The Charlotte News

Wednesday, February 25, 1953


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports, via Olen Clements, that U.S. Sabre jets had destroyed two enemy MIG-15s, damaged two others, and possibly damaged two more this date in Korea, the first jet engagement since the prior Saturday. Other U.N. warplanes hit factory buildings and troop and supply centers.

In ground action, allied raiders hit Communist positions near Panmunjom in a two-pronged attack at dawn and burned out the Communist defenders in a one-hour battle. Other U.N. troops repulsed a 160-man Communist Chinese attack east of the Chorwon Valley, knocking out an estimated 60 enemy troops in an all-night battle. In all, the enemy had launched five attacks against the allied lines this date and all had been repulsed.

At the U.N. in New York, new U.S. Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., charged this date before the political committee that Russia had started the Korean War and was continuing it, that there was little point in trying to formulate new truce formulas at the U.N., as the Soviet Union was determined to prolong the war. He listed ten facts which supported the charge, including that the Soviets had planned the original aggression and had maintained it through Soviet training and equipment; that the North Korean forces had been virtually destroyed in the fall of 1950 and then were reconstituted and re-equipped with weapons of Soviet manufacture; that the flow of Soviet equipment was constant and steady; that the Chinese Communists were supplied also by the Soviets; that naval mines off the Korean coast were of Soviet manufacture; that Communist planes were manufactured in the Soviet Union; that a new Soviet plane, the IL 28, had been supplied to the Communists in Korea; that in spite of heavy losses, the Communists had 2,500 planes supplied by the Soviet Union; that the Soviets replaced lost Communist planes in Korea; and that anti-aircraft guns used by the Communists were supplied by the Soviets. Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Vishinsky angrily responded that after he had a chance to study the verbatim record, he would answer the questions posed, to which Ambassador Lodge responded that the rulers of the Soviet Union could stop the war whenever they wanted to do so, and that the Communists simply wanted to continue the war.

In Rome, the six foreign ministers of the nations involved in the European army plan for NATO reached a compromise decision this date, reportedly settling the bitter differences between France and West Germany over the European Defense Community treaty. The Italian Foreign Ministry reported that French Foreign Minister Georges Bidault had agreed with West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer regarding redrafting of the conditions France wanted to attach to the signed but not yet ratified treaty to establish the West European Army. A person close to the French delegation, however, said that the redraft did not mean that France was changing its position, that they were only seeking clarification of the position of their forces within the European Army structure, that the redraft was only a restatement of the French position placed in words intended to clarify the position and to answer German objections. The Italian spokesman said that the agreement by all six foreign ministers was favorable to the creation of the Army.

The President said this date, at his second press conference, that it would be very difficult to balance the Federal budget in the coming fiscal year; that the country would be in a very difficult position were it to repudiate all international secret agreements made during World War II, but that he was open to suggestion for improvement of the secret agreements resolution which he had sent to Congress; that he would meet with Premier Stalin or anyone else if he thought that such a conference might lead to lasting peace, that he would meet at some half-way point on the globe and with full knowledge of the U.S. allies; that he personally did not believe the Communists should be permitted to teach in the nation's schools; that he was not sure what Senator McCarthy was seeking to do in investigating the State Department's Voice of America program; and that he would meet the following day with a group of governors, a Congressional delegation and Administration officials to study the possibility of dividing the tax policies of the state and Federal governments. He also said that he did not believe that Alaska had proved its case for statehood but that Hawaii was ready for statehood. He did not see how universal military training could be put into effect as long as the nation had to rely on the draft to furnish manpower for Korea. He also favored extension of the reciprocal trade act, but was not prepared to go into detail regarding possible modifications of it. For the second week in a row, the conference drew a capacity crowd of reporters in the State Department Indian treaty room—which, incidentally, may not have been the wisest choice of locus for establishing trust in the word of the new Administration.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee this date unanimously approved a resolution condemning persecution of Jews in Russia and its satellite countries, but broadened the wording of the original resolution to include campaigns against other minority groups, and urged the President to protest in the U.N. General Assembly against the persecutions. The resolution was likely to come to a vote on the floor of the Senate the following Friday.

