The Charlotte News

Wednesday, February 4, 1953


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports, via Robert B. Tuckman, that allied fighter-bombers had attacked a Communist troop concentration east of Kangdong in northwest Korea this date. Fighter-bomber pilots reported destruction of 16 enemy buildings in the raid. Six Sabre jets had engaged with ten enemy MIG-15s in the same area, but no damage claims by the allied pilots were reported.

Only light ground activity was reported along the frozen front, with 424 enemy troops having been killed in savage fighting at both ends of the front during the previous 24 hours, 350 during a hit-and-run raid by the allies on an enemy fortress hill on the western front, and 74 during an enemy attack on an allied-held promontory, both occurring the previous day.

Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, visiting in London, met this date with Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden, regarding British-American problems, especially the lagging European unification and defense efforts. The British wanted to discuss the decision by the President to deneutralize Formosa by removing the U.S. Seventh Fleet, a topic of controversy in Commons, out of fear that the Chinese Nationalists might be used in the Korean War, touching off general war with Communist China, with inevitable repercussions to the British in Hong Kong. Parts of the British press were also raising objections to a remark by Mr. Dulles recently that the U.S. might rethink its policy of aid to Western Europe unless France, Germany and Britain united for mutual defense.

The Defense Department, which spent over half of the Government's budget, was taking a close look at its 46.3 billion proposed budget for the coming fiscal year, inspired by President Eisenhower to do so. Assistant Defense Secretary W. J. McNeil ensured that there would be no cuts which would wreck any defense program.

White House press secretary James Hagerty refused to comment on whether the President had already sent orders to the Seventh Fleet to end the blockade of Formosa, and told reporters they could expect no details at present or in the future. Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas suggested that the U.S. supply warplanes to the Chinese Nationalists so that they could bomb Communist China, just as the Russians were furnishing planes and trained pilots for the Communist Chinese in Korea. He said that his plan would not also supply pilots for those planes. Senator Sherman Cooper of Kentucky indicated that he feared that the U.N., to which he had been a U.S. representative, would do nothing to end the Korean War and that the U.S. had to act for itself, that though the British did not like the President's plan, it was the "least dangerous step" which the U.S. could take presently to provide some relief in Korea.

It was likely that Harold Talbott, the President's appointee to become Secretary of the Air Force, would be confirmed by the Senate this date, after a favorable recommendation from the Armed Services Committee the previous day, unanimous except for the objection of Senator Estes Kefauver, who told reporters that he was still not satisfied with Mr. Talbott's replies to criticism regarding World War I aircraft contracts awarded a firm he headed, based on a negative report by Charles Evans Hughes prepared in 1917-18, then a former Supreme Court Justice and Republican nominee for the Presidency in 1916, subsequently Chief Justice. Senator Kefauver had questioned Mr. Talbott sharply the prior Monday on that report, indicating that the company had used improper methods in obtaining 30 million dollars worth of World War I contracts.

The supervisor of the State Department's foreign service files room testified to a Senate Investigations subcommittee this date that John Service had been provided access to confidential files of U.S. foreign service personnel in 1948, and had spent many hours with those files. Mr. Service had been dismissed the previous year from the State Department following a loyalty review board decision that there was reasonable doubt as to his loyalty, overruling a contrary finding by the State Department's loyalty board. The subcommittee, chaired by Senator Joseph McCarthy, was investigating alleged mismanagement of State Department personnel files. Mr. Service had been one of Senator McCarthy's targets during his 1950 charges that the State Department had various numbers of card-carrying Communists and Communist sympathizers in its employ. Mr. Service had denied repeatedly any connections with Communists, and the loyalty review board, while recommending his firing, reported that it found no evidence that he had been a member of the Communist Party or any subversive organization.

In New York, the trial of Mickey Jelke III, margarine heir, continued, on accusations that he controlled three high-priced prostitutes, taking their earnings while awaiting his inheritance. A 19-year old woman was set to testify as the first witness, allegedly having told the District Attorney that she had engaged in the prostitution, but had decided to tell all after Mr. Jelke had jilted her for another woman. Jury selection, however, was not yet completed.

