The Charlotte News

Thursday, April 23, 1953


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports, via Robert B. Tuckman, that the Communists had said this date that they would free more disabled allied prisoners in Korea, beyond the 605 currently set to be released. The Communists had not specified, however, exactly how many more would be released. They did pledge to return all sick and wounded allied prisoners. The unexpected move appeared to forestall a possible U.N. protest against the Communists for withholding some of the disabled prisoners, based on reports from those already released.

Meanwhile, 40 more Americans were due to be released this date, along with 64 other allied prisoners. Thus far, the Communists, in four days of exchange, had returned 400 U.N. prisoners, the majority of whom had been South Koreans, while the U.N. had released 2,000 Communists, including all 700 of the Chinese prisoners.

One South Korean released from captivity this date told of the Communists having climaxed their torture of him by hacking off all of his fingers, some with a saw. Lt. General Maxwell Taylor, U.S. Eighth Army commander, called it "a scandalous case". Some of the prisoners released this date had been involved in the combat on March 26 on the Vegas and Reno outposts, and some released Colombians had been captured when the Chinese had overrun nearby "Old Baldy" at about the same time, 96 Colombians having been listed as missing since that battle. One Marine private captured in the fight at outpost Reno said that the Chinese had provided him only battle dressings for his arm and leg wounds for several days after he had suffered them along with light head wounds, and that he was marched by the Chinese for about two hours until he collapsed from loss of blood. He said that when he was being interrogated, he would ask the enemy questions in response, causing them to think him quite the clown. Anecdotal stories are related by some of the other released prisoners as well.

A piece from the Associated Press tells of the happy reactions of several relatives and girlfriends of prisoners at the news of their release.

Armistice negotiations were set to resume on Saturday at Panmunjom for the first time since the prior October.

The Senate Appropriations Committee dropped plans to investigate reports by returned prisoners of war atrocities, based on assurances provided by the Army and the State Department that they would step up collection of evidence, with a view toward later prosecutions of war crimes.

Representative Clement Zablocki of Wisconsin, a member of a four-person Foreign Affairs subcommittee, said that the U.S. could not continue aiding the French in Indo-China until the French provided assurances of honorable intentions to give the Vietnam natives more freedom. Congressman Walter Judd of Minnesota said that Southeast Asia had always been the main target of the Communists and that Indo-China, its gateway, thus had to be held. Both Congressmen agreed that the attack by the Vietminh on Laos was very serious and should be turned over to the U.N. for investigation.

The President warned NATO allies this date not to relax their rearming efforts because of the Russian peace campaign, that until conditions of genuine peace had been firmly established, it would be foolhardy for the Allies to delude themselves about the continuing dangers confronting them. The message was read by Secretary of State Dulles to the opening session of the three-day meeting of the NATO Council of Ministers. Secretary of Defense Charles E. Wilson this date signed contracts totaling 550 million dollars for European airplanes to fortify Western defenses. Of that amount, the U.S. would contribute 281.5 million, half of which would be for interceptor jets. French Foreign Minister Georges Bidault, in a major policy statement on behalf of France, told the ministers that the Communists were launching a new attack in Indo-China, as they talked of peace in Korea, referring to the recent Vietminh guerrilla invasion of Laos. He also said that Germany had to be unified by free elections and permitted to make its own alliances, something which he found to be an indispensable element in the general European settlement, a principal objective of French policy. He called upon the Soviets to prove their sincerity in their peace campaign by agreeing to an Austrian treaty of independence.

