The Charlotte News

Saturday, May 9, 1953


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Secretary of State Dulles had said at a press conference that the U.S. and its U.N. allies in Korea had reached general agreement that several points of the Communist peace proposal needed further clarification and perhaps modification. He said that he had discussed the Communist proposals with the President at a White House conference on Thursday and with the President alone at a luncheon on Friday. He did not state which points in the Communist proposal were objectionable. He said that there was nothing new in the Communists' proposed nomination of Czechoslovakia, Poland, Sweden and Switzerland as a four-nation commission to supervise repatriation of those war prisoners who had indicated a lack of desire to repatriate, noting that the U.N. resolution of the previous October had named those four nations for that role, that the Communist proposal had only added India as a fifth such country. He did not indicate whether that addition was satisfactory. He also commented regarding Indo-China, indicating that the Administration had put into effect decisions to speed new aid to Indo-China to help in the defense of Laos and to provide small arms ammunition to threatened Thailand. He said that transport planes hurriedly flown to Hanoi had been flown by American civilian pilots, commercially employed in the Far East and hired by the French Government, that the U.S. had no responsibility for them. He said that the U.S. was not yet in a position to evaluate the report of withdrawal of the invading Communist forces from Laos. The Secretary left with Mutual Security Agency head Harold Stassen this night for a tour of the Middle East and South Asia.

In Panmunjom, allied truce negotiators this date asked numerous questions designed to force the Communists to provide detail for their compromise plan for prisoner exchange, indicating that they had to have the answers before the proposal could be considered further. Chief U.N. delegate Lt. General William Harrison told reporters after the session that his questions did not indicate that the U.N. Command accepted the plan of the Communists as a basis for negotiation, that he was simply probing for facts. He wanted to know how the proposed five-nation commission would reach decisions, whether by majority vote or whether there would be a veto available. He had also informed the Communists that the U.N. Command would not accept their proposal for a postwar political conference to determine the disposition of prisoners who refused to go home after the Communists sought to explain their side of the matter to the prisoners. He said that the problem was that the prisoners, if faced with only the alternative to repatriate or continue in captivity, might eventually acquiesce to repatriation, and that such a coerced form of repatriation was unacceptable. He also had explained to the Communists that it appeared that their proposal was simply an effort to defer the prisoner of war question until a later date and wanted to know how their proposal cured the defect. The talks would resume the following day.

In the war, U.S. Sabre jets, operating in their new role as fighter-bombers, hit two Communist supply targets, while other Sabres shot down two enemy MIG-15s. The Sabres had flown 108 sorties during the day, a record since the 18th Wing had abandoned its slower Shooting Star jets.

The Air Force corrected an earlier report, saying that Sabres had shot down 635 MIGs since the beginning of the war, while 55 Sabres had been lost.

Only skirmishes were reported in the largely quiet ground front.

Senator William Knowland of California suggested this date that General James Van Fleet would "make a good man" to head the U.S. military mission to train native anti-Communist troops in Indo-China, that the General's differences with Joint Chiefs chairman General Omar Bradley regarding Korean policy would not make any difference in such an assignment. General Van Fleet, who had been commander of the U.S. Eighth Army for 22 months in Korea until his recent retirement, had said that the war ought be pushed to a decision, while General Bradley believed that an all-out aggressive move might touch off the wrong war at the wrong time in the wrong place. The Administration had earmarked 400 million dollars in proposed new foreign aid funds to finance the training, equipping and payment of troops fighting the Communists in Indo-China. That was in addition to the 60 million dollars in special aid which Mr. Stassen had indicated the previous day had been transferred to the French Government from foreign aid money, to be used on home finances, releasing funds for use in Indo-China. The President had said, in a joint statement with Canadian Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent, following their meeting, that Communist aggression in Laos cast doubt on the Communist peace overtures elsewhere.

Senator Harry F. Byrd of Virginia supported the idea of having General Van Fleet head the training program in Indo-China. He also said that he had read a secret Defense Department file from September, 1950, containing a letter signed by General Bradley which had stated that for budget purposes, it could be considered that the Korean War would end by June 30, 1951, that is a year after its inception. Senator Byrd said that it was a "slow down" order which had prevented new orders for ammunition and equipment, explaining the shortage of ammunition in Korea thereafter, of which General Van Fleet had complained. Senator Byrd said that General Bradley would not have acted except on the authority of President Truman.

