The Charlotte News

Monday, March 16, 1953


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports, via George A. McArthur, that that an Australian warrant officer had spotted a mile-long Communist convoy south of Wonsan on the east coast of Korea and had hurried to the head of the line of fighter-bomber planes to blow up the first two trucks, then circled back to hit the last four, thus stalling the enemy convoy on a narrow road, with a steep cliff on one side and a sheer drop on the other, enabling other Australian jets and U.S. warplanes then to attack the trapped trucks. Other air activity targeted enemy rail yards in northwest Korea, supply routes and front-line positions. Screening Sabre jets engaged with enemy MIG-15s, shooting down one.

There were no major engagements reported on the ground, but probing searchlights had flushed enemy infantrymen on two fronts into the open just before daybreak, permitting the killing of at least 50 enemy troops in a hail of artillery fire.

In Moscow, the more than 1,000 members of the Supreme Soviet unanimously confirmed Georgi Malenkov as the new Prime Minister the previous day and loudly cheered his inaugural address, including the assertion that all "troublesome and unsolved" issues with the U.S. and other countries could be solved peacefully. One foreign diplomat viewed the address as nearly an invitation to sit down with the U.S. and anyone else to seek to ease world tension. The address stressed a policy of peace and never referred to "warmongers" or to American "imperialists", as had been characteristic of Soviet rhetoric during the reign of Stalin. Mr. Malenkov said that the new Government's foreign policy was based on respect for the rights of other countries and strict adherence to all treaties, as well as cooperation and development of business relations with all nations, including capitalist nations. He also said that the Soviet Union would make its links with Communist China and Eastern Europe even stronger.

The State Department this date challenged new Soviet Premier Malenkov to carry out his words of "peaceful intent" through action to settle the Korean War and other East-West issues. The Department said in a statement by its press officer that it had received "with interest" the inaugural address of the Premier, in part because he scarcely had mentioned former Premier Stalin, as well as for his apparent recognition of the "latent power for good" among the Soviet peoples. The statement also indicated that the significance of the words would be determined by future action of the Soviet Union and by those under its sway, that protestations of peaceful intent by the Soviets were not new. It was interested in how the words of Mr. Malenkov would be implemented to effect that peaceful intent, in Korea, in Germany, and in Austria. The statement made clear that it was fully authorized but not approved personally by Secretary of State Dulles.

The U.S. Air Force this date braced itself against the threat of other Communist air attacks by bringing to Germany an unspecified number of Sabre jets from England to help patrol the skies over West Germany, following two separate incidents the prior week, in which an American plane in one episode and a British plane in the other had been shot down by Communist MIG-15s, in both incidents, the Soviets claiming that the Allied planes had superseded West German borders, while the Allies insisted that they had not.

White House press secretary James Hagerty indicated that the President was unconcerned about the problems of obtaining the confirmation of Charles Bohlen to be the new Ambassador to Russia, and was not preparing to withdraw the nomination. Congressional leaders reported that the President had not brought up the matter at his weekly conference with them. Senator Styles Bridges had told reporters before the conference that he would recommend withdrawal of the nomination if the President brought it up. Senator Taft said that he guessed Mr. Bohlen would be confirmed and that he would vote for him, that the Foreign Relations Committee would recommend approval of the nomination the following day and that it would be taken up on the floor of the Senate on Friday.

In London, Marshal Tito of Yugoslavia began a visit, the first to Britain by any head of a Communist state. He was greeted at the Westminster Pier by the Duke of Edinburgh, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden. During the visit, Tito would meet with British leaders for talks, the exact nature of which had not been disclosed. As a safety precaution against potential assassination attempts, the scheduled times of Tito's arrival and other events on his itinerary had been maintained in secret.

