The Charlotte News

Wednesday, April 15, 1953


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that U.S. pilots had spotted two convoys of allied sick and wounded prisoners on North Korean roads jammed with Communist military traffic and anti-aircraft guns, the latter having fired at the allied spotter planes. The pilots were still seeking to locate a third convoy, all three of which the Communists had said had begun traveling southward on Tuesday with about half of the 600 disabled prisoners who would be freed the following Monday. The Communists appeared to be taking advantage of the immunity afforded the convoys from allied air attack by shipping military supplies along the road. One allied pilot said that during his 96 missions, he had never seen so many military trucks on the road.

Meanwhile, Communist sick and wounded prisoners staged a sitdown strike at Pusan, but then gave up and went ashore when allied guards with bayonets came aboard the landing ship. The allies would release a total of 5,800 Communist prisoners, 930 to be released the following Monday.

Two allied members of the regular armistice delegation arrived at Panmunjom, suggestive of potential renewal of the truce talks very soon.

Lt. General George Decker told a Senate Armed Services subcommittee this date that ammunition production for the Army had been at a virtual standstill between the end of World War II and the start of the Korean War in mid-1950. He said that it required between 18 months and two years to get production lines moving and that fact, plus the static production for five years, had accounted for the ammunition shortages in Korea. The subcommittee chairman, Senator Margaret Chase Smith of Maine, said that the subcommittee did not propose to argue the matter of shortages, as earlier witnesses had established they existed, but that the purpose of the subcommittee was to show the problems which produced the bottlenecks leading to the shortages.

The Senate's investigations were broadened this date by the hiring of four former FBI agents by the Appropriations Committee, to be assigned to investigate anything which the Committee believed necessary to the intelligent handling of money bills, according to the chairman, Senator Styles Bridges of New Hampshire. He said that the agents would first look into the terrific waste in the handling of surplus property.

In Augusta, Ga., the President, according to press secretary James Hagerty, would address the American Society of Newspaper Editors the following day in Washington anent the chances for peace for all peoples of the world in 1953, an address which would be televised and broadcast via radio on all of the national networks. The President had worked on the speech the previous night, following a round of golf with Masters Tournament champion Ben Hogan, who had won the tournament the prior Sunday with a record 274 over the course of 72 holes.

Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson said this date that the Agriculture Department might need 33.75 billion dollars for production controls on wheat and cotton to handle the surpluses, which he blamed in part on the Truman Administration. General Eisenhower had pledged during the campaign that agricultural controls would be held to a minimum in his administration. A final decision on the matter would not be made until the latest possible information was available regarding supply and demand.

The Ford Motor Co. and the UAW early this date reached a tentative agreement, ending a 14-day strike at the company's Monroe, Mich., parts plant, after a charge had been made of a speed-up operation, idling 40,000 Ford workers. The company announced the previous day that it would reopen 15 plants this date, which had been closed by parts shortages from the strike.

Chrysler Corp. reported that a wildcat strike of 300 truck drivers had forced it to shut down almost all of its operations and send home over 42,000 employees.

In the Cascade Mountains in the vicinity of Seattle, rescuers had followed a trail of blood left in the snow by a stewardess the previous day to effect rescue of 19 survivors of an airline crash, in which six others had been killed, including the pilot, co-pilot and four servicemen. The DC-3 had been chartered by the Army to fly 22 servicemen from Scranton, Pa., to Seattle. The plane had crashed when one of its engines failed and ice formed on its wings. The stewardess, from Berkeley, Calif., whose trail of blood led the rescuers to the survivors, had walked six miles with a long gash in her leg and severe chest injuries, accomplished after regaining consciousness following the crash, finding herself still in her seat but thrown clear of the plane in five feet of snow at the 3,000-foot level of the mountains. She said that she could not stand the cold and had to try to get out to obtain help, that one of the passengers had his leg nearly severed and was in terrible pain. Trees had broken the fall of the plane, limiting the death toll. One of the soldiers aboard said that he had heard one of the plane's engines missing all night and he did not believe they were going to make it, and that a lot of the other soldiers had felt the same way.

