The Charlotte News

Saturday, February 21, 1953


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that U.S. Sabre jets had probably destroyed two enemy MIG-15s and damaged one other during screening action for bombers hitting buildup and supply targets in North Korea, in the area north of Pyongyang. Carrier-based planes hit targets on both Korean coasts on Friday.

In its weekly summary, the Fifth Air Force reported that one Sabre and two other allied planes had been lost during the prior week, the jet in an aerial dogfight, and the other two, by enemy ground fire. During the same period, Sabre jets had destroyed 17 MIG-15s, probably destroyed four others and damaged 18.

In ground action, two allied patrols intercepted and broke up an intended pre-dawn attack by 500 Chinese Communists against an outpost at the base of "T-Bone Hill" on the western front. Later in the day, tanks in the west central sector resumed daily blasting of Communist bunkers, trenches and gun positions, which had begun on January 10.

In Moscow, it was reported that Marshal Vassily Sokolovsky, who had been first deputy minister of the armed forces since March, 1949, had succeeded Army General Sergei Shitemenko as chief of staff of the armed services of the Soviet Union. Mr. Sokolovsky was a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party and had been the captor of Berlin in 1945 and a hero of the Soviets for his work in that campaign, having been decorated by Field Marshal Lord Bernard Montgomery in Berlin in 1945 as Knight Commander of the British Empire.

The U.S. Advisory Commission on Information recommended this date that the Voice of America and all other psychological warfare and overseas information programs be placed in a new Federal agency at the Cabinet level. It recommended removal of the Voice from the State Department.

Democratic Senators Burnet Maybank and Willis Robertson said in separate interviews that they were as anxious as their Republican colleagues to cut the 78.6 billion dollar budget set forth by President Truman for the ensuing fiscal year, but Senator Robertson indicated that while there ought to be a balanced budget, he did not think that Congress would reach that goal. Senator Maybank said that he would vote with Republicans to cut appropriations bills, including military requests by about 10 percent, in order to make reductions which would come anywhere close to balancing the budget. He said that while President Truman had sought 7.86 billion dollars in new appropriations for foreign aid, the new Administration would be lucky to get four billion.

Quick Congressional approval was forecast for the President's indictment of Russia's mass "subjugation of free peoples" through perversion of World War II agreements. A resolution, sponsored by the President, was made public the previous day by the White House. It rejected the Soviet Union's interpretations of the understandings, presumably at Yalta, as a license for the subjugation of free peoples, and proclaimed hope for ultimate self-governance behind the Iron Curtain, in line with the pledge of the Atlantic Charter. The resolution was not as strong as some Republicans had wanted, but few seemed inclined to want to challenge the President. Most Democrats were prepared to support it, as it did not criticize either the Administration of President Roosevelt or of President Truman, nor repudiate the agreements made at Yalta or elsewhere during the course of the war.

Senator Taft said this date in Chicago, in a speech prepared for the National Canners' Association meeting, that he would not favor dismissing a Communist professor unless he were sure that the professor was effectively teaching Communism. He asserted the right of Congress to conduct investigation into Communist infiltration of such fields as teaching, publishing and entertainment.

President Truman announced this date, in his first press conference since leaving the White House, that he would write his memoirs and had selected Life Magazine to handle the rights. He declined to say how much he would receive for his memoirs, but said that Life had provided the best offer. He said the work would not be published until 1954, so that he would be able to speak more fully on the subjects pertaining to the role his Administration had played in world affairs. He said that he would do the writing himself and it was already more than half finished. He also announced that he, Mrs. Truman and daughter Margaret would go on a cruise to Honolulu, spending about a month there.