Members of the Commerce Department's Business Advisory Council, meeting in closed session in Hot Springs, Va., with Secretary of Commerce Sinclair Weeks, conceded that no such drastic change in national tax policy as a national sales tax could be proposed for immediate action. They said that the business outlook was highly favorable for possibly the ensuing year, and that any recession caused by dwindling defense expenditures would be mild and brief. A general view among Treasury officials, however, was that present tax policy leaned too heavily on individual income taxes and corporate taxes, both of which sources of revenue might drop sharply in a recession. The meeting of this date had on the schedule a talk by Vice-President Nixon, followed by a question and answer session. The previous day, the Council unanimously called for a one-year extension of the Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act, which would expire the following month, supporting the President's position. It unofficially endorsed the President's opposition to tax cuts until a balanced budget could be achieved or was in sight.

Many Republicans expressed dismay this date that Secretary of Treasury George Humphrey had said that the budget could not be balanced the following year and that the 275 billion dollar limit on the national debt might have to be exceeded. One unidentified Republican member of the Senate Finance Committee told reporters that it was "a damned unpleasant subject." Another unnamed Republican Senator said that he had heard rumors that the Treasury Department was drafting a tax message to Congress, but said that he was unaware of its contents. House Speaker Joe Martin said that he did not believe the debt ceiling would have to be raised and that the fiscal picture would appear brighter after Congress had passed on all appropriations. Former President Truman's final budget had predicted a 9.9 billion dollar deficit for 1954, but some members of Congress who had conferred with President Eisenhower, placed the deficit at about 4.5 billion.

In Berlin, West German news sources reported this date that Communist East Germany and Czechoslovakia had signed an agreement to organize a joint million-man army within the ensuing year.

The President and his younger brother, Dr. Milton Eisenhower, president of Penn State College, golfed for 15 holes this date and then headed for a trout stream to fish. The President and First Lady Mamie Eisenhower were guests of the President's brother for the weekend.

The story begs the question as to what happened to the remaining three holes.

In Charlotte, a well-known Charlotte businessman, Dick Smith, was arrested the previous day on charges of failing to pay Federal income taxes, totaling in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to an IRB intelligence officer. Mr. Smith had been in the automobile and loan business in the city in recent years, and had been arrested and tried on charges of conspiring to operate a lottery racket following the war, though the report does not indicate the result of that trial. He was released on bond on the tax charge.

In Trivandrum, India, it was reported that former Illinois Governor Adlai Stevenson was indisposed this date, having canceled his remaining engagements in the city after arriving the previous day from Madras. His strenuous schedule for the previous few days had been given as a reason. The tour was part of his round-the-world trip, following his unsuccessful bid for the presidency in the previous fall election.

In New York, a 20-year old young woman was told by a court that she had to choose between wealth or the man she loved, that she could not have both, for if she married her fiancé, she would forfeit her rights to a $10,000 cash inheritance and a $6,500 per year annuity from a $675,000 trust fund set up by her great-grandfather's will, which provided that no descendant who married a person not of the Jewish faith and not of Jewish blood could benefit from the will. Her fiancé was not Jewish. The court expressed sympathy for her plight, but said that it had to follow the expressed intent of the will, that a discriminatory intent was often the case in disposition of property. Her great-grandfather had died in 1938, leaving bequests totaling five million dollars, including a fortune to the young woman's father, who had died the previous October.

Hold a bar mitzvah for the young man. Then he can claim, in resolution of the Jewish blood issue, that the whole world is Jewish, all being descendants of Adam and Eve, the first Jews, from whom Abraham and his progeny descended, and so... Problem resolved. Mazel tov.

On the editorial page, "Prompt Mental Treatment Pays Off" indicates that it had not heard much about preventive medicine in the field of mental health but that there were a number of practitioners and lay enthusiasts regarding the notion of mental hygiene. The Mental Hygiene Clinic, which had been operating for about 20 years, handled 542 cases of mental illness or personality disturbance during the previous year. Those who sought treatment had, in 94 cases, serious psychosis, and in 23 cases, narcotics or alcohol addiction. They also included neurotic children, mentally deficient persons, psychopathic persons, and people suffering from convulsive disorders, plus many who had trouble thinking or acting correctly.

