The Charlotte News

Friday, March 27, 1953


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports, via George A. McArthur, that U.S. Marines had regained one of the two western front hills, "Vegas", lost to the Chinese the previous night, costing the lives of numerous Marines in the process. Both hills, the other being "Reno", were 25 miles southwest of "Old Baldy", which the enemy had seized earlier in the week, and were just to the northeast of "Bunker Hill", also hit in this date's assaults. The Chinese had killed or captured every Marine holding both hills, a relatively small number, when the 3,500 Communists seized the positions in a surprise night attack. Eventually, the Marines gained control of Vegas, reaching its top, after destroying the effectiveness of between 12 and 15 Chinese companies, including more than 2,000 troops, engaged in hand-to-hand combat. The enemy still held Reno.

When those Commies reach Sac'to, we're heading for the hills, to obtain the coign of vantage and get a bead on them before they draw one on us.

Enemy MIG-15s made their deepest penetration of the year into Korea before being engaged by Australian twin-jet Meteors, which claimed to have probably downed one of the enemy jets and damaged another.

At the U.N. in New York, the U.S. challenged Communist China and North Korea to send all American military personnel who had allegedly confessed to waging germ warfare in Korea to a neutral area for U.N. questioning. U.S. delegate Ernest Gross denounced the use by the Communists of "extorted confessions" and proposed that those from whom the statements had been obtained be sent to countries which did not support U.N. action in Korea, and after a period of rest and recuperation, subject them to questioning by an impartial U.N. commission to verify or deny the statements they had supposedly made while being prisoners of the Communists. The resolution was co-sponsored by the other 15 U.N. members who had sent troops to Korea. The resolution was being heard before the 60-member political committee of the General Assembly, that committee having overwhelmingly defeated an Asian-backed Soviet resolution which demanded that representatives of Communist China and North Korea be invited to the U.N. to repeat their charges. Russian delegate Valerian Zoren said that the latter vote had closed the door to any impartial investigation, having said earlier that it could only transpire if Communist Chinese and Korean representatives were present. The Indonesian representative had supported the latter move. Mr. Gross, however, responded that the proposal was to set up an impartial fact-finding body and that the Communists could present their evidence to that group, that there was no need to have Communist Chinese and Korean representatives present to make further libelous statements and propaganda speeches. There was little hope that the Communists would permit the commission, even if it were set up, to operate.

In the vicinity of Nairobi, Kenya, the Mau Mau had massacred at least 150 pro-British Kikiyu tribesmen, their wives and children, in a raid the previous night at a village almost on the outskirts of the capital. They had also attacked a police station about 40 miles distant, killing five Africans and releasing all prisoners from the jail. The attack on the village had been the largest yet by the Mau Mau in their campaign of terror aimed at driving white men from Kenya, a British colony. During the previous year, the Mau Mau had murdered nearly 300 persons. The most recent attack, accomplished by about 100 Mau Mau, had followed a British crackdown the previous weekend, which had netted about 2,500 Mau Mau suspects. In both attacks, the attackers had made their escape in trucks after seizing quantities of arms and ammunition. In the village attack, those who escaped the fast-spreading flames which the Mau Mau had set to their native huts, were hacked to death with axes, knives and short swords. Pregnant women were disemboweled in front of their children and the attackers then slashed the children to death. The chief of the village and three of his wives were among the victims, while another chief was able to ward off the attackers and shot one to death. British soldiers of the Lancashire Fusiliers arrived too late to battle the Mau Mau. The second attack occurred about 40 miles north of Nairobi, also involving about 100 Mau Mau, who drove up to the police station in two trucks, killed five natives, released all of the prisoners and destroyed all of the police records, fleeing with rifles and automatic weapons plus several thousand rounds of ammunition.

Federal Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge John J. Parker told a Senate Judiciary subcommittee this date that a proposed Constitutional amendment, offered by Senator John W. Bricker of Ohio and 63 other Senators, to restrict the treaty-making powers by requiring action by both houses of Congress to make treaties effective, placing similar restrictions on executive agreements, would hamper President Eisenhower in his efforts to resist Russia's plan for world domination and plunder. He said that Presidents and Senates had not betrayed the country in the past through the treaty-making power and there was no reason to think that they would in the future. Under the existing provision of the Constitution, the President negotiated treaties and the Senate had to ratify them by two-thirds vote. Executive agreements did not require ratification, and there had long been argument over the difference between a treaty and an executive agreement.

