The Charlotte News

Saturday, January 17, 1953


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports, via George McArthur, that two U.S. Sabre jets had fought a running air duel, started by the Sabres, with eight enemy MIG-15 jets this date, with one of the enemy planes being shot down.

The Air Force disclosed that two B-29's had been shot down by enemy night fighters during the previous week, while 13 enemy MIGs had been destroyed against no lost Sabres. Enemy ground fire had shot down five allied warplanes, with three lost to other causes, presumably mechanical failure.

In the ground war, enemy troops assaulted "Pinpoint Hill", "Rocky Point" and "Finger Ridge" on the east-central front, and in the west, the Chinese had made a brief assault on a hill in the Little Nori sector, involving 90 men, before being driven back by the allies.

The Eighth Army disclosed that 1,781 enemy troops had been killed, wounded or captured during the week ending January 14.

President-elect Eisenhower's headquarters in New York refused to confirm or deny a published report by the New York Times that two minor New York office employees had been barred from prospective jobs in the new Administration on the basis of FBI inquiries into their loyalty.

The President-elect would leave by special train the following afternoon for Washington, where he would occupy the presidential suite at the Statler Hotel, in advance of the inauguration on Tuesday. He had spent the previous day at Columbia University, where he issued a sentimental farewell to the students and faculty, his resignation as University president becoming effective on Monday. He had spoken briefly at a dinner given by the University's Law School the previous night.

Eisenhower headquarters also announced that there had been no change in the status of the nomination of Secretary of Defense-designate Charles E. Wilson, the confirmation pending before the Senate Armed Services Committee, which was investigating the fact that Mr. Wilson intended to retain substantial holdings in General Motors, from which he had recently resigned as president to serve in the Cabinet. Mr. Wilson had indicated he would retain his 2.5 million in G.M. stock as well as his right to a substantial annual pension and additional shares of stock. G.M. was the primary recipient of Government war contracts and so the issue was one of conflict of interest. James Hagerty, press secretary to the President-elect, said that there had been no change in any of that status. The Committee had put off further action on the appointment until Monday. Thus far, five Cabinet appointees had been recommended for confirmation, Secretary of Labor-designate Martin Durkin, Postmaster General-designate Arthur Summerfield, Secretary of Interior-designate Douglas McKay, Secretary of Agriculture-designate Ezra Taft Benson, and Secretary of State-designate John Foster Dulles. Herbert Brownell, Attorney General-designate, and George Humphrey, Secretary of Treasury-designate, had, in addition to Mr. Wilson, yet to be recommended for confirmation by the appropriate committees.

Republican Party leaders gathered in Washington to select a new RNC chairman and prepare the "hoop-de-doo" leading up to Tuesday's inauguration. It was expected that they would elect Wes Roberts, a former Kansas newspaperman and World War II veteran, as chairman to succeed Mr. Summerfield, who was resigning the post to enter the Cabinet, despite the fact that in the past, both Democrats and Republicans had done double duty as Postmaster General and chairman of the party.

The President this date accepted the resignation of Dean Acheson as Secretary of State, praising him in a letter of acceptance as being "among the very greatest … this country has had" in the office. The President also accepted the resignations of Secretary of Treasury John W. Snyder, Secretary of Agriculture Charles Brannan, Secretary of Labor Maurice Tobin, Secretary of Interior Oscar Chapman, Attorney General James McGranery and Postmaster General Jesse Donaldson, ending the Cabinet resignations. He lauded each in separate letters for "dependable advice and assistance", and for "energy and wisdom", along with unselfish and loyal support. The President had already accepted the resignations of Secretary of Defense Robert Lovett and Secretary of Commerce Charles Sawyer.

In Cairo, the Egyptian Government announced this date that it had crushed a Communist-Wafdist Party plot to overthrow the Premier, Maj. General Mohamed Naguib, after 25 Army officers and 15 civilians had been arrested in the plot. Colonel Abdel Nasser, acting chief of staff and second in command in the Government, said that he was speaking for the Premier, declaring that the Communists and strongly nationalistic Wafdist Party members had engaged in a "preliminary conspiracy to create sedition". Those arrested included a cousin of exiled King Farouk and a colonel whom the Premier had appointed and then ousted from a three-man regency council when the King had been deposed the prior July. Six Communist newspapers had also been closed down and every known Communist arrested. Earlier, the Premier had announced that all Egyptian political parties had been dissolved and their treasuries confiscated, with their activities banned for an interim period of three years. He had, in a nationwide radio broadcast, claimed that the parties were a "grave menace to the country's existence" and that some had "connived with foreign powers and had engaged in conspiracies". He did not name the foreign powers.

