The Charlotte News

Thursday, January 8, 1953


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that an allied raiding party had attacked the Chinese Communist lines on the western front this date and hit the enemy with practically every weapon in their arsenal. They struck at dawn with flamethrowers, tank fire, artillery and mortar shells, napalm, airstrikes, hand grenades, satchel charges and small-arms fire. After 55 minutes, the allies withdrew, leaving 35 enemy dead strewn across the snow, east of Panmunjom. At least 25 others were believed to have been killed or wounded during the raid. It had been the second raid by the U.N. forces within the prior 24 hours. Wednesday night, South Korean infantrymen and engineers had blown up a tunnel which the North Koreans had been digging into "Anchor Hill", a key position on the far eastern front, with 44 enemy troops having been killed.

In the area of Montpelier, Idaho, aerial searches were being conducted by private planes and Air Force planes for the missing C-46 transport plane with 40 aboard, extending the search over areas of Idaho, Utah and Wyoming. A farmer had reported seeing three flares the previous night on the east side of Bear Lake, but rescuers in jeeps had been unable to reach the area. Planes were checking that area this date and if they found nothing, then a party on horseback would attempt to reach the site. The plane had last made contact about 50 miles west of the area where the search was being concentrated.

In Salt Lake City, an Army private stated that he had narrowly missed being aboard the missing transport plane. The soldier had been next in line on the Army's alphabetic loading list, behind a private from Goldsboro, N.C., the last man aboard the missing aircraft, en route to Fort Jackson, S.C., at the time of its disappearance.

In Harrisburg, N.C., a maid whose grandson was among the passengers on the missing plane, tried to go about her work at the home of a doctor and not worry too much about her missing grandson, continuing to hope that the plane had landed somewhere in the mountains of Idaho. The Army corporal had been in Korea for a year, having volunteered for service two years earlier at age 19. His grandmother said that they had wanted him to stay at home but he had been bent on going.

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill departed New York for a conference with the President this date, following his private talks with President-elect Eisenhower the previous day. The Prime Minister this night would entertain the President at the British Embassy in Washington, and the following day would fly to the British West Indies to meet his family and begin a two-week vacation.

Bernard Baruch, at whose home the British Prime Minister had stayed in New York, said that he would accept a position in the Eisenhower Administration if one were offered. He said that he had been willing also to serve the Truman Administration.

The President, in his written State of the Union message to Congress the previous day, had made it clear that hydrogen bomb research would not be the last stage of atomic energy development. Correspondent Frank Carey indicates that the "death dust" bomb was a theoretical device in which material would be wrapped around a bomb to produce a radioactive poison which would then be carried by the wind over an extensive area remote from the location where the bomb would be detonated. The President had made no reference to such a weapon in his message, but his statements about the hydrogen bomb not being the extent of nuclear research left ground for speculation that scientists might be considering such a weapon. The poison dust from such a hydrogen-cobalt bomb, using cobalt as the wrapper, would be deadly to those who inhaled or swallowed enough of it. Some of the living might suffer genetic defects, including sterility or defective offspring. Scientists said they did not know under what conditions, including weather, such bombs would be most effective, but the scientists generally agreed that such a deadly device was theoretically possible, provided a hydrogen bomb was perfected to furnish the initial means of producing the radioactivity.

Senate leaders of the anti-filibuster movement this date claimed some benefits from their foredoomed fight during the opening session to change Senate rules regarding cloture of debate, despite its overwhelming defeat by a coalition of Republicans and Southern Democrats. Senator William Jenner of Indiana, a Republican who was the new chairman of the Senate Rules Committee, said that he would work for early Senate action on a resolution he had introduced to modify the requirement for cloture, to permit a vote of two-thirds of the Senators present and voting rather than the current Rule XXII, amended in 1949 to require two-thirds of the entire membership, the original rule in 1917 having required only two-thirds of the Senators voting. That attempt, however, was given little chance of success by the Senators who had sought to amend the rule to provide for a simple majority to cut off debate. Senator Matthew Neely of West Virginia had said during the debate on the rule change that President-elect Eisenhower was the only person who could effect the change and urged him to get behind a measure to enable majority will in enactment of civil rights legislation. Immediately after Senator Neely had spoken, the Senate voted 70 to 21 to kill the resolution, initiated by a bipartisan group of 19 Senators.

