The Charlotte News

Tuesday, January 6, 1953


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports, via Jim Becker, that allied warplanes had hit a Communist troop and supply concentration after enemy troops had broken a holiday lull in the fighting with attacks along the frozen Korean front. There had been no enemy opposition to the air attack. Fourteen B-29s had hit targets near Pyongyang the previous night. Eight U.S. Sabre jets had clashed twice with 24 enemy MIG-15s in clearing weather this date and two of the enemy jets had been damaged. Allied fighter-bombers continued hitting enemy targets along the front lines, concentrating mainly on the western front. Temperatures along the front had hit a low of five degrees prior to dawn, but quickly rose to a high of 47 in one sector. A bright sun turned snow into mush.

In ground fighting on "Jane Russell Hill", the Chinese attacked with a company along the southern slopes held by South Koreans, under cover of mortar fire, fighting for 80 minutes before giving up. Forces of about 75 each struck two allied outposts near "Christmas Hill" just after midnight, with both fights lasting more than two hours before the enemy had withdrawn. To the east, an enemy platoon, behind a 1,000-round artillery barrage, waged an hour-long unsuccessful attack against an allied outpost. Stepped-up patrol clashes had broken out along the remainder of the front.

The Louisville (Ky.) Times reported this date that desertions from the U.S. armed forces had reached "alarming proportions". A well-informed Army colonel had called the situation "a national disgrace". The article indicated that in Kentucky alone, between 3,000 and 4,000 deserters were tracked down each year and hundreds of others still were being sought as they roamed the countryside. Military men, according to the article, stated that the situation was proportionately as bad in all of the other states. The article said that the newspaper had learned that since the fall of 1950, the Fort Knox stockade seldom had fewer than 400 to 600 prisoners, of whom practically all had been deserters or those who had gone AWOL.

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill would confer with Secretary of State-designate John Foster Dulles and with Ambassador-designate to Great Britain, Winthrop Aldrich, this night over dinner at the home of Bernard Baruch in New York. The Prime Minister had met with President-elect Eisenhower over dinner the previous night, and it was unclear whether they would meet again before the Prime Minister would travel to Washington to meet with the President on Thursday. Both the Prime Minister and the President-elect refused to disclose any conclusions they might have reached during their discussions.

President-elect Eisenhower was quoted this date as having said that he planned to hold news conferences after he took office, the statement coming in response to questions regarding prior reports that the new President might not hold press conferences as frequently as had President Truman and President Roosevelt, the former having met with the press usually once per week, and the latter twice per week.

Senator Joseph McCarthy made public this date a photographic copy of a 1948 letter signed by President Truman thanking Henry Grunewald for "generous" support in the 1948 election. The Senator handed out the copies to reporters shortly after asking the Senate Rules Committee to inquire into a political contribution to Senator Mike Monroney of Oklahoma which Senator McCarthy stated was solicited from Mr. Grunewald, who had been re-indicted the previous day by a Federal grand jury for contempt of Congress for refusing to answer questions of a House committee investigating tax scandals. Senator McCarthy would not indicate how he had obtained the letter but said that there was nothing irregular about it. The Senator's finances had been scrutinized by a subcommittee on which Senator Monroney had served for a time, departing prior to the issuance of the recent report of that committee, which questioned the fitness of Senator McCarthy to serve and had recommended that the Senate not seat him until all Senators had an opportunity to review the evidence contained in the report.

Senator Taft said this date that he and Representative Samuel McConnell of Pennsylvania had agreed on wide-open hearings regarding proposals for amendment to the Taft-Hartley Act. The Senator said that he expected hearings to begin simultaneously in the Senate and House around February 1. Mr. McConnell was the new chairman of the House Labor Committee and Senator Taft would chair the counterpart in the Senate. The Senator said he intended to introduce only non-controversial amendments to the law.

Senator Taft also announced that all Republican Senators should be available for the inevitable fight to ensue over change of the cloture rules for filibuster. Northern Senators, led by Senator Hubert Humphrey, wanted to make it easier to close off debate than allowed by the present rule, requiring a vote by two-thirds of all Senators. The object was to eliminate the consistent stultification of civil rights legislation via filibuster. Senator Taft was trying to prevent the matter from becoming the object of a filibuster, itself, which could paralyze the Senate for weeks and tie up the legislative program of the new Administration. Even the strongest supporters of civil rights legislation conceded that the effort to change the rule would likely fail.

