The Charlotte News

Wednesday, June 17, 1953


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the State Department had no comment on information from Panmunjom that an agreement had been reached establishing the truce line in Korea, in preparation for a final armistice. No details were yet available, but the truce line was said to have been established by the military staff officers of each side based on the present battle line. There was no indication whether the latest enemy offensive had been taken into account, but the impression conveyed by officials was that the enemy assault had not made enough impact on the battle line to affect materially the truce line, which ran mostly north of the 38th parallel, but dropped south of it in the extreme western area. It was reported that it would still be several days before a final armistice agreement would be signed, though no particular reasons were given for the delay.

The fighting on the Korean front had suddenly died down this date after the report of agreement at Panmunjom on the cease-fire line. For the previous week, the hills of eastern Korea had been in play, caused by the largest Chinese Communist offensive since the start of the truce talks two years earlier. Now, they were again quiet, with the exception of occasional clashes of patrols and artillery fire. On the east-central front, where 2,400 Chinese Communist troops had battled with South Korean troops all day the previous day, the only action this date was a single patrol clash. But it was still too early to determine whether the fighting was dying out as the time for armistice approached.

Communist correspondents at Panmunjom had suggested that everyone should observe what happened at the front this date, apparently referring to the halt of the enemy attack. Communist loudspeakers along the front blared that there would be an armistice by June 25, the third anniversary of the war.

The President said this date at his press conference that he had sent a letter to South Korean President Syngman Rhee, explaining the U.S. reasons for having entered the war shortly after the invasion of South Korea by North Korea on June 25, 1950. He had also explained the objectives of the war and where things stood at present. He said that he had made it clear in the letter that fears on the part of some that the country was weakening with respect to its objectives in the war were completely groundless. He also said that the new Communist offensive in Korea during the previous week, as the truce appeared imminent, showed the complete indifference of the Communists for human life, and that he was not certain whether the offensive represented a lack of sincerity on the part of the Communists in pursuing the truce. He announced also a proposed new order on distribution of security information by Government agencies, which might replace that which President Truman issued in September, 1951, extending to civilian Federal agencies the same authority which military agencies and the State Department had already, to withhold information for security reasons. Newspaper editors and others had attacked the order of President Truman on the grounds that it could be used to restrict information to which the public had right of access.

In East Berlin, 50,000 rioters staged a four-hour revolt against Communist rule, broken up by Soviet troops, tanks and armored cars, resulting in Russian authorities declaring martial law. The East Berliners had hauled down and burned the Communist flag, mauled German Communist officials and shouted, "Ivan go home." The military action, however, dispersed the crowds and ended the violence. There was no accurate account of the number of casualties. At least one pedestrian had been killed and several wounded. The revolt had started the previous day at a stage-managed parade in which 5,000 workers had marched to the East German Government headquarters, demanding lighter work schedules, but the movement, initially tolerated, then got out of hand and workers began calling for a general strike. Soviet troops were called in to quell the rioters after East Berlin police failed to do so. The President said at his press conference that the anti-Communist riots in East Berlin were significant, but declined to speculate as to what they meant, indicating that they disproved Communist claims of a happy people living behind the Iron Curtain.

The President also said that it was all right with him if the State Department burned books which openly appealed for a Communist way of life, adding that he believed that no one in the Government should do anything to contribute to the destruction of the United States. He again asserted that all Americans in the country should have access to books which explained Communism. He declined to indicate whether his attack on "book burning" in his commencement address the prior Sunday at Dartmouth College had been aimed at Senator McCarthy, chairman of the Investigating Committee looking into the books contained in the U.S. Information Service libraries abroad. Since the beginning of the Administration in January, the State Department had ordered books authored by Communists removed from those libraries. Senator McCarthy had responded to the President's remarks at Dartmouth by saying that the President could not have been referring to him, as he had burned no books.

Parenthetically, whoever wrote the headline for the story at The News, "Ike OK's Burning of Red Books", probably should be keel-hauled at dawn. For one, there was, as there still is, a woman's magazine titled Redbook. Second, the formal surrender of Germany took place on May 7, 1945 in Reims, France, at General Eisenhower's headquarters in the Little Red Schoolhouse.

