The Charlotte News

Wednesday, March 25, 1953


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports, via George A. McArthur, that the Chinese Communists had broken up a two-pronged U.S. attack this date in the bloody trenches of "Old Baldy", fighting through a rain of U.S. artillery fire, and by nightfall, the Americans were back where they had started, about 125 yards down the western front hill. The fighting, in its third consecutive day, was vicious and deadly, and one officer said that Americans drew enemy fire every time they popped their heads up. As darkness fell, infantry fighting had eased off while the big guns of both sides slugged it out. The Chinese possessed three quarters of the hill and the Americans fought uphill from a knob on the southeast corner. The enemy was reported to be taking heavy casualties, but so were the American and Colombian units of the U.S. Seventh Division. The artillery fire was the heaviest since the battle for the Kumhwa Ridges five months earlier. Elsewhere along the front, three allied posts west of Yonchon were hit during the night by heavy enemy attacks and 39 enemy troops were killed or wounded, with the allies recapturing the hills after withdrawing briefly.

Reassurance by Senators Taft and John Sparkman this date appeared likely to remove the remaining barrier to lopsided Senate approval of Charles Bohlen as the new Ambassador to Russia. Action had been delayed on the confirmation by opposition to the nomination from a small minority of the Senate, led by Senators Joseph McCarthy, Styles Bridges, and Pat McCarran. Senators Taft and Sparkman had conducted a three-hour study at the State Department the previous day of a 25-page summary of an FBI loyalty and security investigation of Mr. Bohlen and were prepared to report to the Senate shortly after it convened this date on what they had found. Senator Taft said that he preferred to consult first with members of the Foreign Relations Committee before stating his findings, but said that he had found nothing which had not already been reported previously by Secretary of State Dulles, who had said he had found nothing in the report which drew into question the loyalty of Mr. Bohlen or posed a security risk. Senator Sparkman also said that he would stand by his previous support of the nomination. Senator Taft said that FBI director J. Edgar Hoover had assumed full responsibility that the summary had correctly and completely reflected what was in the original reports of the investigators.

In Taipeh, Formosa, the Chinese Nationalist Defense Ministry said this date that there were more than 655,000 Soviet Russian advisers, experts and technicians in Communist China, 560,000 of whom were in Manchuria.

The President sent Congress a reorganization plan for the Agriculture Department this date, saying it could improve its operations and save money, though indicating the savings could not be itemized at the present time. The plan dealt mainly with the functional structure of the Department, giving the Secretary more direct control over many operations which were now delegated to subordinates.

The President said through an Administration official, in a report to the Senate Banking Committee this date, that he would accept authority to provide for a 90-day freeze on prices and wages in the event of an emergency and wanted no detailed standby economic controls.

In London, Queen Elizabeth declared a month of mourning for her grandmother, Queen Mary, who had died the previous night at age 85, dying peacefully in her sleep after being ill for several weeks. Various members of the royal family, including the Duke of Windsor, her favorite son who had renounced the throne in 1936 to marry American Wallis Warfield Simpson, visited Marlborough House, the official residence of Queen Mary. She was to be buried beside her husband, former King George V, in St. George's Chapel, the ancient burial place of British kings and queens. Prime Minister Winston Churchill had told Commons the previous night the first news of her death, stating it with a trembling hand and breaking voice. He said that he would provide an address of condolence to Queen Elizabeth this date, and then asked for adjournment for a day as an expression of sorrow and respect.

Also in London, a fourth rotting female corpse had been discovered in an apartment in the Notting Hill district, causing Scotland Yard to launch a search for the quiet clerk who had rented the apartment, whom they wished to question. The bodies of three women had been found behind the walls of a pantry the previous day, and the fourth victim was found under the floorboards of the same room, all still not identified. One of the dead women was believed to be the former tenant's wife. All were between 25 and 30 years old and had been strangled. Police with shovels and crowbars searched other rooms of the apartment and began digging in the garden behind the house. Three of the victims were believed to have been dead for several months, and the fourth for a few weeks. A woman and her son had been murdered in the same building in 1949, attributed to the woman's husband, who was hanged for the double murder. The tenant being sought for questioning by Scotland Yard had nearly suffered a nervous breakdown soon after the trial in that earlier case, according to neighbors. Neither the tenant nor his wife had been seen for more than a month. A prospective tenant for the apartment had made the discovery.

