The Charlotte News

Thursday, January 22, 1953


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports, via George A. McArthur, that outnumbered U.S. Sabre jet pilots had destroyed at least four Communist MIG-15s this date, in the second straight day of furious air battles, with three enemy jets damaged in the engagement between 10 Sabres and 20 enemy warplanes. The claims of one additional enemy jet destroyed and three damaged were pending confirmation.

In ground action, there continued only light fighting, with some clashes reported on the eastern front. A sharp skirmish had flared west of the Mundung Valley, when 40 enemy troops clashed with an allied patrol the previous night, with 17 enemy troops reported killed or wounded in 40 minutes of action. Heavy clouds were reported along the front and a light snow fell on the western front, where the low was nine degrees, with slightly higher temperatures recorded elsewhere.

The eight new Eisenhower Administration Cabinet officers sworn in the previous day took over their duties this date, and the new Secretary of Agriculture, Ezra Taft Benson, promptly began making changes, ordering the regrouping of some 25 Agriculture Department agencies. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles held a staff conference and reportedly made one or two undisclosed operating decisions. A Cabinet meeting with the President was scheduled for the following morning, which would include Vice-President Nixon, the President's chief of staff, Sherman Adams, Oveta Culp Hobby, the Federal Security administrator, Harold Stassen, the Mutual Security administrator, and Joseph Dodge, the Budget Director. It was not known whether Charles E. Wilson, who had not yet been confirmed as the new Secretary of Defense, would attend. The President had withheld formally nominating him until some understanding with Senators could be effected regarding his refusal thus far to divest his holdings in G.M., the primary defense contractor.

Press secretary James Hagerty stated that the new President had received some 6,500 messages of congratulations after his inauguration, including about 300 cables from foreign heads of governments and others abroad.

Major John Eisenhower, the President's son, had been allowed to come home from Korea to attend his father's inauguration, but the Eisenhowers had not known who had authorized the leave. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that the new President learned just prior to the inauguration that the order had been made by President Truman, who had informed the Chronicle reporter, "Just tell [the new President] that contrary old man in the White House did it."

The D.C Court of Appeals, by a 5 to 4 ruling, held this date that eating places in Washington could refuse service to black patrons, notwithstanding laws passed by the District legislative assembly in 1872 and 1873 forbidding racial discrimination, finding that the laws were not valid in the first instance, had been repealed in 1901, and had not been enforced since their inception and thus could only be put into effect by subsequent legislative action. Presently, blacks were served in some eating establishments but not in others, and the practice of discrimination by some restaurants would continue unabated, unless the Supreme Court reversed the decision—as it would later in the year, 8-0, holding that the statutes were enforceable. Both candidates in the presidential race the prior fall had favored ending segregation in the nation's capital. The question of segregation of the District's schools had been argued before the Supreme Court earlier in the winter and no decision had yet been handed down—that case to be subsumed under Brown v. Board of Education, to be decided in May, 1954. All public schools in the District were segregated. In 1948, all of the city's legitimate theaters had opened their doors to black patrons, as had movie houses in the downtown area, while some in outlying areas remained segregated. Black baseball players were permitted to stay with their professional clubs at hotels, but were not permitted to eat in the hotel restaurants.

In Vienna, divers had discovered in an Austrian lake, at a depth of 132 feet, the wreckage of a German transport plane rumored to have been loaded with the gold and platinum hoarded by several Nazi leaders during the war. The plane's cargo had not yet been checked. The plane had been shot down a few hours before the end of the war and the pilot had been killed, but two of the crewmen had been rescued and later disappeared. It was reported to have been the last courier plane of the Wehrmacht.

Lawson David Shirk Butler, a notorious West Coast bandit, was added to the FBI's "ten most wanted" list this date, after escaping from the Oregon State Penitentiary the previous February by scaling its walls during a dense fog. His specialty had been daylight holdups of business establishments and he was reputed to have a stash of a large amount of money hidden away on the outside. The Bureau believed that he was using his loot to assume the role of respectability, was described as intelligent and versatile in his activities, had been a fiction writer in the past. His first arrest had been in Berkeley, California, at age 14, for burglary. He had since been in and out of numerous reformatories, San Quentin Prison and the Oregon Penitentiary. His description is provided in case you run into him. He replaced Kenneth Lee Maurer on the most-wanted list, who had been picked up on January 8 in Miami, wanted for the slaying of his mother and sister in Detroit. You would probably be better off running into Mr. Butler than Mr. Maurer, though the latter apparently had not yet been convicted and was entitled to the presumption of innocence, as perhaps the one-armed guy was the culprit after all.

