The Charlotte News

Tuesday, May 26, 1953


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Korea, U.S. Sabre jets had shot down 12 enemy MIG-15s and damaged one other this date, increasing the number of MIG kills during the month to 51, 12 below the single month record for the war, set the previous September. It was the largest single day bag since May 18, when 12 enemy jets had been destroyed, second highest bag for the war, the record having been set at 13 on July 4, 1952. In other air action, night-flying B-26 bombers had destroyed 90 enemy trucks, a locomotive, seven boxcars and a railroad bridge in predawn strikes. B-29s had hit a 130-acre troop and supply area north of Hamhung on the east coast, and had bombed smaller supply dumps in the same area.

Ground fighting dwindled to patrol clashes only.

A South Korean official said this date that many of his country's battle-tested generals had been invited to visit the U.S., apparently as part of a "hidden plan" to block threatened South Korean military action in the event of a truce which was unacceptable to South Korea. South Korean President Syngman Rhee had threatened to lead his troops to the Yalu River if the U.N. signed an armistice which left Korea divided. Foreign observers in Seoul suggested that the statement might have been inspired by South Korean Government officials who bitterly opposed any armistice which left Korea divided, did not provide for the withdrawal of Communist Chinese troops from North Korea or immediate release of all non-Communist prisoners held by the allies—the latter apparently in reference to the prisoners held by the allies who refused repatriation.

Senator Joseph McCarthy and the Administration appeared to have averted possible new friction regarding the Senator's efforts to force friendly Western nations to curb or eliminate trade with Communist China. The Senator had contended that the Pentagon and State Department orders had forbidden him from naming publicly British-owned ships which he claimed had been transporting troops for the Chinese Communists during the Korean War, as revealed in testimony by an assistant counsel for his Investigations subcommittee, Robert F. Kennedy, the prior Wednesday. The Senator said that he was sure they would obtain permission to name the ships and publish details of the refusal of U.S. allies to embargo shipments to the Communist Chinese of goods deemed by the State Department as strategic. The details of the rapprochement with the Administration remained hidden, including the extent of the role played by Vice-President Nixon in making peace with the Senator. The Vice-President, the Senator and other sources said that the Senator had sent a letter to the White House the prior Wednesday night or Thursday morning, after Mr. Kennedy's testimony, demanding that the President indicate publicly what he thought of the allies' refusal to join in the embargo of trade to Communist China but had ordered the letter stopped at the staff level in the White House, at least until the Senator could consult further with subcommittee members on the matter and obtain a declassification order regarding the names of the ships. He said that he now realized that it would be improper to ask the President for his views on the matter, that it would amount to asking him to testify before Congress.

Congressman Melvin Price of Illinois, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, this date said, in a speech prepared for the House, that the President's military budget was an invitation for an enemy attack, and called on Secretary of Defense Charles E. Wilson to give assurance to the American people that defense was the primary objective in cutting funds for air power. Senator Richard Russell of Georgia and Senator Burnet Maybank of South Carolina said in separate interviews that they would vote within the Appropriations Committee to reduce Mutual Security Agency funds for foreign aid while opposing a reduction in the Air Force budget.

The House passed and sent to the Senate a bill appropriating just short of two billion dollars for the Labor and the new Health, Education and Welfare Departments, after cutting ten million dollars from the President's request for hospital funds. Passage followed a last-minute defeat of a Democratic-led attempt to appropriate 75 million for Federal grants to states for community hospital construction, as had been requested by former President Truman in his last budget of the prior January, the roll-call vote winding up 203 against to 197. The House stuck by the recommendation of the Appropriations Committee for a 50 million dollar hospital grant fund instead of the 60 million requested by the President. Another roll-call vote boosted by six million dollars, that requested by President Eisenhower, the funds recommended by the Appropriations Committee for Federal payments to school districts whose populations had been increased by military and atomic energy activities, the Committee recommendation having been commensurate with that of President Truman's request.

House investigators this date turned up a second instance of reversal of a proposed tax ruling after former Secretary of Treasury John W. Snyder intervened in the matter, which had occurred in 1948, involving a complex stock transaction by the president of General Foods and others. Various specialists had ruled in latter 1948 that the proposed transaction could be undertaken without tax consequences, and after Mr. Snyder had consulted with the former chief counsel of the tax service in late December, advising a favorable ruling on the matter, Mr. Snyder approved, costing, according to the counsel for the House Ways & Means subcommittee investigating the matter, close to a million dollars in lost revenue. The chairman of the subcommittee, Congressman Robert Kean of New Jersey, said that he was convinced that Mr. Snyder had exerted "undue influence" in the case. Mr. Snyder, who, after leaving the Government at the end of the Truman Administration, had become vice-president in charge of finance for Willys-Overland Motors, issued a statement saying that he had served many years in government and had always served the public interest.

