The Charlotte News

Monday, February 23, 1953


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports, via Forrest Edwards, that allied warplanes had hit enemy supply arteries and stockpiles again this date in Korea, with B-29s striking the heaviest blow in a predawn raid on a supply center in western Korea, and against repair facilities five miles northwest of Pyongyang. The U.S. Fifth Air Force reported that the previous night's toll brought to 1,303 the total number of enemy vehicles destroyed during the previous 12 nights.

In limited ground action, allied infantrymen repulsed two small probing attacks on the central front. The U.S. Eighth Army reported that four small-scale, but bloody patrol clashes had occurred the prior day along the front, one lasting eight hours northeast of Panmunjom.

A report from the U.S. Second Division indicates that a division spokesman had reported this date that the Communists had sent a mortar round through the mess kit of a soldier, but that he brushed off his kit, went to the kitchen and obtained new chow, finishing his meal. No one was hurt.

In Taipeh, Formosa, the Nationalist Government announced that it was declaring null and void the 1945 treaty between Russia and Nationalist China, clearing the way for the Nationalists to take part in any blockade of the Manchurian ports at Dairen and Port Arthur, as that treaty had given Russia special rights there. The treaty had been an outgrowth of the Yalta agreement concluded in February, 1945 between FDR, Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin. Russia had effectively repudiated the treaty when it recognized the Communist Chinese Government in 1949, though the Communist Government had announced that it was continuing to adhere to that treaty. In 1950, Russia and Communist China had signed a new treaty of goodwill, security and mutual assistance, aimed largely at Japan, providing that Russia would withdraw from Port Arthur and Dairen by the end of 1952 and return the jointly operated Changchun Railroad in Manchuria to Chinese ownership. Only the railroad had been returned the prior December and the Soviets continued to operate from the two port cities under terms of an arrangement concluded in Moscow the previous September. The Nationalist Chinese Foreign Minister had declared that the U.S. had not been consulted on its action because it was purely internal. The approval by the Cabinet still required approval from the legislature, albeit a mere formality. In November, 1949 at the U.N., the Nationalists had renounced the Yalta agreement as a "disastrous mistake".

Joint Chiefs chairman General Omar Bradley said, in an address at Rollins College in Winter Park, Fla., that the slogan, "Let's face the facts—we're already in World War III," was tricky, false and dangerous, and that a new slogan was needed, that if they were already in World War III, they would not have the time to sit and talk about it, that they would not be there at all to talk.

Senator Richard Russell of Georgia predicted this date that the new Administration would have difficulty reducing spending by more than half a billion dollars, even if it squeezed all the waste from the military program. As former chairman of the Armed Services Committee, he said that he believed that only a relatively small amount of waste could be trimmed from military budgets, that it could be cut by the amount of the deficit, 10 billion dollars, but then it would be questionable how much defense would remain.

Meanwhile, Congressman John Taber of New York, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, announced a campaign to squeeze every drop of water from the budget, with the goal of eliminating 10 billion dollars, though making no promises of a balanced budget. It was learned that his Committee neither expected nor wanted the President to send a revision of the budget submitted by President Truman, which had the 10 billion dollar deficit, as they did not want the President to steal their thunder in making cuts.

A 15-member committee representing industry, labor and the public, named by Secretary of Labor Martin Durkin, this date began closed-door conferences designed to reach a compromise agreement on changes in the Taft-Hartley law. The committee would submit proposals for amending the law, which would be forwarded by the Eisenhower Administration to Congress. No one at the Department of Labor close to Mr. Durkin, however, was hopeful of any agreement on amendments between the labor and industry representatives, but Mr. Durkin, former head of the Plumbers Union, wanted to try to reach some agreement. The President had promised to support changes which were fair to both labor and management.

The White House announced that the President would nominate Charles Bohlen to be the new Ambassador to Russia and Francis White to be the new Ambassador to Mexico. Both men were career diplomats. Mr. Bohlen would succeed George Kennan, who had been sent home the previous fall after being labeled unacceptable by the Soviets, and Mr. White would succeed William O'Dwyer, former Mayor of New York, who had resigned as Ambassador the previous December. The Soviets had indicated that Mr. Bohlen was acceptable.

