The Charlotte News
Thursday, June 25, 1953
Site Ed. Note: The front page reports, via Samuel Summerlin, that the President's personal envoy, Assistant Secretary of State Walter Robertson, carrying a personal message from the President, would meet this date with South Korean President Syngman Rhee in an attempt to persuade him to accept the Korean truce. But President Rhee showed no sign of yielding in his determination not to accept a truce which would leave Korea divided. The previous day, at a rally of thousands of cheering South Koreans gathered to commemorate the third anniversary of the start of the war, he had demanded a "showdown with the Communists", vowing to win the war and reunify the country or die trying. He reiterated his terms recently communicated to the President, a withdrawal of Chinese Communist forces and U.N. forces from the country, a political conference to negotiate peace during a period of 90 days, and were there no settlement reached in that time, a resumption of the war, plus a mutual security pact between South Korea and the U.S. ensuring American aid if the country were again invaded. Mr. Robertson told journalists upon his arrival in Seoul the previous day that a split between South Korea and the other U.N. allies would mean victory for the Communists. Mr. Robertson conferred at length with U.N. supreme commander General Mark Clark in Tokyo prior to flying to Korea, accompanied by U.S. Ambassador Ellis Briggs.
In the ground war, 9,000 Chinese Communist troops attacked along the front this date, interrupting a day-long lull, striking on the western front along the road to Seoul and on the east-central front. Two enemy regiments of possibly 6,000 troops had struck four South Korean positions west of Yonchon, about 40 miles north of Seoul, and another 3,000 Chinese troops had struck on the east-central front, site the previous week of the largest attack by the enemy in the two years since the armistice talks had begun. Communist correspondents at Panmunjom had said that the Communist attacks were designed to teach the South Koreans a lesson for releasing the 27,000 North Korean prisoners not desiring repatriation.
It was reported from the U.N. Command in Tokyo that allied planes had shot down 950 enemy planes, including 779 MIG-15s, since the war had begun on June 25, 1950. The allies, during the same period, had lost 973 planes, 108 of which were in battle with Communist planes, 661 to ground fire and 204 to unknown causes, usually engine trouble. The Air Force said that its planes had destroyed during the war 20,211 enemy trucks, 10,212 railroad cars, 1,045 bridges and 1,291 tanks.
Military secrets had been revealed by Army officials in accidental release of executive session testimony before a House Appropriations subcommittee. The secrets included a new weapons-carrying vehicle, nicknamed "The Thing", a plan to provide much longer range for the 280-millimeter cannon, capable of a range of 20 miles, firing either atomic or conventional shells, plus a new shell which was slightly smaller, expected to extend its range by fifty percent. Also revealed were extra light tanks, a lightweight radar for battle front use, long-range radar able to identify aircraft as friendly or foe, a folding, portable bridge to be carried on top of a tank as a shelter for the crew while putting it in place under enemy fire, and a steam-powered outboard motor for small boats, to enable crossing of rivers in relative quiet. Army officials expressed amazement and appeared appalled at the revelations in testimony released by the subcommittee. It was not immediately known how the material had been left in the publicly released section of the testimony.
In Washington, Senator Willis Smith of North Carolina was reported this date to be seriously ill with a heart ailment. Future Senator Jesse Helms, administrative assistant to Senator Smith, said that he had suffered a coronary thrombosis two days earlier. Mr. Helms said that Senator Smith had shown some slight improvement during the night and his doctors were somewhat encouraged as his pulse was a little stronger and he had gotten over most of the shock. The Senator would die the following day. (It was the first time Jesse Helms had been identified as an assistant to the Senator since Mr. Helms had been involved in Mr. Smith's successful Red-baiting, race-baiting campaign in spring, 1950 against interim incumbent Senator Frank Porter Graham.)
The House Rules Committee had been called into session during the afternoon in a last-ditch effort to force a House vote on the President's proposal to extend the excess profits tax for six months from its June 30 scheduled expiration. Republican leaders expressed confidence that they had the votes on the Committee to bypass the House Ways & Means Committee, chaired by Congressman Daniel Reed, who had stubbornly blocked the bill from reaching the floor for a vote.