The State Department ordered this date the immediate departure of a Communist Rumanian diplomat, indicating that he tried to blackmail an American citizen of Rumanian descent into spying for the Rumanian Government. It said the incident had taken place on May 20 in New York and that the offer was to pay for the welfare of the man's two minor sons and restore them to their parents in the U.S. The man had reported the solicitation to the FBI and the State Department. The Department said it did not know why the man's two sons had not been allowed to come to the U.S. with their parents in 1946, when the Rumanian Government nationalized foreign oil interests in Rumania, including those of a subsidiary of Standard Oil of New Jersey, for which the man worked.

During April, according to the Civil Service Commission, the number of Federal employees was reduced by 21,700, to 2.5 million, most of the cutbacks having been among civilians employed by the armed services and in the economic stabilization agency and the economic controls bureau, presently going out of business. Part of the reduction was offset by a seasonal increase in Agriculture Department employees.

In Karachi, Pakistan, four persons were killed and two injured when a training plane crashed into a parked automobile outside the Karachi zoo, the dead including the pilot and three occupants of the automobile.

In Louisiana, the flood menace to the small town of Cameron was ended this date, after warnings two days earlier that the 2,000 residents might be victimized by water two to three feet deep from flooding of the Calcasieu River, which the previous week had beset Lake Charles with flooding, some 50 miles to the north.

In Raleigh, Governor William B. Umstead, in his first press conference since his inauguration on January 8, three days after which he had suffered a heart attack, said this date that he considered the State Board of Conservation and Development one of the most important in the state, as it had the overall responsibility of seeking to develop and improve everything in the state. Under an act passed by the 1953 General Assembly, all Board members would resign on June 30, enabling the Governor to appoint an entirely new Board if he desired. He said this date that he was not prepared to announce his appointments. He also said that he was attempting to take the motor vehicles commission out of politics by appointing former FBI agent Edward Scheidt as the new commissioner. He said that Mr. Scheidt would have a free hand to name his own State Highway Patrol commander.

In Charlotte, Dr. M. B. Bethel, the City Health officer, became the acting County Health officer this date, supervising the County Health Department on a month-to-month basis.

In New York, an elderly recluse died in a hotel where she had lived for 29 years. An holographic will was found in her room, directing that certain sums be paid to particular individuals, including a total of $33,700 to a chambermaid from Kilkenny, Ireland, who regularly had tidied up her room, receiving each week a tip of 50 cents. The maid had believed that the elderly woman was not well off, but now understood differently, and had quit her job after news of her windfall inheritance.

In Mevagissey, Cornwall, in England, Jim Hunkin fell out of his rowboat while fishing the previous day, and another Jim Hunkin, standing on a nearby dock, jumped in to save him, while a third Jim Hunkin came running with a life preserver, throwing it to the two men in the water, who shortly afterward got to shore safely. None of the three Hunkins were related. The question, of course, is which two of them were actually impostors and needed to tell the truth.

In London, a man was sent to jail for drunkenness for five days after informing the magistrate that he could not pay a ten-shilling fine, informing the defendant, however, that he would be released for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth. But would he shout out something obscene after shoving a 25-bob note up his nose?

On the editorial page, "For the Council, a Red Flag" indicates that apparently the department heads of the City Government had taken City Manager Henry Yancey's directions seriously when he told them to cut their budget requests to the bone, as, in contrast to previous years, the total was less than $300,000 greater than the current year's budget. There were no general salary increases included, and only a few selective readjustments, but it was no guarantee that the Council would be so conservative, as two years earlier, just after the municipal elections, the Council had handed out a half million dollars worth of pay boosts. It desires, therefore, to hoist the red flag against any major salary increase at present, as City salaries compared favorably with earnings of other public servants in cities of comparable size to Charlotte, and with compensation paid by private enterprise in the community. With no major reduction in Federal taxes on the horizon, local taxpayers, it offers, ought receive first consideration when the Council met to consider the City budget.

"Reversing the Rules of Arithmetic" indicates that until Secretary of Defense Charles E. Wilson testified during the week before Congress as to how he could obtain more air power from smaller appropriations, the nation could only puzzle over his strange arithmetic. The Washington Post had commented that the Secretary was attempting to prove "that two minus one equals three ", and found it difficult to reconcile his statement that Air Force numerical strength would be increased 30 percent despite a reduction of 5.1 billion dollars in new air appropriations and 2.4 billion in cash expenditures in the coming fiscal year. Similar questions had been raised in Congress, from both parties.