Robert Johnson, president of Temple University, was reported to be the President's choice to take over direction of the State Department's overseas information program, according to an unnamed Congressional source. The division's authority included the Voice of America. Dr. Wilson Compton, former president of Washington State University, had resigned the previous week from the position, and Secretary of State Dulles had stated that his resignation had not been related to the Senate inquiry into the Voice by a subcommittee chaired by Senator Joseph McCarthy. The source said that there was some chance that Mr. Johnson would not accept the position, unless the information program were removed from the State Department and established under a new, independent agency.

Secretary of Interior Douglas McKay this date urged Congress to grant Hawaii immediate statehood, in a statement prepared for a House Interior subcommittee hearing. A bill pending before the House would put off statehood until a proposed state constitution, which already existed, would be approved by Congress. Mr. McKay said that he could not understand this requirement as the constitution was in accord with the essential principles of good government on the American plan. Hawaii would not become a state until 1959.

The CIO and the Steelworkers Union contributed $250,000 toward construction of President Truman's Presidential library at Grandview, Mo. The library was expected to cost between 1.5 and 2 million dollars, and would house the former President's papers as a gift to the American people.

In Vienna, a coalition government of conservatives and moderate leftists appeared in prospect this date following the Austrian parliamentary elections in which the Socialists scored gains. The Communists, neo-Nazis, Catholic Conservatives and all other factions lost ground. Austria was still divided into occupation zones by the Big Four, there having been concluded no treaty formally to end hostilities after the war.

From St. John's, Newfoundland, it was reported that three U.S. F-84 jet fighters had crashed near Goose Bay Air Base in Labrador on Saturday and that another was missing, after one of the worst multiple jet accidents in history. The Air Force said that one pilot was killed and another was missing about 100 miles south of Greenland, while the other two pilots had escaped serious injury. The planes had been part of a flight of 16 F-84s en route to Europe. The three planes which crashed had been returning to Goose Bay after their flight leader reported that his auxiliary fuel tanks were not feeding properly. They had been making an approach by ground radar in formation when the leader's plane ran out of fuel. All three planes hit the ground about 3.5 miles east of the landing field.

In Havana, Cuba, saboteurs had strewn a boulevard with tacks, holding up five floats and more than 100 automobiles carrying beautiful señoritas during a carnival parade. Police later announced the arrest of three youths and the seizure of ten pounds of tacks wrapped in confetti, carried on the truck in which the three youths had been riding as part of the parade.

In Waco, Texas, seven years earlier, a gander named Aleck and his first wife, a goose, had been crossing a street when the wife was killed by a car. Aleck's owner picked up the dead goose, placed its body in an empty oil drum and cremated it. Since that time, Aleck had not strayed more than 10 feet from the oil drum, then only to chase away intruders. He talked to his dead wife and told her what he had to eat. Every year, the owner had hatched some eggs in an incubator and put the goslings inside the oil drum, then turned it on its side, so that the young goslings would exit, causing Aleck amazement at the procession. Some believed Aleck ought see a psychiatrist, but he was happy, and so there was no need to bother.

There is also another remedy, supplied by the old saw, "What's good for the goose…" Just ask Johnny Roselli.

A photo essay appears, together with a locally grown poem by reporter Tom Fesperman, on men's hats, which the poem concludes were quite as crazy as those worn by women.

They never saw our stovepipe hat.

On the editorial page, "Is the Anti-Klan Law Needed?" indicates that the proposed new anti-Klan law might be in order as an expression of General Assembly opinion, but as a practical weapon to combat the Klan, it appeared dubious. There were already plenty of laws on the books to prevent unlawful Klan activity, such as laws against trespass, forcible entry to property, assault, kidnapping, and threats of personal violence, which appeared adequate to cover the panoply of unlawful activities engaged in by the Klan.

It suggests that the Klan had been able to flourish in the South, not because of ineffective laws, but because law enforcement officers had failed to enforce those laws or because juries had engaged in nullification and refused to convict defendants charged under them. Public apathy had permitted the breakdown of law and order.

During the previous two years, the effectiveness of existing State and Federal laws had been proven in North Carolina, as diligent officers and conscientious juries, combined with an outraged citizenry, had joined forces to smash the Klan in Columbus County, and had even reached across the South Carolina border to apprehend and convict the Grand Dragon of the Carolinas, Lee Hamilton.

