The Charlotte News

Monday, March 9, 1953


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the body of Joseph Stalin was entombed this date in the Lenin mausoleum on Red Square after his successor, Premier Georgi Malenkov, provided a funeral oration in which he said that the new Government's foreign policy would be one of peace and that the Soviet Union desired international cooperation and business ties with all countries, with a chief task of the new Government being to prevent a new world war. He also called for the Soviet people to engage in an "uncompromising struggle against external and internal enemies", that it was their "sacred duty" to "strengthen the Soviet armed forces and maintain their readiness against enemy attacks." The Deputy Premier, L. P. Beria, also spoke, saying that Soviet soldiers had modern equipment and were able to ward off any aggression, that enemies who thought their loss would bring disarray would be disappointed. New Foreign Minister V. M. Molotov also spoke at the funeral. Chinese Communist Premier Chou En-lai was present on the funeral rostrum.

A vast throng had observed the ceremony, as military bands played Chopin's "Funeral March". At noon, at the time of interment, every steam whistle in the Soviet Union blew for five minutes and the large cities participated in an artillery salute. There was no church participation in the funeral rites, though leaders of all religions in Moscow had said public prayers for Stalin after his fatal illness had been announced the previous week, and church leaders had filed past his bier in the Hall of Columns where his corpse lay in state for three days.

At the U.N. in New York, Secretary of State Dulles said in a press conference this date that the death of Stalin had increased the chance for peace in the world, but that it would not change U.S. policy, which would, in consequence, have more chance of success. He said that he doubted that any new Communist dictator would have the prestige to carry on as effectively as had Stalin in putting a damper on man's aspirations for peace and the enjoyment of human rights, the dictator having benefited from prestige obtained during World War II. He said that as the era of Stalin had ended, the era of General Eisenhower as President, after having liberated Western Europe during the war, had begun "with a prestige unmatched in history."

In Korea, U.S. Sabre jets shot down three enemy MIG-15s this date and damaged one other, running their two-day toll to six, with three destroyed, one probably destroyed and one damaged the previous day. The Sabres were running protective cover for marauding fighter-bombers.

There was no major ground action this date, but opposing infantry clashed in bitter pre-dawn patrol fights.

The U.S. and Britain this date planned to seek prompt help of other free nations in tightening an economic blockade against ocean shipments of war materiel to Communist China. British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden and Secretary of State Dulles, winding up political and economic talks in Washington on Saturday, announced new steps, primarily to be undertaken by Britain, to disrupt maritime shipments of strategic goods to the Communist Chinese. Mr. Eden had assured Mr. Dulles that the British Government would make certain that no Russian ships or ships of any other nationality carrying strategic cargoes to China would be refueled or supplied in a British port. The two had also agreed that the U.S. and Britain would utilize concerted efforts to secure the cooperation of other maritime and trading nations in measures designed to exclude the shipments of strategic material from the mainland of China. The agreement would diminish but not sever the flow of war matériel to China, about 75 percent of which came overland from Russia and only about 25 percent by sea.

Senator Taft said this date, following a White House conference, that the chances were good for an agreement between the Congress and the Administration regarding about 15 changes to the Taft-Hartley law, and that it would be best to complete hearings on the changes before any final bills were drafted.

A Congressional investigation into reported ammunition shortages in Korea appeared set to be expanded into other phases of the war, while Democratic Senators made it plain they would fight any effort to expose what they regarded as military secrets. Senator William Knowland of California, chairman of the Senate Republican policy committee, had said the previous day on a program on NBC television that he did not believe a general investigation of the war would be profitable and that the concentration should be on the ammunition shortage and not on exposing the country's hand with a general investigation. Senators John Sparkman and Theodore Green, in separate interviews, indicated opposition to any effort by Congress to influence military decisions. Senator Taft had indicated that he thought it would be good to investigate not only the ammunition shortage but also the circumstances surrounding the truce talks and the prisoners of war. Senator Sherman Cooper stated in an interview that he would favor an inquiry into the lack of any apparent plan to end the Korean war, a view generally shared by Senator Charles Tobey, but Senator Richard Russell had said that he feared that public hearings on military tactics and strategy might tip off the enemy, a sentiment echoed by Senator Mike Monroney.

In Ipoh, Perak, Malaya, the Sultan of Perak this date commuted to life imprisonment the death sentence imposed by a British judge on Lee Meng, a Chinese female guerrilla whom Communist Hungary had recently tried to save by bargaining with the British Government. She had been convicted as the ring-leader of Communist terrorism in Malaya and sentenced to hang on a charge of carrying a grenade, a capital offense under the state of emergency. Hungary had offered to release an imprisoned British businessman in return for her freedom, but British Prime Minister Winston Churchill had tentatively turned down the offer, saying that there could be no barter of human life, adding that he did not rule out further consideration after clemency appeals had been exhausted in Malaya.

