The Charlotte News

Monday, May 25, 1953


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports, via Forrest Edwards, that South Korean infantrymen had fought off a three-hour attack early this date by nearly 200 Chinese Communists who had stormed to the crest of an allied outpost on the eastern front, killing about 60 of the enemy. Other allied troops repulsed a dozen smaller Communist probes, while U.N. raiding and reconnaissance patrols struck enemy lines at 25 points across the front.

An Eighth Army spokesman said that the enemy line was manned by 263,000 troops, that intelligence reports indicated that there were slightly more than a million enemy troops spread over North Korea, among seven Chinese armies and two North Korean corps.

In the air war, allied fighter-bombers hit two supply and troop concentrations in northwest Korea and bombed scattered targets on the west coast and along frontline positions. U.S. Sabre jets encountered no enemy MIG-15s this date in "MIG Alley" over northwest Korea.

At Panmunjom, the truce talks continued this date, following a six-day recess requested by the allies, and then recessed again, apparently because top-level decisions on the prisoner exchange issue were still needed. It was believed that the allies would concede the point contained in their latest proposal, to which the Communists had objected, that without a truce soon arranging for the prisoners who resisted repatriation, the North Korean troops who refused repatriation would be released in South Korea. Washington sources indicated that a new approach would be offered regarding the repatriation issue, the last major barrier to a truce. General Mark Clark, U.N. Far East commander, met with South Korean President Syngman Rhee in Seoul for two hours this date, but there was no indication of what had transpired. Likewise, there was no indication of what had occurred during the truce session.

The battleship U.S.S. New Jersey, off Chinnampo in Korea, stopped shelling Communist gun positions for a bit while two British ships passed, observing naval courtesy by saluting the British ships, then resumed its shelling.

The President and Republican Congressional leaders agreed this date to back legislation for a loan of a million tons of wheat to Pakistan, as related by House Speaker Joseph Martin following the regular Monday conference with the President. Mr. Martin stated that the need in Pakistan for the wheat was desperate. It was also agreed that the Senate would take up on Wednesday the President's plan for reorganization of the Agriculture Department, a plan which Mr. Martin believed would receive approval. There had also been some incidental discussion of the Big Three conference in Bermuda with the heads of Britain and France. Mr. Martin said that Congressional leaders were still seeking to adjourn Congress by July 31, but realized there were several major bills ahead for consideration.

Senator Eugene Millikin of Colorado, chairman of the conference of Republican Senators, dared Democrats to make a political issue of the proposed budgetary cuts to the Air Force, stating that he believed the country would back the President's military judgment on whether the five billion dollars in cuts and reduction of the 143-group goal by mid-1955 to 120 groups would compromise air strength.

The previous day, Senate Minority Leader Lyndon Johnson stated, in a Texas radio broadcast, that he saw nothing in the world situation which justified a slowdown or stretchout of the preparedness program, stating specifically that he did not believe a major cut in air strength could be justified. Senators Lester Hunt of Wyoming, Henry Jackson of Washington and Spessard Holland of Florida backed up Senator Johnson's remarks. Republican Senator Milton Young of North Dakota appeared ready to join the group protesting the cuts. Senators Margaret Chase Smith and Edward Thye had stated that they wanted clearer data about the Air Force before indicating their positions.

At the Yucca Flat Proving Ground in Nevada, the Army during the morning fired the first atomic shell from a huge cannon, bursting six miles away with a large flash over a simulated enemy target, forming the customary cloud, albeit S-shaped rather than in a true mushroom form, visible in Las Vegas, 75 miles distant, but apparently not producing the usual shock wave accompanying other atomic blasts. Secretary of Defense Charles E. Wilson, chairman-designate of the Joint Chiefs Admiral Arthur Radford, current Army chief of staff General J. Lawton Collins, and member of the Atomic Energy Commission, Thomas Murray, were all present to witness the shot. A scheduled flight of Air Force drone planes to penetrate the atomic cloud was canceled because of surface winds at nearby Indian Springs Air Force Base, which would have made unmanned takeoffs hazardous.

The Supreme Court this date refused, for the third time, to grant a hearing to condemned atomic spies Ethel and Julius Rosenberg and ordered that the stay of execution previously granted be vacated. The President had rejected their clemency pleas the previous February. Justice Department sources indicated that the couple might still be able to save themselves from execution by providing information to Federal prosecutors. The Court would once again visit the issue in June, shortly before the rescheduled execution date.

