The Charlotte News

Thursday, January 29, 1953


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that tank-led allied raiders had struck a Chinese Communist position southwest of Panmunjom this date and killed an estimated 27 enemy troops with bullets, hand grenades and flamethrowers. It was the heaviest action along the frozen battlefront.

In Tokyo, Army chief of staff General J. Lawton Collins met with U.N. supreme commander General Mark Clark and new ground commander, Lt. General Maxwell Taylor. General Collins would depart the following day to inspect the northern defenses of Japan. General Taylor would depart Tokyo in a day or two to replace retiring General James Van Fleet, who had bade farewell in Seoul this date to 50,000 cheering Koreans, promising to return to Korea someday because of his affection for the Korean people.

A non-by-lined piece based on a report from the U.S. First Marine Division in Korea indicates that only two Marines had returned after 40 had died in a savage fight with 250 Chinese Communists, during an engagement the prior October, the report of which had not been released at the time because of the number of Marine casualties. One of the two survivors told of how the Communist troops had suddenly come out of the night in a vicious attack on the Marine outpost on a hill near Panmunjom on the western front, with the Marines unable to hold them, swarming through their positions with bayonets and grenades. The survivor described in detail the action, leading to his and the other Marine's survival, making it back to their lines, dodging mortar fire in the process.

The President this date assembled his top military, foreign affairs and intelligence officers for a full review of the foreign situation and a discussion of cold war strategy. He had expanded the conference with the National Security Council, bringing in several heads of agencies, including General Omar Bradley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Walter Bedell Smith, retiring head of the CIA and new Undersecretary of State, and Allen Dulles, the newly appointed CIA director. Also present were Vice-President Nixon, Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, Secretary of Defense Charles E. Wilson, and Mutual Security Agency director Harold Stassen. The Secretary of State and Mr. Stassen would leave the following day for a ten-day tour of Western Europe, with meetings scheduled in Italy, France, England, West Germany, Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg. The Secretary wanted to see what needed to be done to end the stalled plans for the six-nation European army. Mr. Stassen wanted to understand better how foreign aid should be allocated in Europe.

Congressman Clare Hoffman of Michigan this date asked the House to demand a full explanation from Secretary Wilson for an American combat raid staged in Korea the previous Sunday before invited guests. The attack, known as "Operation Smack", stalled under heavy fire near the top of "Spud Hill", north of Seoul, and was witnessed by Army and Air Force generals, as well as by war correspondents who had been provided advance timetables. Mr. Hoffman wanted to know whether the raid was for justifiable military purposes or was a show staged for some unknown purpose. A spokesman for the division which took part in the raid said that it was not a dress rehearsal and that criticism of it was unfair. Congressman William Bray of Indiana, an Army Reserve colonel, said that he had never seen anything like the raid and was "mad as hell" concerning it. Mr. Hoffman said that it was bad enough to fight a "purposeless, unending war" without also using troops as "expendable cannon fodder for propaganda purposes". The battle had proceeded smoothly until the infantry ran into deadly Communist ground fire and hand grenades within 15 yards of the objective, at which point the U.N. troops had to withdraw to their own lines.

Secretary of the Army-designate Robert Stevens said this date that he would dispose of his stock in a family textile concern, J. P. Stevens Co., provided the Senate Armed Services Committee insisted that he had to do so to win approval for his confirmation, making clear that he would divest his interest only reluctantly. An order by Secretary of Defense Wilson had provided that all Defense Department officials had to turn over to some disinterested third party any business interest they had.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee this date approved the confirmation of Winthrop Aldrich as Ambassador to Great Britain and Mrs. Oswald B. Lord as the U.S. representative to the U.N. Human Rights Commission. Secretary Dulles had vouched for both appointees under a new emergency procedure to allow confirmations prior to FBI clearance for loyalty. Mr. Dulles had also approved General Walter Bedell Smith as Undersecretary of State, Harvard University president James B. Conant, as High Commissioner to West Germany, and Herman Phleger, as general counsel for the State Department. (Now that the Republicans are in control, we need not worry any longer about Commies sneaking into the Government to pilfer sensitive documents and secrets, as everything is now safe and hound's-tooth clean.)

