The Charlotte News

Thursday, May 21, 1953


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that counter-attacking South Korean infantrymen this date had repulsed between 150 and 200 Chinese Communists from an eastern front ridge after 12 hours of close-quarter fighting back and forth. The Chinese had seized the western end of the 300-yard ridge shortly before midnight, but South Korean troops had clung to the eastern end. The Communists repulsed two of the South Korean counter-attacks, but reinforcements entered the battle before dawn, and after six hours of fighting, the Communists gave up. Elsewhere along the front, the Communists probed allied lines and patrol skirmishes flared between the lines.

Cloudy skies limited aerial action to fighter-bomber strikes along the front and against troop and supply concentrations just behind enemy lines. U.S. Sabre jets remained grounded.

In Tokyo, U.N. Command headquarters this date worked on revised Korean truce plans to be presented to the Communists the following week at Panmunjom, possibly to include an ultimatum that the truce would have to occur "now or never", according to authoritative sources who had insisted on anonymity. It would, according to those sources, include parts of the India plan which had been approved by the U.N. General Assembly the previous December, which had included a political conference to settle the fate of the North Korean and Chinese prisoners who had refused repatriation. The talks were scheduled to resume the following Monday after a six-day suspension which had been sought by the allies.

An Oklahoma pilot flying a B-26 bomber over North Korea learned by radio this date that he had become the father of a son, as the message had traveled to him via front line radio transmitter.

The President, Prime Minister Winston Churchill and French Premier René Mayer disclosed plans this date to have a conference on Big Three Allied problems, among them, whether to hold a high-level conference with the Russians. Within hours after the announcement, however, the Mayer Government was overthrown by the French National Assembly regarding tax proposals and Government subsidies for wine and sugar beet growers, casting some uncertainty on the prospect of the meeting, while optimism still held hope that it would transpire with M. Mayer's successor. No definite date had yet been selected, but M. Mayer had said that the conference would take place on June 17 in Bermuda. White House press secretary James Hagerty, when asked whether the conference might turn into a Big Four meeting with Russia, declined response.

House Majority Leader Charles Halleck of Indiana said this date that he was "very optimistic" about chances for House approval of the President's request to extend the excess profits tax on business from its current expiration date of June 30 through the end of the year. Republican opponents of the measure, however, disclosed a series of strategy moves aimed at defeating the proposal or at least amending it.

In Honolulu, Eleanor Roosevelt arrived the previous night on the second leg of a world tour, voicing hope and confidence that a solution to world problems could be found. She would spend five weeks in Japan to learn about that country and answer some of the questions of the Japanese, giving lectures which, she said, might clarify other questions.

At Fort Devens, Mass., Vic Reinemer, associate editor of The News and a magazine contributor on Communism, was expected to be the first witness to be called at the court-martial of an Army doctor accused of falsely denying Communist affiliation.

In Thomasville, N.C., a story came to light that a hometown G.I., who was in the Army hospital at Fort Bragg, had gone AWOL twice to obtain medical treatment. He had left Fort Eustis in Virginia without permission and ventured to Thomasville to seek out his family physician, who had placed him in the local hospital because he was suffering from the post-operative effects of a hernia, including an infected bladder and back injury. The physician had notified Fort Eustis authorities and then treated the soldier in the hospital for a week, but the previous Friday, he had been transported by Army ambulance to Fort Bragg, with the understanding that he would be admitted to the hospital there. An officer at Fort Eustis had reported that the soldier was determined to be unfit physically for active duty and had been taken to the hospital at the Fort, then released, then taken back to the hospital for a second visit after collapsing in the field, but could not be readmitted, after which he had gone AWOL.

At Lake Charles, Louisiana, the Calcasieu River was threatening the port city with its biggest flood in 40 years, driving 1,250 families from their homes. High water elsewhere in Louisiana had caused two drownings. Volunteers with bulldozers and trucks worked during the warm nighttime temperatures to erect small dirt dikes to hold back the slowly rising waters in residential areas of the eastern part of Lake Charles. The river, normally a calm stream, would, according to the weatherman, reach five feet above its flood stage of four feet this date, and possibly higher.