Near Spring Valley, N.Y., two young girls, ages five and eight, had been brutally slain the previous day, with a doctor indicating that both had been sexually attacked. Both had lived at a school for under-privileged children. Their bodies had been discovered the previous night in a snow-covered wooded area near the school. One girl had been stabbed and the other had a savage blow to the back of her head. A manhunt was engaged to try to locate the killer.

In Wilmington, N.C., wind-fanned flames roared along the waterfront this date and moved toward the city's business district, as firemen concentrated on halting the spread of the fire following explosions. The first estimates of damage indicated that it would run into the millions. At least five firemen had been seriously injured, while others were less seriously harmed. A stand would be made by the firefighters at two streets to prevent the spread of the fires, by dynamiting buildings to establish a line of empty land across which the flames could not leap, about a half-mile from the city's business district. There is no indication in the story regarding the source or cause of the fire.

In New York, after judging more than 15,000 entries in the 1952 Register and Vote Competition, sponsored by the American Heritage Foundation, the Foundation had announced this date that The News had been awarded a first prize for "the most intensive and most effective Non-Partisan Register and Vote Campaign by a newspaper in cities with a population between 100,000 and 150,000." The winners would receive a full-color replica by the Lithographers National Association of Arthur Szyk's famous painting of the Bill of Rights. News publisher Thomas L. Robinson had, the previous summer, invited several civic leaders to sit down and discuss ways of making a united get-out-the-vote campaign from all of the various efforts of separate clubs and societies in the community. The resulting drive had been headed by Joe Josephs, involving the work of hundreds of volunteers, who made speeches, rang doorbells and transported voters to the polls on election day, resulting in 40,000 citizens adding their names to the registration books during a three-week period allotted by State law, making the total eligible voters in the county 90,000, of whom a record 77,000 voted, many after waiting in line for as long as two hours. The prior record had been about 35,000 voters in Mecklenburg County.

On the editorial page, "Nothing Secret about Car Inspection" finds interesting the rationale of State Senator H. Pou Bailey of Wake County for excluding the press from a hearing on the proposed motor vehicle inspection law, for the reason that to have the press present during a vote on the law would have embarrassed the members of the committee which he chaired. Senator Bailey had introduced the bill, which was controversial among many, because its predecessor act, passed by the 1947 General Assembly, had produced long lines at inspection stations run by the State, leading to a public outcry which caused the law to be abrogated in 1949.

But it indicates that the public and the press had shown an ability to differentiate between the earlier law and the present one, in that inspections under the proposed law would be conducted by private facilities, meaning more inspection stations and fewer lines. There had been no appreciable opposition to the bill and members of Senator Bailey's committee could fend off any opposition raised by constituents by pointing out the improvements.

It finds, moreover, that all legislative matters ought be conducted publicly, unless there were matters of national security involved, which the states had long ago ceded to Congress.

"Correlate the Korean File, Senator" finds no military merit for Senator Taft's broadened investigation of Korea, embracing the stalled truce talks and prisoners of war. Opposition to the idea had arisen from key Democratic leaders, such as Senators Richard Russell and Estes Kefauver, as well as Republican Senator William Knowland of California, Republican policy committee chairman. The latter believed that it would cause a political row overshadowing any possible benefits.

The piece agrees with the position of not having further investigation, as Korea had already been investigated several times, with the major one having occurred at the time of the firing of General MacArthur, in April, 1951. General James Van Fleet, who had just retired as commander of the U.S. Eighth Army in Korea, had testified before Congressional committees the previous week, and the following day he, Secretary of Defense Charles E. Wilson, Army chief of staff, General J. Lawton Collins, and Secretary of the Army Robert Stevens would testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee, and on Wednesday, General Van Fleet would go before the House Appropriations Committee. In the meantime, a Senate Armed Services subcommittee had ordered a separate inquiry into the reported ammunition shortage, as raised by General Van Fleet the previous week.

It finds that yet another investigation would only compound a Congressional fault of over-investigation of matters, requiring that military leaders go from committee to committee telling the same story three or four times. If the proposed investigation by Senator Taft would replace the others, then it would have merit, but not as a duplicate investigation. It suggests that Congress correlate all of the material in its various committees regarding Korea and have members of Congress study it while the military men returned to fighting the war.

