The Charlotte News

Tuesday, December 15, 1953


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Tokyo, U.S. envoy Arthur Dean arrived this date en route to Washington, after bluntly rejecting a Communist proposal for immediate resumption of negotiations to set up the Korean peace conference, to have started under the terms of the Armistice by October 28, but continually delayed. Mr. Dean had sought for seven weeks to negotiate the start of the conference, but said that he would not return to the negotiating table unless the Communists retracted charges that the U.S. had connived with South Korea to release, the previous June 18, 27,000 prisoners of the U.N. Command who had refused repatriation, those prisoners having been released by South Korean President Syngman Rhee. Mr. Dean broke off the talks on the prior Saturday. A note from the Communists which was delivered early this date had coupled a request for an immediate resumption of negotiations with the charge of U.S. perfidy. He would leave the following day for Washington to report to the State Department and to officials of the 15 other United Nations which had fought in Korea on the allied side. He said that the Communists were deliberately stalling the negotiations because of the overwhelming number of the 22,000 non-repatriating North Korean and Chinese prisoners who had continued to refuse repatriation, despite the explanations of the Communists, seeking to woo them home. He said that the Communists had "knowingly and intentionally wrecked" the explanation program because "so few of their soldiers came home." U.S. officials told the Korean War allies the previous day that the talks had been suspended, but not broken off completely, until the Communists withdrew the charges of perfidy and demonstrated a willingness to negotiate in good faith.

In Panmunjom, Indian Lt. General K. S. Thimayya, chairman of the Neutral Nations Repatriation Commission, failed this date in his personal appeal to coax 22 non-repatriating American prisoners of the Communists to hear allied efforts at explanations designed to woo them to return home, the General stating afterward that he felt they would never agree to participate. He said that he was certain that the 22 Americans, one Briton and 328 North Koreans refusing repatriation had decided to do so because of firm political beliefs, stating that the American prisoners were suspicious and hostile toward everyone. The latter group had told the General that after they were released, some planned to attend universities in Peiping and other cities, while others planned to farm in China or visit Iron Curtain countries in Europe, where, they said, they would work for world peace. One American had told him that if they changed their minds and decided to go home after a few years, they would then return to the U.S. The story notes that presumably they would be subject to desertion charges and possibly more serious offenses at that later time. The General said that the prisoners had said that the Communists had told them that if they desired it, after a couple of years, the Communists would take up the question of bringing their families to them. They were eager for news and the General had imparted that President Rhee had recently visited Formosa, that a meeting of the Big Four heads of state would be held, and that the political talks to arrange a peace conference on Korea had been broken off, as well that a former fellow prisoner, Cpl. Edward Dickenson of Virginia, had just gotten married. The General said that they had said that it was the best day they had. He also said that he had received about 150 letters from the U.S., mostly from religious organizations, seeking to have them passed to the prisoners, pleading for them to return home, but that he had replied that it was impossible to deliver those letters as the prisoners had asked the Indian guards to censor all mail and eliminate propaganda. He also said that he could not understand the U.S. efforts to try to get the prisoners to return home, that if 22 Indians had refused to return home, India would have let them do as they pleased. He also said that the Indian troops guarding all of the non-repatriating prisoners would not retain custody of them after January 22, removing one of the last remaining barriers to their release as civilians.

In Paris, the 14-member NATO Council of Ministers, following a warning by Secretary of State Dulles of a possible reappraisal of U.S. policies toward Europe, this date voted to increase its troop and warplane strength during 1954. French officials were reported to be furious over the Secretary's statement that a change in U.S. policy could result from a failure by the French to ratify the European Defense Community pact, providing for a unified army for France, Italy, West Germany and the Benelux countries. Paris newspapers referred to the Secretary's warning as a "blunt ultimatum". In London, British newspapers of varying political positions also were critical of Mr. Dulles. In Bonn, West Germany, Chancellor Konrad Adenauer's Christian Democratic Party, however, hailed the announcement as "logical and natural". Italian Premier Giuseppe Pella called it a "very courageous statement", and Dutch Foreign Minister J. W. Beyen said it was "very important". British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden declined comment, as did French Foreign Minister Georges Bidault. Secretary Dulles had addressed the Council the previous day, giving essentially the same warnings, and afterward spoke at a news conference. His remarks were primarily aimed at the French, who had first proposed the EDC and then turned against it based on French fear that 12 West German divisions would provide Germany with an opportunity to invade France again. A highly informed U.S. military officer said that the previous day, the military committee of the Council had approved an increase in the NATO air force by more than 1,300 warplanes, to 5,700, by the end of 1954, and an eight percent increase in ground forces, bringing NATO's front line and reserve divisions to 107 by the end of 1954. The delegate had said that there was no opposition to the plan.