In Budapest, the Hungarian Government announced this date the arrest of the president of Hungary's Jewish community, Lajos Stoeckler. A communiqué said that police had found a considerable quantity of dollars and Swiss francs at the home of the former industrialist. The Jewish community in Hungary had administered the funds of the American Joint Distribution Committee, after the Jewish welfare agency ceased to exist as an independent body three years earlier.

In Fleming, Ga., a hamlet of 400 persons, 30 miles southwest of Savannah, the Atlantic Coast Line Miami-to-Boston Miamian train, with three diesels and several cars full of passengers, hit the rear of a freight train in thick fog this date at 3:00 a.m., injuring seven persons, two critically. Two of four derailed passenger cars had been empty. The three locomotives, four passenger cars and eight freight cars were derailed in the impact. Most of the 15 passenger cars which remained on the tracks had been filled with passengers. A trooper said that flares which had been set up by the freight train's crew had probably not been visible in the fog and overcast. A local resident described the fog as the worst he had ever seen. The two most seriously injured were the passenger train engineer and fireman, both of whom were in critical condition with multiple fractures.

Near St. John's, Newfoundland, an American C-54 military transport had crashed the previous night near Harmon Air Base at Stephenville and all 14 persons aboard, thought to have been American military personnel, were believed to have perished. The cause of the accident was under investigation. Weather at the time was generally good, with occasional snow flurries and gusts of wind up to 40 mph.

In Fort Lee, Va., a Marine staff sergeant had been traveling by car with several other Marines from Camp Lejeune, N.C., to Washington, when he started playing Russian roulette with a civilian .32-caliber revolver, resulting in the gun firing a bullet into his head as the car entered Colonial Heights, Va., six miles from Fort Lee. The Marine then died at the Fort Lee Army Hospital.

In Baltimore, about five weeks earlier, a truck driver pulled up beside a man having car trouble, and asked if he wanted his "wreck" pushed, the thus angered motorist, taking exception to the characterization of his prized 15-year old car, then followed the truck driver to a service station, where the two men got into a fight, resulting in the death of the truck driver two days afterward. The owner of the 1937 automobile had been held the previous day to answer before a grand jury on the charge of killing the truck driver. The precise nature of the homicide to be charged, whether murder or manslaughter, was not indicated.

In New York, a jury in U.S. District Court continued its deliberations in the trial of 13 second-level Communist leaders, after receiving the case on Thursday afternoon, deliberating thus far for 14.5 hours. The charges at issue were of the Smith Act, conspiracy to teach and advocate the violent overthrow of the Government. Eleven top Communist leaders had already been convicted under the Act. Lawyers for the accused asked the court to investigate four New York City newspapers for having taken pictures of the jurors during the day, suggesting that it might put them on the spot, but the judge said that, while he was against the practice of photographing jurors, he had made no order against doing so and declined any further inquiry.

In Greensboro, N.C., an attorney and local counsel for Duke Power Co. and the Southern Railway, Russell Robinson, 63, died in the hospital after suffering a heart attack December 30. He was a graduate of UNC and the Columbia University Law School, having originally grown up in Goldsboro.

In Texas, a damaging sleet storm and bitter cold spread across the state, with little relief was expected the following day, as the cold would spread into the Rio Grande Valley's citrus and vegetable crops. The cold coupled with record incidence of flu to hit the state with double trouble. The State Health Department warned hundreds of thousands of Texans estimated to be stricken with the flu to remain indoors to avoid pneumonia. It was the worst flu epidemic in the state since the 1917-18 nationwide epidemic.

In Glasgow, Scotland, Glasgow University coeds had voted 360 to 140 against installing a "squeezie room" in the Women's Union, where couples could cuddle during student dances. They had replied to a University magazine, most of them saying that it would only make it more difficult to get their boyfriends to dance.

On the editorial page, "Another Reason for a Two-Party South" indicates that the previous year North and South Carolinians had presided over seven of the 34 standing committees of Congress, and Southerners generally held 11 of the 19 chairmanships in the House and eight of the 15 in the Senate. But now all of those chairmanships were in the hands of Republicans, not one of whom hailed from the South.

The results would have many ramifications adverse to the South, such as the proposed cigarette tax, which had been held up primarily by former chairman of both the House Ways & Means and Appropriations Committees, Robert Doughton of North Carolina, now possibly to become law, reducing the tax on "economy brand" cigarettes below the tax paid by the standard brands. Most North Carolina tobacco manufacturers would be unhappy with such a law while individuals who smoked the "economy brands" would be pleased with it.

It indicates that the moral was that when a state and region put all of its political eggs in one basket, the state and region was in when its party was in power, and out when its party was out of power. It suggests, therefore, that a balance would not be struck until the South regularly sent Congressmen from both parties to Washington.

