The Charlotte News

Saturday, June 13, 1953


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that President Syngman Rhee of South Korea had said, in response to questions posed by a Swedish reporter this date, that the U.S. had to sign a mutual defense pact with the country immediately to quiet public unrest caused by the proposed armistice, that he needed something concrete to show to the people to demonstrate that the country's security would be guaranteed and that such a defense pact would help. He also stated that the U.N. was going to wash its hands of Korean entanglement, a "flagrant sellout" of South Korea. President Eisenhower, in a message delivered to President Rhee the prior Sunday, had said that the U.S. would negotiate a mutual security pact with South Korea after an armistice was signed. But President Rhee said the previous day that the U.S. had failed to fulfill a promise of security made to South Korea in 1948. He did not indicate that he would definitely accept the armistice, provided a mutual security pact was immediately signed, but his answers so implied. He said that India was pro-Communist and that it would be impossible for South Koreans to permit Indian troops to land in South Korea to guard the U.N. prisoners who refused repatriation while their fate was being determined by the five-nation neutral commission.

The Swiss Government formally announced this date that it would serve on both the armistice commission and the prisoner of war commission in Korea, along with Sweden, Poland, Czechoslovakia on the armistice commission, and the same four countries plus India on the prisoner of war commission. Earlier, Switzerland had indicated its refusal to serve on the commissions unless South Korea approved fully of the armistice. Swiss newspapers had severely criticized that conditioned acceptance as likely to delay an armistice.

In Custer State Park, S.D., the President concluded his short fishing vacation and flew east this date, after expressing hope that the Korean prisoner of war agreement would lead to a final armistice, a just peace and general easing of world tension, in a letter to Prime Minister Nehru of India, thanking India for its participation on the prisoner of war commission. Prime Minister Nehru said that President Eisenhower had played a "wise and generous part" in the negotiations which had resulted in an agreement, and offered his congratulations for the President's leadership at a critical moment. The following day, the President would receive an honorary doctor of laws degree from Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H., and would then go to Oyster Bay, Long Island, New York for another informal talk at ceremonies dedicating Sagamore Hill, the home of the late President Theodore Roosevelt, then return to Washington on Sunday evening, completing his five-day, five-state tour. During his two-day fishing trip on French Creek, the President had caught seven trout, the largest being 2 1/2 pounds.

In Seoul, violent anti-armistice demonstrations continued this date, and a top South Korean Government official told the allies that they could pull out of the Korean War if they wished. The Acting Prime Minister, Pyun Yung Tai, said that Koreans could not disengage themselves from Korea, and could not accept the impending truce. He said they would let the allied forces depart without grudges, and hoped they would part as friends. He warned South Koreans against violence against the allies. For the fifth straight day, demonstrations against the armistice occurred over South Korea, with mobs chanting, "Drive north, drive north", with fist and rock fights erupting, prompting the allies to erect barbed wire barricades in front of the allied correspondents' billets, where 1,000 Korean war veterans staged a sit-down strike. Three U.S. soldiers had fired 10 to 15 shots over the heads of a crowd of high school boys who stoned an Army wrecker in Pusan, clearing the street.

In the air war, U.S. Sabre jets shot down two enemy MIG-15s, probably destroyed another and damaged a third this date. Allied fighter-bombers hit airfields deep in enemy territory. Five to seven enemy planes raided Seoul and its outskirts for two hours and thirty-three minutes this date, dropping only flares, not bombs, the longest enemy air raid on Seoul of the war.

In the ground war, more than 5,000 Chinese Communist troops hit allied lines along a 50-mile front in central Korea, supported by one of the largest artillery and mortar barrages of the war, comprised of some 118,000 shells during a 12-hour period, probably exceeding the 107,650 rounds fired on the western front during a 24-hour period the prior month. A U.S. officer at "Outpost Harry" estimated that the Chinese had lost 3,400 men killed and wounded in three successive night assaults on "Harry". Hundreds more Chinese troops had been casualties in battles to the east, where this date, the enemy shoved allied troops from mainline positions in one sector. U.S. and South Korean infantrymen had met with knives and bayonets Communist troops who entered their trenches. The commander of the Third Division's 15th Regiment said that his troops had wiped out more than a Chinese regiment during three nights of fighting. He indicated that allowing the capture of "Outpost Harry" would enable the enemy to overlook the Third Division main line, and so was critical to hold, necessitating hand-to-hand combat to fight the waves of Chinese troops, who had been killed with bayonets, grenades and carbines at close range by the allied soldiers.

