The Charlotte News

Wednesday, June 3, 1953


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports, via Forrest Edwards, that in ground fighting in Korea, North Korean troops, bayoneted out of allied mainline trenches on the eastern front early this date, had returned during the afternoon to fight South Korean infantrymen in close-quarters combat. The battle on "Luke the Gook's Castle" still raged and there was no information on the size of the enemy attacking force. South Korean infantrymen counterattacked enemy troops dug in at that location at dusk the previous day, with allied tanks shelling enemy positions ahead of the assault waves. By dawn, after a full night of close-quarters fighting, the last enemy soldier had been knocked off the hill. It was the fourth time South Koreans had counter-attacked at that location. U.S. and South Korean troops stopped other enemy forces charging 11 mainline positions and five outposts. The enemy had lost an estimated 1,100 men killed and wounded the previous day, in the heaviest eastern front fighting in more than a year.

Fog, rain and haze slowed but did not stop the air war, with Sabre jets finding no enemy MIG-15s over northwest Korea, but flying as fighter-bombers, struck enemy front line positions.

The Communists handed the allies a letter relating to the Korean armistice talks in a two-minute meeting of liaison officers this date, but the U.N. Command said its contents would remain secret. A full-scale session would be held on schedule the next day, following a nine-day recess. That session would be held in secrecy, and it was expected that the Communists would answer the latest counter-proposal by the allies. South Korea, after having boycotted the last session on May 25, stated that a delegate would attend the following day's session.

An advisory committee of industrial and scientific leaders told the Defense Department this date that the "stern facts" indicated that there could be no safety against atomic attack for the U.S. The committee, headed by M. J. Kelly, president of Bell Telephone Laboratories, had been appointed the previous December to study the problems of defense of the North American continent against atomic attack. The committee had said that the Soviet Union was militarily capable of a surprise attack against the U.S. which could cause large loss of life and major property damage, possibly temporarily reducing the capability of the U.S. to support a major war effort. The committee recommended speedy development of atomic offensive capability as a deterrent. It recommended also the creation of a continental air defense system better than that assured under the current defense program, and stated that there was no practicable way, economically and technically, to assure for the nation invulnerable protection from air attack. It said that a lasting answer regarding a particular desired level of defense against air attack or its cost could not be set down presently.

Secretary of the Air Force Harold Talbott told a Senate Appropriations subcommittee, in televised hearings this date, that he did not think the U.S. could have produced the planned 133 air groups within a year even if the final Truman budget for the Air Force had not been scaled down by more than five billion dollars by President Eisenhower. But Air Force Maj. General O. S. Picher, of Air Force procurement and programming, said he did not think there would have been any great difficulty in achieving that goal. Secretary Talbott said repeatedly that the new budget would provide as many combat aircraft in the coming fiscal year as planned under the Truman budget. The new target for the conclusion of the coming fiscal year was between 110 and 114 air groups, whereas the Truman budget had envisioned 143 air groups within two years. The present interim goal for the Administration was 120 air groups by the end of 1955. The Secretary supported the reduced defense budget. General Hoyt Vandenberg, retiring Air Force chief of staff, was waiting to testify and was expected to oppose the cuts.

The Congress appeared ready to accept the President's leadership regarding Communist China and reciprocal trade policies, with the Senate ready to approve an appropriations bill rider limited to expressing the opinion that the Chinese Communists should not be admitted to the U.N., but not, as previously stated, indicating warning that if the U.N. did admit Communist China, the U.S. would cut off its U.N. financial support. The House appeared ready to push through legislation requested by the Administration to extend for another year the reciprocal trade agreements program.

Secretary of the Treasury George Humphrey acknowledged this date that he had sought support from business groups for the President's tax program, receiving a prompt warning from Representative Daniel Reed of New York, chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee, that it might constitute lobbying. It followed Mr. Humphrey's testimony before that Committee urging a six-month extension of the excess profits tax, set to expire at the end of June.

The President's reorganization plan for the Agriculture Department was called up for House action this date, and Representative Clare Hoffman of Michigan said that there was no chance it would be defeated. It would permit Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson to tighten the reins of authority over the diversified functions of the Department. It would have to be vetoed by the House prior to midnight to avoid going into effect. Representative L. H. Fountain of North Carolina indicated that he would call up a written resolution of disapproval which had been pigeonholed in the House Government Operations Committee, chaired by Congressman Hoffman.

