The Charlotte News

Thursday, February 26, 1953


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports, via Olen Clements, that allied infantrymen had crossed enemy lines on the western front and killed an estimated 156 Communist troops in sporadic predawn clashes along the front in Korea this date. On the central front, allied infantrymen and artillery fire had driven 200 enemy troops off U.N. positions along the Hantan River Valley, southwest of Pyonggang. There had been no concentrated action either on the ground or in the air, but heavy artillery barrages had been launched in the early morning hours.

The highest temperature since the previous November had been recorded on the western front, 63 degrees, rising from a low of 19 during the previous night.

At the U.N. in New York, Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Vishinsky worked on his reply to the charges made against Russia by U.S. Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., the previous day, charging the Soviets with having started and continuing the Korean War, directly challenging Mr. Vishinsky to dispute the charge. The Soviet Foreign Minister did not indicate when he would deliver his response, and other diplomats appeared to await the Soviet response before joining the debate.

Secretary of State Dulles urged Congress this date, in a statement to the House Foreign Affairs Committee, to make it clear to the world that the U.S. would never be a party to any "international deal or trade" fixing "Soviet despotism" upon peoples it dominated in Europe and Asia, and that the U.S. would seek by peaceful goals that those enslaved national groups would recover their independence. The Committee was considering a resolution proposed by the Administration to denounce Soviet perversion of World War II agreements, including Tehran, Yalta, and Potsdam.

The President met this date with a delegation of governors, Republican Congressional leaders and Administration officials to seek a solution to the problem of federal-state division of tax revenues. The Governors included Alfred Driscoll of New Jersey, Allan Shivers of Texas, Walter Kohler of Wisconsin, and James Byrnes of South Carolina. Afterward, the President intended to depart for Augusta, Ga., for a long weekend of golf, where he would borrow the cottage of golfer Bobby Jones, just off the 18th green at the Augusta National Golf Club. Fore...

HUAC heard testimony from Wendell Furry, a Harvard physics professor, who refused to answer the question whether he had ever been a member of a Communist Party cell and also regarding whether he knew any Communists who had joined the Harvard unit of the American Association of Scientific Workers. The professor was one of 21 persons who had been named by Robert Davis, a Smith College English professor, as fellow members of a Harvard Communist cell in 1938, professor Davis having said that he had rejected Communism since. University of Chicago history professor Daniel Boorstin, subsequently to be appointed in 1975 by President Ford as the librarian of the Library of Congress, testified that he belonged to Harvard and Oxford Communist Party units before breaking with the party in 1939, and that in that year, Harvard had hired writer Granville Hicks as a counselor, at a time when he was widely known to be a Communist. Mr. Davis had said that Mr. Hicks had quit the party at about the same time he had, Mr. Hicks having essentially confirmed the statements of both Mr. Boorstin and Mr. Davis.

Incidentally, while it would be unfair to impute to Mr. Boorstin any particular political motivation in his critique and analysis in The Image of the "pseudo-event", stretching as it did across party lines in 1961 to imply cultural saturation, it would be the ne plus ultra of silliness and futility for the Trumpies, as they apparently do, at least among those few who can read or at least feign pretense of same, to try to co-opt the term and equate it to their mindless, incoherent chant of "fake news", in specific reference to any news story or journalist the least bit critical of their fearless leader and to any news network which refuses obeisance to His Highness and His loyal retinue, when the "election" in 2016 of the latter, after his consideration as being worthy of the White House despite being the least experienced at governance of any occupant of the position, derived largely from notoriety obtained with a certain subclass of Americans during his stint as a "reality tv" show star, constituted the very epitome of everything Professor Boorstin described as the "pseudo-event", which continue to transpire in episodic, almost daily, series to the present. In short, the pseudo-event, historically speaking, is "The Trump Show", in lieu of anything vaguely recognizable as the Trump Administration. Get real, Trumpie...

In New York, Liggett & Myers Tobacco Co. raised the wholesale price of Chesterfield cigarettes and its other brands, expected to result in an increase of about one cent per pack at the retail level. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and American Tobacco Co. had increased their prices the previous day, following decontrol by the Government of tobacco prices.

