The Charlotte News

Thursday, February 19, 1953


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that U.S. fighter-bombers this date had blasted the ruins of a Communist training center with more tons of high explosives in the third strike on the target near Pyongyang within two days. Screening Sabre jets shot down two enemy MIG-15s and possibly a third during the bombing operation. During the previous six days, the allies had destroyed 17 of the enemy jets, nine in two days, plus five others probably destroyed and 16 damaged. Other U.S. fighter-bombers attacked road and rail facilities across North Korea.

Along the frozen front, allied soldiers repulsed six small-scale enemy ground probes in brief predawn clashes.

Secretary of State Dulles, speaking at a press conference the previous day, assured Allies that the U.S. was seeking to avoid "political embarrassments and troubles" with them in charting new moves against Communist China. He said that one of several actions under consideration was the establishment of a naval blockade of the Chinese mainland coast, and that another was stricter enforcement of U.N. recommendations against trade with China, with a whole range of measures being under consideration. Reporters queried him at length on what the Administration hoped to accomplish by repudiating "secret understandings" which permitted the "enslavement of foreign peoples", as the President had stated as an objective in his State of the Union. The Secretary responded that it was intended to register dramatically the many breaches by the Soviets of the wartime understandings and the desire and hope of the American people that the captive people would be liberated. The answer appeared to change Administration focus, from the 1945 Yalta and Potsdam agreements, per se, to Russia's violations of the wartime understandings. The Secretary stressed that it was not a domestic political pronouncement but rather a foreign policy pronouncement. It was the Secretary's first press conference since taking office, and there were no limitations on questioning.

Congressional leaders of both parties reviewed the global military situation with the President this date, and Representative Charles Halleck of Indiana, the House floor leader, said afterward that it was a "grim picture" which they had been provided by General Omar Bradley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and Allen Dulles, head of the CIA. He said, in response to a reporter's question, that he intended his characterization to apply to both the military and economic pictures. Senator Styles Bridges of New Hampshire, chairman of the Appropriations Committee, also described the briefing as "kind of grim". Both House Minority Leader Sam Rayburn and Minority Whip John McCormick refused comment on the meeting. Another member of Congress, who asked not to be named, said that no conclusion had been reached at the session, "unless you might say we are in a hell of a fix."

And here you thought that predicament only applied to President Kennedy in October, 1962.

A Senate Investigations subcommittee, chaired by Senator Joseph McCarthy, had been advised this date that the State Department had ordered the previous day that no material by any "controversial" authors, Communists or fellow travelers would be used in its overseas information program. The policy chief for the Voice of America had testified that he had received such a directive from the Assistant Secretary of State for information, Carl McArdle. Senator McCarthy had stated the previous day that Secretary Dulles had countermanded a February 3 directive which had authorized the Voice to use materials favorable to the U.S. written by Soviet-endorsed authors, such as Howard Fast, as being appealing to the target audience behind the Iron Curtain. Senator John McClellan of Arkansas, the senior Democrat on the subcommittee, said that he might demand that former Secretary of State Acheson testify on the matter.

The Democrats were convinced that the issue of falling farm prices and the views of the new Secretary of Agriculture, Ezra Taft Benson, who had recently made statements criticizing price supports, would be a winner in the 1954 midterm elections, and in 1956 in the presidential election. Senate Majority Leader Taft had conceded the previous day that if the Republicans did not do any better than had the Democrats during the previous two years in checking the reduction in farm prices, the Republicans probably would lose the next election. He added that it would probably not be a hard task to overcome, since farm prices had been declining for the previous two years. Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas had sharply criticized the new Secretary in an extended statement on the floor of the Senate. The Department of Agriculture, meanwhile, reported that hog prices had increased by 9.7 percent since mid-January.

A letter writer had addressed a letter, under the anonymity of "Constant Reader", to a column of the Philadelphia Bulletin, "The Phildelphia Lawyer", indicating that the reader was not certain whether President Truman had been paid a full day for his last day in office, which had ended at noon on January 20, 32 minutes before President Eisenhower was sworn in. The letter had said that with a salary of $100,000 per year, a day or even a half-day of pay amounted to a considerable sum, and so the author had wondered whether both Presidents were paid for the full day or only one of them or whether the day was split in pay. The column decided to consult President Truman, and he had responded, saying that he was unable to answer the question, but believed that a "Philadelphia lawyer"ought be able to figure it out. He said that he had only accepted the checks which had been sent to him by the Secretary of the Treasury, "hoping the government would remain solvent long enough for me to cash it."