In New York, Senator Taft was undergoing tests in the hospital this date for his serious hip ailment—in fact, cancer, from which he would die at the end of July.

In Carlisle, Pa., a proposal to form a single, nationwide Presbyterian Church reached the ruling General Assembly of the United Presbyterian Church of North America for initial action this date, having received approval during the previous two weeks from two other major denominations, the Presbyterian Church of the North and the Presbyterian Church of the South, with the proposed merger to become the Presbyterian Church of the United States as early as 1955. All three branches had to approve the resolution before it would be adopted.

Near Roxboro, N.C., a flash flood which weakened a railroad abutment caused the derailment of 19 cars of a Norfolk & Western freight train early this date, with no one hurt in the accident.

Near Kershaw, S.C., a car carrying four men had run off a highway early this date, killing two of the occupants and injuring the other two. The State Highway Patrol said that the late model car, headed for Myrtle Beach, had gone off the road on a curve along Highway 903 in the pre-dawn darkness.

In Monroe, N.C., the editor of the Monroe Journal, Roland Beasley, 82, who occasionally through the years had pieces reprinted in The News, died early this date in the hospital after being ill for several weeks. He had been editor of the Journal since February 8, 1894, when he and his brother had founded it. For years, he had written a front-page editorial essay on various subjects. He had been a member of the State Senate for 14 years, beginning in 1903, and subsequently served in the State House in 1933. He had been superintendent of schools in Union County early in the century and a member of the State Board of Internal Improvements, as well as the first State commissioner of Public Welfare, from 1917 to 1921, maintaining an interest in his editorial writing in child care and other welfare issues afterward. During his time as administrator, the system of juvenile courts and county superintendents of welfare had been set up. While in the Legislature, he had also helped to draft the first law prohibiting child labor in the state. He had graduated from Wake Forest College in 1894.

In Charlotte, News reporter Bob Wallace had polled some of the leading ministers of the city regarding whether they minded men coming to church in their shirtsleeves, finding that the majority did not object, providing quotes from ministers of several denominations on the hot topic. How about shorts? Can't the women show up in the French bathing suits?

In Denver, not clear whether North Carolina or Colorado, a man carrying a pistol entered a florist shop, took a look inside the cash register, stated, "This isn't enough," and walked out. (If the newspaper does not start putting on its datelines clarifying state locations of towns and cities which have counterparts of the same name within North Carolina, we are going to cease mention of these squibs, no matter how droll they might be.)

On the editorial page, "On Bible Teaching in the Schools" comments on the Baptist ministers of Charlotte having petitioned the City and County School Boards to cease teaching the Bible in the public schools, as being unconstitutional per Supreme Court rulings, violative of the doctrine of separation of church and state as provided in the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

It indicates that good and intelligent people of sincerity held diametrically opposed views on the issue and that the constitutional question was far from clear, as localities had sought to distinguish their conduct from that which had been held unconstitutional in 1948 by the Supreme Court in McCollum v. Board of Education, out of Champaign, Ill.

It indicates that the newspaper believed strongly in the doctrine of separation of church and state, not only based on the letter of the law but also per the spirit of the law, as it believed that minorities had the right to worship as they pleased, or not to worship at all if they so chose. The newspaper thus believed that the program of teaching the Bible in the school, though only an optional course, funded privately, still violated the spirit of the rule of separation, and that when a substantial and responsible minority objected to the Bible teaching, it would be unwise and a cause of great distress to continue the program.

"From the Dakotas, the Opening Gun" indicates that the President had begun the 1954 midterm Congressional campaign with his speech earlier in the week in South Dakota, warning that if the Democrats were again to obtain control of Congress, there would be a continuation of the "socialism" which had proceeded for 20 years under the Roosevelt and Truman Administrations. It suggests that the President had indulged in painting the opposition's program as darkly as possible, to the point of misrepresentation. It finds it out of character for President Eisenhower, but attributes the anomaly to the type of distortion in which President Truman had engaged, and so is forgiving.

