The Charlotte News

Tuesday, March 24, 1953


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports, via George A. McArthur, that by dawn this date, U.S. and Colombian troops had cut the heart out of a 3,500-man Chinese force attacking "Old Baldy Hill", "Port Chop Hill" and "T-Bone Hill", after the Chinese had smashed in waves the previous night against the locations on the western front in Korea, stationed along the invasion route to Seoul, the largest enemy attack in the previous five months. The U.S. Seventh Division had repulsed the attackers from "Pork Chop" and "T-Bone", but the enemy had clung to part of "Old Baldy", as the fight stretched into 24 hours, causing both sides to send up reinforcements, with U.S. tanks blasting the enemy at close range. The Chinese, in their first assault of the morning, had swept over the crest of "Old Baldy", and U.S. troops were trying to knock them off. Reports from the front were conflicting and communications had been out for part of the day, but the scattered reports indicated that the Chinese held about a third of "Old Baldy" and the U.S. troops controlled the remainder. Part of the Colombian Battalion of the Seventh Division had taken the first hit on "Old Baldy", and later, U.S. infantrymen came up to help.

The Atomic Energy Commission announced that 53 aircraft, including 12 intercontinental B-36 bombers, had participated in a test of an atomic bomb at the Nevada test site at Yucca Flat. There was no information provided on what the missions of the planes might have been or where they were based. Planes had been observed flying over the test site in previous detonations, but never in the numbers of this date. The bomb appeared much brighter in Las Vegas than the one which had opened the spring series of tests the previous Tuesday, testing the effects of an atomic blast on the construction of homes, automobiles and dummies positioned inside. (Why had they no leprechaun dummy on St. Patrick's Day?) The AEC did not disclose the energy of this date's blast or describe the type of device tested. The sound of the explosion was not as loud as that of the previous week, apparently the result of atmospheric conditions. Some 1,300 troops were stationed in foxholes 4,000 yards from ground-zero, 500 yards more distant than in the previous week's explosion, suggesting a more powerful bomb than the 15,000-ton equivalent of TNT the previous week, three-fourths the size of the Hiroshima bomb of August 6, 1945. The Army reported that there were no casualties. The AEC said that animals, including pigs, rabbits, and sheep, were exposed to the blast for bio-medical study. Why had they no jackasses or elephants under bio-medical study?

In Moscow, Russia rejected a U.S. protest against a shooting incident wherein a Russian plane had shot at an American plane 25 miles off the coast of Siberia's Kamchatka Peninsula, and the rejection demanded that the U.S. Government take steps to prevent future violations of Soviet borders. The plane, a B-50 bomber, had been flying a weather reconnaissance mission at the time out of Alaska, when a Russian MIG-15 opened fire, at which point the B-50 returned fire, with neither plane having been damaged.

In Frankfurt, Germany, four anti-Communists guided a "freedom plane" out of Czechoslovakia the previous night after slugging the radio operator and grabbing the controls at gunpoint. The plane carried a total of 29 persons, and the four conspirators refused to land at Rhein-Main airport in West Germany until American authorities assured them that they would be granted asylum. Two other passengers had also requested permission to live in the West, and the other 23 would be returned to Czechoslovakia in the plane. At a news conference, U.S. High Commissioner to West Germany, James B. Conant, said that the escape plan had been organized by a mechanic of the Skoda Munitions Works and his wife, having spent two years trying to work out the plan, the mechanic having served in the RAF during the war. A pilot and a television engineer had also joined the plot, the only four on the plane who knew what was going to occur when they took off from Prague on the regularly scheduled flight to Brno. The four had taken over the plane when it neared the border in the vicinity of Munich, and proceeded to the Frankfurt airport, where it eventually landed after the assurance of asylum.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee determined to have two of its members, Senators Taft and John Sparkman, examine FBI files on Charles Bohlen, Ambassador-designate to the Soviet Union. Senator Taft had said the previous day that he was willing to accept the summary of the files previously provided to the Committee by Secretary of State Dulles. Senator Joseph McCarthy, however, had led opposition to the nomination, but with only an additional three or four Senators likely to vote against it. Senator McCarthy wanted Mr. Bohlen to be subjected to a lie detector test on matters contained within the FBI files. The vote would likely occur late the following day.

