The Charlotte News

Monday, February 16, 1953


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports, via Robert B. Tuckman, that U.S. Sabre jets this date had shot down three enemy MIG-15s, probably destroyed one other and damaged seven, while screening a massive air raid, comprised of 200 allied fighter-bombers, against a large Communist troop and supply concentration. It was the second consecutive day of dog fights between the jets in northwest Korea, with two enemy jets shot down on Sunday, another probably destroyed and four others damaged, in an engagement involving 45 enemy jets and 22 Sabres, shielding a raid by 500 Air Force, Marine and U.S. carrier planes on two hydroelectric plants on the Yalu River. Participating in this date's raid was Marine Captain Ted Williams, the former Boston Red Sox slugger, his plane having been hit by ground fire, but managing to return to an allied airstrip where he crash-landed and walked away from the wrecked and blazing plane.

Allied warships, meanwhile, began the third year of bombardment and siege of the eastern Korean port at Wonsan, the longest such siege in U.S. Naval history, having begun February 16, 1951.

In ground fighting, temperatures below zero all along the front held activity to patrol engagements.

New U.S. Eighth Army commander, Lt. General Maxwell Taylor, indicated at a press conference that there might be some unpleasant surprises for the enemy, that the 17-nation U.N. Army was "a formidable military force" which had accomplished "great things in the past and is capable of further achievements in the future." He said that it would like nothing better than to meet a Communist offensive.

In northern Japan this date, two U.S. warplanes, in a brief skirmish, challenged two Russian-type fighters, damaging one and chasing both to the nearby Soviet-held Kurile Islands. It was the first time Soviet planes had appeared over northern Japan since the Japanese Government, with strong U.S. backing, had warned on January 13 that Russia had to refrain from unauthorized flights over Japanese territory. The engagement had been in the same general area, within sight of the Kuriles, where a U.S. B-29 had been shot down on October 7, after which the Russians complained that the U.S. plane had violated Russian territory and had opened fire on Soviet planes, charges denied by the U.S., which said that the U.S. plane was not armed.

A Defense Department request for 1.2 billion dollars in new funds for the current year was rejected by the House Appropriations Committee this date, with the Committee indicating that the Department should use available funds to finance the program for which the new money had been requested, most of which dealt with Army, Navy and Air Force military pay increases passed by Congress since the previous budget had been approved for the Department.

Lt. General A. C. McAuliffe testified to a House Appropriations subcommittee this date that the Army's efforts to hold down the cost of the Korean War had delayed progress in rendering a national defense which was foolproof, and that funds had been stretched as far as possible to finance the war from available money, to avoid asking Congress for additional appropriations, with the result that stocks of equipment had been reduced, without being replaced, and that standards of operation and maintenance had been depressed. He said that while it had saved money, it had not improved combat readiness.

The President named C. D. Jackson, publisher of Fortune, as his special assistant in charge of cold war planning. Mr. Jackson had long been active in planning psychological warfare and was named deputy chief of psychological warfare under General Eisenhower, when the latter had commanded the 1942 North African campaign during World War II, and had later been deputy chief of psychological warfare during the D-Day invasion in June, 1944.

The House Ways & Means Committee this date approved a bill to decrease personal income taxes by 10 percent, effective June 30. The President had recommended that no action be taken on any income tax reduction until steps had been undertaken to balance the budget. Committee chairman Daniel Reed of New York indicated that the vote at the closed meeting was 21 to 4 in favor of his bill, with one Democrat and three Republicans opposing it. The bill effectively would eliminate an 11 percent tax increase passed for the sake of raising revenue for the Korean War, set to expire in any event at the end of the year. Democrats on the Committee had proposed a series of alternative measures which would delay tax cuts until the Administration would take a firm stand on Mr. Reed's bill and provide a report on its effects.

