The Charlotte News

Wednesday, April 1, 1953


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Swedish Deputy Foreign Minister Dag Hammarskjold had accepted an offer by the U.N. Security Council to succeed Trygve Lie as Secretary-General. The agreement between the Soviet Union and the Western members of the Council had come as a surprise the previous day. U.N. delegates believed that the agreement, combined with the Communist Chinese proposals to settle the Korean prisoner of war issue, were major steps in the Soviet Union's new post-Stalin peace offensive. Mr. Hammarskjold had not previously been mentioned as a likely successor, following the announced resignation of Mr. Lie the prior fall. It marked the first agreement at the U.N. between the Soviets and the West in many months.

Soviet Foreign Minister V. M. Molotov pledged this date Soviet assistance in trying to bring about an armistice in Korea on the basis of the proposal made by Communist Chinese Premier Chou En-lai regarding repatriation of prisoners of war. Mr. Molotov said that the Soviet Government recognized the justice of the new proposals, one to exchange sick and wounded prisoners and the other to refer prisoners who ostensibly desired repatriation to a neutral nation for determination of their fate. Mr. Molotov also, however, indicated that it would be desirable for the Chinese Communists and North Korea to be represented at the U.N.

Observers in Washington regarded the Russian endorsement of the Chinese Communist proposal to make it more convincing, but cautioned that critical points of a workable armistice plan still had to be negotiated. The U.S. remained firm in its commitment to the principle of no forcible repatriation of prisoners. Some speculated that the Chou plan, similar to a resolution passed by the U.N. the prior fall but rejected by the Communist-bloc, may have actually originated in Moscow, though such speculation was not widely believed. The general view was that the expression of the desire for Communist Chinese membership in the U.N. was only a "pious hope", and would make no difference in the peace negotiations.

The U.N. command reported this date that there had been a great surge in mail being turned over by the Communists from allied prisoners of war, having sent more mail in the previous two weeks than in the prior three months.

General James Van Fleet, former head of the U.S. Eighth Army in Korea, testified before the Senate Armed Services subcommittee, in a televised hearing, that he had been stopped from making an amphibious landing behind the Communist lines in June, 1951, a move which he was convinced could have destroyed the Communist armies in Korea, that he had been prepared to go forward with the operation when General Matthew Ridgway, then-Far East supreme commander, presently NATO supreme commander, told him to stop. At the outset of the inquiry, subcommittee chairman Senator Margaret Chase Smith of Maine declared that there was no doubt that there had been shortages of ammunition in Korea, despite the Pentagon's protestations to the contrary, and indicated that the inquiry would seek to pinpoint responsibility for that problem. She said that she was gratified by recent reports that the ammunition shortage had been resolved, but indicated that it would not slow down the inquiry. She supported the statements of General Van Fleet that during his 22 months of command, the shortages had caused restrictions and limitations on the fighting men at the front.

The President this date gave the Senate Commerce Committee power to examine income tax returns, a move aimed at the New York waterfront racketeers. It was believed to be the first time the White House had so empowered that Committee. Other Congressional committees had been granted the privilege previously, for instance the Government Operations Committee, chaired by Senator Joseph McCarthy.

The President, in an executive order signed this date, stripped the Civil Service job protection from "more than several hundred" policy-making Government officials appointed by Democratic administrations, opening the way for appointing his own personnel to key positions in various Federal agencies.

The House this date passed, by a vote of 285 to 108, and sent to the Senate, a bill establishing title in the states to oil-rich submerged coastal lands. A similar measure had passed the House in the previous Congress, by a vote of 265 to 109, and was also passed by the Senate, but vetoed by President Truman. President Eisenhower had endorsed the plan, whereas President Truman had sought to retain Federal control of the lands, per the ruling of the Supreme Court.

The President signed a bill creating the new Cabinet post of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, to be headed by Oveta Culp Hobby, presently head of the Federal Security Agency. The President had submitted the proposal in the form of a reorganization plan, which required Congressional veto to defeat. The Senate and the House affirmatively passed the plan in the form of legislation.

In Dubuque, Iowa, a young Marine, 18, on a cross-country crime spree with a 16-year old girl, was arrested the previous day, admitting the killing of five persons during holdups in four days. Three women, a man and a college student had been shot to death during the holdups, which had netted only a small amount of money. Four of the slayings had occurred in the Midwest and the fifth, in New York State. The Marine had been on a 10-day leave from Camp Lejeune, N.C., when the crime spree occurred. He said the young girl was his wife and he had committed the crimes to have the money to take her to California. He joined the Marines the previous June. The girl said that she knew of the slayings in Minnesota and Illinois, but not that of the college student near Rochester, N.Y.

