The Charlotte News

Tuesday, February 10, 1953


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports, via John Randolph, that General James Van Fleet, on the eve of retiring from his command of the Eighth Army and being succeeded by Lt. General Maxwell Taylor, had said this date that a U.N. general offensive in Korea would be certain of success. He reiterated his belief that the war ought be carried to the enemy and that the U.N. had lost opportunities for beating the Communists in both May, 1951 when the Communists had over-extended themselves, and again in fall, 1951, when the U.N. forces had broken the Communist defenses. He said that the Eighth Army's greatest success during his 22 months as commander had been the defeat of the Communists in the April-May, 1951 offensive, and that the most important military action during his command had been the two defeats of the Communist army in April-May, 1951 and breaking the Communists in October-November during the allied offensive. He believed his most important decisions had been the April-May offensive and the chance taken after that offensive to cut off replacements to the South Korean Army and set up a training program for that Army. He also said that a million-man South Korean Army with 20 combat divisions was necessary for success. He also paid high compliments to the South Korean soldiers for their "anti-Communist patriotism and loyalty". He made the statements in response to questions submitted by the Associated Press.

Secretary of State Dulles, according to Senators Alexander Smith and J. William Fulbright, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in executive session this date that the President had made no decision on a possible blockade of Communist China or any other action in the Far East. Senator Hubert Humphrey, a Committee member, said that he believed Congressional committees ought be informed of any change in the direction of foreign policy, and wondered if the announcement by the President to withdraw the Seventh Fleet from protection of Formosa amounted to "a headline story without any real military policy at all." He wondered whether it was a psychological offensive aimed at Americans restless over the Korean stalemate rather than at Russia, and if there was any fundamental change of policy, the responsible committees were entitled to know it. The Secretary would be called the next day before the Far Eastern subcommittee to provide further information, if he so chose to comment.

Senator Alexander Wiley told reporters that he planned to ask General Omar Bradley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, to speed up delivery of military hardware to the Chinese Nationalists.

The Pentagon was worried that the possibility of a blockade of China might be troublesome to the nation's allies, of more concern than the chance that such a move might extend the Korean War. Even those who favored such a move were concerned that it would be too troubling to the country's allies. Not all of the coast of China belonged to the Chinese, one exception, for instance, being Ceylon, a member of the British Commonwealth, with a long-term agreement with Communist China calling for exchange of rubber from Ceylon for Chinese rice. Were the U.S. to intercept shipments of rubber from Ceylon to China, the Communists would be expected to halt exports of rice to Ceylon, giving rise to the question of who would pay Ceylon for the seized rubber and who would supply its needs for rice. An even more difficult problem was posed by Hong Kong, goods being shipped to which were consigned to some British or British-approved firm, presenting difficulty in interception before reaching Hong Kong, from which goods would then be trans-shipped into other Chinese ports. The tightest possible naval blockade of China probably could not solve those problems, as the rail line into Hong Kong connected with the Chinese rail system.

The House Labor Committee started hearings this date into proposed changes of the Taft-Hartley law, providing first consideration to a plan to outlaw industry-wide bargaining. The Senate Labor Committee planned to begin hearings in the first week of March. The President had authorized Secretary of Labor Martin Durkin, former president of the Plumbers Union, to establish an advisory committee made up of public, labor and industry representatives, to make recommendations on changes.

Dr. James B. Conant, former president of Harvard University, who had recently been confirmed as the U.S. High Commissioner for West Germany, would arrive in West Germany this date to assume his new duties.

Former Senator David Reed of Pennsylvania had died this date of a heart attack at age 72 in Sarasota, Fla., where he had been spending the winter. He had won renown as a lawyer and as a soldier in World War I before being appointed to the Senate in 1922, where he served three terms, with much of his activity in the Military Affairs Committee, of which he was chairman. He became a leader in the Republican Party. During the war, he had been awarded the French Cross of the Legion of Honor and the U.S. Distinguished Service Medal.

Israeli police announced this date that they had arrested several dozen persons in connection with the bombing of the Soviet Legation in Tel Aviv the previous night, which had injured five persons, including the wife of the Soviet minister. It was believed that the bombing was in reprisal for recent anti-Zionist charges by Communist officials in Moscow and the satellite capitals. The Israeli press joined the Government in condemning the bombing, calling it a "dastardly outrage". The Government promised swift justice for those responsible.

In Brussels, King Baudoin this date provided the left wing of his palace to the Belgian Red Cross to aid flood victims in that country.

Near Cairo, a military transport plane crashed in the eastern desert area, killing 30 Egyptian soldiers, the cause of the crash having been stated as bad weather.