The President greeted two sisters from Raleigh, N.C., ages five and six, who represented the 1953 March of Dimes drive against polio, by hoisting them onto his desk and holding their hands. They had been victims of the disease in 1948 and had been helped by the national foundation.

In Hollywood, actress Phyllis Thaxter, who had recovered completely from an attack of polio the previous August, gave birth to a boy the previous day, and both mother and child were doing fine.

In Idaho Falls, a 72-year old woman hurried to the bedside of her 84-year old husband the previous day after she had been notified that he was dying. She was told when she reached the hospital room that he was already dead, at which point she turned toward the door, collapsed, and died eight minutes after her husband.

In Belfast, Northern Ireland, salvage squads with Geiger counters hunted for 12 hours this date through the wreckage of a British airliner before finding a box of "highly dangerous" radioactive radon seeds in the cargo. Twenty-seven persons, including two teachers from Kansas, had been killed when the British European Airways plane had crashed the previous night, injuring seven other passengers. Radon was used in medical radio-therapy and it was packed in small gold capsules called seeds. The seeds had been packed for safety in a lead box. The plane had crashed as it attempted to land, hitting a beacon tower and careening against the radio control building of the airport. Only one person aboard escaped unhurt, having been thrown from the tail section of the plane into a muddy ditch.

Air Force officials told House investigators this date that there was no evidence of sabotage in any of the series of military air disasters which had caused the deaths of 128 persons during November and December.

In Memphis, Tenn., a mother believed that "the touch of God" had healed her five-year old daughter of a bite from a rabid dog, after the mother refused to let the child have shots. The mother claimed that after her pastor had prayed for the child, she had been instantly healed. She said that to accept the injections would have been a sign of weakness in their faith. Health officials indicated that it would yet be some time before it could be determined with certainty whether the child had contracted rabies from Lucky, her pet, which had died of rabies the previous day. Rabies developed sometimes within two weeks, or could take several months to become evident.

In Buffalo, N.Y., members of a local evangelical church were placing summonses to Sunday services on vehicles which were parked overtime, indicating that they had placed the coin in the meter for the errant motorist.

A spreading snowstorm began disrupting traffic in parts of the Midwest this date, as sub-zero weather moved into the region. Snow was reported two to four inches deep, extending from Montana southeastward into Iowa and Missouri, moving eastward. Two inches of snowfall becoming ice had caused traffic snarls in St. Louis. The temperature was 25 below at International Falls, Minn.

In Raleigh, early-arriving lawmakers to the 1953 biennial session of the General Assembly, set to convene the following day, believed the session would be harmonious. The Assembly would select its officers this night.

Near Greenville, N.C., a worker at the Du Pont plant had been killed and three others, including his brother, seriously injured in a head-on collision of their automobile with a logging truck near Winterville early this date.

On the editorial page, "A Way To Save Tar Heel Lives" indicates the names of five North Carolinians who had died in traffic accidents during the previous year. It cautions that on every day of 1953, three or four more neighbors or friends in the state would die on the highways. The carnage would continue until driving habits and regulations were drastically changed.

In Connecticut, for example, fatalities were less than half that of North Carolina and a third of those in South Carolina, the result of changes in the laws. It urges the citizenry to urge the General Assembly to make the necessary changes, such as the use of a points system, as employed in Connecticut, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, which, when 12 points were attained in a certain period, would result in suspension or revocation of the driver's license. Those states also educated drivers to make them aware of safety and the consequences for not obeying the laws. It urges a similar system in North Carolina.

"Rules Change Doomed to Failure" asserts that the effort in the Senate to amend Rule 22 governing cloture of debate, to shut off filibusters, was condemned to failure. Under the rule, the effort to amend it would, itself, be subject to filibuster unless two-thirds of the body voted to limit debate. Southern Democrats were the strongest opponents of any change of the rule and since their support would be needed by the one-seat Republican majority in the Senate to control legislation, the Republican leadership would not wish to antagonize the Southerners by backing such a change in the rules.