The Senate then adjourned until Friday, when it would take up the plan to enlarge ten major committees and reduce five others, to ensure Republican control of the committees in the closely divided Senate, with the Republicans holding a one-seat majority. Minority Leader Senator Lyndon Johnson blocked the action the previous day, saying parts of the committee organization plan were entirely unsatisfactory.

Republican Senate leaders said this date that they would ask Senator Harry F. Byrd of Virginia, despite him being a Democrat, to continue as head of the Joint Committee on Reduction of Non-essential Federal Expenditures, because of his tough fiscal reputation and previous record as chairman of the Committee.

In Paris, Premier Rene Mayer dropped Foreign Minister Robert Schuman from his new Cabinet this date and gave the job to former Premier Georges Bidault. Mr. Schuman had held the position since 1948, during which time he had led the campaign for European unity and bringing West Germany into the Western defense scheme. He was reported the previous day to be furious over the new Premier's compromise, arranged in cooperation with followers of General Charles de Gaulle, to seek modification of those plans.

Near Seattle, a DC-4 commercial airliner from California crashed in flames at the foot of a mountain 15 miles east of the city, killing seven persons aboard. Two of the victims had been children and two had been women, and the three men aboard had been members of the crew.

In Columbus, O., a jukebox which had been blaring a wild hillbilly tune in a restaurant, blew up, showering glass over one customer, who had to be treated for minor cuts. Firemen responding to the scene said they had not determined the cause of the explosion, but believed a short-circuit in the wiring may have been the cause.

In Raleigh, new Governor William B. Umstead was sworn in this date, along with new Lieutenant Governor Luther Hodges—who would become Governor in 1954 at the death of Governor Umstead. Governor Umstead's inaugural address, part of the text of which is on the front page, set forth a broad program of expanded state services as a goal of his Administration, calling for "a better tomorrow". The speech followed a parade from the Governor's Mansion past the State Capitol down historic Fayetteville Street, where thousands turned out to observe. A light rain began falling as the Governor's car moved along with its top down, and the car was stopped momentarily in a vain attempt to put the top up, then continued along the route. Former Governor Gregg Cherry waved from the sidewalk as the car, including outgoing Governor Kerr Scott as a passenger, drove past. The new Governor had served in Congress, in the House and the Senate, having been appointed to the Senate seat by Governor Cherry in late 1946 at the death of Senator Josiah W. Bailey, then was defeated in 1948 in the Democratic primary by former Governor J. Melville Broughton, who then died just two months into his Senate term, leading to the appointment by Governor Scott of Frank Porter Graham, then UNC president, as the interim Senator.

Upon the death in 1953 of Senator Willis Smith, who had defeated Senator Graham in the 1950 Democratic primary, Governor Umstead would appoint Alton Lennon as the interim Senator, who would be defeated by Governor Scott in the 1954 special election. Also in 1954, incumbent Senator Clyde Hoey would die, and Governor Umstead would appoint State Supreme Court Justice Sam J. Ervin to fill that seat.

Fasten your safety belt. The ride is going to bumpy.

On the editorial page, "Legislature Opens on a Note of Harmony", a by-lined piece by News editor Pete McKnight, provides a glimpse into the opening of the 1953 General Assembly and its makeup, with Eugene Bost of Cabarrus County having been selected as Speaker of the House, suggesting a more harmonious fit with the new, more conservative Governor Umstead than in the preceding 1951 Assembly with the more progressive program of Governor Scott. Mr. Knight also looks briefly at Lt. Governor Hodges, finding his background as a business executive, with no prior experience in politics, to lend him a fresh approach to statecraft, which could prove an asset as the new presiding officer of the State Senate, as he was "eager almost to the point of boyishness to do his job well", showing no signs of weakening his "independent judgment or the strength of his convictions", with a feel for the people of the state after campaigning in all 100 counties, refusing to make political commitments or pledges in the process.