Republican Senator Margaret Chase Smith of Maine had, the previous week, sent to the Defense Department 66 questions in 32 categories regarding the cuts in the defense budget and had thus far not received answers.

Persons without access to Pentagon secrets were unable to form any valid opinion regarding the reduction in air strength, but aside from extravagant waste being cut, the major cuts to the Air Force could not help but produce curtailment of much-needed air strength. The program of the Truman Administration had aimed at having 143 air groups by the end of fiscal year 1955, while the new schedule would provide for only 110 to 114 air groups by the same date. The people had been confused by the continuing debate between proponents of all-out air power and those who wanted a force balanced between offensive and defensive capability.

It had been reported from Washington that the Joint Chiefs had been shown the planned cuts just 36 hours before the President announced them publicly, indicating that the cuts were tied more to the economy program than the potential danger from Soviet attack. It indicates that while it had no respect for the Truman Administration's defense planning which was based on a "target date" by which Soviet air capability and air defense capability would enable an air-atomic attack on the U.S., without adequate defense and retaliatory capability established in the meantime, common sense dictated a security plan which was based on the enemy's potential and to do less was "suicidal". If the Alsops' column of the previous day was correct, there had been a sharp change in White House policies between the present and a high-level meeting held on February 19, when a "grim" assessment of the state of defenses was imparted to Congressional leaders.

It concludes that Secretary Wilson would provide some of the answers when he appeared before the Senate Armed Forces Committee during the week, that there was a disposition on the part of the people to trust the President's judgment on air power based on his vast military experience, but if the Administration's case was to be made convincingly, the Secretary had to answer those questions more forthrightly and convincingly than during his last appearance before Congress.

"Engelhardt Survey Points the Way" indicates that in urging the County School Board some months earlier to retain the Engelhardt consulting firm, the newspaper had been confident that it would produce valuable dividends. The previous week, the Board had received a study of the County's long-range school requirements, and the Board was to meet this night to begin the new phases of its continuing construction program, with the list of 14 projects considered a first priority by the report, and a second list in the event additional money would become available from the State or from savings after construction of the first priority projects. The Engelhardt survey had made the Board's task much easier in determining the projects of first priority.

The report had also stated that because of the small number of students to be served, it was not feasible to support a separate system of high schools for black students in the county, and Dr. Engelhardt had suggested that city and county officials get together to permit black students to attend high school in the City schools. In 1942-43, there had been 205 black high school students in the 10th through 12th grades in the County system, and by 1948-49, that number had grown to 302, presently stood at 461, much too small to support a system of black high schools for the county. The proposed plan also envisioned eventual elimination of black elementary schools at Matthews, Rockwell, Paw Creek-Hoskins, and Woodland. The long-range plan called for six school centers for black students, providing both elementary and high school instruction, and if, in the meantime, black high school students were transferred to the City system, junior high school groups would be set up.

The piece concludes that the Engelhardt plan for the black schools should receive sympathetic consideration by the Board, as it offered the best way to provide equal facilities at a reasonable investment of public funds, satisfying both the requirements of the Federal courts and the county's obligation to its black citizens.

No, obviously, to anyone who could objectively understand and see the writing on the wall, the best, most progressive plan would be to educate the dimwitted and superstitious parents and students who continued to be proponents of segregation into full acceptance of what would soon be required in the schools, integration, an enriching program of full experience of the human race at work, at study and at play in the community, when approached from a perspective of goodwill and open-minded, liberal acceptance of others whose backgrounds might be somewhat, though not at all completely, different from one's own.

A piece from the Wall Street Journal, titled "The Stockholder's Voice", tells of a revolution in corporate stockholder meetings during the previous few years, after earlier meetings usually had been little more than a farce, with management of companies suppressing critics among their stockholders. But in the previous day's issue of the newspaper, there were accounts of two such meetings, one of which had been at American Air Lines, held in a hangar [misspellened or typanographied as "hanger"] at LaGuardia Field and attended by 1,800 persons, with the company's top executives discussing its affairs and plans over the course of several hours, with an exhibition of the types of planes flown by the company explained by experts. The other such meeting, of 400 stockholders of Sinclair Oil Co., had been held in the ballroom of a New York hotel, where the company president described the business and its prospects, after which, for more than an hour, management heard the outspoken critics of certain company policies, though in the end voting by an overwhelming margin to support management.

