The Charlotte News

Saturday, April 25, 1953


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Pravda, the official newspaper of the Communist Party, declared this date that Russia was ready to enter into "businesslike" discussions with the West to end world controversies, but made it clear that the Soviet Union was not retreating in its foreign policy. This statement was responsive to the President's April 16 foreign policy speech before the American Society of Newspaper Editors in Washington, broadcast live nationally, and that speech had been printed on an inside page of the same Pravda edition. The tone of the reply had been sharp and argumentative but not vituperative or belligerent. It took issue with the President on several points and criticized Secretary of State Dulles. It rejected what it viewed as preconditions set forth by the President for such discussions to take place, and indicated that Russia was not setting forth such preconditions, but indicated it would have conditions to advance subsequently. It also said that the Soviet people had "invariably supported all steps directly toward concluding a just truce in Korea." It did not appear to budge regarding East Germany or Eastern Europe, saying with regard to the latter that "it would be queer to expect the Soviet Union to intervene in favor of the restoration of the reactionary regimes overthrown by these people." With respect to Communist China, it said that the President had not mentioned it and indicated that a policy seeking to turn back "steadily developing events" was doomed to failure, referring to the efforts of Chiang Kai-shek to re-establish the Nationalist Government on the mainland. It also said that Communist China ought be admitted to the U.N.

The White House said this date, in a statement released by press secretary James Hagerty, that Russia's new statement might be "a first step toward something concrete" in settling cold war problems.

In Panmunjom, another 100 allied prisoners, including a bonus 16 Americans, were released by the Communists this date, bringing the total released prisoners to the original promised number of 600, of whom 136 were Americans, the original scheduled release having included only 120 Americans. There were also 12 more British than originally promised, at 32. Of the total, 400 had been South Koreans. The Communists indicated that they would release 13 additional Americans and 71 South Koreans the following day. Both sides had pledged to continue to release sick and wounded prisoners, beyond the numbers originally promised, including the 5,800 promised by the U.N. Command, released at the rate of 500 per day during the week. Neither side had indicated yet how many more additional prisoners would be released. A South Korean lieutenant freed this date said that the Communists held more than 1,000 seriously sick and wounded South Korean prisoners not yet released. All of those released this date were ambulatory and appeared in fairly good physical condition.

Two of the released American soldiers, who had endured more than two years of misery as prisoners, said this date that 2,300 prisoners had died of exhaustion, hunger and wounds in two North Korean stockades. One sergeant said that more than half of the 3,000 prisoners in his camp had died during the winter of 1950-51. He described a bitter march during the winter of 1950, explaining that he had been one of the lucky ones as he had collapsed and passed out and ridden the rest of the day on a cow, with two wounds, one in the chest and a broken arm, receiving necessary help from one of his fellow prisoners to keep his balance on the cow. A corporal said that 800 out of the 1,500 U.N. prisoners in his camp had died between April 1, 1951 and August, 1952. He said treatment of the prisoners had not improved until the previous three months. He had been wounded near Kunu, during the MacArthur offensive to the Yalu River, on November 26, 1950. The North Koreans had continued to bring in wounded until there were 24 such prisoners within two weeks, all except three having died since that time. Allied planes had strafed the area about a dozen times, as there were no markings to show that U.N. captives were held there, and he had been slightly grazed by a bullet in the back on one occasion. Another corporal said that he had been captured on April 25, 1951 but had not been placed in a prison camp until December of that year, and that it had been two months before he received any medical treatment after suffering wounds in the back, hip and stomach. He said that all of his operations had been performed by guesswork, with the medical technicians feeling with their fingers, and when it sounded right, they decided to cut at a particular location.

The top-level truce negotiators would return to the negotiations the following morning, for the first time since the previous October when the U.N. representatives had walked out in frustration over the deadlocked issue of voluntary repatriation of prisoners, the sole issue barring an armistice.

The battleship New Jersey hit Songjin in Korea the previous day, with the most destructive naval bombardment of the war, burying part of the east coast port with landslides touched off by the 16-inch shells.