Takes all kinds, we guess.

In Raleigh, News editor Pete McKnight reports that the Board of Directors of the North Carolina Press Association had approved a resolution the previous day asking the General Assembly to repeal the law it had adopted the previous week, allowing for consideration of budget matters in executive session. The resolution sought a public hearing on the bill, and commended the capital press corps for resisting the effort of the appropriations subcommittee to hold budget deliberations in private. The text of the resolution is printed on the page.

Also in Raleigh, the State House Committee on Counties, Cities and Towns this date delayed its vote on a bill providing for a statewide liquor referendum, which would provide for either statewide prohibition or statewide sale of liquor through State-franchised ABC stores. The House Roads Committee this date approved a measure which would permit heavier axle loads on trucks using the highways.

On the editorial page, "Honorable Compromise Must Be Sought" finds that the Communists had suddenly begun making overtures regarding peace in Korea, following indications shortly after the death of Stalin on March 5 that the new Premier, Georgi Malenkov, might take a tougher approach to the West. The rapid change in policy during the previous few days, including the indication by Communist Chinese Premier Chou En-lai, that the Communists were prepared to have the prisoners who allegedly did not wish repatriation turned over to a neutral country for its determination of their fate, was an example of the rapid change of a dictatorship's foreign policy, not being required to court public opinion or have legislative approval. Leaders in democratic societies had a much more difficult task in changing policy. They had to continue to build the free world's defenses and prepare for possible war, should Russia's latest peace tender run as had earlier ones, and amount to nothing. The free world also had to stand ready to negotiate a settlement to the war if possible.

It suggests that honorable compromise might appear as appeasement to people who had been angered and saddened by nearly three years of war, but compromise had constantly to be sought, and it favors serious consideration of the Communist proposals, without ceasing defense preparation until a negotiated settlement was actually arranged.

"Some Questions for Congressmen" reports that HUAC had issued a summary of its findings of the prior year, listing over 200 persons identified as members of the Communist Party by one of the Committee's friendly witnesses, Harvey Matusow. The piece indicates that it did not know whether any of those persons were actually members of the Communist Party, but that any Committee which accepted the testimony of Mr. Matusow could not expect the respect or confidence of anyone who had acquainted themselves with the reckless charges he generally brought. Mr. Matusow had charged before the Senate Internal Security subcommittee that the New York Times had over 100 dues-paying Communist employees, had sworn that Time had 76 Communist Party members working in editorial and research, and that the New York Associated Press bureau had 25 "hard-core Reds" in its employ. During the fall campaign, he said that the Sunday section of the Times had 126 dues-paying Communists on its payroll, but the Alsops had revealed that there were only 87 persons who worked on the Sunday section of the Times.

It suggests that HUAC chairman Harold Velde should ask Mr. Matusow to name the 100 or 126 persons on the Times and to prove his charges, as well to back up his other charges. It wonders why, when his statements appeared so obviously false, no perjury charges had been brought. It also wonders why the legislative branch published and circulated unproved accusations which could cause an innocent man to lose his job, his home, and his friends. "Why?"

"It's Time To Say Who's Who" regards the unilateral agreement arranged by Senator McCarthy with 242 Greek shipowners to quit hauling goods to and between Communist ports, without first consulting the State Department. The State Department had already reached an agreement with the Greek Government to the same effect, barring the shipment of strategic materials to Communist China, and another with the British and French Governments, whereby they would not allow Greek or other ships to dock in their ports if they traded with Communist China. But the agreement with Greece only applied to ships sailing under Greek registries, whereas Senator McCarthy indicated that his agreement embraced 191 ships sailing under foreign registries. Senator McCarthy had called a press conference the previous Saturday to announce his agreement, whereas the State Department, according to its custom, operated behind the scenes.

An Assistant Secretary of Defense had stated the previous day to Senator McCarthy that his action would meet with applause from the military unless it undercut overall government policy, causing people to wonder who was conducting foreign policy, the executive branch or the Senator. It suggests that it was high time that the State Department sound off on its own behalf, or that the President, who had been patient to a fault with Senator McCarthy, set him straight on who conducted American foreign policy.

The current occupant of the White House, as of April 8, 2020, during his daily-show briefing, says WHO's to blame, wants to cut off WHO's funding because WHO wasn't here when the tough got going.

Maybe this is why we have fallen a little behind you over the last couple of weeks.