It refers to the Congressional Quarterly piece on the page, which provides the history of the rule, dating back to 1917, with an amendment in 1949. The arguments for and against the rule hinged on whether the majority should rule in all instances or whether the minority should have available a substantial negating voice. Since 1938, the rule had been used most usually regarding civil rights legislation. It concludes that it was a safe bet that the cloture rule would not be changed and that cloture would not be invoked to end a filibuster until it was used to try to defeat a bill with stronger national backing than civil rights legislation.

"Consolidation Needs More Support" urges more talk and support regarding consolidation of City and County functions, as the County Commissioners and the City Councilmen and State legislators had been dragging their feet on the subject. Consolidation had taken place in Forsyth County, and a Winston-Salem Journal editorial had indicated that there were combined tax offices, municipal courts, planning and zoning boards, and health departments. Guilford County had also established a consolidated health department.

Initially, there had to be a permissive bill passed by the General Assembly to authorize the consolidation, and then there would have to be support from private citizens and organizations.

It indicates that consolidation would not work miracles or hold out immediate promise of great savings, but would, as the area grew, bring about greater efficiency in government and in the long haul, would be cheaper.

A piece from the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, titled "Eisler's Paradise Lost", indicates that Gerhard Eisler, who had escaped from the U.S. in 1949 to East Germany to become the chief Communist propagandist there, was headed for a purge and perhaps a trial, leading to the gallows for it having been revealed that he had once spoken out against Stalin in 1920. It suggests that it had to be somewhat paradoxical, for if he could return to the U.S., he might achieve the status of a professional former Communist, informing the FBI of what he knew about others, perhaps telling the country what was and was not "true Americanism". For former Communists had become oracles "licensed to accuse without proof and amend statements without consistency." He might write books and magazine articles and appear before Congressional committees, which could be counted on not cross-examining very carefully. It suggests that such a vision of what might have been might add to his torture "as the monster which he helped create begins to swallow him up."

A piece from the Greensboro Daily News looks back at the Administration of Governor Kerr Scott, finds that mistakes had been made more in methods and techniques than in goals sought to be obtained. Those weaknesses centered on weak appointments and political tinkering, but had left largely undisturbed a lasting legacy of achievement. It proceeds to indicate some of the particulars of his accomplishments, concluding:

"The vision and faith of Kerr Scott have enriched rather than impoverished North Carolina. A foundation has been laid—in new schools, highways and other rural services—for substantial development in the decades ahead...

"If North Carolina agrees that her future lies in dispersed population and a contented rural citizenry sprinkled among small cities—in short, accessible isolation—then Kerr Scott's administration has been worthwhile. The dispersed pattern of living in North Carolina is ideal for the growing Southern industrial revolution...

"It may be realized as new decades unfold that Scott came along in North Carolina at a good time. On the foundations he built, a conservative, business-like administration conducted by a man like Scott's successor, William B. Umstead, should reap many rewards."

Drew Pearson indicates that British sources close to Prime Minister Winston Churchill had stated that while his initial reason for wanting to talk with President-elect Eisenhower had been the situation in Iran, he had become equally upset over reports of the new President's proposed strategy in Korea, which included sending two divisions of Chinese Nationalist troops from Formosa into Korea, blockading the Chinese ports, turning over a certain number of American naval vessels to South Korea and the Nationalist Chinese to harass the coast of China, lifting the present ban against Nationalist China sending a military expedition to the Chinese mainland, possible use of atomic weapons in Korea, and sending three new U.S. divisions to Japan, presumably to prepare for a Korean spring offensive. The first five of those proposals had been against British policy of both the Conservative Party and Labor. Mr. Churchill was reported to be most upset over the reported plans to use Nationalist Chinese troops and to blockade the Chinese coast. The British long had believed that Chiang Kai-shek was completely discredited and could never stage a comeback, that using his troops on the mainland could prolong the war indefinitely. They believed also that a blockade would be an act of war. Mr. Churchill believed that since he and the new President had been old comrades during World War II, he might be able tactfully to suggest that the U.S. should not make moves simply for the sake of movement, but that they be carefully considered so as not to alienate the allies.

Mr. Pearson notes that it was British hesitancy over FDR's proposed naval blockade or "quarantine" of the Far East in 1937, at the Japanese attack in Manchuria, which had finally upset his attempt to stop Japanese aggression, and that it was lobbying by the British and American oil companies which had helped break up the League of Nation sanctions imposed against Mussolini after his invasion of Ethiopia in 1935.