In Bellefonte, Pa., at Rockview State Penitentiary, prisoners continued to hold six guards hostage, offering this date to exchange one of the hostages for another guard, with no end in sight to the four-day standoff by 325 prisoners. The wife of the guard they offered to exchange had been reported on the radio to be suffering from a nervous condition, and the prisoners felt empathy, one of the lead prisoners stating that he and the guard to be exchanged had for years been "like brothers". More than 100 heavily armed State troopers and 90 prison guards stood ready to storm the barricaded cellblock on the order of State officials.

In Kings Park, N.Y., 17 young male mental patients broke out of the Kings Park State Hospital this date by breaking down a door, and four remained at large several hours later. Thirteen, most of whom were teenagers, had been captured as they waited for trains to Manhattan. The senior director of the hospital said that he doubted most of them would hurt anyone, but might steal on the spur of the moment if they saw anything they wanted, such as an automobile.

In Raleigh, heads of General Assembly committees appeared in agreement that a statewide liquor referendum had a better chance of approval during the 1953 session than in several previous biennial sessions. The State House Judiciary Committee approved the measure to set up a three-member Paroles Board to replace the single Paroles commissioner.

In Charlotte, Dr. Luther Little, former pastor of the First Baptist Church, and for many years a prominent Southern Baptist minister and civic leader, died at his home during the afternoon. He had retired in 1943 and had been ill for two years.

There was a variety of weather across the nation, but no intense cold.

Flu was spreading through more than half of the 48 states, but the outbreaks so far had been mild, including reports in the Army, a state university, and at the Jones & Laughlin Steel Co., with Texas having reported between 200,000 and 250,000 cases, Arkansas reporting the largest number of cases of upper respiratory infection in the state's history, and Tennessee reaching an epidemic stage. Eastern and Western states were comparatively free of outbreaks.

An outbreak of flu in Bavaria during the week had resulted in nine deaths in Munich, and had filled that city's hospitals and closed 27 schoolrooms.

On the editorial page, "And Charlotte's Parking Pains Increase" indicates that most fast-growing American cities were plagued with serious parking problems, but most of them appeared to be doing something about it. Milwaukee had recently bought its first residential off-street parking lot out of money gathered from charges for all-night parking privileges. In Detroit, a private firm had agreed to design, construct, finance and operate a three-level underground garage under a leasehold agreement with the City. Similar facilities were planned in Pittsburgh and Cleveland. In Chicago, the City Council had recently approved the sale of 22.6 million dollars worth of revenue bonds, with which to build five multiple-level garages in the central business district and eight other off-street parking areas. In Berkeley, California, the City was paying half the cost for off-street facilities, with the remainder assessed against nearby merchants and business property owners who would benefit from the lots.

All of those projects had been reported in an issue of U.S. Municipal News, and were typical of the special arrangements forced upon cities everywhere by the parking and traffic problems accompanying rapid growth and increased postwar use of the automobile. It indicates that the problem had been growing for years in Charlotte, but had been tackled thus far only with fainthearted effort. It suggests that without a more vigorous approach, traffic and parking would continue to grow more congested until the heart of the business district would begin to deteriorate.

Jet-powered heli-cars, the wave of the future. Invest now on the ground floor.

"More Ideas from Oregon" tells of a member of the Oregon Legislature who had proposed a bill to give a seat automatically in the Legislature to the defeated gubernatorial candidate, to provide the opposition an effective forum. It suggests that if the concept worked, it might be adopted by Congress, to allow, for instance, Governor Stevenson to advise of the minority viewpoint. It suggests that Senator Wayne Morse, who had become an independent after renouncing his Republican Party membership during the campaign, had no corner on new and different ideas in Oregon.

"Give and Take" indicates that the new President had already stated through his press secretary that he intended regular press conferences, with the same format used by President Truman, without prepared questions submitted in advance, as had been rumored the new President might require. But the piece remains skeptical, because of President Truman's frequent tendency to provide off-the-cuff responses, which sometimes created erroneous impressions to foreign leaders, which had to be cleaned up later by Cabinet officials and staff. It suggests that the new President might remedy that potential problem by including Cabinet members in the press conferences, able to answer questions beyond the immediate expertise of the President. It is pleased, however, that the new President was not going to revert to the practice of some Republican predecessor Presidents, who had remained aloof from the press, and indicates that a few "no comments" would not be held against him until he got the feel of things.

