The Charlotte News

Tuesday, May 12, 1953


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that at Panmunjom, U.N. supreme commander General Mark Clark said this date that the allies would make a counter-proposal shortly to the eight-point Communist prisoner exchange plan, which the U.N. truce negotiators had described as "unworkable". General Clark arrived in Seoul this date from Japan and talked for an hour with South Korean President Syngman Rhee, presumably about the latter's recent threat to ignore any armistice which failed to unite Korea. General Clark would also confer with Lt. General William Harrison, the chief armistice negotiator for the allies. General Harrison accused the Communists at this date's armistice session of dodging crucial questions on the ultimate disposition of prisoners who desired not to repatriate to their Communist homelands. The Communists had responded that the allied questions assumed details which could be solved later. Negotiations would resume the following morning.

In the war, a thousand Chinese Communists early this date had overrun an allied outpost and two other strong points in central Korea, but counter-attacking South Korean troops drove the enemy back to their own lines. The battle interrupted a week-long lull along the rain-soaked battlefront. The South Korean troops indicated that at least 175 Chinese had been killed in the action. The battlefront was quiet elsewhere, and rain and overcast skies grounded most allied warplanes.

In London, former Prime Minister Clement Attlee, opposition leader in Commons, charged this date that there were elements in the U.S. who did not want a settlement in Korea, but rather desired an all-out war with the Communists in China and against Communism in general. He indicated that it was of concern as to whether the President or Senator McCarthy was more powerful. He also called for the seating of Communist China on the U.N. Security Council soon after an armistice in Korea.

Pope Pius XII indicated his support for Prime Minister Churchill's call the previous day for a conference between the Western leaders and the Soviets, as a means to peace.

Senator William Fulbright of Arkansas also expressed support for the idea of high-level peace talks with "a horse sense approach". Republican leaders in the Senate, however, expressed caution at the idea, and there was no indication of support for it from the White House.

The President selected new Joint Chiefs, to be headed by Admiral Arthur Radford, who would replace General Omar Bradley when his tenure ended in August. Admiral Radford would be the first admiral to hold the post. General Matthew Ridgway would become the new Army chief of staff, succeeding General J. Lawton Collins, and would be replaced as NATO supreme commander by Lt. General Alfred Gruenther. Admiral Robert Carney would succeed Admiral William Fechteler as the chief of Naval operations, and the chief of staff of the Air Force, already announced, would be General Nathan Twining, succeeding General Hoyt Vandenberg. Senator Taft had urged replacement of the entire Joint Chiefs, as had several other influential members of Congress, desirous of a rethinking of the nation's defense policy. Admiral Radford had been an advocate of Naval air power and of super aircraft carriers. A few years earlier, he had opposed building the B-36 heavy bomber.

Air Force headquarters in Tokyo indicated that four U.S. Thunderjet fighter-bombers had jettisoned bombs at almost the exact place and time when an unidentified ship reportedly exploded and sank this date. Far East air forces headquarters indicated that the area was a restricted bombing range set up by agreement with the Japanese Government and that maritime craft entered the area at their own risk. The Air Force had been unable to confirm reports that a Japanese fishing boat or other craft had been present in the area at the time the bombs were dropped. An Air Force officer said that the Japanese farmer who observed what he believed to be the explosion of a vessel might actually have seen a geyser from the last bomb dropped. Japanese patrol boats searched the area but did not report seeing any wreckage or survivors.

The Senate was likely to consider a bill this date to provide the President authority to freeze prices, wages and residential rents for 90 days in the event of a "grave national emergency". It was an extension of the 1950 Defense Production Act, which contained no such control authority.

