The Charlotte News

Friday, February 27, 1953


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports, via Olen Clements, that U.S. Thunderjet fighter-bombers this date had hit a huge Communist training center on the Manchurian border and left it in flaming ruins. Screening Sabre jets encountered no enemy MIG-15 jets. Marine and Air Force fighter-bomber pilots reported destruction of 26 buildings, three personnel shelters, two sections of a rail bridge and other enemy installations.

In ground fighting, allied infantrymen repulsed seven Communist attacks and killed more than 60 of the enemy. On the western front, U.N. troops threw back a 150-man attack near "Kelly Hill" in close-quarters fighting, after the enemy opened the attack with a 5,600 round artillery and mortar barrage. On the eastern front, U.N. artillerymen pinned down 50 to 80 enemy troops seeking to advance on allied positions near "Luke the Gook's Castle", with 12 Chinese soldiers counted as dead while the remainder crawled back to their lines. Minor patrol activity was also reported elsewhere on the front.

On the western front, a lieutenant and one squad of infantrymen had defeated 40 or 50 Chinese Communists in a rice field early this date. A Communist officer had kicked some of his men to make them walk into the allied ambush. The allied squad later cut its way to safety through heavy Chinese reinforcements, and the lieutenant said that he had personally killed five Chinese troops. He had called in mortar fire which fell only 20 yards behind his withdrawing infantrymen to discourage the enemy from following them through the barbed wire to allied lines. The division commander congratulated the lieutenant for a job well done. Only three of his squad were wounded seriously and none was killed. The story provides detail of the fight.

Secretary of State Dulles said this date in a press conference that the State Department needed remedial action from the Republican Administration, and added that Congressional investigations, with which he indicated intent to cooperate, might help in that regard. He responded to a question as to whether morale had suffered in the Department among those who were carried over from the Truman Administration because of the new Secretary's cooperation with Senator McCarthy by saying that he knew of no such low morale, adding that he had contact only with the top dozen policy directors in the Department. He believed, based on information relayed to him, that morale in the Department was at a peak.

In Augusta, Ga., the President nominated George V. Allen, originally from North Carolina, to be Ambassador to India and neighboring Nepal, and Livingston T. Merchant to be Assistant Secretary of State in charge of European affairs. He also formally nominated Charles Bohlen as Ambassador to Russia, a nomination which had been announced the previous week. All three men were career diplomats, Mr. Allen having been Ambassador to Yugoslavia since 1949 and Mr. Merchant having been deputy U.S. special representative in Europe. He also nominated three men to become U.S. Attorneys, one for the Southern District of New York, one for Minnesota, and one for Massachusetts.

Attorney General Herbert Brownell stated that all U.S. Attorneys and Assistant U.S. Attorneys would have to give up outside law practice, and hinted, by limiting the requirement to those "retained in office", that many new appointments were in the offing. The Justice Department refused comment on the reports that a major shakeup of the 94 U.S. Attorneys was in process.

Congressional leaders predicted quick House approval, without much change, of the President's denunciation of Soviet "aggressive despotism". A hurdle to early Senate consideration had developed the previous day in the Foreign Relations Committee, as chairman Alexander Wiley of Wisconsin postponed action until the following Tuesday while Secretary of State Dulles studied proposals by Senators for a stronger and more far-reaching resolution. The House also sought stronger language than that recommended by the President, which had avoided criticism of the Tehran, Yalta and Potsdam agreements under the Roosevelt and Truman Administrations.

Senator John Williams of Delaware told the Senate this date that Treasury officials had allowed a California resident to settle a more than $521,000 claim for delinquent alcohol taxes by paying $100. He denounced a series of tax settlements made on the basis of an insignificant fraction of the amounts actually due the Government, some of the cases going back to the 1930s and earlier. He said that some of the settlements had been approved by public officials whose honesty and integrity had been challenged in recent months. He said that the California resident case involved his ability to pay, but many of the others did not. He named the Jos. Schlitz Brewing Co. in Milwaukee as having settled a claim by paying $4,225 in satisfaction of a Treasury claim of more than $261,000.