In Washington, the 26th annual national spelling bee was transpiring, with the field having been cut from 53—one entrant from each state, territory and the District—, down to 32. Two 12-year olds had been eliminated in the round this date, one misspelling "riparian" as "reparrian"—which might apply as a neologism to revers on the river—, and the other placing an "e" for an appropriate "i" in "palliate". It goes on to provide several other misspelled words during the competition, including one which we often see misspelled, "quandary", usually misappropriated to the quasi-clothes hangar qua ringer, as "quandry", consistent with the way it is often mispronounced, though in this case, the 13-year old had misspelled it as "quandery".

In Raleigh, Governor William B. Umstead came to his office this date for the first time since he had suffered a heart attack three days after his inauguration on January 8, arriving promptly at 8:30, when State offices opened. He greeted some callers and then met with the State Board of Public Buildings and Grounds, of which he was chairman. A spokesman for the Governor said that he would probably begin attending office duties for about two hours each day and gradually stay longer as his strength increased.

Donald MacDonald of The News indicates that about 400 raised manholes, protruding from the streets all over the city, had been giving motorists fits for the previous few weeks, but with fair weather, the construction company responsible for the resurfacing work of the streets, would complete its work within about 20 days, eliminating the raised manhole covers. Drive carefully in the meantime.

In Everett, Washington, a sign painter for the City, seeking to spell out, "No Parking in Alley", had been stymied by the fact that the parking spots designated for his equipment were blocked by cars and other vehicles parked in the alleys of three downtown blocks.

On the editorial page, "Extension of Authority" indicates that during the previous weekend, Alan Barth of the Washington Post, in speaking to North Carolina editorial writers in Chapel Hill, had outlined what he believed was a grave risk developing out of Congressional investigative powers. He had said that there were three great institutions in the country which were maintained beyond governmental authority, the press, the church, and institutions of higher learning. It was never intended that the government should be able to invade any of those institutions, and yet the concern over Communism had provided the pretext for the legislative branch to pursue investigation of Communist infiltration into those three areas. He stressed the need for legislative power to investigate, and that there should be no limit on that power imposed against Congress, but distinguished between sabotage or espionage, or teaching or advocating the forcible overthrow of the government, as punishable under the Smith Act, and the mere holding of unorthodox or unpopular beliefs and expression of same.

Mr. Barth was most concerned about Congressional committees using their tremendous authority to operate beyond their proper scope, so that ideas rather than loyalty would become the subject of their examination. The social and political ideas of ministers, newspaper editors and teachers were no business of the Congress or any other governmental entity, as long as those ideas did not result in acts which violated anti-subversion statutes.

It suggests that the three institutions were quite capable of cleaning out any of their members who provided evidence that they had surrendered to Communism, and to deny that ability was to undercut the very basis for those institutions' traditional independence from governmental authority, which had always served the nation well, in good and bad times.

"Good Work" praises the County Recorder's Court judge and the two county patrolmen who had been responsible for the arrest and conviction of a man charged with disorderly conduct for operating a motorboat on the Catawba River in a manner which was dangerous to himself and others. The judge had based his decision on the common law, as there was no statute governing the conduct.

In indicates that most of the fatal accidents which had occurred during the previous two years in boating had resulted from ignorance or carelessness, and, while beyond the reach of the law to prevent absolutely, they could be deterred by such action as that undertaken by the judge and the patrolmen, deterring speedboat "hot rodders" from endangering lives on the rivers and lakes.

"The Seaway Is With Us Again" indicates that for a good number of years, the St. Lawrence Seaway and Power project had been bandied about from the Roosevelt and Truman Administrations to Congress, which had routinely blocked its implementation. A new Republican Administration had produced hope for change, with the economy being its watchword and socialism its anathema, the combination of which created the prospect for a brighter day for opponents of the Seaway.

But during the week, the National St. Lawrence Project Conference, opponents of the project, had noted, sorrowfully, that the Eisenhower Cabinet had unanimously approved the Seaway and that the Administration would seek Congressional approval, prompting the old fight all over again.

It suggests that the opponents might consider that not only had FDR and President Truman approved of the project, but also Presidents Woodrow Wilson, Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, and now President Eisenhower.