Such preventive care in the mental health field might enable the state to use more effectively the nine million dollars expended each year on the more than 11,000 patients in mental hospitals and institutions within the state. Custodial care was about all that could be offered at present, with treatment having to await more funding. One mental health worker had emphasized the need for at least four more mental hygiene clinics within the state. Seven currently operated, all west of Raleigh, and other clinics were needed in Wilmington, Fayetteville, Greenville and Elizabeth City. There was also a goal of having mobile clinics to serve rural areas, or at least a psychiatric social worker placed in one or more rural counties to work closely with the nearest clinic. The mental health care worker had said that such a system would give the state the psychiatric service it needed. The piece adds that it would also substantially reduce the costly number of new admissions to the State hospitals and institutions each year.

"Life-Saver" indicates that Joint Chiefs chairman General Omar Bradley had said that most of the wounded soldiers in Korea had been saved by the "miracle of blood", without which neither surgical skill nor medical invention could help. The piece lists the hours for the Red Cross Blood Center and its address.

"What's in a Name?" indicates that several street names in Charlotte were being changed, for instance Redbird Street would henceforth be known as Cardinal Drive, prompting it to suggest that Wood Alley become known as Magnolia Drive, Frog Alley to be improved by any change, and Kerr Alley might become Bill Umstead Boulevard. It adds that Truman Road might be changed to Eisenhower Terrace.

"In Passing" indicates that members of the General Assembly who had voted for the much-discussed secrecy law, which allowed budgetary matters to be discussed in executive session, as opposed to prior law which mandated that such matters be held in public session, should take note of the action of Superior Court Judge Jordan L. Martinelli of San Rafael, California, who, on April 16, had ordered the courtroom cleared during a divorce trial, but permitted reporters to remain because, he said, "they know their obligation to the public at large." He went on to say that the judge of the press was the public.

"Senator George Misstates the Case" quotes Senator Walter George of Georgia as having said that he hoped that anything which the country would undertake in Indo-China would be done on its own, without U.N. "interference", as he was getting weary of the U.N. tying the country up in Korea.

The piece suggests that perhaps the Senator had been tired when he made the statement, for the facts were that the Communists, not the U.N., were tying things up in Korea, that the U.S. was making decisions in Korea for the U.N., and that the U.N. had supplied additional troops to supplement U.S. forces in the fight there, which could hardly be characterized as "interference".

A piece from the Louisville Courier-Journal, titled "How a New Idea Helps the South", tells of 14 Southern states having saved 71.7 million dollars on professional training by forming a compact to have regional professional schools in medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine and social work. The states involved would have paid 64 million dollars to build their own professional schools, plus nine million dollars per year to operate them, but under the compact, they saved the capital expense of building new facilities, and the courses were offered to their citizens at a total annual cost of 1.3 million dollars, the tuition paid to the schools in the other states. In addition, the professional schools in the other states educating the students were obtaining more revenue, enabling enlargement of teaching staffs, new courses and new equipment.

The piece concludes that the compact wound up in better education for more people rather than constant competition of routine, under-staffed and hard-pressed professional schools, with each individual state trying to run them.

Drew Pearson tells of the recent death of former Senator Robert Wagner of New York, at age 76, who had been responsible for the 1938 Wagner Labor Relations Act, old-age pensions, and unemployment insurance, but would be remembered by Mr. Pearson because of his role in trying to get 1940 Republican presidential nominee Wendell Willkie to run for the vice-presidency with FDR in 1944 on a coalition ticket. Had the effort succeeded, the postwar history of the country might have been entirely different. Mr. Pearson had played a part in the story and so had never written of it in full, but believes, since most of the people involved were now dead, it could be told.

