The Charlotte News

Thursday, June 4, 1953


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Washington, high officials appeared confident that the U.N. and Communist commands were very close to an agreement on a Korean War armistice, though the details were maintained in secret. There was some indication that the Communist response in Panmunjom at the renewed truce talks, following a nine-day recess, had been complete acceptance of the U.N. counter-proposal, leaving only minor differences to be negotiated. The Government received the response during the morning, after it had been provided to the U.N. Command the previous night, Washington time. Negotiations would continue again on Friday and Saturday.

In ground fighting in Korea, Forrest Edwards reports that Chinese and North Korean Communist troops this date had resisted, in bloody hand-to-hand combat, all except one of seven South Korean counter-attacks for key allied hill positions captured by the Communists. Units of four South Korean divisions had attacked Chinese troops at five outposts on the east-central front, and North Korean troops on portions of "Luke the Gook's Castle" and "Anchor Hill" on the eastern front. One outpost had been recaptured by the South Koreans on "Bloody Ridge".

In the air war, the allies flew scores of missions in close support of troops on the battle line. Nineteen B-29's dropped 190 tons of bombs on enemy targets in the "Iron Triangle" sector of the central front, their largest assault in nearly a year. Heavy clouds and low haze obliterated the battle line from the air, but the Air Force said that its fighter-bombers had used electronic sighting equipment to drop the bombs.

The President had begun a new era of Presidential communication with the people the previous night, with his "family circle" telecast, indicating that there would be no appeasement of Communism and no risk of a general war. He invited television viewers to think of themselves as fellow-dwellers in "the national house". He said that the country would keep its temper and build its strength, would maintain its air power, while securing peace and prosperity in peace. Cabinet members appeared along with the President and provided information by way of discussion with him. It was estimated that 50 million people had viewed the broadcast. There had been two intensive rehearsals of the program to make it appear spontaneous and unrehearsed.

Current Air Force chief of staff General Hoyt Vandenberg testified this date before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee, his second consecutive appearance, saying that U.S. air aid to its NATO allies had to be cut if the Air Force goal were changed from 143 wings under President Truman to the current 120 wings by the end of 1955. He opposed the five billion dollar cut in appropriations, saying that the 120-wing proposal would only provide for air defense of the U.S. and could not be stretched further. He said in reply to questioning, in comparing modern weaponry to that of 1944, that while planes were more powerful and destructive than the planes of World War II, there was also to be taken into consideration the number of targets, the diversification of targets and probable losses of aircraft in making sure one atomic bomb could reach its target. The President had said on May 19 that presently three aircraft carrying modern weaponry could practically duplicate the destructive power of all of the 2,700 planes used in the D-Day invasion. Senator Burnet Maybank of South Carolina said that he would make a "hell of a fight" to restore some of the Air Force cuts so as to be able to meet the 143-wing complement as soon as possible.

House Speaker Joseph Martin of Massachusetts said this date that he believed Congress would extend the excess profits tax prior to its June 30 expiration, as requested by the President, despite the efforts of House Ways & Means Committee chairman Daniel Reed to allow it to expire on schedule.

At the Yucca Flat proving grounds in Nevada, the largest atom bomb ever exploded in the U.S. was observed from Las Vegas, 75 miles away, flaming for more than two minutes in the predawn sky this date, with the fireball boiling for more than 30 seconds, indicative of an intensity twice that of any previous bomb or device detonated in the Nevada desert. The Hiroshima bomb, by comparison, in August, 1945, had a fireball of ten seconds duration. This date's bomb was dropped from a B-36 flying at a high altitude of probably 35,000 to 40,000 feet, with the detonation occurring at more than 2,500 feet. The estimated power of the bomb was at least 50 kilotons. It was the 11th and final in the spring series of detonations by the Atomic Energy Commission. The flash of the bomb could be seen in San Francisco, 400 miles away, and in Los Angeles, 250 miles away. Strangely, however, the shock wave was not felt in Las Vegas, or even by observers on Mount Charleston, 45 miles from the test site.