The President, at his press conference this date, said that he was ready to do anything and confer anywhere to bring about peace in Korea, but wanted presently to see how developments went. He said that the Government was studying and analyzing the statements of released disabled prisoners who had brought home stories of atrocities, but that as of yet he had no complete report on the matter. He said that he was confident that defense spending would be cut for the fiscal year starting July 1, but was not ready to estimate how much the savings would be. He also announced that the National Security Council had advised him that it would be advantageous to national security for the U.S. to participate in construction of the St. Lawrence Seaway, but had not recommended the degree of participation. He stated that he believed that it would have been wise for the House to have voted funds to continue the administration of 35,000 public housing starts, a program which the House had voted to end the previous day. He also said that he and other Administration officials were studying plans for reorganization of the State and Defense Departments, a plan which would soon be sent to Congress. He stated that defense plans for Europe could not be based on the idea of either an imminent attack by the Soviets or on the prospects of an attack occurring only several years hence, but rather had to be flexible enough to meet all emergencies. He was not necessarily against any change in the Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act, but believed a one-year extension beyond June 12 would be the best move at the present time, pending further study of the matter. He said also that he was not aware of any Government officials having been discharged from important jobs for reasons of patronage. He stated that it was the hope of the Administration that atomic energy could be opened to private industry, perhaps requiring some changes in the law to do so.

Before a House Ways & Means subcommittee, Henry Grunewald testified this date that he had conducted an investigation for FDR, but refused to say what it concerned because he believed that the late President would not have wanted it revealed.

In Raleigh, Solicitor Clifton Moore, who had successfully prosecuted the Klan during their reign of terror in the southeastern part of the state the previous year, involving various floggings of both white and black citizens, this date breathed new life into legislation to outlaw the Klan.

Also in the General Assembly, dry forces won their first victories of the session when the State House killed measures to allow ABC liquor store referendums in Valdese and Lake Lure. The Senate Roads Committee approved a measure allowing trucks to have leeway in their weights by up to 1,000 pounds, but also increased the penalties for overloading. The bill had already been approved by the House. The House passed into law a resolution calling for an investigation by a joint legislative committee into dog race tracks at Morehead City and Moyock, an effort having been made earlier by seven State Senators, including State Senator and future Governor and U.S. Senator Terry Sanford, to outlaw dog racing as inviting into the state criminal elements involved in betting, including a report, according to Senator Sanford, that gambling kingpin Frank Costello was behind the rabbit pursuit, that effort by the Senators having eventually been killed in committee, in favor of a substitute resolution calling for the investigation.

There are many top features in Section C of the newspaper, should you wish to turn to it.

On the editorial page, "Secrecy Issue Comes into Focus" indicates that the State House and the Senate Appropriations Committee had given unfavorable reports on a bill to repeal the state's new law which permitted consideration of budget matters in executive sessions, and so it was apparent that the law would remain on the books at least until the 1955 General Assembly. It reviews the debate on the measure, finds that in lashing out at the Raleigh News & Observer because of its reporting on the legislative session, probing into embarrassing situations, the Assembly had effectively shut out the people of the state from knowledge of a vital area of government.

Ultimately, the people had to determine whether they would permit such secret deliberations regarding budget matters. While there were ample precedents in Congress and in other state legislatures for such executive sessions, the North Carolina General Assembly had never found it necessary to imitate other legislative bodies, which, in many respects, were less open and less progressive than North Carolina's Legislature.

"The Traveler" tells of an interview with Adlai Stevenson being relegated to the inside pages of newspapers. He had said that he was traveling around the world "for reasons beyond his control", as he found himself temporarily unemployed. Accounts from Japan, Formosa and Korea, where he had visited, indicated that he listened more than he spoke and created a favorable impression on his listeners when he did speak. The piece supposes that when the former Governor of Illinois returned to the U.S., the public might begin to hear of him more than some wanted

While he was traveling around the world, it finds it worth noting that a defeated presidential candidate was broadening his acquaintance with world problems, which would dispel some doubts and misconceptions about the U.S. in Asia.

"The Farmer Turns Detective" tells of nose-printing of cows in South Dakota because of an increase in theft of cows. The noses of cows were as different as fingerprints in human beings. Likewise, in Montana, the farmers were branding wheat by use of numbered confetti mixed in with the grain, similarly to discourage theft. It suggests that many years earlier, cows and wheat were hardly worth hauling away, and so the resurgence of the rustler indicated that there were once again treasures on the nation's farms and ranches.

