The Charlotte News

Wednesday, May 27, 1953


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that U.N. bombers in Korea had hit vital enemy targets this date, without interference from a battered enemy Air Force which refused to engage in battle. Scores of allied fighter-bombers hit enemy communications across North Korea.

The battleship U.S.S. New Jersey hit Wonsan this date, in a surprise attack, destroying four of the city's coastal guns and damaging two others.

For the second day in a row, ground action was limited to patrol activity.

In Panmunjom, Communist liaison officers charged that two armed South Koreans disguised as Communist soldiers had been picked up inside the neutral zone of Panmunjom early this date, and had been engaged in sabotage, but did not elaborate. They said both soldiers were armed with Russian-type submachine guns. They lodged a protest and the allied liaison officers said that the U.N. Command would conduct its own investigation. The U.N. officials said that the truce negotiations, in recess until the following Monday, were not mentioned by the Communist officers.

The President had indicated the previous night in a released statement that there was new stress on American and allied support of U.N. principles in the Korean truce talks, while Senator Taft, at about the same time, in a speech read for him by his son in Cincinnati at a dinner in honor of the Senator, said that the country might as well forget the U.N. as far as the Korean War was concerned. White House press secretary James Hagerty declined to elaborate on the President's statement or on the remarks of Senator Taft, who was in the hospital for a checkup in Cincinnati. (As indicated, the Senator would shortly be diagnosed with cancer, from which he would die at the end of July.) The President stressed the issue of forced repatriation of prisoners and said there would be no abandonment of the principle that no prisoner would be driven home against his will. Senator Taft's statement did not mention that issue, only saying that he believed the country should do its best to negotiate the truce and that if it failed, it should apprise all of the other allies that the U.S. was withdrawing from further peace negotiations in Korea.

Republican leaders had determined to seek new help from the President in their battle with Democrats in Congress opposing the 5.1 billion dollar cut to the Air Force budget for the ensuing fiscal year. The decision occurred after Secretary of Defense Charles E. Wilson had reportedly been criticized by Senator Margaret Chase Smith and other Republicans at a Senate Republican Policy Committee meeting the previous day. She complained that her series of questions regarding the cut to the Air Force budget had thus far not been answered and that the Secretary had "brushed off" Senators. House Democratic deputy floor leader Representative John McCormack of Massachusetts refused to say whether there would be a concerted Democratic attack on the budget cuts to the Air Force, but said that a continuing series of Democratic floor speeches against it laid the groundwork.

Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin announced this date that he was departing Washington the following day on a ten-day mission on behalf of the Senate Investigations subcommittee of which he was chairman. He declined to say where he was going or what he might investigate. Senator Karl Mundt of South Dakota would be acting chairman in his absence, and, according to Senator McCarthy, would have full authority to conduct a hearing and take testimony regarding the allegations of British ships carrying strategic materials to Communist China, should the Navy declassify the names of those vessels. Those allegations had been related in testimony the prior Wednesday by assistant counsel to the subcommittee, Robert F. Kennedy.

The previous day, Senator McCarthy had called before the subcommittee Pulitzer Prize winning composer Aaron Copland, who testified that he had never been and was not presently a Communist, and was opposed to the limitations placed on freedom by the Soviet Union. He said that he had permitted his name to be used by some organizations without any knowledge or intention of supporting Communist or Communist-front organizations. Senator McCarthy had said that Mr. Copland would be granted a week "to refresh his recollection" concerning possible membership in certain organizations before being asked to testify again. The Senator said that the composer's lecture tour in 1947 in South America as a cultural representative of the State Department brought him within the purview of the subcommittee's investigative powers.

In Paris, the Rotary International convention this date elected Joaquin Serratosa Cibils of Montevideo, Uruguay, as its new president and approved Seattle as the locus of the ensuing year's convention. The 1953 convention was attended by more than 9,000 delegates, who voted a $900,000 appropriation for the following three years to continue a program of scholarships to outstanding college graduates. Americans elected as directors included Lt. Governor and future Governor Luther Hodges of North Carolina.

In Charlotte, as reported by Dick Young of The News, the new City Council agreed this date to withdraw all municipal funds for operation of the Industrial Home, to abolish the Property Revaluation Board as such, and to recommend the appointment of Vaughn Hawkins as assistant tax supervisor in charge of revaluation.