The Federal Budget director, Joseph Dodge, urged Congress this date before the Senate and House Government Operations Committees, meeting jointly, to enact new laws which would provide the President more power to undertake a thorough housecleaning of the Government. Senator Joseph McCarthy said to the Committees that under present law, the President did not have enough power to "clear away all the debris that has accumulated over a period of years." But Senator Taft and House Speaker Joseph Martin, shortly after meeting with the President in their weekly conference, told journalists that they believed the President did not need new legislative power to replace policy-making officials appointed under the previous Administration. Senator Taft said that he expected the President, within the ensuing few days, to issue an executive order stripping Civil Service protection from at least several hundred policy-making officials described by the Senator as "New Deal thinkers".

The Supreme Court this date upheld the Federal Power Commission in its licensing of a private company to build a multi-million dollar hydroelectric plant on the Roanoke River at Roanoke Rapids, N.C.

The Court also held that states could forbid labor union picketing if it conflicted with state right-to-work laws.

The House Commerce Committee scheduled hearings to start on March 24 to determine what had happened to color television for public consumption.

At the atomic test site in Yucca Flat, Nevada, a white house on the corner of Elm and Main Streets was due to receive a pounding the next day in a test of a nuclear device, with 1,000 troops and a group of 20 picked journalists crouched in foxholes to observe the detonation, designed to test the effect of an explosion on a two-story frame and concrete structure 1.5 miles from ground-zero. Atomic scientists said that it was not a bomb but rather a "device" which was being tested, packing the equivalent of 15,000 tons of TNT. The test houses were built to specifications of the average American home for the Civil Defense Administration, and afterward, when the area was shown to be radioactively safe, newsmen and Civil Defense officials would be permitted to view how the houses and the mannequins inside had come through the blast. There were 19 dummies in a white colonial home, seven of them positioned in bomb shelters in the basement. The proximity of the location of journalists, dubbed "News Nob", was three miles closer to ground-zero than during the previous year's detonation from a bomb dropped from a plane, with the bomb to be detonated being smaller and detonated from a 300-foot tower, compared with an altitude of 3,500 feet the previous year. The foxholes, to contain the soldiers and officials, were two miles away, a position considered safe as sheep had survived in such positions during previous tests. The AEC was conducting its usual biomedical studies on various animals by placing them in bunkers as close as 400 yards to ground zero, including dogs, pigs, monkeys, rabbits and mice.

Live television coverage of the blast by ABC, CBS and NBC, as well as by Los Angeles Paramount television station KTLA, would be presented the following morning, scheduled to start at 8:00 EST. In addition, a half-hour program showing films of the effects of the bomb would be telecast at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

Set your watches and alarm clocks.

A piece on the front page by Joseph and Stewart Alsop indicates that the President was seriously considering an air defense program estimated to cost an additional 16 to 20 billion dollars, being discussed at the highest levels in the National Security Council. It resulted from studies made by qualified scientists from MIT and other leading U.S. universities and scientific institutions, some of whom the Alsops mention, on behalf of the Government, forecasting that soon, cities and industry within the U.S. would be virtually defenseless against a potentially devastating Soviet air attack using atomic weapons, providing a grace period of no more than two years to prepare for it. The amount being considered would be spread over more than one year, but would also generate huge maintenance and replacement costs. If adopted, the aim of reducing defense spending, as sought by Senator Taft, would be unlikely of achievement, sparking sharp Congressional reaction.

In Raleigh, D. W. Colvart, head of the animal industry department at N.C. State, was selected to become dean of the School of Agriculture by the executive committee of the Board of Trustees of the Consolidated University this date.

The News would present its annual garden section, edited by Cora A. Harris, on Wednesday, omitting, in consequence, from this Monday edition the usual garden page.

Don't miss the garden party, presented by the gardening club.

