The Charlotte News

Wednesday, January 21, 1953


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that allied Sabre jets had shot down seven enemy MIG-15s and damaged three others in battles over northwest Korea this date, one of the largest bags in several months.

In the ground war, allied troops repulsed enemy attacks on the eastern front. A Communist radio broadcast had asserted that thousands of Communist soldiers, working underground by lamplight day and night, had carved out a tunnel network which had proved itself to be "an impregnable defense line never before seen in the history of war".

The new President, in his first full day in office, approached the problem of getting Secretary of Defense-designate Charles E. Wilson confirmed by the Senate, over objections for his failure to divest himself of stock holdings and other interests in G.M., of which he had been president, when G.M. was the primary defense contractor. Press secretary James Hagerty indicated that the new President intended to hold regular press conferences in the same format of question and answer followed by President Truman, though no date had yet been set for the first conference—to be held February 17. The date of the State of the Union message would be decided at a meeting of the President with Congressional leaders. The new President was considering regular broadcasts via television and radio to report directly to the American people. He had not yet been briefed on the appeal for clemency of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, set to have been executed in mid-January pursuant to their conviction and sentence for passing atomic secrets to the Soviets, the execution having been postponed until after the clemency consideration was completed.

Senator Taft this date asked the Senate to confirm the eight members of the Eisenhower Cabinet, whose nominations had been submitted by the President. Secretary-designate Wilson was not among those nominations, though the White House indicated this date that the President still intended to nominate him. Senator Wayne Morse, who had declared as an independent during the campaign, renouncing his Republican Party membership, had blocked the confirmation of the eight appointees the previous day, by refusing to go along with unanimous consent, required for nominations to be confirmed on the same day of receipt. The Senator this date indicated that he had not done so out of any motive of retaliation or revenge, acknowledging that others might so accuse him.

This date, the President sent to the Senate for confirmation the names of Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., as Ambassador to the U.N., and Harold Stassen, as head of the Mutual Security Agency.

Members of Congress appeared to support the new President's no-appeasement foreign policy, which he had outlined in his inaugural address the previous day, which had a "somewhat apathetic reception" from the estimated crowd on hand of 125,000, who only interrupted the speech four times with applause. Senators Taft and Alexander Wiley of Wisconsin, the latter the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, described the speech, however, as "magnificent" and "inspiring". Democrats promised cooperation toward achieving the overall goal of world peace.

The Interstate Commerce Commission disclosed this date a petition from the Post Office Department for a new increase in parcel post rates averaging about 35 percent.

In New York, a U.S. District Court jury found 13 second-level Communist leaders guilty of conspiracy under the Smith Act, for advocating or teaching the violent or forceful overthrow of the Government. The defendants were subject to sentence of up to five years in prison and fines of $10,000 each. The prosecution had contended that the 13 defendants had vicariously stepped into the shoes of the 11 party leaders who had already been convicted and sentenced to prison on the same charges three years earlier. The defense had contended that the defendants had only sought to achieve Communist Party aims through peaceful means.

In Bellefonte, Pa., about 325 prisoners, in their third day of insurrection, refused to accord surrender ultimatums this date in their barricaded cellblock at Rockview State Penitentiary and also refused to release six guards held as hostages until their complaints were redressed. The previous night, 400 of the prisoners had capitulated to a demand by Governor John Fine, who warned that additional jail sentences would be meted to every prisoner who continued to defy authority. The State Deputy Attorney General said that the inmates would first have to release the six hostages and throw out their seven guns before a settlement would be discussed. By permission of the inmates, one of the hostages had been allowed to go to a window and state that they were being treated well and that no one had forced them to do anything, urging authorities to give the men a fair hearing. The inmates had issued 12 demands relating to prison food and the parole system. The Deputy Attorney General indicated that he could not discuss those matters until they agreed to the State's demands.

In Frederick, Okla., a mother and her three children perished the previous night in a fire at their home, after a kerosene lamp had exploded.

In Manning, S.C., the nine-year old brother of a bus driver, 18, fatally injured in a head-on collision of two buses the previous day, remained in critical condition, and two of the other children injured in the accident remained in serious condition, while 20 others hospitalized were apparently out of danger.