The Court also held this date, in a 5 to 4 decision, Times-Picayune v. U.S., that the New Orleans Times-Picayune Publishing Co. did not violate the Sherman Anti-Trust Act by its advertising sales policy. A suit had been brought during the Truman Administration, charging the company with the violation by requiring classified and national advertisers to purchase space in both its morning and afternoon newspapers, the Justice Department contending that it was a forced rate method which was unfair to the New Orleans Item, a competing afternoon newspaper. The majority opinion was announced by Justice Tom Clark, the decision limiting itself, however, to the peculiar circumstances of that specific case, expressly not determining that unit advertising arrangements were necessarily lawful under other circumstances. Justice Harold Burton wrote a dissent, joined by Justices Hugo Black, William O. Douglas and Sherman Minton.

In Tokyo, 20 Japanese women waving Communist banners this date roughed up Eleanor Roosevelt, visiting downtown Tokyo, after she refused to grant them an interview. Mrs. Roosevelt was rescued by Japanese guards and was uninjured. She was not immediately available for comment. Currently, she was touring Japan to try to obtain better insight regarding the country and its rebuilding effort, part of a world tour. The group of women was led by an American-born wife of a Japanese union leader. After the incident, Mrs. Roosevelt continued on to a scheduled afternoon meeting with prominent Japanese women at a downtown Tokyo restaurant, where she made a speech.

In Syracuse, N.Y., three pickets and a deputy sheriff were injured when 670 white-collar workers crossed picket lines maintained by 500 to 1,000 pickets at two strike-bound G.E. plants, and four members of the International Union of Electrical Workers were held for questioning in the incident. G.E. had invited its 4,000 salaried employees to return to work despite the strike, which had been ongoing for seven weeks by 7,000 G.E. production workers represented by the I.U.E.

The previous day, the first break in the strike which had paralyzed a large segment of the auto industry had occurred when a UAW local in Detroit ended a walkout at the Budd Co., caused by a jurisdictional dispute between its units. The UAW international had called off the walkout, expected to enable 44,000 Chrysler workers to return to work, but another strike at the Ford forging plant in Canton, O., had kept 85,000 workers idle, while yet another strike at the Warner Gear Co. in Muncie, Ind., had affected production at Studebaker, Willys, Nash and some G.M. plants.

In Newark, N.J., 6,000 brewery workers remained off the job while their board met to map strategy in its dispute with six breweries over retroactive wages.

In St. Louis, the building industry, nearly paralyzed by a strike of truck drivers, encountered another problem when 500 iron workers struck for a 25-cent per hour wage increase.

In southwest Louisiana, 40 miles south of Lake Charles, three flooding rivers threatened Cameron, a town of 2,000, and nearby oil wells, each protected by small levees, as Lake Charles, itself, continued to battle floodwaters from the receding Calcasieu River, which had left 15,000 homeless and 15 million dollars worth of damage. The vice-president of one oil drilling and production firm stated that even if the 25 oil wells near Cameron were flooded, they could be shut off easily and would probably suffer little damage.

Harry Shuford of The News tells of Charlotte's anti-noise ordinances having been invoked in City Recorder's Court during the morning this date, to force the operator of a new skating rink on Central Avenue either to close or muffle the sounds emanating from his tent structure. The owner of the business had been cited to court after numerous complaints from neighbors nearby the rink, ten of whom testified in the proceeding, stating that during weekends, the amplifying system produced such a blaring sound of monotonous music, mingled with the roar of the skates on the wooden flooring, and the shouts of the skaters, that it became nerve-racking, that the noise could be heard from a distance of at least 400 feet, disturbing the whole neighborhood. The business owner indicated that he had received a permit from the City Manager to operate the business on the property, which was zoned for industry. The Solicitor, however, stated that the business owner had failed to secure a permit to use the loudspeakers, falling under a different ordinance, and that, as the business owner had admitted, the permit had been conditioned on the rink not disturbing the neighborhood. The judge ruled that the business owner was in violation of the ordinance, but withheld judgment until the following Wednesday to provide the owner time to correct the nuisance.

A caption accompanying a photograph of an 18-year old male patient in a hospital in Atlanta indicates that he had been bitten by the severed front portion of an eight-foot long copperhead moccasin, after he and his father had chopped the snake in two a few inches behind its head, the son then attempting to pick up the snake, thinking it dead. Never give a dead snake an even break.

On the editorial page, "Trimming the Fat from the Pork" indicates that the annual rivers & harbors measure was usually the bill most abundantly possessed of fat, and also the most jealously protected by members of Congress seeking to provide such fat for their individual districts, while other members without such projects in their districts sought to swap votes in return for support for legislation in which their constituents were more interested.

