The Charlotte News

Friday, May 8, 1953


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the U.S. was said to have instructed the U.N. Command in Korea this date to seek clarification of some provisions of the eight-point Communist plan for handling prisoners of war after an armistice. Informants indicated that the step was preliminary to the expected formulation of U.N. counter-proposals which would seek to eliminate a section of the Communist plan whereby Poland and Czechoslovakia would be permitted to place troops in South Korea for the purpose of helping handle prisoners of war who refused repatriation, and provide some arrangement which would assure freedom within a reasonable time for the estimated 48,500 prisoners held by the U.N. who had indicated the desire not to repatriate to their Communist home countries. It was said that firm decisions on the instructions to be given to U.N. supreme commander General Mark Clark would not be made until his opinions had been received and the Communist proposals had undergone further scrutiny. In addition to the nomination of Czechoslovakia and Poland, along with the acceptable Switzerland, Sweden and India, as the neutral nations to consider the fate of the prisoners not desiring repatriation, the provision for submitting to a political conference on permanent Korean settlement the fate of the prisoners who remained determined not to repatriate, following a period during which the Communists could try to convince them that they had nothing to fear by returning home, was also said to be unacceptable.

The President held an urgent conference the previous day with his top military and diplomatic advisers regarding the armistice talks, and met with his full Cabinet at the regular weekly session this date, but the White House refused to comment on the discussions.

The President, visiting New York the previous night and addressing two Republican dinners, said that the country stood always ready to meet "anyone half-way" in winning a true peace which would respect the rights of all men, not just allies. He said that in Korea, the U.S. policy was dedicated to protecting the rights of all people there, including those who had recently been fighting with the enemy and had been taken prisoner. He said the enemy prisoners were entitled to the right of political asylum, and to force them back to a life of "terror and persecution" would be violative of every moral standard by which the country lived. Secretary of State Dulles also addressed the $100-per-plate Republican dinner, saying that the U.N. Command in Korea was not prepared indefinitely to continue the truce talks and that the enemies would not be allowed to use the negotiations as a "stratagem for gaining military advantages in their war of aggression." He said that it was shocking that the Soviets had not agreed to a postwar settlement of Austria. Because of the size of the gathering, it had to be split between two hotel ballrooms, one at the Astor and the other at the Waldorf-Astoria. The affair grossed $350,000 for the party.

In the ground war in Korea, the U.S. Seventh Division infantry stopped a Communist attack of possibly 300 on "Porkchop Hill", in the biggest action in several days along the stagnant ground front. The Eighth Army said that the attack was half-hearted and that the enemy had pulled back to their own lines after being confronted with heavy allied artillery and mortar fire.

In the air war, U.S. Sabre jets damaged three Communist MIG-15s in battles over northwest Korea this date, the first time in eight days that the Communist jets had ventured across the Yalu River. Speculation had been afoot that the enemy pilots had been put through an intensive loyalty check because of the U.N. Command offer of $50,000 to Communist pilots who would deliver up MIGs to the U.N. forces, with a $50,000 bonus to the first such pilot.

The Navy sent swarms of carrier-based fighter-bombers and a half-dozen warships, led by the battleship U.S.S. New Jersey, against Wonsan Harbor on the east coast. On the west coast, planes from the British carrier Glory flattened 15 enemy buildings in strikes between Changyon and Haeju.