In New York, former Commerce Department economist William Remington was sentenced this date to three years in prison after his conviction for perjury in defending himself against accusations of being a Communist, made by former Communist courier Elizabeth Bentley, having testified that he did not know that the Young Communist League existed while he was a student at Dartmouth College. He had originally been sentenced to five years in prison after his first conviction for perjury, which was overturned by the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals. His present conviction had been based on alleged perjury committed during the first trial.

In the Netherlands, warnings of new gales and high tides across already flood-ravaged Britain and Holland, where rescue workers continued to seek survivors of the worst floods since medieval times, with the death toll in those two countries plus Belgium topping 1,600, including 1,053 in Holland. A Dutch newspaper claimed that more than 2,000 persons may have died in the Netherlands. The waters had subsided somewhat in Britain and Belgium, and in isolated villages, but 1,000 square miles of Holland, which had been the hardest hit of the three countries, remained under water.

Near Saulte Ste. Marie, Mich., a husband and wife and four of their five children were burned to death early this date when fire destroyed their farmhouse at Brimley. The surviving child was married and resided in Saulte Ste. Marie. No cause of the fire is indicated.

In Chattanooga, Tenn., a man and woman were arrested the previous day on charges of reckless driving in the same automobile, the man having been operating the gas pedal, the brakes and the clutch, while the woman steered the car. Their ages are not provided.

In Hollywood, actress Marie Wilson was going to work for eight hours in a Las Vegas business office for $22,500, to benefit the March of Dimes drive. She had offered her secretarial services to the highest bidder to help raise money for the campaign.

In Raleigh, a measure authorizing revision of the State Highway Commission was introduced in both houses of the General Assembly this date, empowering the Governor to name a committee of five persons which would study whether the number of highway divisions should be increased from 10 to not more than 15.

In Durham, Governor William B. Umstead this date held his first meeting with newsmen since his inauguration on January 8, a meeting held in the hospital where the Governor continued to convalesce after his mild heart attack suffered on January 11. He said that he was doing all right, a statement confirmed by his doctor. He did not yet know when he might be allowed to leave the hospital. He was being maintained in a typically small, private hospital room. He walked around his room at times and was permitted to smoke whenever he wished, saying that he smoked excessively. He expressed his gratitude for the many cards, letters, telegrams, flowers and expressions of sympathy from people throughout the state. As indicated, the Governor would die 21 months hence. The sallow-faced look and sunken cheeks were a dead give away.

In Raleigh, Ed Rankin, secretary to Governor Umstead, had been taken back slightly this date when he received a communication from an out-of-state youth which requested information on the marriage laws in North Carolina because, he said, he was "in a little trouble and would like to get married", saying that he was 18, as was his girl.

In Charlotte, a neatly dressed man wearing a gag-type false nose held up a service station during the early morning at gunpoint, taking $158.46 and leaving the night attendant unharmed. He had entered the station and asked, "Hey, pop, where is the toilet?" The night attendant directed the man to the restroom, and he went inside and closed the door. After a few minutes, the man had emerged from the restroom, complaining about the toilet not being clean, and asked the attendant to come and look at it, whereupon the attendant went to the door, at which point the man pulled out an automatic pistol and informed him it was a hold-up. He then took bills from the attendant's shirt pocket and his money changer from his belt. The man then said that he used to work in a service station and knew how hard the work was, so would not take the man's money, told him to open the safe, whereupon the attendant told him he did not know the combination. He then told the attendant to enter the restroom and not emerge for 15 minutes, or he would be shot by a man outside with a high-powered rifle. The robber was between 25 and 30, weighed about 150 to 160 pounds, was neatly dressed in a brown gabardine topcoat and pants, had a "bumpy" face with a crescent-shaped scar about an inch long over the right eye. If you see such a man wearing a false nose, call the police immediately.