Two years earlier, the Budget Bureau of the Truman Administration had sharply curtailed its request for new appropriations for the purpose, but the House had appropriated more money than was requested and the Senate had added even more, until the amount had been doubled to 1.6 billion dollars.

It concludes that it would be interesting, as a revealing test of the move toward economy, to see what would finally happen to the bill in both houses of Congress, finding that if the traditional increases by both houses followed, the new Administration's effort to cut domestic spending would be undermined.

"The Case of Mildred McAfee Horton" tells of the New York Times having editorialized that the case of Ms. Horton, who had for 13 years been president of Wellesley College and was wartime commander of the Navy Waves, was a case of shame for everyone. She had been asked by the State Department to be the U.S. representative to the U.N. Economic and Social Commission session during May, and as the date for beginning the session approached, having heard nothing further in response, contacted a member of the RNC, who informed her that the FBI, swamped with work, had been unable to process her papers in time for the May session, a claim which the FBI subsequently denied, indicating it had provided the State Department with its evaluation in mid-April. Subsequently, the State Department informed Ms. Horton that the matter was being dropped to avoid embarrassment to her and the Department. Ms. Horton still did not know why she had been turned down for the appointment and the State Department was not making any statements. The refusal apparently was premised on her membership, as reported by Marquis Childs in his column the previous week, in the National Council of Churches, prompting a small hate group to forward to HUAC a list of her organizational memberships, stressing the Council membership.

The piece indicates that the State Department had to be extremely cautious in screening new employees, but it was not clear why someone of Ms. Horton's standing and record should be refused such an appointment and why, at minimum, she should not have it explained.

The Times had said that it would probably not be the last time that a person was the "victim of the ignorance, the fright and the stupidity that threatened to make the appointive procedures of our Government ludicrous in the eyes of the American people and of the world." The piece concludes that loyalty and patriotism were no longer qualifications for Government employment, but that one also had to be "safe" in the most narrow and restricted sense of the word.

"The Troubles of Mr. Troyer" indicates that A. F. Troyer, deputy director of the grain branch of the Production and Marketing Agency, was troubled in the current days of agricultural plenty, unable to find adequate storage space for the grain which the Commodity Credit Corporation was accumulating under the price support program. The Washington Post had outlined his woes, indicating that by the end of the year, the CCC was expected to have on hand six billion dollars worth of U.S. crops. Storage space had become so scarce that the CCC was loading millions of bushels of wheat onto old Liberty Ships, left over from World War II, maintained in the Hudson River, and had contracted for other empty cargo vessels for the purpose. By the beginning of the coming fiscal year, the carryover of old wheat would be an estimated 575 million bushels, of which the CCC owned 470 million, and by October 1, the carryover of old corn would total 800 million bushels, of which the CCC owned 600 million.

Usually, a large portion of the corn supply was fed to hogs, but the previous year, many farmers in the country believed that corn, at a support price of $2.42 per bushel, 62 cents above the world price, was too expensive to feed to their hogs. So they butchered their stock and allowed the Government to take the excess corn, while they, according to the Post, enjoyed Florida sunshine.

The Government was also accumulating large quantities of butter and cheese, both of which were priced at levels which were unrealistic vis-à-vis demand.

The President had promised during the campaign the previous fall that his farm program would protect the basic security of the farmer without encouraging uneconomic over-production, but thus far, he had been distracted by other, more important issues, though he could not delay addressing the farm glut much longer, as it appeared to be developing into one of the greatest public scandals in the country's history.

A piece from the Dothan (Ala.) Eagle, titled "Passing of the Chinquapin", indicates that the average youngster would not know a chinquapin if he saw one, though at one time the dwarf chestnut had abounded and hunting it had become a sport in autumn, until a few decades earlier, the chestnut blight had caused the chinquapin to begin to disappear, until now it was gone. It concludes, however, that it was not an unmixed blessing, as it was always hard to spell.

Drew Pearson indicates that the President had decided on the Big Three meeting with Britain and France in Bermuda in June, for the purpose of once again coalescing the disjointed policies of the Allies. He believed that something had to be done to heal the rift between the British, French and Americans, after reading Senator Joseph McCarthy's speech which had attacked former Prime Minister and opposition leader Clement Attlee for his statements in Commons that he believed some Americans were not earnest in their desires for peace in Korea or generally. The President had immediately undertaken to consult with his advisers and exchanged secret messages with Prime Minister Churchill. In one such message, Mr. Churchill had suggested that he and the President meet privately without the French, a message which leaked, upsetting the French, causing the British to deny that the conversation took place, making the French even more upset. The State Department insisted all along that the French had to participate in the conference.

