The Charlotte News

Tuesday, June 16, 1953


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports, via George A. McArthur, that thousands of Chinese Communist troops in Korea this date seized the vital "Finger Ridge" in their large spring offensive, attacking a mountain mass nearby, the loss of which would imperil the entire allied position along the eastern front. "Finger Ridge" was one-third of the vital Kyoam Mountain complex which protected the valley approach to miles of allied territory. In addition, Communist guerrillas increased their activity behind allied lines, wrecking a freight train laden with Army supplies on Monday night near Pusan, the second such train wrecked by guerrillas during a 48-hour period. The Chinese drive, the largest since the truce talks had begun in mid-1951, showed no signs of abating. Apparently, the Chinese were intent on gaining crucial heights before the truce line was finally set as part of the armistice negotiations.

In the air war, 15 enemy planes made their largest raid of the war in the vicinity of Seoul, causing huge fires at the city's port of Inchon, where a big fuel dump was blown up. It was the fifth night raid in the prior nine nights. The raiders also started fires at Kimpo Airfield, northwest of Seoul. To the north, U.S. Sabre jets shot down four enemy MIG-15s and damaged three others, near the Manchurian border.

Top-level truce negotiators would meet at Panmunjom the following morning in a fateful and secret session which could pave the way to a quick end of the war. The staff officers working on the truce line and on the prisoner of war exchange had not yet completed their work. Two Communist reporters at Panmunjom had stated that the Communist offensive had been ordered to teach the South Koreans a lesson, as it had been resented at Communist headquarters that the South Korean Government had resisted the impending truce and had vowed to fight on if Korea remained divided by the truce. The South Koreans continued to boycott the truce negotiations, as they had continuously since May 25. Hopes remained high in Panmunjom that a peace would be effected within days.

In Seoul, 7,000 women paraded through the streets under banners which read: "Women—tighten your skirt belts and spring up! Give us death if not unification!" They protested the use of Indian troops to guard prisoners refusing repatriation, with some carrying other banners which read: "We will forcibly oppose landing of Indian troops." The South Korean Government had indicated that India was pro-Communist and therefore its troops would not be acceptable to guard the U.N. prisoners refusing repatriation to their Communist homelands while their fate was being determined. But there had been no resumption of the angry demonstrations which had erupted in South Korea the previous week against the truce.

Near Munsan, the 45th Army Surgical Hospital Unit, next to Freedom Village, where the disabled prisoner exchange had taken place several weeks earlier, began pulling up stakes for a move to a new location several miles distant. It was not expected to be as busy as it had been during the first exchange of prisoners, only involving the sick and wounded. American prisoners returned to allied lines would likely be brought to Munsan, processed, placed on trains and then taken to Inchon for the voyage home. Those who were sick or wounded, as with the previously released 148 such American prisoners, would be preliminarily treated at Munsan, flown by helicopter to Seoul for further treatment, and then transported via large aircraft to Tokyo hospitals, before being flown home. The first dress-rehearsal for exchange of prisoners at Freedom Village was scheduled for the following Thursday. A Marine at the Village said that it would be able to process between 800 and 1,000 men per day, provided the Communists released allied prisoners that quickly.

Secretary of State Dulles revived speculation that the Administration might seek a broad Far Eastern settlement with the Communists following a truce in Korea, as he told a press conference the previous day that the Administration had not definitely confirmed the stand taken the previous year by U.N. negotiators that the political conference, presently scheduled to start 90 days following the truce, would be confined strictly to Korean issues. The Secretary noted that the President had said in his April 16 address to the American Society of Newspaper Editors in Washington that "any armistice in Korea that merely released aggressive armies to attack elsewhere would be a fraud." He said that it was conceivable that the post-armistice conference would take up the question of the Communist-led Vietminh insurrection in Indo-China. He said, however, that the primary purpose of the U.N. would be to assure unification of Korea, and that South Korea would take part in the conference on the U.N. side. He predicted that unification of Korea, as well as Germany and Austria, would eventually occur, though not predicting when that might be.