"Benson's Poser—Markets for Farmers" indicates that Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson, being a devout Mormon, did not indulge in caffeine, nicotine or alcohol, which was all to the good as any less disciplined Secretary would probably have coffee nerves, cigarette hangover and delirium tremens by this point. One of the problems he faced was overproduction by farmers in food and fibers, fine in the sense that there were many hungry, poorly-clothed people in the world. But the problem came from the fact that many foreigners did not have enough money to purchase food or clothes, placing the Government in the position of propping up the farmer with price supports and Government purchase, or allowing huge surpluses to hit the market and consequently forcing down prices below parity, calling for price supports.

There had been an increase of cattle by 7 percent in one year, an increase in milk production by 16 percent in one year, and the Government already had millions of dollars worth of dairy products, eggs and grains in storehouses. It sold wheat at a cheaper price overseas in an effort to be rid of some of the surplus.

In consequence, Secretary Benson had asked farmers to cut their cotton crop by 18 percent, but the markets doubted that the farmers would comply, absent official restriction or guaranteed prices.

The piece suggests that a partial answer to the problem of overproduction would be a change in American marketing, with new overseas markets created by lowering of tariff barriers and the admission of more foreign goods at low prices so that foreign buyers could purchase U.S. agricultural products with dollars earned from the purchase of foreign goods. But if Secretary Benson followed that course, he would run into the majority of the Republicans in Congress who were reluctant to renew the existing reciprocal trade agreements, let alone reduce tariff barriers.

It concludes that it was comforting that Secretary Benson was a marketing specialist and a man of goodwill, as he would need all of his talents to find a solution to the problem.

A piece from the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, titled "Gilding the Fish", indicates that a new twist was now available on the traditional fish story, provided by Alcoa, allowing a person to design their own fish to be carved from solid aluminum and artistically hand-colored to simulate any fish they desired, however big or small. It suggests that if the guest of the person viewing such a fish turned out not to be properly envious, the aluminum facsimile could be melted down to form a light laundry tub.

Drew Pearson indicates that President Truman had bawled out Joseph Stalin at Potsdam for being a day late for the conference, after he, Prime Minister Churchill and Secretary of State James Byrnes had arrived on time. Stalin had offered the excuse that his train had been held up when crossing Poland and East Germany, which may have been the case in July, 1945, but the President insisted that everyone would be on time for the meetings, speaking with such vigor that Mr. Churchill had looked to Mr. Byrnes with a view toward getting the new President to take his seat. After the meeting, Secretary Byrnes had been ready to suggest that it might be wise for the President not to antagonize Stalin, when General Harry Vaughan, the President's military aide, complimented the President for bawling out Stalin and recommended that he do it again.

Mr. Pearson notes that President Truman had also bawled out then-Foreign Minister V. M. Molotov in Washington in April, 1945, following FDR's death, and that current Ambassador-designate to Russia Charles Bohlen had at the time served as interpreter for the President, telling his superiors that he had never heard a foreign dignitary bawled out in such language, lasting for more than an hour.

Stalin had once bawled out the British, in front of the British Ambassador, regarding their alleged "stealing" of 16 Air Cobras which the U.S. had intended to ship to Murmansk for use by Russia in the war, but which had been taken off the ship in Scotland, as it turned out, at the direction of General Eisenhower who wanted the airplanes for use in the 1942 North African offensive. The incident had been imparted to Mr. Pearson by the late Wendell Willkie, who had been present at the time.

Stalin had also been caustic with Winston Churchill regarding the opening of a second front across the English Channel, which Mr. Churchill had initially resisted in favor of opening a second front through the Balkans or southern France, with the U.S. military finally persuading him to undertake the cross-channel operation. At the conclusion of the meeting, Mr. Churchill had bid goodbye to Stalin and said that he would see him in Berlin, to which Stalin had replied, "Yes, I in a tank and you in a pullman car." At the Tehran conference in November, 1943, Mr. Churchill had needled Stalin, saying that everyone who came in contact with him became "slightly pink", to which Stalin had responded "pink is the healthiest physical condition," at which point FDR intervened to say that "the most beautiful combination is all the colors of the rainbow."

Joseph & Stewart Alsop discuss the decision by Secretary of State Dulles to dismiss John Carter Vincent from the State Department after a personal review of his case, having determined that he had not been disloyal but rather was a "silly person" who had shown poor wisdom. The loyalty review board during the Truman Administration had determined that there was "reasonable doubt" as to his loyalty, recommending dismissal. Secretary Dulles decided to consider the matter on his own. But, in so doing, he had angered Senators Joseph McCarthy and Pat McCarran, who had found, after hearing from star witness Louis Budenz, the "semi-professional ex-Communist", that Mr. Vincent was an active member of the Communist Party, something which Joseph Alsop, based on firsthand war-time experience in China with Mr. Vincent, had disputed to the Senate Internal Security Committee, and which had been denied by Mr. Vincent, himself.

