The Charlotte News

Tuesday, April 21, 1953


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Panmunjom, a second group of 100 disabled but jubilant allied prisoners had been released from North Korean prison camps this date, after the 30 Americans out of the 100 allied prisoners released the previous day had landed in Japan, on their way home. Many of the American and other U.N. prisoners released this date were laughing and joking, in sharp contrast to the solemn air which had accompanied those sick and wounded prisoners released the previous day. This date's group of 35 Americans, 12 British, three Turks and 50 South Koreans told of seriously sick and wounded comrades still in the prison camps, and of death marches over frozen highways during the bitter winters of 1950-51 and 1952. The Communists had said that they would exchange 100 South Koreans for 350 North Koreans and 150 Chinese Communists the following day, leaving 55 Americans whom the Communists had promised would be freed, likely to be released sporadically through the remainder of the week. In all, there would be 605 disabled Communist-held U.N. prisoners released, while the allies were releasing 5,800, of whom 700 were Communist Chinese and the remainder North Koreans.

Stories from those released indicated that the Communists did not plan to free all of the sick and wounded prisoners, as they had agreed to do. One released sergeant commented that there had been "quite a few left in the hospital" at one of the camps, that some needed more medical attention than he. The returned prisoners indicated that treatment had improved after the truce talks had begun in July, 1951, a year after the start of the war, but had varied since that time with the ups and downs of the negotiations. Two of the American soldiers reported death marches over frozen highways during winter weather, and that about 40 American and Turkish soldiers had perished in a nine-day forced march north from Kunu, where the U.S. 2nd Division had met disaster in November, 1950, during the MacArthur offensive to the Yalu River. The soldier said that of the 100 men who had started the march, only 60 arrived at the Communist prison, that they were not allowed to stop during the march for any reason.

A list of the 35 freed U.S. soldiers is printed on the page and on an inside page.

In the continuing war, U.S. carrier planes hit Communist positions less than a mile ahead of allied lines in the "Heartbreak" and "Sniper Ridge" sectors of the eastern front in Korea. Ground-based U.N. warplanes struck deep into North Korea, hitting an enemy airfield and supply lines.

In the ground war, only light patrol contacts were reported along the front.

At the U.N. in New York, the U.S. this date gave its support to Burma's demand that Chinese Nationalist guerrillas leave its territory, and indicated that it was actively working to bring about that result. Chief U.S. delegate Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., told the political committee that the U.S. was working on a plan whereby the Chinese Nationalist Government would influence the 12,000 guerrillas in Burma to give up, to stop military operations between the Burmese Army and those guerrillas, and to disarm the Chinese and remove them to Formosa via Thailand, the latter move having been agreed to by Thailand. Ambassador Lodge said that the U.S. believed Burma had the right to demand the Chinese departure, and that the Chinese had committed "depredations against the Burmese people", that many of the guerrillas were "common bandits posing as Chinese Nationalists". The Burmese Government had requested U.S. mediation of the dispute. The Ambassador disagreed with Burma's demand that the U.N. condemn the Nationalist regime for aggression against Burma, saying that such a condemnation would not help bring settlement of the matter.

Attorney General Herbert Brownell this date filed a civil antitrust suit against five major oil firms, Standard Oil Co. of New Jersey, Standard Oil Co. of California, Socony-Vacuum Oil Co., Texaco and Gulf, charging that they had participated in an international oil cartel. The civil suit was designed to substitute for a criminal antitrust investigation involving the same five companies and others during the tenure of the immediately preceding Attorney General, James McGranery, which had gone before a grand jury the previous fall. Mr. Brownell proposed to drop the criminal inquiry for "national security" reasons. The Attorney General said that additional defendants might be named in the suit at a later date, depending on what the Government discovered in sought records of the five original defendants. The suit also alleged that the defendants had employed 33 jointly-owned subsidiaries and affiliates, listed but not named as defendants, "to effectuate the conspiracy and monopoly". The suit sought a permanent injunction against participation by the named defendants in any international combination or cartel in the future.

In Chicago, a set of twins had been born to a family for the second time in less than a year. One set were boys and the newer, girls. The mother was a registered nurse and the father was an accountant, who had lost an arm in combat during World War II.