To start toward solution, the inspectors need only examine the bookshelves of the suspect to determine whether they contained a volume of Poe.

In Raleigh, News editor Pete McKnight reports on the issue of whether a subcommittee of the Joint Appropriations Committee of the General Assembly should be permitted to hold executive sessions, as considered further in an editorial below.

Also in Raleigh, a proposed change to the State Constitution which would provide that no county could have more than one State Senator regardless of its size, was approved this date by the State House Committee on Constitutional Amendments, voting a favorable recommendation for the measure. The Committee chairman, however, said it would be against his principles to support the measure, tied closely with the touchy subject of redistricting Senate membership and reallocating House seats, required by the State Constitution to be done every ten years, after the Federal census. The 1951 Legislature, however, had ignored the requirement.

In Lexington, Ky., an attorney who had filed in Federal District Court a half-million dollar lawsuit the previous week against Kentucky basketball coach Adolph Rupp, gambling kingpin Frank Costello and former reputed Lexington bookie Ed Curd, on behalf of a woman who stated that her brother had lost approximately $191,000 in betting on basketball games which had been fixed by players shaving points, that having been admitted in previous criminal proceedings, dismissed the case without explanation. We already explained the probable reasons as to why that prudent action took place.

In Greenwich, Conn., four persons told of having witnessed two Canadian wild geese trying to help another goose with a broken wing rise off the water, swimming alongside the crippled goose and thrashing their wings wildly in an attempt to lift it so it could join the flight northward. They did not succeed, and the injured goose continued to swim about the waters, being fed by shore residents. The executive secretary of the Wildlife Restoration Foundation had been among the observers, a first in his experience, though he had heard of such attempts.

On the editorial page, "Public Business Must Not Be Secret" indicates that the General Statutes of the state provided that all appropriations committees of the House and the Senate, and subcommittees thereof, had to sit in open sessions while considering the budget, and that taxpayers or other persons interested in the estimates had to be admitted to the hearings. Thus, it finds that the attempt the previous day, as recounted by editor Pete McKnight on the front page, to hold an executive session on the budget within a subcommittee was not only unwise but unlawful.

It indicates that the business of the State Government was the business of the people and when the appropriations subcommittee voted to spend money, it was voting to spend the people's money, and that no one had the right to deny the people full access to information about the deliberations on the budget, that it was not an infringement on the right of a free press but rather infringement of the right of the people to know what their public officials were doing.

"Two Roads to the Same Destination" indicates that Bernard Baruch and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce were so close together in their proposals for emergency economic controls that the difference was not worth quibbling about. Mr. Baruch had told the Senate Banking Committee during the week that Congress should provide the President with standby emergency powers to establish economic controls in the event of war, and the Chamber's spokesman had told the Committee that instead of standby controls, the President should be empowered to freeze all prices, wages and rents for a period of 90 days following such a national emergency.

The piece finds the distinction to be without much of a difference, and concludes that which path the Congress chose was relatively unimportant, that the important thing was to do one or the other.

"If at First You Don't Succeed…" indicates that former Governor Kerr Scott had refused to bite when the newspaper had sought over the course of a year or two to get him to assign numbers to new secondary roads, fearing that doing so would result in heavy traffic which would wear them out.

It explains that its motivation had been for the purpose of enabling motorists who were in no particular hurry to obtain their destination, to see new and interesting parts of the state on the new secondary roads, which opened up new territory to the driving public. It hopes that Governor Umstead would undertake to assign numbers to the new roads. It cites a bulletin from the State News Bureau, titled "Carolina's Cool Counties Map", published by the recently formed four-county association of Avery, Mitchell, Watauga and Yancey Counties, which had discussed the "Scott" roads, complaining that they were not on the state highway map or maps available from oil companies or automobile associations, and so had provided a local map of the roads to enable the tourists to the Western section of the state to be informed of what they could see and do without driving further.

