The Charlotte News

Saturday, June 6, 1953


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports, via Robert B. Tuckman, that at Panmunjom, allied and Communist negotiators had met in secrecy for 19 minutes this date, amid reports of near agreement on the key issue of prisoner exchange, encouraging hope that an armistice in the war in Korea was close. A South Korean source had reported, however, that in this day's session, no new proposal was made by either side. The Communists sought and obtained a recess until the following morning. The South Korean source, without elaboration, suggested that progress might then be made. He described the atmosphere in the conference hut to have been businesslike, "neither good nor bad". Other observers said that the U.N. Command probably had asked for clarification of an hour-long statement read Thursday by North Korean lead negotiator General Nam Il, reportedly a virtual paraphrase of the latest counter-proposal submitted on May 25 by the U.N. Command, with the Communists said to have made only five minor changes. The South Korean truce delegate, Maj. General Choi Duk Shin, had again boycotted this date's session, a boycott begun with the May 25 session, protesting the armistice terms involving continued division of Korea.

In ground fighting in the war, a reinforced North Korean battalion ripped through a mainline allied position on the eastern front this date and held it stubbornly against counter-attacking South Korean troops. The fighting occurred east of "Luke's Castle", where bloody fighting had raged for the previous week. Fighting had been almost continuous on the eastern front hill mass since Monday night, when the North Korean troops had obtained their first foothold on the tip of "Luke's Castle". (The report conspicuously, for the first time, eliminates the full nickname of the hill in question, previously referred to as "Luke the Gook's Castle"—eliminating the pejorative reference to the enemy perhaps because of the progress, finally, in the truce talks.) Another North Korean battalion had torn into a South Korean outpost on "Bloody Ridge" on the east-central front, and the South Korean troops met the attack ahead of the outpost but were forced back in desperate hand-to-hand combat.

The President met with military and civilian officials this date regarding the latest developments in Korea.

Senators Alexander Wiley of Wisconsin and Alexander Smith of New Jersey endorsed this date the proposal by Senator Taft that the U.S. seek a military alliance with Britain, France and other allies to counter Communism in the Far East. Senator Wiley, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, said in an interview that he believed such an alliance, similar to NATO, ought be formed in the Pacific. He said, however, that such an alliance ought be undertaken pursuant to the U.N. Charter for regional arrangements for mutual defense, contrary to Senator Taft's suggestion that the U.S. "disentangle" itself from the U.N. to form such a pact. Senator Wiley favored a regional pact involving Australia, New Zealand, Japan and the Philippines, each of which already had treaties with the U.S., and including England and France, implying their regional interests in Hong Kong, Malaya, Burma and Indo-China. The Senator expressed that he doubted the U.S. would want to agree, as it had with the NATO pact, that an attack on any one of the prospective members of such a regional organization in the Far East would constitute an attack on all.

Senator Karl Mundt of South Dakota said this date that he had ordered a new investigation of how the Russians had been able to use currency plates borrowed from the U.S. Government to "print money by the bale", which the U.S. then had to redeem. The Senator said that prior inquiries had revealed that someone in the Government had provided occupation currency plates to Russia in 1945, but that no one had ever developed the inside story of how that came to be. He said he planned a thorough grilling of past and present officials of the International Monetary Fund regarding the loan to Russia of the printing plates to produce occupation currency for the Allied forces in Europe during and after World War II. Both Senators Mundt and Joseph McCarthy, chairman of the Investigating subcommittee undertaking the investigation, said that they planned extensive questioning of Frank Coe, the IMF former secretary who the previous day had refused to answer questions of the subcommittee as to whether he had ever been a Communist or spied for the Communists, but denied any intrigue in supporting revaluation of Austrian currency, as favored by the Communist regime in Czechoslovakia. Mr. Coe was to return before the subcommittee the following Monday.

Senator Homer Ferguson of Michigan, chairman of a Senate Appropriations subcommittee, said this date that he hoped that Democratic Senators did not make a "political matter" of the dispute about Air Force budget cutbacks. He said that he believed the people would be surprised at how close the subcommittee was to the remarks made during the previous three days by General Hoyt Vandenberg, retiring Air Force chief of staff, who opposed the five billion dollar budget cuts proposed by the Eisenhower Administration, reducing in the process the goal established under the Truman Administration of 143 air groups by mid-1955 down to 120 air groups by the end of that year. Democratic Senators Burnet Maybank of South Carolina, Lister Hill of Alabama, and John McClellan of Arkansas, all of the subcommittee, had suggested in their questioning of General Vandenberg that they would fight to restore the 143-group goal.