Senator Alexander Smith of New Jersey, chairman of a Foreign Relations subcommittee on the Far East, said that he believed Congress would stand firmly behind the Secretary on a demand that Korea be united, but that it would be difficult to get the Communists to agree to a free election to unite Korea without also agreeing to give the Chinese Communist Government the Nationalist Chinese seat on the U.N. Security Council, an impossible price to pay.

Senator Pat McCarran of Nevada indicated to reporters this date that the President's commencement address the prior Sunday, advising the Dartmouth College graduating class not to "join the book burners", had been "a pitiful thing", in which the President had shown "no knowledge of his subject", and that it was "too bad a man in his position doesn't know more about it", that someone must have sold him a "bill of goods". The President had said that the graduating students should not be "afraid to go to the library and read every book", that there was no way to defeat Communism without knowing what it was. He also indicated that those with whom the country disagreed had a right to express their views and have them accessible to others, that if such rights were questioned, it was not America. It was assumed that the President was speaking of Senator McCarthy's campaign to have the State Department eliminate certain books in the Information Service libraries abroad. Senator Karl Mundt, a member of Senator McCarthy's Senate Investigations Committee, said that there were two things which the President notably did not say, that he felt it was a justifiable expenditure of taxpayer money to put Communist books in tax-supported high schools, institutions of higher learning or in the information libraries abroad, or that he felt Communists should be permitted to teach American children in tax-supported high schools or higher institutions of learning. Senator Mundt suggested that the President was referring in the speech to his belief that there should be no government censorship preventing Americans from reading whatever volumes they desired.

Senator McCarthy the previous day had clashed with U.S. High Commissioner to West Germany James Conant, indicating that while he had no objection to the former president of Harvard as an educator, he did not think he was doing a good job as the new High Commissioner. The Senator demanded the recall from Germany of Lowell Clucas, the U.S. information officer in Munich, so that he could submit to questioning before the subcommittee, which was investigating the overseas information program. Dr. Conant had drawn the wrath of Senator McCarthy by indicating that he had no intention of firing Mr. Clucas, defending the latter and Theodore Kaghan, former deputy public affairs director for the State Department in West Germany, both of whom Senator McCarthy had regarded as "bad security risks". Dr. Conant said that he considered both loyal and effective staff members. Mr. Kaghan had recently resigned as a result of the criticism by Senator McCarthy. The Senator said that Dr. Conant's position caused him to believe that Congress should not provide any money for the budget of the High Commissioner's office for the ensuing fiscal year.

As the Senate called up a bill urged by the President to provide a million tons of wheat to famine-ridden Pakistan, no opposition was expected. Approval by the House was also anticipated shortly, with the shipment expected to reach Pakistan by August.

Attorneys for convicted, condemned atomic spies Julius and Ethel Rosenberg continued to try to avoid their execution in the Sing Sing Prison electric chair, scheduled for Thursday night, appealing anew to the President for clemency, previously denied by him on February 11. The Communist Government of Poland offered to provide asylum to the Rosenbergs, should the U.S. release them to Poland. A State Department spokesman denounced the proposal as an "impertinence", not deserving an answer. Their chief attorney, Emanuel Bloch, visited the couple at the prison this date and obtained their signatures on a new clemency petition, which proclaimed that they were innocent, as they had consistently maintained, recently rejecting, according to their attorney, an offer by the Government to commute their sentences to life imprisonment, provided they admitted their part in the conspiracy to provide the Soviets with the atomic bomb secret in 1945. The attorney took the Rosenbergs' two young sons, ages ten and six, to see their parents, probably for the last time. Other attorneys appearing as "next friend" of the couple were seeking an order from Justice William O. Douglas to stay the execution pending further review of the case, on a claim that the 1946 Atomic Energy Act had supplanted the penalty provisions and thus prevented sentencing under the 1917 Espionage Act, under which the couple were convicted and sentenced. Justice Douglas would grant that stay, but the full Court, holding that the 1946 Act had become law only after the acts in question and, in any event, was not intended by Congress to supersede or replace the 1917 Act, would overturn the stay on Friday, clearing the way for the executions that night.

