The Charlotte News

Tuesday, March 31, 1953


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports, via George A. McArthur, that only a handful of Communist patrols had probed allied lines along the battlefront in Korea this date, in the wake of bloody fighting on the western end of the line the previous week. The day's biggest activity had been the explosion of a 15-car enemy ammunition train, hit by an American bomber. No action was reported on the western front, where Marines had broken up two Chinese attacks on the "Vegas" outpost, the scene of great activity the previous week.

Stormy skies had curtailed aerial combat, but some warplanes had ventured out at dawn to hit enemy communications and front line positions.

The U.S. Eighth Army reported that allied ground forces had killed or wounded 3,694 enemy troops the previous week, the highest number in about five months. The figure did not include enemy losses from bombing or artillery fire and included the battle for "Old Baldy Hill" and some of the fighting for Vegas.

At the U.N. in New York, U.S. Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., conferred this date with chief British delegate Sir Gladwyn Jebb and India's delegate, V. K. Krishna Menon, regarding the latest Korean War truce suggestions communicated via Peiping radio by Communist Chinese Premier Chou En-lai. Mr. Menon had been the author of the resolution passed overwhelmingly by the General Assembly the prior December, subsequently rejected by the Communists, as a means for resolving the only remaining issue preventing an armistice, repatriation of prisoners of war. The new suggestion by Chou appeared very similar to the prior resolution introduced by India, involving the agreement that all prisoners who ostensibly wanted repatriation could be turned over to an unspecified neutral nation to render "a just solution" on the matter. Delegates generally believed that the next move on the issue should occur at Panmunjom in resumption of the armistice negotiations, as expressed by an Iraqi delegate, a leading spokesman for the neutralist Asian-Arab states, endorsing the U.S. answer, suggesting resumption of the talks, which had been suspended by the U.N. delegation walking out in frustration from the talks the prior fall. But a South Korean representative said that his Government wanted only reunification of the country and that there was no need to return to Panmunjom with empty expectations regarding what the aggressor might pose. Canada's representative viewed the Chou announcement as important, potentially resolving the Korean War. Observers at the U.N. expressed the belief that the original Chinese refusal to accept the Indian resolution was dictated by Moscow, after Soviet delegate Andrei Vishinski had said that the Indians had pushed an American proposal in disguise, and that the death of Stalin had now removed that Soviet obstacle.

The U.N. command in Tokyo informed the Communists this date, in a letter from General Mark Clark, supreme commander of the U.N. forces, that they should get down to business in the suspended armistice talks if their new offers were sincere. He asked the Communists to come up with an official, detailed version of the previous night's offer by Chou. Questions remained as to whether the prisoners who desired repatriation would have the final choice, as Chou had indicated that the Communists were not relenting in their belief that there were no actual U.N.-held prisoners who did not desire repatriation either to North Korea or Communist China. The letter indicated that the swap of ill and wounded prisoners, a suggestion originally made by General Clark on February 22 and accepted the previous Saturday by the Communists, should be arranged by a liaison group from both sides, after which negotiations for resuming the truce talks could follow. General Clark said that he was ready to provide careful and sympathetic consideration to Chou's proposal once it was officially transmitted.

General James Van Fleet, who had retired recently as commander of the U.S. Eighth Army in Korea, and was also ending his 38-year military career, received a 17-gun salute at dusk this date in Washington at the parade ground of Fort Leslie McNair—where, incidentally, the Booth co-conspirators in the Lincoln assassination were hanged in July, 1865. There was no indication that President Eisenhower would attend the ceremony, despite the fact that both had been West Point classmates and remained close friends. A Senate Armed Services subcommittee was set to open an inquiry into General Van Fleet's disputed claims regarding the serious and sometimes critical shortage of ammunition which he said existed during his 22 months as ground commander in Korea. His claims contradicted indications from the Army at the Pentagon, and several Senators had sought to have Army Secretary Robert Stevens retain the General in uniform, despite his retirement normally being compulsory because of his age of 60 and 35 years of Army service, which included five years as a Major General. Secretary Stevens had determined that there should be no exception to the policy which had gone into effect while General Eisenhower had been chief of staff of the Army, following the war. There was no contention that the General's retirement was linked in any way to the dispute regarding the charged ammunition shortages, Secretary Stevens indicating that the retirement had been planned since the prior September, long before the controversy had erupted. He also said that there was no suitable job available for a major-general, another reason for not providing an exception to the retirement.