Senator Olin Johnston of South Carolina urged this date a sweeping overhaul of the Government's activities abroad, indicating that at least 100,000 employees overseas could be discharged. He also favored major changes in the organization and management of Government operations around the world. He submitted a report providing those recommendations to Vice-President Nixon as presiding officer of the Senate. The Senator had made the observations during a survey conducted the previous fall while he had been chairman of the Civil Service Committee, regarding Federal pay and personnel practices in the Near East, Africa and Europe. He said that the U.S. was losing the respect and good will of the peoples in Western Europe despite the aid they had received from the U.S. in rebuilding their postwar economies. They resented U.S. wasteful practices and the perceived plush living of U.S. employees abroad, as well as the extent of the Government's operations in their countries.

A young doctor from the University of Rochester in New York carried equipment by airplane to New Mexico this date in the hope of saving the eyesight and life of a two-year old child, stricken on Wednesday with meningitis in Santa Fe. He said the case was rare in that the meningitis had settled in the chamber behind the child's eye and was hard to reach with penicillin and sulfa drugs. The new treatment was simple, involving an electrical process to reach the infected area with the drugs, but they were not sure that it would work. The child was the doctor's daughter.

In Raleigh, Governor William B. Umstead's proposal to reorganize the Paroles Commission as a three-man Commission instead of the present single commissioner, won the approval of the Senate Judiciary Committee, after having passed the State House the previous week.

Charlotte mothers would march this night against polio, and residents were encouraged to leave their porch lights on in recognition of the campaign.

Donald MacDonald of The News tells of a partially-crippled local man whom police had dubbed "Mr. Jinx of 1953", having been brought to police headquarters in Charlotte this date after his battered 1941 Lincoln sedan had been involved in three separate traffic accidents within 18 hours. Two of the accidents had happened at the same intersection, three hours apart. The first had occurred after he ran a stop sign and then tried to avoid hitting another car by swerving to the right, sideswiping the other vehicle, causing about $20 worth of damage plus $10 worth to his own car. He was issued a citation for running a stop sign. His right foot was observed to be in a cast, resulting from an accident occurring at work during December. He had also suffered a stroke which police believed had left his right arm in a weakened condition. The second accident occurred when he was trying to make a right turn from a service station and collided with another vehicle, causing $20 worth of damage. The third accident occurred when the man sought to make a wide right turn and had struck another vehicle, causing about $40 worth of damage. The battered car and its driver are pictured.

On the editorial page, "When Will Home Rule Come to N.C.?" lists several local bills which were slated to come before the General Assembly, necessary for passage before local communities could undertake certain activities. It finds that such local bills, which were of little interest to the state as a whole, took up a great amount of time of the legislators, and wonders when the Legislature would finally provide local communities home rule to be rid of the noisome legislation.

"We Aren't from Missouri" indicates that on September 29, 1949, former President Truman had announced evidence of an atomic explosion in Russia, that on January 2, 1951, Gordon Dean, chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, had stated that Russia had the atomic bomb, and that on October 3, 1951, a White House announcement had confirmed that the Soviets had recently exploded a second atomic bomb. Western scientists and members of the AEC, as well as members of the Congressional Committee on Atomic Energy, had also made similar statements, and the country's atomic policy had been geared toward that assumption.

But the prior Tuesday, the former President had reportedly stated that he was not convinced that Russia had the atomic bomb or that they had achieved the know-how necessary to make it. It finds his statements, however, to lack credit in the face of his previous statements and the nearly unanimous opinion of responsible officials that Russia did have the bomb. It indicates that it did not mean to belittle the former President or his opinion, but suggests that because he was from Missouri, he apparently had to be shown that the Russians had the bomb before he was convinced. It hopes that he would not need to see or feel the effects of a Russian atomic bomb to believe in its existence.

"Meritorious Bill" indicates that a bill had been introduced during the week by a State Representative from Guilford County to do what the newspaper had suggested in an editorial the previous week, amend the State tax law to be consistent with Federal law, allowing the profit achieved from sale of a personal residence to be exempt from taxation as long as it was reinvested in another residence within a certain period of time. The piece supports the measure.

"The Time for Tax Reduction" indicates that the President wanted a tax cut, as did Senator Taft and Speaker of the House Joseph Martin, as well as did the Democrats and the voters of both parties. The newspaper also wanted a tax cut.

