The Charlotte News

Thursday, February 12, 1953


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that fighting in Korea had dwindled to small raids and patrol clashes on the battlefront this date, as the warmest weather thus far in the year continued into a second day, with the temperature rising well above 40 degrees across the front, as rain fell on the western front.

Allied fighter-bombers destroyed eight buildings in a troop concentration area on the western front, and in the same area, F-80 Shooting Stars sealed a railroad tunnel with eight bomb hits. U.S. Sabre jets engaged with enemy MIG-15s in northwest Korea, but there were no claims by the allied pilots of any damage or destruction.

The U.S. Eighth Army issued armored shorts to a front line infantry division, indicating that if they proved practical, they would become standard equipment. They were comprised of 12 layers of basket-weave nylon, weighed four pounds and were tacked to the armored vests which had been in use in Korea for a year, offering the same protection to the hip area which the vests provided to the stomach, chest and back. A spokesman indicated that the shorts would be used by men on patrol.

From London, it was reported that the Soviet Union broke off diplomatic relations with Israel this date. Western diplomatic sources expressed no surprise and said the Russians were apparently stepping up their efforts to win Arab friendship in the strategic Middle East. A Soviet diplomatic note blamed the break on the bombing Monday of the Soviet Legation in Tel Aviv, in which three Russians had been injured, but Western diplomats saw it as the culmination of a two-year campaign of Soviet hostility toward Israel and an even older battle against world Zionism. The note accused the Israeli Government of inciting hostile action against the Soviet Union. The break had been seen as forthcoming because of Israel's alignment with the West in the Cold War, though not in any formal alliance with the West. Russia had played a leading role, along with the U.S., in supporting creation of Israel in 1948, but even during the debates at the time, Andrei Vishinsky had underlined his Government's opposition to Zionism as a nationalist, political movement.

In Cairo, Britain and Egypt this date signed an agreement covering the future of the Sudan, and Prime Minister Mohamed Naguib's office said that evacuation of British troops from the Suez Canal had been agreed upon in principle. Britain and Egypt had been running the Sudan jointly since 1899, and the agreement gave the Sudanese the right to decide their ultimate future within the ensuing three years, whether to join Egypt, the British Commonwealth or become an independent nation. Elections for a parliament were planned under the supervision of an Indian, an American, a Briton, and two Sudanese observers. British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden hailed the agreement as "a reasonable settlement of this question which has long bedeviled our relations with Egypt."

Senator Allen Ellender of Louisiana this date urged the Eisenhower Administration to consider asking the Chinese Nationalists to get rid of Chiang Kai-shek as their leader, that the answer to the search for peace might lie in weaning the Chinese on the mainland away from Russia and in finding a Chinese leader more popular than Chiang. The Senator deplored the idea of a blockade of the Chinese mainland or other militant steps, as only encouraging the Chinese to gravitate closer to Russia and further away from the U.S.

The Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on Far Eastern policy would meet the following day for further questioning of Secretary of State Dulles, his second appearance before the Committee during the week.

Such food items as milk, butter and eggs were slated for price decontrol during the week, amid signs that emergency power to restore economic controls might be maintained. A top Government official stated that a final decision would be made this date on a long list of goods, making up 15 percent of consumer goods in the cost-of-living index, tentatively set for elimination of controls. Controls, for the time being, would remain on such items as machinery, most automobiles and scarce metals.

Military preparations were continuing for tests by the Atomic Energy Commission at the Nevada Proving Grounds scheduled for the following month. There would be 18,000 troops of the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps taking part in observation of the tests.

In Japan, about 100 miles southeast of Yokohama, nine American passengers and two injured crewmen were removed from a burning freighter this date after an explosion crippled the ship, owned by the American President Lines. No details were available as to the cause of the explosion and resulting fires.

A blizzard swept through Northern Europe this date, snarling road and rail traffic and isolating many villages, hitting along the east coast of England, and the coasts of Holland and Belgium, adding to the problems of refugees driven from their homes 12 days earlier by the worst flooding since medieval times. Forty main roads and 200 secondary roads in England were blocked by snow drifts ranging up to 12 feet deep, causing drivers to abandon hundreds of cars and trucks, with only one road remaining open from Manchester northward to Scotland. Hastily repaired sea walls along the coast had held during the night and an excessively high tide was expected this night, as 24,000 servicemen and volunteers in Britain worked to bolster the levees even more.

In New York, Christine Jorgensen, 26, returned home after two lonely years spent in Denmark undergoing voluntary surgery to change her gender from a man to a woman. She said that she was happy to be home, adding, "What American woman wouldn't be?" She had been born George Jorgensen, Jr., and had grown up in the Bronx as a carpenter's son, serving in the U.S. Army. She now appeared as an attractive woman, and was surrounded by press and photographers when she arrived aboard a TWA flight at Idlewild Airport.