Charlotte and York, S.C., 32 miles apart, had been declared winners of the Grand Awards, in competition with 1,427 states and cities in the 14th National Pedestrian Protection Contest sponsored by the American Automobile Association, as both cities, according to officials of the contest, had excellent records in pedestrian safety during the prior year, with Charlotte tying with Rochester, N.Y., for the Grand Award among cities with greater than 100,000 population, while York won the same award for cities of less than 100,000. Connecticut won the award among the states. In 1950 and 1951, 12 pedestrians had been killed in Charlotte each year, but only two had been killed in 1952. In 1951, the city registered 26 persons killed in traffic accidents, with half that number of fatalities in 1952. The drop was attributed to a tough City Recorder, J. C. Sedberry, who properly penalized drivers who had been reckless, plus tougher law enforcement, with follow-up interviews with cited motorists and statistics maintained on whether they were cited again, only six of 216 persons interviewed having suffered a subsequent violation. The City traffic engineer, Herman Hoose, was also given credit for installing traffic islands, pedestrian walkways and walk-wait signals at midtown intersections. Charlotte policeman Ernest Pressley was also recognized for sponsoring safety to thousands of Charlotte schoolchildren, with his famous trained dogs.

Tom Fesperman of The News writes a separate story regarding the safety program in York, for which the citizens primarily credited Police chief W. T. Ivey. The town's safety had dramatically improved within just a few months after he had become chief in 1950, when it came in second place in its category. Shortly before his arrival, a school child had been hit and injured near an elementary school, the last injury sustained by any pedestrian in York. The last pedestrian death had been in 1943, when a child had been run over and killed. Some of the town's residents kidded the chief that if a pedestrian were hit just outside the city limits, he would probably carry him across to within the city. The chief confirmed that he might just do that. He said that much of the safety program was built around the schoolchildren and the schools.

On the editorial page, "New Hospital Cost Will Be High" indicates that the proposed new hospital facilities for black patients in Mecklenburg County, to include 200 new beds, would cost an estimated 2 to 2.4 million dollars. In the past, State and Federal funds would have provided 44 percent of that cost, but it was feared that such funds would not be available in the ensuing two years because of curtailed appropriations in Raleigh and Washington. It was entirely possible that all funding for new black hospital facilities would have to be borne by local sources, public and private.

There was no disagreement over the need for bigger and better facilities and for higher standards of health care and treatment for blacks in the community. Good Samaritan Hospital, currently the only black hospital, had provided valuable service but could not carry the whole load any longer.

The basic disagreement regarded the site for the new facility, with the Chamber of Commerce recommending building it on the grounds of the existing Memorial Hospital, while black doctors urged construction of a separate facility, as expressed by a letter to the editor of this date. It suggests three principal factors ought go into the plans for the new facility, the excellence of service to be rendered, the cost, and the adequacy of the facilities.

All three factors could be cheaply and quickly, at least "with all deliberate speed", addressed through a community-wide education program to eliminate old inbred superstitions and myths across the color line, after which admission of black patients to the all-white hospitals could alleviate the problem very quickly.

"Consolidation Prospects Brighten" indicates that the announcement the previous day that Dr. M. B. Bethel, the City Health officer, would temporarily take on the role of acting County Health officer, was good news, as it suggested an initial step toward full consolidation of the two departments, which would eliminate overlap and waste of services.

"The State at a Turning Point" indicates that Governor William B. Umstead was following a wise course in giving long and careful consideration to his appointment of new members to the Board of Conservation & Development, as he had indicated at his first press conference the previous day. The Board looked after every aspect of the state, including the things which would attract industry to the state, which had been bypassed since World War II by many of the industries extending their operations to the Southeast. The Governor believed that the Board had to do a better job in selling outside industry on the attractions of the state, and to that end had pushed for an appropriation of $400,000 per year for a new industrial research program. He wanted to find the best qualified persons to serve on the Board and so it made sense for him to proceed slowly in the appointments.

"Loss to State" indicates that the decision of Gastonia's State Senator Grady Rankin to retire from further service in the General Assembly was a loss not only to his county but also the entire state, that in six sessions of the Assembly, he had provided conscientious and able service, always advocating economy while also showing keen perception of the needs of the state. The newspaper had not always agreed with his positions but had the greatest respect for his ability and integrity.