In New York, a tie-up of Atlantic and Gulf Coast ships was averted at least temporarily this date, with Joseph Curran, president of the National Maritime Union, agreeing to maintain the status quo pending outcome of negotiations called by Federal mediators for this afternoon. The union's contract with the shippers had expired the previous midnight and Mr. Curran had initially indicated the union's traditional policy that if there were no contract, there would be no work.

The editorial page, "One-Man Veto Threatens Tax Program" indicates that a showdown might come during the week regarding the Administration's program to postpone tax reduction until 1954, the most significant domestic issue the Administration had yet faced. The President wanted the excess profits tax, set to expire at the end of June, continued until the end of the year, as well as opposing advancing the scheduled expiration date of the ten percent individual income tax increase to the same point in time. Both taxes had been passed to support the Korean War. The Administration had made it clear that they did not like the excess profits tax and had wanted to provide relief to individual taxpayers, but that the priority had to be bringing the budget into balance while preserving the security of the nation.

It indicates that the Administration was taking a calculated political risk, for in the previous year's campaign, Republicans had repeatedly promised tax reduction.

It appeared that a majority of both houses would go along with the President if the extension of the profits tax ever got out of the House Ways & Means Committee, but the uncompromising attitude of chairman Daniel Reed of that Committee made it doubtful that the bill would ever get to the floor. It was likely that Mr. Reed represented a minority point of view. The people had confidence in the Administration's integrity, believed that it was doing an adequate job of reducing Government spending, and likely supported the President's tax program.

It finds that the ability to block the tax extension was too much authority to vest in one person, Mr. Reed, and recommends that Congress reform the rule which allowed the chairman of an individual committee to prevent a bill from coming to a floor vote.

"Astin Will Go, without a Hearing" indicates that Dr. Allen Astin, director of the Bureau of Standards, who had initially been fired by Secretary of Commerce Sinclair Weeks several weeks earlier, but then allowed to remain in the job pending an investigation of the matter, after scientists threatened to resign from the Bureau in protest because the reason for the discharge had been the decision by the Bureau to reject a car battery rejuvenation process as useless, a finding backed by the scientists, would nevertheless wind up discharged because the Senate Appropriations subcommittee assigned the matter for investigation had decided it was too time-consuming, as too many persons had asked to testify. Meanwhile, a special committee of distinguished scientists had been studying the work of the Bureau and was scheduled to make a report in the near future. Senator Allen Ellender of the subcommittee had asked Secretary Weeks to withdraw the dismissal until after that study was completed, but the Secretary had refused. Thus, as things presently stood, Dr. Astin would be discharged regardless of the findings of the committee, an unfair result, it finds, for such a distinguished scientist who had rendered exceptional public service, as well as causing a problem for the professional reputation of the Bureau, which, prior to Secretary Weeks, had enjoyed worldwide prestige.

"D. Douglas Southall Freeman" laments the death from a heart attack at age 67 of the Richmond editor and writer, radio commentator, lecturer, and author of a four-volume set, Robert E. Lee, and a three-volume set, Lee's Lieutenants, as well as six of seven planned volumes of the biography of George Washington. He had excelled in everything he tried, though considering himself to be a poor lecturer. It finds that he had been "one of the most significant men of the age, a man from whom much has been received and a man who promised a great deal more."

"It Isn't the Pen's Fault" indicates that in an editorial of a few days earlier, in which it had complained about penmanship having cost the taxpayers thousands of dollars each year by the fact of the Post Office having to handle improperly addressed mail, it should have taken note of the fact that post office pens encouraged illegibility. The previous week, a House subcommittee had asked Assistant Secretary of Commerce Craig Sheaffer, pen manufacturer, about the issue, obtaining the response that it was actually post office ink at fault, not the pens.

Post office regulations required that ink had to be bought in powdered, paste or tablet form, as it eased shipping to local post offices, but the resulting ink was no better than powdered eggs or powdered milk. Because patrons did not bother to wipe the end of the pens after each use, they were rendered useless after a few days.

The post office had, however, indicated a willingness to modernize by using ballpoint pens, provided a manufacturer came up with a good one, cheap enough not to present a temptation to theft by users. It passes on the challenge to inventors.

