The Charlotte News

Tuesday, December 22, 1953


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Secretary of State Dulles, in a printed speech prepared for the National Press Club meeting on the foreign ministers conference in Paris a few days earlier, said this date that the foreign ministers of the 14 NATO members believed the danger of "open military aggression from Soviet Russia" was less than it had been a year or two earlier. The danger, however, remained "immense and persistent", and it was no time for the free world to relax. The Secretary said that if the danger of aggression had declined, it was based on two things, growing NATO power and worker unrest behind the Iron Curtain. He said that the meeting had adopted a new concept of budgeting for the long-haul, based on amounts which the member nations could afford. He said that the revolt in East Germany the previous mid-June among the workers had exposed the underlying discontent which existed among the workers in all of the satellite countries, suggesting that if there were an armed invasion of Western Europe by the Soviets, the Soviet lines of communication might not be secure.

John Scali reports from Washington that diplomatic officials had said this date that the U.S. would move cautiously in meeting Russia's announced readiness to discuss the President's December 8 proposal for pooling atomic materials for peace. Secretary Dulles had said the previous day that the reply from Moscow had been "hopeful", and members of Congress remaining in the city regarded it as encouraging but that caution was necessary.

In Tehran, former dictator Mohammed Mossadegh this date appealed his conviction by a military tribunal for treason, and his subsequent sentence of three years in solitary confinement. The factual basis for the charges consisted of his defiance of the orders of the Shah, and his attempt to overthrow the monarchy and dissolve the lower house of parliament illegally. His co-defendant, the former Army chief of staff, had been sentenced to two years and ordered dismissed from the Army. Mr. Mossadegh claimed in his defense that the coup of the prior August had been illegal, that he was still Premier, and thus the court had no jurisdiction to try him.

In Versailles, the French National Assembly put off until the next day any further attempt to elect a new president of the Republic, following a series of fruitless conferences during the morning to attempt to break the six-day deadlock in the voting, which had failed to produce any candidate with the requisite majority. Edouard Herriot and Vincent Auriol, both tired old men who insisted they did not want the job, had led the field of compromise candidates in the most recent balloting. M. Auriol would wind up his seven-year term as President on January 17. Present Premier Joseph Laniel had been the leader in earlier ballots, but fell a few votes short of the majority.

In East Berlin, it was reported that a fairy tale Christmas play in a Russian-zone kindergarten at Dresden had ended in tragedy when a little girl's dress had caught on fire on a candle and burned her to death, spreading to the costumes of eight other children who were badly burned.

In Detroit, a series of false tips regarding the still at-large pair of escaped convicts from Southern Michigan prison the previous Saturday, had, according to police, slowed the investigation, forcing police to track down false leads. One of the pair, a convicted murderer labeled a psychopath, had threatened to obtain vengeance on the principal witness and prosecutor at his 1943 trial, in which he received a life sentence for slaying a bar owner. A tip from a veteran reporter of the Detroit Times, who had been approached by an unidentified man providing information that three of the escaped convicts were hiding in the home of an ex-convict, had led police to find three of the 13 escaped convicts, in the home watching television, giving up without a fight.

The Wayne County prosecutor's office had received a belated appeal for a new trial for one of the two escapees still at large, the other man previously convicted of burglary, seeking a new trial based on the argument that a gun and cashbox taken from the victim's home as evidence had been obtained through an illegal search and seizure.

In Pt. Pleasant, W.Va., 6 to 8 men had been reported killed this date in an explosion aboard a gasoline barge at the Ohio River dock of the Marietta Manufacturing Co. One report said that only one barge which was being cleaned had blown up, but a later report said that two barges were involved.

Bitter cold and snow out of the Canadian arctic brought winter weather to the Midwest, spreading eastward this date, with blizzard-like conditions in Kansas, Missouri and parts of Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin. At least two persons had been killed in accidents attributed to the inclement weather. More than six inches of snow had fallen in Kansas City and up to 17 inches in the Colorado mountains.

Harry Shuford of The News tells of the Charlotte First Presbyterian Church having turned its spacious yard in the heart of the downtown area into a sheep pasture for its Christmas pageant, to be presented each evening at around 5:30. This year and for the previous four or five years, the church had imported sheep from the Presbyterian Orphans' Home at Barium Springs. Only one of the animals needed to be tied to a stake, and the remainder would stand around during the two hours in which the pageant lights were kept on. A man was maintained nearby at all times to make sure that none of them bolted down the street. A ram with the two kids and three ewes, ewe, ewe and ewe, appeared to be the leader of the group, and he was the one tied to the stake—not unlike, we must comment, the UNC basketball team thus far in 2020-21, at least at times. Move as a team and stop standing around and playing one-on-one so much, winding up with poor passes inside or long, outside shots from the perimeter. Get in there and move.