In Las Vegas, a bright flash was observed in the predawn sky over the desert from the third atomic explosion of the spring test series, though not as bright as the two earlier detonations. Per the usual course, the Atomic Energy Commission provided no indication of the type of nuclear device detonated at the Yucca Flat proving ground, 75 miles distant. But in contrast to the first two detonations, no troops had participated in this date's exercise. Observers in Las Vegas were puzzled by the fact that five minutes following the explosion, there had been no usual mushroom cloud, which had become quickly visible following the prior two detonations. Air Force planes again flew over the proving ground area in maneuvers after the explosion, designed to train crews to keep calm during such an event. Again, as with the prior two detonations, automobiles and animals were subjected to civil defense and bio-medical studies. What kind of animals? Did they use any jackasses and elephants this time? More Fords or Chevrolets?

Assistant Secretary of Defense Frank Nash told Senator Joseph McCarthy's Senate Investigations subcommittee this date that the Senator's efforts to curb Western trade with Communist China "would meet with applause" from the military unless he were undercutting an overall Government policy. Mutual Security Agency director Harold Stassen had said the previous day that the Senator's work was "undermining" the Administration's efforts to deal with Communist trade. The Senator had, during the weekend, announced that he had made an agreement with Greek shipowners of 242 ships to cease hauling goods to Communist China, North Korea, or between Communist ports, whereas the State Department had already obtained agreement from the Greek Government to cease such activity regarding ships sailing under Greek registries, Senator McCarthy having responded that his agreement embraced 191 ships which were sailing under foreign registries, thus being more pervasive. Senator McCarthy announced that he had arranged a meeting the following day with Secretary of State Dulles to seek an amicable resolution of the controversy, and said that he was sure he would receive the President's backing, provided the President had the facts. He said that he was halting negotiations presently in progress in London with Greek owners of 150 or more other vessels until after he talked with Secretary Dulles. He also said that Mr. Stassen's criticism of the agreement had come as a complete surprise, that Mr. Stassen had originally favored the subcommittee's negotiations but had then suddenly switched his position.

Secretary of Commerce Sinclair Weeks announced that Dr. Allen V. Astin, director of the Bureau of Standards, had resigned, but declined to say whether he was doing so by request. The matter is further considered below by Drew Pearson in his column of this date, indicating that Dr. Astin had been fired by Assistant Secretary Craig Sheaffer.

In Washington the perjury trial of Owen Lattimore was postponed until October, having originally been set for May 1, the U.S. District Court Judge, however, denying a defense motion to change venue.

In Pittsburgh, an unauthorized strike by workers of a captive railroad had forced U.S. Steel to close its four large steel plants in the Pittsburgh area this date, idling more than 30,000 production workers. The strike resulted from the suspension of two conductors. The railroad connected various U.S. Steel plants, hauling raw materials to the mills and carrying away finished products.

In London, John Christie, 55, who had been wanted since the prior Tuesday in connection with the grisly murders of six women and perhaps more, whose decaying or fully decayed remains had been found in and around his former apartment house in the Notting Hill section, all strangled, was taken into custody quietly by a policeman in suburban Putney, after being recognized while the policeman walked his beat along the Thames. The anti-climactic ending to the search came after one of the most extensive in Scotland Yard's history. Grim jokes had been made about the apartment house where the murder victims were discovered, having become notorious after another man had been hanged for the alleged murder of his wife and child some three years earlier, a hanging which subsequently would appear to have been a miscarriage of justice, for the fact that Mr. Christie had actually been the killer, during the course of a bungled abortion, for which he was hired by the woman's husband, a story which the husband had imparted at his trial, apparently rejected by the jury. Eventually, Mr. Christie, a quiet, balding clerk, whose wife was among the murder victims, would be hanged for the murders. His wife had been supportive of Mr. Christie during the previous murder trial of the neighbor, against the informal allegations by the defense that her husband had been responsible.

