The Charlotte News

Thursday, May 7, 1953


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that at Panmunjom, the Communists this date offered a new compromise plan to break the Korean deadlock on voluntary repatriation, acquiescing to allied insistence that no prisoners of war who refused repatriation be taken from Korea while their fate was being determined. The eight-point Communist plan also proposed a five-nation neutral commission, comprised of Sweden, Switzerland, Poland, Czechoslovakia and India, as caretaker for the 48,500 Communist prisoners held by the U.N., who had expressed a desire not to repatriate. They also reduced from nine months to four or six months the amount of time for the prisoners to hear Communist explanations as to why they should return home, at the end of which, a political conference of the warring nations would decide the fate of the prisoners. The Communists insisted that the allies accept all of the points. Lead U.N. negotiator, Lt. General William Harrison, said that it was an important proposal which required careful and considerable thought, and that the allied governments themselves had to make the major decisions.

In the war, the battleship U.S.S. New Jersey and the cruiser Bremerton steamed into Wonsan harbor on the east coast of Korea this date and bombarded the port and communications hub for the second time in three days. Planes from the carriers U.S.S. Princeton and Valley Forge had demolished the main transformer station at a silver and lead processing plant northwest of Songkin. Sea and Air Forces provided virtually the only action of the day. Low clouds grounded many allied warplanes this date, but 23 Sabre jets bombed a Communist troop concentration northwest of Chorwon on the western front.

In the ground war, fighting was virtually at a standstill. Only 30 enemy soldiers had been killed or wounded during the 24 hours ending early Thursday, and U.N. divisions on the western front had reported hitting only one Chinese soldier in overnight skirmishes.

At Travis Air Force Base in California, 12 Americans were scheduled to arrive this date from Honolulu, after having been released from Communist prison camps recently as part of the disabled prisoner exchange. These were the last of the Americans to be released. The previous day, 38 Americans had arrived, five of whom were litter cases. Of those, nine had started home almost immediately by car or plane, and the other 29 were to begin leaving this date for military hospitals near their homes.

An American division staff officer in Korea this date expressed the opinion that Communist spies were obtaining information on allied troop movements in Korea either from sources in Washington or Japan. He said that one night on the front, the Communists had broadcast across no-man's land that the staff officer's outfit was going to be pulled out of the line, that they had not gotten such word yet, but that nevertheless several days later, they were. At the Panmunjom armistice talks, Communist correspondents frequently startled U.N. correspondents with supposedly secret information they had about U.N. troops.

In Indo-China, sizable Communist-led Vietminh units had been reported withdrawing this date from the heart of Laos after overrunning more than a third of that country, and it was not clear yet whether it meant the end of the 20-day Communist invasion. French spokesmen cautiously declined to estimate the scope of the withdrawal but said that the number of Vietminh involved was impressive. Two reasons for the withdrawal were advanced, that the Communists had overstretched their supply lines in their 200-mile dash south and west from Vietnam, and that they had also lost their race to overrun Laos before the seasonal monsoon rains, which were now beginning. Regardless, it appeared that the threat to Laos had diminished and possibly had ended for the present time. French Army spokesmen, however, did not exclude the possibility that the Vietminh might yet stage a do-or-die assault on the royal capital, Luangprabang, or other towns. Some of the Vietminh appeared stalled in an area 90 miles south of Luangprabang. The supply problem appeared to be the obvious reason for the withdrawal, as the 300-mile long human chain responsible for communicating supplies had broken down under the invasion's heavy demands and the torrential rains. In the meantime, the French and Laotian defenders received six U.S. C-119 Flying Boxcars—Vice-President Nixon's old World War II SCAT outfit—, the first of possibly two or three dozen of the large planes to be sent to Indo-China under an increased American aid program. The U.S. had loaned the cargo planes to France for the emergency, and French spokesmen said that they would be flown by American civilian crews and serviced by American technicians.

At the U.N., some Asian representatives said that the Laotian situation might be brought up under Article 3 of the U.N. Charter, providing that the Security Council could investigate any situation which imperiled world peace. A House subcommittee simultaneously recommended that the war in French Indo-China be placed under U.N. jurisdiction.

Key members of Congress agreed this date that the U.S. ought send new aid to Southeast Asia, but little support was evident for sending military forces as well as equipment. Senator William Knowland of California had told Secretary of State Dulles the previous day not to foreclose the possibility of using air and naval power in Southeast Asia if such action proved necessary to stop the Communist conquest. Representative Overton Brooks of Louisiana, a ranking Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, said that equipment should be sent at once to Laos, Indo-China and perhaps Burma, but that no troops should be sent. Representative Edward Hebert of Louisiana voiced the same opinion. Representative Dewey Short of Missouri favored use of American military power, if necessary, to save the region, and Representative William Bates of Massachusetts said the question of U.S. participation ought depend on analysis of the world strategy being used by the Communists.