In Aurora, Ill., a man was elected mayor two weeks earlier, having been receiving unemployment compensation at the rate of $27.50 per week, now set to earn $6,000 per year. He had been the publisher of a weekly newspaper and later an advertising salesman in the city, located 35 miles southwest of Chicago.

Near Dillon, S.C., a 17-car streamliner passenger train of the Atlantic Coast Line had derailed the previous night and become a tangle of twisted steel, in which at least five persons had died, and more than 125 injured and hospitalized, with other bodies still being recovered. Some of the injured had lain for hours pinned in the cars before rescue by workers using acetylene torches to cut through the wreckage. Part of the train had caught fire. Dozens of passengers had been trapped. The train, carrying an estimated 300 passengers, many of them returning vacationers, had been traveling from Miami to New York at the time of the accident, shortly after midnight. The seriously injured engineer told the sheriff that he did not know what had happened, that a freight train had traversed the same stretch of track only ten minutes earlier. The fireman of the train had been among those killed. Eleven of the cars had been overturned by the derailment and six remained upright. A story contains a few anecdotal observations by observers at the scene and passengers.

Tom Fesperman of The News reports of flying over the train wreckage and seeing miles of long lines of stopped automobiles. Large crowds of motorists ringed the area around the burning wreckage, while cranes worked to lift a couple of the cars off of the tracks. The plane ride was to allow the newspaper's photographer, Jeep Hunter, to take aerial photographs, one of which is on the page.

The wreck occurred only about 25 miles from Rennert, N.C., where two ACL passenger trains had crashed on December 16, 1943, killing 72 persons and injuring 187, the primary fault of the fireman on a derailed ACL train not setting up flares soon enough to warn the ACL train headed in the opposing direction, which then collided with the wrecked train, as ultimately determined by a subsequent Interstate Commerce Commission investigation. (We note that whereas ten years ago, the reports of the successor agency with oversight over such accidents, the Department of Transportation, were readily available online during the Obama Administration, the Trumpy-Dumpy-Dos now make you register and log on before gaining access—to reports of accidents occurring 77 years ago. What a bunch of morons. Maybe na-tio-nal se-cur-ity is involved and we need to see who is accessing these reports, and why, for enquiring minds need to know...)

Speaking, incidentally, of train wrecks, the Sing-Along Gang and death, we note that the "unqualified" Federal District Court Judge in Kentucky, who drafted that absurd decision in April, 2020, granting a temporary restraining order against the Mayor of Louisville, preventing enforcement of an order not to hold in-person church services during the coronavirus pandemic for the risk of communicating the disease to others in the community not necessarily attending or even associated with the services in question, holding the order to have been violative of the First Amendment free exercise of religion clause, is this week before the Senate for confirmation to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, considered the most powerful of the Circuit Courts for its routine consideration of Federal Government matters and thus also often a stepping-stone, in modern history, to the Supreme Court, despite this Judge being not only considered by the ABA to be unqualified to be a Federal judge, but also only 37 years old and nominated and confirmed to the District Court by the sparest of margins, 50 Senate votes, only last fall in 2019, thus not possessed of any significant judicial experience, in addition to his lack of any former trial experience, not a single case, which quite visibly showed in his ridiculous recent Easter weekend opinion, upholding the right to attend in-person drive-in religious services, come hell or high water and regardless of the health risks posed thereby to the community and the nation, now with more than 73,000 deaths from the disease as of May 6, 2020, virtually all of which, save about 200, having occurred since March 20, when only last week, the Administration had revised its prediction upward from 60,000 to 74,000 deaths by August, this week suggesting it could be around 100,000, as the Fearless Leader advocates reopening of business by the states, albeit, on some days, suggesting otherwise, that it might be too soon, thus hedging his bets to accommodate whatever reality might transpire in result, grim as it is likely to be—enabling Fox News later to play for their unwashed flock the 20-second byte which suits better the ensuing circumstances. Will the wunderkind appointed by the current occupant of the White House and crammed down the throats of the American people by Mitch and his loyal band of followers never cease in their corruption of majority will in the country? which also, in most cases, happens to be the practice most in furtherance of the spirit and letter of the Constitution and the general welfare of the people—all of the people, not just loud-mouthed, gun-toting reactionary nuts who give obeisance to Trumpety-Dumpety—such majority will considered ordinarily, in most places, the sine qua non of democracy.