Senator Taft said to reporters this date that the President wanted to make the office of Federal Security Administration a Cabinet-level office and had set machinery in motion to do so. The Senator and other Congressional leaders had met with the President this date for 40 minutes, a meeting which he said primarily involved the question of Congress repudiating "secret agreements" made by former Presidents Roosevelt and Truman, regarded usually as focusing on the Yalta agreement of February, 1945, a goal which the President had set forth in his State of the Union message.

A National Airlines DC-6 passenger liner had crashed in 100 mph winds in the Gulf of Mexico on Saturday afternoon, less than five minutes from the possible sanctuary of a small airfield, while en route from Tampa, Fla., to New Orleans. Coast Guard rescuers found the previous day three empty life rafts bobbing on the water, with a fourth empty raft found this day, appearing to end hope that there were any survivors among the 46 persons who had been aboard, including many who were prominent in business and society. The appearance of the bodies found floating in the water indicated that they had been killed instantly, as none bore life jackets. It was believed that the pilot might have been attempting to make it to the small airfield for an emergency landing. It was the first fatal air crash of a scheduled domestic airliner in the United States since a National Airlines DC-6 had crashed at Elizabeth, N. J., on February 11, 1952.

In New York, execution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, convicted of providing atomic secrets to the Russians, was rescheduled for March 9 by Federal U.S. District Court Judge Irving Kaufman, who originally had presided over the 1951 trial and sentenced the couple to death. They had recently been turned down by President Eisenhower for commutation of their sentence. They would become the first Americans ever executed for espionage, when sentence was finally carried out the following June, after their sentence would again be postponed by the U.S. Supreme Court, which had already twice refused petitions for writs of certiorari.

The dean of the University of Chicago Divinity School, Dr. Bernard Loomer, said the previous night that he had mailed a letter to the President, renewing a plea by some 2,300 Protestant clergymen from every state for commutation of the Rosenbergs' sentence. A previous such petition had been mailed to President Truman the prior December, but he had never passed on the issue of Presidential clemency, leaving it to President Eisenhower, as the petition for clemency had only come to the former President's desk during his last week in office.

One of the worst storms in years hit the Midwest and Southwest this date, stirring up dust and snow blizzards in parts of Nebraska, Kansas, Colorado and Oklahoma, with winds up to 80 mph the prior day, resulting in zero visibility in some smaller communities.

Drive with caution as everything gets slippery when wet and windy.

In New York, a 31-year old divorcee testified in the continuing trial of Mickey Jelke III, accused of hiring out three high-priced prostitutes to support him while he awaited his margarine inheritance, indicating, according to prosecutors, that she had given advice to Mr. Jelke's 19-year old girlfriend, who had previously testified that she was one of the three prostitutes. The older woman scorned reporters' questions as she was led into the courtroom, from which the press and public were barred. Prosecutors described her as the woman who had taught the younger woman how to act and what to say as a high-priced prostitute. The older woman had been a one-time television bit player. The petition by five New York newspapers and two wire services to overturn the trial judge's order banning the press and public was still pending before the superior court, and a decision was expected later in the afternoon.

In Ocean Drive, S.C., a grocery store, planning to advertise its Venezuelan T-bone and sirloin steaks for 39 cents per pound, hardly had any meat left by the time the ad appeared, as word had gotten out in advance and customers had snatched most of it up. The store had gotten the idea from a market in Columbus, O., which had sold 7,000 pounds of New Zealand meat in one day.

In Williamsburg, Va., approximately 30 students, including star football and basketball players, were reportedly involved in a cribbing scandal at the College of William and Mary, and according to a source close to the College, the students involved had either quit school or been suspended by the Honor Council the previous weekend, some having been suspended for failing to report the honor code violation. It was the second such scandal at William and Mary in less than two years, following an August, 1951 report of alleged tampering with high school transcripts and grades to make prospective athletes eligible for admission.

