The Charlotte News

Thursday, April 16, 1953


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports, via Forrest Edwards, that about 350 Chinese Communists had attacked "Pork Chop Ridge" and another western outpost in Korea at around the prior midnight, fighting into allied trenches, but then being repulsed by U.S. defenders early this date in hand-to-hand combat. About half the enemy troops had attacked at Pork Chop and the other half at the base of "T-Bone Hill", just to the west, both hills about two miles west of "Old Baldy", which guarded the invasion route to Seoul.

In air action, U.S. Sabre jets shot down two enemy MIG-15s and damaged three others, and U.N. fighter-bombers blasted enemy front line positions and communications in North Korea. Again, however, allied pilots had to watch helplessly as hundreds of Communist supply trucks rolled toward the front along a corridor immune from attack, designated as the transport route for the 600 U.N. sick and wounded prisoners set to be exchanged the following Monday.

The first group of allied sick and wounded prisoners arrived at Kaesong this date, six miles from the transfer point at Munsan.

The U.N. Command in Korea would inform the Communists the following day whether it was ready to resume the armistice negotiations talks at Panmunjom, suspended since the prior October when the U.N. representatives had walked out in frustration over the failure to make progress on the sole remaining issue blocking an armistice, voluntary repatriation of prisoners. The allies were expected to agree to the resumption.

At the U.N. in New York, the Soviet bloc, speaking through Poland, withdrew its peace package, strongly opposed by the West. The plan had called for an immediate cease-fire in Korea and left the issue of prisoners of war until after the cease-fire. The Polish representative said that Poland would instead back a Brazilian resolution which merely noted "with deep satisfaction" the agreement already reached at Panmunjom regarding exchange of the sick and wounded prisoners, and expressed the hope that further negotiations would bring peace in Korea. The move by Poland was unprecedented in the history of the organization, and came as a complete surprise to Russian chief delegate Andrei Vishinsky, who had supported the Polish resolution.

The President, speaking in Washington at the American Society of Newspaper Editors meeting this date, challenged Russian leaders to practice the peace they were preaching by agreeing to end the cold war, disarm the world and invest the defense savings in a global fund to combat poverty and need. He said that the alternative was at worst atomic war and at best unending fear which found "humanity hanging from a cross of iron." He said that an era had ended with the death of Stalin, suggested that the new leadership in Russia had an opportunity "to turn the black tide of events." He specified that there should be an honorable peace in Korea, followed by free elections in a united Korea, an end to Communist aggression in Indo-China and Malaya, completion of an Austrian peace treaty, unification of Germany, and creation of a European Community with "full independence of the East European nations". He said that if progress were made on those issues, the U.S. would welcome arms reduction. He also said that the cost of building one heavy bomber, if diverted to peacetime uses, could build 30 modern brick schools or two hospitals. It was the President's first full speech on foreign policy since taking office, and was broadcast by all of the radio and television networks.

Tom Fesperman of The News reports that the President, following his speech and throwing out the first pitch of the Washington Senators baseball season at Griffith Stadium early in the afternoon, caught a plane for Charlotte, from which he would then be driven to Salisbury, where he would participate in the celebration of the bicentennial of Rowan County. Afterward, he would be driven—along the back-country, winding roads of Old N.C. 150—, to Winston-Salem, where he would catch a plane back to Augusta, Ga., to resume his week-long golf vacation, which he interrupted this date because of the Washington speech.

In Pretoria, South Africa, three chief opposition newspapers to the Government conceded victory to Prime Minister Daniel Malan's Nationalists in the general election, possibly set to double the party's majority in Parliament. The Nationalists had won 16 of the 19 key seats in the election, with half the contested seats counted. The Nationalists stood on the policy of racial apartheid instead of the softer methods of enforcing white supremacy favored by the United Party, both sides having pledged in the campaign to uphold the dominant position of the 2.5 million whites in South Africa, who were outnumbered 4 to 1 by blacks.

In Chicago, two separate fires, whipped by high winds, had broken out minutes apart this date, causing an estimated 18 deaths. One of the fires occurred in a three-story apartment house, and the other, larger fire took place in a screw machine factory. Both fires were in heavily populated areas.

The crew of a 7,800-ton British tanker were forced to abandon ship off Lower California when a fire erupted early this date in the engine room.