In Louisburg, N.C., a well-known Franklin County physician had been shot and killed this date after a fight with his father-in-law, according to the local Sheriff. No charges had been filed, the doctor having gone to his father-in-law's home carrying a rifle, whereupon his father-in-law shot him with a shotgun after the two had fought, it not being clear from the story what the fight concerned.

At a U.S. airbase in northern Japan, mysterious flying objects, described as "rotating clusters of red, white and green lights", were sighted by American airmen, according to the Air Force. Intelligence reports placed the sightings close to Russian territory in the Kurile Islands and Sakhalin. The reports said: "There are too many indications of the presence of something … to be considered an observation of nothing." They discounted the possibility that the objects were reflections of light. The reports were similar to those describing "flying saucers" in the U.S., one observer indicating that the lights appeared to hang motionless at times, while at other times, disappearing with blinding speed. Sightings had been made by many persons at many points over northern Japan on December 29, and a rotating cluster had been spotted by two fighter pilots on January 9, tracking it on radar.

In Raleigh, legislation before the General Assembly proposed a mandatory jail sentence of between 30 days and six months for second offenses of drunk driving, leaving the present punishment for a first conviction the same, a fine of not less than $100 or imprisonment of not less than 30 days, or both. Upon a third conviction, the punishment under the proposed bill would be not less than six months in jail nor more than two years. Present law did not place a minimum jail sentence on second or third offenses.

Also in Raleigh, two State legislators entered a newly installed elevator at the State Capitol this date, one of them commenting on how slow it was, the other subsequently indicating that he ought press the button so that it would begin to move.

The observation of the intelligence reports of the Air Force thus bears repeating: "There are too many indications of the presence of something … to be considered an observation of nothing."

On the editorial page, "A Somber Dedication" tells of President Eisenhower's inaugural address having been "a dedication, of himself and his office, to leadership of an interdependent free world", a message which "presumed the unity of the American people and sought to reassure our allies and adversaries" of the nation's intentions, "somber, reflecting onward from the private opening prayer, to our knowledge unprecedented in an Inaugural, the sense of spiritual and moral crusade" which had characterized his attitude toward the Presidency. It afforded no clues regarding his domestic policies, setting forth nine principles of conduct which he intended to apply, which it then lists.

He had urged Europe to strive "with renewed vigor to make the unity of their peoples a reality", urging in one of his nine points support for regional pacts, albeit leaving out any specific mention of NATO, which the piece thinks might imply less emphasis on Europe and more on Asia.

The editors had liked his repeated emphasis of freedom and unity, as well as the world-mindedness of the speech. None of his stated principles were new, there being no new Point Four program for the development of underdeveloped nations, as President Truman had put forward in his 1949 inaugural address. But he had developed a philosophy of international conduct which ought find majority support in both parties.

"With order and dignity, without convulsion, the nation's leadership had changed, and the new President spoke with the authority of national unity that for years had been lacking."

That all depends on perspective. Some, including apparently most of the crowd on hand before the Capitol, probably regarded it as milquetoast, stating little or nothing of note.

"Ways to Raise Teaching Standards" indicates that ever since Greensboro Woman's College chancellor E. K. Graham had, the previous May, delivered an address to the North Carolina editorial writers regarding the overly stringent curriculum requirements for elementary school teacher certification in the state, the topic had been widely discussed among educators and parents alike. Dr. Graham had argued that the requirements discouraged many young women from entering the teaching profession at the elementary school level because they were unable to obtain in the process a broad, liberal education, because of the overly structured curriculum requirements. Dr. Graham had received much support from newspapers across the state for his suggestion that the certification structure be revised, but very little support from education departments across the state, with the notable exception of Dr. Edgar Knight, Kenan professor of education at UNC, who had waged a long campaign against the "hierarchy" of modern education as being too rigid and authoritarian.

J. A. Hillman, chief certification officer of the State Department of Public Instruction, had issued the strongest attack on Dr. Graham's suggestions, in an unpublicized talk to high school superintendents, copies of which later were circulated to newspapers. In the talk, Mr. Hillman had treated with sarcasm some of the suggestions of Dr. Graham, indicating that North Carolina's requirements were no more rigid than those of other states.

The piece cites attempts to solve the problem, quoting from the Ford Foundation, and its sponsored project arranged between the State of Arkansas and the Harvard Graduate School of Education, as well as between the University of Louisville and Cornell University, involving one year internships at Harvard or Cornell, in conjunction with the undergraduate study preparatory to teacher certification.