The President this date stripped Civil Service protection from thousands of Federal jobs, after signing an executive order to review about 134,000 such jobs to determine which should continue under Civil Service. The Administration would be able to appoint its own personnel to replace those removed from the Civil Service system.
The Federal Reserve Board suddenly eased its tight money policy in a move which it said would help the Treasury meet huge borrowing needs without cutting into the nation's prosperity. The Board had announced late the previous day that it was lowering the amount of reserves its member banks were required to maintain, an action expected to increase bank lending power by about 5.78 billion dollars.
RCA and NBC this date reopened the fight to obtain Government approval for a compatible color television system. They filed with the FCC a lengthy petition, contending that it was essential to have a color-casting plan which would preserve the public's investment in television receivers presently in use.
In London, confessed strangler of seven women, John Christie, who had pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, was convicted by an Old Bailey jury comprised of nine men and three women, finding him sane, not, as his attorney had described him, "as mad as a March hare", and thus culpable on the lone murder charge in this trial, that related to his wife. He had admitted the strangulation of six other women occurring over a period of ten years. The jury had deliberated for 82 minutes. The judge sentenced him to hang.
The FBI reported this date that a Charlotte woman had been arrested in Wilson, N.C., during the afternoon in connection with the disappearance of a five-year old girl on Tuesday evening from a theater in Norfolk, Va. A special agent for the Bureau said that the little girl was in good condition. A Wilson police officer had spotted the woman and the little girl only a few minutes after he had heard a State Highway Patrol broadcast saying that it was believed the woman was headed toward Charlotte.
Donald McDonald of The News reports that in Charlotte, a five-day old baby and its mother were in serious condition at Memorial Hospital this date following a two-car collision on West Boulevard. They were being taken home from the hospital by the baby's father when the car collided with another vehicle driven by a Gastonia shoe salesman, charged by police with failing to yield the right-of-way. The baby had a skull fracture and the mother could lose her right eye, severely cut when her head hit the windshield.
In New York, in a dozen Protestant denominations, there were moves to bring about church unity among Presbyterians, a plan which, if it succeeded, would be the largest merger of a church since the Northern and Southern Methodists had joined together in 1939. There were objections by about 40 percent of the Southern ministers, contending that the Northern church permitted too much liberty by its ministers in theological interpretations and that some were not enough orthodox, as well as expressing concern that the smaller Southern church, with about 700,000 members, would be swallowed up and dominated by the larger Northern church, with about 2.5 million members.
Ralph Gibson of The News interviews James H. R. Cromwell, visiting Charlotte, who had been an adviser to the Korean government in exile during World War II, indicating that President Rhee was upset because he believed the U.N. was trying to put something over on him, had become quite angry when he discovered that the power of veto on the U.N. truce teams had been changed to majority rule. When the truce teams had been formed, they included representatives from neutral nations, with one member having veto power. But President Rhee did not trust the neutrality of representatives from Czechoslovakia, Poland and India. Mr. Cromwell said he believed that the issue of the release of the North Korean prisoners would resolve itself. He said that he would visit Korea at the invitation of President Rhee when things quieted down. He believed that President Rhee could unify the Koreans, and were it not for the Chinese Communists, would then have the unified country he wanted. Mr. Cromwell believed that admission of the Communist Chinese to the U.N. would be worth a commitment that they would withdraw from Korea. He blamed the Korean debacle on Alger Hiss and Communists in the State Department. The former husband of wealthy tobacco heiress Doris Duke was in Charlotte on his way to York, S.C., to help celebrate the town winning a national award for pedestrian safety.
A photograph presents an odd pair, former President Truman strolling through the Capitol, arm in arm with Vice-President Nixon.
On the editorial page, "Who Is To Say Rhee Is Right?" indicates that it was only natural for Americans, whose ancestors had fought a revolution, to side with President Syngman Rhee in his abiding desire to see Korea once again united. But it suggests that such Americans had likely not thought very carefully about the logical conclusion to be drawn from such support, that if the truce agreement was wrong, then the fighting should continue in Korea.
