The Charlotte News

Friday, January 23, 1953


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that allied Sabre jets had destroyed four enemy MIG-15s and damaged nine others this date in Korea, bringing the total during the previous three days to 15 destroyed with at least 17 damaged. The Sabres were flying protection for fighter-bombers striking further south at Communist supply lines and battlefront positions.

In the ground war, South Korean troops charged up to the crest of Big Nori Hill on the western front this date, hurling hand grenades at the Chinese positions for 80 minutes before withdrawing, killing at least 85 enemy troops in the process. It was one of several allied attacks on enemy positions on the western and eastern fronts this date.

Correspondent Forrest Edwards reports from the western front, 40 yards from the enemy lines, that the place was a "junk yard in hell", that nothing except the men remained whole. Only the "lottery of war" had prevented allied casualties this date as the enemy had spared no ammunition in their assault on the area, hit like no other along the western front. A small number of American troops were trying to construct a fortress outpost while under almost constant fire, as shells ripped the trenches and bunkers apart as fast as they could be finished. The enemy troops were so close that they could be heard loading mortar shells, signaling allied troops to duck. Seconds later, an explosion would occur. So close were the enemy troops that a .45 caliber pistol could be used to keep the enemy's heads down, preventing them from firing, a rifle being next to useless because of the close proximity.

President Eisenhower and his new Cabinet held their first formal meeting this date, lasting two hours and ten minutes, each member leaving the meeting with orders not to speak to the press, according to Vice-President Nixon. Secretary of Defense-designate Charles E. Wilson, not yet confirmed by the Senate, did not attend the meeting, with the Defense Department represented by an Assistant Secretary in the Truman Administration.

Mr. Wilson appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee again this date following announcement by the White House the previous night that he had voluntarily agreed to dispose of his 2.5 million dollars worth of General Motors stock and any stock he would have received under a bonus plan, removing a major barrier to his confirmation. His formal nomination had been submitted by the White House only the previous night and so was being considered for the first time by the Committee during the morning, with expectations expressed by Committee members that he would now be confirmed. It was not clear whether four Defense Department assistants under Mr. Wilson would also have to divest their stock holdings before confirmation.

General Motors common stock lost 50 cents per share in the first hour of trading on the New York Stock Exchange this date on total sales of 4,100 shares, compared to total sales the previous day of 8,400 shares, the loss in value being attributed to the announcement that Mr. Wilson had agreed to dispose of his holdings.

A photograph appears of President Truman arriving back home in Independence, Mo., after he and First Lady Bess Truman had ridden from Washington on the train following the Tuesday inaugural. He informed a crowd greeting him that he wanted to get something to do to keep "out of devilment".

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill returned to New York by plane after his vacation in the West Indies, declining to be photographed or to speak with reporters, heading directly to the Queen Mary for his return voyage to England.

In Washington, former Republican Congressman Charles Eaton of New Jersey, 84, who had previously been chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee during the 80th Congress in 1947-49, died this date after retiring from his seat in January. He had been a delegate to the Charter Conference of the U.N. in 1945 in San Francisco. He had first been elected to Congress in 1924.

In Berlin, it was reported that two East German Government officials fled to West Berlin this date. They had served as connecting links between the Communist regime and the Protestant and Catholic churches.

In Birmingham, Ala., four armed, unmasked bandits robbed a branch bank of an estimated $50,000 during the morning this date, with a customer having been struck on the head with a pistol and slightly injured. If you see four armed, unmasked men who look suspicious, call the police.

North Carolina State Representative John Umstead, brother of Governor William B. Umstead, indicated that if former Governor Kerr Scott were to run for the Senate against incumbent Senator Willis Smith in 1954, he would support him. Mr. Umstead had been an ardent supporter of former interim Senator Frank Graham in his campaign for the Democratic nomination in 1950 against Mr. Smith. As indicated, Senator Smith would die later in 1953 and Governor Umstead would appoint to his seat Alton Lennon, who would be defeated by Governor Scott in the 1954 Democratic primary.