Donald MacDonald of The News indicates that the possession of fireworks at Christmas, against State law, would subject a person to arrest, a fine or possible jail sentence, according to City and County police, and use of air rifles, BB pistols and the like inside the city limits, also against a local ordinance, would also be prosecuted, the police having received orders to arrest anyone found shooting such devices. In the past, people had been permanently injured from BB pellets, with children losing eyesight and hearing.

In Warren, R.I., a bandit left a café empty-handed the previous night after no one would take him seriously, even after he fired two shots at the ceiling. The 18 customers and five employees in the café observed the man wearing a yellow and black bandana over the lower half of his face while he brandished what appeared to be a .32-caliber automatic pistol, saying "Gimme the money," in response to which customers at the bar gave him a cold stare. The owner grinned at the gunman, whom he assumed to be a prankster. The gunman said that he was not kidding, that it was a hold-up, and the customers just grinned, a few laughing after he fired the second shot. The gunman, who was visibly nervous by that point, lowered the gun, glared around the bar and backed slowly out the door. Police officers could find no bullet holes in the ceiling, suggesting that the cartridges were blanks.

On a farm near Fargo, N.D., as pictured, an albino American buffalo was born in a snowdrift. It had a white coat, pink nose and blue eyes, and they named it Frosty. Buffaloes were normally dark brown.

On the editorial page, "Still a Question of Ethics" indicates that on May 19, 1951, in an editorial titled "A Question of Ethics", the newspaper had suggested that City Councilman Basil Boyd's active interest in replacement of the City Recorder had raised a question of professional and political ethics. Since that time, Mr. Boyd had made himself a champion of the Police Department, fighting for higher officer pay and saying that he would like to use a buggy whip on Drew Pearson for having charged the Police Department with receiving payoffs to allow gambling to continue in operation. He had also defended Police Chief Frank Littlejohn throughout the recently resulting grand jury investigation of the Department.

The grand jury's just released report had suggested that North Carolina ought have a statute prohibiting a member of the City Council from practicing in the lower courts, aimed at Mr. Boyd, who was the only attorney on the Council. It believes that the grand jury had a point, for when Mr. Boyd appeared before a judge in Recorder's Court, that judge was elected by members of the City Council and his salary was fixed by the Council. It indicates that it was not suggesting that the present Recorder had permitted those facts to influence his decisions in any cases or that the police witnesses were any less objective or hostile when they were testifying against defendants represented by Mr. Boyd.

"Soviet Reply Distorts Ike's Atom Talk" indicates that the President's proposal before the U.N. General Assembly on December 8 to form an international pooling arrangement for atomic knowledge and materials, to be administered by the U.N., had been an excellent example of skilled diplomacy, accompanied by representations to the Soviet Government by U.S. Ambassador to Russia, Charles Bohlen, who forwarded the President's proposal.

When the Soviet press attacked the plan shortly after it had been put forward, the U.S. Government did not respond in kind, stating instead that the hastily prepared reply might be a stalling device designed to take the pressure off the Kremlin while it considered the matter. That analysis had proved correct, as the Soviet Government, the previous day, had agreed to join the U.S. in secret negotiations regarding establishment of such an atomic pool. There was no evidence that the Soviets desired agreement on formation of such a pool, but at least they were willing to explore it. If they did not want it, they would wreck the suggested conferences by haggling over the site, timing, participants and the agenda.

The Soviet reply had said that the proposal did not reduce the danger of an atomic attack because it would not restrict an aggressor from using atomic weaponry, and so, as presently posited, it would not halt the growing production of atomic weapons or limit their use. But the President said that the U.S. was prepared to meet with other countries to try to find an acceptable solution to the arms race, and that the U.S. would seek more than a mere reduction or elimination of atomic materials available for military purposes, indicating that the negotiators could consider reduction of atomic power's potential for war as well as increasing its potential for peace.

The President had not said that the country would destroy its atomic weaponry if the Soviet Union were to agree to do likewise, but if the Soviets were again to argue complete disarmament instead of helping to develop peacetime uses of atomic power and reduce the frictions which required armament, then the Eisenhower plan would fall by the wayside, along with the previous Baruch plan, calling for verifiable arms reduction with international inspection through the U.N.

"A 'Sunny Plateau' in Gobbledygook" looks at the jargon of the economists, finding that in an interview with U.S. News & World Report, W. Randolph Burgess, Deputy Secretary of the Treasury, had repeatedly referred to "readjustment", which he defined to his questioner, in contrast to a recession, as being different in extent, where anyone could make up their own definition.