In New York, in the trial of Mickey Jelke III on the charge of having hired out three high-priced prostitutes to support him while he awaited his margarine inheritance, one young woman, 19, who claimed to be one of the three prostitutes, named at least a dozen men who had allegedly patronized the call girls. A summary of her testimony was provided by the assistant district attorney, after the judge had barred the press and public from the trial for the sake of public decency. The names of the men were maintained in secret under a controversial order by the judge. She would continue her testimony throughout the rest of this date and probably during the next morning. Newspapers, who claimed to have obtained their information from defense sources, said that the woman had testified the previous day that she had a baby in November, 1950 at the age of 17 and began living with the defendant after two casual meetings. A one-time movie press agent, who had since been sentenced on vice charges, had obtained for her some of the dates as a prostitute. She had spent most of her initial earnings on clothes, and sometimes paid nightclub checks for the defendant. Two newspapers criticized editorially the banning of the press and public from the courtroom.

How much corn oil is in the margarine he is supposed to inherit? Inquiring minds want to know.

In Kinston, N.C., the FBI charged a 23-year old Kinston mechanic with receiving $5,215 from a $70,000 Trenton, N.J., bank holdup, allegedly provided to him for safekeeping by a 30-year old former convict from Chicago who had been captured in Atlanta on January 28, and by two other men from New Jersey who had been arrested in connection with the holdup. The FBI agent said that the arrested man had worked with the Chicago man in a steel mill and the latter had given the arrested man the holdup money on his way south, promising the arrested man a thousand dollars of the stolen money and paying several of his bills. All of the stolen money was recovered. The arrested man was released on a $1,000 bond, pending his trial set for April 13 in New Bern.

In Raleigh, the State Senate Roads Committee unanimously approved Governor William B. Umstead's plan for revising the State Highway Commission, authorizing the Governor to name a committee of five persons which would be empowered, with the advice and approval of the Governor, to increase the number of highway divisions from the present 10 to not more than 15. A State Representative said that he planned to introduce, probably the next day, a measure calling for a statewide liquor referendum which would propose abandonment of local option.

In Charlotte, Welfare Department superintendent Wallace Kuralt, father of longtime CBS correspondent Charles Kuralt, set forth a new policy formulated by the Welfare Board whereby anyone who owned a television set or an automobile would be declined welfare. Under a previous policy, a family with a television could obtain welfare provided the set had been given to them, but that policy encountered difficulties of enforcement because many families claimed that they had received their sets as gifts in spite of facts showing the contrary. Mr. Kuralt said that there were few families presently receiving assistance who owned television sets and even fewer who owned automobiles. The intention to implement the policy had been made public on January 29 and some retail firms reported that several families had returned television sets since that time. A letter from a man in prison said that his family had been receiving welfare assistance and had owned a television set prior to encountering that need. Mr. Kuralt said that the policy was based on the notion that families should sell such luxury items before applying for public welfare money.

On the editorial page, "Rome Is No Place for an Amateur" indicates that during the previous year's presidential campaign, Clare Boothe Luce, wife of Time and Life publisher Henry Luce, had put on a "memorable, if melodramatic, nationwide TV thriller about Communists in government." After the victory of General Eisenhower, it was common gossip in political circles that the Luces would receive their reward, which would include the Ambassadorship to Italy for Clare, a rumor which was confirmed the prior weekend by the White House.

It hopes that her Senate confirmation would not occur until after the spring elections in Italy, where the present Government faced considerable opposition from the Communists and their Socialist allies, potentially depriving the current Christian Democratic Government coalition from obtaining the necessary majority to govern. Unless that majority were obtained, there would be a scramble of splinter parties required to form a governing coalition, resulting in political chaos, out of which the Communists and neo-Fascists would profit.

It proposes instead the appointment of Ellsworth Bunker, at least temporarily, as he had been on the scene in Italy for almost a year and had accumulated a good team of professionals accustomed to working under him. It finds it dubious wisdom to change diplomats at this juncture and, if it were to be done, the job should have someone with the talents necessary, instead of a "rank amateur" at diplomacy, such as Mrs. Luce.

It points out that three important ambassadorships had been filled already with political appointees, Winthrop Aldrich to Britain, Douglas Dillon to France, and Mrs. Luce. It hopes that political reward would not continue to be the only yardstick by which key diplomatic appointments were made. James Reston of the New York Times had written that career diplomats would not be overlooked, that the President was planning to send Charles Bohlen to Moscow, George Allen to India, George Kennan to the listening post in Switzerland, John Allison to Japan, Loy Henderson to Egypt and George Wadsworth to Pakistan. He had also reported that three other Foreign Service officers would be named as Assistant Secretaries of State, Robert Murphy, presently Ambassador to Japan, Livingston Merchant, presently assistant to the Special Mutual Security representative in Paris, and John Cabot, who had previously been Ambassador to Finland. It finds that against those latter commendable selections, it was "incredible" that the President had chosen to "play fast and loose with Italy", the country which in the ensuing six months, was going to be one of the most important in Europe.