In Raleigh, the State House passed legislation to form a three-person Paroles Commission to replace the present single commissioner. A measure was introduced to carry out a recommendation made by Governor Umstead in his inaugural address earlier in the month to get rid of hot rodders on the road by making it illegal to operate any vehicle which had been altered from its original specifications so that its potential speed had been increased beyond that which existed prior to the alteration. Another bill was introduced requiring that the owner of a vehicle colliding with a parked or unattended vehicle to report the accident to the owner under any circumstances, whereas present law only required a report if the damage exceeded $25.

That old jalopy there can't be worth no more than $25 and so the fact that it's now a flattened pancake don't make me have to do nothin'. I'm just gonna go on. Besides, how's you s'posed to see a little car like 'at in a big truck like 'is?

A norther blew from the Texas Panhandle area deep into the Texas midlands this date, causing power and telephone lines to sag and snap under the weight of ice and snow, with driving made extremely hazardous after a two to three-inch snowfall at Lubbock and up to ten inches at Akin. Hundreds of motorists sought refuge in farm homes, already crowded in some instances with schoolchildren who had been stranded in buses stuck in deep snowdrifts. There had been little reported property loss thus far.

Two sisters from Raleigh, poster children for the March of Dimes drive against polio, are pictured on the page during a visit to Charlotte, after their trips to New York and Washington, where they visited with the new President. They said they preferred their home in Raleigh to the White House. They would later visit Hyde Park, N.Y., to lay a wreath at the grave of President Roosevelt, who had initiated the first March of Dimes drive.

On the editorial page, "This State Tax Law Needs Changing" indicates that the Congress had changed Federal income tax law the previous year to make profits from the sale of a taxpayer's residence no longer taxable as ordinary income, provided the homeowner reinvested the profits within a year or constructed a new home within 18 months with the proceeds of the sale. It finds it to have been a fair amendment, after the boom in postwar housing and consequent inflation in home prices.

But the State law in North Carolina had not been changed to conform to the Federal law, and residents still had to pay State income tax on the profits from sale of their home. It indicates that introduction of a bill to amend the law would attract widespread popular support and hopes that someone from the Mecklenburg delegation might do so.

"The Best Way To Nab Speeders" tells of 95 speeders having been brought into court and forced to pay more than $1,500 in court costs during the week in Greensboro, about half of them having been cited by the City police and the other half by the State Highway Patrol, most caught by the new whammies, which gauged speed through radar. The devices had been in use for several months in Greensboro and it was so widely accepted as an accurate gauge of speed that nearly every offender automatically paid the fine without contest.

The Mecklenburg County Police had purchased one of the whammies months earlier, putting it through several tests, and it was indicated that it would soon be in use as soon as proper warning signs could be placed by the State.

It suggests that the new device worked to deter speeders, as well as catch them, as they could no longer rely exclusively on peering into their rear-view mirror to avoid detection. It urges that the time was nigh to put it into use in Mecklenburg, hopes the State would soon erect the necessary signs.

"The Red Campaign against the Jew" tells of the Soviet Union having embarked on a large-scale and carefully calculated campaign against Jews. There had been some overtones of anti-Semitism in the Hungarian trials of a few years earlier, and the Prague trials of the previous year had seen the Czech Government denounce the accused defendants for "Zionism", along with the standard accusations of being "capitalists, imperialists and warmongers". Recently, a controversy had developed out of Russia involving accusations against Jewish doctors for hastening the demise of some top Communist military officials. During the current week, an editorial had appeared in New Times, Russia's official foreign affairs weekly, in which a new attack was launched, aimed particularly at the leaders of Israel, Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion, Foreign Minister Moshe Sharett, and the late Dr. Chaim Weizmann, the first President of Israel, who was accused of having been a British lackey, while the other two were said to be carrying out orders of the State Department, aimed at espionage and war.