The enemy had been using antique airplanes in Korea which radar would not detect, and flying so slow and low that fast jets could not cope with them. That had been the Air Force headquarters explanation as to why 15 old Soviet-made PO2 biplanes had been able to surpass U.N. lines at night and bomb airbases and other installations in South Korea the prior Monday night, including Kimpo Airfield and the port of Inchon in the vicinity of Seoul. The old planes had first been produced by the Russians in 1927 as trainers, made of wood and fabric. Radar was designed to detect metallic objects. Many modern anti-aircraft guns were aimed automatically by the radar and so would not operate against the old planes, which had a maximum speed of 110 mph. For a jet to try to slow down to that speed would cause it nearly to stall. Converted artillery shells and hand grenades tossed from open cockpits of allied planes had been used in some instances to try to take out the antiquated planes.

Senator Taft left a New York hospital this date after examinations and treatments for his hip ailment, actually cancer from which he would die at the end of July.

The Interstate Commerce Commission this date authorized a 36 percent increase in parcel post zone rates, adding about 140 million dollars to charges for handling packages in the post office.

In Washington, a Federal grand jury this date indicted Representative Ernest Bramblett of California on a charge of irregularities in the handling of his office payroll, and Attorney General Herbert Brownell said that the indictment accused Mr. Bramblett of 18 counts of making false statements in connection with an alleged kickback of more than $4,000 from two women who were carried on his official payroll. The alleged offenses were said to have occurred between December, 1950 and April, 1951.

In Tokyo, Admiral Soemu Toyoda, wartime commander of Japan's combined fleet, this date had his ceremonial sword, which had been presented to Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz in December, 1945, after Japan had surrendered at the end of the Pacific war, returned to him by Admiral Nimitz in commemoration of Japan's independence.

In Pittsburgh, U.S. Steel Corp. raised its prices by an average of four dollars per ton this date, presaging probable industry-wide increases, which could send the nation's cost-of-living spiraling upward. The action came five days after the big steel companies had granted an 8.5-cent hourly increase to 170,000 employees represented by the United Steelworkers, and represented the first increase in steel prices since the 55-day strike the previous summer, which had ended after the Union had won a 21.5-cent hourly package increase. The head of Republic Steel said that his firm planned an increase of between five dollars and ten dollars per ton.

In New York, a shipping tie-up of American vessels in Atlantic and Gulf Coast ports this date began over a wage dispute of the National Maritime Union, as the president of the Union, Joseph Curran, ordered the work stoppage because there had been a failure to negotiate a contract, which had expired at midnight Monday. The tie-up would not affect foreign vessels.

Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas this date granted the application for a stay of execution to Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, who had been scheduled to die in the electric chair at Sing Sing Prison the following night. The Government then promptly requested that the full Court, which was in summer recess, convene and overturn the stay. As indicated, the request for the stay had been made by other attorneys than those actually retained by the Rosenbergs, as "next friend" of the couple, claiming that the 1946 Atomic Energy Act penalty provisions had effectively superseded the 1917 Espionage Act penalty provisions, under which the couple had been convicted and sentenced to death. The Court would take up the matter on Friday and overturn the stay, holding that the acts for which the couple had been convicted had occurred prior to the 1946 Act, and that, in any event, Congress, when it passed the 1946 Act, had expressed no intent to supersede any part of the 1917 Act. The execution of the Rosenbergs would then proceed on Friday night. Justice Douglas had devoted a full day of study to the issues before granting the stay, an appropriate exercise of authority by a single Justice, rarely overturned by the full Court, as it would explain in its written decision Friday, but in this case, in the interest of expediency, deciding to act, rather than have the issue, deemed without merit, plod through the lower courts for weeks or months. A photograph appears of the Rosenbergs' two children, ages ten and six, who had, the previous day, with the Rosenbergs' lawyer, visited their parents for what would be the last time. The couple, as previously stated, had been given the option by the Government of being spared the death penalty if they admitted their part in the conspiracy to hand over atomic secrets to the Soviets in 1945, but had declined the offer, continuing to proclaim their innocence.

On the editorial page, "The Pitfalls of Pusillanimity" indicates that two recent events showed how the Administration got into trouble when it retreated from its ideals. One concerned the "Buy American" program, and the other, the "book burning" by the State Department and the Information Service libraries abroad. A few months earlier, the Defense Department had let contracts for power equipment for Oregon's Chief Joseph Dam, and U.S. bidders had won the contract. But it then turned out that a British firm had placed a bid much lower than the U.S. competitor, prompting indignation by Britons, as well as some members of Congress and newspapers, whereupon the Defense Department determined to call for new bids because of a "misunderstanding over specifications".