In Raleigh, the State House voted overwhelmingly to approve a measure calling for issuance of 14.25 million dollars in bonds for improvements at State institutions, an issue which would not go before the people. The previous day, the House had completed its consideration of two bills, one calling for 50 million dollars in bonds for school construction and the other for 22 million for mental hospitals, bond issues which would be submitted to the people. The State Senate passed and sent to the House the 620 million dollar biennial appropriations bill, and approved a measure to appropriate more than 5.1 million dollars for permanent improvements.

On the editorial page, "Legislative Authority Encroaches, Too" indicates that influential members of Congress had on three occasions during 1953 attempted to limit the power of the President, first through the Bricker amendment to change the treaty-making power under the Constitution, then the Simpson bill, which would strip the President of his power to review Tariff Commission recommendations, and, third, an attempt to put a limit of 65 billion dollars on spending for the ensuing fiscal year, the latter opposed by Budget director Joseph Dodge and Treasury Secretary George Humphrey on the basis that forcing the budget into a predetermined mold would make it impossible for the President to adjust his recommendations to current conditions.

It indicates that some supporters of those bills probably sincerely objected to the extension of Federal power in recent years, as did the newspaper, but it questions the wisdom of the referenced Congressional bills. It indicates that President Eisenhower had proved his firm determination to halt the trend toward increased executive authority and had been reluctant to use some of his powers. It was also possible that Congress could be just as oppressive as the executive branch, when members only represented states or portions of states, and so did not speak for the entire nation as did the President. The President also had to have the ability to undertake immediate and prompt action in case of emergencies, and not be left to rely on the slow machinery of Congress, competing with the dictator states in exigent circumstances.

It finds that the recent attempt by Senator Joseph McCarthy to infringe on the State Department's functions, by unilaterally forming an agreement with 241 Greek shipowners that they would not trade in or between Communist ports, to have been as repugnant to the concept of three coequal branches of government as the philosophy which placed the executive branch above the other two. It indicates that it preferred one executive who was properly mindful of the responsibilities of the office to "legislator-executives" primarily responsible to their individual constituencies.

"Way Cleared for Bethel Appointment" indicates that the City Council had acted in the best interests of the city and the county the previous day in rescinding an earlier decision declining permission to Dr. M. B. Bethel, City Health Officer, to become, temporarily, the County Health Officer. As the page had previously indicated, it finds that move sensible, as promoting more efficient health departments in both the city and county.

"Judicial Monstrosity in the Making" tells of the State House Judiciary 1 Committee having approved during the week a Senate measure to re-district the judicial districts of the state to provide eight new districts and 11 new Superior Court judges. It indicates that the bill was full of defects, as it would provide six new judicial districts in the eastern part of the state, but only two in the western part. It goes on to suggest other problems, and indicates that the alternative plan of Governor William B. Umstead, to add six new judges without disturbing the extant judicial districts, was the more sensible approach.

A piece from the Wall Street Journal, titled "A Matter of Taste", indicates that the Reconstruction Finance Corporation did not play favorites with Administrations. Some of the things which the Republicans had criticized it for doing under the Truman Administration were still being done under the present Administration. The agency had, for instance, recently authorized a $200 loan at five percent interest to a Maine lobsterman to enable him to replace some of his gear lost in a storm the prior February, based on the notion that the national welfare necessitated the loan because the lobsterman was providing "essential food products". It indicates that it had nothing against lobstermen or lobsters but that some would question whether lobster was really such an essential food.

Such RFC loans had just about convinced the Eisenhower Administration that even less essential than some of its loans was the RFC, itself.

Carl Goerch, writing in The State, tells of Meb Long of Charlotte, director and treasurer of the Mutual Building & Loan Association, who was well known throughout the state, had lettered in four sports at UNC and graduated a member of Phi Beta Kappa, having written a letter to his insurance agent regarding an accident at his home when ice fell from the roof and broke a glass bird feeding-station necessitating a repair cost of $8.42, which he believed to be covered by the policy. The insurance company replied that if the ice had fallen from the roof because of melting or gravity, the accident was not covered, but that if it had been blown off the roof by the wind, it was covered, and so sought further information. Mr. Long had replied that no one had been at home at the time of the incident except a family of purple finches, and so he could not answer the question. He had gone on at some length, however, regarding the possibility of analyzing the matter from a meteorological standpoint. Five days later, the insurance agent wrote him back, enclosing a note from the Boston main office, saying that they had been very impressed with Mr. Long's letter, as it showed knowledge of meteorology, ornithology, geography, physics and the art of letter writing. The Boston office had concluded that despite the claim not being covered by the policy, it would approve issuance of the check for the repair costs. The representative of the company had noted that if they did not send the check, Mr. Long might write again and they were rather busy.