The Senate Labor Committee this date began six weeks of hearings on revision of Taft-Hartley, despite Democratic demands that the group wait for the views of the Eisenhower Administration. Senators Taft and Alexander Smith decided, however, to push ahead with the hearings. House hearings had been in progress for more than a month.

The President would receive a report from 55 business and financial leaders this date, which could play a large role in determining the size of the foreign aid program. The report was the result of an overseas survey of aid in 14 countries.

French Premier Rene Mayer and a large delegation would leave this night from Paris for Washington, to seek additional U.S. aid and to try to persuade the Administration that France was not the weak link in the Western defense chain, as it was sometimes portrayed. The delegation would arrive the following day and would participate in talks with the President, Secretary of State Dulles and other top officials. They wanted to seek more help in their fight in Indo-China, more aid in Europe, an immediate advance of 125 million dollars to meet 1953 military schedules, and a long-term program of aid on which the European countries could base their budgets, instead of the year-to-year program, contingent on the vicissitudes of Congress, presently in place. It was seeking about one billion dollars, instead of the approximately 667 million slated in the proposed foreign aid bill. With the extra money, it intended to increase its Air Force by 25 percent and its Army from five top divisions and seven secondary divisions, to about 10 to 12 top divisions, as well as increase training of Vietnamese troops to take over the fight in Indo-China.

The Agriculture Department proposed to add more beef to school lunches to help check the year-long slump in cattle prices, and to that end, called for bids on unspecified quantities of ground and diced beef, as well as boneless chuck, all frozen. How about some prime rib?

Queen Mary, 85, widow of King George V and grandmother to Queen Elizabeth, having been confined to bed for more than a month, had taken a turn for the worse in London, and a crowd quickly gathered in front of Marlborough House, the Queen's residence near Buckingham Palace. The previous day, signs were that she had emerged from immediate danger.

In Vatican City, a poorly dressed woman about 35, apparently Italian, jumped down the shaft of the elevator which took visitors to the top of St. Peter's Basilica, and then died in the hospital two hours later.

In Raleigh, legislation to add additional regular Superior Court judges in six districts, backed by Governor William B. Umstead, after being passed by the State House, was killed by the Senate Committee on Courts and Judicial Districts this date. The Committee unanimously approved a bill to redraw the state's judicial districts and to increase the number of regular judges from 21 to 32. Seven State Senators joined to sponsor a bill which would outlaw betting at dog tracks.

In Salem, Ore., a bill to make it illegal to have a television in the front part of a car or truck had been signed into law by Governor Paul Patterson.

In Yazoo City, Miss., police had sought a 25-year old man wanted on a petty theft charge, and an informant told them that he was hiding inside a funeral home, to which the officers responded, finding him inside a closed casket in a dimly lit room, the only casket of about 15 in the room which had its lid closed.

They got him dead to rights.

On the editorial page, "For a Solomon, a Teaser" indicates that 2.8 million dollars remained from the original three million dollar bond issue passed for building the auditorium-coliseum complex in Charlotte, which was $105,000 less than the low bid for just the shells of the two buildings, without their constituent parts, and probably about a million dollars less than that required for the finished job. It thus wonders from where the added funds would come, especially when other needs of the community were pressing. It wonders whether one of the buildings might be built, and the other left for later. The voters, however, had approved the bond for building both, and it took voters wanting one or the other of the buildings to put it over the top.

It suggests, however, that if a choice had to be made and could be made legally, then it favors building first the auditorium.