In Atlanta, the Georgia Legislature approved jury service for women in the state, but each house still had to approve the separate bills of the other.

In Fort Knox, Ky., the U.S. gold bullion depository officials indicated that they had reached the halfway point in their spot check of 14 billion dollars worth of gold bars, pursuant to a check ordered by new Secretary of the Treasury George Humphrey, who specified that 10 percent of the 12,000 tons of gold would be counted and weighed. The chief clerk at the vault indicated that it was the first time such a check had been ordered. Other such partial counts were underway in other Government depositories across the nation, to ensure that they contained the more than 23 billion dollars worth of gold they were supposed to hold.

In Raleigh, Governor William B. Umstead's proposal for power to reorganize the State Highway Commission cleared the State Senate on a third reading this date and now would go to the State House. Future North Carolina Governor and Senator, State Senator Terry Sanford of Cumberland County, led a small minority in opposition to the bill favored by the Governor to allow him to name a five-member committee, which would be empowered, with the advice and approval of the Governor, to change the boundaries of existing highway divisions or to increase the number of highway divisions and the number of highway commissioners from 10 up to 15, saying that the bill delegated to the Governor duties which should be exercised by the Legislature, that the Assembly was passing the buck. Mr. Sanford, however, had been silent when the bill was considered this date.

The State Representative who was planning to introduce a liquor referendum bill said that it would not be ready before the following week.

In Birmingham, Ala., Southeastern Conference commissioner Bernie Moore this date disclosed that the University of Tennessee had been fined $1,000 for using an ineligible football player, a star tackle, during the early games of the previous fall season, and said that a new program was being put into effect aimed at preventing a similar occurrence in the future.

On the 144th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birthday, a photograph appears on the page from the Matthew Brady Collection of Civil War photos from the National Archives, which had just been identified, 90 years after it had been taken, as a picture of President Lincoln at the dedication of the Gettysburg National Cemetery on November 19, 1863, with an arrow pointing to the head of the President—a photograph now very familiar, though, candidly, never impressing us as resembling in the least President Lincoln, the individual appearing to be bald, or at least mostly so, and having a full beard. But, we were not there, as apparently were the Civil War experts from the Archives in 1953. For our money, someone needed glasses—not unlike the referees at the UNC versus Duke game a week ago, who, also, probably believed that President Lincoln was in attendance.

On the editorial page, "Jelke Trial a Risky Precedent" indicates that the New York trial of Mickey Jelke III, for allegedly hiring out three high-priced prostitutes to support him while he awaited his margarine inheritance, from which the press and public had been banned by the trial judge for the sake of public decency, was a risky proposition, as every defendant was entitled to a public trial, which could cut both ways, for or against the defendant, depending on the defendant and the testimony. It would be embarrassing to Mr. Jelke, for instance, to have matter spread out over the newspapers regarding his alleged activities as a procurer. Yet, he was taking a chance in not fighting for a public trial, as his rights would be better protected in such a forum.

The case was following an old pattern, in which the women testifying were subjected to the "pitiless light of publicity" while the men who bought their favors were seldom identified. The 19-year old woman, who was the State's star witness, was reportedly providing the names of many prominent customers, but the secret trial protected them from being identified in the press.

It concludes that perhaps the judge had acted out of sound motives to avoid public exploitation of the luridness and depravity of the allegations contained in the testimony, but if society was to obtain any benefit from the sordid mess, and if the defendant's rights were to be protected, and the men who patronized the prostitutes shamed as the women had been shamed, the whole story ought be told.

It does not point out, per the front page report of the prior day, that the trial judge had been ordered, on petition by five New York newspapers and two wire services, to show cause on Friday before the superior court why his order should not be reversed.

"Sense, Straight from the Shoulder" indicates that an article on the page from Detroit by Max Gilstrap stated that the businessmen of that city, on the Board of Commerce, had favored free world trade, without protective tariff barriers. They viewed it as the ultimate means of solving the complex economic and political problems of the country, with a gradual phase-in of the plan over the course of ten years.

The piece finds the move significant because it showed that some business leaders were willing to face the problem head-on, even if some might lose in the process. Response to the idea had been, as Mr. Gilstrap had phrased it, "electric", with other businessmen, editors, labor leaders and teachers anxious to help promote the plan. It hopes that the Detroit plan might spur others to similar action, until the goal of balanced trade was achieved.