Martial law was declared in Waco, Texas, in the wake of three tornadoes which killed at least 64 people. Several buildings in downtown Waco had been reduced to rubble, and 53 bodies had been recovered thus far. Eight died at San Angelo and three were reported killed between Red Lake and Fairfield in East Texas. It was believed that as many as 100 may have died in Waco, as 50 persons were missing, including an estimated 20 believed trapped in a collapsed pool hall. The Weather Bureau warned of more tornadoes this date. Guards with carbines and .45-caliber pistols patrolled the downtown business district. A Baylor University professor and his wife were among the identified dead, killed in their car when bricks from a building fell on it.

In San Angelo, Texas, the San Angelo Standard-Times usually displayed a big red rooster on its front page when rain fell in the dry West Texas section. Rain had fallen heavily, up to 6 inches, with the tornado which had killed eight persons and injured more than 100 the previous day, but the newspaper did not print its red rooster this date, instead stating, "Nothing to crow about."

In Raleigh, reorganization of the Highway Commission, increasing the number of divisions from 10 to 14, would result in the present highway division headquarters being retained and four new division headquarters established. The new chairman of the Highway Commission said that some of the roads built under former Governor Kerr Scott's 200-million dollar secondary road-building program would not hold up over time without heavy maintenance, as they had been built in a hurry.

Donald MacDonald of The News tells of Highway Commissioner Jim Hardison, who had served on the Commission for four years during the Administration of former Governor J. C. B. Ehringhaus, between 1933 and 1937. He was a personal friend of Governor William B. Umstead, a classmate at UNC. He knew about his appointment a week earlier but was asked to keep it quiet. He was in the oil business in Wadesboro.

Ralph Gibson of The News tells of it being a banker's holiday for Georgia Neese Clark Gray, former Treasurer of the United States, as she visited a Charlotte branch bank during the morning. Ms. Gray operated a bank in Richland, Kans., where she also had other business interests. Her husband was vice-president of Eastern Industrial Service of Cambridge, Mass., which maintained its Southern division headquarters in Charlotte. She said that she had always been interested in politics and her mother had believed that everybody ought to be interested in government.

In Oklahoma City, Governor Johnston Murray of Oklahoma signed a bill making the Broadway show tune "Oklahoma" the official State song.

On the editorial page, "McCarthy Picks Out a New Target" finds that after reading the transcript of the Committee hearing involving James Wechsler, editor of the New York Post, and Senator McCarthy's interrogation of him, it had not concerned his publications contained in U.S. information libraries abroad, the subject of the hearing, but rather centered on his prior membership in the Communist youth movement during the mid-Thirties when he was between the ages of 18 and 22. That was so despite Mr. Wechsler having denounced Communism after a trip to Russia, and having been, in his editorials, consistently anti-Communist, having been one of the few editors to support Whittaker Chambers in his accusations against Alger Hiss, and having gone on record against Communism long before Senator McCarthy began, in February, 1950, his crusade against Communism in government.

Mr. Wechsler had said at the hearing that the Senator was effectively saying that a former Communist who was for McCarthy was good, while a former Communist who was against the Senator was suspect.

While a newspaperman had no special immunity regarding loyalty, no evidence had been produced that Mr. Wechsler's loyalty was in question, with the hearing focusing on his editorial attacks on Senator McCarthy. The New York Times had found, after reading the transcript, that the Senator was merely attacking Mr. Wechsler for his editorial views on Senator McCarthy.

The piece indicates that when a single Senator could bring to bear the power of Congress on a single newspaper editor because of his expressed opinions, it was time for the other 95 Senators to pause and consider what they had wrought.

"Churchill's Call Offers Little New" urges British Prime Minister Winston Churchill's call for a high-level conference on world tensions to be considered with skepticism by the American people, until there was something more tangible to the Soviet peace offensive launched since the death of Stalin on March 5. Just as no amount of wishful thinking would resolve the world's problems, it ventures, no amount of talk around a conference table would bring long-range peace until there was a genuine shift in the long-range Soviet strategy of world domination. Thus far, there had been no evidence of any such change. It recommends proceeding through regular diplomatic channels, within and without the U.N., that there was no reason for having a top-level conference of world leaders, which during World War II had won some battles but also had come "close to losing the war for survival."