"Queen Mary—One of Royalty's Finest" indicates that the Twentieth Century had not looked favorably upon royalty, with the Hapsburgs and Hohenzollerns having turned to woodcutting, commerce or revelry and their family crowns committed to museums. The Scandinavian countries, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom were outstanding exceptions to the trend away from royalty, but their royal households had retained no real power, though cherished by the "subjects" out of tradition and continuity.

It finds that Queen Grandmother Mary had epitomized the best of royalty before her death the previous night at 85. She had seen the crown change five times, once to her husband, George V, and twice to her sons, Edward VIII and George VI, shared the anguish of Edward's abdication and the untimely death of George. She had a roguish streak, enjoyed robust banter and cigarettes, but never forgot her royal birth. She shared her people's sorrows and joys, setting an example of graciousness and diligence, which she instilled in her family. It indicates that the nation which was formed in protest against British royalty shared the sorrow of "the doughty dowager's death."

A piece from the Raleigh News & Observer, titled "Five Per Cent", indicates that a spokesman for a group from the eastern part of the state, who opposed a joint airport for a group of towns in that part of the state, had said on Tuesday that they were doing better than they had ever done before in the section. On Wednesday, Richard G. Stockton, chairman of the board of Wachovia Bank & Trust Co., told a meeting in Raleigh that on the basis of the best figures he could obtain, only five percent of North Carolina industry was located east of Raleigh. The situation was not new, as the eastern part of the state had long depended almost exclusively on agriculture, and despite some diversification, tobacco remained the chief cash crop in the familiar one-crop pattern.

Everyone in the eastern part of the state was eager to have new industry, but its "tobacco attitude" tended to reduce interest in other products.

It suggests that though the region might be doing better than it ever had previously, as a region comprising nearly half of the state with only one-twentieth of its industry, it was certainly not doing well enough for its own security, safety and dependable prosperity.

Tom Fesperman of The News tells of some of Charlotte's worst bums drinking perfume for its hefty alcohol content. They could not afford regular liquor and panhandled enough to buy a bottle of paint thinner, bay rum, or canned heat. The police chief said that some of them would drink anything they could get their hands on, that it made them crazy or caused them to pass out, collapsing in alleyways or on sidewalks. There were no accurate statistics on persons arrested for drunkenness who had consumed such substances, but the police and court officials agreed that it constituted a large percentage of the arrestees. He goes on to analyze the problem further.

Drew Pearson indicates that in 1948, when John Foster Dulles expected to be the new Secretary of State in a Dewey administration, he had said that one of the first things he would do would be to "exile" Charles Bohlen, having in mind a long period of service in some place such as Guatemala or Tanganyika. That Mr. Dulles was now a strong supporter of Mr. Bohlen to become the new Ambassador to Russia resulted from his recognition that he was a man of ability and the best man to undertake a difficult diplomatic mission with the new Kremlin.

The President had decided that he would be willing to meet new Premier Georgi Malenkov halfway between the U.S. and Moscow, preferably in Berlin, to discuss peace in Korea and a possible truce in the cold war. Some of the President's advisers had cautioned that the new Kremlin was more anxious than the U.S. for a truce and that it would be better to wait for them to take the first step toward such a meeting, while other advisers had urged the President to undertake all means to effect such a conference, that even if a Big Three conference got nowhere, it would at least give the President a chance to size up the new Premier, and the latter would have an opportunity to see that the U.S. was not so bad as it had been made out to be, as Mr. Malenkov had never been outside Russia, knew few Westerners, and had the reputation of hating Americans. The President's advisers also reminded that it had been three months since he had made his December trip to Korea to assess the situation there, and longer than that since he had campaigned on the pledge to undertake definite steps toward peace, and they believed the meeting with Mr. Malenkov would be politically advantageous at the current time.