In El Reno, Oklahoma, a night clerk in the FBI office, whose chief duty was to send out wanted circulars, had caused the arrest of one of the FBI's "ten most wanted fugitives", after recognizing the man from a picture he had mailed to hundreds of officers. The apprehended fugitive was Theodore Richard Byrd, Jr., one of the slickest hot check artists in the country. He was arrested at an all-night cafe, after the FBI night clerk recognized him and alerted the El Reno police, the chief of which was the father of the FBI clerk. The fugitive had obtained more than $40,000 worth of hot checks during the previous few months, having obtained, according to the FBI, $9,300 per day posing as a doctor or naval officer and then asking banks to cash certified checks.

In New York, Mickey Jelke III, accused of hiring out three high-priced prostitutes to support him while he awaited his margarine inheritance, said that he was ready to testify in his trial, but his attorneys indicated that they had not decided whether they would call him as a witness for himself. The State had rested its case the previous day with the testimony of another of the three young women. The trial judge, who had closed the trial to the press and the public for the sake of public decency during the prosecution's case, reportedly was willing to open the trial during the defense presentation.

In Washington, a dentist of Silver Spring, Md., spurned by a 23-year old woman, shot and killed her, wounded a friend of the woman and then killed himself early this date. The shooting, according to police, occurred six hours after the young woman had turned down the dentist's proposal for marriage.

Also in Washington, the Secret Service announced the arrest this date of two Department of Agriculture employees on charges of counterfeiting $10 bills.

Their defense might be that they were simply trying to save taxpayers money by buying Government butter at higher support prices, so that the troops would not have to suffice on margarine, whether artificially colored or not.

In Modena, Italy, 400 persons labored for the third consecutive day with snow shovels to cut paths to the Apennine towns of St. Anna Pelago and Frassinoro, after a 12-foot snowfall had isolated the two communities since the previous Saturday. Diggers expected to reach the towns by midnight.

Numbing cold descended over a vast section of the nation's Northern midlands in the wake of the winter's worst snowstorm this date, with temperatures ranging between zero and 15 below forecast for this night in at least six of the eleven states which had felt the varying impact of the four-day blizzard.

In Raleigh, a one-man State Senate session conducted by Senator H. Pou Bailey of Wake County this date gave final approval to legislation which would increase court costs in New Hanover County to provide a county law library, and two other local bills. Senator Bailey presided over the session, brought up the three bills, and voted them through with his single vote. All of the three bills had already passed the House and so became law, as the Governor had no veto power at the time.

The Georgia House passed a bill to simplify the language of bills, permitting use of the term "andor", in lieu of such phrases as "either or, both, and, and or" or "and and or".

They decided to stop stuttering.

The News introduces a new weekly TV Page in this date's edition, serving as a guide for programs and features throughout the week, prepared through the cooperation of WBTV. It notes that it was subject to change. It also indicates that the newspaper would continue to run its regular daily listings of television and radio programming.

On the editorial page, "Rehabilitation or Repetition?" recalls a case from 1935 in which two black prisoners in a Mecklenburg County prison camp had developed frozen feet, leading to amputation, which had resulted in nationwide headlines, the dismissal of several prison officials and prison reform throughout the state, plus the award of a monthly stipend of $20 to each of the two men. The case showed what numerous letters, editorials and articles in the newspaper could do, as through the persistent reporting of the late W. M. Jones.

By 1935, social revolution had swept away many old ideas and methods, but not within North Carolina's prison system, which was still maintained on the chaingang-flogging methodology. It provides an excerpt from an article by News reporter Tim Pridgen at the time, who quoted a Mecklenburg prison camp supervisor as saying to one of his charges: "Come here, nigger … the guard says you won't work … I've been seein' it, myself, but I kept my eye off of you … hopin' you'd get some sense … take off that shirt! … makin' me tear off your shirt that way … ain't you got no sense? … I got what it takes to put some sense in you … stop wallin' them eyes at me ... git across that barrel … take off them pants … two! … three! … four! … want them in the same place? … eighteen! … ain't no use prayin', mean as you are … twenty! … God don't love a lazy nigger … now, that's just a sample…" Mr. Pridgen indicated that the belief was that the only practical means of discipline in the camp was a good whipping, and that the new school of thought held that prisoners were not sent to the chaingangs for punishment but rather for restoration as good citizens.