In Paris, former Premier Georges Bidault said that he would try again to form a new national government, which would be the 19th since the end of World War II. Recently, the Government of Rene Mayer had resigned after a no-confidence vote in the National Assembly, delaying the prospect of a Big Three meeting scheduled for Bermuda in mid-June, involving President Eisenhower and Prime Minister Churchill, as well as the new Premier of France after a new government was formed.

At Fairford Air Base in England, another U.S. B-47 Stratojet bomber set a new trans-Atlantic speed record, just set the previous day by three B-47s, the new time being five hours and 22 minutes, with an average of 575 mph for the 3,120-mile crossing of the Atlantic from Limestone, Maine. The previous day's record had been 14 minutes slower. It was the last of a flight of 45 B-47s arriving in Gloucestershire, and the third this date. Each of the two other B-47s had set new trans-Atlantic records this date, at five hours and 30 and 29 minutes, respectively, but each standing for only a few hours.

In Charlotte, a 22-year old man told police this date that he had fired six bullets into his former sweetheart and then fled to the Municipal Airport in an attempt to escape by stealing an airplane. He then changed his plans, after giving serious consideration to suicide, but, according to police, wanted to make sure that his former sweetheart was dead and so gave himself up to the County police, was now in custody on a charge of murder, held without bail. The death was the seventh homicide of the year, occurring after midnight in the home of the decedent, whose husband was serving in the Army in Germany. The accused had a criminal record of property crimes and one assault and was heavily armed when taken into custody. He had been the childhood sweetheart of the decedent until she married her husband in December, 1952. He suffered from Hodgkin's disease and was treated for it while serving 18 months in a Federal reform school on a charge of forgery. His only statement to detectives was: "Put it this way. You live with a woman so damn long—well, that's it." We suppose the grim implication was that after that, the only thing to do was to pump her full of lead. Large pictures of the scene of the crime, the accused, and the person to whom he turned himself in, are included on the front page.

In Montreat, N.C., at the meeting of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of the U.S., the Southern branch, proposed changes in church rules on divorce and remarriage were approved by a committee this date, allowing ministers more discretion in deciding whether divorced persons could be remarried within the church. The committee rejected objections that the changes would "water down the standards of the church". If the Assembly approved the new rules, they would be submitted to the church's 84 presbyteries for a vote, approval by a majority of which and by a subsequent Assembly would then be required for the changes to take effect.

On the editorial page, "'To Study' Is Not To Procrastinate" regards a decision the prior Thursday by the City Council and County Commissioners to defer a decision on consolidation of City and County services pending more study of the issue. The piece indicates that the Institute of Government had found in reports issued in 1949 and 1950 that consolidation would eliminate duplication and waste, providing better services for the community. What was needed, it offers, was a decision on a method of procedure. Both health departments, for instance, currently were under one administrator, and a joint committee of the Council and Commission was currently studying the desirability of combining the tax departments. It concludes that there was no objection to further study as long as it did not amount to pigeonholing of the issue.

"Capital Punishment on the Way Out" indicates that if North Carolina continued to modify its attitude toward capital punishment, it would not be long before Central Prison's gas chamber would be out of business. Four years earlier, the General Assembly had enacted a law permitting a jury to recommend life imprisonment for a defendant convicted of first-degree murder. The first such defendant sentenced under that law was in Mecklenburg County, the defendant receiving life imprisonment for murder, as had other defendants subsequently. The Assembly had further amended the law in the recently ended session in 1953, permitting the State to accept a plea of guilty on capital offenses involving first-degree murder, burglary, arson and rape, such a plea automatically eliminating the possibility of the death penalty, enabling a life sentence.

During the current week, the Superior Court of neighboring Gaston County had accepted a plea of guilty from a defendant charged with first-degree murder of his wife by shooting her five times, and he was sentenced to life imprisonment.