It indicates that Israel, while naturally gravitating toward the West because of its own social democracy, had attempted to steer a middle course in the East-West conflict, as there were millions of Jews behind the Iron Curtain and the Israeli Government wanted to avoid doing anything which might incur retaliation against them.

The piece in New Times suggested that the motive behind the anti-Semitic campaign was to encourage Arab hostility against Jews, causing the Arabs to believe that the Soviets were their allies and protectors. It also served to incite emotions within the populations of Russia and the satellites, providing a convenient excuse to topple the Jewish Communists who had fallen into disfavor with the ruling clique of the Politburo. Rumanian Jewish leaders had been officially scolded of late and would soon likely be liquidated.

It posits that the campaign's full intent was not yet known, but that it was one of the most understandable and revealing indicators of the lengths to which international Communism would go.

A piece from the Richmond News-Leader, titled "Skrzeszewski? We Hope Not", indicates by the title the name of the Soviet U.N. delegation's choice for the new Secretary-General to replace resigning Trygve Lie, bound to be a bane to copyreaders of newspapers were he to be elected. "Lie" had easily worked into any headline, but not "Skrzeszewski", the Foreign Minister of Poland. Inevitably, should he be the choice, copyreaders might simply resort to a shortening of his first name, Stanislaw, with "Stan". He had recently appeared in the news after a maid cleaning up his hotel room in New York had discovered a pistol under his pillow and notified police, who notified Stan that his pistol had to be registered, requiring fingerprinting and filling out of a lot of forms. He opted simply to turn the pistol over to the U.N., which would return it to him upon his departure for Poland.

Nobody regarded the choice by the Soviet delegation with very much seriousness, and the delegation might come up with a different selection in time. But it cautions against too much optimism regarding spelling and pronunciation, as in 1950, the Soviet delegation had supported Zygmunt Modzelewski for the position.

Drew Pearson indicates that First Lady Mamie Eisenhower had now had time to look around the White House and discover the modern kitchen over which she presided. There were in fact three kitchens and several dining rooms in the executive mansion, and not only the First Family had to be fed, but all of the President's staff, all of the servants, plus White House guests. He suggests that there would be times when she might wish that Congress had acted on the last request of President Truman to increase the White House expense allowance, as the new President and First Lady might at times have to dip into their own pockets to pay for White House food.

Senator Kenneth McKellar, a bachelor, would cause her a lot of grief for his penny-pinching ways demonstrated while presiding over the White House Appropriations Committee, previously scrimping on such items as thermostats for the White House, such that each room was not individually controlled. The result was that the sunroom upstairs where the Trumans had liked to have breakfast was like a refrigerator in the winter and a furnace in the summer.

He proceeds to describe in detail the three modern kitchens, with the whole thing air conditioned by special blowers to remove cooking odors. Bess Truman had enjoyed inviting her Spanish class into the kitchen to cook onions, Spanish-style, and the resulting odors had not always been absorbed by the blowers.

The kitchen had no dishwashing facilities, accomplished in another, separate room. There was also a separate refrigeration room, with a special freezer for fish.

The new First Lady would not be able to do much shopping in Washington markets, even if she had the time, as all food had to be carefully tested in advance and the grocery stores where the food was purchased remained a security secret. All food, including gifts, were carefully examined before being allowed into the White House. The Government supplied everything except food and clothing for the First Family, staff and guests, but the food bill would be a great drain on their pocketbook.

Marquis Childs finds that the new President, in his inaugural address on Tuesday, had eloquently stated the nation's task of world leadership, emphasizing his continuing support of the U.N., important as that organization had been subject to a widespread campaign against it, often including anti-Semitic hostility.