"On Moving to the Country" tells of being desirous of a piece of land off the highway, where the editor could enjoy the advantages of rural life without doing the work which a real farmer had to do, a popular pursuit among city folk. From such a spot, one could look out through the trees and gain a new perspective on the problems of the community. But reality also had to catch up with the man living in the country, as well, and he trudged off to find the shovel and the hose, as directed by his wife, to get his mind off the daydream.

Bill Sharpe, writing in The State magazine, in a piece titled, "Word a Week", indicates that a recent invitation for help regarding the word "finnieth" or "fernent" had brought interesting results, as one man in Asheville said that he had never heard of the first word, but the second was fairly common in the Southern mountains, with a half-dozen spellings, meaning opposite, against, or in front of it. He knew nothing of its origin. Some authorities suggested that it came from Ireland, while others said Scotland. It had been in circulation in the Southern mountains for a long time, and the correspondent wished it were more commonly used. He liked especially one variant, "ferninster", which he found to be a perfect word to apply to a "cantankerous cuss" who was against everything.

John Gould, writing in the Christian Science Monitor, tells of technology having outpaced him and specialists having arisen, including in his occupation of farming. There were new contraptions on the farm which operated in secret, despite his being handy, requiring that a specialist be called in whenever they needed attention. One such apparatus was the hot water heater, now having thermal controls, requiring a degree from MIT to repair. The specialization required a man of one occupation to do another, and thus he found that a local electrician was drilling a well, a plumber was pouring cement for a poultry house foundation, and the oil installation man was pressing hay for a neighbor, etc. He indicates that 25 years earlier he could keep abreast of the necessary repairs, but no more, though he had managed to effect the repair of the hot water heater, himself, and the electrician had approved, said that he had now become a specialist, too.

Drew Pearson indicates that during the President's Monday conference with Senate leaders, he had discussed replacing Carl Gray, present head of the Veterans Administration, and someone had suggested that General James Van Fleet, recently retired as commander of the Eighth Army in Korea, would make a good choice as a replacement. Senator Taft had indicated that he did not believe another general should be placed in charge of the agency, but when the President said nothing, the Senator relented. He later told friends that he did not mean it as a crack against generals in the White House, but that a general, accustomed to Army red tape, was not a good person to handle the red tape-bound V.A. Mr. Pearson indicates that it did not suggest coolness between the President and the Senator, as the Senator had been getting along much better with the President of late, the two being closely aligned on more issues.

The debate about providing offshore oil to the coastal states was still hushed up in the Senate Interior Committee, but he provides in great detail the highlights of what was going on behind closed doors. He notes that the real issue was whether royalties from the submerged oil should go to the schools of all 48 states or to just three states, California, Texas and Louisiana, which would be the beneficiaries of the submerged lands if Congress handed them over to the states. He also indicates that over 37 million dollars which had already been collected and deposited in the U.S. Treasury in revenue from the lands was also at stake.

Marquis Childs discusses the prospects for bringing about a truce in the Korean War, with expectations having been increased with the latest Communist overture regarding the remaining issue of repatriation of prisoners of war. But there had been so much past disappointment since the beginning of the truce talks in June, 1951 that people were not necessarily counting on a truce becoming a reality, as the war approached its third anniversary the following June 25.

The war had been exploited by many Republican speakers during the fall campaign and the hopeful voter could believe that a change of party and administration might work a magical transformation to effect peace, a "tragic illusion", but nevertheless causing impatience with which the President now had to live.

There were grave decisions to be weighed against the prospect of enlarging the war, and those decisions had reached no firm conclusions. Secretary of State Dulles had been distracted for the previous month in trying to push through the confirmation of Charles Bohlen as Ambassador to Russia, in what should have been a completely routine matter.

During that interval, Joint Chiefs chairman General Omar Bradley had made a speech intended to demonstrate the sober choices ahead in Korea, a speech cleared by the civilian heads of the Defense Department, Secretary Dulles, and by the President. General Bradley had sought to impress upon public opinion the difficulties of finding a way out of the Korean impasse.

Mr. Childs encourages remembering the men who were holding the line in Korea, "their stamina, their strength, their courage, their lives" standing "between the free world and the spreading encroachment of Communist aggression."

The Congressional Quarterly again looks at the Social Security system and provides further data on eligibility and benefits.

A letter writer, a lonely 21-year old G.I. in Korea, of Co. A, 11th Combat Engineers Battalion, says that he would like to receive some mail from people in Charlotte, that he had been in Korea for six months and would probably be there at least another six months, says that exchanging correspondence would boost his morale.

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