In the ground war, U.S. infantrymen this date repulsed an onslaught by up to 750 troops on the central front, inflicting heavy losses, taking out about one-third of the Chinese force in three hours of bloody fighting in American trenches. The Communists struck an American outpost in a nearby main line position, just east of "Jackson Heights", about midnight, firing 4,000 rounds of artillery and mortar during the battle. The allied artillery fired in return blocked each of two attempts by the Chinese troops to reinforce their positions.

In Paris, the 14 NATO nations this date told Russia that they had not yet displayed any fundamental change in the Communist threat to the security of the free world, issuing their final communiqué of the Foreign Ministers Council meeting, indicating that they would welcome "genuine efforts to reduce international tension". The statement said that the Communist Vietminh guerrilla attack on Laos in Indo-China was only the latest example of the policy responsible for aggressive warfare in several parts of the world. They again called for prompt establishment of a six-nation European army, comprised of France, West Germany, Italy and the Benelux countries. The members voted to increase NATO air strength by 2,700 additional warplanes and ten divisions of ground troops in Europe, increasing total air strength to 5,600 planes by the end of 1954 and ground troops to 60 divisions. They also set the next meeting for October.

Senator Wayne Morse of Oregon ended a 22-hour, 26-minute speech during the morning of this date, in opposition to the bill declaring states to have title to oil-bearing offshore lands within their historic boundaries, surpassing the records previously established for filibuster by Senators Robert LaFollette and Huey Long, the former having held the floor for 18 hours, 23 minutes in 1908, and the latter, having spoken for 15 hours, 35 minutes in 1935, credited with longer endurance than Senator LaFollette because the latter had been spelled by various quorum calls. Vice-President Nixon and most of the Senators had remained away from the chamber, with the Vice-President arriving early in the morning this date to relieve Senator Frank Carlson of Kansas who had presided during the lengthy session. At one point during the early morning, Senator Morse was corrected for placing one foot on his chair, with the rules of debate being cited that both feet had to be on the floor, at which point the Senator duly complied. There were no quorum calls to spell him, but there were several questions posed by other Senators opposing the bill, giving him an occasional break.

After the end of the Senator's speech, opponents of the bill scored a temporary victory, as Senator Taft reversed his previous position and moved to lay aside the bill, which had been under consistent debate for three weeks, for a period not to exceed an hour to enable the rent controls extension bill to be considered. The Senate then passed and sent to the White House the bill to extend rent controls until July 31 in areas which presently had them, impacting approximately 5,600,000 dwelling units. The House had passed the measure the prior Thursday. The present rent control authority was set to end on April 30. The President had asked for the extension, but until October 1. The respite on the submerged lands measure lasted only 36 minutes. After the rent control action, Senator James Murray of Montana took the floor for another speech opposing the tidelands bill.

In Las Vegas, another nuclear blast from the Yucca Flat proving ground was observed in the early morning hours this date. Seventeen Congressional observers were on hand for the detonation, the seventh in the series of detonations during the spring. The blast appeared as bright as had the previous Saturday's blast, from the perspective of Las Vegas, the previous entry having been the most spectacular of the series. The shock wave came seven minutes after the appearance of a bright orange glow in the sky, and was strong enough to jar buildings, but not as strong as a previous blast occasioned by an airdrop, which had broken a downtown market window. The flash was seen as far away as San Francisco, but had not been visible in Los Angeles because of overcast skies. Two Army combat teams of about 1,200 men each, stationed 4,000 yards from ground zero, were to climb from their trenches after the detonation and advance toward a mythical enemy. Another group composed of officer volunteers was set to be stationed ahead of that main body of troops. Bomber crews were set to fly indoctrination trips during and after the detonation, while a Navy radio-controlled drone was guided into the atomic mushroom cloud. A Defense Department spokesman said that two atomic cannons would begin making their ten-day journey from Oklahoma for tests to be conducted around May 21, the last explosion in the series.

Any rabbits and sheep involved in this test? How about goats?

Sí, no tenemos conejos. Gracias, gracias muy mucho.

The 1953 Pulitzer prizes for journalism, letters and music would be announced on May 4.

In Raleigh, the State Senate passed eight local measures and the State House approved one local bill this date, in what could be the final Saturday meeting of the 1953 session. Let us hope so. They have done enough damage for one biennium.

