept Out of Politics" finds that the proposal by the Mecklenburg legislative delegation to the General Assembly that the County Police Department be abolished and its functions placed under the Sheriff to be unwise. The only reason advanced for it was the cost of the Department and the fact that the County policemen spent a good part of their time patrolling county roads, including main highways, the job of the State Patrol.

The piece finds the arguments for the consolidation unpersuasive, as the County Police Department was modern, well-equipped, and scientifically trained. The chief was appointed by the Civil Service Board, and to place it under the Sheriff would subject it to elective politics. It suggests that if that were the case with the FBI, requiring the director to be elected every four years, professional excellence in the Bureau would obviously suffer. The same essentially was proposed for the County Police Department, and so it urges the legislative delegation to reconsider the proposal.

"A Travesty of Democracy" indicates that State Representative Clifton Blue's proposal of a State Constitutional amendment to limit each county to one State Senator was unjust and indefensible, denying the right of citizens to equal representation. Under the current system, the Constitution set up proportional representation in the State Senate, while each county, regardless of size, had one seat in the State House, the reverse of the Federal system. Because the 1951 Legislature had not redistricted, as required by the State Constitution every ten years in accord with the census, some counties, such as Mecklenburg and Guilford, which would otherwise have two State Senators, still had one, while other counties, which should have only one, had two, based on relative population in 1940.

It concludes that the overriding issue was the right of every citizen to relatively equal representation in the Legislature and it recommends, therefore, that the Assembly ignore Mr. Blue's proposed amendment and instead undertake to redistrict the State Senate in accordance with the Constitution.

"In the Best Tar Heel Tradition" indicates that the new gubernatorial Administration and the General Assembly did not appear panicked over the prospect of a Supreme Court ruling that public schools would have to be desegregated. Most were taking a wait-and-see attitude. Lt. Governor Hodges, to become Governor at the death of Governor Umstead in November, 1954, stated that he believed the state was not mentally prepared for such a decision.

The piece suggests that the lack of panic followed the state's long tradition of handling race issues calmly and judiciously. Instead of resorting to plans for subterfuge to circumvent any such ruling, as had other Southern states, such as South Carolina, the state was moving forward in an effort to bring black school facilities to equality with white schools. It suggests that it was doing so, not because of recent Supreme Court rulings, but rather because the State Constitution required that there be no discrimination in the provision of separate facilities. (But if that were true, then why were the facilities not made equal decades earlier? Article IX, Section 2 of the State Constitution, providing for "a general and uniform system of Public Schools", had been the law of the state since 1868. In 1875, the Article was amended to provide for segregated schools between "colored" and whites, with "no discrimination made in favor of, or to the prejudice of, either race.")

The piece indicates pride in the state's level-headed approach to the problem and hopes that the General Assembly of 1953 would not become preoccupied with it. There would be time enough for Governor Umstead to call a special session of the Legislature to deal with specific issues, in the event of a Supreme Court ruling ordering desegregation. It suggests that in the meantime, it would appear wise for the Governor to set up an informal advisory committee of educators, parents and legislators to do some preliminary study and planning for such a contingency.

The Congressional Quarterly examines whether the country could ward off a serious economic crisis by keeping an essential industry going while labor and management ironed out a dispute, examines it in light of the various proposed amendments to Taft-Hartley. Senator Taft believed that seizure of an industry was illegal, as had been ruled by the Supreme Court in the case of the President's seizure of the steel industry the previous spring—though that decision did not rule out certain circumstances where a seizure might be appropriate during active wartime as during World War II, the decision having determined the lack of "inherent" authority of the President to seize private property, even in the interest of national security, without Congressional authorization. Some who opposed seizure believed that a new approach could be found in preventive mediation, by strengthening the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, trying to promote mediation in the early stages of a dispute and thereby prevent a strike. The President-elect was said to favor that approach, as did Senator Alexander Smith of New Jersey, who would chair the Labor Committee. But others felt that too much emphasis was being placed on the necessity of preventing strikes, believed that strikes could settle themselves economically if allowed to occur, as such advocates believed would have taken place in the steel strike.

Drew Pearson, for the second day in a row, looks at Secretary of the Treasury-designate George Humphrey, indicating that he had been picked for the position by General Lucius Clay, who had more to do with selecting the Cabinet than any other member of the Eisenhower brain trust. General Clay, head of Continental Can, had gotten to know Mr. Humphrey in Germany in 1948, when the latter was appointed head of the committee to advise on the dismantling of German factories. Then-Secretary of State Marshall had ruled that dismantling German industry would have to continue, but General Clay, then top commander in Germany, disagreed and formed a committee of businessmen, chaired by Mr. Humphrey, to study the matter, eventually leading to reversal of the policy advocated by the Secretary of State. The Humphrey report on the matter was largely responsible for that reversal. That fact would not make it any easier to convince the French to reach an arms treaty with Germany, one of the new President's biggest European objectives.

But Mr. Humphey's most important impact as Secretary of the Treasury would be on domestic policy. Mr. Pearson again recites the companies of which Mr. Humphrey was either chairman, president or director. With a background so similar to former Secretary of Treasury Andrew Mellon, he might be expected to follow Mr. Mellon's policy of engineering rich tax benefits for business, with no corresponding benefits to lower bracket taxpayers.