The President believed that a Big Three meeting was of overriding importance to heal the Allied wounds, and that if a Big Four meeting was in prospect with the Russians, without that unity among the Allies, they would be able to take advantage of the disunity. The President was still not convinced that a productive conference could be held with new Premier Georgi Malenkov, though Prime Minister Churchill was a strong advocate of it, having twice talked secretly with Soviet Ambassador in London, Jakob Malik. Foreign Minister Anthony Eden, who had been ill, had been trying to discourage Mr. Churchill from undertaking such unilateral diplomacy, but to no avail. Mr. Eden believed that any unilateral talk with Premier Malenkov would get nowhere, mislead the world, and antagonize both the President and Secretary of State Dulles. Nevertheless, Mr. Churchill had told Mr. Malik that he was sure that the President would meet with Mr. Malenkov, provided Russia made some definite move to show good faith toward easing the cold war. Mr. Malik had been friendly and promised to communicate the Prime Minister's ideas to the Kremlin. After Mr. Churchill's speech in Commons, Mr. Malik contacted him and told him that it had been favorably received in Moscow and that Russia would soon demonstrate by its deeds that it was interested in a new understanding with the West.

Meanwhile, U.S. Ambassador to Moscow, Charles Bohlen, had cabled the State Department that the Russians might surprise the world and accept Allied terms for an Austrian peace treaty, which would include removal of all foreign forces. Secretary Dulles had stated that such a move would be a demonstration of Russian good faith. But State Department officials remained skeptical of the message sent by Ambassador Bohlen.

Mutual Security Agency head Harold Stassen had received warnings about the new U.S. high-tariff attitude and its adverse effect on trade between the country's allies and the Iron Curtain countries. Understanding that the Western allies were upset over the Republican trend toward tariff increases, Russia had sent some of its most charming and persuasive purchasing agents to Western Europe to attract trade away from the U.S. by offering oil, tungsten and chrome in exchange for coffee, cocoa and copra. India had offered to withdraw from the international wheat agreement, under which it was promised from the U.S. surplus wheat to alleviate its hunger problem, provided that Russia would guarantee to ship a million bushels of wheat to India each year during the ensuing five years. Secretary of Defense Wilson had refused the low British bid on an electrical generator for the Chief Joseph Dam, contrary to U.S. law, causing particular bitterness in Britain and more of a tendency to trade with the Iron Curtain countries. The allies generally were suggesting that the enunciated State Department policy of "trade not aid" had to be a two-way street.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop tell of the President's committee to investigate psychological warfare having had its difficulties, including the initial intention of Secretary of Defense Charles E. Wilson to have Arthur Godfrey become one of its members. The body was known colloquially in Washington as the "Triple-Jackson Committee", for the fact that its chairman was William Jackson, formerly a high official in the CIA, its chief White House member was C. D. Jackson, and its secretary was Washington lawyer Wayne Jackson. But not even the three Jacksons had invariably agreed among themselves. Yet, the final result would be significant and salutary, the recommendations marking a major forward step in the thinking of the Administration.

When the Administration first came into office, there was a headiness in its thinking, that it could do something which it could not, with many within the Administration believing that cold war victories could be achieved simply through psychological warfare, with no risk of life and only a small expenditure of money. The President, himself, had become almost convinced of those beliefs. The triple-Jackson committee had been named to try to find out, not so much whether those inexpensive victories were actually within the country's grasp, but rather how to grasp them. Now, that committee had determined to tell the President that psychological warfare, in the sense in which it had been originally conceived, was neither feasible, fruitful, nor sensible. It did not mean that there was no credit to psychological warfare, as the President had been waging one in his recent peace speech, indicating that he was willing to sit down with Soviet leadership, provided that there were deeds attached to the words of their peace initiative, including the unity of Germany, free elections therein, a final treaty with Austria, resolution of the Korean War, and withdrawal of aggressive forces all over the world, including within the satellite nations, Korea and Indo-China.

Hitler had waged a different kind of psychological warfare, which, the Alsops posit, the Kremlin might soon imitate, involving the display of power by the Luftwaffe and Wehrmacht. The CIA waged yet another kind of psychological warfare within its clandestine branch. The triple-Jackson committee had discovered that propaganda not sustained by power was meaningless, that no nation would be beguiled by talk of "the American way", forgetting in the process the Red Army and Air Force. They also found that the people within the satellite nations could not be encouraged to "liberate" themselves without risk to the U.S. There had been a time when Czechoslovakia's late President Klement Gottwald might have imitated Marshal Tito in Yugoslavia had the U.S. been willing to ensure the Czechs protection against invasion by the Soviets, but as no such assurance had been forthcoming, it never materialized. "False encouragement of liberation movements can only lead to tragedies like the Polish [up]rising in Warsaw in 1944."