March rainfall in many sections of the country had been one of the heaviest for the month on record, a month also producing the season's first tornadoes and early spring floods, with the worst floods in New England since 1936 having eased in most sections, while a second flood in four days had threatened an area of New Hampshire. Some 1,200 persons still were not allowed to return to their homes at Mexico, Maine, although the confluence of two rivers there had subsided below flood crests. The latest of the season's tornadoes hit the ground south of Argonia, Kansas, the previous day, without any damage reported. The previous day's high was 94, recorded at Laredo, Texas.

In Raleigh, the State Senate Committee on Manufacturing, Labor and Commerce this date approved a bill to fix a minimum wage of 55 cents per hour or $30 per week for North Carolina workers engaged only in intrastate commerce, and thus not subject to Federal minimum wage legislation. The bill would now go before the entire Senate for action, which possibly would take place the following day. The measure had first been amended to exempt workers whose income came from tips, already having exempted farm workers, domestic help, dairy workers, and employers employing no more than two workers, plus several other groups. It was one of the few times in the history of the Legislature that a minimum wage bill had survived committee action. It had the backing of Governor William B. Umstead, who had called for it during his inaugural address in early January.

In Castelfranco Veneto, Italy, a 34-year old farmer said that he would wear suspenders for the rest of his life, having fallen from a barn window the previous day and been caught on a window hook by his suspenders, dangling 30 feet off the ground until relatives could rescue him.

On the editorial page, "The Man for the Job" praises the Mecklenburg County Medical Society for urging the County Commissioners to appoint Charlotte City Health Officer Dr. M. B. Bethel as acting County health officer, as Dr. Bethel had plentiful qualifications for the job, which it lists, indicating that the community had nothing to lose and everything to gain by his appointment.

Incidentally, when the super-duper cagifragilisticexpialidocious 42nd St. camera/stereo salesman, with all of his gesticulations and "beautifuls" aplenty, gets through trying to convince you that hydroxychloroquine, a synthetic derivative of quinine, is a medicine with some proven remedial effect on the novel coronavirus, and thus you ought try it, as you have nothing to lose, caveat emptor: you have your life potentially to lose, with all the attendant side effects of that unproven remedy, still undergoing clinical trials to determine whether, on balance, it has an ameliorative effect. If you do not get that, then look it up or just study a little generally the concept of clinical testing of drugs before their approval by the Food & Drug Administration. In the meantime, those patients who depend on that drug for treatment of malaria and lupus will potentially be deprived of it if coronavirus patients seek to use it, when not only it may not have any beneficial effect, but might prove ultimately deleterious in certain patients. Hydroxychloroquine is not some generic, over-the-counter medicine but a prescription drug with designed capabilities to combat certain diseases, not interchangeable like an auto part for a Ford or Mercury.

If you are inclined toward being mesmerized by master sales pitches, you need to stop listening to the super-duper salesman and his henchmen in the White House, and realize that this bunch are governed by a liar, the consummate liar, unable to prevent himself from lying, pathological in his inability to tell the truth, learned obviously from long practice, always concerned only with his own image, prepared, at the drop of a hat, to fire or retaliate publicly against anyone who proves disloyal to His Highness or even disagrees publicly with his supreme wisdom, gleaned, in most instances, from his lucky mood watch.

If you vote for a salesman, a salesman is what you will surely get. But the Government does not run on salesmanship, either domestically or regarding foreign policy, the disaster at present being the prime exhibit of that fact, destroying the economy in the process, whatever benefits there were having been largely put in motion during the Obama Administration, with little, if any, positive impact from the present bunglers' policies, except, of course, for the very rich, that old tried and failed trickle-down economics, and for those idiots who think that a wall will stop illegal immigrants trafficking in narcotics or having other nefarious purposes from entering the country.

And, we do not mean to disparage the shops on 42nd Street, as we got some good bargains there a couple of times on stereo equipment and cameras—and nothing else. We knew what we wanted when we walked in, having done our preliminary research and compared prices, and thus able to resist any slick talk and distracting gesticulations of the prestidigitator. But the guy in the White House does have that sort of feel to him, the pluperfect fast-talk artist, when you look at his gestures and listen to his verbiage long enough.