It was not to say that relations between stockholders and management were ideal. Many stockholders could not attend annual meetings in person and could respond to policy only through the company's proxy solicitation. But the legal requirements presently governing proxies and their use had caused distant stockholders to be able to become more articulate in expressing their opinions. The revolution in relations had been the result not only of a change in attitude by management but also from management's response to the legislation, some of them going much further than required by law in encouraging and facilitating stockholder participation in the direction of company affairs. It ends: "Long live this revolution!"

Was the hangar wood or wire?

Drew Pearson indicates that the President was becoming increasingly moody regarding the shortcomings of certain members of his Cabinet, increasingly taking a dim view of Secretary of State Dulles and Secretary of Defense Charles E. Wilson. Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson was still liked by the President but the latter had become aware that the farmers did not like him. Secretary of Labor Martin Durkin had made no real impression on the President, but was regarded as a necessary evil to appease labor and attempt to woo labor support away from Democrats. Secretary of Interior Douglas McKay had left the President alone for the most part and knew how to get things done without troubling the White House. Attorney General Herbert Brownell and Postmaster General Arthur Summerfield ranked high in the President's estimate, just behind Secretary of Treasury George Humphrey.

The President was concerned about the health of his Congressional liaison, General Wilton Persons, who had advocated compromise with the President's enemies in Congress, a policy which thus far had shown signs of failure.

The President had also lost enthusiasm for former Governor Sherman Adams of New Hampshire, his chief of staff. Mr. Adams was considering running for the seat of Senator Styles Bridges in the 1954 election, and might leave the White House in that event.

The President wanted more people around him with a global view, including a chief of staff with more international experience.

The Communists were dumping potash in the U.S. at cut-right prices, in an attempt, according to American producers, to close down domestic potash mines for the purpose of producing a shortage when it would be needed in an emergency. Potash was high on the list of strategic materials, because farmers used it for fertilizer. Mr. Pearson had been able to trace the flow of Communist potash back to an East Berlin firm run by a German front man but controlled by the Russians. Three U.S. firms had been quietly doing business with the East Berlin firm and peddling the Communist potash on the American market at lower than market prices. A spokesman for one of the U.S. firms had told Mr. Pearson that he not only received the permission of the State Department for the trade but had been encouraged to keep the trade open behind the Iron Curtain, claiming to have been bartering third-rate tobacco for the potash and that it would be unpatriotic not to transact such a favorable deal. He also said that the Government had bought 40,000 tons of Communist potash from his company and shipped it to Formosa to help the farmers there. Mr. Pearson notes that dozens of private fertilizer plants had refused to buy the cheaper East German potash and were paying as much as $10 per ton more to U.S. producers, meaning that the Government was buying Communist potash which many American firms had refused.

Former Governor William Tuck of Virginia, presently a member of Congress, would not sit on the House Labor Committee, as was well known, but he provides the inside story as to why. After opposition by several Democrats and by the AFL for his ties to big business and anti-labor record, despite former Speaker Sam Rayburn being for him, Congressman Tuck took a less desirable assignment on the Post Office & Civil Service Committee, where he was expected to perform conscientiously.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop tell of Dr. Robert L. Johnson being in charge of the Voice of America at present. He had been an advertising man who became an educator, and described public service as a "kind of a hobby". He was angry at present regarding the President's Commission on Psychological Warfare having recommended fragmentation of the Voice. The Alsops had recently called on him, but found him far too fascinating as a person to get too much from him regarding his opinions of the fragmentation. He had two lieutenants, who played much the same roles in the conversation as the "first and second phonographs in Jean Cocteau's Dada drama, 'The Marriage Party on the Eiffel Tower.'" He said that he had always been interested in government and knew most of the people who had been in government, such as "Tom McCloy", whose name was quickly corrected by one of his lieutenants as John McCloy, adding quickly that he had not actually consulted with Mr. McCloy but had a very good idea that he wanted Dr. Johnson to take over the Voice, and the doctor had been urged by one of the journalists close to Senator McCarthy to do so.

When asked what his training had been to qualify him as director of the Voice, his lieutenants brought out several of his biographies in formats ranging from mimeographed releases to a costly illustrated brochure, as he explained that he had served for 17 years as advertising director of Time-Life enterprises and had become persuaded by former Pennsylvania Governor George Earle to become that state's relief director. He had become president of Temple University, bringing about new buildings and endowments. All along, he had been interested in politics, at one point supporting Wendell Willkie and later General Eisenhower, though he also liked Senator Taft in 1952.