Thus, it questions why it was necessary to have another law against "secret political societies, secret military societies, and secret societies for resisting and circumventing state law". It suggests that the law was full of vague and confusing phrases, such as that it would become illegal to commit or cause any act, while masked or unmasked, with the intention of intimidating another person or preventing that person from doing lawful acts or causing the person to commit unlawful acts. It suggests that the Caswell County black farmer who had been convicted the prior year of assault on a young girl by "leering" at her from a distance of 60 feet, had involved an "assault" purely of the young girl's wild imagination, but wonders whether "intimidation" could be loosely interpreted to include such activity. It wonders also whether the law might be used against a labor union if, after a secret meeting, it set up a picket line which resulted in a fight. It further wonders whether college fraternities could be outlawed under the law for extralegal pranks.

It cites the McCarran Act as a case in point, adopted with a good motive, to keep out of the country subversives, but had proved unenforceable. Other laws were doing more harm than good and some were ineffective in catching Communists.

It indicates that a law which prohibited the wearing of masks in public, except during holidays or for occupational purposes, would suffice, that if Klan members were stripped of their anonymity, the membership would decrease rapidly, that grown men who might be terrifying in masks and robes were merely silly without them. It indicates that it was not so much the Klan with which there ought be concern but rather with "the hatred and bigotry, the poverty and ignorance, the collusion with law enforcement authorities and public apathy" which spawned that evil organization and kept it alive.

"Firemen Play with Loaded Dice" indicates that the 1947 General Assembly's act creating the Charlotte Firemen's Retirement Fund had given the firemen an effective veto over every decision which affected the fund. It goes on to describe in detail that process, and indicates that an actuarial report had stated that the total contribution was 11 percent of the payroll, 5 percent from the City, 5 percent from the firemen, and one percent from the several fundraising activities of the Fire Department. The report had indicated that retirement at age 55 on half pay for the previous three years would require a total contribution of 23.5 percent of the payroll for minimum funding, and to retire the accrued liability during a period of 40 years would require 27 percent of the payroll. A compromise report which proposed adding 5.21 percent from the City would only make the total payroll contribution 16.21 percent, far short of the necessary 23.5 or 27 percent. It regards the compromise report as inadequate and that the Assembly, per a resolution adopted by the City Council, ought put the fund on a solvent basis by either decreasing the lavish retirement benefits or requiring the firemen to contribute more to their own retirement fund. Otherwise, it opines, the Assembly ought abolish the local fund and put the firemen under the State retirement system, providing excellent benefits to firemen and policemen.

"A Healthy Sign" applauds Attorney General Herbert Brownell, who the previous week had changed the policy which had permitted some persons suspected of tax evasion to claim that they were too sick to testify, now requiring those who fell into that category to have their cases reviewed by the Justice Department and, if evidence warranted, referred to the the U.S. Attorneys for prosecution.

Former assistant commissioner of the IRB, Daniel Bolich, had avoided extensive testimony by having his doctor assert that he could submit only to limited questioning. Joseph Nunan, Jr., another former IRB commissioner, had avoided interrogation by entering a hospital. Carroll Mealey, former deputy IRB commissioner, had resigned because of ill health and his doctors later claimed that he was unable to testify before a Congressional committee. Henry Grunewald had obtained a medical report stating that his appearance before investigators would be unsafe.

It observes that legitimate health issues were sometimes a proper cause for postponing legal action, but that the excuse had been shamefully abused and Mr. Brownell's decision would make for healthier government.

A piece from the Salisbury Post, titled "Free Wheeling", indicates that reforms introduced by the Administration were being lumped together as "a free wheeling economy". It hopes that the phrase would prove unsuitable. For "free wheeling" was a phrase which had described a certain type of automobile transmission which permitted the car to attain its own velocity going downhill without any relation to the motor, but had proved so dangerous on curves, downgrades, and in bad weather that the automobile industry had abolished it.