It indicates that the frequency of resort to such new laws would be governed by the evidence available to the State, that in most cases where premeditation was clear, defense attorneys would urge their clients to plead guilty and avoid the death penalty, obtaining a chance under a life sentence, at the time, for parole. County Solicitors, faced with the problem of proving premeditation, might accept such guilty pleas as an easy way out, saving the expense to the State of a trial while meeting the ends of justice.

It indicates that the newspaper approved both changes in the law, leaving it up to the jury on the one hand and to the Solicitor on the other, to determine if a crime was so heinous and the perpetrator so vicious as to require the death penalty. It indicates that the new policy reflected a slowly evolving public attitude toward capital punishment. The last defendant from Mecklenburg County who had been sentenced to death had been a black man who brutally killed his former employer, a Charlotte society matron in the Myers Park section of the community, which it erroneously states occurred in 1948—a case, actually occurring August 1, 1949, as we remarked at the time when the story arose herein, which was fraught with great difficulty in accepting the validity of the death penalty for the fact that the defendant never really received a proper appeal because of a no-issue brief having been submitted by his severely incompetent counsel, and the pretrial publicity surrounding his arrest and his open statements to newspaper reporters immedately following his arrest having been so atrociously foreign to due process as to tend to have denied him a fair trial, among other issues.

It remarks that there had been scores of homicides in the county in the ensuing four years but no death sentences handed down. The statewide pattern was similar, and it suggests, therefore, that it would be desirable to extend the time for first eligibility for parole on a life sentence from the minimum time to be served under present law of ten years.

"A New Brand of GOP Leadership" indicates that in an editorial of the prior October 9, the newspaper, in endorsing General Eisenhower for the presidency, took note of the fact that there were men in the Republican Party against whom The News had done battle over the years, but expressed confidence at the time that the responsibility of authority would temper "the irresponsibility and negativeness that are usually the trademarks of a party too long out of power."

But, it finds that had not happened in all cases, as Republicans such as Senators John W. Bricker and Joseph McCarthy, and Representatives Claire Hoffman and Daniel Reed had continued to act as if President Truman were in the White House, while other "Old Guarders" had gotten behind the President and given him strong support on foreign and domestic policy, such as Senator Homer Capehart, chairman of the Banking & Currency Committee, Senator Bourke Hickenlooper, Senate Majority Leader Taft and House Speaker Joseph Martin.

It finds that perhaps the most outstanding of the new Republican leaders in Congress was Senator Alexander Wiley of Wisconsin, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, who was well informed on the difficult problems of foreign policy and understood that there was no easy road to peace and security. During the current week he had advised his Congressional colleagues to weigh their actions, not just in terms of how they would be perceived back home, but also regarding how they would be received throughout the "chaotic world" of 1953, and that those who were not members of the Foreign Policy Committees of each house should exercise a stronger sense of caution and restraint when considering the difficult foreign policy field, that there was too much "Olympian talk" by those inside and outside Congress who had not studied the facts. He had concluded that there were too many "overnight experts on too many subjects". He reiterated his opposition to the Bricker amendment to curtail Presidential authority over foreign policy by requiring executive agreements to be ratified by the Senate and that both houses approve by majorities a ratified treaty before it would be implemented, in addition to the existing requirement of two-thirds Senate approval for ratification of treaties. He had also backed the President's request to admit 240,000 alien refugees over and above immigration quotas, criticized proposals to curb imports from abroad, and endorsed the 5.4 billion dollar Administration foreign aid bill.

The piece concludes that it was the kind of responsible leadership which the Republicans had to develop if they expected to fulfill their obligations to the nation and the rest of the free world.

A piece from the Chicago Sun-Times, titled "Courage in a Small Package", tells of the Chicago suburb of Downers Grove, with a population of 11,900, having taught a lesson from which immense Chicago could profit. Whereas Chicago school officials had appeased the "know-nothing" pressure groups which sought to restrict the knowledge, understanding and reasoning ability of public school pupils, the Downers Grove Board of Education had adopted a resolution that there would be no curtailment of the presentation of facts pertaining to controversial issues of state, national, or international import, unless it was otherwise curtailed by law, provided that the superintendent and all teaching personnel would exert their best and most sincere efforts to present such facts objectively and impartially.

The piece indicates that the Chicago Board of Education would do well to adopt a similar resolution for academic freedom, and muster the courage to resist the "know-nothings".