Mr. Bohlen was in the paradoxical position of being suspect by the McCarthyites for being a New Dealer, while the New Dealers never liked him because they suspected him to be reactionary. He was a cousin of the famed German munitions-maker, Krupp Von Bohlen, and had been suspected by some of the people around FDR as not having wanted to carve up Germany after the war. More recently, he had been suspect among some of the people around former Secretary of State Acheson for not wanting to battle against Senator McCarthy, though it was the latter now seeking to smear and defeat him in the confirmation process.

Secretary Dulles had started in his position by seeking to appease certain Senators, one of whom had been Senator McCarthy, partially siding with the latter during his early probe of the Voice of America, not supporting his own Department personnel, as had Secretary Acheson. He had hired an administrative assistant of Senator Styles Bridges to become the security director at the State Department. But he was now learning that which Mr. Acheson had learned many years earlier, that one could not appease Senator McCarthy, that the more he got, the more he wanted, and that when assistants of Senators were hired, sometimes they paid more allegiance to their old boss than their new one.

The FBI had been called in to check on a reported incident many years earlier in the life of Mr. Bohlen, but the Bureau had found no substantiation for it or anything else serious involving his character, other than an occasion when Sherman Billingsley of the Stork Club had asked him to leave the club for repeatedly walking from one side of the dance floor to the other, regardless of dancing couples in his way.

Marquis Childs indicates that the trouble which the obstructionists in the Senate, Senators McCarthy, Bridges and McCarran, had raised over what should have been a routine matter, the nomination of Charles Bohlen as Ambassador to Russia, portended bad things for the future of the Administration on such matters as the projected amendment of the McCarran-Walter Immigration Act, originally vetoed by President Truman the previous year.

Revision was considered critical because of the adverse foreign reaction to the law, especially in Western Europe among the elements who had been allied with the U.S. Intelligence reports from Italy indicated that resentment to the Act might prove a decisive factor in the spring elections there, as the Communists were exploiting the law as another example of American race prejudice. It would be the first general election in Italy since 1948, and Premier Alcide de Gasperi's Christian Democratic Party had given unwavering support to NATO, the cornerstone of U.S. policy in Europe. But in the face of unemployment and overcrowding, the Communists were believed to have maintained an enrollment of about two million persons and had a close alliance with the left-wing Socialists, who followed the Moscow line.

Yet, the obstructionists who opposed Mr. Bohlen's nomination were also in favor of maintaining the discriminatory provisions of the McCarran Act.

Recently, the Italian Government gave to Charlie Chaplin in Rome the highest honor it could bestow, despite Mr. Chaplin having been targeted by former Attorney General James McGranery, who had declared the prior fall upon his departure that if Mr. Chaplin sought to re-enter the U.S. after having departed for England and Europe, he might be denied readmission based on the McCarran Act for his connection with groups labeled subversive. Mr. Childs concludes that to most of the world, Mr. Chaplin stood as a symbol of the little man, and thus the U.S. as a giant terrified of a mouse.

Robert C. Ruark tells of his return from his African safari, finding that he had not missed much in New York, that it still had the same traffic problems, that Mickey Jelke III remained in a lot of trouble on his vice case, though Mr. Ruark ponders whether it was much ado about little, the city remained filthy, with cars double or even quadruple-parked, the cabdrivers were suffering from ulcers and nervous breakdowns, the sinus season was in full flower, and people complained about their taxes. The only thing he finds which he had missed during his absence since the fall were the grizzlier details of Christine Jorgensen's transformation from a male. He has no comment on the recent death of Joseph Stalin and its portents for U.S.-Soviet relations. He observes that it would soon be time for baseball and "some semblance of sanity will return to the people, who need a precise art form on which to focus their wandering attention." He learned that former New York Mayor and former Ambassador to Mexico William O'Dwyer had chosen to remain in Mexico, which he finds a suitable monument to the Truman Administration.

He concludes: "Ah, well, it's nice to be back. I wonder how long it'll take before they start heaving the harpoons at Ike."

We say it again: You should have stayed over there, chasing the wild game. A more miserable regular contributor to the editorial page over the years, we have yet to see. You rarely say anything worth the print. Why do you write?

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