On the editorial page, "Stevenson Talks Sense to U.S. Democrats" indicates that Governor Adlai Stevenson's speech to the New York Jefferson-Jackson Day dinner on the prior Saturday night had been full of his quips, and that probably even Republicans had found something in them humorous. Serious themes had also been mentioned, as the Governor said that the role of the Democratic Party should not be limited to opposition, but should also propose something better, something other than "epithets, smears and witch-hunts" as a means to solve the country's problems. Regarding the new Administration, he wished the President, his official family, and the Congress Godspeed in the trials ahead, through the "dark, evil-haunted night they must traverse, confronted with an enemy whose massive power is matched only by its malevolent purpose." Regarding allies, he said that the country needed them as much as they needed the U.S., that the country wanted "friendly cooperation", not "sullen obedience". As to democratic faith, he said that some in the country would limit freedom of expression and conscience, but that the Bill of Rights gave the citizenry its life and that whoever laid rough hands on it, laid rough hands on each individual citizen. The greatness of the country lay in that document.

The piece indicates that if the Democratic Party were wise, it would recognize Governor Stevenson's leadership during the ensuing four years, as the electorate had not rejected the Democratic Party the previous November but rather the Truman Administration and "its ward-level approach to national politics". The people would not restore the party to responsibility until they were convinced that the Democrats had returned to its traditions which had made it a great party, traditions which Governor Stevenson had eloquently expressed in the speech.

"Benson Charts a New Farm Policy" indicates that Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson, in a speech in St. Paul, Minn., the previous week, had promised to carry out present laws providing price support for farm products at 90 percent of parity, but added that price supports which tended to prevent production shifts toward a balanced supply in terms of demand and which encouraged uneconomic production, resulting in continuing heavy surpluses and subsidies, should be avoided. He had repeatedly stressed the importance of a free market and warned that farmers should not be placed in a position of working for government bounty rather than producing for a free market.

It finds his statement to have been an evocation of sound economic doctrine and finds it gratifying that the Eisenhower Administration was standing behind the Secretary in making an issue of it, if the Congressional Democrats so wished. It indicates that there was a basic need for price support which would protect U.S. agriculture from economic dislocation caused by factors over which farmers had no control, but that the price support schedule should not become an incentive to over-produce or a means of subsidizing inefficiency at the expense of the taxpayers. It asserts that the new Administration would not be deterred in this policy by Democratic Congressmen, long accustomed to "buying" the farm vote through lavish government aid.

"Atlantic Union versus World Federalism" distinguishes between the two organizations, both favoring international government to avoid war. The United World Federalists, according to its policy statement, wanted the U.N. strengthened into "a world federal government with limited powers adequate to make, enforce and interpret world laws to maintain peace and prevent aggression." It wanted the U.N. revised to consist of legislative, executive and judicial branches, with armed services at its disposal sufficient to enforce world law prohibiting aggression, operating under a bill of rights.

By contrast, the Atlantic Union Committee wanted a closer relationship among the free democracies, centered on the Atlantic community, wanting to strengthen NATO, reduce tariff barriers, and better organize the Atlantic community. It wanted individuals from the free nations to join to work out a common and limited government acceptable to their peoples, with a common defense force and a common foreign policy.

The newspaper favors the latter organization as its goals were attainable and desirable, whereas a world federal government was, at the present time, unrealistic and remote. It ventures that it was fine to have such ideals and favors maintaining on the books the North Carolina resolution which supported world government, but indicates that to suppose that a world law designed to stop war could be imposed on the peoples of the world at the present time was "the height of naïveté".

By supporting the Atlantic Union movement, the present danger could be combated while laying the foundation for eventual world government. The argument that world government would involve the sacrifice of sovereignty was inconsistent with the U.S. governing concept, that individual citizens delegated certain powers to the Government at various levels, while sovereignty remained with individual citizens. In Europe, six nations had transferred sovereignty over their coal industries to a joint governing body and a similar move was in process regarding transfer of authority over military forces. That amounted to a pooling of sovereignties, not a loss of sovereignty, as long as the democracies prevailed.