The Justice Department announced this date that a Miami grand jury had indicted six persons, five of whom were identified as Klansmen, on charges of lying under oath during an investigation of racial terrorism. All were residents of Orange County, Fla., where a series of violent incidents had occurred in 1949 and 1950. The grand jury had begun hearing testimony in October, 1952 and had indicted four persons the previous December, charging one with perjury and the other three with making false statements. The Department said that the investigation was continuing. The piece lists the six persons indicted.

Convicted and condemned atomic spies Julius and Ethel Rosenberg said through their attorney this date that they had been offered a deal by the Government to spare their lives in return for their confession that they had been spies. They said that they rejected the deal and were prepared to rest their case with history, even if it cost them their lives. Their rescheduled execution date was set for the night of June 18.

In London, Queen Elizabeth went calling on her people this date, a day after she had been formally crowned, choosing first a Cockney working-class district which had borne the brunt of the Nazi blitz. She first awarded coronation medals to 2,600 Commonwealth and Colonial troops who participated in the previous day's procession. Four-year old Prince Charles led the cheers for his mother at the colorful mingling of soldiers from many lands, observing from a balcony at Buckingham Palace while his mother awarded the decorations. As the troops lined up to pass the Queen and his father, the Duke of Edinburgh, he shouted, "Ready, steady—Go!" Every time the Duke saluted, the young Prince raised his arm in imitation. Crowds growing to 100,000 cheered the Queen and her family on six different appearances made on the flood-lit balcony at Buckingham Palace the previous night. Thousands danced in the streets and great bonfires blazed through the land. The coronation fever had subsided only in the early hours of this date when the tired thousands finally went to bed.

Anything for a party, 'ey?

A spring cold snap swept Western Europe this date, bringing heavy snow in the Alps and chilling rains elsewhere. Britain had a repeat of the cold, damp weather which had brought discomfort to the millions who watched Queen Elizabeth's coronation procession the previous day. (Did those "millions" include tele watchers?)

Near Manassas, Va., a Washington-bound Southern Railway passenger train slammed into a standing Chesapeake & Ohio freight train this date, killing two trainmen in the Southern engine and shaking up ten passengers.

In Manila, a burglar stole two Philippine flags, two pairs of spectacles with cases, a dozen bottles of a soft drink, a telephone directory, a chair, several sheets of rolled aluminum, a lamp and some china plates from the Cebu City police station.

On the editorial page, "Another State School Deficiency" indicates that census figures showed that the state was deficient in its dropout rates before completion of high school. Walter H. Gaumnitz of the U.S. Office of Education, writing in School Life, had shown that the state ranked 39th among the 48 states in the percentage of its 14 to 17-year old children who were in school, and 38th in the percentage of children enrolled in grades nine through twelve. In other words, North Carolina's young people were dropping out of school too early and too numerously, thus losing the advantages of a high school education. The article had given no explanation for the figures, but it was apparent that lax enforcement of attendance laws were primarily responsible.

Intelligent casework by school officials could uncover the causes of dropouts and find ways to make attendance not only possible but desirable. The State owed the child its help and guidance in deriving full benefit from the educational system, but it had failed in discharging that responsibility, a fact, it posits, which ought be apparent to the General Assembly, which in the past had blocked appropriations for a better system of enforcement of compulsory school attendance.

Offer ice cream and pizza...

"Hasty Adjournment Would Be Unwise" recites the 11-point legislative program put forward by Senate Majority Leader Taft and Speaker of the House Joseph Martin in early February. Of those proposals, only two had gone into effect, the reorganization of executive agencies into the new Department of Health, Education and Welfare, and the return to the states of title to the coastal submerged oil lands. But otherwise, either no action had been taken, bills were stuck in committee or had only passed one house. Only half of the appropriations bills had gone to the Senate. The President had proposed or endorsed other legislation, such as admission of more displaced persons and U.S. participation in the St. Lawrence Seaway, but nothing had been done about those proposals either. Congress, therefore, had barely started toward its objectives and yet was planning to adjourn the following month.

It suggests that the Congress should not adjourn early, as there was no election in the fall and the members did not need to return home. The Capitol was now air-conditioned, making summer sessions bearable. It thus wonders what was the rush.