"Let's Tell the World about It" indicates that in some of the more dingy areas of Charlotte's Municipal Airport, some thoughtful citizen had posted signs apologizing for the "shabby facilities", explaining that they were being used only until the City's new terminal building was completed. The piece finds the apology appropriate, as any local resident who traveled by air had to feel disappointed when entering the terminal, as outsiders had to consider the whole city woefully delinquent in coming into modern times.

The ground had been broken during the week, however, for a 1.3 million dollar terminal building which would be more than adequate for the present needs of the city.

"Cold Shoulders in Raleigh" indicates that the Assembly ought defeat a bill presented by a Burlington Representative to provide a bonus for North Carolina veterans. There was little support among veterans for the measure, as most appeared to realize that service for the nation in time of war was not the kind of thing that could be repaid with a lump-sum cash grant, and that the need for better state facilities and services for all the people was so pressing that every penny of revenue had to be devoted to it. The Raleigh American Legion post had gone on record against the bonus proposal and would submit to the General Assembly a resolution setting forth its opposition. Other posts across the state, it posits, and all veterans, could profit from following its example.

"Look—Republican 'Eggheads'" indicates that during the campaign, President-elect Eisenhower had spoken disparagingly of a "Harvard accent", but had now named Harvard University President Dr. James Conant as the U.S. High Commissioner to West Germany. That appointment fell into a surprising pattern in light of the campaign oratory by the Republicans, as several "eggheads" were within the inner circle of the new Administration, similar to the first Administration of FDR. Dr. John Hannah, president of Michigan State, would be Assistant Secretary of Defense. Harold Stassen, former president of the University of Pennsylvania, was head of the Mutual Security Agency. John Foster Dulles, while not an academic, could be considered an egghead, and was the Secretary of State-designate. Penn State president Milton Eisenhower, the President's brother, would be an adviser to the new Administration, as would be Robert Johnson of Temple University. And, of course, the new President was retiring president of Columbia University and had been first in his class at the Commanding General Staff School.

It finds that, whereas brains were still in demand in the executive branch, it was not the case in Congress, where the Committee on Government Operations, chaired by Senator Joseph McCarthy, the Internal Security subcommittee and HUAC all planned sweeping investigations of education, to ferret out subversives. An unnamed former Communist had told HUAC that a couple of Americans had once joined the Communist Party while studying at Oxford under Rhodes scholarships, resulting in that Committee now taking a close look at prospective Rhodes scholars.

"It doesn't take a sheepskin to figure out that the Republican 'eggheads' will soon be discomfited by some knuckleheads in their own party."

"Home Rule" indicates that local legislation was handled in routine fashion by the North Carolina General Assembly, whereby a measure introduced in the Assembly by a local Representative or Senator was given a perfunctory hearing before a committee and then, frequently on a Saturday with few legislators in attendance, the bill was voted on and became law. Hundreds of such bills were passed in each Assembly session, as the powers of county and city governments in the state were severely limited. For years the need for greater home rule had been debated, but so far had produced no action.

In 1951, Georgia had decided to do something about the same problem, and its Legislature had passed the Gowen bill, granting city governments a large measure of control over their own affairs. It refers the reader to a piece on the page regarding that process and suggests that the members of the 1953 Assembly and other interested citizens read it, with an eye toward reform of the kind in North Carolina.

Louis Graves, writing in the Chapel Hill Weekly, in a piece titled "Escape from Slavery", indicates that it had been 15 years since he had quit smoking and could not think of anything he had ever done which had given him so much comfort, physical and mental. Giving up the habit had made him miserable for awhile, but it was a very short time compared to the subsequent years during which he no longer felt miserable but enjoyed the consciousness of having freed himself from the "slavery that used to bind" him. He had been a smoker for some 30 years, including cigarettes, cigars and pipes, now realizing that the satisfaction obtained from smoking was mainly a negative one, as with any other "narcotic habit", that he had been made happy so much by smoking that he was unhappy when not smoking. The unhappiness could be ended permanently, provided the smoker stuck it out for three or four weeks, following which discomfort, "what a glorious feeling it is to realize that you are free man again!"

Those are paper chains, holding the smoker in slavery by voodoo. Just ask Jimmy Olsen, who took none of the tea, and so was free to see.

Harold Davis, writing in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, as indicated in the above editorial, refers to the Georgia Gowen Home Rule Act, which had been in effect for two years, providing home rule to the municipal governments of Georgia, replacing the old system under which only the General Assembly could enable them to have powers. Now, under the Act, they could adopt the new charters, or readopt their old ones with amendments, providing them with power to do locally what they formerly had to ask the Legislature to do for them.