HUAC this date began the public phase of its investigation of subversives in education, with promises from members of the Committee that it would not become a witch-hunt. Representative Francis Walter of Pennsylvania, the senior minority member of the Committee, expressed to the press that the Committee had heard from two witnesses in executive session the previous week and that it would serve no useful purpose to have them testify in public, that it would only embarrass them, but Committee chairman Harold Velde intended, nevertheless, to call them in a public session to ask them about past connections with the Communist Party. Mr. Velde said that the Committee would hear from six or seven witnesses during the ensuing few days and then prepare its investigators for additional hearings in the future. He said that the fears of educators were unfounded unless they were or had been engaged in subversive activities against the United States. He said that the Committee did not intend to investigate particular colleges or universities, but would publicize cases in which educators or one-time educators had been mixed up with Communism.

In Nice, France, a bomb exploded in front of the Communist Party headquarters early this date, shattering an iron curtain used to protect the entrance during the night and cracking windows within a radius of 300 yards, causing damage estimated at $14,000.

In Nairobi, Kenya, eight Kikiyu tribesmen, convicted of the murder of several Africans in the Mau Mau campaign against white rule, were hanged this date on a portable gallows erected on a golf course adjoining the jail. The area was surrounded by armored cars, troops and police to screen observation of the executions.

The Office of Price Stabilization lifted price controls this date from nearly all dry groceries, cigarettes, other tobacco products, copper and aluminum. Price controls had been lifted from nearly all food items, except bread and bakery products. On metals, controls persisted only on steel and nickel.

In Buffalo, N.Y., a 31-year old woman who claimed that she had been charged $52.83 more than was due on her 1948 income tax and had taken the case to court, based on having deducted that amount for expenses paid in attending a National Secretaries Association convention in Los Angeles, against a claim by the Government that such deductions for convention expenses were restricted to professional persons such as doctors, lawyers and teachers, won her case after the Government lawyers changed their position and agreed with her that no deficiency was due.

In New York, gravediggers in ten cemeteries in the metropolitan area were set to return to work this date after settlement of a seven-week strike, during which 601 unburied bodies had accumulated. The gravediggers had settled for a $3.25 weekly wage increase and various fringe benefits.

The Post Office Department announced a revised plan which called for the closing of 21 post offices in Wilkes County, N.C., on April 1. The new plan called for mail delivery on every passable road in the county and for service six days per week, whereas some rural areas of the county had only received mail deliveries three times per week. The postal service in Wilkesboro and North Wilkesboro would remain unchanged. There would still be 14 post offices in the county after the closures.

In Raleigh, the State Supreme Court held this date that the black farmer, who had been convicted the previous year of assaulting a white farm girl by "leering" from a distance of 65 feet, could not have accomplished an assault merely by "leering", that the crime required some element involving an "overt act constituting an offer or attempt to do injury to the person", and that he could not be convicted for what may have been in his mind at the time. The Court thus ruled that the defense motion to dismiss the case after the conclusion of the State's case should have been granted, and reversed.

Also in Raleigh, a bill supported by Governor William B. Umstead, calling for a 55-cent per hour minimum wage in the state was introduced in the State Senate this date. The bill would exempt workers in agriculture, dairying, domestic service in private homes, and outside salesmen on commission, and would also not apply to employers who employed no more than two people. A statewide liquor referendum bill was introduced in both houses this date, calling for an election on the issue on November 3 to determine whether the state would permit sale of liquor, wine and beer in all 100 counties or abolish the existing local option ABC program and completely prohibit the sale.

A proposal was introduced by a State Representative of Horry County to offer a $1,000 reward for the capture of a flying saucer "undamaged and intact". Members of the Assembly would not be eligible to receive the reward. It stated that the Assembly desired to remove "all doubts and inconsistencies relating to this unusual aircraft."