"McCarran Act Misses Its Mark" indicates that it was good to know that advocates of peace were not thereby subversives in the eyes of the Government, as it had for awhile appeared. Stuart Denton Morris, a well-known British pacifist, had been detained at Ellis Island for two weeks while it was decided whether or not he would be a danger to the security of the country, finally allowed to enter. Such treatment, as with Maurice Chevalier, refused entry because of his association with left-wing groups, resulted from the McCarran Act and the excessive timidity of immigration officials in enforcing it. The intended purpose of the law had been to keep out Communists, but the actual result was to keep out nonconformists, or at least allow them admission only after extensive questioning.

If Communists wanted to enter the country, they would likely do so along the long and open borders with Mexico or Canada. "That's the way it is in a democracy with friendly neighbors, and all the costly, frustrating barriers of the McCarran Act that are alienating America's friends abroad won't change this fact."

"The Attainment of Everest" finds it quite appropriate that the first ascension to the peak of Mount Everest had been by a British expedition, reaching the peak on the eve of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth. (Actually, it was accomplished on May 29 and the news announced June 1.) Britons had "every right to continue their justified pride in the traditions and accomplishments of the peoples bound to the crown". But, it continues, the glory of the attainment of the summit of Everest belonged to Edmund Hillary and Bhutia Tensing.

Such accomplishments added to man's storehouse of knowledge, and the driving force behind them was victory over nature and the personal satisfaction which came from gazing on sights previously unseen by man, doing what no man had done before, while aided by science in doing so.

They were one in spirit with the airman-poet of World War II, Flight Officer McGuire, who slipped the surly bonds of earth to go "up, up, where never lark, nor even eagle flew, and there put out my hand and touch the face of God."

The only reservation about the achievement was that conquering Everest subsequently would no longer be such a great challenge, but there were other challenges, "beyond the Himalayas, waiting for men and women who will try to meet them."

Let's go to the Sun...

A piece from the Christian Science Monitor, titled "Growing Slums", indicates that a generally enlightened reader of the publication had posed a question recently as to whether public aid to housing was any longer necessary, as American incomes had reached a point at which private capital would find it reasonably profitable to provide good low-cost housing, thus enabling free enterprise to solve the slum problem. It finds it not an unreasonable question in light of recent studies which showed big incomes getting bigger and smaller incomes getting better, with a growing middle class. The low-wage drag which had, in the past, maintained privately owned slum housing in a revolving cycle had greatly diminished.

Yet the New York State rent director had said that slums were being made faster in New York City than they were being replaced by new housing, a process which would mean they could never be fully eliminated. Slums were neighborhoods in which people lived because they could not live anywhere else, and slum housing was so because people could not pay enough rent to attract capital investment in better housing. Furthermore, unionized wage levels did not represent the incomes of present lower classes. Thus, an economy-minded Senate was still willing to include funds for 35,000 public housing starts in its current budget.

Drew Pearson indicates that it was no secret that the Dewey wing of the Republican Party, sometimes called the liberal or non-isolationist wing, had not been happy recently for despite Governor Dewey having been the lead New York delegate at the convention the previous summer who had managed to steamroll the Taft movement for the nomination, the Senator was the one now calling most of the shots in Washington since the inauguration. The Governor, minding his own business in New York, had watched his Midwestern Republican enemies come closer to the White House, but had said nothing. He believed in the policy of strong cooperation with Europe, whereas the isolationists now encroaching on the Administration did not. He believed in public housing, non-segregation, and Federal control of public lands, whereas most of the Republican right-wingers presently dominating the White House did not. He had done his best to convince the President to snub Senator McCarthy during the campaign, while the pro-McCarthyites presently guiding the President had done just the opposite.

In addition, the progressive, pro-Dewey Republican Senators had taken a backseat in the new Administration, including James Duff of Pennsylvania, who had spear-headed the Eisenhower drive for the nomination, Senators Irving Ives of New York, Bob Hendrickson of New Jersey, Leverett Saltonstall of Massachusetts, and George Aiken and Ralph Flanders of Vermont. They remained supportive of the President, but were seldom consulted.