On the editorial page, "Prerogatives Do Not a Senator Make" indicates that the State Senator from Mecklenburg County, Fred McIntyre, had proposed to undertake his prerogative allowed by the State Constitution to overrule any decisions on local bills made by the State House delegation if he thought them improvident. In so doing, he proposed to abandon the so-called "unit rule", which had been adopted in 1943 by the former State Senator, under which the House delegation met with the State Senator and then voted as a group on local bills, with the majority being decisive. That system had prevented the squabbles of the past between the State Senator and the House delegation, which had become so notorious in the Assembly that the Mecklenburg delegation had become something of a standing joke, causing it to lose its influence, restored under the unit-rule system.

The piece counsels Senator McIntyre to remember that his House colleagues could ignore his legislative proposals if he decided to ignore theirs, and that the best interests of the County would be served in the Assembly by the unit rule.

"Count Us Out on This Deal" disfavors the bill introduced at the request of the State Board of Elections, insofar as it might apply to Mecklenburg County, whereby precincts with more than 1,500 registered voters would be subdivided, with the result in Mecklenburg that 17 new precincts would have to be formed, making the total an unwieldy 90 precincts.

It favors exemption of Mecklenburg from the bill, and adoption, instead, of the recommendations of the chairman of the County Board of Elections, that an alphabetized index-card system be adopted to quicken the processing of voters on election day, reducing the number of precincts and providing larger physical facilities in which to vote, the adoption of voting machines, and a longer period of registration before major elections.

"County Police Plan Dies A-Borning" informs that State Senator McIntyre, who had introduced a measure in the General Assembly to combine the County Police Department with the Sheriff's Office in Mecklenburg County, had withdrawn the plan, after numerous people from the county had let him know of their displeasure with the proposal. The piece applauds the move and indicates again that the proposal had been ill-advised for the fact that it would have been false economy, subjecting the County Police Department to politics, based on the fact that the Sheriff was an elective office and that the savings entailed would have been only illusory.

"Add Up the Outgo First" indicates that during the State of the Union message, the President had received loud applause from fellow Republicans when he renounced "secret undertakings" of prior administrations which permitted enslavement of other peoples, and the removal of the Seventh Fleet from its blockade of Nationalist China on Formosa, but had received only a smattering of applause, primarily from Democrats, when he warned that it was necessary first to balance the budget to check further depreciation of the dollar, before undertaking reduction of taxes.

The piece indicates that perhaps the members of Congress felt some guilt about having been responsible for providing more than that for which President Truman had asked in his budgets in three of the previous five years. They might also have recalled that their campaign promises to slash taxes did not mesh with economic realities.

The editorial agrees with the President's position on the economy, that it was necessary first to balance the budget before undertaking tax cuts, and counsels Congress to do likewise to avoid further depreciation of the dollar.

A piece of from the Lexington Dispatch, titled "The Water Ran Red", indicates that a minister who taught country preachers at Gardner-Webb Junior College in Boiling Springs, N.C., had observed runoff of red soil in a heavy rain recently, saw that it came from the adjoining cotton field wherein there was an unpainted building with a yard barren of grass or shrubs, enabling the unchecked runoff. He had driven down the road and seen a green yard with grass and shrubs in front of a modern, painted dwelling, amid terraced landscaping, preventing soil runoff.

The piece indicates that good soil was being lost forever in the Yadkin River watershed through poor soil conservation techniques, associated, as the minister had suggested, with poverty.

Drew Pearson indicates that President Eisenhower had told one of his long-time Army friends of his lack of trust of Senator Taft, whom he found to be "complex and brilliant" but unpredictable, a person with whom one never knew where one stood, in contrast to President Truman, whom he characterized as being direct and simple, but someone with whom one always knew where one stood, that last opinion ventured in response to his friend's question as to how he viewed the former President after enduring his attacks during the campaign, President Eisenhower having responded that he bore no ill feeling toward the former President.

Army doctors were working to develop a synthetic plasma, called dextran, which was free of a virus contained in blood plasma being administered to wounded troops in Korea, causing a liver infection of unknown origin.

Republican Senator William Langer of North Dakota, though the new chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, was, nevertheless, being directed by the old chairman, "alleged Democrat" Senator Pat McCarran of Nevada, who had worked it so that Senator Langer would have to hire Senator McCarran's whole staff, including one member who had sought to dig up dirt on Senator Langer to keep him from becoming chairman.