The Senate this date was expected to confirm overwhelmingly Charles Bohlen to be the new Ambassador to Russia. The opponents to the nomination appeared to have no more than about a dozen Senate votes in their corner, with eight having stated publicly their intent to oppose the nomination. Senator Joseph McCarthy had been the most vocal of the opponents, but admitted that he had no hope of success. Senator Herman Welker of Idaho was scheduled to lead off the day's debate, saying that he opposed the nomination because of Mr. Bohlen's long service to both the Roosevelt and Truman foreign policies and his "close relationship with the Acheson-Hiss clique in the State Department", which totally disqualified him from holding such a vitally important post.

In Luxembourg, Perle Mesta announced this date that she was leaving her post as Minister to the small European country on April 13. She had been appointed by President Truman in summer, 1949, having been a longtime prominent Washington hostess and Democratic Party campaign worker. She had submitted her resignation prior to the inauguration of President Eisenhower, but there had been some speculation that she might be asked to remain, as General Eisenhower and his wife, Mamie, had frequently visited her while he had been NATO supreme commander in Europe in 1951 and 1952. Ms. Mesta had been the inspiration for Irving Berlin's Broadway hit musical, "Call Me Madam", starring Ethel Merman. A movie of the same name had also been produced recently.

In Cleveland, the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen this date called a strike of 2,300 trainmen and yardmen, to start the following morning, against two railroads which operated across Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois and Indiana. Other operating brotherhoods indicated that they would respect the trainmen's picket lines when they came to work the following morning.

In New York, Mickey Jelke III, margarine heir who had been convicted on two counts of hiring out prostitutes to support him while he awaited his inheritance, was sentenced this date to 3 to 6 years in prison on each count, with the sentences to run concurrently. Mr. Jelke had been acquitted on a third count, alleging the same crime, involving a different woman.

In Columbia, S.C., fire and explosions wrecked a drugstore in the central downtown area, causing 12 firemen to be hospitalized with injuries, though none serious.

In Raleigh, a resolution was introduced in the State Senate this date which would ask the Federal Government to stop taxing gasoline for it "usurping a tax field which should be reserved to the states." Currently, the Federal tax was two cents per gallon. One of the bill's sponsors contended that the state got back only about 11 million dollars of the 20 million raised from those taxes.

The Mecklenburg County Medical Society this date announced a program designed to make information about medical topics available to the public.

In Newark, N.J., three firemen had loaded the soft drink machine at the fire station with empty bottles as a joke and then watched frustrated customers scream and yell when they dropped in a coin and received only an empty. But when the fire chief heard about the joke, he suspended the three men for three days each, later cutting the suspension in half.

He ought continue the punishment during the dog days of summer, when the three would come in after fighting for hours a four-alarm fire, hot and exhausted, finding only empty bottles in the machine. Ha-ha-ha, ho-ho-ho...

On the editorial page, "A Sacrifice to Expediency", a by-lined piece by News editor Pete McKnight, tells of the State General Assembly having won its battle the previous day to conduct budget deliberations in secret, but that public reaction would determine whether it had won the war in that regard. Many honorable and conscientious legislators had voted for the amendment the previous day on the sincere belief that they were not curtailing the right of free flow of information to the public, but Mr. McKnight thinks that they were wrong, hopes that the people of the state would note that the Assembly believed they did not have the right to know how and why their tax money was being spent, and suggests that many of those who had voted for the amendment had been misguided.

"Always the Special Interest" tells of having noted recently that Bernard Baruch had advised Congress to enact rigid standby controls, that when one segment of the economy was exempted from controls, the whole system of controls tended to break down quickly. Yet, special interests, including the newspapers, were urging Congress to exempt them.

Editor & Publisher had called attention to two bills which would establish standby controls, one of which would exempt control of newspaper circulation and advertising rates, while the other would not. The publication had urged that newspapers should not have to struggle for survival in the face of virtually certain newsprint restrictions during a time of emergency. Other professional groups and industries argued similarly.

It indicates that the importance of the survival of any group or industry in time of war would be small compared to the spectacle of the great battle for survival generally, and it wants some special interests to speak out for the national interest.