He believed that as director of the Voice, he had three principal goals, to stir up the people behind the Iron Curtain, to separate some of the satellite countries by means of stimulating revolution and joining the West, and to maintain the free countries as free. One of his lieutenants quickly interjected that there always seemed to be some question about Government policy regarding encouraging revolutions abroad, to which Dr. Johnson agreed that Government policy would have to direct his efforts, adding that unless the entire U.S. Information Service were left intact in his hands, he would hardly be able to accomplish anything. One of his lieutenants produced a statement by Senator McCarthy which had strongly condemned the fragmentation as a plot of former Secretary of State Dean Acheson, with the doctor explaining that the Senator believed the program to be vital and had helped him a lot.

The Congressional Quarterly tells of a battle for control of Congress being planned for 1954 by both parties. The President and other Republican leaders had said that the Republicans needed to control Congress during the latter two years of the President's term to finish the job they were starting, but the Democrats were planning to try to recapture both houses—as they would be successful in doing.

Republicans had informed the Quarterly that they not only intended to fight off the Democratic effort but were hopeful of actually increasing their narrow margins of control in each chamber, a control by only one seat in the Senate, with one independent, Senator Wayne Morse, formerly a Republican, who would subsequently switch to the Democratic Party, and control of the House by only three seats, albeit, including an independent and four vacancies, three of which were in the solidly Democratic districts, with a ten-seat margin over the Democrats.

Since 1930, with one exceptional election, the minority party had picked up an average of about 50 seats in each midterm election. In the 1952 election, four districts in Virginia and North Carolina had gone Republican, and if the Democrats were to win those seats back and hold the rest of their seats, including the three vacant seats in Democratic territory, they would regain control of the House. The Democrats were hoping to win 25 to 30 seats controlled by Republicans who had come to office on the strength of the popularity of General Eisenhower, and would not have those coattails to ride in the midterm elections. Many Democrats, along with some Republicans, believed that the 1952 election results represented a personal triumph for the President rather than for the party. The President, however, was very popular, according to recent polls, and if that popularity continued, it would likely aid the Republicans in the midterms. In some sections of the country, Republican strength had also been increasing gradually in recent years.

Republicans anticipated increasing their Senate control, as Democrats were more vulnerable to attack in that chamber because 21 of the 33 seats to be determined in 1954 were held by Democrats. The Democrats admitted that they had an uphill battle to regain control of the Senate but believed that the issues were on their side and intended to exploit them. They had dubbed the 83rd Congress the "give-away" Congress, just as former President Truman in 1948 had called the Republican-controlled 80th Congress the "do-nothing" Congress.

The Democrats were going to stress the controversial tidelands oil bill, returning to the states title of the Federally controlled submerged coastal oil lands out to the states' historic boundaries. They would also criticize the Administration policy on public power versus private utilities, the reduction in the synthetic liquid fuels program, farm policies, particularly price supports and grain storage, the "hard-money" program of the Treasury Department, resulting in an increase in interest rates, the cutback in social services and defense spending, particularly on air power, the proliferation of men from big business in the Administration, political payoffs in granting Federal jobs, and civil rights.

The Republicans were hoping for peace in Korea, followed by a tax reduction and a balanced budget before the elections in 1954, believing that if they could fulfill their campaign pledges regarding those three issues, the Republicans might increase their hold on the House by as many as 60 seats.

Robert C. Ruark indicates that he had observed reports regarding Albert Kesselring, the former German Field Marshal who had not done very well at defending Italy against democracy, and regarding Field Marshal Erich Von Mannstein, who had just obtained a permanent parole after his war crimes conviction and resulting sentence of 18 years for the mass killing of Jews, Russians, and hostages. Both men had been convicted of war crimes but were now beginning to be received in Germany as heroes, with Herr Von Mannstein having just been greeted joyously by 2,000 villagers and was a hero in his own home town, while Herr Kesselring, out of jail for seven months, had just been made chief of Germany's largest veterans association. The latter had said: "Freedom is still threatened. To ward off this danger the Western world must become united." He said that to ensure German cooperation, the West ought release the remaining German war criminals.

Mr. Ruark finds such operatic heroism "sour", that he still could remember the atrocities committed by the Germans and would not trust one as far as he could throw him. After World War I, the Allies had forgiven German corporals, air force officers and generals, with the result that Hitler and Goering later gained swift reception by the German people, Hitler having been a corporal and Goering, a dope-addicted former member of Baron Von Richtofen's Flying Circus. The present situation appeared very close to what had occurred at that earlier time.

He agrees that the Western world had to be united, but not as Kesselring and Von Mannstein would want it. "To me a Kraut is still a kraut and if you will check this sentiment in England, France and Alsace-Lorraine, you will find it echoed."

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