You could always just drink some tonic water for the quinine content, in moderate, sensible amounts, if you really want to try it. That was what the soldiers did in World War II in the Pacific theater to ward off malaria. Follow the doctors' advice on this one, and stay away from the overworked hospitals and doctors unless you are having trouble breathing as a result of other symptoms of the coronavirus, including fever, bad cough not paid off, headache, aches and pains. Otherwise, take Tylenol or ibuprofen, go to bed, take a well-deserved rest, and forget about the Kool-Aid salesman. You have no idea what may be in that Kool-Aid.

You already have a glimmer of Super-Salesman's bedside manner, when he said over the weekend that you don't want the ventilator because once you are on one of those, you rarely make it off. That surely must be comforting to those patients now relying on it for their life's breath, not to mention the feelings of their loved ones. And, of course, there have been instances during the last three weeks or so where the ventilators saved lives, and so what he is saying is nonsense. It is true that a study in the United Kingdom showed that about a third of those forced to ventilators, 33 of 98, ultimately survived, insofar as known outcomes thus far, but that statistic does not control for age or underlying conditions, and it is the aged and those with pre-existing health conditions who are most likely to wind up on ventilators, rendering the study of little value in predicting the ventilator survival rate for those healthy prior to contraction of the coronavirus. It is also biased for short duration study because of the recency of the pandemic, with the bulk of the patients being studied still in critical care. Take heart. (See especially Table 3.)

Bat-Soup Super-Sales is merely making such bizarre and macabre statements to deflect guilt and blame from himself and his Administration for their bumbling incompetence since January in meeting the inevitability of this crisis, not rebuilding the Federal stockpile of goods necessary for hospitals to meet such a shortage of equipment in the known face of a potential pandemic since late December, or in any other manner beyond shutting off borders to keep people out—which defies common sense as it only takes one carrier to infect thousands of people ultimately, one carrier transmitting it to another, one Asian to an American citizen who then returns, for instance, to the U.S. But, of course, he must always supply those sound bites for consumers of Fox News and the like, which is why a lot of what he says one moment is completely contradictory to what he, or his experts, might say the next. Candidly, when taken as a whole, the daily press briefings on the matter sound like the ravings of a bunch of dissociative lunatics.

We hate to pick on any one official of the Administration, as they are all constrained to do what the boss wants on pain of being fired or at least marginalized, but we have to take considerable issue with the suggestion by the Surgeon General that the next couple of weeks will be a "Pearl Harbor" or "9/11", for the fact, first, that both of those events, one in wartime, one in peacetime, were sneak attacks on the country by human actors, not viruses, and, moreover, because the attack on Pearl Harbor, on its official count, resulted in the loss of 2,490 lives, while the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon resulted in about 3,000 lives lost, the coronavirus, thus far, since just March 20, 16 days ago, having already resulted in more than 10,000 lost lives, there having been between 170 and 250 deaths in the U.S. as of March 20.

The better analogy, therefore, might be that the next couple of weeks could be the tsunami following the earthquake, an earthquake which was entirely predictable, in this instance, as to both time and extent, through prior seismic analysis—available for study and preparation accordingly, had buckpasser not been so engaged in corrosive tweety-bird invective aimed at Democrats, despite a foregone conclusion in the Senate on his impeachment, Mitch and the Sing-Along Gang having nicely pre-arranged everything to provide a cushy ride for him—save the Rambler American, which we know, firsthand, was not a particularly cushy ride—, that he neglected all other business of any import, obviously, actually the norm rather than the exception during the last three years.

"Mr. Hoover's Unwanted Role" indicates that FBI director J. Edgar Hoover had repeatedly requested that the FBI be removed from the process of having to pass judgment on its findings by preparing summaries of its reports. Recently, Mr. Hoover had been asked to summarize FBI files on Cabinet appointments, as well as on Charles Bohlen during his confirmation fight in the Senate to become Ambassador to the Soviet Union, and he had done so only reluctantly, as such summaries inevitably could be challenged as biased, omitting matter which the opposition found salient.

It indicates that the best solution was to have the Bureau compile the data and the Administration department heads assess it, that the Bureau had enough work and enough power without giving it that added authority, that under less capable direction than that provided by Mr. Hoover, it could be exercised "capriciously to the detriment of almost any American."