The Justice Department announced this date that Charles Chaplin surrendered his U.S. re-entry permit, indicating that he did not intend to resume his residence in the U.S., after he had left the previous summer for Britain and Europe. Following his exit, the Justice Department had posted a stop order against Mr. Chaplin entering any American port, requiring him to submit to re-examination to establish his re-admissibility to the U.S. under the new McCarran Immigration Act, which excluded immigrants with past membership in organizations deemed subversive. Former Attorney General James McGranery had indicated that public charges associating Mr. Chaplin with Communism and "grave moral charges" gave rise to the issue of whether he could return. He had been admitted as an alien for permanent residence in 1910. Mr. Chaplin, during his European tour, had been honored by the French Government with its Legion of Honor award.

In Salem, Ore., the State Legislature's bill to make welfare rolls public was said by the State Attorney General to be unconstitutional because it discriminated against newspapers, as it would allow radio stations to broadcast the names but prevented newspapers from publishing the lists.

In Raleigh, a new bill calling for a statewide liquor referendum and measures to allow elections in the towns of Valdese and Lake Lure regarding establishment of ABC stores were introduced to the State House this date. The State Senate Committee on Propositions and Grievances killed a bill aimed at closing dog racing tracks at Moyock and Morehead City, a bill introduced by future Governor and Senator, then-State Senator, Terry Sanford; but a substitute measure was approved calling for an investigation of the dog tracks. The State House unanimously approved two bills sponsored by Governor William B. Umstead, one calling for issuance of 50 million dollars in bonds for school construction and the other for 22 million dollars in bonds for new facilities at mental institutions, with the bills now proceeding to the State Senate. The House began debate on the Governor's 85 million dollar bond program, a catch-all measure which called for issuance of 13 million dollars in new bonds.

Also in Raleigh, a bill which would allow Charlotte's banks to close on Saturdays was approved by the State House Committee on Banks and Banking this date. To compensate for the closures, the banks would remain open on certain State holidays, which it lists, for your future information, including Robert E. Lee's birthday, Confederate Memorial Day, the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence Day, and election day.

How daya they stay open on such sacred days.

In 1944, while General Eisenhower was the supreme commander of Allied forces in Europe, singer Bing Crosby had asked him what he wanted for Christmas, to which the General had replied, "Grits,"—sounding a lot like the terse reply by General McAuliffe to the Germans' invitation to surrender in December, 1944 at Bastogne, when he said, "Nuts." A Tampa firm had heard of the remark and promptly sent General Eisenhower some grits, and again gave him a five-pound package of grits during the presidential campaign when he visited Tampa. Recently, the same company had sent him 24 packages of grits and informed him that they had made arrangements to ship five pounds per week to him during the rest of his time in office and for as long thereafter as he wanted them. Senators Spessard Holland and George Smathers of Florida had written the President to find out whether he had received the shipment, to which the President had replied, "The Florida grits arrived in fine condition, and I know I shall enjoy them." Presumably, he was still talking about the breakfast food, and not some visitors from down theya.

On the editorial page, "The Troubles of Mr. Dulles" recounts that Secretary of State Dulles had created problems for himself in recent days, first by having told journalists that the country would accept a partition line in Korea 80 miles above the current battle line, along the waist of the peninsula, and would accept a U.N. trusteeship for Formosa. The White House had denied both of those statements, and the prior Monday, a group of right-wing Senators had criticized the Secretary because many of the members of the State Department under former Secretary Acheson were still employed.

Latin American requests for aid and materials would continue to be received with approval in Washington, as the President had reassured the prior Sunday in his address to the Pan American Union. Secretary Dulles had said to a Senate committee that larger grants for Indo-China and some more aid for the Middle East was contemplated. Foreign aid would inevitably have to be shifted from Europe to the Far East to accommodate those increases. The piece indicates that the policy made some sense, as Western Europe could now manage its own defenses to an extent, with reduced U.S. aid. Providing aid to the French in their fight against the Communists in Indo-China could later result in savings, provided the end result was a victory over the Communists.

It indicates that if aid to Europe was to be cut sharply, there was even more reason for expanding trade with those nations, to enable less dependence on foreign aid. But the protectionist philosophy flourished in Congress, augmented by the President's appointment to the Tariff Commission of Joseph Talbot, a darling of the protectionists. Representative Richard Simpson had introduced a bill which would strip the President of his power to review recommendations of the Tariff Commission and would otherwise hamper free trade. Because the Administration had not introduced its own bill to head off the protectionists, the Simpson bill would be the basis for formulation of Congressional trade policy.

It concludes that a storm was brewing over trade policy, and its pertinence to defense made defeat of the protectionists an urgent matter.