In Buenos Aires, five Texas cotton businessmen arrested the prior Monday on suspicion of violation of national security laws, were released this date without charges. U.S. Embassy officials in Argentina had arranged for their release.

In Hong Kong, three riot squads went into action after 2,000 people jammed the streets around a downtown store when word spread that a Finnish beauty, Miss Universe, was shopping there. In Hong Kong on her world tour, she ducked out a rear door.

In Omaha, the Union Pacific Railroad's publicity department reported this date that it had discovered that one of its employees was named R. R. Lines, whom friends called "Railroad".

On the editorial page, ""Encouragement on the Fiscal Front" indicates that it was hard to find encouraging signs on the fiscal front of late, with the General Assembly putting the state into deficit financing and the Congress demanding tax cuts before balancing the current budget. But it had found such an encouraging sign during the week from Senator Harry F. Byrd's "one-package" appropriations resolution, which had cleared its first major hurdle, being favorably reported out by the Senate Rules Committee.

The bill would place all appropriations under one measure, making it easy to place it alongside the Treasury estimate of revenue for the ensuing fiscal year, and thus determine readily whether the budget would be balanced, and if not, by how much. It suggests that even so, members of Congress might not hesitate to engage in deficit financing and some agencies which presently had unexpended funds might suddenly decide to spend them hastily to prevent Congress from cutting budgets in the ensuing fiscal year. Congress might also jeopardize defense by cutting off money for expenditures which had been long and carefully planned. But those disadvantages also were applicable to some extent to the present system of piecemeal appropriations, denying the public and the legislators a clear picture of the nation's finances in the process. It thus supports the Byrd proposal.

"Putting the Voice Where It Belongs" indicates that Edward R. Murrow of CBS—who would, during the Kennedy Administration, head the Voice of America—, had said that it was what came out of the loudspeaker which counted. It suggests that the political proclivities and opinions of American technicians presently doing radio work for the Government, despite their having been investigated recently, were secondary to the content of the broadcasts and the number and nationality of the listeners. With those standards in mind, it finds that the changes to the International Information Administration, announced during the week by its head, Robert L. Johnson, appeared sound. One of his decisions had been to cut Information service personnel, mostly from the Voice, by ten percent, a move on which it indicates it could not pass judgment, as it was best left to the technicians. His change in target audiences made sense, as more programs would be broadcast to Russia and the satellites and fewer to the free countries of Europe. English-language broadcasts would be reduced from five hours and 45 minutes daily to 30 minutes, and broadcast service to Latin America would be reduced to only a token operation.

Since Communist countries did not have access to U.S. news and free countries did, it finds it made sense to make those changes. It also liked Dr. Johnson's plan to take the Information service out of the State Department and place it under a separate agency, as the latter's province was in the field of diplomacy and foreign policy and not news gathering and dissemination. Streamlining the Voice so that it would broadcast straight news rather than Government handouts made great sense, as it would then have stronger influence if the diplomats were not held responsible for it.

"Comparison" indicates that during the 34 months of the Korean War, the U.S. had suffered 133,787 casualties, including approximately 23,500 deaths. At home, during the prior year, the U.S. had suffered 2,090,000 casualties on the nation's highways, a total which excluded the 37,600 deaths from highway accidents.

"The Queen City Takes to the Air" relates from North Carolina Facts, put out by the North Carolina Research Institute, that Charlotte airline passenger traffic during 1951 had consisted of more than half of the passengers who boarded planes within the state, bearing in mind that Charlotte was a major transfer point and those passengers included transfers, even so constituting an amazing amount of the state's air traffic, the share of which for Charlotte had increased steadily from the 44.7 percent in 1949 to the 50.6 percent in 1951, translating to more than doubling of the amount of passenger traffic during that interim, indicative of the increased commercial flying throughout the state.

While air traffic was increasing all over the country, particularly in the South, the rate of increase in the state was considerably higher than both the national and regional averages. Between 1950 and 1951, the total passenger traffic nationally had increased 29 percent, whereas in the South, it had been 36 percent, and in North Carolina, 45 percent. The state had 136 airports, 54 of which would accommodate medium-sized aircraft, and six major airlines, utilizing 14 airports, were operating in the state, bringing in advance men for new industries.