"Ferry Snafu" recommends the piece on the page from The State magazine, regarding the poor ferry service on the Outer Banks, not keeping pace with the new highway which had drawn increased numbers of tourists. It hopes that Governor Umstead's new Highway Commission would provide priority to improvement of the ferry service.

"Congressmen Merit Higher Salaries" indicates that there were not many times when it agreed with Senator Pat McCarran of Nevada, but did on this occasion, with his proposal that members of Congress, Federal judges and U.S. Attorneys receive a substantial pay increase, the details of which it provides and which had been included on the front page the previous day. It asserts that such a salary increase would attract and maintain in office better qualified people, and hopes that the bill would become law.

"We'll Mark Time Until Fall" tells of the summer having definitely arrived in Charlotte, causing editors to swelter amid reports of lower temperatures in the mountains, snow in West Yellowstone, and aquatic acrobatics at various beaches. It suggests that others could wax lyrical about summer's glories, that it would just put it down as a necessary evil until autumn transformed the Piedmont into "a multi-colored panorama of cool beauty that makes up for all the discomforts of the season just arrived."

A piece from the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, titled "Unglued Civilization", tells of the Industrial Fasteners Institute having asserted that 35.5 million refrigerators, 30 million washing machines, 23.6 million vacuum cleaners and 36 million irons were owned by the American people, while there were 100 billion fasteners being used, presumably worldwide, meaning 50 fasteners for every person on earth, "including a lot of people who don't wear enough to pin up." It wonders, with all of those fasteners being employed, why the world was coming apart so fast.

The State Magazine, as indicated in the above editorial, tells of the new road along the Outer Banks having attracted a large number of tourists, but that the State had made the mistake of improving the roads before improving the old ferry service, proving inadequate to the new traffic, especially the old Oregon Inlet ferry, due for replacement but not before early July. It recommends planning a trip to Hatteras accordingly.

Drew Pearson tells of the State Department having been exchanging frantic cables with the British Foreign Office regarding a surge of Communism in the Caribbean, just across from the Panama Canal. The Communists had swept British Guiana's recent elections, placing them in control of the legislature and thus providing them a major voice in running the British colony. The only way to prevent Communist control would be to remove the new political independence from Guiana and restore full authoritarian power of the British governor, a move which the British feared would backfire and cause even more natives to join the Communists. British officials were concerned about the spread of Communism throughout the British West Indies, threatening the vital American lifeline through the Panama Canal. The U.S. was maintaining an airbase in British Guiana, though it had been reduced to housekeeping status. The leader of the Communist movement in the country, Cheddi Jagan, was a dentist trained in the U.S. who had received his political training behind the Iron Curtain and was currently effectively giving orders to the British colonial legislature. He had inflamed and duped the natives, with the help of his American wife. American and British diplomats remained at a loss as to what to do about the situation.

It was a foregone conclusion that the Democrats would split with the Eisenhower Administration for the first time regarding his drastically reduced defense budget, on the basis that it endangered national security. The Soviets had not reduced their defense budget at all. A little more than a year earlier, General Eisenhower, as NATO commander, was calling for 120 European divisions, whereas now, the U.S. was settling for something over 50. Though the President was said to be relying on "push-button war", actually he had cut the Air Force more drastically than any other branch. Under the proposed defense cuts, the Army budget had actually been increased by 1.5 billion dollars, whereas the Navy was cut by 1.7 billion, canceling each other out, leaving the Air Force to absorb all of the 5.1 billion in defense cuts.