If you have an abiding interest otherwise in the predicted interpersonal relations of the 1953 General Assembly, you may read it. We shall hear plenty about it as the weeks drag on.

"The State of the Union" indicates that the President's State of the Union message delivered in writing to Congress the previous day had been designed for the history books, including its recognition and admission of mistakes made by the Administration, such as the late awakening to Communist intentions, the cutback in defense by former Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson, and the mediocrity and ineptitude of many officials. It finds that what the message said had been stated previously several times by the President. In one section, he justified keeping the country's security strong through an active defense program while also creating conditions of economic and social progress "in order to meet the non-military aspects of the Communist drive for power".

He also said that Americans had to renew their confidence in one another, their tolerance, their sense of being neighbors and fellow citizens. "We must take our stand on the Bill of Rights. The inquisition, the star chamber, have no place in a free society."

It indicates that one thing the President had said, about having been thrust into power suddenly by the death of President Roosevelt in April, 1945, had brought to mind the new role of Vice-President-elect Richard Nixon, for whom President-elect Eisenhower reportedly planned to provide more responsible duties than had formerly been the case with Vice-Presidents. Yet, Mr. Nixon had been on the outside thus far of the inner circle of the President-elect.

It indicates that while it would have rather seen someone else in the Vice-Presidency, Mr. Nixon would become the Vice-President within a few days and it was not too soon for him to begin to understand and appreciate the responsibilities of the Presidency, just in case he had to assume the position one day.

It concludes that there had been no rancor or bitterness in the message of the President, that he had stood on his record, "which includes acts of greatness and vision along with the petty and vengeful. The President leaves the Union in fairly good shape and in the hands of a promising Republican."

In 2020, the State of the Union ought be recaptioned "The State of Trump, Inc.", which, for the sake of truth, would have to include the subcaption: "Not Good". Again to those self-deluding Trumpies who continue to believe that their boy will win "by a landslide" in 2020, we suggest you pay attenton to facts for a change and examine the polls, including the most recent polls on impeachment and removal from office. Do you morons really believe that ten months from now, the country will "re-elect" a joker whom most believe ought be removed from office now? You can sing along with Mitch and the Fox gang all you want, but that does not change reality. The country has rejected the chief Moron. You weak-kneed Republicans, rather than defending the Moron in lockstep, would be better served in your party interests by leading those morons among your constituents who believe the Moron can do no wrong, back to some semblance of rationality, while urging their Leader to resign. But suit yourselves. All that much better in the end for a return to liberal, majority-rule government.

"An Apology" indicates that during the prior December, the newspaper had quoted from what it believed were reliable reports that State Senator Fred McIntyre had favored abolition of the semi-autonomous Charlotte Park & Recreation Commission and placing its functions under a regular City department, subject to the administration of the City Manager and the City Council. The editorial had opposed the idea. Mr. McIntyre had since informed the newspaper by letter and personal conversation that his position had been misrepresented and he did not favor such abolition. The piece apologizes for the error.

A non-by-lined piece from Charleston, S.C., tells of the 150th birthday on January 10 of the News & Courier, and relates of the newspaper's history. It concludes by indicating that under the leadership of editor Thomas R. Waring, the newspaper had helped initiate the South Carolinians for Eisenhower movement in 1952. It states that W. W. Ball had been editor for 23 years until his retirement at the start of 1951, "after helping to lead South Carolina out of the Democratic ranks for the first time since Reconstruction", [into the Dixiecrat ranks of Strom Thurmond], that James A. Best was managing editor and Frank B. Gilbreth, associate editor.