The first seagoing test of the world's first known atomic submarine would probably take place sometime in 1954, according to AEC chairman Gordon Dean this date in a speech before the Edison Electric Institute convention in Atlantic City. Mr. Dean also announced the successful breeding of atomic fuel, the production of as much or more new fissionable material as was burned in the process of making it. He described it as one of the most revolutionary developments of the atomic program to date, that it had the potential for making a civilian atomic power industry even more feasible and attractive than previously thought possible. The process had been accomplished at the AEC's reactor testing station at Arco, Idaho.

Henry Grunewald, Washington influence peddler, was fined $1,000 and given a suspended jail sentence this date for his previous conviction for contempt of Congress for refusing to answer questions, the judge indicating that as a mitigating circumstance, he found that Mr. Grunewald had received very bad advice from his former attorney in counseling him to refuse to answer the questions.

In Montreat, N.C., the 93rd General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of the United States would open this night with the election of a new moderator.

Tom Fesperman of The News reports that Charlotte traffic engineer Herman Hoose, whose nicknames included "Thousand Island" and "Hot Rock", was now being called "Champ" at City Hall, after Charlotte had won the Institute of Traffic Engineers award for the most outstanding traffic engineering achievement among U.S. cities of population between 100,000 and 200,000. Nine other cities in other population categories received similar awards among the 757 cities participating in the contest. New Mayor Philip Van Every congratulated Mr. Hoose on the award.

On the editorial page, "The Abuse of Veteran Privilege" indicates that the recent Disabled American Veterans Convention in Charlotte demonstrated that questions of Administration policy toward veterans and the programs concerning them, were of increasing concern among veterans organization leaders.

It believes that the current Administration could be generous in serving veterans as every Administration ought be, while at the same time serving the desires of taxpayers through stricter interpretation of laws which permitted VA hospitalization of veterans with non-service connected disabilities when facilities were available. It goes on to summarize a recent study of the non-service-connected patient load in VA hospitals made by the General Accounting Office. It indicates that there were plenty of patients in VA hospitals, as revealed by the study, who did not belong there, particularly the more than 10,000 veterans who had no service-connected disability, admitted the previous year as general medical and service cases for less than 90 days. The GAO report had estimated the cost of their care the previous year at 72.5 million dollars, while some of those hospitalized could pay for their hospitalization.

It concludes that if the "free riders" were ousted from the hospitals, there would be more room for deserving veterans with service-connected disabilities and less need for construction of new VA hospitals. The Administration, it opines, would honorably serve both veterans and taxpayers by enforcing stricter standards of hospitalization. It urges veterans organizations to tend to their own bailiwick and discourage the abuse of veteran privilege.

"Leadership Is Not Lobbying" indicates that Congressman Daniel Reed, chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee, had attempted to confuse the public the previous day by warning Secretary of Treasury George Humphrey that his admitted efforts to drum up support for the President's tax program might constitute lobbying.

The piece provides the legal definition of lobbying, finding that the Secretary had not engaged in it, but was merely exercising leadership in public policy as a member of the executive branch. It finds that the trouble with Mr. Reed was that he was of a single mind regarding tax matters, having long promised businessmen a tax cut. He considered national tax policy to be up to him, having consulted neither the Administration nor the House leadership during the winter when he began his crusade to cut taxes. It remarks that in a democracy, however, it was necessary to compromise and was unnecessary to attribute ulterior motives to an honorable man with opposing views.

"Cheer Up" quotes a paragraph from Harper's Weekly from 96 years earlier, indicating that it was a "gloomy moment in history", that in France, "the political cauldron seethes and bubbles with uncertainty", while Russia hung, "as usual, like a cloud, dark and silent, upon the horizon of Europe", as the British Empire's energies and resources were "sorely tried".

It remarks that the paragraph might as well have been written in the present.

It might have noted, however, in its effort to cheer up those distressed by the world situation, that 96 years earlier there were no atomic or thermonuclear devices abounding as in 1953, growing in number by the day both in the U.S. and Soviet Union, and with atmospheric tests continuing, oblivious to the cancer risks thereby posed and unheedful of scientists' warnings that hydrogen bomb tests of sufficient megatonnage could conceivably set off a chain reaction in the atmosphere which could obliterate the entire earth.