"We're for S. B. 105, But…" indicates that Governor Thomas Dewey of New York had waged a battle for several months to require motorists in that state to be financially responsible before registering vehicles, but that it appeared that he had lost the battle at least for the present year. For several years, New York had been operating under a system, presently proposed before the North Carolina General Assembly, whereby a motorist, only after an accident, would be required to post security in the form of cash, a bond, or liability insurance. Governor Dewey had fought for mandatory insurance coverage prior to registration. Under existing North Carolina law, there was no requirement of a showing of financial responsibility. It regards the security system as better than no law, but refers North Carolinians to the efforts of Governor Dewey regarding the faults of the security system, which had left 25,000 uninsured motorists involved in reported accidents each year, resulting in 300 deaths and 7,500 injured. It agrees with Governor Dewey and hopes that the objective would eventually be the requirement for prior proof of financial responsibility, not just the security system.

"In This or Any Other Year" indicates that years earlier, a writer had described UNC as "an oasis of culture in the Sahara of the South." The late W. J. Cash—the piece reversing the order of his initials, coincident with the order on his birth certificate rather than his name adopted for writing—had made several references to Dr. Howard Odum of UNC in The Mind of the South, from which it briefly quotes. It suggests that if a scholar's importance could be measured by his influence, then Dr. Odum would be at the top of any regional listing, that the many undergraduates who had studied under him and the graduate students whose work he had guided, as well as colleagues on the faculties of colleges and universities and writers on the South, had all greatly benefited from him in their thinking—as, it might have added, had Cash, Dr. Odum having been an early guide when Cash's book was taking shape in 1929 through the early Thirties.

On November 20, 1929, Dr. Odum, for instance, responded to a five-page outline of the book which Cash had sent him seeking any suggestions: "I think there is a real place for a book of the sort which you plan, giving it a sort of zestful attack somewhere midway between the factual analysis and critical philosophy... In my own case I should not draw the lines very closely between the different cultural groups of the South. That is, the line between your old-time romantic gentleman of the South and other types or between one generation and another generation of the same family were not always so closely drawn as the ordinary picture would suggest. That is, many of the southerners who were reputed to have a plantation and leisure still ate dinner in their shirtsleeves and washed on the back porch and let the chickens roost in the top of the trees in the yard. Or did they? Many of the beautiful old homes and great families grew up from log cabins in the pioneer wilderness, enlarged and rebuilt and then entirely transcended by the big house. What was the difference between the first generation and the third? Even so, for the purpose which you have in mind, it is important to set forth each of these stages or characterizations in so far as it can be done..."

The piece continues that Dr. Odum, whose insatiable curiosity had led to him being a great student and great teacher, had just received in Greensboro the O. Max Gardner award for the faculty member of the Consolidated University who had made "the greatest contribution to the welfare of the human race during the current scholastic year", and the piece indicates that it was a measure of his merit that it could have been provided to him in any number of prior years.

"The Tonic of the Open Road" starts with a quote from "Song of the Open Road" by Walt Whitman: "Done with indoor complaints, libraries, querulous criticisms,/ Strong and content I travel the open road." It indicates that after a week of following that prescription, it recommends the treatment, particularly when the road chosen meandered through a part of the South just awakening to spring. It relates of a journey taken through Georgia and Florida, and some of the sights seen along the road.

It might have added for times present that the road contained mainly the sick, the depressed, the dispossessed, the masked, the closeted, and the fearful of those carrying and transmitting Death, with the singular sign in place: "Keep your distance." The road ahead is closed, the border locked, and uncertain as to when it may be reopened.

May it stand as an obituary to the current Administration, when it finally ends its miserably destructive course, mercifully, next January, that the attempt to run the Government as a business always and inevitably winds up in colossal failure, costing the taxpayers, in the end—just as in the wake of the Depression—, for its lack of foresight, for its lack of wisdom inhered from the open road, far more than doing things the traditional and correct way in the first place, according to the gleanings from thorough and meticulous study of life, reason and humanity, as the Founders, the bulk of whom were farmers and merchants, intended, looking after, foremost, the general welfare of the people, all of the people, not just well-heeled fatcats of the party in power and their politician sycophants who do their bidding for a bribe of campaign support and pats on the back as long as the bidding they do, reserving finally their swift kick to anyone who ventures, even slightly askew, from the party line.