Senate Majority Leader Taft said this date that unless present military and foreign aid plans were altered, the Eisenhower Administration might spend more during its first fiscal year in office than had the Truman Administration in its last year. That could leave a deficit of around five billion dollars, instead of the balanced budget and lower taxes many Republicans had promised during the campaign of 1952. Secretary of the Treasury George Humphrey was scheduled to appear this date in an executive session before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, regarding the foreign aid program. Senator Taft said he still believed that the Administration would eliminate almost all of the spending increases proposed by the last Truman budget, which had estimated spending at 78.6 billion dollars for the coming fiscal year. But the previous day's announcement by Secretary of Defense Charles E. Wilson that deliveries of military goods to other free nations would rise from the current level of 3.8 billion to 5 billion during the ensuing year, had given Senator Taft and other advocates of economy little comfort. Senator John Sparkman of Alabama said that it was obvious that the Administration's program in foreign aid would involve more than six billion dollars in spending, about 1.5 billion less than requested by President Truman in his final budget. The Administration had sent to Congress the previous day a defense budget calling for 2.4 billion less military spending than proposed by the final Truman budget. Reports were that the Air Force would suffer the heaviest cuts, prompting Senator Burnet Maybank of South Carolina to state to his colleagues that if the cuts resulted in the Air Force having only 120 air groups rather than the goal of 143 by mid-1955, it was "an alarming decision". Joint Chiefs chairman General Omar Bradley was quoted by Senator Alexander Wiley of Wisconsin, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, as having testified before the Committee the previous day that the Chiefs had given increasing importance to air power and especially strategic air power. The Senator indicated that it was his understanding that the Air Force goal would be stretched out a little but not reduced. General Bradley had also testified that the amount requested by the Administration for foreign military aid was considerably less than the Chiefs had hoped it would be. Senator Richard Russell, the top-ranking Democrat on the Armed Services Committee, said that if it came down to a choice between reduction of foreign aid or the amounts to be spent on equipping U.S. forces, he would vote to cut aid.

It was reported from Las Vegas that an atomic device had been detonated this date during the morning at the Yucca Flat Proving Grounds, some 75 miles distant. There was a lingering flash, plainly visible in Las Vegas. It was the eighth detonation of the spring series of Atomic Energy Commission tests and was one of the brightest. It appeared that it had been detonated from atop a tower or by extremely low air drop. A transplanted pine forest, railroad trestles, vehicles and structures were on the proving grounds for testing, and 15 members of Congress were official witnesses to the test, with 2,000 Army troops dug in 9,800 yards away from ground zero. Previously, troops had been as close as 2,500 yards.

In England and Wales, the Labor Party made sweeping gains this date both in London and the provinces in local council elections, prompting expectation that Labor would increase its demands for a new national election. The gains of Labor had swept out much of the small Communist representation on the councils. Labor had gained 285 seats on local councils and lost 51, while the Conservatives gained 82 and lost 212, the Liberals gained nine and lost 13, the Independents gained 28 and lost 128, and the Communists had no gains or losses. In all, Labor won 751 seats in the London borough councils, while the Conservatives won 389. The Communists took a heavy setback in Stepney and Hackney, working-class areas of London, where Labor displaced the Communists. The Conservatives retained control in the borough councils of Westminster and Kensington, two fashionable areas of London, but had their majority reduced in Kensington.

In Miami, a father denied to the Miami Daily News that he had beaten to death his five-year old daughter, a swimming star, and said that her injuries resulted from a dive from a 33-foot platform, for which he nevertheless held himself responsible. He complained that the police would not listen to his story. The father, a swimming instructor and deaf, was arrested on a second-degree murder charge. His wife, a schoolteacher, said that she had spanked the girl mildly earlier during the day. She said that she shared the responsibility for anything which had happened, as she had wanted the children to swim just as had her husband. A neighbor in the duplex shared with the family stated that he had heard the girl being spanked on Tuesday night, as she pleaded, "Please don't." The autopsy had shown that the child had died on Wednesday from a ruptured intestine, caused by a blow administered about 24 hours earlier. She showed evidence of bruising all over. The mother said that the child had not been injured in any accident. In 1949, the father had been tried and acquitted on charges that he had mistreated the girl. The couple's first child had died in 1945 at the age of 18 months, at which time a doctor had testified at an inquest that a cerebral hemorrhage, probably the result of a head injury, had been the cause of death. The mother at the time had said that the baby had fallen down some steps in their apartment, and no charges were filed. Both the girl and her brother, presently seven, had attempted to swim the English Channel in 1951, but British and French authorities intervened to prevent the attempt. The children became well known as swimming stars and later appeared in a movie with Esther Williams in a water ballet scene.