By the way, despite the DOT reports no longer readily being accessible without a personal log-on, apparently thanks to the Trumpy-Dumpy Secretary of Transportation, Mrs. Sing-Along, and so not allowing at present any direct coupling for you with the final report on the 1953 ACL accident, we thought ahead ten years ago and preserved a copy of the ICC report on the 1943 accident in our files. If you want something done reliably and with reasonable permanency of access in this very unreliable, impermanent 0-1 age of the internet, provide and maintain it yourself. Here is another report, from the American Red Cross, on that earlier accident. Maybe the morons won't lock that one away behind a wall of semi-secrecy, just yet. (We should also note, for the benefit of the nuts on the radio out in Texas and their dedicated followers of fascism, that the "deep state", insofar as there is one, is Trumpy-Dumpy, himself. Perhaps, eventually, in your state of brainwashed dissociation from reality, you might come to grips with that realization, just as the little nationalist-oriented Nazis of wartime Germany and syndicalist-worshipping Fascists of wartime Italy, at least most of them, finally had to admit to themselves, in the postwar era.)

In Raleigh, representatives of newspapers and press associations from all over the state were expected to attend a public hearing during the afternoon regarding legislation to repeal the recently enacted secrecy law allowing budget considerations in executive committee sessions, of which an editorial makes comment. Also before the General Assembly, a hearing before the House Agriculture Committee regarding a controversial bill to establish a State Milk Commission drew more than 700 spectators.

Also at the Assembly, the UNC student newspaper, the Daily Tar Heel, advised the members this date that it did not think much of the body's method of filling vacancies on the Consolidated University Board of Trustees. Copies of the newspaper were placed on the desks of every member of the Assembly. In making the nominations, the joint committee had passed over 13 present members of the Board, the omission of at least some of whom the newspaper had criticized.

There was no April 20 edition on the microfilm, in case you were wondering, with bated breath and heartsickness, what happened to it. If you were named in that edition in a favorable manner, we are sorry about the omission. Write the person who compiled the microfilm during the Fifties a nasty letter for being an irresponsible lout. Yet, do not too much pout, for perhaps, after all, the person who did so was actually a foresighted utopian democrat, in contrast to a myopic, limbeckian autocrat, having peered into the misty realm of augury and discerned that in the annual circuit round the sun preceding that of the Pig, a popular band would release a song, which if misused later in hindsight, could be applied by some moron, maybe someone who thinks COVID-19 is actually a video game masquerading as a disease, invented by Communists finally to cripple the West for the coup de gras, to the missing 1953 date as a paean to their hero fallen in the final battle of Ragnarok, some perverse celebratory commemorative of the spring blossoms of Hitler, and so...

On the editorial page, "The Prisoners—A Few of Them—Return" indicates that some of the Communist-held allied sick and wounded prisoners of war in Korea were being returned, starting the prior day, at the rate of about 100 per day, to reach the total of 600 to be released. Some of the returning prisoners had brought messages of reassurance for relatives of friends who had been left behind in the prison camps, not eligible for release as sick or wounded.

It finds the most hopeful note in the prisoner exchange to be that the Communists were willing to make some concessions at present, indicating some action was accompanying the words of peaceful intentions of late out of Moscow and Peking. It also cautions, however, that the release of a few prisoners did not necessarily imply that a truce would be reached, but represented at least an encouraging sign after months of fruitless negotiations, suspended finally by the U.N. representatives the previous October.

The Army believed that thousands of prisoners had been murdered, sometimes brutally, by the Communists at the point of or shortly after capture, and so it reminds that for every home rejoicing at the news of the release of a relative, there were dozens "where mothers will wait in vain by phone and radio. Let us never forget those prisoners now beyond repatriation, whose cruel tormentors must some day be brought to bar."