The previous day, successful bidders were announced and a British firm had won one of the main contracts with a low bid. But because the Administration had not awarded the contract to the low bidder in the first place, doubt lingered as to the Administration's sincerity in advocating "trade, not aid" and elimination of commerce barriers with the country's allies.

Regarding the "book burning", the President, Secretary of State Dulles and the U.S. High Commissioner to West Germany, Dr. James B. Conant, had long been on record for upholding freedom of inquiry and allowing enemies as well as friends to examine critically the American system. Yet, under pressure from Senator McCarthy, the State Department had balked and removed from the overseas Information Service libraries not only books by Communists, but books as well by non-Communists who apparently differed with Senator McCarthy and his investigators. The State Department had not yet recouped its stature, as had the Defense Department in the Chief Joseph Dam case. The prior Monday, the Secretary of State had said that orders had gone out not to destroy the books but only to take them out of circulation. It finds therefore that the policy was that the country would say one thing and do another, that which Senator McCarthy wanted, but undertaken quietly enough not to make a spectacle.

It finds that position "supine, cowardly … repugnant to the ideals of any democracy, American or otherwise." It suggests these two incidents as the reason why some people questioned the conviction and strength of executive leadership.

"Scheidt Heads in the Right Direction" indicates that the new State commissioner of Motor Vehicles, Ed Scheidt, formerly of the FBI, was stressing in his new post certain fundamentals which the newspaper had long believed were essential to highway safety in the state. He had indicated that the department would be run strictly on a non-political basis, in accordance with the wishes of Governor William B. Umstead and Mr. Schedit's own standards. He regarded the work of the State Highway Patrol as a professional job and believed that those engaged in it should be recognized and appreciated, meaning that the officers would not be political appointees but would come from the ranks. Third, the entire department would have the objective of improving highway safety in the state.

It finds the three-point program to put stress in the right places to correct deficiencies of the past. In terms of the future, Mr. Scheidt had the objective of educating the public and the members of the General Assembly to the need for increased traffic safety. During his time as head of the Charlotte FBI office, Mr. Scheidt had demonstrated that friendly persuasion could often turn apathy and hostility into cooperation, having developed such close cooperation with the police and sheriff's departments in all parts of the state. He was good at public relations and the piece expects him to make substantially more progress toward making motorists of the state highway-safety conscious than any of his predecessors.

"City's Street Names Compound Confusion" indicates that confusion caused in Charlotte by duplicated street names had long been a subject of official discussion, but resulting in little action. As example of the problem, on the prior Monday, an emergency call to the police department had indicated that a man had shot himself at 2221 Highland Avenue, and two patrol cars were dispatched to the address, only to discover that there were four Highland Avenues from which to choose, the officers initially responding to the wrong one, and after radioing headquarters, were dispatched to another Highland Avenue, where they found the man dead. In that case, it apparently did not make any difference, as the man had died quickly after firing a bullet into his heart. But such confusion could occur in an emergency where any delay might mean the difference between life and death. It thus indicates that there was no valid reason for further postponement of the elimination of duplicated street names.

"The Case for the Item Veto" favors the line-item veto for the President, to eliminate the dilemma of having to decide whether to veto a bill in whole, because of added, extraneous riders, despite Congressional rules prohibiting same. Three measures to give the President such veto power were before Congress, along with three resolutions which would amend the Constitution specifically to authorize the line-item veto.

Their sponsors pointed to the fact that 38 states gave governors the line-item veto, and that as a result, in 1945, 55 bills in 11 states had reduced spending by 89 million dollars, while in 1947, 42 measures in 11 states and two territories, had reduced spending by 38 million. The proponents also pointed out that under the Constitution, the Congress could still override any veto by a two-thirds vote in both houses, and so such a new provision would not permit the President to become effectively a dictator.

The opponents contended that the President might use the power to discipline individual members of Congress, and that the Congress would be tempted to load appropriations measures with indefensible projects to pass the buck to the President. But there was no evidence that such objections had manifested themselves in the 38 states having the line-item veto. And if it were made the law only by a Congressional bill, rather than by a Constitutional amendment, it could always be withdrawn later if it did not work.

It indicates that insofar as it was aware, the President had not asked Congress for the line-item veto, but recommends that he do so without delay to enable the President to trim the excess from Government spending.