A House Ways & Means subcommittee investigating political influence in the tax unit had received testimony the previous day from Donald Tydings, an official of the IRB's Alcohol Tax Unit, and a cousin of former Senator Millard Tydings of Maryland. This date, two Treasury agents testified that Mr. Tydings seemingly could "get by with anything" as a revenue official because of his cousin. They said that Mr. Tydings borrowed money from subordinates, politicked for his chief's job and bought jewelry for one of the office girls, all without disciplinary action. He was currently on leave from his post. He had testified the previous day that his cousin had a hand in his quest for promotion and had subsequently intervened when he was about to be transferred "down the river" because of trouble with his chief. He acknowledged that he had incurred the displeasure of his chiefs in Atlanta on several occasions, but blamed it on "differences in personality" and his unpopularity regarding his efforts to "stop drinking" by agents "and put the men to work".

The Government reported this date through the Bureau of Labor Statistics that living costs had dropped two-tenths of a percent between mid-December and mid-January, primarily the result of lower retail prices for food and clothing. The new index was at 113.9, meaning that in mid-January living costs were 13.9 percent above the average for the base period of 1947-49, and .7 percent above one year earlier. A G.M. spokesman said that the new cost-of-living figures would require a one cent per hour decrease in wages for about half a million employees under G.M.'s escalator clause, which adjusted wages based on the cost-of-living index.

A crippled Navy patrol plane crash-landed in the mid-Atlantic, halfway between Bermuda and the Azores Islands, during the morning and all ten men aboard had been rescued by a Coast Guard cutter, with no injuries.

In San Francisco, a fisherman had reported seeing an unknown submarine surface off the Northern California coast at dusk on Tuesday, touching off a widespread Navy, Coast Guard and Air Force hunt. A Navy spokesman said that unknown submarine contacts had been reported about once per month during the previous year and that there was no reason to assume that foreign submarines were not operating off U.S. coasts, but that if they were beyond the three-mile international limit, there was nothing which could be done under international law.

In Moscow, Russian papers reported the death of Nikolai Derzhavin, 76, a leading authority on Slavic culture, who had written Origins of the Russian People, Slavs in Ancient Times, and Khristo Botyev, for which he had been awarded Stalin prizes. He died after a long illness.

In Raleigh, legislation which would allow the State Board of Education to change the date on which children would become eligible to start school had been introduced in the General Assembly this date. Whereas existing law provided that a child had to reach age 6 by October 1 before entering the first grade at the start of the school year, there had been urging to change the date to November 1 or December 1, and the proposed bill adopted the latter date. Although the Board had opposed such bills previously, it supported the bills introduced in both houses this date, as it would give the Board the ability gradually to adjust the date without the necessity of hiring hundreds of additional teachers and providing additional classrooms, its previous objections. Another change would require school superintendents to hold only a superintendent's certificate for which a master of arts degree was required, whereas current law required graduation from a four-year college or holding a superintendent's degree and being a citizen of the state. (Did not current law presume then that a master's degree could be obtained without graduation from a four-year college?) Several changes in traffic laws were proposed, along with changes in laws relating to plumbing and heating contractors, with the State House approving a bill designed to exempt from regulation persons installing certain air conditioning units, surprisingly supported by the Board of Examiners of Plumbing and Heating Contractors.

State Senator R. Grady Rankin of Gaston County indicated on the floor of the State Senate this date that he did not like the Senate being called "a rubber stamp" for bills backed by Governor William B. Umstead.

It's better than being called a rubber goose-step.

On the editorial page, "The 'Security' Plan Isn't Enough" regards the automobile liability insurance bill pending in the Legislature, to require motorists involved in an automobile accident to post security up to $11,000 in the form of a bond or cash or an insurance policy. It again favors as a better plan the Massachusetts requirement of compulsory liability insurance, recommending that the state profit from the problems experienced in the pilot program in Massachusetts. There, a deficiency had occurred in that non-resident drivers did not have to show liability insurance or financial responsibility in that state. It thus recommends writing a better law, finding that the security system currently proposed would not provide adequate security. Those who had worked with that system in New York vigorously supported a compulsory system, as being proposed by Governor Dewey.