The new Administration had used the term "disinflation", which it presumes was a softer version of deflation. Dr. Arthur Burns, chairman of the President's Council of Economic Advisers—and future Fed chairman—did not like the term "hard money" to describe the Fed's current policy, preferring instead "comfortable money".

It indicates that the current economic outlook report in Business Week predicted that 1954 would bring a downward movement to a "sunny plateau", and that the American consumer, facing a reduction in earnings, but with 200 billion dollars stored up in savings, would, if he expected to buy such things as automobiles and television sets, have to "dissave", that is dip into savings.

It concludes: "Pardon us while we disread the rest of such nonsense."

A piece from the Wall Street Journal, titled "Guessing Game", tells of a man in Los Angeles studying assiduously the stock market lists and having deduced from it the business of several companies listed, which are provided. Examples: American Cyan.—Outdoor advertising; American Loco.—Sanatorium; American Smelt.—Fishery; Carrier Corp.—Pigeons; Corn Products—Radio and television gags; Koppers Co.—Detective agency, etc.

David Lawrence, Mayor of Pittsburgh, indicates in a piece that local communities did not have the ability to meet the demands which society placed on them, because there was a consistent ignoring of the problems of cities, in which sometimes hostility and envy played a part. Members of Congress who would stockpile butter until it ran out of everyone's ears would eliminate housing and urban redevelopment for the sake of economy. The cities received relatively little help from the Federal Government, and even that small amount was seriously threatened.

On the state level, the cities had to fight their way through rural-minded legislatures, politically minded governors, and static courts to obtain the legal powers necessary to enable them to deal with their own problems.

On the local level, inhabitants of suburbs received the benefits of the central city while contributing nothing to its revenue base.

Mr. Lawrence indicates that in Pittsburgh, they had made themselves into a city bloc, to abolish partisan thinking and ordinary party lines when those boundaries affected the progress of the city. He urges that such a program be adopted nationwide, and recommends that the great economic interests who had a stake in the cities awaken to their responsibilities, as well as their own interests, and do something in Washington and in the state capitols to stop the neglect of the urban areas. He warns that it would not take long for the pleasant countryside to catch all of the ills of poorly organized urban existence.

Drew Pearson tells of J. Edgar Hoover having informed a secret meeting of the House Appropriations Committee recently that to the best of his knowledge, no Communist agents held any policy-making jobs in the Government, that there were a few suspected Communists in minor jobs, still under FBI surveillance. He said that he did not favor making public the secret FBI reports on Harry Dexter White, that he would make them public when ordered to do so by Attorney General Herbert Brownell. He said that in a parallel case in 1951, both he and former Attorney General Howard McGrath had refused to provide any FBI secret files on Communism to a Democratic committee, headed by former Senator Millard Tydings of Maryland, seeking out Communists in the Government. The FBI director said that less than 10 percent of employees discharged from the Justice Department under the loyalty program had been proven Communists or fellow travelers, that the remainder were security risks, including alcoholics, incompetents and employees who were subject to being blackmailed.

Mr. Pearson indicates that probably the bitterest political feud ever experienced in the Republican Party was taking place in New York, having a direct bearing on the Republican presidential nominee in 1956, meaning that Governor Dewey, even if he wanted to be the nominee for a third time, would be out of the running. The Governor was engaged in probing the taxes of some of the most important Republican political figures in New York, and certain Republicans were busy, in turn, checking on the circumstances under which the Governor had released mobster Lucky Luciano, reputed head of Murder Inc., from Sing Sing during the war, with about 90 years left on his prison sentence. The Governor had found that various of his political allies were involved in race-track payola and other dubious political operations, and the Governor believed that unless he proceeded with a vigorous clean-up, his political reputation and career would be ruined. He had pretty much decided not to run for Governor again. The atmosphere was such that Franklin D. Roosevelt, Jr., would win, whether or not Governor Dewey ran again.

The Governor's position in Washington was also sagging, having a hard time getting his Niagara Falls public power project approved by Congress. Recently, when he had gone to the President beseeching his cooperation, the President had indicated that he was willing to allow the Governor to have his way on the project, but did not definitely agree to urge it to Congress.

Previously, Governor Dewey had said privately that Attorney General Brownell, who was his old friend, had made a mistake in digging up skeletons of the past, but at a $100 per plate Republican dinner in Hartford, he had backed up the Attorney General in his spy exposé.

He concludes that Governor Dewey was at present a lone warrior fighting a lone battle, with most New York political leaders who had once rallied around him now upset with him, as some were being investigated by him. He says it was not the picture of a man who could ever expect again to be nominated for the presidency.