Drew Pearson indicates that Secretary of State Dulles had reported to the nation by radio seven days after the January 20 inauguration of the President that he promised that the new Administration would not "take South America for granted". Latin Americans had greeted the statement with approbation and foreign observers, noting the menace of Communism in neighboring Guatemala and British Guiana, had hoped that the new Secretary had meant what he said. But five months later, the reaction of Latin American governments ranged from hope to skepticism or discouragement. They were discouraged at the poor caliber of ambassadors whom the new Administration was sending to them and at the discriminatory tariff treatment placed on Uruguay, the staunchest defender of democracy in South America.

Secretary Dulles had stated shortly after taking office that he would appoint 15 top ambassadors to Latin America and so far had picked five, chiefly heavy campaign contributors or Republican playboys. Mr. Pearson provides the roll call of those ambassadors, describing each one, including James Kemper, arch-isolationist leader of the Chicago Tribune Republicans, appointed Ambassador to Brazil; Francis White, who had been Assistant Secretary of State for Latin America during the period when U.S. Marines had landed in Nicaragua during the Presidency of Herbert Hoover, named Ambassador to Mexico; Arthur Gardner, former social adviser to John W. Snyder, Secretary of the Treasury under President Truman, appointed Ambassador to Cuba, who would work hard to accomplish little and offend no one; William T. Pfeiffer, appointed Ambassador to the Dominican Republic, his chief qualification being the fact that he was a law partner to White House secretary Tom Stevens; and finally Michael McDermott, appointed Ambassador to El Salvador, the best of the lot thus far, a cautious career diplomat who had been in charge of State Department press relations since the time of Secretary of State Frank Kellogg during the Presidency of Calvin Coolidge.

Latin Americans had long considered themselves neglected in favor of the Marshall Plan focusing on Europe and resented getting run of the mine or low-grade diplomats and also resented the wool tariff placed on Uruguay, a tariff which the previous year, Senator Joseph O'Mahoney of Wyoming had begged the Truman Administration to impose, claiming it would protect Wyoming sheep-growers, and, not incidentally, assure his re-election. But Secretary of State Acheson, desiring protection of the good neighbor policy in trade and realizing that Uruguay had a tough time preserving democracy alongside dictator Juan Peron's Argentina, refused to impose the tariff. But now, despite a program of "trade-not-aid", Secretary Dulles had permitted those duties to be placed on Uruguayan wool, the first time any such duties had been placed on products coming from Latin America. Latin American diplomats wisecracked that they preferred to return "to the days when we were taken for granted."

Col. Gordon Moore, the President's brother-in-law, was not only doing well in business since the President had won the election the previous November, but was also doing well at bridge, according to friends of the President, who said that he was the star of lengthy White House bridge sessions.

The Democrats still owed nearly $40,000 to Chicago firms for the previous year's presidential nominating convention, prompting Dwight Palmer, head of General Cable, to resign as DNC treasurer because the bills, despite money he had raised, had not been completely paid.

Marquis Childs indicates that the changes being brought to public life by television had no better illustration than the "show" put on by the President and four members of his Cabinet earlier in the week, broadcast over the networks nationwide. He indicates that use of the word "show" was not meant disparagingly, as it was invariably used by television producers and directors regarding any performance on television, whether a solemn discussion of the morals of mass atomic bombing or a comedy show.

From its inception, the White House show had been in the hands of professionals skilled in popular presentation, a process which he describes in detail, starting with a "script conference" held in the Oval Office with the experts and the "cast". It was agreed therein that there would be no reading of a prepared script, as it was depressing to a director to have a character read his lines, a fault, from the professional viewpoint, of the television appearances of former President Truman. That meant that the principals would have to do a lot more work, with their public relations assistants having to prepare material to present in an informal and seemingly extemporaneous manner. That was a difficult assignment, as public officials always wanted to be very careful with their words uttered publicly, an example of which was HEW Secretary Oveta Culp Hobby, who was so careful that she read every comma for its potential significance before delivering a speech.

The three Secretaries involved in the presentation, Ms. Hobby, Secretary of the Treasury George Humphrey and Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson, plus Attorney General Herbert Brownell, thus began doing their homework, performed in a dress rehearsal for an hour the day before the broadcast, telecast via closed-circuit to a monitor located in a sound truck behind the White House, to enable preview. Then there was another rehearsal on the day of the performance. The main text for each principal had been placed on cue cards, commonly associated with "spontaneous and unrehearsed" shows.