At the same time, it indicates, foreign policy leaders in the country were inclined to overestimate the advantages from formation of a European union, as it would not have a balanced economy but would consist primarily of industrial countries, dependent for food and raw materials on other regions, and lacking dollars. The U.S. relationship to it would be subject to all of the historic weaknesses of alliances and, at worst, it would further divide the Atlantic community, acting as a third force in the East-West balance seeking to play the U.S. against Russia. A united transatlantic grouping, on the other hand, might provide a preponderance of power which could restrain and eventually overcome Soviet Communism, in addition to providing other benefits of a federal government.

Drew Pearson tells of a document, regarding the controversial question of using aircraft carriers to attack Russia, having been pigeonholed by the Navy in Paris because it favored the Air Force in its contention that carriers were impractical. The Navy wanted to build supercarriers. The British Joint Chiefs of Staff, however, had drafted a top-secret document saying it would be "suicidal" to pit Naval air forces against Russia's superior land-based air forces, and that carriers were needed "mainly to protect shipping". Vice-Admiral Arthur Davis, representing the U.S. Joint Chiefs on the NATO military councils, had held up this document, keeping it from the Pentagon. Meanwhile, a confidential report had been forwarded privately to the Navy, summarizing the British report. The British had been critical of Operation Mainbrace, the previous year's joint Allied naval maneuver in the North Atlantic, accusing the U.S. Navy of taking "extra airplanes in excess of those that they might be able to operate in actual war" and of "trying to influence the Europeans about the supremacy of fast carrier task forces in the same manner that the U.S. public was being mesmerized about huge carriers." Suppression of the report had not only concealed a feud between the British and American navies, but also had withheld valuable information affecting the U.S. economy, as the admirals feared that President Eisenhower would start cutting the supercarrier project as part of economizing measures.

Mr. Pearson indicates that it cost seven times more for carrier planes to deliver the same amount of bombs as an equivalent force of land-based planes, including the cost of the bases.

During the tax fraud probe, Congressional investigators had learned that Democratic Congressman Eugene Keogh of New York perhaps was tied into a liquor dealer, Louis Pokrass—recently examined by columnist Frederick C. Othman—along with the former Alcohol Tax Unit head, Carroll Mealey. Part of the story had recently surfaced that Mr. Mealey had ordered Federal liquor permits issued to Mr. Pokrass after previous applications for same had been denied, that Mrs. Mealey was steered to a New York store by Mr. Pokrass to purchase a fur coat at considerable savings, and that Mr. Mealey had collected $2,000 from Mr. Pokrass ostensibly for legal advice. Mr. Keogh had been kept out of the scandal, but the inside story, which had been suppressed, was that the Congressman had pulled strings for Mr. Pokrass, having telephoned Mr. Mealey two or three times per week while the liquor permits were pending, while also making $12,000 on a stock deal involving the lawyer for Mr. Pokrass, a lawyer who was presently Ambassador to Belgium, Myron Cowan. House investigators had verified the column's revelation that Mr. Keogh had received $4,500 from a Washington lobbyist in 1950 for legal advice on a tax case against a man in Miami, it being against the law for Congressmen to act as counsel on cases before the Federal Government. It was against the unwritten rules of Congressional courtesy for Congressmen, however, to investigate a fellow member, but Mr. Pearson comments that Congressman Robert Kean, new chairman of the tax fraud committee, was too conscientious to be bound by such a rule.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop indicate that Secretary of the Treasury George Humphrey and his subordinates had recently met with Congressman Daniel Reed of New York, chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee, to discuss Mr. Reed's bill to reduce individual income taxes by 11 percent, which actually was advancing the date of the scheduled expiration of the 11 percent income tax increase from the end of 1953 to June 30. The bill would cost the Treasury more than a billion dollars in 1953 and about 3 billion in revenue the following year. Mr. Humphrey had pointed out that 5 billion dollars could be cut from the 10 billion dollar deficit projected by President Truman in his final budget message without impairing national security, amounting to a billion from the civil side, two billion in foreign aid and 2.5 billion in defense spending. That would still, however, leave a large deficit in the 1953-54 fiscal year, which would only become much larger in 1954-55 if Mr. Reed's bill became law, with excise taxes also scheduled to expire on June 30.