A piece from the Greensboro Daily News, titled "Why Don't Plumbers Write More?" indicates that Madison Cooper, a real estate man, had written a novel titled Sironia, Texas, twice as long as Gone with the Wind. It sets forth part of a letter he had written to the publishers, indicating his trouble in writing the book, that he never had to be "in the mood" to write, for in the middle of writing a passionate love scene, a prospective buyer of property would call him and he would have to drop everything to talk about plumbing, heating and the weather. The piece indicates lack of sympathy, that plumbing fixtures ought get a fiction writer in just the right frame of mind to produce the modern novel.

Incidentally, we discover, quite serendipitously, by referencing the above book, that former News reporter Tom Schlesinger, who had written a regular weekly column for the newspaper from Washington between October, 1949 and September, 1951 and was the younger brother of Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., had been an acquaintance of E. Howard Hunt while both attended Brown University during 1939-40. You learn something new every day through reading and research du temps perdu...

Drew Pearson discusses a new part of the battle between the railroads and the trucks, arising out of the suit brought by the Pennsylvania Motor Truck Association against 31 Eastern railroads and their public relations firm, alleging that the latter had sought to influence public opinion by paying a member of the New York State Federation of Women's Clubs through subsidization of a newspaper columnist, by putting money behind the Citizens' Tax League of New York and by paying the expenses of a member of the Maryland State Highway Commission. It was not clear how much the railroads had known of the operations of the firm, but Mr. Pearson indicates that they must have known that the firm had been investigated prior to Pearl Harbor by a House Committee, chaired by John McCormack, for being a propagandist for Nazi Germany, and that official testimony had revealed that the firm had handled the contract with the German tourist bureau for $6,000 per month, a contract secured through George Sylvester Viereck, later sentenced to six years in prison for being an unregistered agent of Nazi Germany. He provides further detail of the propaganda method used by the firm on behalf of the railroads.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop tell of Ambassador-designate to Russia Charles Bohlen being currently referred to around the State Department as "Jenkins' Ear", a reference to a British sea captain whose pickled ear had brought on a war between England and Spain when Robert Walpole had been Prime Minister, after the Spanish had cut off the ear as punishment for alleged free-booting in Spanish waters. The story had reminded those at the State Department of the situation between Senator Joseph McCarthy and the Administration regarding the confirmation of Mr. Bohlen.

Secretary of State Dulles had accused Senator McCarthy's friend and ally, Senator Pat McCarran of Nevada, of indulging in untruth, and Senator McCarthy had countered that Secretary Dulles was a liar. The Secretary and the President had gone to lengths to avoid such a dispute, not reminding Senator McCarthy, when he had started attacking the State Department shortly after the inauguration, that it was now a Republican Administration. Instead, they had provided concessions to him, including the appointment as State Department Security Officer of R. W. Scott McLeod, a former FBI agent who had served more recently on the staff of Senator Styles Bridges. Vice-President Nixon had been assigned the task of effecting a bridge between the Administration and Senator McCarthy, as well as other Congressional inquisitors.

Mr. Bohlen, when his appointment was made, had warned Secretary Dulles that some Senators would undoubtedly object to his role at the Yalta conference as assistant to President Roosevelt. The initial interrogation of Mr. Bohlen by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee had gone smoothly, when Senator McCarthy began criticizing the appointment, in a final showdown with the State Department. The Senator had based his objection on matter in the file which had contained material causing Mr. McLeod to refuse clearance, supposed to be confidential, suggesting that the latter had already been disloyal to Secretary Dulles.