It hopes that North Carolina would not be left behind in the effort to produce better educated teachers for its children.

"Recognition, at Last, for Us Consumers" indicates that, generally, in the matter of the contest between public and private electric power, the newspaper had supported private utility companies, except in cases where construction of multipurpose dams would be economically unfeasible for power generation alone. But one argument advanced by opponents of public power, it posits, should never be brought up at all, that being that private utilities were more virtuous because they paid taxes. It regards the point as double-talk, confusing the issue, as, in the end, consumers paid for the taxes, passed on by the utility companies.

Recently, the private utilities had been promoting private ownership through that argument, claiming that out of each dollar consumers paid on their electric bill, 20 cents went to Federal, state and local taxes. While it was a fair and accurate statement, it ignored the fact that the consumer was actually paying those taxes. It indicates that the utilities' payment of taxes might be used to justify higher utility rates, but they ought recognize that it was the consumer who actually paid the taxes.

E. W. Kenworthy of the New York Times tells of President Eisenhower having read a great deal of history as a boy, but having turned to pulp Westerns as an adult. He may have, however, consulted a new collection published the previous August, ordered by a House committee, compiling the previous inaugural addresses of the Presidents. Had he done so, he might have longed for the simplicity of a day when the nation looked on the Louisiana Purchase as a terrible extravagance and the National Bank as an issue over which to fight.

He goes on in that vein, outlining some of the issues facing prior Presidents at the time of their inaugurations, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Quincy Adams, in 1825, Martin Van Buren, in 1837, William Henry Harrison, in 1841, Franklin Pierce, in 1853, Abraham Lincoln, in 1861, Theodore Roosevelt, in 1905, and Calvin Coolidge, in 1925, the detail of which you may read.

Drew Pearson indicates that the last meeting of the Truman Cabinet had probably been the most relaxed and congenial in its sometimes turbulent history, with the President having said little, reassuring the members of the Cabinet that history would prove that he had one of the most loyal and ablest Cabinets of any President. He showed them a color photograph of the Cabinet, a copy of which he would give to each member after adding his autograph. Each member then gave his usual report, the most interesting being from Secretary of Defense Robert Lovett, who indicated the progress in atomic energy, saying that it would soon be developed for peacetime uses, though not stating a particular timetable. Secretary of State Acheson reported that the British had agreed to a new plan for settlement of the Iranian oil dispute and that it was now up to Premier Mohammed Mossadegh to accept or reject it. Secretary of Commerce Charles Sawyer told a story about three Episcopalian clergymen, which you may read for yourself, imparting the implication that he could hardly wait to leave the Cabinet so that he might tell all about it, at which point the meeting adjourned.

As the outgoing President had been packing up at the White House, Congressman Jack Shelley of San Francisco dropped in to say goodbye and introduce California's three new Democratic House members, Harlan Hagen, John Moss, and Robert Condon. Mr. Moss expressed to the President that he hoped he could now take it easy, to which the President indicated his fear that he could not do so, as he already had a job waiting for him back home resulting from his Congressional district having voted for General Eisenhower in 1952, wanting therefore to put it back in the Democratic column in 1954. Mr. Shelley said that everyone would miss him, and the President stated it was nice to hear, as he had thought that most people in Washington were wondering when "that little so-and-so was going to get out of town".

One of the last visitors of the President had been war ace Jimmy Doolittle, who presented the President with a solid gold medal commemorating the first manned flight at Kitty Hawk by the Wright brothers 50 years earlier, the following December. The President indicated that it was the only thing of value he would be taking with him back to Independence, and that if things got really tough, he might cash it in.

Marquis Childs tells of the new Administration engaging in an experiment of management of big government by big industry, with the wisecrack going around that the Cabinet was comprised of eight millionaires and a plumber, the latter being Martin Durkin, former head of the Plumbers Union, the new Labor Secretary. The businessmen of the Cabinet, with the controversy still swirling around Charles E. Wilson regarding his confirmation as Secretary of Defense, would now have the task of managing the Federal Government. Their success or failure could determine the future of the Republican Party for years to come.