Mr. Pearson puts forward three basic political axioms regarding the Presidency, that a new President had to put across his program during the first two years in office, preferably during the first year, and that if he did not do so during that honeymoon, he would likely not succeed. Second, a popular President had to go over the heads of Congress and ram his program down their throats during his first wave of popularity. Third, once Congress realized that a President was timid about tangling with them, they would kick him all over the legislative lot, sensing his weakness. Those three axioms were being discussed quite a bit in the cloakrooms at the Capitol, with the Dewey-wing of the party discussing them somewhat mournfully while the right-wingers discussed them somewhat gleefully.

The President had but four weeks to persuade Republicans in the House to continue the unpopular excess profits tax, and would probably not be able to do so, as Congressman Dan Reed, chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee, had seen what happened when other Republicans, such as Senator McCarthy, thumbed their noses at the President with impunity. Had any Senator done to FDR what Senator McCarthy had done to President Eisenhower, regarding ambassadorial appointments, his unilateral deal with Greek shipowners to prevent shipment of strategic goods to Communist countries, and other matters, President Roosevelt would have cut off his patronage and exposed his operations publicly, going to the member's district to block his re-election—as he had done, in the great purges of 1938, to those Democrats who had not gone along with the New Deal.

The President's problem regarding a Korean truce and foreign policy generally was related to the question of appeasing Congress.

Senator William Knowland of California, leader of the Asia-First bloc in Congress, had gone to the White House quite indignant over a purported policy of Secretary of State Dulles, that Chiang Kai-shek and Formosa would be shunted aside to obtain a Korean peace. At that point, the White House and the Secretary retreated, in such a way that other Senators regarded the spectacle as pathetic, as it was now clear that Chiang was not going to be of help in retaking China and that Secretary Dulles had been correct when he told journalists that Formosa would have to be side-tracked. As a consequence, Senator Knowland wanted to obtain more leverage with regard to the Korean truce.

Senator Taft, from his sick bed in the hospital, had drafted a speech, read in Cincinnati by his son the prior week, which had been more devastating toward the Eisenhower foreign policy than anything he had ever delivered against either the Truman or Roosevelt foreign policies. He had done so just as the President was seeking to patch up soured relations with allies in Europe and when the U.N. Command had made a new truce proposal for Korea, liked by the European allies but not by the Asia bloc.

All of that was why the Dewey wing of the party presently sitting on the sidelines were saying privately that they wished that the President had mingled his military training with more understanding of those three great axioms of Presidential politics.

Howard Snyder, writing in the Nation, from Canton, Miss., indicates that he had migrated from the North 40 years earlier and settled in the blackest part of the Cotton Belt on a cotton plantation operated almost exactly as it had been in ante-bellum days. For 25 years, they had operated the plantation with black labor. Race relations had been ugly in those times, beyond anything he had ever seen in the North. Almost any day, one could read in the newspaper that some poor black had been hunted down with hounds or shot by a posse of men or burned at the stake amid the cheers of a mob of supposedly decent people. Black men were whipped by white men even more frequently.

But the previous year, there had only been one case of whipping in the area, when a young white man full of liquor whipped and raped a black woman, for which the perpetrator had been given a heavy prison sentence. There had been no lynchings in the county for many years.

He accounts for the change by the fact that the "old-time 'nigger-hater'" had disappeared and that the younger men were more tolerant. Hatred had caused the many vile outrages, "most of which were committed by rednecks, or poor white trash."

"Rednecks are simple-minded people, wretchedly poor for the most part, almost always illiterate, and they used to be soaked and saturated with hate for the Negro." Yet, the previous 40 years had changed them greatly, and their sons and daughters were now scattered all over the nation doing all sorts of jobs. Those remaining at home had cars and were able to go to town to see how the world lived, with many finding jobs in industry in the South, getting their minds off the black man who had been a resented competitor when they tried to make a living in the cotton field.

Forty years earlier, it had been universally believed that the black man's mission on earth was to serve the white man. Most white men thought it was just for the black man to live in a filthy hovel which afforded little protection against rain and cold and was almost always hopelessly overcrowded, obtaining his drinking water from a ditch while his children grew up unable to read. On election day, blacks stayed away from the polls, knowing that they would be beaten up if they tried to exercise their franchise. If the black man did what he was told to do on the plantation of the landlord, and in the fall accepted as settlement whatever the landlord thought proper, he was rewarded by being called a "good nigger" by his white neighbors.