In the early summer of 1944, after it had become apparent that FDR would run for a fourth term, there was intense jockeying for the vice-presidential nomination, with the friends of Vice-President Henry Wallace demanding that he be renominated, while friends of Justice William O. Douglas, led by Secretary of Interior Harold Ickes, had been less vocal but more persuasive. Many Southern Democrats wanted War Mobilizer James Byrnes on the ticket, while the big city bosses, Ed Flynn of the Bronx, Ed Kelly of Chicago, Frank Hague of Jersey City and Robert Hannegan of St. Louis, wanted Senator Harry Truman.

Mr. Pearson had come to know Mr. Willkie during the period between his defeat in 1940 and the 1944 election year, and had inquired of him several weeks before the Democratic convention whether he would be willing to accept the Democratic nomination for the vice-presidency. Initially, he had said that the Democrats would never go along with the idea, but the more he talked about it, the more he warmed to the idea, and agreed to stand pat until FDR was sounded out on the matter. Leo Crowley, head of the Federal Economic Administration, said that he had confidential information that the President would welcome the idea, provided there was a spontaneous move within the convention to nominate Mr. Willkie. The President dictated a note and sent it to Mr. Willkie, though he never actually signed it. He then left for the West Coast and Alaska.

As the Democratic convention began, there was the problem of arranging a spontaneous move for Mr. Willkie, to accommodate the desires of FDR, and Mr. Pearson had told Senator Wagner about the conversations he had with Mr. Willkie, and the Senator reacted with enthusiasm. He even planned to nominate Mr. Willkie, and asked Leon Keyserling, his former secretary and subsequently head of the Council of Economic Advisers, to begin writing the speech. In Mr. Pearson's presence, Senator Wagner called in various members of the New York delegation to discuss the idea of nominating Mr. Willkie, and the delegates were enthusiastic. The Senator then talked to other key Democrats at the convention, while Mr. Pearson talked to several newsmen, who agreed that in the event of a deadlock between Vice-President Wallace and Senator Truman, the Willkie nomination would be a natural. They also believed that his name on the ticket would be a great boon for unity in the nation. Most of that activity had taken place prior to the convention.

After the deadlock between Senator Truman and Vice-President Wallace developed, Senator Wagner believed it was time to make his move, but had to rely on the political advisers among the big city bosses, as the President was traveling and refused to take phone calls. The bosses indicated that they wanted Senator Truman and not Mr. Willkie. Senator Wagner, a party loyalist, did not argue the point. He thus dropped the idea of nominating Mr. Willkie.

Mr. Pearson indicates that he had always doubted that the big city bosses had ever actually reached the President regarding his preference for Senator Truman, as they were bound and determined to put across their man. He concludes that a great chance to unify the nation had thus failed.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop tell of a wrong order of priorities having destroyed Britain in the 1930s, that being the placement of first importance on a balanced budget above national defense on the basis that a strong economy was Britain's "first line of defense". But a balanced budget had proved no equal to the German Luftwaffe and Wehrmacht. Unfortunately, they indicate, that British mentality was now characterizing much of the Eisenhower Administration approach to defense policy, at least on a tentative basis.

U.S. policy had developed postwar from the security of sole possession of the atom bomb to a change after the revelation in September, 1949 that the Russians had detonated their first atomic bomb, resulting in a National Security Council policy paper, NSC-68, in March, 1950, establishing the principle that Soviet military power had to be matched by American military power. Nevertheless, President Truman and then-Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson continued U.S. disarmament until the beginning of the Korean War in late June, 1950. As early as 1951, a re-examination of NSC-68 had been undertaken, largely at the behest of new Secretary of Defense Robert Lovett, revealing several problems vis-à-vis the Soviet Union, that its military-industrial effort was transpiring on a greater scale than that of the U.S., that they had a growing atomic stockpile and strategic air force, becoming a serious threat, making the U.S. quite vulnerable for the first time. The result was NSC-141, which recommended intensification of U.S. defense in certain areas, especially air defense. That reassessment greeted President Eisenhower when he took office the prior January, leading to the realization that campaign promises of a balanced budget and lower taxes would have to be set aside for the time being.

During the return trip from Korea and Japan which General Eisenhower took the prior December before taking office as President, a debate had transpired between Secretary of the Treasury-designate George Humphrey, pleading for conservative fiscal policies, and Secretary of State-designate Dulles, who wanted a national defense sufficient to safeguard the country's future. Mutual Security Agency head Harold Stassen, Undersecretary of State Walter Bedell Smith, and Vice-President Nixon, all supported the Dulles approach, but Secretary of Defense Charles E. Wilson sided with Secretary Humphrey.