The Truman Administration had carefully calculated all of the factors in Korea and concluded that an armistice was the best thing for the U.S. and the U.N. But dissatisfaction with the stalemate of the proposed truce had been one of the factors which led to the Republican victory the prior November. Since then, however, President Eisenhower and Secretary of State Dulles had come to the same conclusion that President Truman and Secretary of State Acheson had reached previously.
It suggests, therefore, that people supporting President Rhee, on the basis of far less information at their disposal than had the Administrations, ought not second-guess the latter judgment, that perhaps the armistice, following an indecisive war, did not make much sense, but it would make less sense to conclude that it was better to continue fighting.
"Kaiser's Gold-Plated Contract" discusses the contract formed in 1950 with Kaiser-Frazer to build C-119 Air Force transport planes, originally designed and exclusively built by Fairchild Aircraft in New Jersey. At the start of the contract, after Henry Kaiser had obtained a 25 million dollar loan from the RFC, he was to build 176 of the planes costing the Government $467,000 each. The price gradually increased, as did the number of planes to 200, before dropping back to 159, eventually costing up to 1.5 million dollars each. Meanwhile, Fairchild was building 440 of the same planes for a little more than $263,000 each.
The previous day, the Air Force announced that it was canceling the Kaiser contract for the transports, indicating that Senate Investigating Committee hearings, which had produced the costs of the plane, had nothing to do with the cancellation. It indicates that the Committee should keep digging into the contract until all of the details were known, and should also look into other military contracts, where a large amount of money could be saved.
"How's That Again?" tells of the current issue of Business Week having said that the Administration might take its place in history on the record of straightening out the budget and containing Communism through foreign aid. It indicates that it thought the containment policy was passé.
"A Better Social Security Plan" indicates that now that the Republican leadership in Congress had agreed to postpone until the following session any action on expanding Social Security, there was not much point in debating the issue presently, but devotes to it one more column. The Administration had not yet made it clear what it would propose, though candidate Eisenhower during the election campaign had spoken of expanding the coverage.
It suggests the program adopted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce the prior January, the four points of which it lists. It indicates that the proposal would not consume the current reserve of about 18 billion dollars and would be a constructive, forward-looking plan which would eliminate the deficiencies in the system which had caused widespread criticism.
A piece by Carl Kesler, from The Quill, titled "The Right to Know", had found that there was great confusion about the notion of freedom of the press and the newer freedom of information. He had often defined freedom of the press as the right to publish stories if one could get them, while freedom of information was access to news and other forms of knowledge, as well as the right to disseminate it. By way of example of barring information, he indicates that the North Carolina General Assembly had, during its 1953 session, rushed through a bill which allowed for executive sessions to occur regarding budgetary matters in committee, previously illegal.
In the current Neiman Reports, there had appeared a talk by Arthur Hays Sulzberger, publisher of the New York Times, given at an Alexander Hamilton dinner at Columbia University, in which he had recalled Thomas Jefferson's insistence on setting forth the Bill of Rights, and quoted from Alexander Hamilton that the security of freedom of press was entirely dependent on public opinion and the general spirit of the people and of the government.
Mr. Kesler opines that Mr. Hamilton had been partly correct. The Constitution of Argentina had been copied from that of America, including freedom of speech, but its press had been taken over by dictator Juan Peron. He concludes that in a time where freedoms were increasingly traded for an illusion of security, constitutions and statutes were no better than the public will behind them.