Wherever Mr. Snyder traveled in the South, he found that conception of the black's place in the economic life of the community dying out, an inexorable result as nothing could persist indefinitely from the old slavery days. All over the South, the old plantations were being subdivided into 40 or 80-acre farms owned and operated by blacks, and in thousands of industrial plants, blacks and whites were working on equal terms.

Some of the old plantations were being sold to white men from the cities to build experimental farms and agricultural colleges, bringing equipment and livestock to start an entirely new method of farming for the South. Those new city farmers were not dependent on black labor and one was just as likely to see a young white man working on those farms. The mutual independence thus generated by black men owning their own farms and white men no longer being dependent on black labor made for better race relations.

Blacks in the deep South were acquiring not only farms but other businesses, including stores, restaurants, sawmills, funeral homes, banks, movie theaters, private schools, dental and medical clinics, and insurance companies. There were a number of black professional men in the county seat where he lived and the black county agent was respected by blacks and whites alike.

Many of the black landowners in the community had spent from three or four to eight or ten years working in factories in the South or North and had saved some money, returned home and bought a piece of land to settle down, completely different from the typical, ignorant share-cropper of 40 years earlier. They were building decent new houses on the farms, growing a variety of crops and keeping livestock. If a child became ill, they would take him to the doctor rather than hanging charm beads around his neck.

Mr. Snyder says that he could not see the color line being wiped out suddenly by law, but rather as disappearing gradually, as blacks of the South made themselves worthy of the respect of men of any race and as the white people freed their minds of hatred, intolerance, and ante-bellum notions of the black's "place".

"The old South is dead; the new South is being born."

Marquis Childs finds that the matter of the British ships and shipping companies transporting troops and supplies to the Communist Chinese had been handled badly, giving Senator McCarthy a political windfall, that it would have been better to have provided a frank response to the initial letter of the Senator, which had been respectful and had posed genuine contradictions in statements by Administration spokesmen. The letter had been withdrawn, "thanks to the activity of Vice-President Nixon in his familiar role of mother's busy little helper." The Vice-President had prevailed on the Senator to avoid a showdown with the White House.

The chief discrepancy raised by Senator McCarthy in the letter was that on March 28, Secretary of Defense Charles E. Wilson had advised the Investigations subcommittee, chaired by the Senator, that the Department of Defense believed that the shipment of goods or provisions of services to the Communist Chinese contributed to their economic and military potential, but then the acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for economic affairs had informed the subcommittee that the State Department did not agree with that position, that the subcommittee would appreciate being advised as to which view reflected the Government's position. He also wanted to know whether it was the policy of the Government to withhold from the public information concerning the amounts and kinds of goods believed to be strategic shipped to the Communist Chinese by U.S. allies. He also pointed out that it was believed that these ships and shipping firms were profiting from transport of U.S. foreign aid goods, and that everyone who had appeared before the subcommittee, with the exception of Mutual Security Agency officials and State Department officials, had condemned that dual trade. The letter then solicited the opinion of the President as to whether the U.S. should refuse Government-financed ocean cargoes to those allied shipping firms continuing to deal with Communist China.

The letter had been prompted by Senator Stuart Symington of Missouri.

Mr. Childs again asserts that it would have been better to provide a frank reply that the trade had been negligible and that any strategic goods had been infinitesimal, that the general embargo on strategic goods had been violated in some instances, but that the Administration had been moving steadily in recent weeks to close those gaps.

Robert C. Ruark indicates that he had two places to stay for free in London to view the coronation parade, but had chosen to stay away because of the crowds, saying that he had given up long ago on full coverage of events, such as political conventions, a piece of advice given to him by Rocky Riley, who told him that when everybody was doing something, he should go and do something else. He indicates that to attend such events was the equivalent of attending the rush hour at a railway station or subway terminal, and then throwing one's money out the window. He never had understood what people got out of going to such "big cat fights" unless it was some sort of snob gratification over which they could gloat later.

He hopes that Queen Elizabeth would live as long as her grandmother, and that England would thrive "under her little white fist." But he would rather have to fight a new war than to see the coronation in person. He had determined that the television showed it better, and one could read about it in the newspapers from "willing sufferers who were not named me."

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