A piece by Bill Sharpe, in The State Magazine, titled "Mr. William B. Umstead", tells of Governors usually being referred to as "Governor" in public print and on public occasions as soon as they took office. He does not recall prior Governors of the state being called by their first names, but the current Governor, who went by "Bill", was still being referred to by that nickname. He suggests that the Governor would have to travel to high places to rid himself of the nickname, as people seemed to be reluctant to accord titles to someone named Bill.

Mr. Sharpe had always assumed that his own nickname would be lived down, but as the years had gone on and he had a grandson, everyone still referred to him as Bill. Now that he had reached his late 40's, it was clear that he would never live it down.

Out of frustration, some years earlier, he had begun to adopt the practice of never calling a new acquaintance by his first name regardless of circumstances. But it only placed him in embarrassing situations where he wound up addressing college sophomores as "Mr." And it did no good, anyway, as the person would inevitably call him Bill within five minutes. The only persons who refrained from calling him Bill were his children, a maid, and a couple of calculating book salesmen.

So, he concludes with advice to Mr. Umstead not to answer when anyone called him Bill, that otherwise he would never be the kind of Governor to which the state was accustomed.

Drew Pearson believes it important to get the message of President Eisenhower's speech of the prior week to the people of Europe on both sides of the Iron Curtain, to communicate the idea of using defense money for reconstruction of the world, provided Russia would demonstrate a real desire for peace. Il Progresso, the Italian-American newspaper in New York, would soon print the full text of the President's speech in Italian, which could then be clipped and mailed by Italian-Americans to friends and relatives in Italy, an extremely important avenue of combating the Soviet propaganda that the U.S. was a warmonger and the Soviet Union, a champion of peace. Mr. Pearson suggests that similar printings ought occur in Polish, Hungarian, Croat and other foreign language newspapers in the U.S.

Congress was spending a record three million dollars on investigations, but had not invested any money in examining the vital question of peace or war, as elucidated during the testimony of Undersecretary of State Walter Bedell Smith, appearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee regarding the new Russian peace offensive. He had explained that the CIA, which he formerly headed, had prepared a detailed analysis of Russian intentions, and commented, in response to a question by Senator Hubert Humphrey as to whether that report had been made available to the Committee, that no one had asked for it. The response prompted Senator Humphrey to propose a careful study of the new Russian Government, calling in all of the nation's experts on Russia and listening to their ideas, absent which leaving the Senate without the ability properly to advise the President on foreign affairs. But the other members of the Committee did not appear interested, would rather hunt for headlines, ventures Mr. Pearson, than to dig into the complex problems of peace. He favors establishment of a Department of Peace, as suggested by newspaper publisher Frank Gannett, consistent with a bill introduced in Congress by Representative Harley Staggers of West Virginia.

Secretary of State Dulles was suspicious of Foreign Security Agency head Harold Stassen. Mr. Stassen, however, had been doing a first-rate job, surprising his associates with his knowledge of international problems.

After covering several snippets, the column indicates that both Republican and Democratic House leaders were holding back on the bill to cut income taxes, proposed by Representative Daniel Reed, chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee. The Republicans wanted to push it through at the last minute so that the cuts would take effect before the IRB could reduce withholding rates, figuring that the refund checks would start being sent out in 1954, not long before the midterm elections. The Democrats wanted to delay the tax cut until the Republicans took a public stand on the excess profits tax, for if they allowed it to expire, the Democrats could then seek to reduce income taxes for the lower brackets as well.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop indicate that Secretary of the Treasury George Humphrey had meant what he said the previous Monday when he called for "radical revision" of the tax system. There was a 14 billion dollar deficit facing the Secretary, as emergency taxes passed in the wake of the beginning of the Korean War were set to expire within the ensuing year, and with the mood of economy prevailing in Congress, the best that the Administration could do would be to prevent the scaling back of those taxes in the meantime. The expiration of those taxes would reduce Government revenue by eight billion dollars, added to which was the present deficit of about six billion. Thus, without any new source of revenue to make up for the loss of taxes, the only way to cut the deficit would be to reduce defense and security spending to such a degree that former Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson's considerable reduction of defense would appear small by comparison.