A piece from the Richmond News-Leader, titled "We Can't Even Pronounce 'Em", indicates that every year at the time of the National Spelling Bee, it became humbled by the spelling feats of the young contestants, suggests that good spelling was one of the higher arts and constituted positive proof of human intelligence. Finding a 13-year old girl who could spell spermaceti was the equivalent of sign painting or a cappella singing. It praises Elizabeth Hess of Phoenix, the winner of the 1953 26th annual Bee, indicates that it had never even heard of some of the words spelled by her and the last challengers standing, 11 and 12 years old.

One such word was concinnity—which, after complimenting the young speller for not placing a spaghetti-inspired double-t in spermaceti, it apparently misspells by adding an extra t, leaving room, as always, for an errant typesetter. Another was marcescent, and a third was chrestomathic. Immanence was not the equivalent of eminence, the myth of which it readily dispels, q.e.d, rather than misspelling. (Nor is imminent...)

It suggests that the contestants would likely not have much opportunity in ordinary conversation to use some of the words they had spelled, as one did not go to one's neighbor and remark, "Your pyrocanthus, there by that imbricate roof, looks somewhat marcescent today."

It concludes that it was good to see renewed emphasis on spelling in the public schools, that spelling in English was not easy, as exampled by cough, rough, plough, and through. (It might have added, for additional flavor, throes and throws, rows and rose, cuff and hem.) It is reminded of an old story in which a new arrival to the U.S., who was trying to learn English, had been doing pretty well until he passed by a theater marquee which bore a sign reading, "'Cavalcade,' Pronounced Success", at which point he went home.

Drew Pearson indicates that if Senator McCarthy really wanted to probe all aid going to Communist China, in addition to that being shipped by the British, he would only need to look as far as the members of the Soong family, relatives of Chiang Kai-shek. Two years earlier, Mr. Pearson indicates, his column had revealed that former Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson had set up a dummy corporation which shipped 123 tons of strategic tin to Communist China in 1949, until Secretary of Commerce Charles Sawyer issued an order suspending export licenses issued to the company for three years. Senator McCarthy had long been a supporter of Chiang Kai-shek and had taken no steps to investigate shipments by his relatives to Communist China or the goods shipped to Formosa from the U.S., some of which were reported not to have stayed there.

U.S. Ambassador to Italy Clare Boothe Luce had cabled the State Department from Rome that the Italian Communists were making tremendous electoral inroads and might win an important national victory on June 7. She said that many Italians were fooled by the phony Russian peace drive, with the result that Premier Alcide de Gasperi's pro-American Government was in danger of being defeated. Mr. Pearson urges every American of Italian descent to write to friends and relatives in Italy and provide them the facts regarding the danger of Communism. A tide of such letters had helped swing the election against Communists four years earlier, and the following month's election would be the first one since that time. A deputy attorney general of Pennsylvania was flying to Italy with a committee of seven persons to begin construction of a boys' town in Sicily, money for the boys' town having been raised in the U.S. Its cornerstone would be laid just a few days before the Italian elections and would provide positive support for American-friendly candidates.

Former Senator Fred Seaton of Nebraska had warned the President that the problems in farming might last longer and do more political damage than the recent Texas tornadoes. He said that farmer resentment was rising, but so far they did not blame the President, rather Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson, who, according to Mr. Seaton, was becoming a dead weight around the President's neck. Mr. Benson was nearly frantic over farm surpluses and was considering a huge giveaway program to India, Japan, the Philippines and Southeast Asia—a problem which Marquis Childs discusses at some great length this date. Mr. Pearson reminds that since cows ate grain, the price of butter and milk automatically rose.

Marquis Childs tells of Secretary of Agriculture Benson facing the dreaded prospect of an election by July 25 by the two million wheat farmers of the country regarding whether to impose restrictive quotas on the ensuing year's crop. The Secretary believed that regimentation through programs administered from Washington was evil and in his speeches, talked about freedom and the need to remove the shackles of government.

A few months after he had taken office, he was faced with an overabundance of milk and butter out of season and decided, in response, to place a price support on butter at 90 percent of parity, with the result that the Government had to purchase and store 1 to 1.5 million pounds of butter each day, still ongoing. Currently, the Commodity Credit Corporation held in storage 175 million pounds, on which the storage bill was several million dollars per year. About 50 million pounds would go to the Department of Defense to feed troops, with the Defense Department paying the same rate as it did currently for margarine.