It finds that the several points he had made in his Minneapolis and Mount Rushmore speeches, regarding the accomplishments thus far of the Administration, especially the revised defense budget which he described as "realistic" while not compromising security, removal of economic controls while taking effective steps to assure the well-being of the people, reducing the size of the Federal Government, revitalization of state and local governments and taking "substantial steps toward ensuring equal civil rights" for all citizens, had been meritorious goals to assert, but did not qualify yet as achievements, with the fulfillment of those goals depending on the strength of the President's leadership and avoidance of his party's "fatal crossfire" warring on him in Congress.

It indicates that if those goals were achieved within the ensuing 19 months, prior to the midterm elections, the Republicans would do well, but the burden rested on Republican leadership.

"Two Down, One To Go" indicates that when the Plaza Road was widened to 45 feet and Independence Boulevard extended to Wilkinson Boulevard, two bad traffic bottlenecks at opposite ends of the city would be eliminated. It says that it was too bad that the State was unable at present to participate in the City's proposal to build a new crosstown line connecting the Southern Railroad's main line with the tracks of the Columbia Division, to South Carolina, thus eliminating much rail traffic which presently impeded movement of vehicular traffic in the main part of town, but the State Highway chairman, A. H. Graham, had said that the project had great merit, holding out the hope that the State might participate, once funds became available.

We certainly hope so.

"Why Fireworks Are Illegal" indicates that a fireworks factory had recently exploded in Schenectady, N.Y., killing two men and injuring a third, while on the same day, four people had been killed and 73 injured in Houston, when stored fireworks exploded while a workman was crating some of them. In Chicago, a 20-year old girl had lost three fingers from a firecracker explosion. The previous July 4, there had been 220 casualties from fireworks in Illinois, 51 of which had been eye injuries, with five blinded in one eye, despite the fact that a State law prohibited their sale.

It notes the injuries, it says, because when July 4 approached, some North Carolinians were eager to obtain fireworks, despite their being illegal in the state. It reaffirms that fireworks were dangerous and that Independence Day would be more enjoyable if they were not used.

A piece from the Asheville Citizen, titled "Underneath the Front Porch", indicates that a man down the block from the editorial writer had been fretting about his lawn mower, that he had brought it up from the basement, oiled it, then cut the grass, then put it back in the basement because there was not enough room in the garage, so decided to store it "under the...", which the editor had finished for his neighbor by saying, "—front porch", bringing laughter all around, as there was no such thing anymore as a front porch. Ranch-house architecture allowed perhaps for a cement slab terrace to serve as a porch, but there was no space underneath. It goes on to explain the family veranda of the past, accommodating its long row of wicker chairs and a wooden swing, underneath of which was a "Stygian cavern" where all manner of goods could be stored for the season behind a lattice door.

It concludes that all of that belonged to another age and the idea of putting something underneath the front porch now begged the question as to what with, to which it rhetorically answers, "dynamite?"

A piece from the Nashville Banner, titled "Weder", informs that such was the spelling of the word wetter in Old English and in Dutch, with its root being "wa-", meaning "to blow", from which was derived "wind". It concludes, "What we started out to say was gewiz, wad weder." You can guess what that fully means.

A piece from the Kansas City Star, titled "Demands of the Outdoors", indicates that someone who staggered in on Monday morning, bleary-eyed and unsteady on his legs, had not necessarily gone on a bender during the weekend, but only likely had become lost in the glare of the May sun, "amid the spinach rows and the iris beds and the green grass that grows all around."

Drew Pearson discusses the past of South Korean President Syngman Rhee, 78, who, while imprisoned, had been beaten with bamboo rods daily for seven months, had oil paper wrapped around his wrists and then set on fire, had his fingers mashed so horribly that even now he had to blow on them to keep them warm, was forced to wear a 20-pound wooden cangue around his neck and to sit with his feet and hands locked in stocks. He had spent seven years in prison, 41 years in exile and had a $300,000 bounty placed on his head by the Japanese. Despite it all, he had never ceased fighting for the liberty of Korea and so was not easily dissuaded from his present position of resisting the truce which would leave the country divided very nearly as it had been along the 38th parallel at the start of the war, notwithstanding the fact that the war had been initiated by the incursion of the border with South Korea by the North Korean Communists.