Did you also get up the campaign for Dick?

Drew Pearson indicates that one of the most sensational aspects of the investigation of Senator Joseph McCarthy had not been known by the Senate Elections Committee members, who had recently issued a report after its lengthy investigation of the Senator's financial transactions, that of the sudden flight from the U.S. of a key witness and friend of the Senator, wealthy divorcee Arvilla Bentley. She had formerly been married to Alvin Bentley, who had just been elected as a Republican from Michigan to Congress. She had left the country and traveled to the Bahamas under the assumed name "Mary Peterson" because she had officially contributed $7,000 to Senator McCarthy's re-election campaign, more than the legal limit, and had confided to friends that her former husband had contributed around $75,000. She did not want to be cross-examined by the Senate Elections Committee and so, after hearing that the Committee wished to speak with her, had sought to avoid a subpoena before it could be served. Mrs. Bentley had been a society lady living next door to Averell Harriman in Washington. For a time, her husband had been employed by the State Department and he and Mrs. Bentley had been close friends of Senator McCarthy. After their divorce, Mrs. Bentley remained the Senator's friend. Her lawyer claimed that he did not know where she was, though actually she was in communication with him and had asked him to obtain records of canceled checks from her bank. She was escorted to the Bahamas by a former Communist, who then returned to New York, but then flew back to the Bahamas to escort her back to Washington after the storm had passed. Congressman Bentley had told the Elections Committee that he had not given directly to the Senator $10,000, which had been contributed by the couple through Mr. Bentley's secretary and then deposited through circuitous channels in Wisconsin, where it was used to speculate on soybeans.

Former Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn, 71, had been heartbroken when the Democrats had lost in November and for a time considered resigning from Congress, until his brother-in-law persuaded him not to resign. When Mr. Rayburn had stepped down as Speaker the previous Saturday, he had delivered a pep talk to fellow House Democrats, from which Mr. Pearson quotes. The speech had concluded: "But if [the Republicans] threaten to abolish the good things we Democrats have done for the people, things that are basic to our economy and prosperity, then it's time for us to become a fighting minority."

Joseph & Stewart Alsop tell of Time, in its New Year review of 1952, having said that the public had "turned a bored ear to science's biggest bang—the explosion of a hydrogen bomb." The Alsops suggest that the people and Time would be less bored had the significance of this successful test of the first hydrogen bomb not been deliberately concealed by the responsible authorities. The detonation on Eniwetok on November 1 could conceivably bring on a nightmarish age in which humans would become completely sterile or would give birth to monstrous mutations—as also suggested by the piece on the front page regarding the theoretical "death dust" bomb.

Such dire results could occur from Carbon-14, a radioactive isotope of ordinary carbon, reaching a threshold level on earth from hundreds of hydrogen bombs detonated, especially in a war or series of wars. Some scientists argued that the threat was extremely remote, but most were convinced that the indiscriminate explosion of hydrogen bombs could cause too much Carbon-14 to accumulate, causing human genes to mutate or be destroyed.

The Alsops go on to explain that Carbon-14 occurred naturally on earth and could be used beneficially, such as in carbon dating technology, because it had a half-life of 5,600 years, the time it took for half of its radioactivity to be depleted.

Such ill portents formed part of the reason why the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty of 1963 was so important.

Frederick C. Othman indicates that the biggest literary event of the season in Washington was the President's budget, to be released this date. The President reportedly would seek a budget of 80 billion dollars, which the new Republican Congress would proceed to hack and axe into an unrecognizable form.

He points out that normally budgets were used by Congressmen for such utilitarian purposes as doorstops or bases for automobile jacks, anyway.

But there were certain things which even the most economical members of Congress could not cut, which he proceeds to list. "We've got to count ducks, store Navy anchors, be ready to fight a war, lay by some more red tape, and do something with that rum we still own in the Virgin Islands."

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