France had informed the U.S. that it opposed bringing the Vietminh invasion of Laos before the U.N., on the premise that it would provide Ho Chi Minh the status of an international belligerent, dignifying him before the world. It was said that the U.S. had expressed understanding of the French position without being wholly convinced of its reasoning. The U.S. position was that exposing the invasion of Laos before the U.N. would produce better understanding of France's role in Indo-China and its problems there. U.S. officials refused to accept as final the decision by France to oppose placing the matter before the U.N., as Thailand might press the issue on its own, since the aggression in Laos could pose a threat to Thailand.

The White House announced this date that General Hoyt Vandenberg was retiring as Air Force chief of staff and would be succeeded by General Nathan Twining, currently vice chief of staff. It was the first change under President Eisenhower to the Joint Chiefs. General Vandenberg had originally been appointed for a four-year term, which ended April 30, 1952, at which point his tour of duty was extended by 14 months. He had asked for retirement after serving more than 34 years in the Air Force, the last five of which had been as chief of staff. Secretary of the Air Force Harold Talbott said he was reluctantly accepting the resignation.

In Raleigh, Governor William B. Umstead this date appointed W. A. Bowles of Charlotte and reappointed Henry Gaines of Asheville to the State Board of Architectural Examination & Registration, appointments for five-year terms.

Off Harwich, England, three American women were missing from the ferry which had collided with a U.S. freighter the previous day. Though it was initially believed there had been no injuries or fatalities, rescue workers had found four bodies, and five had been known to have perished in the accident. About 500 passengers and crewmen had been rescued, and 12 of the passengers, including two U.S. Air Force officers, had been injured.

In London, a small temporary viewing stand in the garden of Buckingham Palace collapsed this date shortly before Queen Elizabeth had presented new colors to the first and second battalions of the red-coated Grenadier Guards, but no one was injured. The ceremony continued as scheduled.

In New York, the head of the New York Weather Bureau urged people not to blame the atomic tests for the abnormal rainfall during the year, responding to the rumor abounding among many that the tests had been responsible for the wet weather. He said if that had been the case, the pattern of rain would have been consistently in the path over which the material was dispersed by the upper air flow, but that such was not the case, that the weather was caused by the movement of air masses of different types across the country from west to east, and in the previous few months, air masses had aligned themselves in such a way as to be of the rain-making type. He said that for the immediate future, the forecast was "cloudy with occasional rain…"

In Malverne, N.Y., the mayor this date proposed special parks for dogs, equipped with trees and imitation fire hydrants, in response to complaints that dogs were ruining many village lawns. The mayor believed the investment would be good economics for the town. What were they doing to the lawns? How will trees and faux fire hydrants remedy whatever the problem was? Inquiring minds want to know. Let us be candid and not cryptic. Otherwise, people might think it had something to do with Captain Billy's Whiz Bang or trickle-down economics.

On the editorial page, "The Right of Fair Trial Reaffirmed" finds the U.S. District Court decision dismissing four of seven counts of alleged perjury against Owen Lattimore to be a reaffirmation of the Bill of Rights and the right to a fair trial. It praises the decision, an abstract of which is reprinted on the page, and indicates that the three remaining counts against Mr. Lattimore, that he had committed perjury in denying that he had been told before 1950 that a Chinese man was a Communist, that he had denied falsely that a meeting with the former Soviet Ambassador to the U.S. had taken place in July, 1941 after the Nazi invasion of Russia rather than when the Nazi-Soviet mutual non-aggression pact was still in effect, and that he had denied that he had handled some correspondence for White House aide Lauchlin Curry during World War II, only related to accuracy of his memory of events during a period of 15 to 20 years earlier, and finds that someone's memory, when subjected to hostile interrogation for days, as had been Mr. Lattimore when he testified before Congress, would be especially faulty. It finds that the Court had pointed out the flimsiness of the case against Mr. Lattimore and had stated some "fine old fundamentals" in reaching its decision.

"Remember the Montana Tragedy" tells of a weekend story out of Helena, Montana, which underscored the reminder that boating could be fatally dangerous. Ten persons had crowded into a five-passenger boat to cross the deep, muddy waters of Hauser Lake, and the boat had capsized, drowning nine of those aboard. All of the dead, save one neighbor, had been from the same family, who had gathered to celebrate the return of a son of the woman by a former marriage. She had survived but lost all of her sons and her second husband.

It indicates that some 1,200 persons died each year in the U.S. in small boating accidents, that in 1949, four out of every five drownings in water transportation accidents involved motorboats, rowboats, canoes or the like. It urges keeping in mind the Montana tragedy while engaging in small boating activities, and to be especially careful during the coming summer months when quick squalls could develop and cause disaster.