"Unfair State Tax Provision" indicates that a bill had been introduced in the General Assembly to relieve North Carolinians of having to pay income tax on capital gains from the sale of a residence, provided those gains were reinvested within one year in a new residence, paralleling the Federal law. It agrees with the proposal and suggests that the Assembly ought also consider allowing taxpayers in the state to spread out their capital gains and losses across more than one tax year, a limitation which penalized taxpayers who dealt in securities. While the Federal law had the same provision, there was a top-limit alternative tax of 26 percent on capital gains, when the state taxed 100 percent of capital gains.

"Proper Priorities" indicates that Congressman Leo Allen of Illinois, chairman of the House Rules Committee, which had before it several proposals for Congressional investigations, was not going to undertake those investigations at present, but would rather "sit tight for a while" because the investigations were distracting and he wanted first to undertake legislation. The piece approves, says that Congress was correct in undertaking investigations, but had gone overboard in that field lately to the neglect of legislation. They had to remain busy to meet the July recess deadline, with a number of things on the legislative agenda, which it lists, as had been set forth earlier in the week by Senator Taft. It also finds it good that the new Administration had been too busy with pressing problems to hand out political plums, and that the priority of business in the Administration and the new Congress was correct.

A piece from the Philadelphia Bulletin, titled "Real Economy in Jersey", indicates that New Jersey's 1953 budget, as submitted by Governor Alfred Driscoll, showed a $900,000 cut in spending, compared with 1952, which would provide a surplus of $695,000, which the Governor warned was dangerously low, leaving little margin for unforeseen emergencies. The Governor hoped that the Federal Government might provide the states with some tax relief, notably on gasoline, to help the situation. New Jersey had the lowest per capita state tax in the nation.

In New York, Governor Dewey's budget also showed a reduction in spending from the previous year. Both of the Governors were good vote-getters and excellent administrators, and to achieve the budget results, had to withstand a great deal of pressure for spending on many worthy purposes. It concludes that it was gratifying that election results had shown that their efforts for sound economy had been appreciated by the voters.

Max K. Gilstrap, writing in the Christian Science Monitor from Detroit, as indicated in the above editorial, tells of the businessmen of that city on the Board of Commerce, having advocated free world trade, without protective tariff barriers, to solve the international economic and political problems to secure international harmony, to be phased in over ten years. He provides the details of the plan and the "electric" response to it.

Drew Pearson, in Berlin, indicates that a young German teacher had been explaining why he had escaped from East Berlin where he had been teaching school under Communist supervision, indicating that he had debated the decision a long time, as to whether he could do more good by remaining among the Communists in an underground effort, but after considering the matter in light of the fact that he was being told to teach "Communist drivel", even though the children were smart enough to understand the truth from the tone of their teacher's voice or use of sarcasm, he came to the decision to leave. The final straw had come after attending a movie in West Berlin, "The Desert Rat", about Marshal Erwin Rommel, when he spotted a Communist spy who had been keeping an eye on him, and he realized his time was up and so remained in the West. The teacher said that the movie appeared to glorify Rommel when, in fact, he had been a heel.

Mr. Pearson indicates that it was not hard to cross the Iron Curtain from East to West in Berlin, as there were 66 streets leading between the two sides, and while everywhere else along the border between East and West Germany a person was likely to be shot if crossing the Iron Curtain, in Berlin, one only had to ride the subway during rush hour or walk down a side street to make the crossing. One could even carry a suitcase and would not be bothered by the guards, unless there were too many suitcases. Thus, it was better to leave baggage with a friend and come back across the border repeatedly to carry luggage piece by piece.

Initially, it had been primarily Jews who had crossed to the West, having not done so until Stalin began to emulate Hitler. Now, there were only about 2,000 Jews remaining in East Germany, but the stream of refugees continued, including Protestants, Catholics, all religions, all trades, sometimes amounting to 2,000 persons per day, a total of 26,000 during January, 1953. The stream of refugees was the greatest challenge to the free world since the Berlin airlift of 1948-49, undertaken to break the blockade of West Berlin. The Communist leaders, however, were not disturbed by the prospect of the West having to absorb the refugees, already having numbered 11 million since the war, especially as there were 250,000 persons unemployed in Berlin. The Bonn Government had organized a virtual human airlift to fly refugees from Berlin, contained in 77 refugee camps in West Berlin.

The previous day, Mr. Pearson had visited some of the camps and one young farmer's wife with three children told him that her husband faced prison for the inability to fill his onion quota in the East, and another farmer from Mecklenburg had encountered a similar problem. The refugees were living in bombed-out factories, sleeping on straw sacks, but the new arrivals appeared undismayed, eager to face the free world. The problem was to keep them that way, but if they were forced to remain indefinitely in those conditions, they would become bitter and eventually return across the Iron Curtain to spread to the world the notion that Western freedom was not what it was cracked up to be. An overall plan had to be worked out internationally so that some of the refugees would be absorbed by under-populated nations, such as Australia, Brazil, Venezuela, Paraguay and Canada. Under the McCarran Act, they were inadmissible to the U.S., despite a large percentage of them being farmers and the fact that farm help was needed in the U.S.