"Tax Study Agenda" indicates that Administration officials were considering instituting a national sales tax to raise revenue to balance the budget and supplant the expiring excess profits tax. The piece finds it not advisable, but that there should be a study of the complicated tax structure. It suggests that some revision be made regarding taxing movie stars, who by living and occasionally working abroad for 18 months did not have to pay U.S. income tax on their earnings there, the quick tax write-offs available to expanding businesses, and the 27.5 percent oil depletion allowance available to the oil interests, available even after all of the invested capital had been obtained tax-free.

A piece from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, titled "City Boyhood Has Its Memories", tells of the President having told recently the American Retail Federation that there ought to be more things in the lives of contemporary youngsters which would grow into sentimental memories during their older years, such as the open cracker barrel and the pickled egg of the old-time general store.

It indicates that thanks to summer vacations on a Midwestern farm, it could appreciate the President's remarks. But it also finds that he did not need to feel sorry for those who grew up on city sidewalks, as had the writer, as the cities also had charms from the past. There had been a butcher who gave them free sausage when the family called for a roast, a baker who passed out cookies, a confectioner who served sodas and sundaes at marble top tables and wire chairs for a nickel, a pushcart popcorn vendor and penny candy store full of orange balls, licorice whips, wax wine bottles and marshmallow turkey dinners, two for a penny. There had been a big outdoor department store clock under which downtown meetings were arranged, and there were early nickelodeons showing "The Perils of Pauline" serial every Saturday afternoon. There was the itinerant scissors grinder and the barrel organ man, Sunday baseball games, horse-drawn fire engines, the horses for which were exercised every afternoon at 4:00, with the firemen sometimes obliging the children with a ride on the engine or the hose cart. City parks afforded swimming and tennis in summer, and skating and sledding in winter. There were moonlight boat trips, and a favorite aunt would start a taffy pull or make lemonade at the drop of a hat. There were wonderful Halloween parties, neighborhood ballgames and magic lantern shows, foghorns and locomotive whistles in the night.

It indicates that it could render a long list for the President of such memories but that the longer it would get, the more sorry the President would feel that he had missed all the joys, thrills and glories of growing up in a city.

Drew Pearson indicates that it had been suggested recently to the Eisenhower Cabinet members to clear all major policy matters informally with Senator Taft. It was not a hard and fast order but rather a suggestion, and yet the effect was about the same. The Senator was becoming increasingly the actual President, having power without official responsibility, while the President had leaned further than any previous President in recent years to give a Senator full cooperation, nearly providing him veto power over domestic policies and appointments. Another result of that deference to the Senator was that Secretary of Labor Martin Durkin was almost certain to resign, given that Senator Taft was the primary political enemy of the labor movement, and Mr. Durkin had been head of the Plumbers Union.

He notes that Mr. Durkin had felt unhappy about two other things, receiving no help regarding the revision of the Taft-Hartley Act, and that when he arrived at Cabinet meetings, he found other members already there, giving him the impression that matters had already been decided.

Secretary of Defense Charles E. Wilson, seeking to justify the cuts to the Air Force budget, was trying to pull a new "atomic rabbit" out of the hat, so that his statement that the smaller Air Force would be just as strong would prove accurate. The actual fact had been that the plan to cut the budget had come first and for stronger atomic bombs only afterward. The new strategy of the Secretary was based on a study of atomic strength which had not been completed. The previous year, General Matthew Ridgway, set to become Army chief of staff, was directed to make a new study of European defense based on changes in atomic strength, making a preliminary finding that cutbacks in European armed strength might be possible. But his completed report was not due until September. Meanwhile, the Soviets were building up their atomic stockpiles so fast that U.S. intelligence experts estimated that the Russians would have enough atomic bombs to wage war by 1956. He notes that the current cuts to the Air Force meant that airplanes previously scheduled for production in 1956 would be nixed.

The Senate barbershop still charged only 75 cents for a haircut, whereas the price in downtown Washington was $1.25.