Secretary of State Dulles had been in Europe three months earlier criticizing the Western European members of NATO for their failure to raise 75 ground divisions during the year, while there had been no increase during the year in the U.S. stockpile of atomic weapons since the time over a year earlier when General Eisenhower had been demanding that Europe raise 120 divisions. Meanwhile, Russia had 175 Army divisions and the satellites had 75 additional divisions. The Russians were employing a million men in atomic, guided missile and other weapons experiments, while the West had a little over 50 divisions in Europe.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop tell of the Administration's new defense policy not going over very well, leaving questions as to how a pared down budget would produce stronger or even adequate defense. There was certain to be a row in Congress over the elimination of the 143-group Air Force.

They indicate that there were worse things wrong with the Truman defense program than superfluity and extravagance. While there was some waste as a usual feature to any large, rapid rearmament program, Defense Secretary Charles E. Wilson and his staff could justly complain that under the Truman Administration, a World War II defense program had been ongoing in a revolutionized world situation. The Soviet detonation of the atomic bomb, announced in September, 1949, and the war in Korea had been the two stimulating forces which produced U.S. rearmament. Yet, the Joint Chiefs had never adjusted their planning to the new world strategic situation, which included the rapid accumulation of an effective Soviet stockpile of atomic weapons.

Untold millions had been spent to develop an atomic cannon for ground forces, though it could hardly cross any existing bridge and required an atomic shell which expended fissionable material as though it were cheaper than TNT. Moreover, ground force plans gave no answer to the vulnerability to air-atomic attack of the Western European ports, on which the NATO supply system depended.

The Navy had spent billions on carrier task forces, with the primary aim of sharing the Air Force's mission of atomic attack on an enemy, but had no known answer to the vulnerability of those task forces to underwater atomic explosions, theoretically demonstrated in the Main Brace Operation exercise recently undertaken by the NATO Allies in European waters.

The 143-group plan of the Air Force had centered on retaliatory striking power in the event of atomic attack, but did not take into account the increasing vulnerability of North America to Soviet strategic air and atomic attack. That plan also had not built up its striking power commensurate with that of Soviet improvements in air defense.

The Alsops venture that on those grounds, angry complaints were justified against the Truman defense leadership and the Joint Chiefs' planning, and yet no such complaints had been heard, despite the gaps in the current system determining present policy.

Over a long period of time, significant savings could be achieved through cutting out waste, but was a time-consuming process to trim the waste without compromising national strength. Savings could also be achieved through a re-study of force requirements in light of new weaponry. But those savings had to be joined with great increases in certain categories of expenditure to fill the increasing gaps in the defense system, and no such increases were yet in the new budget. The largest single reduction in the five billion dollars worth of defense cuts was to the Air Force, despite an effective air defense and strategic air program being key to retaliatory capability against improved Soviet air defenses.

A letter from a former member of the Park & Recreation Commission indicates that new City officials had just been elected and that he was influenced in his voting by the qualifications of the candidates for the offices they sought, as set forth in the local newspapers. He believed that there was a growing tendency on the part of public officials to govern by proxy, through the hiring of consultants paid by taxpayers, instead of informing themselves through personal investigation and study of the community's needs. He hopes that the newly elected officials would govern through their own abilities and qualifications and not through such paid proxies.

A letter writer from Pittsboro indicates that he had just read Judge John J. Parker's lecture to the New York City Bar Association, commemorating the memory of Justice Benjamin Cardozo, and wishes to commend Judge Parker's approach to the proposed Constitutional amendment, sponsored by Senator John W. Bricker, limiting the treaty-making power of the President and making ratification by Congress more difficult. He reminds that FDR made no treaties and attempted none, though having made "many very unfortunate and unwise commitments" which had been as effective as if they had been treaties. He objects to the bisecting of both Korea and Germany between the West and the Soviets following the war.

A letter writer urges not blaming the atom bomb for increased rainfall, that it was just as well to blame it for lack of rainfall since around 1946. He says that the weatherman of present times had an ability to predict rainfall, which turned out to be 90 percent correct.

Framed Edition
[Return to Links
Page by Subject] [Return to Links-Page by Date] [Return to News<i><i><i>—</i></i></i>Framed Edition]
Links-Date Links-Subj.