Mr. Pearson adds that Senator McCarran, however, being from Nevada, had proposed the entry of Spanish sheepherders for Nevada's sheep ranches, but was otherwise against farm-labor migration.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop consider the ramifications of a possible blockade of the mainland China coast or provision of air and naval support for an invasion by the Nationalist Chinese. They indicate that in the summer of 1951, an attack had occurred on Yunnan Province, which had been hushed up at the time, resulting in a bad defeat for the Nationalist Chinese and their U.S. collaborators, the CIA. The Nationalist Army of about 12,000 men had escaped Yunnan when the Communists had moved into the Province, taking refuge across the border in northern Burma and northern Thailand. The Army was then supplied by air from Formosa, with the assistance of the CIA. Chiang Kai-shek's intelligence analysts and the CIA had been gravely misled in the summer of 1951, leading to the Nationalist Army being ordered to march back into Yunnan, with CIA assistance. A large part of the Army wound up destroyed or scattered and several American liaison officers were lost. The remnants of the Nationalist forces took refuge again in northern Burma where they remained to the present time.

The Burman and British Governments became aware of the failed mission and were angry. The U.S. Ambassador to Rangoon resigned in protest and Secretary of State Acheson denied that the U.S. Government had been involved in the operation. In result of the operation, it became apparent that there were not millions of anti-Communist Chinese ready to spring into action as guerrillas, as had previously been claimed by the Nationalists in their propaganda. In fact, the Nationalists now claimed no more than 200,000 such guerrillas and U.S. experts estimated an even lesser number, as the Communists had been efficient in stamping out any guerrilla movements.

When the President had announced in his State of the Union message his intention to withdraw the Seventh Fleet from protection of Formosa, Chiang asked whether Formosa would any longer be protected from invasion by the Communist Chinese, and after being reassured on that point, sought to know whether, in the event of air attacks by the Communists, the U.S. would defend Formosa by air. The questions showed that Chiang was not waiting to be "unleashed", as many Republicans had contended. The Alsops regard most of the expectations associated with the Nationalists to be "transparently silly".

Chiang, they suggest, would take all the supplies he could persuade the President to provide him, and continue the small raids on the Chinese coast, as had been ongoing for some time.

Marquis Childs also looks at Asia policy, indicating that it was likely to generate two major conflicts, the first to take place largely behind the scenes and the second to develop potentially into a national controversy similar to the debate on lend-lease and the deal to supply 50 old destroyers to Britain in the fall of 1940. The first dispute would concern priority for the supply of tanks, guns and planes from the U.S., already cut thin by having to supply Korea, the arms buildup at home, Western Europe, Indo-China and others.

The Nationalist Chinese had been receiving only a small share and pressure was growing to give them more, as many key Republicans who had long advocated higher priority for Asia even at the expense of Europe, were pushing such a program. Military men who believed in an active Asian policy would also urge that commitment. Chief among the latter group would be Admiral Arthur Radford, commander of the Pacific Fleet, who had accompanied General Eisenhower during his December tour of Korea, and who had sufficiently impressed the President-elect that he might be selected the following summer to succeed General Omar Bradley as chairman of the Joint Chiefs. Admiral Radford had reportedly told the House Armed Services Committee that Chiang should soon be getting jet planes in much larger numbers, usable by Nationalist pilots already trained in them, to attack rail and communication systems on the Chinese mainland. But those jet planes were also needed for the buildup in Europe.

The other conflict would develop if the demand for a blockade of the Chinese mainland became irresistible, as it would give rise to the question of whether such a blockade would require first a Congressional declaration of war against Communist China, which many in Congress and in the military believed would be necessary. Leading Democrats in the Senate had already demanded to know where the new Formosa policy was going to lead, and there were also strict constitutionalists among the Republicans who had denounced President Truman for failing to obtain Congressional consent for participation in the war in Korea.

Admiral Radford had outlined to the House Committee several different types of blockades which he indicated the Navy was prepared to undertake, one of which would be a limited blockade undertaken with the consent of the other U.N. allies participating in the Korean War, which the Admiral believed would not constitute an act of war and would not lead to increased danger of World War III. But whether Britain, France and the other leading U.N. powers would approve of such a limited blockade, indicates Mr. Childs, was doubtful, as the British had indicated that no blockade could occur without first strengthening the garrison at Hong Kong, requiring two additional divisions, which could not, at present, be easily mustered.

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