"Stenomaskic Silence" looks at the Congressional Record, finds a piece on "What Brooklyn Thinks", the status of the California State Water Department, "Buick's Golden Anniversary", the poetry of Strickland Gillilan of Solano County, California, Senator Willis Smith's provision of an editorial from the Burlington (N.C.) Times-News, and other such esoterica.

It suggests that the Stenomask, as described in the New Yorker, a recorder into which one spoke without being heard, would be ideal for Congressmen who wished to make such remarks and place them in the Record, without them being actually heard by anyone. "Then the pressing business before the Congress could proceed promptly."

A piece from the Arkansas Gazette, titled "Ghosts and Radar", indicates that it was against the five ghost hunters of Sussex, England, who had gone searching for ghosts with radar, finding the practice "as something like shooting a sitting bird". It reports that even as the ghost hunters surprisingly got some reaction on their radar from the ectoplasmic realm, they had still been unable to find any physical manifestations other than creaks, coughs and loud bangs.

"No self-respecting ghost is going to stand for this and we predict a mass-disappearance of manifestations all through the Isles." It finds it a pity as Britain's ghosts had served as a tourist attraction during a time when American dollars were so important. It asks what harm the ghosts had done anyway, as they could not hurt anyone unless a person believed in them. "Dead, y'know."

You will, of course, find all over YouTube such ghost hunter videos, with their ectoplasmic radar detectors, registering blips and blinking lights aplenty, but nada in the way of actual manifestations on the plane of reality.

Once upon a time, however, some 55 years ago, we and a friend were playing around with a small tape recorder in a room of our residence at the time, where, by rumor, a former resident had died of old age. Suddenly, we heard a grunt or gasp from a remote corner of the room, where no physical being was, and no one could be, as the adjacent walls, consisting of plaster and bricks and mortar, were backed only by second-story exterior space, sans window or door. No one else was on the floor of the residence at the time and, in any event, the disembodied voice had plainly emanated from within the room, albeit in the furthest corner from our location, at least ten feet away. We stopped our friend in mid-giggles about the stuff of which we were recording, to ask if he had heard the grunt or gasp. He replied with a surprised look, saying he had not, but also looking slightly unsure of his response, as if he really had heard it but preferred denial to admission of the irrational. We quickly rewound the tape, played it back, and, sure enough, there it was, as plain as could be, a distinct, remote grunt or exasperated gasp, "Uh." Our friend, to our knowledge, was not a ventriloquist, and neither were we, and to this day, we have no explanation for the sound, which was clearly of human origin, not from some object, which would have made no sense under the circumstances anyway. It is the only physical manifestation to which we can point within our experiential data, captured as it was on tape, of something perhaps ectoplasmic or metaphysical in origin. And it was not even Halloween.

We had never felt quite comfortable when alone in that room, where we slept, prior to that event, felt perhaps even less comfortable thereafter. There had always been that funny sensation of someone else being present. Fortunately, we moved from that location about four years later. To those who live there now, beware any gasps or groans while recording amid giggles. We also routinely heard footsteps on the staircase, adjoining the room, but those were explainable, at least we thought, by the fact of the staircase in the adjoining apartment being behind the wall adjacent to our staircase, opposite and a wall and stairwell away from the corner from whence the "Uh" had come, thus not accounting therefor. Of course, we really do not know even as to those rather routine, disembodied footstep sounds. And, we hasten to add, there were no practical jokesters in our household. Nor could that have been possibly effected under the circumstances of the moment in any event. It remains forever an inexplicable, resigned, "Uh," uttered with some sense of disgust.

We failed to preserve the tape, and even if we had, we realized then that it served no proof to any third parties of anything extraordinary, that which the mischievous, disturbed ghost in our presence, no doubt, understood. To whatever it was we were recording otherwise at the time, he obviously provided a monosyllabic negative review.

As we have remarked, however, from time to time, in doing this project, we find, at least on occasion, that there are undoubtedly ghosts or ectoplasmic remains of memories or something out of the ordinary residing in the thoughts abounding in these old prints which we daily summarize and place online. It is that which keeps it interesting, and the fully formed ghosts or ectoplasmic thought-remnants, as the case might be, obviously desiring renewed airing for the sake of posterity, make themselves known on occasion so that we won't quit on them. And you, reader, are an inevitable part of that process. So thank you.