"Good Choice" commends the Mecklenburg County School Board for its decision to employ a firm of planners for the county school system, to formulate proper plans for spending the 2.5 million dollars in bond money available for county schools. The firm employed was distinguished in formulating such plans for school construction.

"Air Travel Doesn't Just Happen" indicates that a recent report on Charlotte's large percentage of the state's air traffic, as commented upon in a recent editorial, had stirred alarm elsewhere in the state. The Asheville Citizen had stated that the trend might be traced to greater municipal growth, improved airport facilities, and the fact that Charlotte had become a major stop for the north-south four-engine air service. The Greensboro Daily News had stated that Greensboro might use the statistics as the basis for a fresh look at the needs and problems of the Greensboro-High Point Airport.

The piece indicates that it was pleased that Charlotte was developing so rapidly in the field of major air travel, but says that it did not mean that Charlotte hoped to gain in the field at the expense of other North Carolina cities, that the state was one big family. It finds that there were many reasons why Charlotte had become one of the major aviation centers in the eastern U.S., one of which was that the town was outgrowing itself, another being that it was a major distribution center, while the main reason was that there had been a dynamic effort initiated in 1945 and carried through by the Chamber of Commerce, the City Government and public-minded citizens to persuade airlines to serve the city and to convince the Civil Aeronautics Board that more service was needed. It indicates pride in the fact that the newspaper had been a spark plug in the original campaign and had supported the effort throughout.

A piece from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, titled "All in Good Time", tells of Time Magazine having caught up with the case of the firing by Secretary of Commerce Sinclair Weeks on March 24 of Dr. Allen Astin, head of the Bureau of Standards, in its April 27 issue, and having done likewise in its March 30 issue regarding a scandal in the Republican Party involving then-RNC chairman Charles Wesley Roberts, which had first developed out of Kansas City on February 12.

During the interim, Time had lauded Attorney General Herbert Brownell, new Ambassador to Italy Clare Boothe Luce, wife of Time publisher Henry Robinson Luce, praised the judge for excluding the press from hearing the lurid testimony in the Mickey Jelke trial, involving the hiring out of prostitutes by the margarine heir, and had run a six-page quiz to let readers know how well the magazine had kept them informed. But it had no space for either the Roberts scandal or the Astin firing. "If the Roberts-Astin misadventures wounded GOP sensibilities, Time healed all wounds."

In the meantime, the magazine celebrated its 30th birthday and handed out homilies in honor of the occasion, from which it quotes, concluding, "with that, Time, being a little behind time already, marched on."

U.S. District Court Judge Luther Youngdahl, as indicated in the above editorial, has an abstract reprinted of his recent decision in the Owen Lattimore case, dismissing four of seven counts on which Mr. Lattimore had been indicted in late 1952, all regarding his testimony before the Senate Internal Security subcommittee, which had been investigating the Institute of Pacific Relations, the magazine of which, Pacific Affairs, Mr. Lattimore was editor. The decision had dismissed a principal count of perjury alleging that the defendant had lied about his sympathies with Communism or Communist interests, and counts three and four, whether he had lied about being told that certain persons were Communists and whether he had lied about publishing certain articles by Communists in the Institute's publication, as well as count seven, regarding whether he lied about prearrangements with the Communist Party to gain access to Yenan.

The Court finds in the opinion that as to the first count, there was a violation of the Sixth Amendment right of the accused to be informed of the specific nature and cause of the accusation against him, as well as of the First Amendment right to hold beliefs and express ideas, even though repugnant. Moreover, the count was too nebulous for a jury properly to render a verdict regarding a person's sympathies and beliefs. The count did not charge that he lied about being a Communist or membership in the Communist Party, matters which could be definitely ascertained or not, but only regarded his sympathies and beliefs, not readily fathomable as fact.

The Court recognizes that Congressional committees had broad powers to investigate matters, but indicates that those powers did not extend to curtail the basic Bill of Rights, that the two competing interests had to be balanced. The decision thus dismisses count one as being violative of both the First and the Sixth Amendments.

Its reasoning regarding the dismissal of counts three and four, whether he knew a particular individual was a Communist and whether he published articles by Communists in the Institute's publication he edited, is not included in the abstract, but was based on the fact that they were even more nebulous than count one in terms of the ability of a jury to render a fact determination, as well as also being violative of the First and Sixth Amendments. Its reasoning dismissing count seven, whether or not the defendant lied in claiming that neither he nor anyone at the Institute made prearrangements with the Communist Party to get into Yenan, was dismissed on the same basis as the other three counts. All of the alleged acts underlying the alleged perjury had taken place between 15 and 20 years earlier. The Court also indicated that it had serious doubts about the other three counts and their materiality, but was not yet in a position to dismiss those counts.