It ventures that only uninformed Yankees now got Charlottesville and Charlotte confused, and that the Queen City was literally flying forward.

A piece from the Arkansas Gazette, titled "Language of the Teens", indicates having just completed its annual investigation of teenage slang and being able to report that it had not changed much in the previous year. Such expressions as "down boy!", as applied by a "cute chick" to a high school make-out artist, a "wolf", and "take a train!", appeared to have been adopted here and there, and teacher and parental confusion still tended to exist to about the same degree.

According to American Magazine, "DDT", which meant "drop dead twice", and "you popped a corny", meaning that a joke had fallen flat, were still in use. "Upper plate" standing for an older person, and "FFFFTOYFF", meaning "fall fatally flat five times on your fat face", and "the current is pushing me", as a parting remark, also remained in currency.

The Chicago Sun-Times had found that "bitter banana", which meant a sulker, remained proper in Chicago's preparatory institutions, along with "hairy", meaning terrible, and "that's the way the ball bounces".

It indicates that there were other such expressions, such as "a look that needs suspenders", referring to a male oggling a female, and "you may take three giant steps", a mocking remark to a braggart.

There were others, but it finds that those listed would suffice until the following year, unless some youths from the Greater Little Rock schools desired to bring them more up to date. It wishes that they would, because "up here in the rarefied air of the ivory tower, us upper plates tend to get a little on the square side."

The use of the "ivory tower" echoes the phrase often used in the editorial department of The News, suggesting that the author of the piece may have been Gazette editor and former News editor Harry Ashmore.

All we have to say to the Trumpies is FFFFTOYFA. Over and out, DDT. The current is pushing us...

Drew Pearson tells of having visited General Eisenhower in Paris a year earlier and then suggesting that one of his most difficult problems after he would reach the White House would be the China Lobby, the small but powerful group dominated by the Soong-Kung dynasty, which had benefited greatly from U.S. aid to Chiang Kai-shek and which had siphoned part of those funds off into one of the most skillful propaganda and political machines ever to operate in the U.S. The Nationalists, however, had not hesitated to sell strategic materials to Communist China and had attempted to corner the soybean market just before the Korean War, the Lobby hiring some of the most politically potent lawyers in the nation to plead the Nationalist cause with Congress.

Mr. Pearson had suggested to General Eisenhower that since certain Senators received heavy campaign contributions from the Lobby, its operation actually amounted to having Asiatic policy fixed by carefully placed dollars rather than by the State Department. He had also suggested that it would be to the advantage of General Eisenhower to encourage a Congressional investigation of the China Lobby when he became President, a probe which the State Department and many Democrats would welcome. The General, at the time, had expressed incredulity that Senators would accept campaign expenses from the China Lobby and did not take to the idea of such an investigation.

Recently, however, the President had been forced to choose between the Lobby's Senators and his own Secretary of State, the choice having come after Secretary Dulles had dropped a hint that the U.S. might have to abandon Formosa to obtain peace in Korea. The President had hesitated in his choice for only a few minutes before repudiating Mr. Dulles for his remarks. Mr. Pearson ventures that it left the nation where it was during the Truman Administration, with a State Department just as intimidated by the Lobby as it had been when Dean Acheson had been Secretary, with the exception that Mr. Dulles had retreated more quickly and further than had Mr. Acheson. The country also had an Asian foreign policy influenced by secret foreign agents, many of whom were not registered with the Justice Department as required by law. When foreign policy was influenced in secret by private individuals, the situation, he suggests, became dangerous, which is why foreign agents were required to register.

It would be very difficult to win the peace in Korea without sacrificing the Nationalist Chinese, the unofficial position which Secretary Dulles had taken with a small number of journalists, before the Lobby had scared the President into a retreat from his Secretary of State.