Near Mount Holly, N.C., two young brothers, ages 10 and 12, drowned the previous night in Mountain Island Lake on the Catawba River, while fishing with a third young boy, who reported that the two brothers began playing in their boat, which then capsized, with the third boy, 14, able to swim ashore.

Near Inlet, N.Y., an 11-year old boy rode to school each day from his home at Rocky Point Inn in the Adirondack Mountains, across two lakes, via an outboard motor boat.

From Burgaw, N.C., it was reported that a State Highway Patrolman had chased an Atlantic Coast Line freight train five miles the previous night to inform its crew that the train was on fire. The officer had been eating supper at his home when the freight train passed with smoke pouring from beneath a car, prompting the officer to jump in his own car and speed to an intersection near the town, where he was able to flag down the train. By that point, the fire had seriously damaged a wooden boxcar, but was quickly put out.

In London, a judge found in favor of a woman in a civil suit against a dress shop for 12 guineas in damages, after she had been measured for a frock the previous summer, a month after which it was delivered, making her, she said, appear as "a sausage in a skin". The shop had refused to take the dress back, claiming that the woman had gained quite a lot of bulk between the time of the order and delivery, measuring her again and showing how she had grown, compared to the original measurement. The judge, however, found that there could be nothing like it in history, as according to the shop's measurements, the woman had gained three inches around her bust in just four weeks.

In Rome, Frank Sinatra arrived this date, scuffling with a photographer, who sought to photograph him and his wife, Ava Gardner. Mr. Sinatra's temper had started to roil in London after the couple got stuck in traffic causing them to be late for their Milan-bound plane, having then to catch one for Rome, vowing never again to fly British European Airways. Then, the photographer from an Italian agency greeted them at the airport, causing Mr. Sinatra to charge him, whereupon they scuffled briefly. Police led the photographer away, then released him a few minutes later. He said he got two pictures anyway.

Was this the case of the ritzy papa hitting the paparazzi?

On the editorial page, "McCarthy's Youthful, Untruthful Sleuth" indicates that investigators for Senator McCarthy, Roy Cohn and David Schine, who had recently completed a whirlwind tour of Europe, embarrassing the United States in the process, now were being joined on the staff of the Senator by another youthful investigator, Harvey Matusow, all three of whom were between the ages of 25 and 27. Mr. Matusow had testified the previous year before the Senate Internal Security subcommittee and before HUAC, after which he supported isolationist candidates during the 1952 campaign. On the night of October 28, a few days before the election, Senator McCarthy had denounced Illinois Governor Adlai Stevenson in a televised address, and in the process asked Mr. Matusow to stand up before the packed house in Chicago to be recognized for his testimony, which the Senator claimed was proving a charge against Governor Stevenson.

Now that Mr. Matusow had been formally assigned by Senator McCarthy to find all of the Communists who had infiltrated the various news media, there would be trouble for the press. According to Mr. Matusow in his earlier testimony, Communists abounded at CBS, at Time, Life, the New York Times, the New York Herald Tribune, the Associated Press, the United Press, the American Newspaper Guild, and as well in churches, the YWCA and the USO. He would have trouble, however, naming the 126 dues-paying Communists he claimed were working for the New York Times Sunday section, which only employed 87 persons, and would likewise have problems naming the 76 Communists who were supposedly in the editorial and research departments of Time, and the 25 Communists he claimed were working for the Associated Press New York bureau. He had also charged that in order to obtain a job as a writer or director in New York City for radio programs, one had to be a member of the Communist Party.

Senator McCarthy had asked former Communist Louis Budenz to help former Communist Matusow in his efforts, indicative of the inception of the Senator's campaign to silence or intimidate the press.

While many commentators and editors would, no doubt, lament and condemn the more flagrant accusations against the media, it recommends that they begin taking the false accusations to court.