Now it was being reported that the Security Council was in the process of officially formulating a new policy based on the idea that the country had to fear "economic destruction" as much as strategic air and atomic devastation.

The major problems raised in NSC-141, such as the air defense problem, had not been seriously tackled by the Truman defense budget for the following fiscal year, and President Eisenhower's cuts to that budget precluded dealing with those problems at all. But the wisest men in the new Administration argued that they could not tackle such large new problems until they felt themselves in full control of the Government machinery. The Alsops nevertheless conclude that the approach of placing so much stress on economy was wrong, posing the question as to who would not rather be bankrupt as a nation than atom-bombed or defeated by an enemy.

Marquis Childs indicates that Indo-China was now on the same slippery slope on which China had been some five years earlier, as Communist Vietminh guerrilla troops advanced on the capital of Laos, one of the three countries, along with Vietnam and Cambodia, which comprised Indo-China. Americans, who had paid little attention to the war in Indo-China, were puzzled by the fact that the country had been sending aid to the French, with seemingly little result. Mr. Childs advocates American officials beginning to talk with greater candor about what was actually happening there, with the powerful forces at work and what those forces could mean. The end result might be as in China, with the Communists gaining control. Then questions would arise as to responsibility, just as had been the case with the fall of China.

The same reports were coming from Indo-China by American observers that had come out of China in the last years before the Communists gained control in 1949 in the civil war there, that being misuse of arms and matériel sent to the French in Saigon, sometimes falling into the hands of the Communists. There were charges that loyal Vietnamese were not being trained to become an army to fight the Communist guerrillas, and that the local population not only did not resist but tolerated Communist infiltration. Those reports, also, were similar to those which had emanated from China. The Indo-Chinese complained that the French had not granted political reforms which had been pledged, including independence, but the French plausibly countered that French soldiers would not wish to fight for territory which would not be under French control after a victory, whereas the Indo-Chinese also plausibly complained that their soldiers would not wish to fight for a French colony. Yet, they knew that they needed the partnership of France in the war, to have any chance of defeating the Communists.

Most disturbing about the Communist successes in Indo-China, after partnership with the West, was the propaganda effect on other areas of Southeast Asia, including Thailand, Burma and India. That, coupled with the Communist propaganda that the French were fighting a colonial war against the people of Indo-China, created serious problems in dealing with the local population.

Congress, seeking to cut foreign aid, would be quite happy to find an excuse for cutting deeper into the aid appropriation by cutting out aid to Indo-China. The State Department wanted to keep things quiet, but, ventures Mr. Childs, it should be remembered that too much had been kept quiet about China until after the debacle there.

The Congressional Quarterly indicates that, according to Representative Sterling Cole of New York, chairman of the Joint Congressional Atomic Energy Committee, and many atomic scientists, electricity provided from atomic power might be a reality in American homes within about five years. Some atomic specialists, however, estimated that it might be 50 years before atomic power was commonplace. The first atomic power plants were likely to be located in remote areas where conventional sources of power were not readily available, or in cities, where transportation costs of fuel were high. Atomic power plants were not likely to produce power much more cheaply than present conventional power plants, as atomic reactors were quite costly. The advantages of atomic power were that it was compact and needed little or no transportation to supply fuels. The early economic advantage would likely be enjoyed by industries, such as aluminum and magnesium, where fuel and transportation costs were major production expenses.

Congress would have to modify the existing Federal monopoly on atomic energy, and Mr. Cole had suggested that the Constitution would have to be amended to allow Federal Government control of atomic power, the Government's control over hydroelectric power having derived from the Federal jurisdiction over navigation and flood control, without any analogue when it came to atomic power.

Congress would face three major policy decisions, whether the Federal Government should operate atomic power plants, whether the Government ought aid in construction of dual-purpose plants which would produce both electric power for industrial use and plutonium for atomic weapons, or whether the Government should authorize the construction by private industry of atomic power plants to produce power only.

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