There remained the early question in his Administration of whether there could be effective government under the U.S. system of divided powers in a time of crisis, when great authority had to be concentrated in the executive branch, and that authority delegated to Cabinet officers and other non-elected officials. Twenty years earlier, FDR had brought intellectuals into key Government positions, eventually drawing anti-intellectual fire from demagogues. The new Administration might receive the same criticism from the same group regarding its pro-business bent. That criticism would be exacerbated if some in the Administration, such as Secretary of Defense-designate Charles E. Wilson, were not above reproach in terms of conflicts of interest and the law. Senator Harry F. Byrd of Virginia had diligently researched the law to determine that Government officials serving in positions responsible for letting contracts or on commissions could not retain interests in private business with Government contracts. In the case of Mr. Wilson, the matter was made worse by the fact that General Motors, of which he had been president and in which he had retained substantial stock, pension and bonus interests, was the largest Government contractor. (The front page this date indicates that he had now agreed to divestiture, clearing the way for his confirmation.)

Both Senators Byrd and James Duff of Pennsylvania took the view that Mr. Wilson and his subordinates, to whom he could not, under the law, delegate responsibility for contracting authority, would be subject to criminal prosecution for evasion of the statute, even if the Senate decided to waive the requirements in this instance and confirm him without divestiture.

Frederick C. Othman tells of the inaugural grandstands being dismantled and the remaining hawkers trying to sell the remainder of their wares. He suggests that there must have been 10,000 people jammed into the Capitol plaza to hear the inaugural address. None wore top hats, as the President had opted for homburgs. Most of them also wore striped trousers and short black coats, per the preferred dress of the new President. The only frock coats he had observed were worn by Senators Taft and William Langer, and the leader of the Defiance, Ohio, college's coed choir.

President Truman appeared grim and First Lady Bess Truman appeared happy, while new First Lady Mamie Eisenhower dabbed at her eyes with her handkerchief on occasion. Some had said that she had a cold, but she looked to Mr. Othman as someone overcome with pride.

He describes the beginning of the inaugural ceremony, with one photographer yelling out to "lower them flags", in reference to the color guard presenting waving flags, blocking the view. The photographer's admonition had brought a laugh from President and Mrs. Truman. After the swearing-in ceremony, the new President kissed his wife, and she bit her lip, dried her eyes and soon composed herself, after initially weeping and smiling at the same time.

Mr. Othman explains that he was jotting down notes nearby, but they were hard now to decipher, as a couple of large drops of water had splashed on them, tears from his own eyes. He cannot explain what happened to him, weeping in sympathy with Mrs. Eisenhower. He reckons that he was "just an old softie".

More like a closet, sentimental damned Republican.

A letter writer indicates that he was a model airplane builder, and that he and some friends were flying their models at Revolution Park the previous Sunday until being stopped by a Parks & Recreation commissioner, indicating that though no one had complained, they would have to cease. He indicates that the Commission had stated about seven months earlier that they would supply a place for them to fly their planes and he urges that they stick to their promise.

They probably found out about all that dope which goes into the process of building those model planes.

A letter writer from Lexington, N.C., minister of the First Methodist Church, indicates that the wets were afraid of a statewide liquor referendum because they feared that the people would abolish local-controlled ABC sales of liquor. He suggests that they were afraid of the church and the influence of the Bible. He hopes that the advocates of the referendum would not be cowed by the wets.

A letter writer responds to a minister's letter of January 20, in which he had counseled that if prohibition was to be abandoned on the basis that it could not enforce the liquor laws, then murder laws ought be abandoned as well. He finds the reasoning specious and urges that the prohibitionists allow those who wished to drink to do so, and that those who did not wish to do so could simply refrain.

A letter writer responds to a January 17 editorial, "Cold Shoulders in Raleigh", expresses his opinion, which he suggests was shared by most of the veterans to whom he had talked about the matter of the proposed State bonus for veterans, favoring the legislation. He indicates that other states' veterans had received bonuses in amounts considerably more than that proposed in North Carolina and that one could not calculate in dollars and cents the time and sacrifices paid by members of the armed services during the previous year in Korea. He thinks that if some veterans were to receive the bonus who did not need it, they could simply endorse their checks back to the State. He thanks the legislator who was sponsoring the bill.

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