A picture of Aleck the gander appears out of Waco, Tex., Aleck having not wandered more than ten feet from the oil drum in which the ashes of his wife had been interred seven years earlier after she had met her demise in a hit-and-run vehicle accident, Aleck's owner having humored him by introducing hatched goslings into the oil drum every so often so that they could exit, giving Aleck the illusion of birth, perpetuating his sad fixation on an oil drum as his mate. We again recommend putting him out of his misery under the traditional gander rule, as applied to Johnny Roselli.

On the editorial page, "Governor Umstead Charts a Bold Course" indicates that the new Governor's budget message, calling for expenditures far beyond the 637 million dollars proposed for the ensuing two years by the Advisory Budget Commission, might put to a severe test the honeymoon he had enjoyed thus far with the General Assembly, but it anticipates that most of the Governor's bold program would eventually be approved. The greater part of the additional expenditures he had recommended would have to be passed by the people in the form of several bond issues, 50 million dollars for State aid to school building and 22 million dollars for the mental institutions, both necessary outlays. The Governor had also asked for an additional 15 million dollars in bonds to be issued by the Assembly without a vote, two-thirds of which would go to educational institutions and the remainder to other State institutions.

The other recommendations were not spelled out in detail, including providing teachers more than the 10 percent raise recommended by the Commission, provision for attendance officers, driver training and safety education classes in the high schools, more vocational training and additional clerical help for the school system, payment of at least $50 per month to retired State employees who had at least 20 years of service, an increased operational budget in the mental institutions, full development of the North Carolina Ports Authority, including an engineering study for the best utilization of the inland waterways, and carrying out of a realistic program to combat stream pollution. On these additional recommendations, it was likely the Assembly would differ the most with the Governor, as retirement costs of the bonds were set at only about 4.6 million per year, while the additional expenses could run into the millions.

The Governor had proposed to raise the necessary additional revenue to meet the increased expenditures through elimination of several exemptions on sales taxes.

On the whole, it finds the Governor's budget message to chart an imaginative program, resemblant to those of prior Governors, enabling further growth and development of the state. It concludes that the Assembly now had the chance to match the vision and courage of the Governor.

"Let's Abolish These Two Taxes" refers to a piece on the page by News reporter Ann Sawyer, indicating consideration of abolition of the personal property tax system in Mecklenburg County, which the editorial favors except on automobiles, as the system cost more to administer than it was collecting in revenue. It suggests that it would be better to add a little bit to the real property tax to make up for any deficiency. It also favors abolition of the poll tax, which would only require legislative approval and no change to the State Constitution, an amendment to which might be necessary to abolish the personal property tax.

"The Land Grant 'Myth'" indicates that railroaders appeared to be mad at the historians who had written in the high school history texts that railroad men had perpetrated the "land-grant myth", and that it had become so firmly ensconced that every time the railroads sought a rate hike, someone complained that with all the land-grant subsidy, they did not need any more money.

The case of the railroads had been set forth in Semaphore, a magazine of the P. & N. Railroad, that despite the general impression that the railroads received large land grants, only 8 percent of the nation's rail mileage received such grants, those being the lines to the West, with many miles on each side of the railroad right-of-way, as an incentive to build. The Carolinas and 20 other states had not received any land-grant mileage. The land grants had been valued at 130 million dollars, but the railroads receiving the grants had to sell their services to the Federal Government at half the standard rates until the end of World War II, saving the Government 900 million dollars on the 130 million outlay, and had enabled opening of the West.

In the early days of the railroads, all except 1.6 million dollars of the loans provided the railroads had been repaid at 6 percent interest. But the public relations representative for the Association of American Railroads had checked in 37 history texts and found that three said the loans were not repaid, and several others were vague about the subject.

The piece points out that the railroad men could have also brought up the fact that during the Depression, railroad tax money had kept impoverished counties in the West from becoming bankrupt. Some of the railroads were obtaining mineral lease money in certain oil boom areas.