The chaingang, the whip, and the "little dark houses" for solitary confinement, wherein the two prisoners, consigned to the punishment for seeking to warm their feet by a fire while on the road gang, had suffered frozen feet in 1935, were all abolished, and prisoners were treated as human beings.

The two men who lost their feet had not been restored, as two years later, one of them, drunk and armed with a beer bottle, was placed on a York County chaingang in South Carolina after being found hobbling along the streets looking for a fight. The same year, the other amputee was convicted of second-degree murder, and from 1937 through 1952, was charged in 15 cases, many of them minor, while 20 charges were lodged against the other man from 1936 through the end of 1952. It indicates that society had been grossly unjust toward the men and had left a lasting mark.

It questions whether contemporary lawbreakers, who were not horribly mistreated, were finding their way back to lawful society. It finds that the answer was in the negative, as the North Carolina prison system provided instruction in crime for first offenders who went to the roads, where they worked alongside hardened criminals who became their teachers. Upon release, the first offenders applied their new trade and became repeat offenders, returning to the road. In 1950, more than 10,000 of the 14,000 persons admitted to the prisons were recidivists. In 1951, all except 2,000 of the 14,000 inmates were repeat offenders.

In 18 years, North Carolina had vastly improved its prison facilities and disciplinary technique but was failing, obviously, to rehabilitate the prisoners. It questions whether there would be another 18-year interval or another shocking case before the state awakened to the problem.

"The Council Tosses a Warm Spud" indicates its approval of the City Council having referred the threatened bankruptcy of the firemen's pension fund to the legislative delegation of the General Assembly and the trustees, as a previous legislative delegation in 1947 had created the fund on unstable footing. It indicates that the matter had to be taken up by the delegation without further delay as the firemen deserved a sound retirement system and the taxpayers deserved the assurance that they would not be called upon to bail out the fund at some later date, when the fund had been unsound from its inception.

"A Suggestion for House Investigators" suggests that Congressman Harold Velde, chairman of HUAC, check the Committee's files and informants for errors, as the previous year, the Committee had devoted a 70-page pamphlet to the testimony of an individual, though it was probably the case that the Committee did not know when the witness was telling the truth, as he had once sworn, before the Internal Security Committee of Pat McCarran, that the New York Times had "well over 100 dues-paying Communist members", and that Time, Inc., had "76 Communist Party members, working in editorial and research". The same witness had announced during the campaign that the Sunday section of the New York Times, alone, had 126 dues-paying Communists. But according to the Alsop brothers, the entire Sunday section staff numbered only 87.

It indicates that the fact that a statement had been sworn before a Congressional committee did not make it true, and Mr. Velda could save himself future embarrassment if he would clean out his Committee's files and verify or discard the unsubstantiated charges.

A piece from the Richmond Times-Dispatch, titled "Crackdown on U.S. Drones", tells of the new Administration cracking down on the personnel who pretended to work eight hours but who took two hours for lunch, with the President setting the example by asking Republican leaders to meet with him at 8:30 a.m. on his first full day in office. Attorney General Herbert Brownell had issued an order reminding that Federal departmental hours were 9:00 to 5:30, and warned against abusing the time allotted for lunch.

U.S. News & World Report had indicated that those who had been taking two hours for lunch were about to enter on unhappy times. As there were 2.5 million Federal employees, the addition of an hour or two of working time to each day would be considerable. It was estimated that only about a third of them were already working full days.

The piece wishes the Administration success in its new campaign.