In New York, the defense of Mickey Jelke III, accused of hiring out three high-priced prostitutes for his support while awaiting his margarine inheritance, rested their case during the morning, without calling the defendant to the stand, after having begun their presentation the prior Tuesday. The prosecution had spent two weeks presenting their case.

In Raleigh, a bill was introduced before the State House to modify the law which forbade union shop contracts between management and labor unions, a bill which had been defeated previously in prior Legislatures. The law would bring the state in conformity with the Taft-Hartley Act. Present law was stricter than the Federal legislation. The State Senate Conservation and Development Committee quickly approved legislation to reorganize the State Ports Authority, favored by Governor William B. Umstead, reducing membership of the authority from 9 to 7 members and authorizing the Governor to name a new authority the following June. State Senator Terry Sanford of Fayetteville, future Governor and Senator, who had been a former authority member, said that every authority member favored the reorganization.

Officials and representatives of North Carolina's Amvets converged on the Capitol this date to support the proposed State veterans bonus referendum. The State House Veterans Affairs Committee was prepared to hold a public hearing on the bill, which would provide for 165 million in bonds and for increases on taxes on liquor, beer and wine to pay for the bonus of up to $500 for overseas service and up to $300 for state-wide service only, for the veterans of World War II and Korea. The Governor was opposed to the bonus and many members of the Legislature were unsupportive as well. Many other veterans organizations were likewise opposed to the bill. The Amvets declared that the state political "machine" had sought to prevent the bill from being introduced by putting out the word that anyone who introduced it would be a "dead duck politically".

How about a dead goose, crammed into an oil drum and cremated?

In Chattanooga, Tenn., a man, who had been shot in the head while sleeping, had regained consciousness two hours later, walked out of his home and told a neighbor that someone must have clubbed him. The victim's condition was serious. As he was taken to the hospital, the alleged assailant, a 16-year old, had walked into city hall and surrendered to police, saying that the man was his brother-in-law and that he had shot him in the back of his head with a .22-caliber rifle because he had mistreated his sister, with whom the boy lived. He was being held at the juvenile detention home on a charge of shooting with intent to kill.

Ever since that Christmas "Dragnet" episode about the ill-advised, early-opened .22-caliber rifle present from parents to boy, there appears to have been a spate of shootings and killings, especially by adolescents, utilizing the gun as the weapon of choice. Monkey see...

Tom Fesperman of The News indicates that there was a steeple-raising ceremony at the Covenant Presbyterian Church in Charlotte this date, at which coffee had been served on the lawn by the pastor, Dr. Warner Hall. The weather had been damp and chilly as an engineering firm set about erecting the 7,000-pound frame for the steeple, which experienced problems in balance as the boom sought to put it in place, requiring that the tip of the steeple be removed before it could be mounted. The steeple would then be covered in lead-coated copper, and would stand to a height of 165 feet from the ground. A crowd of spectators had gathered to observe the raising, including children of the church's kindergarten. The structure, when completed, would be one of the highest landmarks in the city.

Charlotte was approved by the FCC for a second television channel, the first on the UHF dial, channel 36, the call letters of which had not yet been designated. It would broadcast with an 87,500 watts video signal and 43,500 watts audio. Its studios and transmitters would be in the Radio Center building, presently under construction on South Boulevard, and a 700-foot transmission tower would be constructed at the rear of that building. There was no date set for opening of the new station, as tests had to be conducted for at least a month before it would go on the air, expected to occur in the summer or fall. Stay tuned...

On the editorial page, "Two Ways of Voting on Liquor" indicates that the only element of surprise in the introduction of a statewide liquor referendum bill the previous day had been its disposition, in that such measures traditionally had been assigned to the House Propositions & Grievances Committee, but House Speaker, E. T. Bost, Jr., had assigned the measure instead to the House Committee on Counties, Cities and Towns, to avoid controversy on whether the Speaker had stacked the membership of the former Committee. It finds the Speaker's logic well-founded in the assignment, but finds the bill, itself, to be superior to past referendum measures of its kind only in one respect, that it was an all or nothing proposition as to whether all 100 counties would be dry or wet. Under previous such measures, the Prohibitionists had sought to stack the deck by offering the people a choice between absolute prohibition or leaving the county option system in place.