"Will N.C. Be Left Behind?" indicates that while a committee of the State House continued to delay action on the bill to amend the state's 1951 urban redevelopment enabling act, the remainder of the nation was going ahead with slum clearance. The current issue of U.S. Municipal News had indicated that demolition work was underway in eleven slum areas of nine cities, that in six cities, 15 other projects were in their early stages, and in 63 cities, 90 additional projects, most of which would be started in the present year, were on the planning board. One hundred and seventy-five additional cities had applied for and received approval for Federal capital grant funds, and in 108 of those cities, preliminary planning and survey activities were in process.

Charlotte, Winston-Salem, Greensboro and Fayetteville were ready to proceed with slum clearance as soon as the General Assembly amended the 1951 enabling act to make it workable, but the House Judiciary 1 Committee had held up action on the amendments for several weeks. It urges reporting out the amendments favorably without further delay.

"They're Legal, but They're Still Gimmicks" refers to a letter to the editor of this date reflecting a growing concern among minority stockholders that large corporations were being overly generous in the salaries and benefits paid to their top executives. It finds the letter to make its point well, but adds that there were various gimmicks to reward top executives which enabled them to avoid the high income tax rates, and to the extent that it was necessary to hold top executives, there was some justification in those perquisites.

It agrees with the letter writer, however, that some of the gimmicks had been abused, to the detriment of stockholders. Also, the special arrangements afforded executives caused labor to demand higher wages and benefits. It points out that if the small stockholders became disgruntled with the way their earnings were disbursed to the top executives, they might decide to invest in some other manner. It thus urges re-examination of the system of lavish rewards to executives.

"You've Got To Play Ball, Ike" indicates that the President, after all, would throw out the opening pitch on Thursday for the Washington Senators against the New York Yankees, originally having opted to play golf at Augusta rather than follow the tradition of former Presidents, until rain on opening day had postponed the opener until Thursday, when the President would be in Washington for the day to address the newspaper editors. The issue had posed the question troubling many of the President's predecessors, as to the proper balance of time between being head of government and chief of state, with all its attendant protocol and tradition, and, in this case, the competition with the penchant of the President for golf.

In France, the Premier handled the government, while the President took over the ceremonial functions, while in Britain and the Scandinavian countries, the royal families tended to the latter.

But the American President was expected to throw out the first pitch of the baseball season in Washington.

There had been talk during the campaign of giving the Vice-President more duties, and while the President was busy in Washington on Thursday and then traveling to Salisbury for the Rowan County bicentennial celebration, on the way back to Augusta, "all Dick Nixon has to do is gavel the Senators to order so that they can exhort each other some more on the subject of offshore oil, then go home and play with Checkers the rest of the day." It concludes that the President could not win, that the people wanted him present to throw out the first pitch.

Incidentally, we do not know whether Skunky, the Eisenhowers' scotty, was naturally compatible with Checkers, the famous Nixon cocker spaniel, and whether they were of the opposite sex, but if so, and they were to get together, you know what the name of their offspring would be...

Drew Pearson indicates that the most important backstage feud in Washington probably was that between Secretary of Defense Charles E. Wilson, former head of G.M., and Harold Vance, present head of Studebaker, who had been offered the job of Defense Mobilizer but had turned it down, though agreeing to be a special consultant. The two had clashed behind the scenes regarding increase of the country's production base, with Secretary Wilson estimating that a billion dollars could be saved in the defense budget by stopping construction of defense plants, whereas Mr. Vance had warned that doing so would cost more in the long run and might jeopardize the nation's future security. Both had sought to keep the dispute out of the press, but privately, Mr. Wilson had argued that he would rather stockpile planes and tanks than defense plants and machine tools, claiming that more had been spent on industrial mobilization than weapons of war since the start of the Korean War. He disagreed with the position of former Secretary of Defense Robert Lovett that two plants were needed to produce 1,000 tanks when one plant could do the job. He also wanted to cut 500 million dollars from the budget for stockpiling machine tools.

Mr. Vance took the view that the more plants, the greater the output would be in case of all-out war, warning that too many production eggs should not be stored in one basket, and that plants should be dispersed around the country to make it more difficult for Russia to deliver a surprise attack which would cripple the nation's defense production. He also argued that it would be cheaper in the long run to stockpile machine tools than planes and tanks which the tools produced, for the planes and tanks, when they became obsolete, would have to be scrapped.