"Surplus Solution" tells of Carl Olaf Gotzsche having liked the U.S. almost as well as his native Denmark, except for one gripe, the stinginess of Americans with butter on restaurant tables while there were huge quantities in the warehouses, suggesting that the surplus be sold abroad. It finds the advice sound, much more so than the country's butter subsidy program.

The problem, no doubt, as with surplus milk in liquid form or any other product subject to spoliation, was preservation in refrigerated environments, a subject on which Vice-President Nixon might have expounded, after his fiasco during the 1930's with his abortive effort to establish a business in concentrated orange juice, which had spoiled for want of refrigeration in transportation, leaving a debt to investors which he reportedly never repaid—in contrast to President Truman, who had paid off the creditors after his haberdashery went bankrupt. Of course, they might produce powdered butter...

A piece from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, titled "Blame Those Travel Posters!" reports that a psychiatrist had been complaining recently that Americans were becoming a nation of split personalities, increasingly of two minds about things, speculating that perhaps politics was the root cause. It indicates readiness to agree with him about the uncertainty, but not regarding its cause, finding it instead to have originated with travel posters dotting the landscape, advertising various places abroad and at home to see, with suggested destinations varying by the seasons. The only common feature in the posters was that the artist had included glamorous women, usually in bathing suits, at the suggested destination, calculated to stir wanderlust in men, if not in women, but still not supplying an answer as to where one should go.

Drew Pearson addresses the letter addressed to him, published in The News the prior Saturday, by Secretary of Interior Douglas McKay, in response to Mr. Pearson's previous column regarding the Bonneville dam, contending that Mr. Pearson had been wrong in stating that Secretary McKay had sent out contracts which would enable six private utility companies to take the power from Bonneville generated at taxpayer expense and prioritized under law for cities, cooperatives and other public entities, causing higher rates for consumers in the process. Mr. Pearson indicates that he had seen the letter published in newspapers but had not actually received it, assuming that, because of the economy drive in Government, the Secretary had decided to save the three cents in postage. He was convinced that, though the Secretary had signed the letter, he had not actually written it, that he had been informed that it was written by Undersecretary Ralph Tudor and his staff, that Secretary McKay had not even read the column at the time or been in Washington when the letter was prepared.

He says that, technically, the letter was correct in saying that the House Appropriations Committee had not "knocked out" the 1906 law which had provided public groups, such as cities and cooperatives, preferences in purchasing power from Government dams, that, instead, the Committee had nullified it by voting no money to transmit powers to cities, cooperatives, and other such groups having preference. He indicates also that the Secretary was partially wrong in saying that there was no new contract sent from Washington to the Bonneville administrator, that the contract had originated in the administrator's office in Portland and that copies had been sent to Washington. He states that the contract provided, as he had originally indicated in the column, that the privately owned public utilities would be able to obtain power generated at the Government dams, in the "most important right-about-face of government policy regarding government power in 20 years". He challenges Secretary McKay to appear for questioning before Congress if he continued to find Mr. Pearson's assertions problematic.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop tell of meeting first secretary to the Soviet Embassy in Washington, Mr. Fedoseev, who expressed surprise at the requested interview, as, he said, no one in Washington wanted to be seen with Russians. It was the first time that any Soviet diplomat had granted an interview to the Alsops, whom Andrei Vishinsky had once described as "congenital murderers". The luncheon had proved congenial, with Mr. Fedoseev having expressed an admiration for American literature, of which he had taught his daughter. He indicated that everyone in Russia learned American literature, such as the poem "Hiawatha", which he had learned as a boy in Leningrad.

As he sipped his Seagram's whiskey and soda, a dual image of the man had emerged, on the one hand, a human being like all others, fond of his only daughter, worried about the rent on his apartment, and proud of his country, while on the other, showing himself to be a product of the Soviet system when the discussion turned to politics, indicating that Senator McCarthy, while obviously not liking the Russians, had insisted that the U.N. Security Council decision on Korea was illegal, the same line which the Soviets, absent from the Security Council at the time because of a boycott over the refusal to admit to the Council Communist China in lieu of Nationalist China, had indicated all along. He quoted Secretary of Defense Charles E. Wilson as having said that the Russian defense preparedness was only defensive and that Americans need only fear Russian ideas. He also quoted Winston Churchill as saying that in negotiations, it was necessary to consider not only the security of the West, but also the security of the East.