Congressman John Reed, chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee, wanted to cut rates by 11 percent, starting the following June 30, planned no hearings on the bill and would bar amendments from the House floor. He believed the bill would be passed before the end of February.

The piece indicates that if the Government was to be placed on a sound business basis, taxes should be cut only after the budget was balanced, presently running at a ten billion dollar deficit. To do so before that point, it urges, would be "inflationary, unwise and dangerous".

"Friendly Focus, with a Reminder" indicates that Sidney Shalett, writing in the Saturday Evening Post, had devoted a page to the "Charlotte Plan" for slum rehabilitation, crediting two local realtors for their contributions and leadership in the program. He had suggested that the plan could serve as a model for cities of comparable size and background, and noted that four other North Carolina cities were already copying it.

The piece reminds, however, that while enjoying the spotlight, the city's residents could not assume that the plan would rehabilitate all of the slums. Some of the dwellings had become technically "standard" by the addition of running water, bath and toilet facilities, while many of the houses and many of the neighborhoods remained below the standard of human decency. Mr. Shalett had pointed out those deficiencies in his article. It concludes that while the plan had minimized slums in the city, many areas still needed complete redevelopment before the blight would be eliminated.

A piece from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, titled "Pots", indicates that the journalists who had accompanied President Truman home to Independence, Mo., had been baffled by an expression he had used, that perhaps the home folks, upon his return, would "put the big pot in the little one and break them both", prompting the journalists to send him a note to find out what he had meant. The piece indicates that it was a well-recognized Midwestern idiom for outdoing yourself. It contrasts the expression with "the pot calling the kettle black", and "two chickens in every pot", the latter, it reminds, having to do with another President.

Harry Shuford of The News seeks to answer whether men were better drivers than women, consults several people locally who ought to know, including the police and State Highway Patrol, who provided the examinations for driver's licenses, finds that there was no adequate answer. In 1952, there had been 5,849 drivers involved in traffic accidents, with 87 percent of them being males. That statistic, alone, however, did not prove much, as there were more male drivers on the streets by far than females. Men also drove more than women. According to a captain in the Charlotte Police Department, women were rarely cited for violations, particularly those which were serious. Men typically gave more trouble to police when cited than did women. About half of the women who were involved in auto accidents or violated traffic laws, according to a police officer, were from outside the community and unfamiliar with the streets of Charlotte. Another problem with women drivers, according to the police officer, was that they appeared unable to judge distance and speed as accurately as did men. They were also apparently afraid of the cars they operated, whereas men tended to be more confident in their machines, often leading to overconfidence and dangerous driving.

A member of the State Highway Patrol had said that more women failed their first driver's test than did men, because they tended to get nervous, but usually returned and passed.

Mr. Shuford concludes with the question with which he started, still unable to assess whether men were better drivers than women.

Drew Pearson tells of the President being concerned about the ammunition shortage in Korea, as he had bade farewell to the new U.N. ground commander, General Maxwell Taylor, on his way to take over his new command. The President feared that there was not enough ammunition on hand to launch a full-scale offensive for some time to come. During his tour of Korea in December, he had found that howitzers were limited to five rounds per day, though that had been improved since he had left. He also worried about the small amount of heavy ammunition at the front lines. Mr. Pearson indicates that the U.S. was short of ammunition not only in Korea, but also in its ability to ship to Indo-China and Formosa. It would be one of the first jobs new Secretary of Defense Charles Wilson would need to remedy.

He provides several prospective appointments of the President at secondary levels. Regardless of protests from Senators Taft, Eugene Millikin and William Knowland, the White House was not going to clear all job appointments with the Republican Senators. They wanted to be able to recommend names to the President prior to appointments, but the White House would propose the names and then consult the Senators for approval, consistent with the practice of FDR. President Truman, trying to appease the Senate, had gone too far in doing so and never recovered his full appointive power. The more he had appeased, the more the Senate had demanded.

General Wilton Persons had been responsible for getting Secretary Wilson to sell his G.M. stock, thus clearing the way for his Senate confirmation. He had informed the President of the problem and that Mr. Wilson's arrogant attitude had exacerbated the situation, prompting the President to pressure Mr. Wilson to divest his G.M. holdings, in which case the President would fight for his confirmation.