They find it quite significant that someone as conservative and of such a strongly judicial temperament as Mr. Dulles would have decided the conflict in favor of Mr. Vincent after a laborious review of the evidence. But, if Mr. Dulles believed Mr. Vincent, he had to believe that Mr. Budenz had committed perjury before the Committee.

The case of Owen Lattimore, resting in a similar posture, except that Mr. Lattimore had been indicted for several trivial allegations of false statements before the same Committee, had been based also on allegations by Mr. Budenz that he was a Communist, the dispute of which by Mr. Lattimore had not been charged as perjury, though, if true, would have been the most flagrant example of it. That, too, appeared to be a slap in the face to the Committee and its routine reliance on Mr. Budenz.

The settlement of the Vincent case showed that Secretary Dulles was prepared to stand up to Senator McCarthy when the Secretary believed he was on firm ground and that justice was on his side. The opposite impression, however, had been created because the State Department had never been tightly administered and had reached a condition close to chaos during the transition period. The Department files were in disorder, the security system lax, and the Voice of America greatly mismanaged.

Marquis Childs finds that the self-restraint exercised by Joseph Stalin in his foreign policy could not be expected of the new leadership in Russia, resulting in far greater danger at the tension points between East and West. The evil which Stalin had done was "incalculable", having set an example of "brutal and ruthless intrigue", valuing human life as no more than a matchstick and glorifying "savage and subhuman means" over "the glitter of the false idealism". Stalin had not merely sought to pervert the present and future, but had a crew of hacks at work rewriting the past to make it conform to the Stalinist view of history, placing him in the center of the revolutionary drama.

Charles Bohlen, Ambassador-designate to Russia, was interrogated, as part of his confirmation hearings, by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee regarding the Yalta and Potsdam agreements of 1945. He had intimate knowledge of those meetings from his participation as an interpreter and non-policymaking expert, and told the Committee that the agreements had been fair and that the territory ceded by the agreements would have been ceded in any event, and that had Russia lived up to the agreements, it would have been advantageous to the West. That was not what the Republican Senators had wanted to hear, as they wanted it to fit their version of history, that both Presidents Roosevelt and Truman had sold out the country. Mr. Bohlen had presented the facts as he knew them to be, not in a way to please the Senators.

A letter writer responds to a letter of March 4, which had indicated that present state laws on liability insurance for motor vehicle owners and operators were inadequate. She agrees, indicating that she had been an innocent victim of an automobile accident, in which neither party had insurance. She had talked recently with an insurance executive who indicated that they did not want compulsory liability insurance, favoring the security system proposed in the new law, whereby, following an accident, motorists would have to post within 60 days proof of financial responsibility up to $11,000, in the form of cash, a bond, or a liability insurance policy. She believes, instead, that compulsory liability insurance would be preferable to protect the people and to help those who could not help themselves.

A letter writer indicates that while he was opposed to having a dry state, he still favored a state referendum on whether to have all 100 counties dry or all 100 counties following the ABC-controlled sales system. He believes that the majority ought rule.

A letter from Harry Golden, editor of the Carolina Israelite, indicates that Senator Willis Smith of North Carolina had made a few amazing statements in his speech in Charlotte in support of the McCarran-Walter Immigration Act, and that an Associated Press story appearing in the High Point Enterprise had quoted the Senator as saying that most of "the opponents of the McCarran Act are either Communists or Communist-inspired." He had also been quoted as saying that President Truman had probably not read the Act before he had vetoed it, and that despite President Eisenhower's campaign promise to liberalize the measure, he would likely do nothing about it. Senator Smith had also been quoted as saying that in large cities, one could walk for many blocks without ever hearing a word of English spoken, and that the condition needed correction, which the Act would help to do.

Mr. Golden indicates that Senator Smith had not indicated that the Act had been passed over the President's veto by a margin of only two votes, and that therefore, under his reasoning, 29 Senators would be subject to his charge of being "Communist-inspired". He also lists several prominent opponents of the measure, and the co-sponsoring Senators of the Lehman-Humphrey bill which would substitute for the McCarran Act. Furthermore, the President had quoted two passages from the Act during the press conference which followed his veto and Senator Smith was only guessing regarding how much the President knew about it before issuing the veto. He also believes that President Eisenhower would keep his campaign promise regarding liberalizing the measure. Furthermore, the first white person to set foot on North Carolina soil had been an Italian, Verrazzano. America was the ideal of the melting pot and so it was characteristically American to hear numerous foreign tongues being spoken. He asserts that the rationale for allowing people into the country ought be whether they had been and were good citizens, not whether they could speak English. Immigrants had helped to build the country. The McCarran Act shut the door to thousands of refugees from Communism, who, if admitted, would be formidable fighters for democracy.

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