On the editorial page, "Taxpayers Deserve a Better Break Than They Got in Payoff to Firemen" again deals with the Firemen's Retirement Fund and its troubled state, with efforts being made to shore it up, because of inadequate contributions to sustain it through time. The previous Tuesday, the City Council had approved an additional contribution of $40,000 per year for the ensuing two years to prop up the fund, but it was clear that only one member of the Council had studied the question fully enough to understand its details. It was inevitable that other municipal employees would begin to protest such showing of favoritism to one branch of the city's service organizations, and the chief of police had sent a critical telegram to the legislative delegation charging "gross discrimination" against policemen and other City employees, and during the weekend, a petition had been circulated among City department officials to obtain equal treatment.

It concludes that the Council's responsibilities were clear, to protect taxpayers from unjustified raids on the public treasury and to protect members of the Fire Department, especially the younger men, from leadership which had so far shown too little concern regarding the shaky retirement fund, as well as protection of all City employees against unfair discrimination and unequal treatment. It finds that the embarrassment of correcting the previous week's error was small in comparison with those broad responsibilities. It proposes reversal of the action and appointment of a special commission by a Superior Court judge to study the matter and make appropriate recommendations.

"The Issue in Park Board Row" regards the issue posed by State Senator Fred McIntyre of Mecklenburg to abolish the appointive Park & Recreation Commission and make the membership elective. The issue boiled down to whether representatives in the General Assembly were automatically endowed with dictatorial authority over purely local matters. The City Council was opposed to Mr. McIntyre's proposal and more than half of the present members of the Commission also opposed it, because they doubted good personnel would subject themselves to a political campaign to serve on a body which received no pay and often no gratitude. Both of the newspapers in Charlotte also opposed the measure.

It indicates that it did not question the motives of Senator McIntyre but did question his judgment and hopes that the four members of the House delegation for Mecklenburg would block the bill.

"Ike Faces a Showdown with Party" indicates that sooner or later, the Eisenhower Administration had to force a showdown on foreign policy with the right wing of the Republican Party, and hopes that it would be sooner, by doing battle over the delayed confirmation of Charles Bohlen as Ambassador-designate to Russia.

In three separate instances during the probe of the Voice of America, Secretary of State Dulles had been persuaded to agree with Senator Joseph McCarthy, after first showing signs of standing up to the Wisconsin Senator. After the President had sent to Congress his resolution denouncing Russia for violations of the Yalta and Potsdam agreements of 1945, the right wing of the Republican Party again intruded, insisting that the resolutions go further and denounce the Truman and Roosevelt Administrations, ultimately resulting in the resolution being pigeonholed.

Now, despite Mr. Bohlen being ranked as one of the top experts on Russia within the diplomatic service, criticism of the appointment had arisen based on the fact that he had once worked under former Secretary of State Acheson, a complaint which would disqualify virtually all career diplomats. The President could count on the support of Democratic Senators for the confirmation and could probably obtain enough votes from Republicans to defeat the right wing decisively on the matter. It urges that he must do so at the first opportunity, to carry out his mandate provided him by the voters, to establish a new, more vigorous and more successful foreign policy.

A piece from the Richmond News-Leader, titled "Jonas Homers, His First Time at Bat", indicates that new Congressman Charles Jonas of Mecklenburg County, in his first speech before the House, had made news for his opposition to plans of the Office of Price Stabilization to write and publish a history of its operations. The piece agrees with his opposition.

But the OPS administrator, Joseph Freehill, had defended the project on the basis that President Truman had ordered the report and that the order still stood under President Eisenhower, that it was traditional to have agencies being dismantled write their histories, and that it would not cost much to do so.

The piece, however, suggests that it was not a necessary undertaking, and that even if it were, the agency being liquidated should not, itself, be assigned to write it. It asserts that if OPA during World War II had ever written its history, no one at OPS knew about it or had bothered to read it, as many errors had been committed during the course of administration of OPS. It thus provides kudos to Mr. Jonas for having asked the new Budget director or other appropriate agency to take the necessary steps to stop the waste of money entailed in writing such a history.