He wondered why the U.S. feared Russia, as its policy was one of peace, and that there was no reason for war between the two countries, asking who was it that had burned down the White House in 1812.

The luncheon had ended cordially, and the Alsops suggest that it would probably be the only such meeting, but as he walked away toward the Soviet Embassy, they felt it a pity that it likely would be so and that the Soviet system, which one day might threaten the very existence of the U.S., had transformed "this rather nice little man into the enemy."

The Congressional Quarterly considers the acting leader of the Senate Republicans on the floor, Senator William Knowland of California, who had been known for his strong backing of Chiang Kai-shek and for outspokenness on issues on which he had a sincere conviction. As with Senator Taft, who had designated Senator Knowland to act in his stead because of Senator Taft's illness, he agreed basically with the President, but also had not hesitated to differ with him.

During the 1952 Republican nominating convention, he had stuck by Governor Earl Warren, despite having been courted by both the Eisenhower and Taft camps. He switched to General Eisenhower only after the latter was on his way to corralling a majority of the delegates.

The piece sets forth some agreements and differences between the two, with the Senator supporting the President's pledge to give the states title to the offshore oil lands; disagreeing with the Administration's five billion dollar reduction in the new defense budget; found doubtful the prospect of a six-month extension of the excess profits tax, as favored by the President; on June 1, had denounced the current proposed truce in Korea, warning of a "Far Eastern Munich", in reference to the Munich Pact with Nazi Germany in September, 1938, but in mid-June, when South Korean President Syngman Rhee had opposed the proposed truce, had warned him not to endanger the security of the U.S. by obstructing the truce.

The piece also sets forth examples of his outspokenness prior to 1953, having been generally critical of the Truman Administration's Far Eastern policy, but also praising of Secretary of State Acheson for his handling of the Japanese Peace Treaty in 1951; having, also in 1951, joined with seven other Republicans to declare that General MacArthur's plan for ending the war in Korea, by taking the initiative directly to the Communist Chinese, to be positive; and having, the same year, called for Congressional approval of four divisions to be sent in support of NATO, however favoring limiting the sending of troops abroad generally to a 1 to 6 ratio versus the troops sent to Europe. In addition, during 1949 and 1950, the Senator had sponsored several amendments to provide funds in aid to Nationalist China, and in 1951, had said that Chiang left China for Formosa only because "he did not receive sufficient support, both moral and material" from the U.S.

A letter writer indicates his opposition to the Bible study program in the City and County public schools, as opposed by the local Baptist ministers in a petition to both the City and County School Boards. He finds the program to place minority religious groups in a difficult position, as a child not wanting the instruction would be stigmatized and have attention directed to him or her unnecessarily by choosing not to participate. But allowing participation, when the instruction went against the grain of the child's religion, set up a conflict between the religious instruction in the church and home and that provided in the school. He finds that the principle of separation of church and state had been established for just that reason, and should be maintained in both letter and spirit by the school boards.

A letter writer indicates that as a former student of the Bible instruction program at Central High School, she believes it important to inform the citizenry of how much the Bible classes meant to the students and that they should not be dropped from the curriculum. She indicates that she had taken the optional study course for two years, and would always be grateful for the instruction she received within overflowing classes, from which students had to be turned away. She had never heard, during her three years of high school, any dissenting voice on the value or fairness of the program, or any member of a minority religious group express disapproval or criticism of it. Since she had entered Woman's College in Greensboro and come in contact with girls from all over the country, she had been told how lucky she had been to have been able to participate in such a program. She wonders if the Baptist ministers who opposed the program had visited the classrooms, and hopes that the citizens would realize its importance and continue it.