Mr. Pearson indicates that he had known Dr. Rhee when he lived in exile in Washington as President of the so-called "Korean Republic", then occupied by Japan. At the time, no one except Dr. Rhee believed that Korea could ever be free again. He had come to the U.S. in 1905 in his late twenties during the Portsmouth, N.H., conference designed to settle the Russo-Japanese War. He had been recently released from prison, and had personally urged President Theodore Roosevelt that the Portsmouth treaty should recognize Korea as a free and independent state, nevertheless turning Korea over to Japan. Dr. Rhee continued his fight, became a Christian, wrote a book, The Spirit of Independence, while in jail, and studied at Harvard and Princeton, coming to know Woodrow Wilson, then president of Princeton, attended the Versailles Conference during the latter stages of President Wilson's term, where again he pleaded for the place of the small nations, but yet, again, failed.

He sometimes jokingly credited Mr. Pearson with responsibility for his marriage to an Austrian woman he had met while pleading his case before the old League of Nations, because Mr. Pearson had called to the attention of then-Secretary of State Cordell Hull the fact that his fiancée had been given the runaround by the State Department in entering the country, and Mr. Hull had cut through the red tape, enabling the couple to be married shortly thereafter. She had stood beside him ever since.

Dr. Rhee had been living in Hawaii during World War II, and shortly after V-J Day, had returned to Korea to continue his fight for its independence. There he was welcomed by every political party, including the Communists, all of whom wanted him to become President. But he refused to cooperate with the Communists in his selection of a Cabinet, perhaps leading to the conflict which still dogged the country. He had also differed with the U.S. commander in Korea, General John Hodge, who wanted to effect a compromise between the Communists and the right-wing parties, to which Dr. Rhee refused acquiescence, instead joining battle with the Communists. When the Allies agreed to the division line in Korea at the 38th parallel, with the Russians occupying the North and the U.S., the South, arranged by military expediency to prevent the two armies of the powers from clashing in the field, he was bitterly disappointed.

President Eisenhower was reported to be quite upset with President Rhee, believing that he was being inexcusably stubborn in resisting the proposed truce and had reneged on his recent written promise to the President that he would cooperate in the truce. For awhile, U.S. military experts were considering how they might overthrow Dr. Rhee by working through the American-trained South Korean Army.

Mr. Pearson indicates that one could not in the end be very angry at someone who had suffered such tortures while imprisoned for seven years and had fought so long and hard to bring self-government to his country.

Secretary of Defense Charles E. Wilson had ordered a resurvey of temporary barracks, remaining from World War II. As a result, several old camps had been painted and G.I.s had been ordered to move into them with their families. It had caused an unforeseen hardship for some 125,000 of the G.I.s who had been forced to sell expensive trailers which the Army had encouraged them to buy. The soldiers and their families had been living in the trailers under a quartering allowance from the Army, which was now being withdrawn. Some Army regulars at Fort Bragg in North Carolina had resigned rather than take a loss on their trailers, and Secretary of the Army Robert Stevens had asked Fort Bragg to hold up the order moving G.I. families from the trailers into barracks, until he could examine the matter.

Secretary of Interior Douglas McKayresponds to the June 9 column of Drew Pearson with a personal letter to Mr. Pearson, reprinted on the page, in which he denies the assertion of the column that lobbyists for the power companies had influenced legislation, specifically stating that the House Appropriations Committee had not changed the Reclamation Law which allowed cities, cooperatives and public organizations to have first option on Federal power, that instead, the Committee had ensured that those entities would continue to receive preference. He says that his office had sent no proposed contracts to the Bonneville Dam administrator for the sale of power to public or private agencies, but had been reviewing some forms of contracts which had been sent to Mr. McKay by the Bonneville Power administrator. No contract had been considered, however, which would turn all of the power from Bonneville or any other dam over to nine private utilities, with the co-ops and municipalities "pretty much left out in the cold", as Mr. Pearson's column had indicated. He says that all proposed contracts would continue to protect the preferences accorded public customers. He goes on with further explanations and denials of the basic assertions of the column, concluding with the assurance that when all of the contracts were finalized, they would protect the customers enjoying preference under current law and would equitably distribute the power available, with every effort being made to avoid harm to any customer.