"Double Take" indicates that the story two days earlier out of Washington regarding the abduction of two small children by a woman who carried them to New York after being assigned to them for 15 minutes by their parents as a babysitter, had initially imparted that she had "dirty brown hair" and was missing several front teeth, while the story out of New York on Wednesday, after she had been arrested, stated in its first sentence that she had been an "exotic dancer" in a carnival in Miami. It concludes: "Quick change artist, huh?"

Her "waywardness" in wicked ways had caused her decline very rapidly.

"Not Crowing, Just Well Pleased" again states that the fact that Charlotte had more than 50 percent of the state's total airplane passenger traffic and that it was growing faster than any of the other cities in the state in air travel was not intended as braggadocio, that the newspaper and Charlotte generally hoped for the other cities also to advance in air travel, but had communicated the fact only out of pleasure at seeing airline travel take off in the state. It indicates that persistent pressure on the Civil Aeronautics Board and the air carriers, plus full use of the services presently available, would bring better service to other cities in the state, the principal reasons for Charlotte's strong position in air travel. It provides a table of the five principal cities and areas of the state and the percentage of air traffic of each, based on CAB figures for March, 1952.

A piece of from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, titled "Dig That Coronation", praises the fact that Sharkey Bonano and his New Orleans jazz band would be playing a jazz concert at the Royal Festival Hall in London for the coronation ceremonies of Queen Elizabeth, that it would bring original American jazz to England, where there was already a British Festival of Jazz, as well as one also in Rome celebrating New Orleans jazz, with the result of further internationalizing that "fine careless rapture which is jazz."

Homer V. Younger, Minister of Fairlawn Community Church in Akron, O., as printed in the Cuyahoga Falls News, discusses the search for Communists within the church, following a statement by Congressman Harold Velde, chairman of HUAC, that clergymen would be investigated to see what Communist influence there was among them, a statement which he had later retracted after a great amount of criticism had erupted against it.

The minister indicates that the churches, as with schools and educational institutions and the press, also under similar investigation, were in the best position to investigate their own house and ferret out any subversive influences. The Communist's beliefs were antithetical to the beliefs of the church, believing in the violent overthrow of any government which did not support Communism. He goes on to indicate some of the other beliefs of Communists which were inconsistent with the beliefs of the church. Another reason why the church was best suited to undertake the investigation, he opines, was its inherent belief in the separation of church and state, and that if investigations were pursued, religious liberty would be compromised.

The church, by its nature, was critical of any social order which compromised free expression of the development of human personality and the growth of fellowship. Occasionally, the church criticized American society, and such criticism could not be confused with subversive efforts.

He finds that the best answer to Communism, better than armed defense, was a frontal assault on the evils out of which Communism grew, frustration, hunger, loss of hope, social inequality, etc. He thinks that the best solution therefore was to get about trying to defeat the efforts of Communism, rather than compromising unity by Government investigation of subversive activity within the traditionally independent societal institutions.

Drew Pearson indicates that relations with longtime Allies in Europe, especially Britain and France, were at their lowest ebb in years, as evidenced by Prime Minister Churchill's desire for a Big Three conference with Russia's Premier Georgi Malenkov, contrary to the desires of President Eisenhower and Secretary of State Dulles, having asserted that no such meeting could take place until the Russians demonstrated by action their sincere desire communicated in their words regarding seeking peaceful solutions to the world's problems. The inter-Allied problem was further evidenced by the appointment of Admiral Arthur Radford to be chairman of the Joint Chiefs, signaling an Asia-first policy in the Administration, and finally by Secretary of Defense Charles E. Wilson's decision to undercut the low bid submitted by the British to produce generators for the Chief Joseph Dam, so as to cut the British out of the bidding process, even though by law, the Defense Department was obliged to accept the low bid. In addition, Chancellor of the Exchequer R. A. Butler had charged that the U.S. had forced England to curtail trade with China and satellite countries while simultaneously blocking British trade with the U.S., and that the Eisenhower policy of "trade-not-aid" was a sham. The British contended that if the Administration did not let down trade barriers, the Churchill Government stood ready to re-establish heavy trading with Communist China and the satellite countries.