Just before General Al Gruenther had flown back to Paris, he had testified behind closed doors in a Senate committee hearing regarding the chances for peace or war. He had also informed of a serious security leak at NATO headquarters, as well as disclosing interception of a Russian order under which the Red Army was to attack an American unit the following morning. Mr. Pearson provides the available, non-secret detail, indicating that the General, in response to questions by the Senators, said that he believed the Russian peace offensive could very well be an attempt to lull the West into complacency and letting down its guard. He said that the top-priority Soviet foreign policy project was to split the U.S. from its allies, the subject of the Soviet Congress the previous October, a program for which now-Premier Georgi Malenkov was the chief advocate. He added that Russian timing, as with the Korean War, was often bad, and that they might not be able as easily to fool the West this time as during the lead-up to Korea.

Marquis Childs tells of Marriner Eccles, former chairman of the Federal Reserve Board under FDR, reduced by President Truman to vice-chairman, who had come into bitter conflict with the latter and Secretary of the Treasury John W. Snyder, after persistently warning of the inflationary pressures during the boom years of the Truman Administration. Mr. Eccles felt that the independence of the Fed was at stake in the controversy over interest rates, and he had resigned in July, 1951, even though his term extended until 1958.

He had then run in the Republican primary against incumbent Senator Arthur Watkins of Utah, but failed to capture the nomination, and then became chairman of the board of the First Security Corp., which he and his brother had developed in Utah, Wyoming and Idaho. He had discussed matters with old friends on a visit to Washington recently, indicating his feelings that most of the influences presently in the economy were directed toward deflation, with the budget-balancing and tax-cutting program of the Administration pointing in that direction. In addition, production, employment and income were at new highs after a prolonged and spectacular rise, and money rates had been gradually tightening for several years despite individual and corporate savings increasing, presently at a high combined total of about 40 billion dollars annually. In addition, inventories were being maintained at high levels and were not likely to be increased, automobiles and consumer durable goods generally were being produced as fast as they could be absorbed by the market, and the peak in home building had been reached, with houses in many areas being built more rapidly than they were being sold. Government expenditures were scheduled to reach their peak during the year and then begin a decline, and the capital outlay of American business had been running at abnormally high levels since the end of the war, likely to taper off during 1953. Mr. Eccles, having reported these matters in his company report, gave implied criticism to the new Administration for undertaking to shift a large part of the short-term debt to a long-term basis at higher interest rates. He believed that shift would add one more deflationary pressure to those listed.

As the U.S. economy to a great degree determined the economy of the free nations, its well-being economically was supremely important to peace, as well as prosperity.

Secretary of Commerce Sinclair Weeks exhibited great optimism, which might help, but something more was necessary from government after there had been so much government intervention in the economy, in the form of tax write offs and war and defense contracts, causing production to be increased 2.5 times, that the government could not presently simply walk away and allow natural economic laws to take their course. Mr. Childs recommends some of the common sense of Mr. Eccles as helpful.

Robert C. Ruark predicts another World Series victory for the New York Yankees in 1953, and looks at the opposing National League generally.

He wishes that Clark Griffith and Bucky Harris, owner and manager, respectively, of the Washington Senators, the latter he believes to be the best manager in the world, would win one more pennant and make him appear as a bum for picking the Yankees.

He suggests that baseball was all there was to cling to "in a time so fraught with anxiety that an editor friend … mistook an early Summer thunderstorm for an atomic attack in Washington. It is predicated on this sort of sentimentality."

A letter writer suggests driving around Charlotte slowly and observing that some blocks were dimly lit, without streetlights at corners and intersections, finding it no wonder, therefore, that crime was high in the city, says that crime did not flourish in lighted neighborhoods. He indicates that it was not safe to walk around in the dark in such areas and wonders where the tax money was going.

A letter writer, as indicated in the above editorial, complains of the various perquisites given to executives of large companies, to the consternation of the stockholders. He indicates that the period of profitability in business, which had provided the opportunity to offset the lean times of the Thirties, had not been utilized to full effect for the benefit of the stockholders because of the greed of the top executives.

A letter writer indicates that there had never been a black person on the Charlotte City Council, that in 1950, the city's population was more than 134,000, with blacks comprising 29 percent of it, roughly 38,000 citizens. About a quarter of the public school children in the city were black and they were taught by above average teachers. Johnson C. Smith University had been a "beacon light" in the city for over 85 years for black higher education. He suggests, therefore, that Charlotte ought have at least one member of the black community on the City Council. He favors drafting Arthur Grier, a local businessman, as a candidate in the upcoming election of April 27.

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