Mr. Dulles had reasoned that to get the Communists to retreat some 80 miles from currently established battle lines to the waist of Korea, a more easily defensible line for the long-term, it would be necessary to give them something in return, which might be the placement of Formosa under a U.N. trusteeship, necessitating, in that event, their giving up all claims on the Chinese mainland. Mr. Dulles faced the alternative of sacrificing thousands of U.S. soldiers or else making diplomatic concessions such as that regarding Formosa. He understood that the American people would not tolerate much longer the loss of American lives in Korea. He also understood that a report to Washington from Formosa had informed of the Nationalist troops having an average age of 29, considerably older than that of the American Army and that of the Communist Army, and much too old to fight. Mr. Dulles had also understood that Chiang had no means of recruiting fresh troops. Finally, he understood that Chiang was so fearful of being invaded from the mainland, rather than intending to invade himself, that a reference to using his troops was recently removed from a speech by Joint Chiefs chairman General Omar Bradley, upon request. Yet, when Mr. Dulles had noted the possibility of certain concessions naturally and necessarily arising from those facts, the China Lobby had risen up and complained to the President, causing the latter to take the nearly unprecedented action of reversing his own Secretary of State.

William Henry Chamberlain, who had spent 12 years in Russia as a correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor, writing in the Wall Street Journal, indicates that during Stalin's lifetime, there had been no doubt as to who had been boss at the Kremlin, with final power residing solely in Stalin's hands. When Georgi Malenkov was appointed Premier following the death of Stalin on March 5, it was widely assumed abroad that Mr. Malenkov would also be another dictator. But events since his taking power had shown that he did not have the same authority possessed by Stalin. Contrary to Stalin's publicity apparatus, which maintained his image before the Russian people, Mr. Malenkov was largely unknown to Russians, and there had been no great press promotion of him since he had taken office. He had given up his post as chief secretary of the Communist Party, turning that role over to Nikita Khrushchev, a position formerly occupied by Stalin, who had made it a very important office, controlling party machinery and enabling Stalin to rise to power following the death of Lenin. It was possible that there had been a successful attempt to keep Malenkov's power within certain boundaries.

There had been a strange reversal in certain policies followed under Stalin, preeminent of which was the sudden dropping of the prosecution of the Soviet doctors who had been accused of acting on orders of American intelligence agencies and the Jewish Joint Distribution Committee in killing, through improper treatment, two high Soviet officials. Six of the accused seven doctors were Jews, and a medical expert commission had formally confirmed the allegations of deliberate mistreatment of the patients. But then a unique thing happened for totalitarian states. Russia admitted that innocent victims had been framed and that their confessions had been obtained through the use of methods inadmissible and forbidden under Soviet law. Such methods had been used routinely within the Communist satellite countries, and so it was quite strange that suddenly Pravda had set forth such an admission, casting doubt on the validity of all such confessions which had been obtained in a long series of Soviet political trials.

Equally surprising had been the official statement that the purpose of staging the frame of the doctors had been to inflame Soviet society, to arouse feelings of national antagonism, which Pravda deemed alien to Socialist ideology. The Kremlin admitted not only torture but also having engaged in anti-Semitism. It had taken someone very powerful to instigate the prosecutions and someone equally powerful to call them off.

Another development which had occurred almost immediately following Stalin's death was the change in the highest steering committee of the Communist Party, with the Politburo, which had been enlarged from 14 members to 36 members, now dubbed the Presidium, during the Party Congress the previous October, reduced back to its original number of 14.

He indicates that it was impossible for the foreign observer, no matter how well informed, to understand what was going on within the Kremlin, whose political secrets were the best kept in the world. He ventures a plausible guess, however, that what had followed Stalin was not another all-powerful dictator, but a directory type of administration, with a very uneasy and precarious balance of power. Some of Mr. Malenkov's rivals may have entered into a combination to prevent him from becoming too strong and engaging in the kinds of purges which Stalin had undertaken after he came to power, eliminating his competition.

L. P. Beria, who as Minister of Internal Affairs controlled the secret police, appeared to have vindicated his reputation and perhaps gained in political stature by repudiating the frame of the doctors.