Drew Pearson indicates that most Americans did not realize it but Senator McCarthy's name was featured more in the European press than that of President Eisenhower. Every detail of the State Department's Information Service library book-burning abroad, the purges of State Department personnel and eavesdropping by Government officials on other officials were also well-publicized in Europe. With Europe reliant on American aid, the Europeans wanted to know if the U.S. leadership had changed, and they were afraid that it had. They remembered all too well Hitler and Mussolini and wanted no part of a return to totalitarianism. The whole wave of McCarthyism had caused the U.S. incalculable harm in Europe. Mr. Pearson proceeds to list the things which friends abroad indicated were worrisome, including the elimination from the Information Service libraries of Washington Witch Hunt by Bert Andrews, a book even authored by Secretary of State Dulles, and other books, by NAACP executive secretary and anti-Communist Walter White, by former New York Times reporter Walter Duranty, and by another former New York Times correspondent, Clarence Streit. Europeans believed that to be the same type of idea-purging undertaken as Hitler had come to power in the early 1930's. The Europeans had always thought of the U.S. as a symbol of freedom, but that now, with Americans seemingly so afraid of relatively tame books, the impression had grown that the U.S. was a Fascist state, an impression which many in Western Europe believed.
The new State Department security officer, Scott McLeod, a friend of Senator McCarthy, had ordered or condoned a directive under which German servants were asked to spy on American officials, shocking Europeans, as it was the same tactics utilized by Hitler. They also noted the manner in which State Department officials had been fired because they had displeased Senator McCarthy, the most noteworthy having been Theodore Kaghan, who had called Roy Cohn and David Schine, Senator McCarthy's investigators in Europe, "junketeering gumshoes", when they had come over to investigate the Information Service libraries. The tactics again sounded to Europeans like Hitler. The two investigators had been paying for evidence from Europeans to use against their American employers, planting secret microphones in American offices, causing moderate Italians amicable to the U.S. to become less enamored, impacting the recent Italian election against the moderate Premier Alcide De Gasperi, with the result that he barely had achieved a majority sufficient to govern.
Europeans recalled that to disagree with either Hitler or Stalin was to be their enemy, and they viewed the same dynamic occurring with respect to Senator McCarthy.
The people of Europe were also familiar with totalitarian techniques of calling names and giving words new definitions, just as "Communism" was being used by Senator McCarthy against anyone who criticized him, accusing the Saturday Evening Post and Time as being Communist, urging an advertising boycott against the latter. He had called the Washington Post the Washington edition of the Daily Worker, and the Milwaukee Journal, which had also criticized him, the Wisconsin edition of the same Communist newspaper. The Christian Science Monitor, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the Portland Oregonian were also included in the same category. Europeans had paid little attention to those statements until recently when they saw Senator McCarthy achieving great power, influencing foreign policy and being condoned at times by the President, at other times even praised.
Mr. Pearson concludes that all of those factors had caused great doubt among the European nations and that when there was doubt about a leader, the leader ceased to lead.
Joseph & Stewart Alsop tell of Assistant Secretary of Defense Frank Nash preparing to leave the Department soon, after handling the foreign policy ramifications of U.S. defense policy. But the new Defense Department team had no experience in the foreign policy aspects of that problem, and Secretary of Defense Charles E. Wilson wanted an experienced person to replace Mr. Nash. The White House preferred the former chief of the State Department political planning staff, Paul Nitze, with whose appointment Mr. Wilson agreed, asking Mr. Nitze to begin work immediately as Mr. Nash's assistant, indicating that he would be promoted to Assistant Secretary after Mr. Nash left, provided the arrangement had proved satisfactory in the interval. Mr. Nitze had accepted the offer ten days earlier and had begun his new duties.
But at that point, Senator Taft intervened, saying he had nothing against Mr. Nitze, arguing, however, that because he was a hangover from the old regime, despite being a Republican, he should not have the job. Vice-President Nixon sought to get Senator Taft to withdraw his veto, but the Senator was determined, and hearing of the trouble, Mr. Nitze agreed to release Secretary Wilson from their prior agreement. Mr. Wilson then sacrificed Mr. Nitze, with full knowledge by the President.
It appeared that someone from Senator McCarthy's staff had been able to see documents on the matter, as had been the case in two other situations involving minor Government workers who were reporting to Senator McCarthy on the daily activities of the President's highest subordinates, prompting the President to ferret them out and fire them.