Drew Pearson indicates that it appeared that Republicans, at least in Kansas, were determined to carry out their pledge of cleaning up corruption, even when it invaded their own ranks. Republican leaders had been complaining the loudest about the lobbying fee which new RNC chairman Wesley Roberts had received. Former Republican presidential nominee in 1936, Alf Landon, together with the Kansas newspapers owned by the Seaton family of Senator Fred Seaton, had vigorously demanded a cleanup. Former Governor Landon and the others had expressed public disappointment, however, that the Roberts matter had been quickly whitewashed by the White House. Kansas Republicans recalled that former DNC chairman William Boyle, from Missouri, had been canned from his job as chairman for accepting a fee of only $1,250 in connection with the receipt of an RFC loan by the same company who paid him the fee. In contrast, the Roberts fee was $11,000, made from a commission on a real estate transaction in which a building was sold to the State for $110,000, when it would have gone to the State anyway for being on State property, resulting in Kansas paying for something it already owned, generating a 10 percent fee for Mr. Roberts.

The Irish Embassy had privately informed the State Department that they would be pleased to accept William Howard Taft III as the new U.S. Ambassador to Ireland. That had pleased Senator Taft, who had exerted no pressure on behalf of his son.

It appeared that Mrs. Hiram Houghton, former president of the General Federation of Women's Clubs, would not be appointed to the position of Ambassador to the Netherlands, after both the Italian and Dutch Governments had expressed negativity on having female diplomats. The President had, nevertheless, gone ahead with the appointment of Clare Boothe Luce to become Ambassador to Italy because of his political debt to Henry Luce, publisher of Time, Life and Fortune. Both women were able and had wide understanding of foreign relations. Mrs. Houghton, in her role as head of the Women's Clubs, had been a potent force for better international understanding, and few organizations had done more to win people-to-people friendship. Some of the Women's Club leaders were somewhat upset with the President for deciding not to appoint her.

When former Governor Stevenson had met behind closed doors with DNC leaders, the discussion had turned to Governor's forthcoming speech in Los Angeles on March 2, with the Governor remarking that he guessed the radio and television networks would carry it on the West Coast, to which a DNC official answered that it would have the same coverage as his speech in New York, with 34 television stations and radio networks nationwide. The Governor quipped that it was too bad as it meant that he would have to write an entirely new speech.

During the recent conference between the President and members of Congress, after his guests had seen his portrait of golfer Bobby Jones, someone had remarked that he was as good a painter as Winston Churchill, to which the President demurred, saying he was "just a dauber", that Mr. Churchill was a real artist, that a famous authority had said that if the British Prime Minister had stuck exclusively to painting, he would be one of the world's greatest artists on the scene.

The President was impressed by Republican Congressman Gordon Canfield of New Jersey, who wore a blue tie on which was emblazoned a Presidential seal, topped by five stars.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop indicate that Senator McCarthy was very likely to be the next target of trying to effect teamwork with the Administration. The Administration had come to realize that budget facts, tax facts, defense facts and foreign relations facts remained the same as ever, and had to be dealt with just as the Truman Administration had to deal with those facts. And the truth was that Senator McCarthy and his "Congressional imitators" apparently believed that the Eisenhower Administration was just as fair game as its predecessor. Moreover, they now had control of investigating committees and so were not subject to any form of restraint by the Democrats.

Senator McCarthy's immediate target was the State Department and its allied agencies, such as the Voice of America. His tactic was to invite every malcontent in the organization, which employed 40,000 people, to tell his or her story. Thus far, there had been two such persons, a file clerk and a security officer, who had come forth to relate of problems in the filing and security system, suggesting the need for reorganization and tightening.

A goal of Secretary of State Dulles was to restore public confidence in the Department, and in pursuit of that objective, no doubt, there would need to be a revision of the filing and security systems. But public confidence could not be restored if every malcontent from the Department was encouraged to blacken its name in public.

The case of the Voice was probably even more acute, and any problems related regarding its wasteful practices had probably resulted from never allowing it to settle down to its job. The Voice had originally been established on the motion of Senator Karl Mundt of the Investigating Committee. There was no doubt that the Voice and, indeed, the whole swollen American information program should be thoroughly overhauled, but with Senator McCarthy waiting in the wings to criticize it, few reputable men would choose the assignment.

The new Undersecretary of State in charge of administration, Donold Lourie, was only persuaded with great difficulty not to fire completely John Matson, the employee who had made the security complaint to Congress.