It hopes that the Assembly would not pass the referendum bill, indicating its fear that the Prohibitionists would win a resulting referendum. It indicates that neither prohibition nor legal control were perfect answers to the traditional problems associated with alcohol consumption, but asserts that the ABC system had rid Mecklenburg of the large bootleggers who had once held sway and provided useful revenue which had once gone to the bootleggers and to the Fort Mill, S.C., liquor dealers, where liquor sales were permitted and busloads of people from Charlotte would be shipped back and forth by the bootleggers to carry their limited quantity of legal alcohol across the state border, then to be sold to the bootleggers of Mecklenburg for resale. It also asserts that general community morality, if not higher, was not lower than it had been during Prohibition. Furthermore, it asserts that denial of a statewide referendum was not a denial of the right of the people to vote, as each community voted to determine whether it would have prohibition or the ABC system. Mecklenburg voters had determined to have the latter in 1947, and there was every reason to believe they would again vote the same way.

"Freedom at Last" finds the North Carolina Supreme Court to have exercised profound commonsense in reaching the conclusion that the black farmer out of Caswell County, convicted the previous year of assault by "leering" at a young farm girl from a distance of 65 feet, could not have committed that crime in the "absence of any overt act constituting an offer or attempt to do injury" to the complaining witness. The Court had thus reversed the Superior Court's denial of a defense motion to dismiss the case after the completion of the State's evidence, and reversed the jury conviction, holding that the law could not reach what was in a person's mind to establish the crime of assault.

It indicates that thoughtful persons would be relieved that the Court had set the farmer free, and would also insist that the General Assembly either repeal or tighten the archaic statute under which the jury had convicted him.

Actually, it appears by the Court's decision that there was no statute involved, that it was based on common law at the time, and so a new statute would be required.

"Goodman's Sound Insurance Bill" tells of State Representative Arthur Goodman of Mecklenburg County having introduced legislation in the Assembly to propose a change to the system of hospitalization insurance, such that it would no longer be sold subject to cancellation by the company on short notice. The bill provided that the company would have to give notice equal to half the life of the policy.

The piece suggests that while the formula might be too rigid, it might also not be rigid enough, that the insurance company was entitled to protection against policyholders who fraudulently provided incorrect answers about pre-existing conditions, but also that the public deserved protection against fly-by-night, out-of-state insurance companies who sold policies and then canceled them out of the blue. The two North Carolina Blue Cross companies did not make it a practice to do so. It thus favors a law which would protect policyholders.

"Out of School, and into Prison" regards Governor William B. Umstead's budget message recommendation for funds to employ adequate numbers of attendance officers in the schools, behind which lay a long history of inadequate law, unenforced by lax officials and evaded by derelict parents, many of whose children wound up going to prison instead of school. School attendance in the state was compulsory for all children between the ages of seven and sixteen, but the penalty for violation by parents was inadequate, involving only a $25 fine or 30 days in jail, or both, and even that law was not enforced.

Despite the need for attendance enforcement officers, their numbers were being decreased, as only 28 of the 100 counties and 34 of the 72 major cities in the state had maintained such officers in the 1949-50 school year, whereas during the current school year, only 26 counties and 23 cities had them. Some of the officers were of the truant-officer type, unprepared by social work training for the job, and in school districts where there were no attendance officers, other school officials, burdened with other tasks, were charged with the responsibility.

During the previous year, the Institute for Research and Social Science at UNC had compared attendance and dropout figures in the state and concluded that attendance workers tended to reduce the number of absences, but did not affect the percentage of dropouts, positing that it might be the result of not counseling in the latter area, leaving that to counselors and guidance personnel. The piece suggests that a policy to define better the responsibilities of such workers was in order, as recommended by the Institute.

About 5 percent of students dropped out of school each year, eventually likely to become juvenile or adult offenders. The Parole commissioner, N. F. Ransdell, had told a Charlotte audience the prior Tuesday that the average educational level among state prisoners was limited to the fifth grade. The state had 94,000 illiterates and 434,000 citizens who had not gone beyond the fourth grade, from the ranks of whom came most of the prison population. It regards those who dropped out of school, therefore, to find it easy to transgress other statutes as they grew older.