Paul Hume, the music critic for the Washington Post, who had panned Margaret Truman's singing performance in 1950 and received an angry letter from the President in response, had received another letter from the President recently, commenting on an article in which Mr. Hume had said that President Eisenhower's piano-playing predecessor had contributed more to the development of music in Washington than any other President. President Truman said: "The article which you wrote on my contribution to the music lovers of the nation has just been called to my attention. I appreciate it very highly….." The brief letter was published on the front page of the Washington Post this date.

In Fort Worth, Tex., ten inmates had broken out of the Tarrant County jail the previous night and one had been recaptured a short time later. One of those still at large had been charged in a $248,000 robbery of two Cuban exiles the previous October 3 at a luxury hotel. Three prisoners had slugged the jailer with a shower pipe and taken his keys, then had freed five others. They then took an elevator to the basement and attacked two deputies and a trusty, took the keys and unlocked an outer door to the jail office to gain egress. About 90 minutes after the break, a man had informed police that he had been kidnapped and his car stolen by five men who approached him near the county jail. None of the jailers or deputies slugged by the escaping prisoners had been seriously injured.

In Raleigh, a stay of execution was issued by State Supreme Court Chief Justice W. A. Devin to Lafayette Miller, pending the outcome of his petition for writ of certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court. The defendant, a black man, had been convicted of murdering a white farmer.

Also in Raleigh, the State House prepared to act on legislation to allow the Governor to direct reorganization of the State Highway Commission, and the House Judiciary Committee this date approved a bill to add six regular Superior Court judges. The House Welfare Committee approved a measure aimed at increasing the supply of psychiatrists and psychiatric nurses at the State's understaffed mental hospitals, proposing to create a $100,000 loan fund for such education, and the House Mental Institutions Committee approved a Senate bill amending the law on hearings for persons before they were committed to State hospitals, shortening the time of required notice for such a hearing from 10 days to not less than 24 hours, the House adding the amendment that an emergency hearing without notice could be conducted.

Ann Sawyer of the News reports of a local drive-in theater, the North 29, attempting to have Charlotte's ordinance banning Sunday movies declared invalid in Superior Court. The plaintiff owner of the drive-in contended that he had been arrested by a City policeman and charged with violation of the ordinance on February 8, had been tried and convicted in City Recorder's Court on February 13, and had appealed to the Superior Court for a trial de novo. Two days after he had been convicted in Recorder's Court, he had been arrested on the same charge again, that case having been continued until the following week. He claimed that the ordinance was contrary to State law and was "discriminatory, unreasonable and arbitrary". He asserted that the local television station was not prohibited from showing films on Sunday. He further claimed that the police had trespassed upon his real property and disrupted his business, intimidating his employees and driving away customers. The complaint sought a permanent injunction against the police again arresting him for violation of the ordinance.

What was the movie?

Go read a goddamned book.

On the editorial page, "Brotherhood and Practice" remarks on Brotherhood Week, citing San Francisco as having a long record of intolerance, from the days when schooners delivered cargoes of Oriental slave girls to the city, through World War II, when blacks were herded into the packing-case houses from which the Japanese had been uprooted in their displacement inland in the wake of Pearl Harbor. Following the war, the black population had increased over tenfold in a period of six years, producing a potentially explosive situation.

John Gerrity, in a recent issue of Collier's, had explained that civic leaders, businessmen, public officials and teachers, working with the Urban League and other social service organizations, had adopted the formula that discrimination was bad business and equality, profitable. They had persuaded top department store managers to employ in responsible positions members of minority groups. The Emporium and Macy's had led the way in such hiring and neither employees nor customers had shown any signs of being offended, with sales having increased. In the building trades, AFL unions had been reluctant to admit non-whites, but business and civic leaders were able to convince union leaders gradually to end the discrimination. Major hotels, like the Mark Hopkins and Fairmont, began hiring without regard to color and also permitted guests of any race. The Lawyer's Club of San Francisco admitted non-white members of the bar, and black doctors were permitted to practice at St. Francis Memorial Hospital.

It concludes that San Francisco still had its intolerant moments, but was practicing brotherhood to a degree unequaled in most cities, and was finding that brotherhood paid off financially and spiritually.

"Advances on the Car War Front" tells of the Charlotte Jaycees planning a three-week Traffic Safety Program, including a "Teen-Age Rodeo", with awards, slogans and a "Mystery Jay-Walker". Students at Central High School had set up a moot traffic court, aimed at educating jaywalkers. The traffic captain of the Police Department had stepped up the campaign against cars with faulty lights and noisy mufflers. A Mecklenburg State Representative had introduced a bill which would require splash guards on trucks, and several State Senators had introduced a bill to establish non-credit courses in driver's training and safety education in the public schools.

It indicates that in the Charlotte high schools which already had driver training programs, the two driving instructors could not accommodate all of the students who wanted to take the class, indicative of the broad student interest in safer driving, which it advocates on a state-wide basis.