Drew Pearson indicates that Congressional leaders who had lunch earlier in the week with the President had found him a warm-hearted host, equally gracious to Democrats and Republicans, but also quite an artist. After lunch, he took the Congressmen on a tour of the newly renovated White House. He said that it had been made much more livable and that the job had been completed without any material changes to the outward appearance. Congressman John Dingell of Michigan quipped that when the Democrats had appropriated the money for the remodeling, they did not expect it to be accommodating Republicans so soon, but he was glad that they had made the floors strong enough to support elephants and pianos. As the Congressmen filed past paintings of former Presidents, Congressman Clarence Brown of Ohio remarked that President James Garfield of Ohio had been shot when he got to the White House, to which the President remarked that they were all safe with him. Upon the suggestion of Congressman Dingell, the President produced his own portrait of the golfer Bobby Jones, and all present agreed it was a good likeness, the President saying it was probably his best painting of the 30 he had completed. He said that each day he tried to paint for 15 minutes as a form of relaxation, and informed that now, for the first time, he had a room upstairs in the White House where he could keep his paints and brushes.

The previous summer, James Curry, an attorney representing some 40 Indian tribes and communities, had threatened libel suits against Mr. Pearson's column and various subscribing newspapers of it, after the column had exposed some of his operations as the alleged defender of the Indian. The previous week, the Senate Interior Committee had written to Attorney General Herbert Brownell, asking that the Justice Department consider the case of Mr. Curry's extracurricular activities, which, according to the Senate committee, included misleading Indians, improperly soliciting their claims, assuming legal responsibilities which he could not possibly fulfill, and bartering for his own gain the valuable claims which the Indians had entrusted to his professional care.

Secretary of the Interior Douglas McKay had boasted to White House friends about the Oregon police when he had been Governor of that state, saying that they were tough on speeders regardless of who the driver was, and were particularly unimpressed by political influence or prominent officials. Presidential assistant Sherman Adams, however, interjected that he and Ralph Cake, Republican national committeeman from Oregon, had been stopped by a state patrolman in Oregon during the election campaign but had talked their way out of a ticket by indicating that he was a member of the Eisenhower staff.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop indicate that the Eisenhower Administration had come of age and the Republican Party had begun to rise to the challenge of its vast new responsibility, the tax policy being the decisive test. The President and Budget director Joseph Dodge had discovered that they had only three displeasing choices, to balance the budget and reduce taxes by abandoning all pretense of creative foreign policy and effective national defense, lower taxes and pay the bill for national security by running a gigantic deficit, or balance the budget and meet all reasonable security requirements by careful, undramatic economies plus maintaining taxes at present levels.

In his first press conference, the President the prior Tuesday had revealed that he had chosen the third course. The decision to ask for continuation of the excess profits tax, set to expire June 30, or for a replacement of that revenue, was a dramatic decision, implying the highest of political courage, to do the disagreeable thing when the general welfare demanded.

The decision also implied that if taxes were not to be reduced, the President and his advisers had firmly decided against a defense economy of the type which had prevailed under Defense Secretary Louis Johnson. The new Defense Department, under Secretary Charles E. Wilson, would be able to do his job in the right way, with the first emphasis on national strength. There would also be no heavy cuts in foreign aid, allowing Secretary of State Dulles to undertake his task of unifying and reinvigorating the Western Allies.

Thus, the President, despite heavy stress on political expediency from members of Congress, had remained unwavering in his resolve to carry on a strong foreign policy, in the same way that FDR and President Truman had. The President had adopted a style of a chairman of the board, with meetings with Congressional leaders on Mondays, National Security Council meetings on Wednesdays, and Cabinet meetings on Fridays, none of which were perfunctory or trivial, each with an agenda which was thoroughly discussed over the course of about two hours per meeting. Disagreements were not brushed aside, and the President sought to persuade those dissenting before the ensuing meeting. There had been disagreements, as Secretary of Labor Martin Durkin, Mutual Security director Harold Stassen and U.N. Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., had spoken out against any de-control of prices and wages, but the Secretary of the Treasury, George Humphrey, and the Secretary of Defense had won the day in favor of de-control.

The Alsops conclude that a team had been formed in the Administration and that under the President's leadership, the hard decisions were being smoothly made and the tough jobs, boldly tackled.