Drew Pearson indicates that Soviet Premier Georgi Malenkov had sent a private message to the President, urging a four-power conference immediately, a move obviously aimed at bringing the Big Four together before the Big Three, Britain, the U.S. and France, would have a chance to meet in Bermuda. But the President was going ahead with the Big Three meeting.

The President had begun telephoning key Senators to push his legislative program, a practice utilized by Presidents Roosevelt and Truman effectively. He had used the phone, for instance, to enable his Agriculture Department reorganization plan to avoid Congressional veto.

The President had asked the National Security Council to draft a policy statement on what the U.S. attitude ought be toward Communist China after the Korean truce was signed. If the Communist Chinese demanded diplomatic recognition, it could be a stumbling block at the subsequent political conference to settle the final terms of the Korean peace.

The Teamsters Union was planning a check of trucks during the coming weekend at warehouses, railroad yards and snack bars where truckers congregated. It had been organized by Dave Beck, head of the Teamsters, and 5,000 of the members would be inspectors, checking drivers' logs, hours of service, brakes, lights and other matters which the Interstate Commerce Commission was supposed to check but did not, partly the result of inertia and partly lack of manpower, with the ICC currently only having 18 inspectors to cover the entire nation, over which 750,000 trucks hauled freight. Most owners and companies welcomed the truck check and would cooperate fully.

The more the Keating Committee dug into tax matters of the Justice Department, the more they were convinced that Lamar Caudle of North Carolina, the former head of the tax division and, earlier, the criminal division, fired by President Truman, had been an innocent scapegoat. Preserved phone records had told the tale, for instance, when Peyton Ford, the former Deputy Attorney General, had gone over Mr. Caudle's head to settle a tax fraud case against Dr. Olaf Olson of Minneapolis, Mr. Ford had phoned the IRB, which maintained a transcript of the conversation, as discovered by Congressional investigators as they dug into the tax fraud cases. Mr. Caudle had been careful also to write a separate memo for himself, setting forth his own views against the settlement in the Olson case, and investigators had also found that in the files as well.

—Yeah, Bob, make a note of that. Phone transcripts, or maybe even recordings. That way, when the bastards in the press like Pearson try to twist our words around to suggest something we never even thought about, we'll have them right where we want them.

—Yeah, that's right, Bob, right there.

Marquis Childs indicates that former Governor of Illinois Adlai Stevenson, the Democratic nominee for the presidency in 1952, was set to return from his round-the-world tour in early August. During the time he had been traveling in the Far East, presently in the Middle East and Europe, he had been sending back widely read reports of his impressions. Everywhere he went, he had been received as a distinguished person, requiring a round of official entertainment and a few cordial remarks by the Governor, though he had refused to give any speeches.

Upon his return, he was looking forward to the first real vacation since his draft by the Democratic convention a year earlier. The previous winter, he had gone to the West Indies for a vacation, but much of his time had been spent revising campaign speeches for compilation in a book, which was now high on the bestseller lists. The tentative plan was for him to spend time upon his return in the north woods of Wisconsin or Minnesota for a month of complete rest and relaxation, with his two younger sons along. After that time, the plan was being prepared for a large Democratic rally in mid-September in Chicago, with Governor Stevenson as the centerpiece.

The DNC had finished the 1952 campaign $800,000 in debt, a debt which the DNC claimed had presently been reduced to $200,000 in what it contended was the largest retirement of debt ever produced in such short order by a losing party, not able to dispense patronage. But the facts were that, aside from Indiana, which had met its full quota for contributions for the year, the state Democratic committees had forwarded between small amounts and nothing. One of the problems which the DNC faced was to determine how much money it would use to retire the debt and how much it needed to stay in business, as it was known that the organization was on lean times, despite denials of that status by DNC officials.

Robert C. Ruark indicates that he had been gleeful when General Lewis Hershey, director of Selective Service, had announced the end of the double draft deferment for college students, which Mr. Ruark had found quite unfair to those who did not qualify to go to college. The other canceled deferment had recognized being a father. "Where a man's glands lead him does not seem to me to be a governmental business."

He suggests that it was only fair that the Government was asking young doctors who had been deferred during World War II so that they could obtain their education to pay back their free education, which had been granted on condition that they would serve in the military after graduation from medical school.