Under the security system there, the number of insured had risen from one out of every three drivers to two out of every three or perhaps four out of five, but leaving about one out of every three, four or five drivers who was not insured and would not have sufficient funds to compensate persons in the event of injury in an accident. That constituted the problem with the security system. It suggests that if the negligent driver had to take out insurance before registering his automobile, as in Massachusetts, then the blameless victim would be assured compensation.

"Young Bob" indicates that not that many years earlier, the title "Senator from Wisconsin" conveyed the image of the fighting young progressive and defender of simple liberties and labor rights, "Young Bob" La Follette, and it finds it ironic that his death the prior Tuesday had come at a time when Senator McCarthy, who had wrested the office from him, representing what Senator La Follette abhorred, was at the height of his power.

The Senator had obtained his ideals and political savvy early in life from his father, "Fighting Bob", whom he had succeeded in office, making a name for himself early in his career by setting Congressional investigation standards which had seldom been equaled, while chairman of the Civil Liberties Committee, investigating wage and working conditions and living standards of workers. He had fought some of FDR's foreign policy measures, but finally came on board. His major mistake was to become a U.S. Senator rather than merely the Senator from Wisconsin, continuing to labor in Washington during the 1946 campaign for re-election, working on the reorganization of Congress, while Joseph McCarthy was busy smearing him throughout Wisconsin, ultimately winning the election by 5,000 votes.

It concludes that the La Follettes had left a great political tradition behind in Wisconsin and it suspects that one day, that state would return to its precepts and be inspired by the record and philosophy of Young Bob. "For it is a measure of the man that even now the manner of his dying is completely overshadowed by his manner of living."

"It's the Message and Effect That Counts" finds that the President had been very frank when he stated at his second press conference two days earlier that he did not know exactly what Senator McCarthy was doing with his probe of the Voice of America.

It suggests that it was time for the matter to go before the President so that he could study it and then form Administration policy. At present, the Voice was not an effective arm of the Administration, but merely a vehicle which Senator McCarthy was using for his personal publicity. The Voice needed evaluation and constant surveillance, and it would be quite proper, it opines, for a Congressional committee, which was responsible, to make such an investigation. But Senator McCarthy, as expected, had shown no inclination to make such an investigation, being more concerned with the personal life and political inclinations of persons who worked for the Voice, a secondary matter when compared to that which was transmitted behind the Iron Curtain by the Voice.

A piece from the Twin City Sentinel of Winston-Salem, titled "ABC System Works in Twin Cities", tells of the Alcoholic Beverage Control system working in that city, eliminating the large bootleggers, and enabling enforcement personnel to concentrate on small bootleggers who bought from stores and sold their product at odd hours, and on the dealers in non-tax paid white liquor. The profits from the ABC stores were sufficient to pay for many additional public services for the people of the city and county, which otherwise would have to come from property or other taxes. Winston-Salem Mayor Marshall Kurfees had announced that the system, operating for 14 months, was on a pay-as-you-go basis and that more of the profits would be divided between the city and county on a 3 to 1 ratio. The total accumulated profits as of the beginning of the year had been a half million dollars. (Quickly: How much did the County receive?)

Law enforcement personnel had found that when they caught bootleggers in one section of the city, trade in the ABC stores in that area increased.

It concludes that, on the whole, the ABC system was the "reasonable and workable way to control."

Lindley H. Clark, Jr., writing in the Wall Street Journal, tells of the fight in New York over compulsory automobile liability insurance, with the law providing that a motorist would be compelled either to purchase insurance or show proof of financial responsibility by posting a bond or depositing $25,000 in cash. Governor Dewey and the State Insurance superintendent supported the bill, as a means to provide financial security to those involved in auto accidents. Insurance companies contended that rates in Massachusetts, the only state with a compulsory insurance law, had become a political football. In a letter mailed to members of the Legislature, the general counsel of the Association of Casualty & Surety Companies had argued that compulsory insurance was a forerunner to socialism.