Most members of Congress who expressed an opinion this date on the recommendations of the President's National Security Training Commission, had recoiled from its primary recommendation of establishing by January, 1955 or earlier universal military training for non-drafted youths. The Commission proposed that a lottery be established to determine whether a youth would receive six months of training or be required to serve two years as a draftee in the military. The group had said that the proposal would avoid the present unfairness whereby veterans were the only reservists available to be called up in a sudden war emergency, as under the plan, trainees under UMT would be called ahead of veterans. The Commission also said that the program might save money by permitting reduction in the regular military forces, and might help to deter war by maintaining long-term preparedness. House Speaker Joe Martin said of the proposal that he did not think it would have a chance of passage, as Congress had already said that the draft and UMT should not operate concurrently. Representative Dewey Short of Missouri, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, which would have to act on a UMT bill, said that he opposed UMT and that it would not work. Representative W. Sterling Cole, chairman of the Joint Atomic Energy Committee and a member of the House Armed Services Committee, said that with the increasing emphasis on atomic weaponry, the need for large numbers of men in uniform had been considerably reduced. He had supported UMT in the past but said he did not think that Congress would pass it at the present time, and that he might change his own position on the matter. Congressman Leslie Arends of Illinois, the House Republican whip, said that the draft and UMT could not operate simultaneously.

In Frankfurt, West Germany, General George Marshall, who had won the 1953 Nobel Peace Prize, departed by military plane this date for Paris, returning to the U.S., after spending three days in Germany following receipt of his prize in Oslo the previous week.

In St. Augustine, Fla., novelist Marjorie Rawlings, 57, who had won a Pulitzer Prize in 1939 for her novel, The Yearling, died at a hospital the previous night after complaining of indigestion during the weekend.

In Chapel Hill, N.C., a black man was being held on a vagrancy charge because he resembled an ex-convict being sought in the double homicide of a young couple in Pamplico, S.C., as reported on the front page of the newspaper the previous day and first reported December 10. Police said the man looked like the suspect, but that his age of 25 did not square with the suspect, who was 38. The arrested man's fingerprints were being forwarded to the FBI for comparison.

In Pamplico, an inquest, which had been scheduled for this night into the death of the couple, was postponed indefinitely as the sheriff said they were not ready. The girl of the couple, 15, had been beheaded after being fatally shot, and her male companion, 22, had also been fatally shot. The wife of the 38-year old suspect was being held in jail. A shovel with bloodstains, believed by investigators to be connected to the homicides, had been sent to the FBI for testing, but findings from the examination were not expected for at least a week. The police had no clue to the whereabouts of the suspect. The murdered couple had last been seen December 6, when they left the girl's house to go on a date. The next morning, the young man's car, containing bloodstains, was discovered, and that night the body of the schoolgirl was found buried in a shallow grave on bluffs overlooking the Pee Dee River. Her head and the young man's body were found buried in an abandoned well two days later, after a tip had been provided to police by the mother of the suspect's wife. The shovel had subsequently been found at the mother's home early on Sunday.

In Raleigh, the Highway Patrol would increase its highway saturation program during the Christmas and New Year holidays, according to Motor Vehicles commissioner Ed Scheidt. Some of the patrolmen, he said, would be in unmarked vehicles and the Patrol would be using mechanical speed detection devices, for the first time with its saturation program. Previously, that method had consisted primarily of a half-dozen patrolmen riding in marked cars along a specific ten-mile stretch of road. Mr. Scheidt warned the public that just because they would not see a patrolman did not mean that one was not there, perhaps in an unmarked car. Merry Christmas...