"A Way To Organize the Budget" indicates that the new Administration had promised to straighten out the mess of different types of appropriations and suggests that one of the best ways to start doing so would be to adopt a proposal by Senator Harry F. Byrd to streamline appropriations with a single-package bill, not to be confused with the omnibus bill which Congress had tried three years earlier. Whereas that latter bill had collected all of the regular appropriations under one bill, the Byrd proposal would provide that the Congress would consider all appropriations in one package so that the public could see all of the Government's proposed spending at one time, and that Congress would write into the bill, against all items involved, limitations on annual obligations for expenditure from all appropriations, giving Congress power to review all of the unexpended balances and authorizations. The proposal would also provide that committee reports on appropriations bills would show annual expenditure estimates, which could then be compared with revenue estimates, to maintain the budget in balance.

Twelve Democratic and 35 Republican Senators had joined with Senator Byrd in co-sponsoring the bill, and if similar support developed in the House, it stood a good chance of enactment. It supports the proposal, along with the proposed Constitutional amendment authorizing the line-item veto for the President. It indicates that the Truman Administration had regarded the billions in contract authority and unspent authorizations as untouchable, but that those categories had to be reviewed if the budget were to be balanced, as they accounted for about 20 billion dollars in the Truman budget for the coming fiscal year, which had a deficit of 10 billion dollars. Unless Congress could touch the previous authorizations, it would have to cut the 20 billion in two, which would shatter the farm program, Social Security and other domestic programs.

"Five Persons Voted—Three Stayed Home" indicates that a state-by-state analysis of voter participation in the previous November elections by the Gallup Political Almanac indicated that 70 percent or more of the eligible voters had turned out in 22 states, whereas in 1948, only four states had that kind of turnout. The Northwest and Northeast continued to get out a large percentage of voters, with Utah, as in 1948, leading the list, with a 79.6 percent turnout, compared to 74 percent four years earlier. Delaware was second with 79.1 percent, Idaho, third, with 78.5 percent, followed by New Hampshire and Rhode Island, each with 77.8, West Virginia, with 77.4, and North Dakota, with 77.2 percent. The only states below New Mexico's 63.5 percent turnout were Maryland, at 57.5 percent, Arizona, at 52.6 percent, and the 11 Southern states, ranging between 52.1 percent as a high, posted in North Carolina, down to 24.3 percent in Mississippi, the lowest in the nation. Those latter figures compared with 38 percent in North Carolina in 1948 and 43 percent in 1940, down to 17 percent in Mississippi in 1948, and 15 percent in 1940. It provides a table of turnout percentages for all of the Southern states for those three presidential election years. In 1948, Florida had exceeded North Carolina in turnout by one percent, but North Carolina again had led in 1940 among the Southern states.

Nationwide, 62.5 percent of eligible voters had voted, a record in recent times, but still below the average for democracies, with Italy, Holland, Great Britain, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, France, Finland and Canada all beating the U.S. by between 12 and 30 percentage points. It concludes that while the turnout had been impressive, the country still had a long way to go.

The Congressional Quarterly reports on the 1952 Federal, State and local tax collected in North Carolina, showing the amounts paid, the income from all sources received by individuals, and a percentage comparison of taxes and income, in text and tabular form. You may examine all of the statistical abstract for yourself.

Drew Pearson, in Frankfort, West Germany, indicates that the European governments were reacting adversely to the prospect of female diplomats appointed by President Eisenhower. While Perle Mesta, appointed by President Truman as minister to Luxembourg, had done a good job, publicity had not been kind and the musical comedy "Call Me Madame" had done in the diplomatic careers of women for the present. The only exception was Eugenie Anderson, who had been one of the best envoys sent to Denmark in many years. In particular, there was concern over the appointment to Italy of Clare Booth Luce, out of fear that it would give ammunition to the Communists, being fought by the present Government in the coming spring elections—as set forth above. There was also great concern in Holland over the appointment of Mrs. Hiram Cole Houghton as Ambassador to that country, despite the Dutch having had two Queens in a row.

Secretary of State Dulles had gone through Europe quickly, with every bit of his schedule set in advance, ducking press conferences in the meantime, and when he finally did agree to meet the press, he merely provided a statement and did not answer questions. In the conference with British Foreign Minister Anthony Eden, the latter told the Secretary that Britain would oppose any effort to blockade the Chinese coast and also any such suggestion in the U.N., saying that no British Government which would support such a blockade could stay in office more than another day. The Secretary irritated French Premier Rene Mayer by telling him that he should delay his planned visit to Washington to see the President, the Premier finding it inconsistent that the President had made time for British Prime Minister Churchill and could not spare time for the Prime Minister of France regarding the main objective of the Secretary's trip, the united European army. Mr. Pearson indicates that it was too early yet to provide the results of the trip, but more would be coming in future columns.