A piece from the Richmond News-Leader tells of a decision to ignore the "Congressional Record and the Annual Report of the Secretary of the Treasury on the State of the Finances" and instead read the Best Stories of Jack London, just re-issued by Garden City Books of New York. It compares Mr. London as a writer to Françoise Villon, Rudyard Kipling, Robert Louis Stevenson, and O. Henry—whose real name was William Sydney Porter, not Snyder—, and finds his rough and tumble barroom brawler style to be superior in authenticity in each instance. It recaps his background, having been brought up on the wrong side of the tracks in Oakland and San Francisco, suggests that had he not been so much in debt and thus forced to write so prolifically, he might have been among the first rank of writers, for writing was something which could not be rushed. He had turned out 40 books and more than 100 stories in 17 years, had made a pile of money and squandered it all, before finally drinking himself to death in 1916 at age 40.

The editorial finds that he had touched a "rough greatness" in "The White Silence", had created a classic yarn of prize-fighting in "A Piece of Steak", written for the Saturday Evening Post in 1909, and that no better suspense writing could be found than "Love of Life" or "To Build a Fire", the latter Yukon story having been written, ironically, in Hawaii in 1907.

It concludes that the terrible economic forces which had driven Mr. London to socialism no longer existed, that while the Yukon was still present, man's ingenuity had pretty much conquered the elemental forces, brawling was frowned upon and socialism among the literati was now followed by the genteel set rather than those of the clenched fist. "Vagabondia" had vanished.

It relates some data gleaned from the Congressional Record report and then determines, "Now back to the Malemute Kid!"

Drew Pearson indicates that the President had chided Republican Senators at a private luncheon recently for blocking some of the budget cuts they were seeking, by telling them that as fast as the extravagances could be weeded out, they were putting them back in. Senator Edward Thye of Minnesota had brought up the topic of farm prices, indicating that in a speech he had recently made on the Senate floor, he had been slightly critical of Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson, while at the same time refuting the impression the Democrats were trying to convey, that the cattle price drop was the result of the Republicans. The President then broke in, saying that they presently had the largest cattle population. He also said that he was impressed by Mr. Benson's tremendous sincerity.

The White House briefing on the international situation, after which many Senators had stated that the prospects were "grim", had dealt with a number of topics, including the chief friction point in Berlin, with CIA director Allen Dulles warning that the Communist Party might try to squeeze the U.S. out of Berlin during the spring, whether by means of another blockade or by sending East Germans into the Western sector to stage riots not yet known. He warned that trouble was coming, while the Air Force had a contingency plan ready for another Berlin airlift if necessary.

Regarding French Indo-China, the briefing informed that the Kremlin was likely to hit the West in several places at the same time, one of which, according to Mr. Dulles, was Indo-China, about which the Russian and Chinese leaders had recently been conferring. Joint Chiefs chairman General Omar Bradley, however, stated that the Chinese did not have a large army on the Indo-Chinese border, while also indicating that guerrillas and supplies appeared to be pouring into the country. Mr. Dulles urged that as a counter-measure, American supplies should be increased to aid the French, who were seeking a five-year aid plan during which the U.S. would send half a billion dollars worth of supplies per year to Indo-China. Senator Alexander Wiley of Wisconsin, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, expressed surprise and incredulity at this suggestion.

In addition, the Congressional leaders were briefed on the Communist drive in Korea, with General Bradley reporting that the Chinese were using a new rotation plan, had put two new divisions into the front lines, and that lifting the embargo around Formosa had not drawn any Chinese troops out of Korea to defend the Chinese mainland, the Communist forces in Korea continuing to be a million strong. On the other hand, the U.N. had ten percent more U.S. troops in Korea than at the beginning of the year because other U.N. units had to be rotated. General Bradley warned that a U.N. drive in Korea would cost about 50,000 men and casualties and would not be possible without sending more U.S. divisions to the front.