But as Mr. Reed had pointed out, it would be political suicide for the Republicans to allow the excess profits tax to expire and not provide the ordinary taxpayer a tax benefit, giving the appearance of favoring the big corporations while ignoring the ordinary taxpayer. Mr. Humphrey and his subordinates readily understood the argument and thus provided Mr. Reed the green light to proceed with his tax bill, which was expected to pass the House with little opposition.

The Alsops point out, however, that it was only a mere gesture, and that the real decisions on tax policy remained to be made.

Marquis Childs indicates that, wisely, former Governor Stevenson, following his defeat the prior November, had maintained his silence, refusing hundreds of offers for speaking engagements, appearances on television, radio, or to write articles for magazines. Now, as he began to step back onto the political stage, he had the opportunity to begin a new phase of his career, which had been, in many respects, unique in American politics, as he had not ever wished to be a politician or a presidential candidate. When he had first become a candidate for Governor in Illinois in 1948, he had to be persuaded by professional politicians for weeks before he assented. The same had occurred before his presidential nomination the prior July. Now there was a question of whether he was ready to accept the mantle of leadership of the Democratic Party for the ensuing four years.

The Governor had many devoted followers around the country who wanted him to assume that mantle and to become the candidate again of the party in 1956. Some wanted him to run with Senator Wayne Morse as his running mate. But most of those loyal followers were not politicians in the professional sense of the word.

Governor Stevenson, in his meeting with President Truman following the election, had indicated his hope that Stephen Mitchell, the Governor's hand-picked chairman for the DNC, could remain on the job for a year to prove himself, and the President did not see fit to challenge the decision. Mr. Mitchell now faced a large deficit in the party's coffers following the election, and the Jefferson-Jackson Day dinners were being organized to try to meet that deficit, albeit with considerably more difficulty than when the party was in power and had the ability to dispense patronage. Mr. Mitchell was cutting staff to hold down expenses, and that would not bring back party zeal or place faith in a future day of return to power.

The Democrats had not gotten used to being in the wilderness politically, and perhaps the interval of uncertainty could prove beneficial to Governor Stevenson, to re-mold the party under his leadership.

A letter from three high school students in Gastonia favor Sunday movies in that city, which they indicate was the only city of any size in the state without them, and that they were tired of looking at TV all day.

You little spoiled, lazy brats, if you are tired of TV all day on Sundays, open a goddamned book and read it.

A letter from the president of Branch 107, the American Federation of Hosiery Workers, indicates that he was one of more than 85 knitters laid off by Hudson Hosiery Co. in Charlotte on January 26 and thereafter, and that the newspaper had carried a story on February 2, quoting the company as stating that the layoffs were the result of an over-production problem, whereas he indicates that the real reason was that the knitters belonged to the union, while other department workers did not and were presently on a shorter work week rather than being completely laid off. He goes much further into the details of the dispute.

A letter from the president of the National Federation of Federal Employees in Washington, D.C., urges help to build a better Federal service for the American people and ending the "wholesale vilification of public employees" regarding their loyalty, that it was becoming difficult to recruit qualified persons for career service, not only because salaries were inadequate and advancement opportunities limited, but also because slander and misrepresentation about the work which Federal employees did was complicating matters. He favors selective and factual criticism and urges examination of the work of Federal employees in each community, indicates that, regardless of the Administration, it was the trained, experienced career employees who actually carried on the day to day tasks of the Government.

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