Fifty-three years earlier, in 1900, State superintendent of education, Charles Mebane, had pointed out that in many cases, children were kept from school by careless, indifferent parents, and sometimes by lazy parents, who compelled their children to work in cotton mills, while the father sat around stores discussing politics and the ways and means of preserving the government. Mr. Mebane had recommended that the State come to the rescue of those "helpless children" and eventually was able to get passed the compulsory attendance law.

It concludes that the Governor's request should be granted and that the Assembly ought also provide for high professional standards and adequate pay for attendance workers, and far harsher penalties for parents who refused to obey the compulsory attendance law.

Drew Pearson indicates that Alcatraz, within the San Francisco Bay, reputedly the toughest Federal prison in the country, might be closed as part of the Republican economy measures. During an executive session held by the Senate Judiciary Committee, James Bennett, director of Federal Prisons, said that the recommendation was supposed to be contained in the President's budget message, that he had so recommended it because Alcatraz was located on the West Coast on an island and was too expensive to operate, including the necessity of bringing in fresh water. The personnel operating the prison also did not like it and the Bureau of Prisons practically had to order people to work there. Mr. Bennett had commented on the other 31 Federal prisons but had made no mention of the recent outbreak of riots, while noting that the Atlanta penitentiary was the worst trouble spot because of overcrowding in that prison and the presence of few single cells. Senator William Langer of North Dakota, chairman of the Committee, declared that, based on his personal observations, the Terre Haute, Ind., penitentiary was the worst, they he had seen more dirt and filth there than he had ever seen, though admitting that each time he had visited, the warden was not present, perhaps causing a jaundiced impression. Mr. Bennett also indicated that the old bread-and-water diet for incorrigibles had been replaced by an unpalatable spinach diet.

The Texas oil companies, which generally supported President Eisenhower, were not satisfied with the current bill on tidelands oil and wanted the drilling limit extended 250 miles out to sea, because there was no important oil off the coast of Texas up to about 12 to 14 miles out, and the current bill extended only to 10.5 miles for Texas and three miles for Louisiana and the other states. Only California would benefit under that limit.

During Prohibition, in the Hoover Administration, a dispute arose over a rum-runner whose boat was shot up by Federal prohibition agents 25 miles off the Texas coast in the Gulf of Mexico, prompting the Canadian Government to sue the U.S. over an alleged violation of international law, claiming that international rights began at the three-mile limit, not 12 miles offshore as had been declared by President Hoover. A special international tribunal, with the late Justice Willis Van Devanter of the U.S. Supreme Court sitting as the U.S. representative, was appointed to arbitrate the case, with the tribunal, including Justice Van Devanter, determining that the U.S. could not claim any rights over a vessel 25 miles out at sea. Thus, the State Department had indicated that the oil companies' suggestion of a 250-mile limit would violate international law and raised the question of what would happen if Russia suddenly proclaimed its boundaries 250 miles from its shores, enabling it then to claim sovereignty over waters in which the U.S. Navy currently supplied the U.N. troops in Korea.

Marquis Childs regards the tidelands oil dispute and the fact that Congress, under Republican leadership, was likely soon to turn over the tidelands oil to the states. Spokesmen on behalf of the states were also arguing that they should have the mineral wealth contained under Federally-owned land as well. Senator Lester Hunt of Wyoming, who estimated the mineral wealth to the Federal Government during the previous 20 years to be worth 153 million dollars in royalties in Wyoming, alone, had introduced a bill to provide the states with those rights. He said that having that mineral wealth would enable the Western states to take care of themselves without having to ask for aid from the Federal Government.