"Jim Thorpe—Greatest of Them All" laments the recent death of the star athlete who had attended the Carlisle, Pennsylvania, Indian Industrial School, indicating that he had won gold medals, in the pentathlon and decathlon, at the 1912 Olympics, running a 10-second 100-yard dash, a 4:35 mile, a 23'6" broad jump and a 6'5" high jump, after also having starred in football at Carlisle, in which activity he had given future President Eisenhower a football knee during the latter's cadet days. But, because Mr. Thorpe had participated briefly in a summer baseball league in Rocky Mount, N. C., to earn a little money to tide him over in school, he was deemed to have engaged in "professionalism" and thus subsequently was stripped of his medals won at Stockholm, which were then provided to the runners-up in the competition.

Several unsuccessful attempts had been made recently to restore to the record books his official contributions at the Olympics, but, it suggests, his achievements, despite lack of official recognition, could not be eradicated and, for years to come, "Jim Thorpe will still be recognized as the greatest of them all."

"A Dissent, in Noble Language" tells of Guilford County State Representative Tom Turner having found great fault with the decision by the General Assembly to allow closed meetings of committees considering the State budget, amending prior law which had required that such meetings be public. It quotes from his criticism, which had been inserted to the General Assembly's journal, in which he concluded that the bill established a "dangerous precedent", as it struck "at the vitals of our political institutions."

Bill Sharpe, in a piece titled "Sorebacks and Tar Heels", in The State magazine, explores the origin of the term "Tar Heel", first rejecting the legend that it had developed on either a Louisiana, Mississippi or South Carolina plantation when two or three slaves, originally from North Carolina, had been winning all the money in a contest by craftily smearing tar on the bottoms of their feet, henceforth, according to the legend, becoming Tar Heels.

He also finds fault with the version supplied in R. B. Creecy's Grandfather's Tales, in which it was recounted that during a Civil War battle in which a North Carolina regiment had been abandoned by its supporting troops, the North Carolinians had been passing some soldiers, and after having been asked whether there was any tar in North Carolina, responded that there was none, that Jefferson Davis had bought it all to put on "you'uns heels to make you stick better in the next fight." Supposedly, according to Mr. Creecy, General Lee, upon hearing of the anecdote, had then said: "God bless the Tar Heel boys." Historian Hugh Lefler of Chapel Hill, however, had put a hole in that theory by indicating that the term "Tar Heel" had been in use long before the Civil War.

A version out of Nash County had said that the soldiers of Lord Cornwallis, crossing the Tar River, had stepped into tar which had been poured into the river by North Carolinians, contributing to the river's name and the moniker for inhabitants of the state. But the river had actually been named the Tau, and had nothing to do with tar, pitch and turpentine.

Former North Carolinian Tom Holton of Florida had sent in the story that during the 1880s, when Mr. Holton was a boy, former slaves of his paternal grandparents had told him that the origin of the term had developed along the Virginia-North Carolina border during the slaveholding era, that when a patrolman of the slaves, whose job was to keep them from visiting, courting or running away, had found a Virginia slave, he would turn him to his Virginia master for punishment, and vice-versa when a Virginia patrolman found a North Carolina slave. The penalty in Virginia for violating the curfew was a severe flogging, whereas in North Carolina, it was to put tar on the slave's heels, resulting in the moniker for North Carolinians, as well as "Sorebacks" for Virginians. But Mr. Sharpe finds this explanation also wanting, despite Virginians being known pejoratively as "Sorebacks", because it did not appear to be a genuine punishment to put tar on the heels of a slave, unless it was hot enough to inflict burns, in which case it would have been improvident of the planter to incapacitate a valuable field hand.