Ann Sawyer of The News indicates that members of the Mecklenburg County grand jury said this date that they wanted their terms extended so that they could continue their investigation of the Charlotte Police Department in January, but there appeared little likelihood that the request could be granted, as a special act for Mecklenburg County stated that the presiding judge would need to draw nine new jurors at the first regular term of Superior Criminal Court in January, and there was no provision under state law to enable holding over members of a grand jury after their regular terms expired, which would occur on Saturday night. Solicitor Basil Whitener said, however, that the grand jury could file a report of its findings and request that the next grand jury continue the investigation. The length of the investigation had surprised observers, as it was initially believed that it would only take a couple of days to question the original 21 witnesses, but the list had grown to more than 40 witnesses. The investigation had been requested by the City Council after columnist Drew Pearson had declared in his column and on his radio show a few months earlier that there had been "rackets with police payoffs" thriving in Charlotte. Mr. Pearson had testified before the grand jury on December 8.

Dick Young of The News indicates that an 11-year old boy of Charlotte was grinning this date because he had caught a big-mouth bass, 15 1/2 inches long and weighing nearly two pounds. He caught the fish in Freedom Lake, which had been drained during the summer of 1952 when a suspected DDT contamination had killed ducks and fish, prompting Park and Recreation officials to leave it empty to dry out for several months. The water had just been restocked with fingerlings the previous March and so it was a mystery as to where the large fish had come from—probably from the fish market after the boy had earlier watched an episode of "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet" the previous spring.

The President would fly to Augusta, Ga., on Christmas Day or the day after to spend several days working on his State of the Union message, which he would deliver to Congress early in January. The White House said that the President and First Lady would be joined at their new cottage at the Augusta National Golf Club by their son, Maj. John Eisenhower, his wife and the three Eisenhower grandchildren. It had not been determined how long the President would remain in Augusta, but James Hagerty, White House press secretary, said that it would likely extend through New Year's Day.

A photograph appears of Pat Nixon, wife of the Vice-President, with her two daughters, after she and Mr. Nixon had returned from a ten-week trip to Asia, shown holding Christmas presents brought home for the girls, including a gold beaded mat from Pakistan and a dress from Afghanistan. The Vice-President, after a reunion with his daughters, rushed off to the White House for a conference with the President.

How about Checkers? Did she not receive a Christmas gift? She had accomplished so much for the Nixons.

In Syracuse, N.Y., the Bureau of Traffic and Lighting workshop had been broken into and among the articles stolen were two keys which opened every one of the 2,400 parking meters in the city, each of which received about a dollar per day. Police, however, said that there was no intention to change the locks, as that would cost about $1.50 per meter.

In San Juan, Puerto Rico, an attorney complained in court that his wallet containing $480 had been stolen from the courtroom while he was presenting a motion on behalf of a client charged with being a pickpocket.

On the editorial page, "Brownell Buries an Old Issue" indicates that Attorney General Herbert Brownell, in a radio speech from Texas the prior Sunday night, suggested that the issue of Communism in government ought soon assume its proper proportions, as he said that the Administration believed that virtually all Federal employees who were suspected of Communist sympathies had been eliminated. He said that the President had promised that within the following year, the Administration would complete the employee security program so that the people could be sure that none of the employees in the Government were anything but loyal. He said that the Administration had discharged 1,456 persons as security risks, not only those suspected of disloyalty, but also drunks, "sex deviates", and blabbermouths, while in five years under the loyalty program, the Truman Administration had dismissed or permitted to resign 6,900 employees only for suspected disloyalty, with the number discharged for other reasons having not been revealed.

Meanwhile, at almost the same hour that Mr. Brownell was making his speech from Texas, Senator McCarthy was stating on "Meet the Press" that he did not think the job of eliminating Communists from the Government was complete.

It hopes that Mr. Brownell was correct and that the effort of both Administrations had succeeded in eliminating from the Government those who would subvert the country. "The fear of communist infiltration has caused many Americans to forget that faith and trust in our fellow men is the very foundation of our free society. If men lose faith in one another, if the misdeeds of a few lead us to suspect the many, our society cannot long endure."