Regarding wheat, the farmers had to be convinced that it was in their interest to reduce production, and a two-thirds majority was necessary to carry the election. Mr. Benson said that he now understood that high price supports could not exist without marketing quotas, and thus the Agriculture Department would present the facts to the farmers so they could decide. But, notes Mr. Childs, to present the facts forcefully could equate to support of the kind of regimentation which Mr. Benson deplored.

If two-thirds of the farmers did not vote for the restrictions, the support price, based on current law, would drop to 50 percent of parity from 90 percent, meaning a price drop from about two dollars per bushel to $1.25. If the farmers rejected the quota system, the Agriculture Department would find by the following spring that it had the largest surplus of wheat in history, with the result that the market price might drop below $1.25, destabilizing the whole commodity market in a midterm election year.

By the beginning of the 1954 fiscal year, the CCC was expected to have on hand 500 million bushels of wheat, the largest amount it had ever owned, with another bumper crop in prospect. Secretary Benson was frantically looking for places to store the surplus, and had a similar problem with corn, which would amount to 700 million bushels or more in surplus.

The law allowed the Secretary in an emergency not to call the quota election. He blamed his predecessor, Charles Brannan, for the decision the previous year that the Korean War emergency was of sufficient magnitude to forestall imposition of quotas. For if action had been taken the previous year and the wheat farmers had cut down their acreage, Secretary Benson would not be in the current predicament regarding lack of storage space to store the surplus bought under the price support program. Twice previously, such quota elections had been held on wheat, once in 1941, when the farmers overwhelmingly supported quotas, and again in 1942, when they similarly voted overwhelmingly for them.

Farm income was predicted to drop appreciably during the current year, not so much because of declining prices as continuing supports formed a net, but because the costs of the farmer were still rising.

The people advising the Secretary understood the issue, seeing a parallel with the 1920s, when farm prices sunk while industrial prices continued to increase, and they could not help but be concerned as to how farm voters would react in the 1954 midterm elections.

James Marlow discusses the President's new security program, set to go into effect this date, as formulated by Attorney General Herbert Brownell, who was so confident of it that he had predicted all security risks would be eliminated from the Government by the fall. The program, according to the President, was designed to see that all Government employees would be "reliable, trustworthy, of good conduct and character, and of complete … loyalty to the United States." The President had given all agency heads wide latitude to decide the standards by which employees would be judged. The program thus might be somewhat tougher on individual employees than the old loyalty-security program under former President Truman, but it should work faster than the old program, which had really been two programs, one covering employees of questionable loyalty and the other handling security risks posed by those who might be loyal but might jeopardize national security by some form of personal conduct in a sensitive position, such as by excessive drinking. President Eisenhower had joined those programs and expanded it to include all agencies, whereas the Truman program had only been applicable to ten or so.

Furthermore, the new program abolished the loyalty review board, which was the appellate body for loyalty determinations, comprised of prominent citizens chosen by the President and not connected with any agency. Henceforth, the agency head would be the final arbiter of whether an employee was loyal, following a board hearing comprised of employees of other agencies, whereas under the Truman program, the initial board was comprised of persons within the agency.

A letter writer from Monroe criticizes the May 18 editorial regarding birth control as a solution to poverty and overpopulation, that the notion had been discredited since Malthus had expressed the argument in 1798 that future population increases, unless checked, would bring about starvation and other adverse societal conditions. He indicates that the country had, nevertheless, learned to produce, both industrially and agriculturally, an adequate supply for the increased population, and if taught likewise, other countries could do the same. He advocates following the Christian way in so doing.

A letter writer, as indicated in the editorial above, says that as a black citizen and physician of the community, he regarded Good Samaritan Hospital as having done a good job but that it was not the duty of the Episcopal Church, which supported Good Samaritan, or any other church to provide hospitals or other public facilities. He urges everyone in the city to tell public officials to favor a black hospital with 200 beds, plus a nurses' home, to be built by the City. He indicates that it was time that Charlotte awakened to a sense of justice and fair play with regard to all of its citizens. It would begin a process which could dispel the statement that Charlotte treated its black citizens with less regard than did any other large city in the state. He indicates that he had urged on the radio that the black community support the bond issue to build Memorial Hospital, and was glad to have done so, that in all fairness, the City owed a similar facility to its black citizens, who had voted for that hospital and comprised a third of the community's population.

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