Drew Pearson indicates that most of the businessmen in the new Cabinet were of the modern, high-powered school, except for conservative, genteel Sinclair Weeks, the Secretary of Commerce-designate. Mr. Weeks had descended from mid-17th Century blue-blood stock in New England, who had helped to govern the fledgling colony of Massachusetts into its early statehood and beyond. His father had served in the Cabinet of Warren Harding as Secretary of War and had organized the private banking firm of Hornblower & Weeks. Mr. Weeks was appointed to fill the Senate seat of former Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., when the latter entered World War II in 1944 in Europe. He had not gone into his father's banking business, but instead had established his own business selling fasteners and buckles for harnesses, purses, radio tube pins, soldering lugs, raincoats, overalls, etc. The only type of fasteners he did not sell were zippers. He had made so much money in the business that he had expanded into England, Canada, Australia and Luxembourg, with earnings in those countries of about half a million dollars per year. He was one of the wealthiest men in New England, and was also a director of the Gillette Safety Razor Co., the Pullman Co., Atlas Plywood, Pacific Mills, the First National Bank of Boston, Reed & Barton, a silverware company, and was also a member of the board of Harvard University and the National Association of Manufacturers.

He was also president of the American Enterprise Association, a lobbying organization which had flourished during the 80th Congress, controlled by the Republicans between 1947 and 1949. The policies of that organization suggested the policies he would likely follow in his new Cabinet role. The Association had as its primary goal education of members of Congress regarding legislation on a non-partisan basis, summarizing and interpreting bills which individual members did not have time to study carefully. Mr. Pearson suggests that if the theoretical basis of non-partisanship actually obtained in reality, it would be fine, but in practice, the analyses were from a conservative or even reactionary viewpoint, shared by most of the persons who populated the Association.

The contacts of Mr. Weeks with Washington members of the press indicated that he would be the most cautious member of the new Cabinet, often indicating that his responses would be off the record. He would want to reverse the feeling of business that they did not have any friends in Washington. He also would take the approach of encouraging spreading of Government contracts among small businesses as well as the growing monopolies of big business, six of which, including G.M., presently dominated those contracts. Mr. Pearson indicates that if he could accomplish that goal, he would have performed one of the most valuable services in the history of American business.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop discuss the new Administration's approach to the thorny problem of resolving the stalemate in the Korean War, with armistice talks appearing permanently stalled over the issue of voluntary repatriation of prisoners, having failed of resolution recently in the U.N. During the trip of the President-elect to Korea, the principal military commanders, Generals Mark Clark and James Van Fleet, and air commander General O. P. Weyland, had indicated that an offensive in Korea was not out of the question, provided there was time, calculated to be about nine months, for marshaling enough resources to prepare for it. A frontal assault on the Chinese line was out of the question, as the enemy had dug in 20 miles deep, rendering even the use of strategic atomic weapons out of the question.

A landing on both coasts behind enemy lines could work, such as that at Inchon in September, 1950, but because those troops could be pinched by Chinese armies descending from Manchuria, casualties could run as high as 50,000 or more.

To enable such a landing, therefore, breaking one of the jaws of the two-pronged "nutcracker" would be necessary, through different types of diversionary attacks in China and Manchuria, starting with an attack on Mukden, the key supply and reinforcement facility through which all rail traffic passed. The problem with such maneuvers was that they could entail substantial risk of widening the war, with the U.N. allies bound to object. If it were to result in a quick end to the war, the latter would be acceptable, but if the war continued despite such an attack, it would break the Western alliance and lead to broad attacks in the U.S. for blunders by the new Administration.

There was also under consideration the suggestion of use of Nationalist Chinese troops, disfavored by the commanders on the ground in Korea, but having some support at the Pentagon and strong support among Republicans in Congress. Deputy Secretary of Defense William Foster, of the current Administration, had urged consideration of such a plan, to test at least one division of Chiang Kai-shek's men to see whether the 500 million dollars per year in aid being sent to Formosa was having any positive effect. Thus, such a suggestion had to at least be considered.

Frederick C. Othman tells of a Congressman friend having dropped in on him recently and urged him to accompany him to a demonstration of the Autopen, a robotic signature device costing $895 and capable of signing 3,000 letters per day. The Congressman figured that if he purchased one to go with his already possessed automatic typewriter, he might be able to take an occasional afternoon off. At the demonstration, the representative of the company claimed that many public officials were utilizing the machine, but refused to indicate which, if any, members of Congress were doing so and whether the new President might employ such a device. He said that, typically, persons who had to sign a lot of letters sent them out to a professional forging group, who wound up doing a sloppy job after awhile, as they would get tired and the signatures would start to vary. He also indicated that for those who did not have consistent letters coming in to be signed, there was a special service available for making a record of the customer's signature for $20 and thereafter having the letters signed by machine at the home office at a cost of 1.5 cents each.

What will they think of next?

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