But when the Cabinet was being selected, General Clay and others indicated that the tax and spend policies of the Democrats would have to continue, could not be ended too abruptly, for if another depression occurred in a Republican business-oriented Administration, it could keep the Republicans out of power for years to come.

With that in mind, Mr. Pearson predicts that there would be no abrupt reduction of taxes unless Congress took the initiative. Mr. Humphrey did not believe that a tax bill could be written until the budget was determined, but Congress might upset that order. Mr. Humphrey's advisers would fix a general target of letting the excess profits tax expire automatically the following June and would schedule lower bracket tax reductions the ensuing fall when consumer buying might be low and the economy in need of a shot in the arm to avoid recession. He further predicts that within the ensuing six months, Mr. Humphrey would refinance 56 billion dollars in Government loans, previously done with 90-day and short-term notes, probably to be switched by the new Secretary to long-term loans. That would probably entail an increase in interest rates on Government bonds to as much as three percent, making money tight and producing a tendency toward deflation, while putting banks in better shape, but leaving business with less expansion capital. Mr. Humphrey's advisers believed that Congress would wipe out wage, price, and materials controls, despite the new President favoring retention. The goal would be to maintain skeletal controls over strategic materials. The new Secretary had been the first steel man to see that the U.S. was running out of iron ore and would have to import it from abroad. He had acquired most of the ore deposits of Labrador, and if ore were to reach the Great Lakes area in the future, the St. Lawrence Seaway would be an essential avenue of transport, causing inevitably Mr. Humphrey to be a prime mover in trying to get the Congress to approve joining with Canada to build it.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop tell of the Eisenhower Administration having considered hiring television and radio entertainer Arthur Godfrey as a representative of the Defense Department on a special committee to consider the problems of psychological warfare. Former CIA deputy director William Jackson and C. D. Jackson, publisher of Fortune magazine, had been the first two proposed members. Secretary of Defense-designate Charles E. Wilson was asked to name someone who could represent Defense, and he chose Mr. Godfrey. After due consideration, the idea was dropped, and it was likely that Robert Cutler, the Boston lawyer-banker who had become an aide to the President-elect, former Secretary of the Army and current UNC president Gordon Gray, Abbott Washburn of the Committee for a Free Europe, and Barklie Henry, would be the other members. William Jackson was likely to go from the projected committee to the directorship of the Psychological Strategy Board, or whatever substitute body the new committee would propose. C. D. Jackson would probably become an Assistant Secretary of State, concerning the Soviet Union and satellite areas. Mr. Washburn would likely become a White House administrative assistant.

The Alsops find that the story concerning Mr. Godfrey was the most interesting part of the matter. They regard him as a splendid entertainer and, by all reports, "a courageous, decent and sensible man." As his experience in foreign policy was obviously limited, however, the fact of the proposal by Mr. Wilson showed that he was a sufferer from the "Bryan illusion"—the view, as once imputed to William Jennings Bryan by Senator Carter Glass of Virginia, that any man with goodness in his heart could write a banking act. The Alsops suggest that this illusion, if it crept into defense or foreign policy, could produce odd or even horrible consequences. The recommendation of Mr. Godfrey also showed a sense by Mr. Wilson that democracy could be peddled as soap flakes, just as deodorant, tea or automobiles. They indicate that it was not true, however, and that the series of difficult and delicate questions which the new committee was to consider needed serious treatment. The Kremlin was strengthening the Iron Curtain every day and the question had to be asked, regarding propaganda, whether the expenditures were worthwhile to overcome Soviet radio jamming, microwave transmission and other Iron Curtain measures designed to interrupt Western broadcasts.

Marquis Childs indicates that in the budget message sent to Congress, the President had said that he had done all he could to ease the problems of transition to the new Administration. He indicates that while that might not be literally true, the President had done many things to try to make the transition smooth. Both in the Defense and State Departments, the incoming officials had been working closely with those who would soon retire. For the previous six weeks, Secretary of Defense Robert Lovett had been giving to Secretary-designate Wilson and his aides an almost daily course on the Federal Government and its ramifications.

The President wanted to leave a clearly defined record against which the performance of the new Administration could be measured, explaining his statements and reports issued in recent weeks. The budget was a part of that record, posing tough decisions for the new Administration. The proposed defense budget of 41.5 billion dollars had been trimmed to the bone, making all cuts possible without impairing national security. The big aircraft carriers could be cut, but there was a difference of opinion in the services regarding their necessity. The Air Force believed them superfluous, as did the top specialists in the British Navy and the Royal Air Force, indicating that they would make too easy targets, but Joint Chiefs chairman General Omar Bradley, who had once opposed big carriers, now supported them on the premise that airfields on land could be knocked out by atom bombs for at least two years.

On foreign aid, military and economic, the President added about a billion dollars to what was being spent in the current fiscal year, for a total proposed amount of 7.6 billion dollars. That appeared as an invitation for cutting, but if foreign aid were drastically reduced without regard to the damage to foreign policy, there would be that record against which the new Administration would be compared at a future date.

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