Drew Pearson tells of Secretary of Defense Charles E. Wilson having gone into a complete, though secret, reverse the previous week, that after informing a Senate committee that he could not make any serious cuts in the defense budget, had ordered the Navy to cut two billion dollars, the Air Force, two billion, and the Army, a quarter billion. It had been the result of a determination by Budget director Joseph Dodge that there needed to be a cut in defense spending, as there was a great amount of fat in the budgets of the three branches of the armed services.

Mr. Pearson indicates that on February 4, 1952, the column had reported in detail of duplication in the three branches, as each competed with the other in buying supplies, resulting in varying costs for the same implement, such as carpenter's squares, the varying costs of which he sets forth. Moreover, there was no standardization in place between the branches for such implements.

The previous year, a subcommittee headed by Congressmen Carl Vinson of Georgia and Edward Hebert of Louisiana had performed extensive research on such duplication in the services, finally passing a law requiring the three services to compile a single catalog from which they were to order, instead of competing against one another through separate catalogs. The law had been passed the prior July 1 and since that time, the Defense Department had 300 people working full time in Washington, plus 3,000 people working part-time in the field, to compile a joint catalog. After spending 87 million dollars in the effort, they had produced the first edition on food, 40 pages long. By contrast, the complete purchasing catalogs of the three services filled a whole room, and so it might cost billions to complete the entire catalog.

Acting Defense Secretary William Foster, during the Truman Administration, had, in consequence, sent a confidential memorandum to Mr. Wilson on the day before the inauguration, a copy of which Mr. Pearson had obtained and reproduces, which set forth Mr. Foster's recommendation for the use of outside civilian experts to reduce duplication between the Army and Navy, and also contained a memo from the Defense Management director, admitting failure by the armed forces to get together on a joint, standardized buying program. It pointed out deficiencies in the initial 40-page catalog on food buying, indicating essentially that the catalog was not worth using. It also stated that if such practices were followed in the remaining 73 groups of items to be catalogued, the intent of Congress would not be met of having a single cataloging system. The initial catalog already had to be revised to add 300 omitted items.

Mr. Pearson indicates that when the law had been passed by Congress, it was estimated that the elimination of competing warehouses, duplicate personnel and equipment in those warehouses, and other duplicate matter would result in a savings of four billion dollars, whereas it had so far cost 87 million dollars in additional money, with substantially more to be spent. Four billion dollars was just about the amount Budget director Dodge had ordered Secretary Wilson to cut, and Mr. Pearson suggests that it might be one way to do it—though not being clear whether he meant by curtailing the expensive cataloging process or through the elimination of duplication.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop indicate receipt of a letter from a reader, which they reproduce, condemning them for attacking Senator McCarthy for his pursuit of "Moscow termites", and asserting that the working class would not be so easily hoodwinked as the "so-called intellectuals". They report that every time they criticized the Senator, they received numerous letters of the type, "obviously the work of neurotics and paranoiacs", reeking with anti-Semitism and "other ugly symptoms of mental illness in political form."

Another type of letter, however, appeared to come from people who were honestly puzzled, in effect asking whether, since Senator McCarthy was opposed to Communism and the Alsops were opposed to Senator McCarthy, that did not result in the Alsops being supportive of Communism. That attitude had become so common that they felt the need for personal comment on their record.

They go on to indicate that Joseph Alsop had been a member of General Claire Chennault's Flying Tigers in China during World War II and had become a trusted adviser to the Chiang Kai-shek Government, and an officer in General Chennault's 14th Air Force. In that capacity, he had been among the first Americans to warn the Government of the acute postwar danger posed by the Chinese Communists, and had consistently fought the military policy in China which was strengthening the Chinese Communists. They indicate that his efforts had produced significant results, as the knowledge gleaned from those efforts became the foundation of the first comprehensive and reasonably accurate discussion of the U.S. failure in China, published by the Alsops in 1949, a year before Senator McCarthy had begun his attack on Communists in the Government, in February, 1950.