Marquis Childs indicates that the latest victim of a deliberate, calculated smear was Vice-President Richard Nixon. Richard Wilson, writing in Look Magazine, had told in detail the story of a forged letter intended to show that Mr. Nixon was being subsidized by the oil industry by as much as $52,000 per year to represent the interests of that industry. The forgery had been timed to follow the disclosure that Mr. Nixon, while a Senator, had benefited in carrying on his official business from a fund raised by several California businessmen, the report of which had surfaced the previous September. A Senate committee was investigating the forgery and what was behind it. It appeared that no Federal law had been violated, but the alleged forger may have committed perjury in testifying before a Senate committee.

Mr. Childs indicates that the smear should be exposed and that if any laws were violated, the guilty should be punished. Many Republicans in the recent past had either encouraged or at least condoned such smears against the opposition. One of the notorious instances had been that of Senator Joseph McCarthy, who had directed the distribution of a composite photograph showing Senator Millard Tydings of Maryland, during his 1950 campaign for re-election, supposedly standing with former U.S. Communist Party leader Earl Browder, a photograph which was believed to have caused the defeat of Senator Tydings. A bipartisan Senate committee had investigated the matter and condemned the "back-street campaign". One of the Senators investigating the matter had been Margaret Chase Smith of Maine, who had issued her "Declaration of Conscience", challenging the use of the big lie by politicians of either party.

In the 1950 California Senate race between then-Congressman Nixon and Congresswoman Helen Gahagan Douglas, Ms. Douglas charged that she was smeared as the "pink lady", "pink right down to her underwear", but Murray Chotiner, Mr. Nixon's campaign manager in 1950 and again in 1952, had said that the charge was untrue, that only the record of Ms. Douglas had been used against her. He also claimed that the fringe support of Mr. Nixon, represented by the followers of Gerald L. K. Smith, had been repudiated by the candidate.

The committee which had investigated the Tydings matter made recommendations that election laws should be more realistic, so that candidates could accept campaign contributions and exercise control over them in relation to the high costs of television and radio. Presently, organizations raised the money, independent of the candidate, and then spent it on the campaign in a way over which the candidate had no control. The recommendations had been ignored and the findings of a Senate committee which had shown gross irregularities in the expenditures of Senator McCarthy had also been ignored.

Mr. Childs indicates that it would not be enough to punish those who had engineered the smear against Vice-President Nixon, and that if it resulted in a new and broad approach to decency in politics, above partisanship, then in spite of the ordeal which Mr. Nixon and his family had to endure, it would be a major gain for all concerned.

Poor Richard...

Frederick C. Othman tells of a fictional Latin superman who used an atomic eye to look through brick walls, steel vaults and other opaque materials to catch bank robbers, child snatchers and occasional Communist gangsters. His exploits were made into phonograph records by the State Department for the entertainment of children south of the border, via radio stations, which received the records for free. The program was called "The Eye of the Eagle" and the series of 26 programs reportedly had cost $60,000 to produce, a figure as yet unverified.

Stuart Ayres, the acting assistant chief of the Latin American Division of the Voice of America, had reported to the Senate Investigating Committee of Senator Joseph McCarthy his confusion about such programming, as there had been a budget which provided Mr. Ayres the ability to spend on anti-Communist propaganda, but he had never learned what it was. He had begun spending money conservatively on news scripts about Communist gangsters, and then turned over the resulting phonograph records to the overseas service branch, which insisted on turning out the scientific melodrama for Latin American children. Yet, all of the anti-Communist material in the broadcasts were removed before being sent out over South American radio stations, upsetting Mr. Ayres, who wrote an official memorandum saying that the Voice did not wish to waste its money on "pap", when it could be used for bullets. About the same time, he became aware that nearly the entire budget had been spent on this series.

Senator John McClellan had indicated that the management had to be brought to task on the matter, but Mr. Ayres indicated that the person responsible had been made chief of field services in New York, a promotion.

Mr. Othman concludes that he wanted an atomic eye so that he could look through the stone walls of the State Department.

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