"Caveat Weeks" indicates that Secretary of Commerce Sinclair Weeks had now reversed himself on his previous firing of Dr. Astin, the head of the National Bureau of Standards, after a dispute over the Bureau's refusal to approve an additive which supposedly prolonged the life of automobile batteries. Dr. Astin would continue as director for several months while a special committee of scientists evaluated the functions and operations of the Bureau. The piece finds the action in order. Mr. Weeks, in testifying before a Senate committee at the end of March, had impliedly impugned the integrity of the Bureau and Dr. Astin, even though he claimed to the contrary after the fact. A great number of scientists in the country, who placed great stock in the Bureau's objectivity, had objected, and 400 scientists within the Bureau had been prepared to quit in protest.

It points out that since 1914, the Federal Trade Commission had been the Government's watchdog against unfair and deceptive practices, including false advertising, and when the FTC received a complaint that a particular product was being misrepresented or was potentially dangerous, it asked the Bureau to perform an objective analysis, whereupon the Bureau ran scientific tests and reported the results to the Commission for evaluation. The FTC performed the same function in the field of consumer products which the FDA provided in the field of food and drugs.

Mr. Weeks, during his Senate testimony, had raised the question whether any product on the market should be subjected to Government appraisal, and if that were to become the rule, ventures the editorial, he would have quite an argument on his hands, as the old rule of caveat emptor was no longer applicable to modern society, and Mr. Weeks needed to beware, himself, before he tried to make it so.

"Offshore, the Senate Hits a Calm" indicates that the Senate had been debating for three weeks a bill which would transfer from the Federal Government to the states the land and resources under the tidelands areas lying within the states' "historic boundaries", primarily benefiting Texas, Louisiana and California. Senate Majority Leader Taft had ordered Saturday and night sessions to speed up the debate, while pressing legislation was piling up.

The newspaper expresses its disagreement with the President, most Republicans and some Democrats regarding support for the bill, but also expresses sympathy for Senator Taft and his desire to bring the dispute to a head so that the Senate could resume its regular business. The issue had already been thoroughly debated in the present session, as in previous sessions, and it was time to cut off the debate, with cloture requiring a vote by two-thirds of the Senators. At that point, presumably, the bill would pass. But Senator Taft might not be able to muster the necessary 64 votes for cloture, as some of the Senators who were in favor of the bill had been engaged in filibusters against civil rights legislation and would be reluctant to vote for cloture in this instance. The piece urges that if cloture could not be obtained, the bill ought be filed away with the civil rights proposals, so that the Senate could move on with its regular business.

"Secrecy at Raleigh Unwarranted" indicates that with the State House Appropriations Committee holding hearings this date on the proposed repeal of the hastily enacted secrecy law, which had enabled the Committee to consider budget matters in executive sessions, prevented under prior law, it finds it a good time to review a Congressional Quarterly piece which examined the practice of Congress in holding executive sessions, and provides the statistics from that piece on the number of sessions which were held apart from the public. Some advocates in the General Assembly had pointed to the Congressional precedent, but the piece finds the reasoning spurious because the Assembly did not consider classified matters impacting U.S. security, as did Congress, and the fact that Congress held some executive sessions on non-secret matters did not make the practice right, as Congress, also, participated in undue secrecy. It recommends to the State legislators that they realize these problems and repeal the new law.

A piece from the Asheville Citizen, titled "Ramps", indicates that the newspaper did not wish to pick a quarrel with the state of West Virginia and its claim that it was harvesting a true species of ramp, matching the specifications of the North Carolina variety. Ramps were seen at the Ramp Convention near Canton, N.C., and the piece had always assumed that it was an exclusive product of Western North Carolina. The smell of the ramp, it offers, was nearly indescribably succulent, while it is certain that the West Virginia ramp would have the odor of "double-distilled ammonia".

It remains confident that the North Carolina ramp would never have any peer, as its secret ingredient was llyhporolhc—which the piece misspells—, native to the western part of the state of Anilorac Htron.

Is a ramp similar to an edils? For we have never heard of it before, save maybe in a multilevel car park.