Anyway, that is our disembodied "Uh" story...

Drew Pearson looks at the new Administration's approach to various aspects of policy, finds that in the realm of foreign policy, President Eisenhower would maintain close control while Secretary of State Dulles would be kept busy abroad as a foreign policy "salesman", with the President operating the State Department through General Walter Bedell Smith, the new Undersecretary of State, and Douglas MacArthur II, counselor to the State Department and the nephew of General MacArthur, with whom the nephew disagreed on policy.

The Taft wing of the party was concerned about Governor Dewey taking over patronage appointments and perhaps becoming the Republican nominee again in 1956, should President Eisenhower decide not to run again. The Governor's close friend and former campaign manager, Attorney General Herbert Brownell, was dispensing the jobs in the new Administration. Mr. Pearson asserts that he had been picking good personnel and screening them well, but few were aligned with Senator Taft and his wing of the party. The fact that Governor Dewey had turned down the offer of the new President to become Secretary of State had convinced the Taft wing that he was biding his time for 1956.

The Cabinet member who had made the best impression thus far was the new Secretary of the Treasury, George Humphrey, picking a good staff, admitting that he had a lot to learn about government, and appearing to learn fast.

Attorney General Brownell was also making a good impression, except among the supporters of Senator Taft, had picked one of the top crime busters in the nation, Warren Olney, to head the criminal division of the Justice Department, having headed the California Crime Commission.

Republicans were embarrassed over the confirmation battle for Charles E. Wilson as the Secretary of Defense, after he had refused to divest himself of his General Motors stock and other benefits, despite G.M. being the primary defense contractor.

A move would begin to transfer all public lands not involved in the tidelands oil dispute to the Western states, to be orchestrated by Senator Hugh Butler of Nebraska, who was prepared to move forward with such legislation. The theory was that if Texas, Louisiana and California were to obtain the tidelands oil, then the Western states ought obtain the public lands inside their borders. The move would have significant Senate opposition.

Regarding filibusters, liberal Senators, led by Senator Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota, who had started the new session of the Congress with a drive to make cloture of filibuster easier, might in part reverse themselves, as they would likely make some filibusters of their own against the legislation to return to the states the tidelands oil, as well as against some confirmations of executive department officials. Their strategy showed that the filibuster could work both ways, to block such things as civil rights or to stall objectionable legislation. If those latter filibusters operated effectively, then leaders in Congress, sympathetic to the new Administration, might lead an effort to abolish filibusters.

Marquis Childs tells of having observed General and now-President Eisenhower in several roles during the previous decade, appearing on the surface to be "outgoing, genial, an essentially simple man", beneath the surface, however, complex. In his small office in the schoolhouse in Rheims, France, right after the war, he had on the wall beside his desk a photograph of his mother, appearing in the traditional mold of the Whistler painting, yet with a spiritual intensity and appearance of dedication which made clear why she had been a member of a religious sect, the Jehovah's Witnesses, demanding so much of its disciples.

In June, 1948, when the Democrats had sought out the General to be their nominee, Mr. Childs had sat in the General's office at Columbia University, where he had become president, observing the "paradox of his impatience on the one hand and his reluctance on the other."

During the year and a half he had been supreme commander of NATO, Democrats and Republicans had approached him, saying that it was his solemn duty to lead the nation out of crisis and away from war. "No human being, not even a saint, could be unaffected." How well President Eisenhower would be able to maintain perspective, only the future could tell. He was only the second professional soldier, along with U. S. Grant, to become President. President Grant's judgment of people had been inadequate when he stepped outside the military sphere, leading to an Administration rife with graft. There would, likewise, be those who would seek to get all they could while the getting was good from the new Administration, out to revise tax laws for the benefit of the few, to push special privileges for narrow special interests, and to make all the fast dollars which they could. If those forces were not restrained, they would become a "wrecking crew and the wreck can come very fast."

He concludes that the new President would have to be able to recognize that no matter what disguise those persons wore, particularly if they came in the guise of friendship, he would have to see them and the hazards they posed for what they were, summoning a "grim determination to say no" repeatedly. "For the genial man from Abilene, this will be the hardest task of all."