As we have previously recounted, though never having seen it in print otherwise, the origin appears in plain view, as surely as the purloined letter of Poe, that, in looking at a map of the Old North State, one quickly can see the outline of an old Colonial shoe, with the pronounced heel being in the southeast portion of the state, while the toe is at the western end, that southeast portion being, historically, one of the richest tar-producing regions in the world. As with most such things, it is rather elementary. Yet, everyone seems to overlook, often enough, the most obvious explanation, preferring some cute anecdotal story that old grandpa or grandma related, while trying to keep the children entertained, taken then as fact, as old grandma or grandpa would never, ever dissemble with the truth or feign wisdom which, in fact, they lacked, for, in this instance, not having read Poe or at least studied very closely the fine art of cartography, but simply taking the outlines of states and countries for granted. What is is and can't be questioned, young'un, lest some totemic god might strike you dead as a post.

The Congressional Quarterly looks at the Social Security Act, recounting that mass unemployment and the lack of support for the aged had been major problems during the Depression, leading Congress to pass the Act in 1935, including two forms of social insurance which were presently still in effect, albeit on a widened scale, old-age and survivors' insurance, the only program under the Act which was wholly Federal, and the other, unemployment insurance, shared with the states. About 13 million persons in the country had reached the age of 65 at the beginning of 1952, about four million of whom were employed or were wives of men who were working. About 3.3 million of those over 65 were receiving benefits under the old age and survivors' insurance, while about 2.7 million received benefits under the state and Federal program for the needy. Benefits and costs of administering the old age and survivors' insurance were paid from contributions by employers, employees and the self-employed.

It goes on to detail the program and the workers who were then covered, plus their benefits.

Drew Pearson discusses Dr. A. V. Astin, director of the Bureau of Standards and a noted scientist, having been attempting for several weeks to obtain an appointment with his chief, the new Secretary of Commerce, Sinclair Weeks, to discuss future problems. Secretary Weeks, however, had not seen him, but Assistant Secretary Craig Sheaffer, head of the well-known fountain pen company, had summoned him the previous week to tell him to turn in his resignation within three days. (Carter pens were better, anyway, especially in an ink fight among school chums in elementary school, as they had better firing capacity, an observation gleaned from afar, as we never participated in such juvenile pursuits.)

Dr. Astin was also lectured regarding the Bureau of Standards analysis of auto battery additives, epsom salts injected to existing battery electrolyte, designed supposedly to rejuvenate and strengthen batteries, the Bureau having determined that such additives were of no value, a determination which Mr. Sheaffer did not like, informing him that the Bureau in the future had to be run on a businessman's basis.

Mr. Pearson proceeds to provide a background of prior directors of the Bureau, showing that politics had been kept out of its running through both prior Republican and Democratic Administrations. The Bureau was regularly called upon by the Post Office Department or the Federal Trade Commission to test devices which might be falsely advertised or involved fraudulent use of the mails, such examinations being routine and welcomed by most businesses. The Willard, Exide, and other standard battery manufacturers had supported the Bureau in its work in analyzing battery additives.

He explains in detail the examination of the additive AD-X2, manufactured by an Oakland, California, firm to restore old or semi-worn out batteries, the Bureau finding that it decreased rather than increased the electrical conductivity of the electrolyte. The firm's president, however, had immediately protested the finding, his wire-pulling having finally resulted in the firing of Dr. Astin. After the Post Office Department had issued an official mail fraud order against the additive on March 3, the Secretary of Commerce that same night pleaded with Postmaster General Arthur Summerfield to suspend the order, which Mr. Summerfield accommodated, removing the order two days later, amounting to one of the quickest reversals of a fraud finding at the Post Office in many years.

Mr. Sheaffer had said that he had come to Washington to help business, and telephoned the Chemical and Engineering News to demand that they not publish the report of the Bureau's findings on the ineffective, deleterious additive, resulting in that publication, however, going ahead with its publication, causing Mr. Sheaffer to write to it an official letter stating that the report of the Bureau had not represented the views of the Commerce Department. Mr. Sheaffer also demanded that the Bureau issue no further copies of the report or make further statements regarding the additive. Later, the House Commerce Committee sought from Mr. Sheaffer copies of the Bureau's report and so he was forced to send them such copies. Eventually, however, he fired Dr. Astin, for merely doing his job, following the advice of scientists, as had been the case for years at the Bureau.

Mr. Pearson notes that when Mr. Sheaffer had been examined by the Senate Interstate Commerce Committee, he had defended his sponsorship of radio commentator Upton Close and his contribution of $1,300 to rabble-rouser Merwin Hart. He had also contributed $1,000 to Senator McCarthy, who was now causing President Eisenhower many problems.