"Defense Lines Must Be Backed by Force" indicates that Republicans, a few months earlier, had been heavily criticizing former Secretary of State Acheson because he had publicly defined the nation's defense perimeter in the Pacific, which, according to the critics, had prompted the Communists to attack South Korea, as it was considered beyond the main defense line which Secretary Acheson had drawn. But two days earlier, the chairman of the Senate Republican policy committee, Senator William Knowland of California, had sounded just as Secretary Acheson once had. He said that the country could not sit back and do nothing while one country after another fell to the Communists, and that the West had to draw a line and say to the Communists that crossing it meant war. Thus, he appeared to advocate the containment policy of the Truman Administration, out of which had grown the line established by Secretary Acheson, extending in Europe along the eastern borders of Greece, Turkey, Western Europe and West Berlin, and in the Pacific, extending from the Aleutians to Japan, the Ryukyus and the Philippines. It had been extended to Korea after it had been attacked in June, 1950, and, by treaty, to New Zealand and Australia. It had not been extended to Southeast Asia because the U.S. did not have the military strength at present to back it up. But when that force became available, it ventures, the line ought be extended to Southeast Asia, for if the Communists broke through Indo-China, they would be able to sweep through Thailand and on to the East Indies.

But all of that took a lot of money and it hopes that Senator Knowland, in stating the desirable goal, recognized its cost and impressed it on his colleagues who were busy trying to slash the Eisenhower defense budget, which was already a reduced version of the Truman defense budget, which did not have enough money to defend Southeast Asia.

"Ground Gained in a Deadly Battle" tells of the advances made in fighting tuberculosis, which ranked at the time with cancer and heart disease as the major killers. The U.N. World Health Organization had reported substantial strides toward conquering the disease, that in the 21 countries which published reliable health statistics, 430,000 persons were now alive who would have been dead had the prewar death rate from tuberculosis continued unabated. By 1950, the death rate from respiratory tuberculosis had dropped 53 percent from the prewar rate in the U.S., 59 percent in Britain, and 52 percent in France.

It indicates that Charlotte was also gaining ground, that in 1951, T.B. had been the only communicable disease with increased incidence over 1950, but that in 1952, for the first time in many years, it was not among the list of the ten chief killers in Charlotte. The death rate per 100,000 had dropped from 19.6 to 7.8, and because of the comprehensive chest X-ray program carried on in Mecklenburg County the previous winter, it suggests that the local death rate might decrease even further.

It salutes the scientists, public health workers, and private practitioners, both at home and abroad, who had made the decrease possible and hopes that their good work would continue.

A piece of from the Christian Century, titled "Un-American", produces a letter sent to the publication, dated March 18, 1953, addressed to Congressman Harold Velde, chairman of HUAC, regarding his stated intent to investigate Communism in the churches and among church leaders, before backing away from that statement after heavy criticism. The letter notes that Congressman Donald Jackson of California had accused Bishop G. Bromley Oxnam of "serving the Communist front" six days each week. He hopes that Congressman Velde would not give up so easily, and recommends a fruitful line of investigation which the Congressman had overlooked. He then quotes from several passages in the Bible, and finds that the teachings thus set forth sounded like something coming straight out of Moscow, such as "woe unto you that are rich." He finds that a lot of people had declared allegiance to a foreign power when they had said, "thy Kingdom come," finding it subversive to suggest a kingdom within a republic. He urges that there was some source behind all of it and wants Congressman Velde to investigate. He signs the letter, "Simeon Stylites", the fifth century ascetic, Saint Simeon.

Simeon might find some parallel in the current state of things in the country, in early June, 2020, and for literary analogue, might, instead of resort to the recently misused Bible across the street from the White House, utilizing a show of force to make way for Il Duce to enable his photo in vain for those who cannot read so well, cite to the Twice-Told Tales of Hawthorne.

Drew Pearson indicates that the top spending lobbying group in Washington currently was the National Association of Electric Companies, which the previous year had spent about $478,000 in its lobbying efforts. The AMA, by comparison, had spent more than $309,000, to take second place. Such lobbying groups were required to register before Congress, to let the public know who was spending money to influence votes and pass appropriations.