"U.S. Cities Attack Urban Ills Boldly" indicates that a few years earlier, Pittsburgh had suffered from a combination of urban ills, being smoky, crowded, dirty, and ugly, with rivers akin to open sewers and old and inadequate housing. During World War II, a group of businessmen had decided to redevelop the city so it could cope with the 20th Century, and its accomplishments had been recorded in American Highways, which told of a four million dollar surface-level parking lot being planned, with much of its existing parking space underground and two modern open deck parking garages having been completed, with the acquisition of sites for two others. The story had also told of the widening and relocation of streets, the redevelopment of a 330-acre downtown business area, with the historic district restored and new office buildings replacing crowded old buildings.

It indicates that the improvements had helped to pay for themselves, as the new construction had added 40 million dollars to tax assessments, with only ten million in revenue lost through tax exemptions granted to new properties such as streets and public parks. Civic leaders were promoting a park-ride plan to reduce traffic congestion, and were planning parking lot beautification with shrubs and trees, instead of the "vacant, run-down lot", typical of Charlotte.

It concludes that many cities were tackling their problems with boldness and imagination and that the longer Charlotte delayed solving its growing parking problems, urban redevelopment and other issues, the costlier the remedy would be.

"Surveying the Public Interest" indicates that the St. Louis Post-Dispatch still used headline type and makeup techniques which the industry had junked years earlier, that it rated lower in completeness and objectivity than the New York Times, and by comparison to the New York Daily News, presented photographs which were dull and colorless. Yet, the newspaper received many plaudits and commendations during the month of its 75th anniversary, and for good reason, as it was "the best living example of a newspaper completely dedicated to serving the public interest" as it saw it.

It bore on its masthead a statement by its founder, the late Joseph Pulitzer: "I know that my retirement will make no difference in its cardinal principles; that it will always fight for progress and reform, never tolerate injustice or corruption, always fight demagogues of all parties, never belong to any party, always oppose privileged classes and public plunderers, never lack sympathy with the poor, always remain devoted to the public welfare; never be satisfied with merely printing news; always be drastically independent; never be afraid to attack wrong, whether by predatory plutocracy or predatory poverty." It finds that the Post-Dispatch had lived up to that creed, causing its influence in the nation to be much greater than its circulation would normally allow.

"Unpredictable, contentious, always vigorous and outspoken, never pulling a punch, carefully written and edited, persistent in digging for facts", the newspaper was admired even by the many enemies it had made. It joins others in congratulating it on its 75th anniversary.

"A Prophet, If It Be an Honor" indicates that the trade magazine Variety, "with its customary disregard for the niceties of the English language," had labeled hillbilly music "cornball culture". Record manufacturers were "earmarking a big slice of their alfalfa etchings for the overseas market," according to Variety, and the hillbilly singers were performing on foreign tours. The Armed Forces Network had allotted much of its broadcast time to hillbilly music, and foreign composers were beginning to copy the Americans, a European publishing house having recently received an imitation American folk tune penned by a Belgian, with lyrics in Flemish.

It indicates that it had been exactly 25 years earlier that Charlotte composer Lamar Stringfield had won a Pulitzer Prize for his orchestral suite, "From the Southern Mountains", the last movement of which was centered on the theme of the old hillbilly melody, "Cripple Creek". Mr. Stringfield through the years had used mountain music as a basis for his compositions, exampled by "Georgia Buck", "Legend of John Henry", and "Moods of a Moonshiner". It suggests that Mr. Stringfield had proved therefore something of a prophet, "not without honor", regarding the popularity of hillbilly music, and indicates that the point of the piece was "to make sure that he is not without in his own country."

A piece from the Dallas Morning News, titled "Whisker Troubles", indicates that Moscow radio had said that only one in twenty Russian males had whiskers, whereas under the tsars, prior to 1918, the ratio had been one in five. Several years earlier, barbers had been pressed into government service and received extra pay for close shaves, as well as receiving bonuses for beard sweepings, used to make felt boots.

Now, it appeared that there were either too many feet to be booted or that the barbers did not turn in all their sweepings. It suggests that there was a problem with a five-year program for beards, that whiskers stimulated pride and vanity in those who grew them, that the bearded also became individualistic, bad for socialism. The question for the Kremlin was whether beards would detract from the common welfare. But as winter approached, there remained the problem of the population not having enough boots.