A letter writer praises the Baptist ministers for their stand against the Bible program in the public schools on the ground of its violation of separation of church and state, and commends them. He indicates that an examination of the First Amendment and the Virginia Act for Establishing Religious Freedom, upon which the First Amendment had been based, clearly provided the intent that the government was prohibited from establishment of any religion. By 1868, when Congress was considering amending the 14th Amendment to extend to the states the prohibition against the teaching of religious tenets in the public school system, it had decided that it was unnecessary because of the generally understood operation of the Establishment Clause in the First Amendment. He finds instructive the decision of the Supreme Court in the McCollum case of 1948, holding that a system of Bible study within the public school system, similar to that in Charlotte, was unconstitutional.

We have, incidentally, some sad news to impart to the statuary removers, as well to the self-righteous Republicans who seek to cast the Democratic Party as the "party of slavery". While seeking out, thus far unsuccessfully, the amendment to which the letter writer refers, in the Congressional Globe, reporting the debates of the 40th Congress in 1868, we came across this colloquy, wherein Congressman Charles Phelps of Maryland, a member of the Conservative Party, in stating his opposition to certain additional punitive Reconstruction laws governing the former Southern states in rebellion, set out two instances of statements made by Abraham Lincoln during his 1858 Illinois Senate debates with Senator Stephen A. Douglas, in which the future President, taking the side of opposition to the further spread of slavery within the territories and states, said that he was not seeking social or political equality between the black and white races but rather was "in favor of having the superior position assigned the white race" to which he belonged. Thus, though you might succeed ultimately in having removed every statue and memorialized likeness or reference placed in public spaces to George Washington and Thomas Jefferson for their having been slaveowners at a time when that was the norm rather than the exception, with many absentee slaveowners subsequently residing in the North when cotton actually became a highly profitable enterprise after the proliferation of the gin following around 1820, your job will not be done until you remove the name and likeness of Mr. Lincoln from the landscape as well for clearly having been, by his own words, if not a white supremacist, at least a white superiorcist, which would appear to be an equally repugnant position, representing sheer hate and encouraging of hate speech, not even recognizing in it "separate but equal". Your mission, therefore, should you care to be at all consistent and not be branded partisan in your approach to statuary and name memorialization, has only just begun. We have to wonder, therefore, where the latter-day descendants of Mr. Lincoln are on the tv infotainment shows who would support the removal of Mr. Lincoln's likeness and Memorial in Washington, as with the two descendants of Mr. Jefferson who have taken it upon themselves to speak out against their dreadful ancestor who is so many generations removed from them that the commentariat merely refers to them as "great-grandchildren", for the fact that otherwise so many "greats" would need to be uttered in predecession to that phrase as to make it sound utterly ridiculous, which, of course, it is not, but rather to be regarded as deadly serious and viewed with great and stern gravity. For if the great-great-great-great-great-grandchild of someone thinks their progenitor an awful human being, unworthy of respect, for acts which were completely legal two hundred years ago, though the ancestor openly despised, in the case of Mr. Jefferson, the institution of slavery and desired its abolition, then, plainly, that progenitor must be struck entirely from history for their outrages.

Drink up, as the party has just begun. You protesters may, by baiting the Federal troops sent into certain cities of late, rather than simply staying home and thereby helping to stanch the spread of the cononavirus, while perhaps actually reading and educating yourselves to the history of the country and its procession through time and times and their context, get Trumpy-Dumpy-Do re-elected yet, obviously your goal, in helping to foment reaction among reactionaries regarding the sole issue of whether to protect the nation's statuary and names on public buildings from vandals and arsonists.

And while about it, what about the J. Edgar Hoover F.B.I. Building? That appears as a much more contemporary example, from 1975, of naming a building for a since discredited American, and yet no one appears to have suggested renaming it for a less controversial former director of the Bureau, or, indeed, more appropriately, for a former Attorney General, who, under our system of government, acts as boss of the F.B.I. Does that not hearken of a police-state, wherein police are virtually autonomous agencies, not answerable to the agencies of government set up to oversee them? What goes on, here? Why not the Robert F. Kennedy F.B.I. Building?

Is it not the case, after all, that the self-appointed leaders of the statuary and name-removal squad are, in fact, dyed-in-the-wool Republican arch-conservatives, indeed, fascists, parading around, for obvious reasons, acting in the cloak of wild-eyed leftist looters and arsonists, many of whom, perhaps the most virulent instigators among them, may indeed be hirelings of the Trump campaign?

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