During the Hoover Administration, there had been no such registration act and President Hoover had defeated the effort to reveal that the electric power lobby had been spending money secretly to influence textbooks, newspapers, schools and colleges, without public awareness.

Despite the registration requirement, the way in which lobbies actually operated remained secret, but he says that he had obtained information which enabled shedding of light on the backstage operations.

The utility lobby was more successful presently than at any time since the Hoover Administration, with the Association of Electric Companies virtually writing the budget for the Interior Department, cutting 110 million dollars from the budget for transmission lines, public power, and irrigation-reclamation projects. To accomplish that result, they had worked through Congressman Ben Jensen of Iowa, chairman of a House Appropriations subcommittee and long-time friend of the private utilities. The top representative for the Association lobby had even used the Congressman's office to send the Congressman notes by messenger while the Congressman sat on the Appropriations Committee, making decisions on how much reduction there would be in Government funding.

More recently, cuts to the key budget of the Interior Department, with the acquiescence of Secretary of Interior Douglas McKay, had been so brazen that Congressman H. Carl Anderson of Minnesota, a Republican, had accused Congressman Jensen of "selling out" to the private utilities. The power lobby had succeeded in convincing the Committee to reverse policy enacted under President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906, providing that power from Government dams should be sold with preference rights to cities, states, and other public bodies. The immediate effect had been to raise future rates to Rural Electrification Administration co-ops serving millions of farmers, and also to permit the private utilities to purchase Government power cheaply, without the expense of building dams of their own. Thus, the taxpayers were paying for building future dams and generating the electricity, while private utilities were able to reap the profits. Previously, the Government had maintained electricity rates low in certain areas, such as the Tennessee Valley and the Northwest, by selling the power directly to consumers. The first to react to this new policy had been some of the largest companies in the country, including Alcoa, Reynolds Metals and Kaiser Aluminum. They had been enjoying cheap Government power from Bonneville Dam in the Northwest and from TVA in the South. Without that cheap power, they would be unable to produce aluminum at a price low enough to compete with Canadian aluminum, especially with a tariff reduction in prospect. The three companies had contracts for Government power stretching into the 1960's. But Secretary of Interior McKay proposed to sign 20-year contracts with private utilities, giving them first right to the new power, which could leave the three aluminum companies out in the cold. The effect might be equally serious on smaller industries in the Northwest and the Tennessee Valley, which had come to rely on the cheap power.

Marquis Childs indicates that the leadership which General Eisenhower had provided as commander of NATO had inspired the free world, that he had more to do than perhaps any single individual in uniting the diverse peoples behind the concept of a defense force able to withstand Communist imperialism. But that leadership was now endangered. In addition to a proposed cut of 1.8 billion dollars in foreign aid by the Administration, the Congress was threatening even deeper cuts. The Congressional hearings might show that some of the NATO partners had defaulted on their obligations.

Mr. Childs recounts that he had been in Rome in November, 1951, when the NATO Council was meeting, with General Eisenhower present, believed at the time to be potentially his last such meeting, as there was already talk of him becoming the Republican presidential nominee. At the time, General Eisenhower had made an inspiring extemporaneous talk, a transcript of which Mr. Childs had obtained, and the contents of which he now reveals. The General had said that the military goals of 1952, 1953, 1954, etc., left him cold, that the real thing sought was tranquility of mind at the earliest possible time for the people of the West. He had underwritten the European Army concept, presently stalled by the old French-German suspicion. He had impressed his NATO foreign minister listeners with the idea that 50 years hence there would probably be concern as to what they had done and what NATO had done, that if they allowed "the burdens and influences of traditionalism, cautious approach, statements of what is politically feasible and all of the other deterrent influences that affect man" to dominate their actions, there would be nothing in history written about them, just "a little feeble effort washed away and forgotten." He went on to say, however, that if they shouldered the burden with fortitude and confidence, performing their leadership jobs, then there could be "no monument in history that can really typify the grandeur of your accomplishment…"

Mr. Childs concludes that the words might serve as a rebuke to the political expediency evident in the approach to NATO presently.