Ohio Congressman Clarence Brown had recently registered a temperature of 105, crediting Navy doctors at the Bethesda Medical Center for saving his life.

Speaking of which, we have a suggestion to the current occupant of the White House, whose days there appeared to be quite numbered, that when he finishes his term, given that he wishes to dispense medical advice and has just issued a commutation which the recipient described as "saving" his life by not sending him to prison where the coronavirus might kill him during his 40-month sentence: he should go to medical school and become a physician. Given his bedside manner, he would no doubt be a hit, at least with certain patients who have an insatiable desire for abuse. He might make a better go of that than trying to be a political leader, at which he is not an adept.

Former President Truman wrote to former Secretary of State Dean Acheson at least twice a week, the letters containing pithy and not very complimentary comments about the new Administration's policies.

The State Department had no advance warning before Ambassador Clare Boothe Luce had announced withdrawal of U.S. aid from Italy in the event of the overthrow in the coming Sunday's elections of the Government headed by Alcide De Gasperi. Mr. Pearson notes that her speech did not help.

During the previous five months, the Washington police had put in more than 10,000 hours of overtime without pay, most of it having been during the week of the inauguration.

Marquis Childs remarks on the circumstances surrounding the failure to approve the temporary appointment of Mildred McAfee Horton as a delegate to the U.N. Economic and Social Commission during May, indicates that red tape and a "cumbrous mechanism", referred to by Acting Secretary of State Walter Bedell Smith, had probably contributed to some of the problem, but was not justification for action or lack thereof, harming both an individual and the Government. General Smith had provided his explanation in response to Senator Henry Jackson, who expressed shock at the treatment of Ms. Horton, who had headed the Navy Waves during World War II and was president of Wellesley College. The system of evaluating fitness of Presidential appointees on the basis of FBI field reports would be improved, according to General Smith, responding to Senator Jackson's question. The FBI had been timely in submitting its report on Ms. Horton and others who had suffered similar delay.

A problem appeared in the fact that the State Department security officer, R. W. Scott McLeod, had veto power over Presidential appointees to the Department or positions falling within its purview. Recently, Mr. McLeod had given an interview in which he said that Department officials had to be "ruthless" in considering potential employees. It would be better to eliminate the cost of an FBI investigation and save the embarrassment and unhappiness to a potential appointee, remarks Mr. Childs, if Mr. McLeod were going to make the decision ultimately anyway, based on membership in certain organizations joined by an individual in good faith.

Senator Karl Mundt of South Dakota, in his weekly newsletter to his constituents, had explained that his wife had launched the campaign to restore the Oahe Dam project in South Dakota after it had been nixed from the budget for economy, after his wife had set next to Postmaster General Arthur Summerfield and explained how her husband wanted the dam restored to the budget, whereupon Mr. Summerfield arranged for Budget Office director Joseph Dodge to go to the Senator's office, where Mr. Dodge agreed to restore the funding for the dam. In exchange for that promise, Senator Mundt had explained to his constituents, he had promised to make sure that as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee he would find ways of cutting the overall budget to make up for the 8.25 million spent for the dam. He then explained that eight million dollars had been cut from the funds approved for State Department personnel, which still left the Department with more funding than during World War II, and that another $300,000 was taken from the travel allowance for State Department functions.

Mr. Childs finds this to be "a remarkable gimmick", that there was hardly a member of Congress who did not have a pet dam or river project to promote, and so one could foresee the State Department appropriations being reduced to nothing. He quips that it would probably be appropriate, in any event, to rename Oahe the John Foster Dulles Dam.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop discuss the deteriorated relations between Britain and the U.S. as a function of three things. First, Labour M.P. Aneurin Bevan was serving as the same irritant to the British Foreign Office as was Senator Joseph McCarthy to the State Department, each, therefore, serving the other's interests, though from different ends of the political spectrum, and each having influenced national policies in their respective countries.