Drew Pearson tells of a modestly paid police chief from small Hanover, N.H., who managed, through powerful friends in high places, to go on an expensive junket to Europe. His friends included New Hampshire Senator Styles Bridges, chairman of the Appropriations Committee, White House chief of staff and former Governor of New Hampshire, Sherman Adams, and Scott McLeod, also of New Hampshire, who was the most powerful man in the State Department outside of Secretary Dulles. Thus, he had been able to afford a $2,500 vacation at Government expense. Officially, the story was that he was sent to Europe to guard a courier who carried valuable papers, but unofficially, State Department officials admitted that he was not necessary, as the courier had made it on his own in the past and was not going to Iron Curtain countries, but rather to France and West Germany. State Department officials said privately that the police chief had done favors for the aforementioned friends.

The Treasury Department had just dropped the AFL, CIO, and black representatives from the Treasury savings bonds division, making organized labor less happy than it already was. Their duty inside Treasury had been to persuade labor to purchase bonds through monthly payroll deductions, which had resulted in the sale of 156 million dollars worth annually to eight million employees. The three men in question were not fired but dropped for reasons of economy. The Treasury was correct in arguing that the sale of the bonds was expensive, relative to the large sums bought by the banks. But labor was upset at being left out in the cold. AFL president George Meany had praised the program and was sorry that labor was no longer wanted in it. George Lynch, head of the pattern makers, said that if the "Eisenhower-Jenner-McCarthy-Velde axis" wanted nothing further to do with organized labor, the pattern makers would observe the exclusion completely.

The deadline expired this date for the National Security Council to decide how much to cut the defense budget. Two months earlier, the Council had heard Joint Chiefs chairman Admiral Arthur Radford argue that keeping conventional weapons systems and old methods of warfare, despite the new atomic age and the terrific expense, would be appropriate. Secretary of the Treasury George Humphrey, a member of the Council, asked whether that was a preview of the "new look", which the Joint Chiefs had touted when they took over their positions at the beginning of August. Admiral Radford said that it was a "limited look", but admitted there was no new strategy involved. Defense Department Comptroller W. J. McNeil estimated that the program suggested by the Admiral would cost about 43 billion dollars, stunning Secretary Humphrey, who favored economy in the non-combat and support areas of defense. It was eventually agreed that the military would examine anew the proposed budget and report again later, the deadline for which was this date. Mr. Pearson notes that the Council meanwhile had reviewed estimates of Soviet military power, including the new Russian hydrogen device, and had come to the conclusion that the Soviets were not far behind the U.S. in the atomic-hydrogen race, making the defense problem the more difficult.

IRS director Coleman Andrews ordered all tax agents to drop their investigations for two and a half months, starting January 1, to help individual taxpayers with their returns.

The Government had lost more than a million dollars buying tungsten in Thailand because the man in charge of purchases had been experienced primarily as a sales clerk at a department store in Washington.

The Government Printing Office, investigated recently by Senator McCarthy's Investigating subcommittee for an employee having allegedly copied secret documents provided by the Army, was so security conscious that it had canceled a scheduled tour of Agriculture Department employees through the plant, despite all having been cleared by the FBI and the Civil Service Commission.

East Germany was getting more concerned about spies than the U.S. The previous month, the Communists removed from all railroad station signs which told the height of the station's town above sea level, to avoid giving information to spies. Mr. Pearson notes that the information could be found in guide books sold all over West Germany.

Joseph Alsop, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaya, tells of Liu Chong-Fong, a Malayan Chinese who represented a "not important victory for the free world". Until six months earlier, he had been one of a few thousand jungle terrorists who were the spearhead of Communist imperialism in Malaya, but now had returned home. In 1948, he had been a schoolteacher in the Malay state of Pahang, was engaged to be married, while amateurishly dabbling in Communism. One morning, his cell leader gave the word that the party had given an order to go to the jungle and so Liu obeyed. He and seven other "intellectuals", led by an aged party head, were ordered to start a local underground press from their jungle hideout. The covert Communist organization in Malaya sent them supplies, and they began publishing The Voice of the Masses as a bi-weekly. Though in a remote jungle location, they continued Communist Party discipline, spending every morning on the newspaper or reprinting party directives for wide circulation, or joining Marxist studies, mainly poring over the work of Mao Tse-tung. After an hour for lunch, they worked for four hours in the afternoons in the fields of yams and tapioca, and every evening following supper, engaged in Socialist self-criticism.