Stewart Alsop tells of the Administration's defense plans having been unofficially but rather completely revealed, showing that the Administration expected to perform a miracle, that the present level of defense spending was to be reduced by about five billion dollars in the ensuing fiscal year, with further cuts to reduce defense spending several more billion by fiscal year 1956-57, all while building up airstrike capability and air defense and maintaining combat power in other respects.

The new Joint Chiefs, who had taken their positions the previous August, were to have a "new look", calling for an increase in defense spending in the ensuing fiscal year. When Admiral Arthur Radford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, presented the "new look" to the National Security Council, he had said, in effect, that one major reason why defense costs were so high was that the military planners had never been told of the kind of war for which planning was to take place, and therefore assumed that planning would be for a conventional war, such as the Korean War, in which no atomic weaponry would be used. The NSC told the Joint Chiefs to take another look and assume that anything bigger than "brush fire wars" would be fought with atomic weaponry. The Chiefs re-estimated their requirements on that basis and were able to provide proposed reductions in defense spending. That was based also on the fact that the fighting in Korea had ended and the capital investment in equipment for the Army and Navy was virtually complete in many categories.

There were genuine manpower and money savings for which the Department of Defense could take credit, for example 153,000 positions had been eliminated from the organizational side of the services, without any impact on combat power. The Air Force promised to populate about 30 new wings without any large increase in enlistments. That, plus the fact that the concept of a balanced force had been discarded, had led to the cutbacks. But the question remained whether substituting nuclear power for conventional firepower and manpower was a sound defense theory. The Army stood to lose more than a third of its present manpower, and the Army contended that the theory was not sound.

Informed officials and officers privately believed that requirements of the budget had been placed before the requirements of national security in revising the budget downward. Mr. Alsop concludes that it was still too early to judge the situation before the new defense plans had been thoroughly explained and defended.

Frederick C. Othman, substituting for vacationing Marquis Childs, discusses the Government's approval of color television, which had met with lack of approval within the television industry, with some retail dealers being disgusted by it. They had begged the FCC to withhold the announcement until after Christmas, but the FCC had ignored the plea, causing the industry to purchase advertising space to announce that color television was not as everyone had hoped. The manufacturers of television sets were still trying hard to sell black-and-white sets, stressing that the new color sets would only have 12-inch screens and would cost around $1,000 for at least the ensuing year or two. One firm had said that its first color sets would retail at $700, and another said it would produce a set with a 21-inch screen by the end of 1954.

Most manufacturers were expecting a three-gun picture tube, one gun per primary color, red-green-blue, at a cost of maybe $200 more than a comparable black-and-white set. A smaller segment of the industry was reliant on a one-gun set at a reduced cost, with one firm indicating that such a tube might cost only about 50 cents more than the present black-and-white tube.

Mr. Othman indicates that he had seen color television demonstrated a number of times and he had found it a wonder, that even the commercials looked good in color. Moreover, unlike the black-and-white sets, the pictures did not flicker, but were steady and in true color. There were some issues with individual colors sometimes fading, necessitating correction by the dials, or fast-moving objects sometimes turning into a blur, but he was willing to put up with those minor deficiencies. He indicates that he was ready to purchase a color television and it appeared to him that the golden opportunity for manufacturers was at hand. He wishes that they were as enthusiastic about the development as were the potential customers.

A letter writer comments on the editorial, "$4,156 a Year—Plus Wages", commenting favorably on the Lincoln welding company's "incentive management" system for paying employees, finding that the last statement in the editorial, questioning why more "hardheaded businessmen" did not try such a system, had answered its own inquiry, that they were hardheaded, would rather fight unions.

A letter writer from Great Falls, S.C., indicates that some 20 years earlier, there had been a New York American newspaper, which was a good newspaper, with good writers and a large circulation, until publisher William Randolph Hearst had chosen to start a campaign to attack the Bolsheviks, devoting most of the newspaper's space to that pursuit, winding up only publicizing the theretofore largely unknown movement in Russia. After World War II, many members of Congress had devoted all of their time and attention to fighting and exposing Communists disloyal to the U.S. and working for its overthrow, but, he finds, if the situation had been as bad as was claimed in Congress, Communists were in every department of the Government, in many churches, most colleges, defense plants, and in every industry, even in some branches of the armed services. If the allegations had been true, he asks why so few had been convicted and sent to jail. He suggests that if Communism were so dangerous, then a statute should have been enacted to declare it unlawful. He urges that Congress ought abolish most of the committees and bring about a more congenial atmosphere in Congress.

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