"Prompt Reply" indicates that the previous week, the President had said at his press conference, in response to a question of a reporter, that he did not know of any school segregation on Army posts, but promised a quick study, indicating that there was no justification for discrimination in the use of Federal funding. The President announced on Wednesday that the last segregated school for children of Army personnel at an Army base, at Fort Benning, Georgia, would be integrated by the next fall term. He also said that the Army would seek agreement with local officials to end segregation in state-operated schools on Army posts, and that if that negotiation failed, other arrangements would be considered.

It commends the President for his prompt and forthright action, stating that it was not an invasion of states' rights but rather the exercise of a just government's responsibility.

"Wind, Sand and Taxes" indicates that the French Foreign Legion, once a refuge for men seeking escape from the law, bill collectors or the like, had now become respectable, with its officers graduating from France's primary military academy. An American had joined the Legion three years earlier to fight in Indo-China and now had been returned to the U.S. to face justice, after being charged with embezzlement for having prepared tax returns for individuals and accepting the money to turn over to the Government, but failing to do so.

It indicates regret that the Legion had passed from being a refuge for such troubled persons, but indicates pride in the persistent tax men.

Robert M. Hallett, writing in the Christian Science Monitor from San Juan, Puerto Rico, reports on Puerto Rican lawyer Marcelino Romany, who had made a splash at the Republican convention the previous July, when he demanded a roll call of the three-person Puerto Rican delegation, causing a tense moment to be broken by good humor. He said that his law business had picked up by 30 percent since the attention had come to him and he had hired a public stenographer to handle the hundreds of letters which had poured in from all over the country.

He still did not quite understand the reason for all the publicity. Many visiting tourists sought to have dinner with him, and in many cases, he accepted despite their being strangers. At one point during the campaign, he was invited to join General Eisenhower on the platform at Troy, N.Y., and the General had said that Sr. Romany did not need an introduction and embraced him in view of the photographers, an incident which meant more than anything to him.

A producer in Hollywood had asked him whether he would accept a small role in a picture, "Robot without Tails". He had not answered, and later was contacted by a national wire service for comment, to which he had responded that if Hollywood wanted to pay him $100,000, he probably could not refuse it, whereupon negotiations ended.

He informed Mr. Hallett that he was not trying to be humorous when he had asked for a polling of the small delegation, because the head of the delegation had made an error and he wanted to make his position clear.

He said it would be impossible to predict whether he would attend the 1956 Republican convention, but Mr. Hallett indicates that mainland Republicans would likely choose him unanimously, as would some Democrats.

Drew Pearson indicates that in May, 1951, he had revealed in two columns that certain greedy Greek shipowners had brought American Liberty ships for a song and then sailed them under a dozen different international flags to escape taxes, then repaid that American generosity by hauling contraband goods to enemies behind the Iron Curtain. The U.S. had supplied Greece with over a billion dollars in aid to block Communism, since the advent of the Truman Doctrine in early 1947. The ships had been sold at cut-rate prices to help the struggling Greeks rebuild their merchant fleet and restore their war-wrecked economy. But the Government had turned the ships over to a few private friends who lived in the St. Moritz Hotel in New York, paying practically no Greek taxes, then transferring most of the ships to Panamanian and Honduran registries. Those Greek shipowners had grown wealthy on the postwar boom and forbidden trade with the enemy, parlaying their fleet into one of the world's largest while living like potentates in New York, London and Buenos Aires.

Probably the largest such shipowner was Stavros G. Livanos, who had bought 12 Liberty ships at bargain prices, with a down payment of only $21,780 per ship. The Maritime Administration still held the mortgage on 11 of those vessels, which had been steaming regularly into Communist ports. He had used dummy corporations in England and Panama to acquire several more Liberty ships, with his financial interest usually obscured behind foreign companies in Panama or elsewhere. Mr. Pearson provides more detail on Mr. Livanos and the use of the ships to sail into Communist ports.

That quiz on all of the names of the shipowners is still coming. Be prepared.

Marquis Childs indicates that as the Administration sought to quiet the intra-party quarrel regarding foreign policy, swirling around the confirmation of Charles Bohlen as Ambassador to Russia, another area, agriculture, had quieted down. Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson was grateful for it, even if it was only a temporary respite from controversy. As a Mormon he approached with religious zeal his mission to free agriculture from the chains of government control. But there was also a lack of guile and innocence in that approach, as he had just appointed to a position in the Department a friend and political ally of Senator Milton Young of South Dakota, one of the Secretary's principal Republican critics.