Liu had followed the routine daily for two years, but at the end of the second year, the British and Malayan forces began driving deeper into the jungle, causing the eight members of the press to have to find a new hideout. At the end of the third year, when General Templer came to Malaya, things began to get bad for the guerrilla pressmen and again they had to find a new hideout. The jungle supply system broke down and food became short, causing discouragement and despair. But to give up meant death from other guerrillas, and such was the punishment even for picking up one of General Templer's air-dropped surrender leaflets. To try to escape through the jungle probably also meant certain death, as only the jungle couriers knew the trails.

Party leaders swore that Communism was winning the Malayan war, that Kuala Lumpur had fallen, and that Singapore was menaced. "Father Mao" was coming, with all the power of the Communist Chinese army, to bring to Malaya a new day. They were encouraged to hang on a little longer on the promise that soon they would be sitting in the high seats of power. Liu at some point ceased to believe those stories, as he and his fellow seven pressmen endured increasingly worse conditions. Eventually, he and another man became ill and were left behind in an abandoned camp with a small store of rice and one Dutch rifle. After the comrade died, a half-delirious Liu made up his mind to escape. He met up with two other comrades during his terrible journey back through the jungle to civilization. All three wished to surrender, but each suspected the intentions of the others and so no one confessed his plan to his comrades, lest it result in death when they emerged from the jungle.

Thus, they gave themselves up separately and then became honest with each other for the first time, after meeting in a police station.

Mr. Alsop encourages the reader to ponder the story, as it spoke volumes about the power and character of the Communist imperialist drive in Asia.

A letter writer comments on a December 1 editorial, titled "Police Should Enforce This Ordinance", explaining how motorists unlawfully cut into pedestrian traffic. He suggests a solution to the problem, adopted from his time as a resident of Denver, Colorado, the installation of pedestrian signal lights.

A letter writer comments on a December 12 editorial, "Needed: A Memorial to Jim Marshall", finding it timely. He indicates that he had been president of the Charlotte Engineers Club in 1949, an organization of which Mr. Marshall had been a former president, providing many talks regarding the need for a technical institute and engineering college in Charlotte. He suggests that if a technical institute were established, it should be named for Mr. Marshall, who had been a "very fine man". He adds that if a responsible civic organization raised $300,000 for the purpose, he would donate $1,000.

A letter from a student in Miss McDonald's sixth period English class at Central High School indicates that the class had formally debated whether the Carrousel Christmas parade and festivities detracted from the true meaning of Thanksgiving. The debate judges had concluded that the negative side, against having the parade on Thanksgiving, had prevailed. She indicates that Thanksgiving was a day for giving thanks to the "Creator" for the blessings of the previous year, and did not include advertising and money-making projects, but was a day for family communion, worship and thanksgiving. She goes on to say that Christ had almost been taken out of Christmas and supplanted by Santa Claus and that the Carrousel was taking away the thought of God on Thanksgiving and replacing it with Santa.

You were so much older then…

A letter writer from Gastonia looks forward, after the first of the year, to a debate between J. R. Dean and J. P. Long of Lincolnton, presumably some kin to R. Long, with Mr. Long prosecuting dogs and Mr. Dean defending them. He suggests that Mr. Dean ought perhaps confer with Bob Cherry, Jr., of Charlotte before going on the air. On December 11, Mr. Dean had referred to a letter from J. Helms of Monroe, who had written on November 25 that he hoped no one tried to steal Mr. Dean's dog, as had been referenced in a letter from Mr. Dean on November 21, telling of someone trying to steal his pal, Sparky—which may have been named, for all anyone knew, after J. Rubenstein. Whether Mr. Helms is the subsequently well-known J. Helms of Monroe, in 1953 the personal assistant of Senator A. Lennon, or some other J. Helms of Monroe, we do not know.

First, before any of them run for political office on the pro or anti-dog platform, they need to explain Checkers and its impact on the nation and its history twenty years into the future, proving thereby their perspicacity.

A letter writer responds to a previous letter writer who had suggested praying for rain, wondering how the Lord would respond to prayers from the grain farmer who needed rain and to his neighbor, who grew cotton and thus wanted little rain.

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