Stewart Alsop had taken no part in politics until 1946 when the two brothers began writing as partners. At that time, there had been hardly any American newspaperman with a national audience or any politician who was warning against Communism, either within the U.S. or even within the Soviet Union. Yet, at that time, infiltration had gone so far in the labor movement that the Wisconsin CIO, for example, had virtually become controlled by Communists, who in turn threw their support to Joseph McCarthy over Senator Robert LaFollette in the 1946 Senate election campaign, support which Senator McCarthy readily received and welcomed. Meanwhile, the Alsops, in the 1948 presidential election, pointed out that former Vice-President Henry Wallace's Progressive Party was actually a Communist front, when all others remained silent on the matter. They had been called Fascist beasts for doing so, by many of the same people who were presently calling them pro-Communists because of their attacks on Senator McCarthy.

They indicate that presently, the American Communist Party was an "impotent wreck", but that there was a new threat to the rights of all American citizens and their liberties in the form of Senator McCarthy and others of his ilk.

"People are forgetting in this country that every man, whether guilty or innocent, has a right to a fair trial under our Constitution. They are forgetting that men cannot be damned, and their lives cannot be destroyed for no purpose than to make Senatorial headlines. They are forgetting that our Constitution promises to every American the presumption of innocence until guilt is clearly proven. If it is thought a symptom of pro-communism to insist on these great principles, then the very nature of communism is very widely misunderstood."

Marquis Childs indicates that there was an unprecedented investigation taking place in Topeka, Kansas, by a committee of the Kansas Legislature, investigating Wesley Roberts, the new RNC chairman, for his role in taking a 10 percent commission on a $110,000 sale of a hospital property to the State of Kansas, at a time when the State had already owned that property. Washington was taking a keen interest in the matter, as the outcome could have a direct effect on the Congressional elections of 1954, when President Eisenhower would not be heading the ticket and thus able to pull along on his coattails weak Republican candidates.

It was believed that the committee in Kansas would clear Mr. Roberts of any wrongdoing, as he held no party or public office at the time of the transaction in question, but was a shrewd operator who knew his way around the Legislature. But that exoneration would not heal the division in the Republican Party in Kansas, where his defenders claimed that the question would never have been raised had it not been for the feud within the party. Former Governor Alf Landon, the Republican presidential nominee in 1936, had put out a statement denouncing the deal and the part of Mr. Roberts in it as a disgrace to the state. Mr. Landon had opposed the nomination of General Eisenhower and was thus poised in opposition to such an influential Kansas Republican as his old associate, Senator Frank Carlson.

The Kansas Attorney General had written a lengthy letter to the Legislature indicating that there was nothing politically right which was morally wrong and that if those who gained from selfish interest violated basic principles, they would not be condoned or justified by the citizenry of the state. Most newspapers in the state also had been critical of Mr. Roberts and the transaction.

Many Republicans, not concerned about the rightness or wrongness of the fee, were troubled, however, by the fact that in the upcoming midterm elections, the party needed to be represented by someone of greater stature than that of Mr. Roberts.

Mr. Childs concludes that the division in the party in Kansas represented to a great degree the previous year's Eisenhower-Taft split, and that the 1954 midterm elections would reveal whether it was merely a local matter or would extend to other states as well.

Robert C. Ruark, in Talek, Kenya, tells of it being dry in the Masai at present, so much so that some of the herdsmen had brought their cattle to the dreaded tsetse fly area, risking death of some of the herd rather than face their certain extinction through starvation.

In his first trip to the region, he had encountered the reverse, with lush green grass being high in Tanganyika, except at the Grummetti River, where it was short. The game had flocked there, including rhino and buffalo, wildebeests, giraffes and impala, along with the predator lion and their clean-up crew, the hyenas.

At this time of year, life began anew for the game, with the expectation of the rains ahead. He found the young wildlife cute.

"Here is life all around—all new, all fresh, all lovely. Here is what I look at when I come to Africa. This is the Africa man learns to love, and a few Mao Mao one way or the other, scarcely matter."

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