Marquis Childs indicates that the Administration was caught in a crossfire in its efforts to reach agreement on terms of truce in Korea, torn between three competing forces: the U.N. allies with troops in Korea and their criticism of the five-point proposal put forth by American negotiators, forcing the six-day recess in the truce talks in an effort to reach agreement on a new approach; the South Korean Government and particularly President Syngman Rhee, who had sworn to fight on alone if the armistice did not result in a unified Korea; and third, the Republicans in Congress who believed equally strongly that a settlement had to include a unified Korea. Senator William Knowland of California appeared distrustful of any Korean peace for its prospect of potentially including a broader settlement in Asia, which might also include admission of Communist China to the U.N. Even the President's suggestion that the latter might be considered had created deep suspicion among many Republicans and some Democrats.

The criticism by the U.N. allies was primarily concerned with the proposal that all North Korean prisoners not wishing repatriation would be immediately released in South Korea unless a truce were soon accomplished through an agreement on the repatriation issue, holding up the truce for more than the previous year. Canada, Britain and India had indicated that the position was contrary to the resolution reached in the U.N. the previous December, as sponsored by India, whereby the fate of the prisoners refusing repatriation would be settled finally by a political conference to be held within 90 days of the armistice. The American proposal had been a concession to President Rhee, who, as a fierce patriot, had ignored pleas to accept a temporary compromise.

Rough estimates in recent months of the cost of rehabilitation of Korea were placed at a billion dollars, most of which would have to come from the U.S, and it was hard to imagine that an economy-minded Congress, already facing deficit spending, would vote another such amount for that purpose. Yet, President Rhee appeared determined to fight on for a unified Korea, rehabilitated with American help after the fighting would finally end, inevitably involving in the meantime a lot more destruction and loss of life to accomplish. And those in Congress supporting that unity tacitly gave President Rhee support, suggesting to the White House that a soft armistice would not be acceptable.

That latter view was in part driven by the belief that the new Joint Chiefs, who would take their positions beginning in August, would fulfill their promise that Senate Majority Leader Taft could review policy with Admiral Radford, the new chairman, and the other Chiefs, the chairman being on record as favoring aggressive moves against Communist China, including a blockade of the mainland, which settlement in Korea might preclude.

There was also a fourth element asserting itself on the Administration, public opinion, with expectations raised by the campaign promises of ending the war, as well as cutting taxes and sustaining prosperity without the large defense budget. Mr. Childs quotes from a woman who had written a letter from Youngstown, O., asking how Mr. Childs thought millions of women felt who had voted for the President because he had said he would stop the war and bring the boys home, that they would not fall for that one again and would vote against the Republicans in the next election. He allows that it was perhaps just one unhappy mother repeating "the unreasoning cry of 'Bring the boys home.'" Or, she might be reflecting a growing sentiment based on memories of the campaign promises, always simplified by repetition. But public opinion could not be wholly ignored as the policymakers sought to achieve a truce.

Robert C. Ruark finds that William Oatis, recently released Associated Press correspondent from a Czechoslovakian prison after two years served of a ten-year sentence for allegedly engaging in espionage on behalf of the U.S., had been giving unsatisfactory statements to the press, sounding nearly as an apologist for the Communists running Czechoslovakia, likely the result of having been told to make such statements until the truer version could finally come forth. There was also the chance that his captors had tortured him to the point of brainwashing. Or, he might have been told by the State Department or a security agency to keep things quiet. Another possibility was that he wanted to sell his memoirs.

He thinks that the story of Mr. Oatis had not received just evaluation, that the U.S. had not done enough to obtain his release earlier, leaving it to the President of Czechoslovakia finally to release him, primarily based on the pleas of Mrs. Oatis. Mr. Ruark thinks that there should have been some kind of armed reprisal against Czechoslovakia to effect the release. If he had been, in fact, a spy, he would have taken his licking as spies always did, with the Government silent and the spy also silent, and if he had not been a spy, then national integrity had been violated and either armed reprisal should have been undertaken or someone imprisoned by the U.S. in response. Instead, the Government had left him in Czechoslovakia to rot until it suited the Communists' purposes to release him.

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