Mr. Nitze had been the chief ideological contributor to the President's speech on peace aims of the country, delivered to the American Society of Newspaper Editors the prior April, the President's only major success in the foreign policy field since taking office. Sacrificing Mr. Nitze would also sacrifice continuity and experience in American policy-making. The clean sweep of the Joint Chiefs, also done at the behest of Senator Taft, had already established the rule that the highest military commanders in the new Administration were to be political appointees. The case of Mr. Nitze similarly established the rule that the Government did not need knowledge, training or previous acquaintance with the facts in order to tackle the hardest problems the world had ever known. The Alsops conclude that it was a surrender which the President would likely regret in due course.
Marquis Childs indicates that a year had passed since General Eisenhower had been chosen by the Republicans as their nominee in 1952, interpreted as a defeat for the forces of extreme reaction, isolationism and nationalism within and outside the Republican Party. The fact that those same forces were now consolidating in opposition to the President and his foreign policy was, he believes, the most important political news since the election, though not presently in the headlines.
The President's close advisers were becoming concerned over the development, and the threat inherent in it to Republican hopes to remain in power. At a secret meeting in New York recently, according to reliable information, a decision had been made to oppose the election of any Republican backing the foreign policy of the President, with influential men pledging financial resources to the program. Senator McCarthy had been warmly praised by this group for his efforts which had caused increasing embarrassment to the Administration. It fit with the report which Mr. Childs had received regarding wealthy Texas oilmen, H. L. Hunt and Clint Murchison, having provided unlimited funds to Senator McCarthy so that he could appear on television on a regular basis. This faction believed in General MacArthur and his policy of taking the offensive with respect to the Far East. They actively supported the Bricker amendment, which would curtail the treaty-making power of the President by making executive agreements subject to the ratification requirement. It was an effort to take over the Republican Party and isolate the President, originating primarily among the people who had sought to prevent General Eisenhower's nomination the previous year. Some, such as Senator McCarthy, with his praise for South Korean President Syngman Rhee for defying President Eisenhower and the U.N., were becoming increasingly outspoken.
If the effort to obtain control of the party failed, then another possibility might occur, the formation of a nationalist, America First party, with Senator McCarthy as its central figure. The outcome of that would depend on the ultimate success or failure of the Eisenhower Administration. Those who were on the side of the President who were coming up for re-election in 1954 were beginning to become nervous.
A letter writer indicates that State representatives had sought to locate an engineering college in Charlotte. Graduates of the engineering school at N.C. State in Raleigh appeared to be dissatisfied, and, he predicts, N.C. State would eventually turn more to agriculture and a college of textiles and engineering, Piedmont Tech, would be established in Charlotte. (It is not clear to what he is referring.)
A letter writer finds that the Rosenberg case had been an example of the "flagrant use of technicalities" by lawyers "in an attempt to defeat justice." He finds the continuation of the case for two years to have been a "disgrace" and an injustice to the Rosenbergs, themselves, even though they had been convicted of being spies. He thinks the legal profession needed to "clean house".
A letter writer wonders if the omniscient God was seeing good for future generations from teaching of the Bible in public schools, thinks that it would only lead to more private schools to replace public schools because the parents, teachers and children had been so zealous to impart Bible knowledge that they were determined to include it in daily formal education. She thinks teaching the Bible in the public schools was good, having taught the Bible at one time in the public schools, along with other high school subjects. She had seen students learning for the first time the Lord's Prayer, the Ten Commandments and simple facts about the life of Jesus and of the Old Testament. Being a Christian, she would not dare remove the Bible from the public schools.
A letter from the moderator and clerk of the St. Paul Presbyterian Church indicates that the elders and deacons of the church the previous day had adopted unanimously a resolution supporting the continued teaching of the Bible in the Charlotte public schools.
A letter from a minister favors the teaching of the Bible in the public schools, finds it regrettable that 26 Baptist ministers in the community had signed a resolution requesting that it be removed as a violation of the principle of separation of church and state, as embodied in the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. He says that Sunday School teachers usually were not paid or trained, whereas the teachers in the public schools and colleges were.
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