The President had a farewell luncheon with Democratic Senators shortly after New Year's Day, during which there were moments of sadness and moments of mirth. Senator Ernest McFarland, retiring from the Senate, made a speech which had touched his colleagues, saying that though he had been mentioned as a possible candidate to become Ambassador to Mexico in the Eisenhower Administration, he was going down with the team, having fought the Republicans as hard as he could. The President had spoken and received a laugh when he kidded new Senator Stuart Symington of Missouri, whom the President had tried to defeat in the Democratic primary, by saying that he wished to warn him that about 20 days hence, the President would be one of his constituents and that he had better watch out because he was quite a "letter-writer and I'm going to write you some letters." The President had also referenced the general election campaign in Missouri, in which incumbent Senator James Kem had circulated a picture of a cow, saying that the Senator did not know how to milk a cow, but rather only how to milk a corporation.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop indicate that all American high officials believed that the Russians had the salient facts regarding the U.S. hydrogen bomb and were in the process of developing their own. Under such circumstances, it was ludicrous to conceal the facts of this new weapon from the American people, facts which Russian intelligence could obtain through non-secret processes. Thus, they provide the salient data.

The hydrogen bomb which had detonated on Eniwetok on November 1 was the product of plutonium fusion, with a force of between three and five megatons, when the publicly stated goal had been to build a bomb of about one megaton, that is 50 times more powerful than the original Hiroshima bomb dropped in August, 1945. Thus, the hydrogen bomb which was detonated was between 150 and 250 times more powerful than the Hiroshima bomb, with a force equivalent to between three and five million tons of TNT.

They assume the average of about four megatons and proceed to describe that the level of devastation would encompass initially about 10 square miles within the area of ground zero, where deadly gamma rays would be produced, and all life incinerated. The blast would severely affect an area of 140 square miles and moderately to severely affect an area of 260 square miles, with total ruin in the severely affected area and some structures completely ruined and others moderately damaged in the less severely affected area. The fireball of the bomb would cause a heat flash sufficient to ignite combustible material or produce fatal third-degree burns on exposed skin, within an area of 300 square miles. Finally, it would start a firestorm which would destroy all living things in its path by burning the oxygen in the air, continuing to burn until it had exhausted all of its fuel, an occurrence observed in Hiroshima, as well as with conventional bombing over Hamburg during the war. It would also contribute in a small but measurable way to rendering the atmosphere noxious to higher forms of life, a process observed in the test on Eniwetok, which the Alsops promise would be described in another piece.

They indicate that such reliable, if coarse, data was available from amateurs who observed their own seismographs and possessed Geiger counters with which to monitor atmospheric radioactivity. The Soviets, with more advanced equipment, thus had to know much which was not publicly available.

The Congressional Quarterly discusses, as indicated by the above editorial, Senate Rule 22, which had originally been passed in 1917, providing that cloture of debate could take place on a two-thirds vote of the Senators present. In 1949, the late Senator Kenneth Wherry had authored a compromise, which required a two-thirds vote of the entire Senate membership to effect cloture. That latter amendment to the original rule had passed overwhelmingly, with bipartisan support.

The Democrats had obliquely referenced cloture, without specifically mentioning it, in their 1952 platform, stating that majority rule in Congress ought to prevail. The Republicans had not mentioned cloture at all, but had indicated support for civil rights legislation.

The original rule had developed because of a filibuster regarding President Woodrow Wilson's arming of merchant ships prior to U.S. entry into World War I. Since that time, there had been 21 cloture votes, with only four having been successful. A simple majority would have ended debate on 14 of those 21 filibusters. The four on which cloture was voted were the debates on the Versailles Treaty in 1919, the World Court, in 1926, branch banking, in 1927, and the Banking Act in 1933. Eight of the 21 cloture votes had dealt with civil rights, all since 1938, and none had successfully resulted in cloture. A simple majority would have effected cloture in five of those eight cases.

The Epiphany for 1953: Dogs rule the roost now in Washington.

The Epiphany for 2020: The White House probably cannot another dog abide, which is why there are no canines around.

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