Mr. Chamberlain ventures that it was probably wise for the Eisenhower Administration to have shelved the idea of promoting a quick meeting between the President and Mr. Malenkov, as no one could be certain who would be the final victor in a struggle for succession to Stalin, which might be only in its initial stage.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop tell of the Eisenhower Administration encountering a problem which the Truman Administration had, that being people within it who did not believe in the policies they were assigned to administer. In the Commerce Department, for example, Assistant Secretary Craig Sheaffer, the pen manufacturer, had gotten Secretary Sinclair Weeks initially to fire the head of the Bureau of Standards, Dr. Astin, creating a hue and cry among scientists and forcing Mr. Weeks to backtrack and retain Dr. Astin during a period of evaluation of the Bureau by a panel of scientists. Mr. Sheaffer admired right-wing rabble-rouser Herwin Hart, and was suspicious of science and scientists.

Another example was former Senator Harry Cain of Washington, who had sought to outdo Senator McCarthy in chasing down Communists while a Senator, now appointed to the Subversive Activities Control Board.

Former Representative Joseph Talbott had been appointed to the Tariff Commission, despite being protectionist in orientation, contrary to the position taken by the President, who favored extension of the reciprocal trade agreements, a measure which Mr. Talbott had voted against while in the House.

During the campaign, General Eisenhower had favored expansion of the Social Security program, and yet had appointed former Representative Parke Banta of Missouri to be the counsel for the new Department of Health, Education and Welfare, despite his having, during the 80th Congress, voted to remove 750,000 people from Social Security rolls.

The President favored a moderate public housing policy and yet had appointed former Representative Albert Cole of Kansas as the head of the Housing Administration, despite his having, while in Congress, complained that public housing "came from the Kremlin".

President Theodore Roosevelt was one of President Eisenhower's political heroes, and the General had pointed out during the campaign that TR and the Republican Party had been responsible for initiating national conservation and land-use policies, but had appointed as Assistant Secretary of the Interior, Orme Lewis, who had testified that public lands, comprising nearly a quarter of the land mass of the nation, ought ultimately be turned over to private citizens. The Administration could not lightly disregard the wishes of such a powerful man in the Senate as Interior Committee chairman Hugh Butler of Nebraska, who had introduced a bill to turn over public lands to the states and had successfully insisted on the appointment of men of like mind within the Interior Department.

The President would have to maintain the executive branch on a very tight rein, the Alsops suggest, if he was going to give the country the middle of the road government for which he stood, and he might find good uses for his famous temper in the months to come.

Marquis Childs, at the U.N., indicates that those with faith in the U.N. concept had much about which to be pleased in recent weeks, starting with the agreement of the Security Council to name as the new Secretary-General, Dag Hammarskjold, the unanimous agreement of the Assembly regarding the Korean issue, and the new cordiality between East and West, all potential harbingers of good things to come, though the optimism had to be checked against past disappointments.

New U.N. Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., was taking a middle-road position, working hard to retrieve the reputation of the U.N. with the American public and to create a useful place for it between the dream of world salvation and the dead end to which the old League of Nations finally succumbed prior to World War II. He had a lot to do with bringing about the mutual assent on the new Secretary-General, having formulated the idea that a Swede could win acceptance on the Council, as Sweden was not a member of NATO. His first choice, Erik Boheman, Swedish Ambassador to the U.S., had declined the position, and Ambassador Lodge then was instrumental in the selection of Mr. Hammarskjold. Had the Russians vetoed his nomination, Ambassador Lodge was prepared to take the matter before the full General Assembly, the awareness of which having had a lot to do with the eventual decision by Russia not to veto the selection.

One of Ambassador Lodge's first acts as head of the delegation was to reach an understanding with Attorney General Herbert Brownell, regarding orderly investigation before a Federal grand jury of charges of Communist infiltration of the American employees of the Secretariat, headlines having been leaked from the grand jury the prior December, before the new Administration took office, a practice which had been stopped under Mr. Brownell. One of the reasons for such an investigation was the haste with which the U.N. had been put together in its early phase, necessitating that the foreign offices of each member country send their quotas of employees to serve on the Secretariat, causing problematic individuals whom each country wanted to unload to be named, a continuing handicap for the organization.

Mr. Childs points out that there were many able and devoted employees at the U.N., and Russia had always sent capable persons to fill its quota on the Secretariat. But it was significant that the Russian quota had never been filled, indicating doubts in Moscow regarding the usefulness of the organization as a base for espionage. As Mr. Lodge had explained to all visiting Congressional delegations, the U.N. never dealt in classified material.

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