The new Administration had its political managers, most having come from the Dewey machine in New York or out of California, where Governor Earl Warren had demonstrated how to build a political following in both parties. The aim of the Administration politically was to adopt a moderate stance, to attract farmers, labor, and minorities from the Democrats. Senator Irving Ives of New York was one of the able and successful members of that political team, having won re-election the prior November with a huge plurality of 1.3 million votes, carrying New York City, which President Eisenhower had lost. In a speech the previous week, Senator Ives said effectively that the Republican Congress was Republican because of the personal popularity of General Eisenhower, that the people remained progressive and that there could be no turning back the clock, that only "with a spirit of mutual helpfulness and cooperation" could the new Administration succeed. Without it, he had said, the party was condemned to defeat in 1956. As a member of the Labor Committee, the Senator hoped to head a subcommittee which would study discrimination in industry and business, the Republican majority of which was expected to agree to a compromise civil rights bill providing for a voluntary fair employment practices commission, which would rely on education of employers, teaching them that discrimination in employment was not only unfair but did not pay. That would be considered a first step toward achieving equal opportunity and pay in employment without resort to Federal compulsion.

Mr. Childs indicates that such a pattern would develop if the able political managers working in the Administration could effect it.

Frederick C. Othman tells of Congressman Thomas B. Curtis of Missouri having proposed to the House to begin cutting military expenditures by ten billion dollars through elimination of 100 different businesses operated by the defense establishment, including coffee manufacturing, paint manufacturing and auto repairing, focusing on coffee as an example. You may read, from the horse's mouth, all about the Army's and the Marines' coffee business, how much it was costing, and how much the Congressman claimed its elimination would cut from the budget.

Bear in mind, in the process, that some contend that Lee Harvey Oswald, during his employment in New Orleans in 1963 at the Reily Coffee Co., was actually involved in Government work, particularly the CIA and that Agency's ongoing effort at the time to undermine the Castro regime in Cuba. Whether true or not, we do not propose to suggest. But coffee, along with Cokes and Pepsi Cola and actress Joan Crawford, not to mention the Belo Mansions of Dallas and Winston-Salem, can be interesting to follow and contemplate, as we have a new Vice-President on the scene...

Incidentally, we have to issue another caution regarding unchecked reliance on Wickedpedia as a source for information, pertinent in this instance to Congressman Curtis. While he did, as Wickedpedia claims, vote for the 1957, 1960, 1964, and 1968 Civil Rights acts, obviously praiseworthy, there is no corroboration to be found that the 1964 Civil Rights legislation, first proposed by President Kennedy in February, 1963, "originated in the office" of Congressman Curtis in 1962, or that it was his urging, along with that of Congressman William McCulloch of Ohio, which caused an otherwise "reluctant" President Kennedy to put forward the legislation, as Congressman Curtis's Wickedpedia article maintains without citation of authority, absent online except in the same loop leading back to the Wickedpedia article—a standard, recurring pattern with such conservative tales originating in Wickedpedia articles these days, gaining currency by repetition across the internet, citing Wickedpedia articles without bothering to check the original sources cited, if any, and which, when present, themselves often either wind up suspect for their partisan, revisionist bent and reliance on anecdotal or otherwise unreliable authority or do not actually state what the article purports. Indeed, an online search through newspapers of 1962-64, inclusive of the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, shows no association between "civil rights" and Representative Curtis, only his opposition to certain Administration tax policy.

Although Congressman McCulloch apparently did have a great deal to do with Republican support in the House for the 1964 bill, once it was submitted by the Kennedy Administration, we regard the rest of the claims as a specious, revisionist attempt by someone authoring the Curtis article to assert credit for a Republican Congressman for supposedly initiating civil rights legislation and, in the process, depriving Presidents Kennedy and Johnson the full measure of their courage justly due in promulgating and gaining passage of that historic legislation, which relied on the affirmative votes of many courageous members of Congress of both parties, always bearing in mind that it was the outpouring of sympathy and shame in the nation following the assassination of President Kennedy, along with President Johnson's ability to understand that emotional complex, which inevitably led to the bill's passage in June, 1964, as well as the 1965 Voting Rights Act. There were other factors and personages involved, obviously, along the way, spanning back to the Founding, including notably President Truman for breaking historical ground in civil rights which had lain fallow since the aftermath of the Civil War, but insofar as the immediate actors most responsible for the bill becoming law, credit has to be provided Presidents Kennedy and Johnson before anyone else.

Enforcement through time is in the discharge of all of us.

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