Secretary of State John Foster Dulles wanted to move his personal office from the modern State Department building to the old State Department next door to the White House, presently the Executive Office Building. He wanted his office in the same building where his grandfather had served as Secretary of State, but it would leave all other Department officials several blocks away. The new Undersecretary, General Walter Bedell Smith, would likely wind up actually running the State Department.

Ellsworth Bunker, Ambassador to Italy under President Truman, had been offered the job of Assistant Secretary of State for Latin American affairs by Mr. Dulles, but had turned it down for the reason that he was a Democrat. Later, in 1956, Mr. Bunker would be appointed Ambassador to India by President Eisenhower, in which position he would serve through the remainder of the Eisenhower Presidency; then later, in 1964, would be appointed Ambassador to the OAS by President Johnson, serving until 1966; and, finally, would be appointed Ambassador to South Vietnam under Presidents Johnson and Nixon, serving between 1967 and 1973.

There was an inter-service rivalry over which service would be in charge of guided missiles, with all three of the branches so far duplicating experiments with them. When the program reached full production, one of the three branches would take over the program and the new President would have a tough time deciding which.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop suggest that it would be appropriate for newly confirmed Secretary of Defense Charles Wilson to pin up over his desk a photograph which had appeared in Life a few months earlier, showing an Air Force General planting an Air Force flag on an island of ice floating in the Arctic, designed to represent a victory over the Navy, which had been racing the Air Force to reach the island first. It could serve as a reminder to Secretary Wilson of the bitter inter-service rivalry in the military, resulting in much waste and undermining national planning for defense. (Perhaps to remedy the mild faux pas, a follow-up article in the May 5 issue had included an American flag.)

The unified command under the Defense Department had been set up by Congress in 1947 to avoid another tragedy as at Pearl Harbor, where lack of inter-service cooperation caused vital warnings to be lost or delayed. The unification had included a plan for continental unification of command, which had still not been accomplished.

Departing Secretary of Defense Robert Lovett had said that the Joint Chiefs wore two hats, one as a chief of an armed service and the other as a member of the Joint Chiefs, in the former role being a champion of that service to obtain more money and in the latter, an architect of global strategy. The chiefs had no effective counter pressures against trying to acquire more of everything for each branch. Mr. Lovett and Dr. Vannevar Bush had recommended that the Joint Chiefs be separated from their command responsibility for the individual services and provided collective military command over every theater of operations, including the U.S., with the authority to insist on the absolute maximum combat strength for every man and dollar invested in defense. They also believed that the Secretary of Defense should be provided clearly defined authority over the Joint Chiefs, with an independent staff of his own, and perhaps control over promotions in the military. Finally, they believed that complete reorganization of the services should be undertaken to increase fire power where it counted.

Marquis Childs indicates that one of the criticisms made against U.S. foreign policy in recent years had been that it was always reacting to Communist action and never taking the initiative. But many who had made that charge had failed to realize that at home, the country was reacting to the Communist threat through defensive measures which were imitative of the repression of totalitarian regimes. He regards the program to review the loyalty of Federal employees, first put into operation by an executive order of the President in 1947, to be a prime example. It had developed out of the disclosures in the Alger Hiss case, to try to deter the presence of Communists in the Government.

Now, Representative Edward Rees of Kansas had introduced a bill which would create a permanent five-man loyalty review board, a measure which had passed the House in 1947 but had died in the Senate. Mr. Rees believed it would pass both houses this time, and Mr. Childs thinks that, given the climate in Congress, he was likely correct. The prospect of permanent loyalty review was disturbing to many who believed that disloyalty was a temporary outgrowth of the depression, World War II, and the threat of Nazi conquest and alliance with the Soviets. Only a fraction of one percent of the Government's 2.5 million employees had been found disloyal under the current program. Some employees had to prove their loyalty two or three times, after the standard of proof had been changed by executive order, having to refute idle gossip and malicious rumor in the process.

While no one had a right to a government job, orderly government was made difficult under the demoralization of constant loyalty reviews.

The "Better English" answers are as follow, when leaden: 1. "We have over a mile still to go, and I am not going to lay down and rest, lest the reactionary Republicans take over, thus will give my horse a little shake." 2. "com-pass" 3. All are misspelled except "imersion", which really should be "emulsion". 4. A deferred difference. 5. Supine, at least when the woods are dark and deep, and the lonesome traveler is in need of sleep.

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