The controversial "Operation Smack" in Korea, which had drawn angry Congressional response for the belief that it was a propaganda exercise staged for the brass and press, had revealed the deep tunnel system of the Communist Chinese troops, which would make it hard to ferret them out. In some cases they had dug fortifications three stories deep in the ground, with 10-foot deep trenches at the top, all protecting them from allied mortar and artillery fire. The operation was designed to "smack" the enemy with air and artillery fire, but it had proved ineffective because of the trench and underground system of the enemy. Further complicating the operation was the fact that the allied tanks had moved up too fast and the infantry had been delayed, resulting ultimately in the infantry getting caught in crossfire from machine guns between the allies and the enemy. The total U.N. casualties were three dead and 61 wounded, most of the wounded having suffered bruises and scratches from literally tumbling down the hill which had been the objective, not achieved.

Ann Sawyer of The News, in the second of three articles on consolidation of City and County services, discusses a proposal by City Councilman Basil Boyd to combine the City and County Recorder's Courts, indicating that the proposal had met with mixed reactions, some favorable and some unfavorable. If you want to know more about this hot topic in 1953, you may certainly read about it.

The "Congressional Quiz" asks what the Supreme Court rule was regarding tidelands oil, answers that in three separate cases brought by the Federal Government to settle ownership of the tidelands areas in California, Louisiana and Texas, the Supreme Court had ruled, respectively, 6 to 2, 7 to 0, and 4 to 3, that the Government had the primary rights in the areas.

It also asks what were the tax stands of Representative Daniel Reed of New York, chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee, answers that he favored tax cuts and had voted against the Revenue Act of 1951, which increased taxes by 5.7 billion dollars, introduced in 1953 a tax cut bill to lower taxes by the same mount of the 1951 increase, an average of 11 percent, and said that the Republicans would achieve both a balanced budget and a tax cut, despite President Truman having predicted in his final economic report to Congress that the Government would have a ten billion dollar deficit in the 1953-54 fiscal year.

A letter writer responds to a letter of January 27 regarding the prior writer's view that yearly statistics showed that drunk driving was responsible for a greater percentage of highway accidents than other causes, an argument which he regards as specious for the fact that the National Safety Council had reported that in 1951, 22 percent of fatal traffic accidents involved either a drinking driver or pedestrian, a percentage virtually unchanged from 1950. The Council had reported that 28 percent of all fatal accidents during 1951 were the result of speeding. He points out that in Greensboro, a dry city, in 1945, the accident rate had been 4.8 percent, and in 1951, 1.6 percent. In Durham, which had been wet for many years, the accident rate in 1945 had been 4.4 percent and in 1951, .4 percent. Thus, he concludes that accident rates had little to do with whether a community was wet or dry.

A letter writer, the historian of Chase Addams Camp No. 1 of the United Spanish War Veterans, indicates that 55 years earlier, on February 15, 1898, the U.S.S. Maine, while on a friendly mission to Havana, had been sunk in Havana Harbor, an act attributed to Spain, causing the Spanish-American War, which "ended Spain's control in the New World". He provides a detailed account of the event, resulting in 266 of the 328 men aboard the Maine having been killed.

A letter writer suggests that the News had entered into a competition with the Observer for narrow-mindedness, in its publication of a piece from the Richmond News-Leader which had elaborated on the vagaries of Polish pronunciation. While he admits that difficulties in pronouncing Polish names was understandable and pardonable, that "such ignorance should afford a singular species of self-satisfaction and serve as a point of departure for the rankest xenophobia masked as humor is hardly in keeping with that tradition of impartiality and objectivity which newspapers are wont to ascribe to themselves, yet possessed to so pathetically minute a degree." He supplies his Polish surname.

The editors respond that the reader ought to "take off his dark-colored glasses, cheer up and reread the editorial, which lamented the fact that if Mr. Skrzeszewski becomes U.N. Secretary-General, the newspaper desk man will have little room left to put anything in headlines about him except 'By Skrzeszewski'." It indicates that desk men and editorial writers complained about other long names, such as O'Shaughnessy and Apalachicola, in the same vein as Polish surnames.

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