Drew Pearson indicates that the art of fooling the public had become a major industry, with millions of dollars being paid to public relations firms for the purpose of convincing the public that it had made up its mind on certain questions, something completely made up by the public relations firms. Two illustrations which he provides involved the claim that certain women's club leaders were paid off and civic associations formed on behalf of the railroads to combat the trucking industry, and that a secret memo had been prepared by one public relations firm to Craig Sheaffer, presently Assistant Secretary of Commerce, aimed at fooling the public into accepting a national sales tax. The public relations firm involved, that of Carl Byoir, had been exposed by a Congressional committee to have received $6,000 per month as a public relations representative for the Nazi Government before Pearl Harbor.

The Byoir firm's latest public relations gimmick was to fool radio and television panels, university discussion forums, etc., to put across a national sales tax. He explains the detail.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop assess Senator Joseph McCarthy and his future political prospects, finding the most experienced observers on Capitol Hill, including members of both parties, making the same points, starting with the observation that the Senator's objective was the presidency, but that the Republican Party, as presently constituted, would never nominate him. They also agreed, however, that he would have no moral compunction about wrecking the party if it served his purposes, as demonstrated in his recent contest of the nomination of Charles Bohlen to become Ambassador to Russia. During that process, in which he bucked the party leadership, he had called the Secretary of State a liar, and, by implication, had attacked the President.

Powerful supporters of the Senator, notably Col. Robert McCormick of the Chicago Tribune, had proclaimed the death of the Republican Party and were calling for formation of a new party, which presumably the Senator intended to ride to power.

Observers also agreed that the Senator had succeeded, like no one else in U.S. history, in uniting behind him an assortment of "small, proto-Fascist extremist groups." While those groups had been established for a long time, they had never previously formed under one umbrella. The Senator had also managed to appeal to certain solid conservative groups, who had never warmed up to professional demagogues, such as Gerald L. K. Smith. The Senator had plenty of financial backing and support in the press and on radio, and had demonstrated that he was a "brilliant political operator, capable of arousing fanatical support."

"His supporters have the true mark of the fanatic—they are not interested in facts. The endless exposure of McCarthy's endless untruths do not affect them. Nor do such devastating documents as the recent Senate report on McCarthy's financial and other activities. This fanatical support is a vital asset to a man of McCarthy's ambitions."

Observers also believed that there was no way practically to stop the Senator, that he intended soon to move on the CIA, and if that did not work out, there were other areas of the Government into which he might delve.

The observers agreed that while it might seem fantastic at first glance to believe that the Senator might actually achieve the presidency, they reminded that it would have seemed fantastic a few years earlier that he could have been instrumental in causing the defeat in 1950 of Maryland Senator Millard Tydings, and so it would be a mistake to assume that he did not have the capacity to rally behind him a well-financed, well-organized party which could take power.

Marquis Childs relates that one of the most vigorous opponents to turning over to the states title to offshore oil was Senator Paul Douglas of Illinois, who had recently talked for two days against the bill. His remarks, however, had scarcely been noted in the press.

The most effective weapon against the bill was an amendment which would provide royalties paid to the Federal Government from sale of the oil to the states for education, with the four states, California, Louisiana, Florida and Texas, whose shores had the bulk of the oil, receiving the largest share of those royalties. The other states, with no offshore oil, had adopted resolutions calling on Congress to reject the bill, indicating the urgent need for school funds. The four oil-rich states wanted to retain what they believed had always been within their rights.

There were well-organized lobbying interests at work in Washington to get the jurisdiction of the states extended beyond the historic boundaries recognized by the Eisenhower Administration. Some believed that such interests would move for control over the continental shelf, and there were some in Congress, both among Republicans and Democrats, who advocated turning over the public lands in the West, or the mineral wealth of those lands, to the individual states.

The Rhode Island Legislature had authorized bringing of a suit in the Federal courts to challenge extension of the state boundaries, and so it appeared that eventually the U.S. Supreme Court would pass on the question.

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