Drew Pearson indicates that there were signs of growing friction between the President and Secretary of State Dulles, with some observers comparing the situation with that which had developed between President Wilson and William Jennings Bryan, the latter, a former Democratic presidential nominee three times, having already established his reputation, as with Mr. Dulles, before becoming Secretary of State, and winding up parting company with President Wilson regarding Germany at the outset of World War I. The President and Secretary Dulles had exchanged sharp language following the latter's bumble with the press in stating that the U.S. would probably accept truce terms in Korea which included a line established about 80 miles above the present battle line, along the narrow waist of the peninsula, giving away too much of what the U.S. might be willing to negotiate as opposed to a united Korea with free elections. After the rancorous tete-à-tete, chief of staff Sherman Adams remarked to a friend that they had to send Mr. Dulles "north to cool off". Another disagreement had arisen when the President's foreign policy speech of the prior Thursday had been sent to the State Department for approval, with Secretary Dulles and advisers wanting to eliminate any references in it to disarmament, which would also have eliminated that statement by the President which had drawn great popular approval, urging use of money saved from defense to rebuild the world. The State Department believed that there could be no disarmament until political problems were first solved, that Russia would have to pull out of the satellite nations and evacuate Austria before armaments could be reduced, and so believed that such a statement would only confuse Allies in Europe. But the writers of the speech, as further elucidated by the Alsops this date, believed that people had to be given hope for peace and relieved from the burdens of armament, and so had prevailed to leave the statement in.

Mr. Pearson reiterates a point made by the Alsops, that Mr. Dulles and the State Department had won out regarding the elimination of a proposed Foreign Ministers Council meeting, which would have included the Communist Chinese.

At a Cabinet meeting, Attorney General Herbert Brownell had stated his desire, for the purpose of eliminating corruption and inefficiency, to have Government employees report on each other, prompting Budget director Joseph Dodge to put that directive into effect, issuing an interoffice memo ordering his employees to spy on one another, with bad repercussions among Government employees and the Washington press, which had reported it as interoffice espionage. At that point, Mr. Brownell nixed the idea, and other Government bureaus never issued the order. Mr. Dodge also canceled his prior order.

The Washington press had dubbed the building which housed the new Department of Health, Education and Welfare, headed by Secretary Oveta Culp Hobby, the "Hobby Lobby".

The British had trained mongrel dogs to detect buried mines on the Korean battlefield, first teaching them to locate tins of meat.

Former Secretary of Commerce Charles Sawyer was quite upset at the way his successor, Sinclair Weeks, was destroying morale at the Department.

Senator Richard Russell of Georgia, the most powerful backstage Democrat in Congress, did not appear, by his mien, to have a sense of humor, but recently, Republican Senate leaders had prevailed upon him for support in opposition to the confirmation of former Truman military aide, Maj. General Harry Vaughan, whom President Eisenhower had nominated as a permanent major general, to which Senator Russell had responded, with a straight face, that he was not ready "to break with President Eisenhower—yet."

Joseph & Stewart Alsop find that the President's foreign policy address to the American Society of Newspaper Editors in Washington the prior Thursday was "nobly conceived and nobly executed." It had offered new hope and new faith "which the whole tired world has greedily welcomed." They elaborate on the process which went into producing the speech, which had started on March 6, the day after Stalin had died. The President then outlined the type of speech he wanted to his chief speechwriter, Emmett Hughes, formerly of Life, and his chief psychological warfare director, C. D. Jackson, formerly of Fortune. He wanted to use the opportunity of the new world situation to seize the political initiative.

At that point, the State Department, the Defense Department, the intelligence services and a few other lesser bodies, in addition to the White House, made their contributions to favored ingredients of the speech. Eventually, seven drafts were prepared, and during the process boldness versus caution became the central tension, with the White House advocating boldness and the State Department, caution. Left out of the final draft were proposals included in earlier drafts for free elections, not only in Germany and Korea, but in Indo-China as well. In the early stages, the White House had not ruled out the disarmament and unification of Germany as proposals, following free elections. Some in the White House advocated calling an immediate meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers, with possible inclusion of representatives from Communist China, following a Korean truce. But the idea of free elections in Indo-China was quickly dropped because the swing there was only half complete, with the Indo-Chinese Communists only beginning to lose their former glamour as champions of nationalism. The State Department and the Pentagon had little trouble in eliminating a hint about neutralized Germany, which would have given the hint that the U.S. would be willing to make great concessions for peace, but also would have stopped the European policy and NATO program.