This difficulty in relations had transpired with the Conservative Government in Britain, under the leadership of Winston Churchill, who had a strong relationship with the U.S. during the war, and while President Eisenhower was in the White House, who, as supreme commander of the Allied Forces during World War II, had become a hero to Britain and to Europe generally. Thus, the problem was all the more serious, and the President appeared unable to do anything about it for his desire to get along with Congress being uppermost on his agenda, some of his friends having said that he appeared hypnotized by that goal.

The appointment of Admiral Radford greatly rankled the British, but they were too diplomatic to talk about a domestic U.S. appointment. They recalled vividly, however, that the Admiral had advocated virtual war with China and had sold the President the phony bill of goods that Chiang Kai-shek's Formosan Army had the power to wage war with mainland China, if adequately backed up by U.S. air and naval power. The British were concerned that such action would lead to World War III, compromising their interests in the Far East. Admiral Radford's appointment revived the World War II argument between General MacArthur and General Eisenhower as to which theater of war, the Pacific or European, should have first priority. The Navy had generally sided with General MacArthur, while FDR and Prime Minister Churchill had sided with General Eisenhower, which became therefore the policy.

Now that President Eisenhower could call the shots, he appeared to be placing Asia ahead of Europe in priority, at a time when the U.S. lacked adequate munitions to spread itself over two continents at one time. He had allowed the China Lobby, the Admiral Radford wing of the Navy and the extreme Asia-first wing of the Republican Party to dictate foreign policy.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop indicate that the President's Tuesday night radio address on the budget and national defense had as its most interesting feature the fact that it was a new departure for the Administration, taking a leadership role, which previously had been ceded to Congress to the extent that many of the Republicans who were opposing the President's program had come to believe that they could run roughshod over the White House and grab the reins of leadership, themselves.

The Alsops cannot say exactly when the decision was firmly made by the Administration to take on the leadership mantle, which had been provided by the voters the previous November, but that members of his staff had challenged the policy of Maj. General Wilton Persons, the White House liaison with Congress, who had favored getting along with Congressional leaders at all costs. The evolution of the President during the previous four months since his inauguration had been catalyzed perhaps by a tremendous turnout of support in New York recently and by the reaction of the Congressional Republican leadership recently to his proposed 8.5 billion dollar budget cut, which Senator Taft found completely inadequate, proving to the President and his advisers that collaboration alone with Congressional leaders would not enable him to be the leader of the country.

They conclude that if the step were taken successfully, its significance would be very great, as the Administration would be purged of its worst weakness, the failure to realize its own power in the face of a great electoral mandate provided by the people. The President could now begin to lead rather than being led by Congressional Republicans, and in the immediate future, the members of Congress who were preparing to defy him on such issues as reciprocal trade agreement extension, foreign aid, and the budget, would find the going "very hard indeed".

Marquis Childs discusses the Federal Power Commission's regulation of the natural gas industry, which had been essentially deregulated after the bill proposed by Senator Robert Kerr of Oklahoma, a partner in Kerr-McGee, with considerable natural gas holdings, had been passed by Congress but vetoed by President Truman, who sent along a veto message denouncing its economic iniquities, by the fact that it would raise rates considerably on average consumers. Nevertheless, Mon Wallgren, a close friend of the President, had been named by him as chairman of the Federal Power Commission, even after the former Governor of Washington and Senator had been refused confirmation by the Senate as chairman of the National Security Resources Board, and Mr. Wallgren then joined with two other commissioners on the FPC to do essentially what the Kerr bill had attempted to do, determining that the Commission had no authority over the price of natural gas at the well-head, thus deregulating the consumer price of natural gas. Wisconsin had challenged the decision and the case was still pending in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal had recently predicted sharp new increases in natural gas prices. It was currently, in many cases, eight to ten cents per thousand cubic feet, compared to two to five cents in 1940, and was expected to go as high as 20 to 25 cents within a few years—as 145 million dollars of the sought 170 million dollars worth of increases in rates per year, from over 40 gas transmission companies covering virtually the whole country, had already gone into effect despite not having been ruled upon by the FPC, as applications for increases were allowed to become effective after five months from the time of application if no action had yet been taken by the Commission. When the price was also increased to the transmission company carrying the gas in the pipeline, the company had to pass on that increase to the consumer.

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