The facts that railroad tycoon Jay Gould had attempted to corner the gold market, creating the panic of Black Friday in 1869, and that "Robber Baron" Jim Hill had helped bring on the stock market panic of 1901 may have prejudiced the objectivity of historians in those times. But, insofar as the land-grant deal, it was a good proposition for the Government.

The piece suggests that the railroad men were not so mad at the historians probably as they were at the truckers and airlines which had intruded on their business, as the Semaphore article suggested by stating that the railroads had never been subsidized in any manner corresponding to the construction of roads for trucks or airports and terminals for airlines.

The piece concludes that it could not get too excited about the issue, as the greater subsidy for airlines and trucks had resulted from greater imagination and vision and the more modern and efficient practices of the trucking and aviation industries. The subsidies to those industries might prove in the future just as wise as had the land grants for the railroads.

Ann Sawyer of The News, as indicated in the above editorial, reports on a local five-person tax committee appointed to review the personal property tax system, with several members being of the opinion that it ought be abolished as being more costly to administer than it was worth, as it only raised three percent of the County's tax revenue. She explains that the State Constitution, however, did not allow abolition of the tax, but prescribed that all property taxes had to be "fair and equitable" and set forth certain categories of personal property subject to tax.

The County tax attorney indicated that to abolish the personal property tax would unfairly place the property tax burden only on real property owners, thus running afoul of the State Constitution. Because of a $300 cap on personal items not specifically mentioned in the provision listing personal property subject to taxation, many taxpayers limited their personal property value to $300, while others, who tried honestly to estimate the true value, paid far more. Since there was no official appraisal of personal property, the system thus worked unfairness toward those who were honest.

The committee was also considering whether to abolish the poll tax at the same time. Though the State had not imposed a poll tax since 1920, the State Constitution permitted the General Assembly to collect it. The committee believed that the County could abolish the poll tax locally through a local bill passed by the Assembly. Ms. Sawyer notes it was a touchy issue.

Drew Pearson indicates that the President had held a dramatic meeting just before his first press conference of February 17, to discuss the largest problem on his mind, the farm crisis. Mr. Pearson indicates that he had seen the private notes which the President had used at the meeting and at the press conference. When talking to the press, he had omitted several points on farm prices which he had written down in the meeting notes. At the meeting had been Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson, Senate Agriculture Committee chairman George Aiken of Vermont, and Senator Frank Carlson of Kansas. Senator Carlson had suggested that the President write out a complete statement rather than depend on his notes, but Senator Aiken stated that no matter what the President said, his critics would seek to tear it apart. Despite the notes being headed "action taken by the Secretary to remedy the price situation", the President, at the press conference, had not said much about Secretary Benson's efforts to alleviate the farm crisis. The notes said that price support programs had been administered, that Office of Price Stabilization interference with prices and grading of cattle had been removed, that orderly marketing had been encouraged, that cooperation had been given in strengthening the demand for beef, that producer advisory groups had been holding conferences with USDA officials, and that an international wheat agreement was being negotiated to continue to provide a market for domestic wheat. The notes had also pointed out the stocks of commodities owned by the Commodity Credit Corporation and listed the amount of butter, corn and wheat stored by the Government.

There had been one conspicuous political note in the President's outline for the press conference, showing that the largest drop in farm prices had occurred under the previous Administration, indicating that the decline in prices had been 12 percent from their peak in February, 1951, until the November, 1952 election, and four percent between the election and inauguration day.