In consequence, Secretary Humphrey and his advisers wanted to revise the entire tax structure, away from what he viewed as a "crazy quilt" of taxes passed in response to repeated crises and, in some cases, imposed for political reasons during the prior 20 years. He wanted a new basis, premised on the notion of the greatest possible revenue over the long haul, with the least damage to the economy. Those at Treasury had not yet come up with a satisfactory program, but the trend in their thinking was away from direct taxation and toward indirect taxation, believing the former killed initiative. The Secretary reportedly favored a national sales tax on all items other than essentials, such as food and clothing. But that appeared politically untenable in Congress, and so Mr. Humphrey and his advisers wanted other forms of indirect taxation, such as a tax paid directly by the manufacturer on each item of product. It was unlikely, however, that Congress would pass such taxes in 1954, an election year, as voting for such a measure would expose a politician to the charge of favoring the rich at the expense of the poor.

Thus, it was unlikely that the Secretary and other Administration leaders would be able to obtain such indirect taxation, and would have to look elsewhere to make up the 14 billion dollar deficit, with the danger existing that the Administration would ultimately be forced to resort to rendering the national defense more inadequate than it already was.

Marquis Childs, at the U.N., indicates that if peace were finally to be achieved in Asia, it would have to come from deliberations by the U.N. Presently ending a futile session, the General Assembly would recess rather than adjourn, so that it could return on short notice. The resolution ending the session would specify that if an armistice were achieved in Korea, the president of the Assembly, Lester Pearson of Canada, could call the delegates back into session immediately. Even without a truce, the members could initiate a new session on their own.

The President's speech a week earlier to the American Society of Newspaper Editors had been received at the U.N. as rekindling hope, but second thoughts had tended to reduce that initial optimism among delegates who tried to view situations objectively with respect to the Iron Curtain. The President's aim of ending the wars in Malaya and Indo-China, as well as in Korea, raised the question as to what concessions would need be made by the U.N., under the leadership of the U.S., in return for a settlement covering all of Asia. The best informed view was that it could not happen without one concession which had been adamantly resisted by many Republicans and some Democrats in Congress, that being the admission of Communist China to the U.N., which would necessarily include formal recognition by the West that the Communists were the sovereign power in mainland China. It would also require that the U.S. stop supporting Nationalist China with arms and military training, with the purpose of attacking the mainland, and Formosa being placed under a U.N. trusteeship.

But those at the U.N. were mindful of the controversy caused in Congress when it was reported that Secretary of State Dulles had stated to a few journalists that Formosa was being considered for such a trusteeship, some members calling it appeasement also to suggest that Korea could be divided at the waist of the peninsula. Yet, the prospect of a settlement of the Korean War had not been ruled out at the U.N. as the first phase of an Asian peace, the rest to be resolved later. That implied a willingness to move in stages, a willingness which could be read into the speech by the President, who had said that an armistice in Korea was a first step. But whether Republicans in the Senate would support such an approach remained to be seen. Senator Taft had said in an interview that all questions in Asia had to be settled at one time, suggesting that it might be better to have negotiations on the rest of Asia before a Korean armistice, which Mr. Childs regards as an odd arrangement.

Robert C. Ruark indicates that everyone had kind of sneered when King Carol of Rumania had died recently, perceived as an oaf. But Mr. Ruark says that he had always felt sorry for him, as he was the only king he had ever gotten to know and was "pretty pathetic". Being a king in exile was difficult, as the subject felt like a king, but lacked subjects. He recounts that King Carol had sunk so low that Mr. Ruark had once observed him in a hotel in Havana summon bellboys to trim the toenails of two pekingese belonging to his consort, Elena, and the bellboys had refused, saying that as Cubans, they did not cut the toenails of dogs. The King had become upset with the management, and despite going to the hotel executives, got nowhere and wound up having to cut the toenails, himself. Shortly afterward, the couple had packed up and gone to Mexico.

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