"The Horse Belongs in Front of the Cart" again advocates balancing the budget before tax reduction. The previous day, the House Ways & Means Committee, chaired by Congressman Daniel Reed, had sent to the full House an income tax reduction bill, which would accelerate the scheduled elimination of the 11 percent tax increase passed to finance the Korean War, from the end of the year to June 30. The excess profits tax on corporations was set to expire on June 30 and to extend it would require special legislation. In the State of the Union, the President had urged balancing of the budget first, and had said at his first press conference the prior Tuesday that he would not agree to any tax law which would reduce revenue at the present time.

Dr. B. U. Ratchford of Duke University, a well-known economist, had stated that to advocate tax reduction at the present time was to advocate a larger deficit.

There was great pressure for lower taxes, but, it indicates, larger deficits, with the consequent cheapening of money and inflationary tendencies, would be a graver danger to the nation's economic stability than another year of high taxes. It urges that if the Republicans in Congress wanted to keep faith with their President and their longstanding record of advocating a balanced budget, they would restrain tax-cutting until they had first cut spending.

"From Bertie Bears to Dusty Abstracts" lists several bills presently before the 1953 General Assembly in Raleigh, one to permit the hunting of bears in Bertie County without the presence of a game warden, one relating to Sunday motor vehicle races in Wake County, another to exempt Bertie County from certain restrictions regarding the sale of bay rum, another to prohibit palmistry, phrenology, fortune telling and clairvoyance in Robeson County, etc.

It makes the point that the Assembly's time was consumed unduly with such bills, regarding purely local matters.

Hayden Pearson of the White River Herald in Vermont, titled "Parlor Organ", regards television as a medium through which education and culture could be transmitted. "After one has watched ladies in tights stage a free for all in a rollerskating derby, or has watched the lady wrestlers punch, kick and pull each others' hair, he has no qualms about the pioneering qualities of modern womankind."

He remarks that the parlor organ belonged to a quieter era in history, that when a family could afford an Imperial Grand Organ for $50.95, it was a big event in the family's life, and satisfied the mother's long-cherished ambitions. The organ was elaborately carved, with a beveled mirror, and several fancy shelves to hold bric-a-brac. It had five octaves and four sets of reeds, and he provides the names, which he had memorized as a 12-year old, of the 16 stops on the organ.

"On a cold, star-lit Winter evening, it was heart-warming and reassuring as friends and family gathered round the organ and Mother played the old, beloved familiar home songs and cherished hymns." Those included "Annie Laurie", "Old Black Joe", "Flow Gently Sweet Afton", "Sweet Home of Prayer", and "When the Roll Is Called up Yonder". There were also lively songs, such as "There Is a Tavern in the Town", "Solomon Levi", and "The Bulldog on the Bank". Late in the evening, about 9:30, the playing would conclude usually with "God Be with You Till We Meet Again". "And as a boy took his hand lamp and climbed the stairs to his room under the eaves, all the world seemed safe, friendly and secure."

You know very well it wasn't, as World War I was on the horizon. Stop being a stupid, purblind, sentimental idiot, romanticizing a past which never was save in the protective cocoon of childhood fantasy. You sound like a goddamned Trumpie.

Drew Pearson indicates that one of the most important factors behind the headlines concerning the possibility of a blockade of the Chinese mainland coast was the ancient rivalry between the Army and the Navy, accounting for probably the largest part of the controversy over the blockade. The top brass of both armed forces had been involved. Admiral Arthur Radford, commander of the Pacific Fleet, who had impressed President Eisenhower during the return voyage from the latter's December trip to Korea, had been the chief advocate for a blockade. After the discussion with Admiral Radford, the new President made the decision to remove the U.S. Seventh Fleet from its role in protecting Formosa, and definitely had considered blockading the Chinese coast.

But at that point, Joint Chiefs Chairman General Omar Bradley, who had once appeared before the House Armed Services Committee, calling Admiral Radford and his fellow admirals "fancy Dans", had testified the previous week in executive session before the Senate Armed Services Committee, warning that a blockade of the Chinese coast might force the Chinese Communists to attack Burma and Thailand, that if they were cut off from the sea, they would almost certainly seek to open a back-door route through those two countries. He indicated that there were about 4,000 Chinese Nationalist troops in the Malays, led by a small number of U.S. former O.S.S. personnel, and that their presence would give the Chinese Communists an excuse to attack.

Senator Guy Gillette of Iowa had asked General Bradley what would happen if war should start in the Far East, to which the General responded that the overwhelming strength of Russia would put the U.S. on the defensive.