But neither would have gotten very far had it not been for the fundamental differences in the national situation in each country with respect to the risk of a third world war, the second factor. For instance, in the U.S., many high officials, including chairman-designate of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral Arthur Radford, believed in some form of war with Communist China, with an inherent risk of starting a general war. Yet, because the risk was not immediate to the American people based on proximity to the Far East or Western Europe, the U.S. was not consumed by that fear. But in Britain, where proximity to Western Europe was immediate and within range of Soviet atomic-air capability, that fear was palpable. Within a few years, however, if Secretary of Defense Charles E. Wilson continued to neglect air defense and retaliatory strike capability by air, the U.S. also would be within striking range.

The third factor was the U.S. weakness in leadership after the war, both by President Truman, and, thus far, by President Eisenhower, both tending to vacillate in their leadership responsibilities vis-à-vis Britain. Presently, Secretary Wilson had chosen Admiral Radford to head the Joint Chiefs, known for his belief that national interest required a direct confrontation with the Chinese Communists, while Secretary of State Dulles called for national liberation of large areas of the Soviet empire, as the President stated in his speech to the newspaper editors in April that he favored peace and would be willing to meet face to face with Soviet leaders, provided they took tangible action toward realization of their talk about peace. But all of it was mere empty talk unless the U.S. possessed the power to enforce those programs and offer challenge to the Soviets.

Meanwhile, the U.S. did not want to pay the bill for that national power, giving budget-balancing and tax-cutting priority over rearmament. The U.S. was talking strong but growing weaker, and nobody would follow someone who blustered but was known to be feeble in a fight.

The deterioration of the Anglo-American partnership had gone very far and perhaps, in time, the U.S. would have to "go it alone", as suggested by Senator Taft in his speech of the prior week. But before that would happen, it was necessary to think of the cost of arms in other ways, and it was worth at least trying to have a national policy which was firm in its leadership, encouraging Britain and the other allies in the process.

Robert C. Ruark discusses 3-D movies, finds it unnecessary to make a bad movie just to show off new technology, whether it was sound or Technicolor or this new form of the medium. It was further complicated by the fact that the audience had to don special glasses "to see the horror in all its naked dreadfulness." It looked as though audiences would settle for CinemaScope over 3-D, as the former worked with one camera and one strip of film, with a 160-degree lens, at about one-third the filming cost and one-fifth the cost of remodeling the theaters in which it was exhibited as that of 3-D movies. It also handled directional multiple sound, the most important part of extra-dimensional audience enjoyment, in the public domain, after the MGM sound man had the patent in 1932 but then let it lapse.

No matter how stark the realism, three-dimensional film could not stand by itself, and would kill itself if indulged in overly freely, without regard to the other necessary ingredients of a movie, acting, writing, directing and story. Clarence Brown, "one of the hoariest and best directors in the business", director of eight Garbo films, "National Velvet", "Intruder in the Dust", and "The Yearling", had recently said that if he were playing with the three-dimensional stuff, he would remake "Ben-Hur" in basic 2-D color, and then reserve 3-D for the chariot race. For if the entire picture were shot that way, it would lose its impact such that by the time the climactic scene occurred, the novelty would be gone.

Mr. Ruark concludes that movies could not compete with television by means of a mere gimmick, as color was coming to television also and, he assumes, eventually 3-D as well.

A letter writer from Gastonia hopes that the new Mayor and City Council would open theaters on Sunday, says the residents had been without Sunday amusements long enough.

A letter writer takes exception to a headline pertinent to the Soap Box Derby, which had stated "Loads of Loot for Lucky Lads", thinks the newspaper should consider the definition and connotation of "loot" before using it again in connection with a wholesome event. He provides the dictionary definition of the word as plunder, booty, spoils of war or gains of corrupt officials, or the act of looting. He urges discretion in putting forth such "catch-headlines".

Sometimes, people can take things far too literally, regardless of what an encyclopedia or the dictionary may say about a given phrase, word, person or event in history. Get a life, smile for a change, and adopt a little bit of common sense and understanding. There is really no sense in being either a Dimmesdale or a Chillingworth. What others say and how they say it is no one else's right or business to challenge or chill, lest, eventually, you want your own speech chilled and challenged as well, chiller-diller.

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