He finds that there had always been a great amount of inequity in the selection of people to become soldiers, whereby some escaped service and others had to go to the fight and either be killed or bored to death on small pay in a time of war prosperity at home. The greatest inequity was to allow the students to study while the "dumb guys fought, or the poor guys fought". So he finds that the students with families, acquired while studying, seeking exemptions from the draft for that reason upon graduation, was "slightly ridiculous". "A man's way with the maid is certainly his own business, and if he takes on the responsibility of a bride, and the bride catches a baby, on borrowed time, then it is most certainly the gent's own problem."

General Hershey had reasoned that the student deferment had been granted on the notion that the graduating student would have to serve in the military, and that he should not be further exempted by the fact of having a "bride and the bairns". (If you do not know what "bairns" are, then look to your division, and the previous day's linkage.)

Mr. Ruark finds that the only way to eliminate the inequities in the draft would be to draft everyone equally if they fell within certain age groups, and then allow the services to weed out the fit from the unfit, "the talented from the stupid, the apt from the inept, and channel the selectees off into different fields."

"You may say that the country needs brains, and skills, and that it is better for a dumbjohn to go and get himself killed than for a brainboy to wind up a carcass. In theory this is perfect. In practice, the dumb guy sets just as high a price on his life and times as the smart guy. And it is still a land where freedom for all is supposed to abound as well as an equal shake for everybody in the administration of the nation." He asks that the President have his aides set up a permanent plan for conscription and then leave it alone, so that the average potential draftee would know where he stood and what to expect, so that he could plan accordingly, and "belay this aristocracy of brains", unsound from the start.

A letter writer indicates that the newspaper, in its editorial of the prior Saturday regarding the Bible teaching program in the public schools, to which objection had been made by 26 of the 50 Baptist ministers of the community, had said that because "a substantial and a responsible minority" objected to Bible teaching in the public schools, it would be unwise and cause much distress to continue the program. But he contends that it was not a substantial or responsible minority of church leaders who had sponsored the resolution requesting that the County and City School Boards abolish the program as violative of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, for he asserts that the congregations of the churches had not approved the resolution, and that 24 ministers had not signed it. He indicates that the Charlotte Observer had published the results of a poll taken about five years earlier, showing that the largest denomination represented in the community were the Presbyterians, followed closely by the Methodists, and then the Baptists, suggesting to the writer that the 26 ministers did not represent a "substantial minority". He wants to know where the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Ministerial Association stood on the issue.

A letter writer, a Baptist, praises the same editorial and explains how the petition had come to be, after a speaker at a recent meeting of the Baptist ministers had stated his opinion that the practice of teaching the Bible in the public schools was a violation of the principle of separation of church and state, prompting a motion that they issue a statement to the public stating their position. He indicates that Baptists as a denomination had always stood for absolute separation of church and state, as reflected in the North Carolina Baptist Convention declining acceptance of a grant from the Federal Government of $700,000 for the erection of a wing to the Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem. He indicates that Baptists regretted the necessity of opposing a movement which had done much good, that they were not mad at anyone or out to get anyone, admitted the possibility of being mistaken, but believed that the practice was a violation of the principle of separation of church and state, necessitating the opposition.

A letter writer indicates that the great colleges and universities in the country had not been state institutions, but rather were founded by religious organizations, including Harvard, William & Mary, Yale, Dartmouth and Princeton. He indicates that the first charter of the University of Georgia had provided that all faculty members had to be believers in Christianity, and that the first charter of the University of Mississippi had required "evidences" of Christianity to be taught. He suggests that rationalism, that is scientific inquiry, during the previous quarter-century had impaired the faith of many people, and that if the nation should be lost, it would be the result of loss of the Bible. He believes it a "dangerous source of evil" to exclude the Bible from the field of education.

If the country and world are lost, it is likely to be because of a rejection of rationalism and science, as we see daily in our present environs in 2020, as well as the steady lap-lap of the sea encroaching on our lands from global climate change, brought on by those who reject science, or, in the case of generations more than a hundred years ago, who simply did not understand that science may inform religion, and does not need to detract from it. There is, however, little excuse for generations coming of age in the last 50 years or so.

A letter writer believes that freedom of religious worship allowed those who wanted to learn of the Bible daily in school to do so, and that if some did not want the instruction, that was also their right. As there was no one forcing anyone to attend Bible classes in the public schools of the community, he sees no problem with the practice. He had studied the Bible at Harding High School under a capable teacher, and had never known to what denomination she belonged, his greatest regret having been that he could not have been taught of religious sects stemming from other writings. He prefers more teaching of the Bible, not less.

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