The Foreign Ministers Council meeting, inclusive of the Chinese, met with the greatest dispute, the State Department objecting for it impliedly representing partial recognition of China, while the White House wanted to test the nature of Sino-Soviet relations in the post-Stalin era. It would also have given the French excuse, however, to shelve the European Defense Community and the German peace treaty. The State Department finally prevailed on elimination of that point from the speech.

The Alsops find that the experience of the State Department had corrected the exuberance of the new, fresh White House staff in the process, the latter counteracting the partially jaundiced attitude of the diplomats resulting from long years of dealing with the Russians. In the end, the President struck a new note of American leadership, "far-seeing but not visionary, generous but not appeasing, which has been badly needed for a very long time."

Robert C. Ruark indicates that he could not remember such senseless, stupid violence, especially domestic violence, as had been transpiring in the country of late. Every new day seemed to bring reports of a husband killing a wife or a wife killing the children or a child killing his parents. There had even been a professor who felt that he was a failure and so killed his whole family and himself. An old friend of Mr. Ruark had taken a gun and killed his wife, baby, dog and himself.

He finds that people were increasingly nervous and frightened regarding the nuclear age, complicated by "tax tension, communications tension, Communist tension, Joe McCarthy tension, flying saucer tension", to the point that nerves were almost a part of the daily routine. Something appeared to have happened to the old Horatio Alger story of climbing the ladder of success. There were a lot of young people hopping themselves up on narcotics and rushing around wildly in hot rods, shooting cops, parents and one another in the process. His hunch was that the society had "overdiagnosed, over second-guessed, and [become] too aware of the frantic futility of the times". He believed that a community had been founded on psychiatry and bad television shows, "fad diets, phony doctors, and the universal urge to humor ourselves at all costs". He believes that the absence of the razor's strop and the woodshed, as a teacher of children not to indulge in unnecessary emotions, was a missing component of society, which enabled them to become adults who were confused, "so confused that they finally stick Baby in the oven and take a dry dive out of the penthouse window."

Alcoholic columnists, self-proclaimed societal experts, probably do not help the matter too much, Mr. Ruark. But we feel certain that most of the folks down there at the bar you frequent probably agree with everything you say. Would not the razor's strop and the woodshed only encourage the more elimination of Baby and the wife as the final set of corrections?

A letter writer expresses disappointment that the text of the President's foreign policy speech, delivered on April 16, had not been reprinted in either The News or the Charlotte Observer. He had inquired and been told that newspapers had discovered that fewer than one percent of subscribers read such texts when printed and so were opting not to take up the space. He suggests, however, that the newspaper had a public trust in keeping the public informed, and the increasing costs of the local newspapers prevented him from adding the cost of a subscription to the New York Times.

A letter writer indicates that Arthur Grier would make a good candidate for the City Council, and would, if elected, be the first black member of the Council. He indicates that he had known Mr. Grier for 30 years and urges voting for him.

A letter writer indicates that the chairman of the Republican Party in Mecklenburg County had shown himself to be passive during campaigns, but was now being heard as a disgruntled office-seeker, while generally there was the suggestion that the Republican Party in the South, in its effort to present its cause to the people, might eventually develop a true two-party system in the region. He finds the Southern political atmosphere improving and the voices of disappointed office-seekers, such as the chairman of the county party, fading into the echo of a past era of Southern Republican politics.

A letter from the fifth grade at an unnamed elementary school in Huntersville indicates that the students had enjoyed their visit to The News the previous week, and that it was interesting to see the newspaper being printed and how fast the newsprint went through the machines, thanks it for its kindness.

If any of you young 'uns had dared misbehave, and the likes of Mr. Ruark had been around, you might have been fed through the press with the newsprint, come out with the comic pages printed on your forehead. That would have taught you to be smart-mouthed with your elders.

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