U.S. intelligence reports reaching Berlin indicated that a high-level Kremlin battle taking place over who would be Stalin's successor had been resolved in favor of Georgi Malenkov, Secretary of the Communist Party. There had been a rivalry between Malenkov, V. M. Molotov and Laurenti Beria, head of the secret police, but Molotov had fallen out of favor sometime earlier. The fact that nine Jewish doctors had been arrested and that there was open newspaper criticism of the secret police for permitting them to jeopardize the lives of Russian officials, implied criticism of Beria, meaning that he was about to get the ax. Allied experts expected a statement from Stalin sooner or later giving his blessing to Malenkov, to avoid a bloody civil war regarding the successor, as Stalin knew that civil strife meant the end of Russia.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop tell of the daily schedule of the President, with the White House starting its business day at 8:30 each morning, but preceded by the President by about three hours, having breakfast, reading newspapers and some essential documents, starting a day which might last 12 to 16 hours. His only relaxation was an occasional brief time engaged in painting before bedtime.

He liked to have his speeches read aloud to him and corrected and edited them by voice.

When he became President, he had little knowledge of the budget process and called in Budget director Joseph Dodge to brief him on the subject. The President had understood even the more abstruse concepts and had written most of the budget portion of his State of the Union address, himself. The President's quick grasp of subjects was one of his primary assets.

The fact that he was known for his charm caused him to place a high premium on personal contacts. He intended to eat a meal with every Republican in Congress during the ensuing few months, leading to a crowded schedule. He was accessible but had no patience for anyone who wasted his time.

His chief of staff, Sherman Adams, saw his job as ensuring that the President made the essential decisions rather than merely influencing those decisions. The men who most influenced his decisions were Mr. Dodge, Treasury Secretary George Humphrey, and Attorney General Herbert Brownell. Presently, Secretary of State Dulles was not in the inner circle, but might become so following his return from Europe. Neither was Secretary of Defense Charles E. Wilson, who presently needed more the President's advice than the other way around. Admiral Arthur Radford, who might be named chairman of the Joint Chiefs at the retirement the following August of General Omar Bradley, had greatly impressed Mr. Wilson and the President during the December trip to Korea, and so might have considerable influence on policy. The President was primarily relying on civilians for advice, to avoid any appearance that he was seeking to run the Government through the military.

The Alsops conclude that the preliminary sketch of the President presented a hopeful picture.

Frederick C. Othman tells of the chairman of the board of the Tele-King Co., Louis Pokrass, 56, born in Russia, immigrated to the U.S. in 1913, served in the Navy, became a naturalized citizen, married and entered the bootleg wine business in the 1920's, thereafter being arrested four times, the charges each time dismissed. After repeal of prohibition, he and a friend organized a wine company in New York, while keeping their names out of the business to enable obtaining of a license. In 1943, Federal investigators charged that the firm had hidden a large consignment of liquor to avoid paying inventory tax on it. The firm offered $100,000 in fines to settle the charges and the Justice Department accepted the resolution, but the Alcohol Tax Unit then revoked their licenses.

Mr. Pokrass and his partners then sold the firm's assets and invested the proceeds in the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas, catering to gambling clientele. Mr. Pokrass also organized other liquor firms, but he was repeatedly turned down for licenses. Then, in 1946, he contributed $5,000 to the New York State Democratic Committee and steered the wife of Carroll Mealey, head of the Alcohol Tax Unit, to a New York furrier who sold her a bargain coat.

Mr. Pokrass then sold his interest in the Flamingo, stopped trying to get into the liquor business, and entered television manufacturing, currently prospering. But lately, he had been called before the House Ways & Means Committee to explain his past. The Committee investigators had not yet said what they intended to do about him, if anything.

A letter from the director of the Crosley Car Owners Club of Charlotte indicates that he had followed the newspaper's reports on the law to ban hot rods, pending before the General Assembly, which would prevent anyone from modifying an existing automobile to make it go faster than the original manufacturer's design. He indicates concern about the existing manufactured cars with high horsepower engines, and the drivers of them who did not know how much power they had under their control. He says that in order to obtain a deadly weapon, one had to supply good character references and a reason for ownership, and that the powerful automobile had become a kind of deadly weapon, especially in the hands of a novice driver who believed he had the necessary qualifications to become a hot rodder. The dealers would not ask the potential buyer why they wanted so much power. Cars had become so powerful that hot rodders and sports car owners could not compete with the standard automobiles, on or off the highways. There was actually no need for hot rodders to soup up their cars, as all they had to do was to purchase a 1953 "Powerhouse 8" and they had a Detroit hot rod. He counsels that the hot rod solution had to be solved in Detroit, not Raleigh.

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