Robert C. Ruark discusses the change from traditional jazz, as typified in his mind by Benny Goodman, Louis Armstrong, Woody Herman, Joe Bushkin, Cozy Cole, Eddie Condon, Ziggy Ellman, Teddy Wilson, Barney Bigard, Willie Smith and others, to the modern bebop era, which he considers "claptrap for a bunch of existentialists who needed funny clothes and an incomprehensible language to qualify as musicians."

Since the war, the airwaves had been largely populated by "hillbilly stuff, or weeper-stuff, or the crackle of static from the boppers." He had not heard ten good, lasting songs written since the prewar. "All you hear is shouts and screams and anguish all about."

He says that Jelly Roll Morton had raised him on the piano, "in a smoky dive" on Washington's U St., and even close to his "sad and bitter end", he had known that a piano had to go some place except up and down, with a lot of "silly trills and ripples". The "old good jazz" had to be played as a tune. One could embroider on the tune, but the tune had to be there or the embroidery was no good.

Two months earlier in Rome, he had seen an example of what good music could do to a strange, hostile crowd of people, when his old friend Joe Bushkin, who was having dinner with Mr. Ruark and friends, decided to play the piano, and walked toward it to put it in tune, at which point the hostiles booed him. But within five minutes, he had the entire audience out of their seats, clustered around the piano, and when he left, they applauded "as they used to cheer Mussolini when cheering was mandatory."

Sometime later, he had seen Johnnie Ray, "the swooning screamer, knock himself to bits in the best night club in Rome", but none of the Romans had stopped talking until the waiters told them to be quiet, and then they expressed annoyance.

He was happy to see the old boys coming back into vogue, as their successors had "nearly succeeded in reducing jazz to a scream and a burp and a bellow."

A letter from Charlotte Mayor Victor Shaw, on the eve of his retirement as Mayor, thanks the newspaper for its support during his four years in office.

A letter writer indicates hearing vicious innuendo about FDR and the Yalta agreement of February, 1945, reminding that it occurred before the first atomic bomb test, in July, 1945, and before Iwo Jima and Okinawa, while Japan had at its disposal 400,000 of its best troops in Manchuria poised for possible aggression from Russia. The secret part of the agreements was to avoid allowing Japan knowledge of the plans. Former President Hoover had called the agreement "a strong foundation on which to rebuild the world". Governor Dewey had called it "a real contribution to future peace". After the agreement, the Allies had moved straight to victory, in both Europe and Japan. Raymond Gram Swing had said that only those willing to espouse the notion that the complete victory was a mistake and that compromise with Nazi Germany would have been preferable, were logically justified in condemning Yalta.

A letter writer complains of the inadequate recreation facilities in Charlotte for its black citizens, despite more than $334,000 of bond money appropriated for recreation facilities having been spent on black playgrounds. He indicates that those playgrounds were not even one-third as developed as other municipal playgrounds and parks in the city, despite the Park & Recreation Commission chairman having declared the policy to be to supply the black community with a third of the recreational facilities. He wants to know where a third of the tennis courts and a third of the golf courses were for blacks. He also wants to know when the black high schools would be permitted to play a third of their games in the municipal stadium, where only one black high school game was presently played each year. He poses other similar questions. He indicates that if the City School Board had used the same one-third ratio being used by the Park & Recreation Commission to improve the state of black schools, they would be in a sad state, but fortunately that had not been the case. He recommends that the Commission follow the School Board, so that the Commission chairman would not have to apologize for the state of black recreation facilities in the community.

A letter writer from Campobello, S.C., indicates amusement at hearing Eisenhower supporters write and talk about peace, helping in the process some of the mothers who had sons in the war, but finding that there would be no peace until Russia was licked, just as had been Germany and Japan during World War II.

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