It was believed that anonymous letters in the file were the most damaging part of the charges, leading the Alsops to question whether the "poison pen" was to reign supreme, with Senator McCarthy in the role of kingmaker. A corollary question was whether the President would be master of his own Administration or be forced to yield to the McCarthyite wing of the Republican Party. One shrewd Capitol Hill observer had stated, "Target for tonight, John Foster Dulles; target for tomorrow Dwight D. Eisenhower." The Alsops conclude that Mr. Dulles had been driven to fight back and that the signs were that the President was also getting ready to fight back.

James Marlow also looks at the confirmation objections of Senator McCarthy to Mr. Bohlen, indicating that the Senator was not willing to trust the judgment of the highest officials of Government in determining loyalty, including the opinions of the President and Secretary Dulles. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee had unanimously approved Mr. Bohlen, and Senator Alexander Wiley, chairman of that Committee, later said that Secretary Dulles had offered to let him see the FBI file on Mr. Bohlen but that he told Mr. Dulles that he would take his word for what was in the file and accepted a summary, the Secretary indicating that there was nothing which would cast doubt on the loyalty of Mr. Bohlen. Senator Wiley had said that Attorney General Herbert Brownell had also examined the file and approved Mr. Bohlen.

Senator McCarthy's objections were primarily based on Mr. Bohlen having been close to former Secretary of State Acheson, using as his excuse that there were supposedly 16 pages of adverse information in the FBI file, which, he said, had to remain secret, part of a file which was supposed to be confidential.

Mr. Marlow indicates that should the Senate vote against Mr. Bohlen, an unlikely prospect, then it would be essentially a no-confidence vote against Secretary Dulles, which might lead him to decide that he would have no choice but to resign.

A letter writer from Huntersville praises the "Jaycee Jollies of '53", put on for the patients of the Mecklenburg Sanatorium on March 1, that as a patient of the facility, he and the other patients had greatly enjoyed it, and thanks the Jaycees and the rest of the cast for making it possible, that they had enjoyed the songs, jokes and dances.

A letter writer wants to know "wha hoppen?" when the comic strip "Dennis the Menace" had turned up missing from the newspaper recently, suggests that the newspaper would have to answer to the Marines for the omission, as every night he clipped the strip from the paper and then sent each week's entries to his son, a sergeant in the Marines at Camp Pendleton, Calif. He urges that it not happen again or he would have difficulty explaining why one cartoon was missing.

Send them a book, such as Dante's Inferno.

A letter writer says that he had been interested in the public school discussion regarding the need to modernize facilities, expresses the belief that the members of the School Board were of excellent quality, and thanks them for their good job.

A letter from the director of public relations of the Bituminous Coal Institute comments on an editorial of February 7, "Let's Protect the Consumer Too", regarding oil imports in the coal industry. The editorial had opposed the lobbying efforts by the coal industry to raise tariffs on foreign oil in the attempt to avoid cheap competition for heating, raising consumer prices for fuel oil. He suggests, however, that in opposing the unlimited dumping along the Atlantic Seaboard of foreign residual oil, most of it from South American oil refineries, U.S. coal producers, the railroads, and other businesses had encountered public misunderstanding of the nature of the product and its economic status. He explains that residual oil was that left over in the refining process after gasoline and other products had been removed from the crude, and was essentially a waste product, its cost to the producer being practically nothing. He says that if importation of it were totally forbidden, it would not materially affect the South American refineries or the flow of trade between the U.S. and Venezuela. Nor did it impact fuel oil and its price, as it could only be used for heavy industrial purposes such as firing of boilers in electric utility plants, and since its viscosity was too great for it to flow through pipelines, had to be used near ports of entry. The foreign residual oil brought benefit only to a small number of importers but was doing substantial injury to the coal and allied industries, to the railroads, and general business activity and producing in shipping centers. He finds that the editorial had left the impression that the coal industry was trying to raise the oil tariff as a means of causing household fuel oil to be more expensive to consumers, but, per the above facts, was not the case.

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