Senators William Knowland of California and Homer Ferguson of Michigan asked the General about sending Nationalist troops from Formosa to Korea, and the General replied that two Nationalist divisions were ready for action, but would have to be completely equipped when they arrived in Korea, taking in the process equipment away from the South Koreans and from the NATO Allies in Europe.

Senator Hubert Humphrey asked the General about increasing supplies to the Nationalists on Formosa, to which the General responded that it would set back the NATO defense program by several months.

General Bradley's rhetoric was more restrained than on the earlier occasion, and he did not refer to "fancy Dan admirals", but he had pretty well demolished the merits of Admiral Radford's ideas about a blockade of the Chinese coast.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop discuss the Administration's basic Far Eastern policy, to disengage American forces in Korea and replace them with South Koreans, and to strengthen the Free Indo-Chinese Army. The new policy ruled out any local offensive in Korea, which had been favored by General James Van Fleet, just retired as commander of the Eighth Army, but other moves against the Chinese Communists had not necessarily been excluded.

The policy of the enemy was not absolutely fixed, as shown by the Soviet reaction to the election of General Eisenhower the prior November, at which point the new Soviet Ambassador to the U.S., Georgi Zarubin, had suddenly become outspoken with his fellow ambassadors in Washington, urging that the Russians wanted peace in Korea and that the only issue remaining, the disposition of prisoners of war, could easily be solved. But he had added a hint that there would also need be a German settlement at the same time, rendering his behavior another diplomatic red herring. It had come on the heels of the U.N. General Assembly action in voting for India's resolution to achieve a Korean compromise on the prisoner of war issue, which the Russians had firmly rejected. Mr. Zarubin danced around that issue by saying that the U.N. was no place to carry on peace negotiations. Because of past disappointments, the peace overtures had led to nothing.

The Alsops regard the Ambassador's attitude, however, as reflective of the report by Ambassador to Moscow, George Kennan, an exponent of passive containment, the original author of the containment policy, who had said, prior to his expulsion from Moscow, that the only way to achieve peace in Korea was to make the war more costly for the enemy, and that the mere intention communicated to do so might bring results.

Frederick C. Othman indicates that he had never heard any member Congress refer to a bureaucrat as stupid, until the current week when Senator Joseph McCarthy had stated to Samuel Boykin, director of the Office of Security Affairs in the State Department, responsible for investigating prospective diplomats, that he was too incompetent to hold his position. The statement came in the wake of testimony received by the investigating committee from a subordinate, John Matson, regarding the open access to the secret file room in the State Department, over which Mr. Boykin had supervision. After the testimony, Mr. Matson again testified that Mr. Boykin had bawled him out at length for what he had said and transferred him to another task, which Mr. Matson regarded as a demotion. Mr. Boykin claimed it was not a demotion or in any way disciplinary, but that the morale of his office had been nonexistent because of the work of the investigating committee, that his personnel were afraid of Senator McCarthy and of Mr. Matson, and so he had transferred Mr. Matson to another task in the field.

Senator John McClellan of the committee then said that the employees were also afraid of losing their jobs, to which Senator McCarthy added, "And with good reason." Mr. Boykin realized that he was not reaching the Senators. Senator McCarthy indicated that there was no question but that the action against Mr. Matson was in reprisal for his testimony and in the form of intimidation of other witnesses.

The next witness to be heard would be the immediate supervisor of Mr. Matson, who had directed the transfer, John Ford, of whom Mr. Othman indicates, "Poor Ford."

A letter writer comments on the February 16 editorial, "Atlantic Union versus World Federation", which had distinguished between the two concepts of world government. He provides a "Fable of the Atomic Age", concluding with the moral that low aim, rather than failure, was a crime.

Whether, incidentally, he forecast the harsh results of climate change in the Fable, we leave to the reader to discern.

A letter writer from Hamlet reflects on the cause of the nursing shortage in the state, a subject proliferating on radio and in newspapers. Yet, he had been informed by a reliable authority that the number of schools training nurses had dropped from 76 to 36 in recent years, and that none, except the UNC Nursing School, had opened recently. He had also been informed that entrance and scholastic requirements for nurses were higher than at many of the state's colleges and universities. He had been informed that several hospitals throughout the state had to close rooms and wards because of the nursing shortage. He thus wonders whether the persons in charge of the Standardization Board in Raleigh were not making it too hard for the smaller training schools to exist in the state, and he hopes that the Legislature would undertake a study of the problem and seek to remedy it.

The editors note that some of the writer's assumptions were wrong, that in 1948, about 4,500 nurses in the state had renewed their registration, and at the end of 1952, it had been estimated that there were about 6,200 actively practicing nurses in the state. They provide the name of the executive secretary of the State Nurses' Association in Raleigh, to whom the letter writer could communicate if he wished further information.

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