Actually, we have to admit that we used Sheaffer pens primarily during our elementary years, but in ignorance of the foregoing history, our research in those days obviously not having been up to speed, a fact of which we were consummately aware and so would not have had the temerity to try to contribute to an encyclopedia, or at least one which so purports to be, as, we have a feeling, many children have no hesitancy in doing today when it comes to Wicked-pedia, at least judging by the quality of many, if not most, of the entries. Again, user beware: never cite that ever-changing site as a source for anything, lest you want to be instantly branded a dolt. It is, at best, merely a launching point for further research and investigation, or a source for confirmation of information already known, to check accuracy of memory. It is not a primary source for anything, unless you are in the habit of accepting generally the potential advice of third-graders for determining your view of history.

Senators were still trying to get at the bottom of the ammunition shortage, which General James Van Fleet had claimed was costing American lives in Korea, about which the Pentagon had taken a dismissive attitude. The Army claimed that the steel strike had cut artillery ammunition production by 37 percent the previous year, but Mr. Pearson indicates that the production of carbon steel, used for artillery shells, had been greater the previous year than in any war year in history, producing 3.4 million tons, of which 525,000 tons had been used for ammunition. He relates that it was actually the case that plants had been shut down and men laid off the previous year, not because of the strike, but for lack of orders of ammunition.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop tell of the plan for a meeting between the President and Soviet Premier Georgi Malenkov being advanced enough to have been discussed with U.S. allies, though not indicating necessarily a meeting soon, but indicative of the Administration wanting such a meeting if it could be arranged with a reasonable hope of success. The President had in mind a meeting with Soviet leaders since the beginning of his term, having discussed the idea with Prime Minister Winston Churchill during his visit shortly after the election, Mr. Churchill having greeted the idea favorably, as long as such a meeting was not bilateral and included Britain and France. He also said that such a meeting would be worse than useless without thorough preparation, preferably through normal diplomatic channels, conducted in secret.

After the inauguration, the prospect of a meeting took a backseat to other, more pressing problems regarding foreign policy, until the death of Stalin on March 5, at a time when it so happened that British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden was visiting the U.S. The latter was consulted by the new psychological warfare director, C. D. Jackson, and other Administration advisers, who were advocating an immediate approach to the Kremlin, to which Mr. Eden counseled Allied consultation and patient preparation instead, a concept with which Secretary of State Dulles and the State Department staff generally agreed. The shooting down of Allied planes, however, by Soviet aircraft along the borders with West Germany, as well as another shooting incident involving an American plane off Kamchatka in the vicinity of Siberia, caused the timing to become unfavorable, again postponing immediate action. Mr. Eden was assured, however, that when the U.S. acted, it would not do so without consulting Britain and France.

In the abstract, bilateral talks were preferred by the Administration, but it realized that such talks would strike fear in its allies of a Moscow-Washington deal dividing up the world. There was also concern that East-West talks might cause the French to place on hold their efforts at ratification and contribution to the European Army project, suggesting that a meeting wait at least until June, when Prime Minister Rene Mayer had related to the President that France would finally approve the Army. There was also a desire by each side for the other to make the first move toward initiating such a conference. The Kremlin had made a series of gestures, inviting an approach, and the need for such a conference had been made a major new feature of the world Communist Party line, "as anyone can see who has the misfortune to read The Daily Worker."

Robert C. Ruark tells of coming down with an attack of the blues during the present time of the year, recalling his younger years as a sportswriter in Tampa, Fla., on a full expense account, covering the preseason training camp in baseball. He recounts that it was an easy assignment for sportswriters, as there was little on which to report, with most of the time spent at the bars rather than at the stadium, as the managers often hung out in the bars as well, and everyone was loafing on the playing field, to avoid injury, with the star batters accommodating the younger pitchers and the older pitchers not throwing hard to accommodate the younger batters.

He goes on to provide further detail on that which he missed. "We were a rowdy bunch that overdrank, gambled and never slept, but we were very young and exceedingly gay. I don't count a minute of it wasted, though scars remain on both soul and liver."

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