Drew Pearson indicates that one distressing aspect of the Korean disabled prisoner release was that some of the families of the U.S. prisoners had been inveigled into joining Communist-front organizations in the U.S. in hopes of getting their sons released, a matter being now investigated by the Pentagon. The belief was that only a few parents had done so. The Pentagon had learned of the fact when some of the parents told of receiving letters from such organizations. It was only when the wounded prisoners began arriving home that news of the brainwashing of American parents, as well of the prisoners themselves, had come to light.

Some Administration leaders were complaining privately that the press had been too critical of the Administration, and that they had to labor under such intense scrutiny that they could not accomplish anything. He suggests it as a possible reason for the White House and various Government departments having exerted tighter control over information than ever before. He suggests that they look at the country from its early days, that press criticism had always been a part of the story and had kept the struggling, young republic going. Thomas Jefferson had called Chief Justice John Marshall "crafty" and accused him of fitting the law to his reasoning. The New York Herald had said that the Supreme Court deserved no more respect than a "majority of those congregated in any Washington barroom". Judge Jeremiah Black of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court—subsequently to serve as Attorney General and, briefly, Secretary of State, under President James Buchanan—had called Chief Justice Roger B. Taney "a mush toad spotted traitor to the Constitution" and a "political turkey buzzard". He questioned whether the Chief Justice should be permitted "to vomit the filthy contents of his stomach on every decent man in the country without having his neck twisted". Woodrow Wilson had said that the Government needed more criticism, not less, and he hoped that criticism would be constructive, "but better unfair criticism than autocratic repression."

Mr. Pearson again provides mail from GIs and seeks to answer their questions.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop indicate that the Republican Congressional leaders, especially Senator Taft and House Speaker Joseph Martin, were dissatisfied with the President's proposed 8.5 billion dollar budget cut, about five billion of which would be from defense and foreign aid. They wanted much more severe cuts, to permit an immediately balanced budget and provide additional room for tax reductions in the following year. The existing cuts were still to the Truman program, and did not inaugurate a new Eisenhower program, which the Republican leaders wanted.

That tendency and thinking explained why Senator Taft and others wanted new Joint Chiefs, as the present ones had failed to devise a national security system at a bargain basement price, with the conviction being firmly held by the Republican Congressional leaders that such a system was feasible.

The President firmly believed that the President proposed and the Congress disposed, that it was "up to them" after he submitted the proposed budgets.

"Of course if you want harmony enough, you can always have it by letting the other fellow decide whether the tune to be sung is 'Sweet Adeline' or 'Take Me Back to Old Virginie.' But you cannot always have harmony if you will not let the other fellow call the tune. And that uncomfortable choice, about letting or not letting the other fellow call the tune, now seems to be looming ahead for the White House."

The Alsops suggest that it was unlikely that Congress would make further cuts to defense appropriations, as those proposed by the White House already could be shown to be dangerous, something the Democrats would seek to underscore. Foreign aid appropriations, although reduced by 1.8 billion dollars, were more likely than defense expenditures to be slashed further by Senate Republicans.

Marquis Childs indicates that the current round of negotiations toward a truce in Korea had an advantage lacking in the earlier round, suspended in October when the U.N. representatives walked out in frustration over the continuing deadlock regarding voluntary repatriation of prisoners. This time, the U.N. representatives had set a tentative deadline of two weeks of stalling by the Communists before declaring the round concluded. They could get away with that now, as the world was already familiar with U.N. patience in the earlier talks. The two-week deadline was not absolute, but certainly there would be a much quicker suspension of talks were the Communists again found to be stalling to produce continuing stalemate.

Yet, the European allies who had troops in Korea were insistent on keeping the peace talks going, and had been critical of the U.S. approach previously. Such criticism was now being heard in London, as important British newspapers were accusing Lt. General William Harrison and the other American negotiators of being intemperate and hasty.

Recently, Moscow had accepted an invitation to send ten Soviet chess champions to New York for a match with a U.S. chess team the following month, an invitation extended by the International Chess Association a year earlier. The Association included all of the Western European powers, along with Russia and several of the satellites. But it was the first time the Soviets had accepted any such invitation to send Soviet citizens to the U.S. since the end of World War II. Invitations had been repeatedly tendered by many different types of organizations, but none had been accepted. Several New York producers had sought in vain to get the Soviets to allow the Bolshoi Ballet and various folk singers to perform on Broadway.

Mr. Childs indicates that such gestures in the gray zone between peace and the cold war seemed strange, and if it were to happen, it would take some getting used to.

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