Mr. Pearson indicates that hundreds of letters had poured into the column from servicemen around the globe, some seeking information and others letting off steam, from one of which he quotes, that of a corporal stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C., who indicated that he had the opportunity to rent living quarters for his family at $37 per month the previous October, but had been unable to draw his quarters allowance from the Army because adequate quarters were supposed to be available on the base, where the floors were pine and a baby could not be set down on the floor without getting splinters in her hands and knees, the heating system had no filters and kept everything dirty, windowsills and doors had gaps letting in cold air, and the water was rusty, ruining clothes. Without the quarters allowance, he could provide his wife only $150 per month to pay rent, food and clothes for the four children. Mr. Pearson responds that he had taken his matter personally to Maj. General Thomas Hickey, the commanding general at Fort Bragg, and the General had said that he was required to fill the available quarters on post before he could grant a special allowance for a soldier to live off post, but promised a personal investigation of the soldier's case and would do what he could to relieve his family's hardship.

The Congressional Quarterly regards proposed Congressional legislation to increase benefits to the nation's veterans. There were more than 19 million living veterans of the armed forces, including those who had served since the beginning of the Korean War. Adding dependents of voting age, there was a very powerful voting bloc worthy of Congressional attention. Approximately 300 members of Congress were veterans.

The previous summer, the 82nd Congress had cut about 31 million dollars from the Budget Bureau's recommended expenditures for the program, causing veterans organizations to complain, many of them adopting resolutions demanding that the cuts be restored regarding medical services.

Senator Homer Ferguson of Michigan, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, Congresswoman Edith Nourse Rogers of Massachusetts, had both called for an enlarged program of medical aid for veterans, with Ms. Rogers and several other members of Congress having introduced legislation to provide better medical care for veterans.

Proposals to reorganize the Veterans Administration were also likely to cause a furor in Congress, as the American Legion had officially stated its opposition to reorganization as outlined by the Hoover Commission, and other veterans groups had expressed similar views. A Chicago management engineering firm had conducted a special study for the V.A. at a cost of $600,000, proposing a reorganization plan opposed by some veterans groups. The American Legion and the Disabled American Veterans had asked that a plan proposed by the V.A. administrator be tried before any other revision was adopted. The main point of controversy regarding reorganization was whether all of the existing regional offices would be maintained, as the current V.A. administrator proposed, or whether they would be consolidated, as proposed by the Chicago management firm. Most veterans groups and members of Congress believed some reorganization was needed.

A letter writer from Mount Holly approves the General Assembly's favorable action on the five-point program which the United Forces for Education had presented, including limiting class-size to 30 pupils per teacher, with reduction to 25 pupils as soon as possible, a salary schedule of between $2,600 and $4,100 for a certified teacher, sufficient funds to employ an adequate number of properly qualified attendance enforcement personnel, appropriations necessary to meet increased costs of schools, and a capital outlay of funds by bond issue to complete the present school building program. She indicates that the State spent millions of dollars for good roads and that education was even more important, that the state could afford to spend the additional money.

A letter writer creates a scenario in the immediate aftermath of an hypothetical atomic bomb blast, suggesting that the Rosenbergs had sold the country out for such a purpose, that they had no regard for human life and therefore deserved the death sentence they had awaiting them. She addresses the letter from a minister recently who had taken the opposite approach, saying to him that when God told Saul to wipe out a certain group, he ordered them wiped out completely, even to the cattle, and that God therefore understood that certain elements needed to be wiped out, that when Saul had disobeyed God and kept the cattle, he was punished.

What in hell are you trying to say? We were not aware that the Rosenbergs were cattle ranchers.

A letter from the president of the Charlotte Association of Insurance Agents thanks the newspaper for its editorial on the proposed financial responsibility law. He says that there was no workable plan for compulsory insurance at the present time, though Governor Thomas Dewey was preparing one for the New York Legislature, and believed that the improved financial responsibility law was presently the most workable plan, providing that a motorist involved in an accident would have to post a certain amount of security to cover potential damages, which would have the effect of encouraging most people to carry liability insurance.

A Pome appears from the Atlanta Journal, the first in awhile, "In Which Firm Disapproval Is Voiced Concerning An Obnoxious Human Trait:

"I grant no longitude or latitude
To folks indulging in high hattitude."

You never even saw our bent stovepipe,
And so should refrain from gleant stereotype.

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