A letter writer addresses the issue of the Bible study program in the public schools of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, indicates that he had studied within the program in 1925 at Central High School and that two of his children had participated in the program at the same school within the previous three years. He indicates that if children were to have a well-rounded education, they needed thorough knowledge of the Bible, and that it was wishful thinking for the Baptist ministers to believe that such instruction could be fully accomplished in the home and Sunday School. He believes that with young men facing the prospect of military combat upon completion of high school, such a program should not be terminated, that it had a positive effect on his children. He finds that as a Baptist, the program should be supported.

You can study the Old Testament Narratives and have your cake and eat it, too, insofar as the history lesson and how the narrative of the Bible has influenced world thinking and culture throughout recorded history. To the literalists, take that up in your Fundamentalist churches on Sundays—or, handle snakes, as the spirit moves you. At our high school, post-dating, without issue, the joined 1963 Abington and Murray cases, the prescribed curriculum for senior year English consisted, first, of A Tale of Two Cities, then Macbeth, then, starting second semester, OTN, completing the year with a study of the Romantic poets of the 19th Century. It made for a profoundly compelling and even moving intellectual experience, quite preparatory for college.

A letter writer agrees with the Baptist ministers' position, asserts that there was no doubt that the program in the public schools infringed the Constitution, and that the corollary issues were whose interpretation of the Bible would be taught and how it would be interpreted.

A letter writer, anonymous, indicates that he or she was raised in the Baptist Church, but since marriage, had changed to another Protestant denomination, disagrees with the Baptist ministers on removing the Bible study program from the schools.

A letter writer finds the Baptist ministers' action well taken, that it was performing a service for the public schools and the state, as the Charlotte program did not appear to differ in any significant respect from that which had been held unconstitutional in the McCollum case of 1948. He says that in 1941, the State Attorney General had been asked to provide an opinion on the matter, which had indicated that under Article I of the State Constitution, section 26, regarding religious liberty: "All men have a natural and inalienable right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences, and no human authority should, in any case whatever, control or interfere with the rights of conscience." He had said that great care ought be taken in the selection of Bible instruction courses in the public schools when provided, but in so doing, there was no violation of the State Constitution. But he added that it would be difficult to prescribe a curriculum which included a course of study of the Bible which did not in some instances infringe the inalienable right to worship according to one's own conscience. The letter writer indicates that the opinion had been cited as ground for approval of teaching the Bible in the schools, but that it was more appropriately regarded as indicating that teaching the Bible was legal as long as it did not prescribe a religious point of view. He indicates that the Charlotte program was admittedly taught from the Protestant viewpoint, thus questions whether that was not unconstitutional. He states that in the 1949-50 school year, two new programs of Bible teaching had been established in the state, but 19 had been discontinued. He hopes that under the leadership of the Baptist ministers, Charlotte would discontinue the teaching such that the citizens could reclaim their rights guaranteed under the Federal and State Constitutions.

A letter writer from Cheraw, S.C., indicates alarm over the budget cuts to the Air Force, thinks that Secretary of Defense Wilson ought be sent back to his position as president of G.M. to build cars, trucks and tanks.

A letter writer wants the government to get out of the "give-away racket" regarding food certificates and "a thousand other programs", from which only a few benefited. He also wants merchants to stop giving away their goods and instead reduce the prices for all.

A letter writer from Monroe finds that the U.S. Government had discouraged rather than encouraged widespread study of Marxism and present-day Communism, seeking to contain it through force and violence rather than through understanding and competition. He finds that the Communists were preparing to defeat the U.S. with the effects of peace, that America's economy was based on war and that peace would disorganize it. He believes that America was certain to lose the psychological war unless it learned the nature of its opponents.

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