Joseph & Stewart Alsop also look at the new President and the challenges ahead for him. To be successful, he would first have to establish political leadership in the Republican Party. After having accumulated great political capital in the election, poor political advice since the election had now made that task extremely difficult. He would also have to establish his ideological leadership over the party, with the Republican leaders in Congress still talking as if President Truman were in office. They appeared to believe that the new President would not continue to have any of the ideas and world views which had won him the nomination, and they would have to be converted from their own negative program to a positive Eisenhower program. In addition, the new President had to organize a smooth transition between Administrations, and even among his own team, there had been wide disagreement about how the transition would transpire, whether a sharp break with the past could safely be accomplished.

The fundamental disagreement within the Eisenhower camp had appeared on the voyage back from Korea, with the new Secretary of the Treasury, George Humphrey, insisting that the first priority would be to balance the budget and lower taxes, and finding that the report of outgoing Secretary of Commerce Charles Sawyer, denouncing foreign aid as wasteful, would have to set the tone. But Secretary of State Dulles insisted that survival had to be the higher priority over tax reduction, that the wastefulness of foreign and defense spending had been greatly exaggerated, that it would be disastrous to hint to allies abroad that the U.S. was reviving isolationism. Since that time, the Eisenhower team had come to realize that foreign and defense spending had not been so extravagant after all during the Truman years, as recently implied by new Budget Director Joseph Dodge. The new President had argued that the Dulles priorities were correct.

Finally, the most important thing the new President would need do was not merely to continue where President Truman had left off, but to find bold, positive solutions for the problems of the country. Korea was only one such problem difficult of solution. Yet, in the field of foreign policy, there were many possible new departures, for instance, Indo-China, regarding which there was under consideration a new approach. Those new approaches would be defined by the new team at the Treasury, regarding the question of whether the U.S. should try to adapt its national policies to its world position as the greatest creditor nation. In that role, the nation had to import its customers' goods, meaning lower tariffs, and had to invest its surpluses abroad to ensure its own sources of raw materials. Foreign aid had been the "poor and uneconomical substitute" for taking those steps, to be bitterly controversial in the short term but immensely profitable in the long run.

One of those who had intervened in the Treasury debate was the leading economist of the more conservative school, Dr. Sumner Schlichter, who pleaded for bold decisions, stating that the Truman Administration had only just enough power to effect temporary remedies but not to get to the root of the problem, whereas the new President had the power to seek fundamental solutions, upon which his success or failure would be determined.

The Alsops posit that it would be the real test of the new Administration, and that the new President was a man with the courage and wisdom to search for fundamental solutions, provided that "the little men of politics do not hamstring him."

The Congressional Quarterly indicates that the Taft-Hartley law had seemingly failed to live up to the predictions of either its most conservative advocates or its bitterest opponents. When it had been passed over the President's veto in 1947, labor branded it "unfair, iniquitous, viciously anti-labor" and forecast that it would have a "devastating impact" on unions, with the President calling it "a slave labor law". Its sponsors had said that it would prove to be a forerunner of a great era of "industrial peace". But thus far, neither of those forecasts had come true. It had succeeded in some of its objectives and failed in others.

It had banned the close shop, prohibited secondary boycotts, outlawed jurisdictional strikes and provided for emergencies in which the President could appoint a board of inquiry to report on issues involved in labor disputes which threatened the national welfare, but without enforcement powers, only the ability to report the facts to the President during an 80-day injunction period, during which workers were required to remain on the job without changes to wages and working conditions, except by mutual agreement between management and labor, with collective bargaining continuing during that interim. If no agreement could be reached within 60 days, the report of the board went to the President and the NLRB would take a secret ballot among the workers on proposals made by management, and if no agreement were reached within the 80 days, a strike was free to occur.

During the five years in which the law had been in effect, labor organizational progress had been very slow, labor leaders attributing that sloth to Taft-Hartley, with two-thirds of the workers remaining unorganized. The supporters of the Act stated that major unions had made little effort in that direction and that many NLRB elections had involved attempts by one union to take over another. The effect of the law on strikes was just as hard to determine, with Labor Department statistics showing that man-days lost to strikes had gone down in 1947, fell further in 1948, but rose again in 1949, before dropping in 1950 and 1951, only to rise again in 1952. Labor contended that work-days lost per year because of strikes had continued under the Act to "far exceed" the predecessor 1935 Wagner Act average.

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