The reason for the temporary cessation of conflict had to do with the distraction provided by the quarrel with Senator Joseph McCarthy and his allies on the Bohlen appointment, but also because farm prices, which had been moving downward a month earlier, were now stabilizing.

Mr. Benson had announced that the Department would support the price of butter at 90 percent of parity for the coming year, even though it meant that the Commodity Credit Corporation would continue to pay 67.75 cents per pound for the best butter, the CCC presently having more than 100 million pounds of butter in storage, subject to deterioration unless it was given away. The Secretary had not wanted to make that decision, as it went against everything he believed, and asserted that it would only provide an interval in which a solution for farm surpluses could be determined.

Mr. Benson had asserted that the farmers did not want high price supports from the Government, but his faith in human nature in that regard was probably misplaced, as the farmers through the years had come to rely on Government supports to sustain their prosperity.

There was also a link between the farm program and foreign policy, as the Administration was committed to extending the reciprocal trade agreements and lowering trade barriers to goods of friendly nations. But the powerful dairy lobby was urging Congress to put strict limitations on the import of dairy products. Secretary Benson had told a committee of Congress that it was virtually impossible to have high price supports and also leave the door open to importation of farm commodities. But if the door were closed to such products, no free-trade program was possible, as they were the only products exported by some countries, such as Denmark and New Zealand. It was the sort of reality which the Secretary had to confront.

The Congressional Quarterly indicates that the Administration was revising Federal policy regarding the development and conservation of the nation's natural resources. A Quarterly survey had shown that there were some tough questions which had to be faced. One was whether to continue a freeze on public construction projects or move forward. Others were whether to release some of the extensive U.S. holdings in public lands, whether to have water distribution in the West and elsewhere, public versus private electric power, flood control, and the development of large river basins.

Resources for the Future, Inc., was planning a nationwide study of natural resources, the most extensive since 1908. The study had White House backing and was supported by a $150,000 Ford Foundation grant.

The President had already spoken out and acted on some current natural resources issues. In his State of the Union message of February 2, he had called for a strong Federal program in resource development in partnership between the Federal government and the states. The Administration had asked for a review of all public construction projects to hold them at minimum levels. Secretary of Interior Douglas McKay had asked for a review of the public lands issue, and favored turning over a large amount of land in Alaska to the Territory and private individuals for development. He said, however, that most public land was probably best administered by the Federal Government.

One of the critical issues was the shortage of water in the West, stopping industrial expansion in many areas, and apt to get worse in the future. There was pressure on Congress to lift the Reclamation Act, which restricted water supply for one landowner to the amount needed for 160 acres of irrigable land. The irrigation interests had also sought to increase the water supply through rain-making experiments and were interested in purification of salt and alkaline water.

Secretary McKay regarded himself as a moderate on power, favoring both private and Federal development on a cooperative basis. He favored private development of steam power plants and believed the Government should encourage such construction through accelerated tax write-offs, those theories, however, in conflict with those of former President Truman, an advocate of Federal development of both hydroelectric power and steam plants.

The controversy over flood control was partly regarding methodology, with the Army Corps of Engineers having pushed a program to provide for large flood-water storage dams and extensive levee systems along the Missouri River and its tributaries, while basin farmers had opposed the construction of small upstream dams and better soil conservation practices.

A letter writer indicates that on March 23, the News had printed an article lauding the control of traffic through changes of certain streets to one-way, as had the Charlotte Observer on March 24. He suggests that while there had been an increase in traffic flow on those streets, it was not clear whether there was a decrease in traffic on adjacent streets to compensate for the increase on the one-way streets. He suggests that either the volume of business transacted in the area served by those streets had sharply increased or that motorists were finding it necessary to scurry around more to accomplish the same results as they had previously.

A letter writer indicates that the United World Federalists wanted to see the U.N. bolstered and made effective by having each member nation agree to submit to arms production control, and suggests that if the U.S. initiated such a program, it would be recognized as the peace-loving people which it was, and that if Russia failed to join the effort, the rest of the world would see what Russia was really about.

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