For all of those reasons, Secretary Dulles and Vice-President Nixon would shortly meet with Senator McCarthy to see whether some sort of compromise arrangement could be facilitated. But there were two obstacles to such an agreement, that the Senator would almost certainly ask for the head of every State Department officer who had ever incurred his wrath, a request which Secretary Dulles could not honorably grant, and that the Senator had higher ambitions than a purge in the State Department, any restraints on that higher goal likely not to be pleasing to him. Thus, it was likely that the Administration would eventually have to fight McCarthyism at home, just as it was fighting Stalinism abroad.

Marquis Childs regards hate literature being sent through the mails in great volume, probably originating with the "lunatic fringe", but nevertheless indicating that well-heeled backers were behind it. The new effort by the Kremlin, involving anti-Semitism, with the goal of attracting Arab support in the Middle East, had caused problems for the anti-Semites in the U.S., challenging their claim that Communism was a Jewish plot, thus causing them to claim that the alleged anti-Semitism by the Kremlin was a fake and a fraud. Mr. Childs suggests that some of the propaganda might actually have been manufactured in the Kremlin.

One of the documents purported to be a "speech of Rabbi Emanuel Rabinovich" made "before a special meeting of the Emergency Council of European Rabbis in Budapest, Hungary, January 12, 1952", supposedly talking of the need to "work with every means to precipitate World War III within five years" and to "inflame the lagging militaristic spirit of the Americans". It was designed to stir antagonism against defense measures such as universal military training, and so well served the Communist cause.

During the fall campaign, some Southern newspapers supporting General Eisenhower had received letters purporting to thank them on behalf of American Catholics for helping "our candidate", designed to stir Southern Protestants against the Catholic Church, and suggesting that the U.S. was being duped by a foreign conspiracy into squandering money and lives in Western Europe.

For mature Americans, he suggests, the transparent hoax of that sort of propaganda was obvious, but in a time of fear and frustration, some might be deceived. The answer was not to ban it as that implied that the judgment of the American people could not be trusted, but rather to take a positive approach which would reaffirm the profound faith at the heart of the American system.

Frederick C. Othman indicates that the President apparently never had any idea that the members of the League of Women Voters had been in the habit of smoking briar pipes. The president of the organization had sent to the President a letter expressing that the League was not addicted to the use of briar pipes, but hoped that he would not increase the tariffs on them, as a matter of principle. The President did not smoke a pipe, but occasionally smoked cigarettes.

The older a pipe became, the better it tasted, and wives were known sometimes to throw old, smelly pipe collections into the incinerator. Mr. Othman's mother had done as much on one occasion, by boiling his private collection in soapy water, not understanding why he was so upset at having to buy new ones, which would turn his tongue into a blister until they were broken in.

British pipes were subject to a 76 percent tariff and so a pipe which sold for a dollar in the U.S. was actually worth only 24 cents. That heavy tariff, however, had still not stopped the import trade, and the domestic pipe manufacturers demanded even higher tariffs. President Eisenhower had to decide what to do about the matter, and his action might be taken as direction on how he would treat other tariffs. Recently, the new President had decided to refuse to raise the tariffs on pipes until he had a chance to study the broad subject of customs duties. He had not received the letter from the president of the League until he had already made that decision.

The experts appeared unable to agree on whether the President's decision held any hint for his general consideration of tariffs.

Mr. Othman concludes that the matter was of only passing interest to him as his mother had fixed his pipes with soapy water, resulting in his smoking corncobs.

The Congressional Quiz of the Congressional Quarterly asks whether Congress could take back any of the 80 billion dollars in accumulated obligational authority, about which the President had spoken in his State of the Union message, answering that Congress did have the power to rescind previous appropriations through regular legislation, had done so on a large scale after World War II, rendering many of the military appropriations no longer necessary, and on a smaller scale, many bills had their own provisions for rescission or cancellation. That to which the President had made reference was spending appropriated to allow the Government to order military equipment for future delivery.

In answer to the question whether the Senate would investigate the charges brought by Patrick Hurley regarding alleged voting irregularities during the Senate election which he lost to Senator Dennis Chavez in New Mexico, it indicates that a Senate Elections subcommittee had, on February 5, ordered the ballots of the race impounded, and Senator Frank Barrett of Wyoming, the chairman, had said on February 11 that four investigators had been sent to New Mexico to make a report on the matter, due in 4 to 6 weeks.

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