The same argument underlay a report of the bipartisan Missouri Basin Survey Commission, appointed from both the House and Senate by President Truman to try to find an answer to the recurrent Missouri River floods, which had, in two recent years, wreaked havoc. The Republican and Democratic members had disagreed on the method for meeting the problems, the majority recommending a Federal commission of five members to be appointed by the President to carry out the Congressional policy for the Missouri Basin, while recommending that the members of that commission had to be residents of the Missouri Valley, meeting some of the criticisms which had been directed at TVA. A minority of the group, consisting of Senator Milton Young of South Dakota and Representative Clifford Hope of Kansas, rejected those recommendations and instead recommended that a coordinating agency be formed under a compact reached between representatives of the ten states in the Basin and the Federal Government.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop explain why the Republican myth that Communist China had been lost by the Truman Administration State Department was fallacious. Chiang Kai-Shek and his Government had loudly, but meaninglessly, denounced the Sino-Soviet agreement of 1945 which had grown out of the Yalta agreement. The Republicans in Congress had demanded that the President repudiate the Yalta agreement. The Alsops suggest that both groups should study some interesting history contained in the biography of Marshal Tito of Yugoslavia, written by his partisan comrade and close friend, Vladimir Dedijer, in which was contained a detailed account of a meeting with Joseph Stalin in February, 1948 with Yugoslav Foreign Minister Eduard Kardelj. The subject of their discussion had been the support the Yugoslavs were providing to the Greek Communist guerrillas, less than a year after the commencement of the Truman Doctrine, providing military aid to Greece and Turkey. Stalin had protested against this Yugoslav provision of support for the Greek guerrillas and instructed the Yugoslavs to cease it. Instead, Marshal Tito had defied Russia, leading to the break with Moscow.

In the process of the meeting, Stalin had also stated that the Russians had made mistakes in the past, as when they had urged a modus vivendi between the Chinese Communists and the Nationalist Government, urging dissolution of the Communist Army in favor of a coalition government. Stalin said that he had been wrong in that advice, as the Communists were then, in 1948, winning the war in China.

Both of those policy stances by Russia were a direct result of the Yalta agreement. Stalin had agreed that he would approve a special Soviet position in Manchuria, which the Soviet Far Eastern armies had been in the position to take anyway, in return for which, the Russians would join the war against Japan, strongly desired at the time by General MacArthur. As desired by Chiang, Stalin also promised to recognize and support the Nationalist Government as the only legitimate government in China, and to provide no aid or comfort to the Chinese Communists. The Alsops point out that if that agreement had been kept by the Russians, Chiang would have still been in control of China and most of Manchuria and it would be a different world.

The Tito biography proved, therefore, conclusively that Stalin had tried to keep his Yalta bargain in the Far East, and that what he had urged the Chinese Communists to do had been what Chiang had been seeking for years.

After the Japanese surrender, General Albert Wedemeyer had asked General MacArthur for the loan of several U.S. divisions to occupy North China and Manchuria on behalf of Chiang, but General MacArthur had refused on the questionable ground that he needed the forces for the occupation of Japan. That enabled the Chinese Communists to obtain the vital Northern Chinese base, from which they ultimately were able to march to victory in 1949.

The Alsops conclude, therefore, that the idea that the State Department under the Truman Administration had lost China was not likely to be sustained by credible history.

A letter from new Congressman Charles R. Jonas of Mecklenburg indicates that he would be in Charlotte for a Lincoln Day dinner on February 28 and wished to apprise constituents of the facts so that they could discuss with him their problems. If you would like to do so, he provides the times and the location where he will be available for two hours during the morning.

A letter from Insurance commissioner Waldo Cheek in Raleigh discusses the merits of the proposed bill to require owners and operators of automobiles to post security in the event of an accident to ensure proof of financial responsibility up to a maximum of $11,000, previously lacking in the state. Failure to post the surety bond, cash or an insurance policy in that amount within 60 days of the accident would result in revocation of the driver's license. The bill also required that a report be made of every accident in which there was injury to a person or damage to property of at least $100, and that each owner or operator involved in the accident, regardless of fault, would have to post the necessary financial responsibility. He favors the bill, but warns that the present Legislature would likely not pass it unless enough people familiar with it wrote in favor of it.

A letter from the director of organization for the North Carolina March of Dimes indicates success in the recent campaign in the state. There had been more than 55,000 new cases of polio reported across the nation during the year, with a backlog of about 46,000 old cases still in need of financial assistance. North Carolina had volunteered a goal of 30 cents per person for the 1953 March, about 1.2 million dollars, the highest goal ever volunteered by the state. She indicates that it was still too early to project whether the goal had been reached, but thanks the newspapers of the state for their support.

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