Regarding the Balkans, Secretary of State John Foster Dulles reported one favorable piece of news, that three traditional enemies, Turkey, Yugoslavia and Greece, would sign a mutual security pact which would greatly strengthen the West in the Mediterranean, bringing pressure against two Soviet satellite neighbors, Albania and Bulgaria. Secretary Dulles was also pleased about the prospect of a Mediterranean defense pact which would include Egypt, England and the U.S., as well as Italy, Greece and other Mediterranean countries. Allen Dulles, however, had presented a pessimistic picture of Soviet propaganda in that same region, indicating that the Kremlin had increased its efforts to woo the Arabs and that hundreds of so-called Russian diplomats were working constantly to persuade the Arab governments to trade with Russia and no longer consider joining the Western pact. That Russian cajoling, plus the Kremlin's break with Israel recently, were having their effect, especially when combined with the stalled Western plans to bring Germany and France together into a united armed force.

Budget director Joseph Dodge reported regarding the financing of the world program, stating that there was little chance of balancing the 1954 budget or reducing military expenditures during the ensuing year, the latter point having caused Republican leaders to state afterward that the prospects were grim. Mr. Pearson adds that, actually, it was no grimmer than it had been for some time.

Marquis Childs indicates that Senator Joseph McCarthy was still acting as if Dean Acheson were Secretary of State rather than John Foster Dulles, that the new Secretary could, over a period of about six months, have made essential changes in reorganizing the Department to cut out wasteful programs, at which point, had it not been done, a Congressional investigation would have been in order

But Senator McCarthy was interfering with that process with his investigation. That was even more curious for the fact that General Eisenhower had dragged along several Senators in their bids for re-election the previous November, including Senator McCarthy, having outpolled eight Republican incumbent Senators in their respective states, 61 percent to 54 percent in the case of Senator McCarthy's Wisconsin. Even in Ohio, where such a well-known politician as Senator John W. Bricker had been up for re-election, the General had received 57 percent of the vote and the Senator 54 percent. Senators who had been actively supporting General Eisenhower, such as Irving Ives of New York and Edward Thye of Minnesota, ran even with or ahead of the General. One important exception was Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., who was defeated in Massachusetts by Congressman John F. Kennedy, with special and local circumstances in play.

That process placed in doubt the mid-term elections of the following year, as no popular hero with a household name would be leading the ticket in 1954. Most of the Republican Senators who were up for re-election the following year were from preponderantly Republican states and so might be considered safe, but it was not the case with the members of the House, where there were 221 Republicans to 211 Democrats, one independent and two vacancies. With falling farm prices and no popular leader, the Republicans had reason to worry.

A more immediate problem was whether the new Administration and Secretary Dulles and the State Department could restore confidence in government, both with the public and civil servant administrators. Secretary Dulles was soon to make a decision in the case of John Carter Vincent, the career officer whose loyalty had been challenged because of his reporting on the crisis in China. The top loyalty review board found by a vote of 3 to 2 that there was reasonable doubt of his loyalty. Mr. Dulles had dismissed the panel of distinguished citizens whom Secretary Acheson had named to recommend whether Mr. Vincent should be fired, and undertook the responsibility himself. Were he to sustain the finding of the loyalty board, then it would be important for other career officers and the public to believe that he had reached his judgment independently and not out of fear of Senate inquisitors. Mr. Childs concludes that the inquisitors, by their conduct, had made that all but impossible.

The Congressional Quiz of the Congressional Quarterly asks whether there was much money in the federal-state public assistance program going to people who were not eligible, which it answers by indicating that the Investigations subcommittee of the Senate Government Operations Committee had held a one-day hearing on the matter and the assistant counsel for the subcommittee had estimated that state-federal payments to ineligible persons averaged 60 million to 75 million dollars per year, that in the previous fiscal year, Federal grants had amounted to 1.124 billion dollars, which, supplemented by state contributions, went to the aged, dependent children, the blind and totally disabled.

The question whether Congress was going to revise the lobby law after a Federal District Court had ruled parts of it unconstitutional is answered by indicating that a Congressional Quarterly survey had stated that many members of Congress were undecided on the question, but that most of the two Congressional committees which would probably handle the legislation supported the principle of control of lobbying, and that a proposed new law was being drafted by a special Library of Congress unit for submission to the Senate Government Operations Committee.

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