Mr. Childs observes that there were hazards in presenting serious issues in such a professional production, as the tendency was to oversimplify and boil down issues to a point that the average citizen could understand them, whereas many issues did not lend themselves to such simplification, causing the average citizen to get the misconception that a major issue could be reduced to a few words or even syllables.

The previous fall, the Republicans had spent a lot of money for 30-second and one-minute ads in which General Eisenhower appeared, apparently answering spontaneously questions posed by citizens, when the questions and answers were provided in separate film segments, then edited together and were not at all spontaneous. Those ads regarded ending the war in Korea, prosperity, and cutting Federal spending, and, "[i]n view of the looming problems still ahead, those words may have been too simple."

Joseph & Stewart Alsop indicate that the State Department and the Pentagon were in one of their recurrent moods of optimism regarding the Korean truce talks, for the reason that there were various indications that the most recent U.N. truce offer was being seriously considered by the Communists. But there were differences in Washington behind closed doors regarding the truce policy, only a confused rumble of which had reached the public.

The minority viewpoint was represented by Senator William Knowland of California, who urged no "whittling away" of the country's stand against forcible repatriation of prisoners of war, that there should be unification of Korea, and a promise extracted from the Chinese Communists to give no further aid or comfort to the neighboring Communist movements in Indo-China, Burma or elsewhere. The Senator was not content with a mere truce, but wanted to end all fighting in the Far East, a peace which could only be obtained through armed force. The difference between the Senator and some of his colleagues of like mind who were placing Asia first in foreign policy was that he was honest enough to face the real implications of his viewpoint, understanding that he would not be able to obtain the terms he wanted through an inexpensive miracle, bitterly opposing the British viewpoint while not suggesting that if the British agreed with him, the resultant "common Anglo-American trumpets would cause the walls of Peking to fall, like the walls of Jericho." He was aware that if such a victory would be had, it had to be fought for, an expensive and risky proposition. But he felt that such a victory was worth the heavy price, believing that a mere cease-fire and continuation of the status quo elsewhere in the Far East would lead inexorably to a worse fight later.

Against that point of view was that of the President and Secretary of State Dulles, that victory in the Far East was presently unattainable without unacceptable risks and sacrifices, that the end of the fighting in Korea was a worthy goal in and of itself. Since they wanted a truce rather than true victory, they were willing to set forth truce conditions which they knew the enemy was likely to accept.

The Alsops conclude that the difference between those who wanted a truce and those who desired victory had been the real cause of the repeated conflict in Washington.

A letter writer indicates that black citizens of the city were not suffering for the need of additional taxi service but were dying "a natural death" because of the lack of adequate medical care and hospital facilities. He indicates that at the rate black citizens were purchasing cars, combined with the expanded operation of the Duke Power bus service plus the present taxis being operated, there would be little difficulty in obtaining transportation. He favors less "'Negro taxis'" and more "'Negro hospital'" agitation at the present time.

We favor integration.

A letter writer says that he had attended an annual meeting of the Southeastern Regional Council of the National Association of Housing Officials the previous week in Daytona Beach, Florida, and it had been the most enlightening convention he had ever attended. He believes that if all members of Congress could have attended, there would be no question about them voting overwhelmingly for 35,000 additional public housing units for the coming fiscal year. He indicates that to continue to combat Communism at home, public housing was the strongest weapon. It was not sufficient for the real estate lobbies to say that they would, through private enterprise, correct slum conditions, as it was beyond their ability to do so and they had failed to do so in the past. He believes that public housing was as important to the future as the public school system. He believes that nothing would present more fertile ground for Communism than for a child to spend six hours per day in a modern school with sanitary cafeterias and then, at the end of the day, return to "a sordid hovel which he calls home."

A letter from the executive vice-chairman of the National St. Lawrence Project Conference comments on the May 21 editorial, "The Seaway Is with Us Again", finding that in all the time that the various Presidents since and including Woodrow Wilson had championed the project, each successive Congress had been against it after making "exhaustive studies" of it. As the piece had pointed out, the Conference had been a prime opponent of U.S. participation in the Seaway.

A letter writer from Monroe tells of the recent execution of Raleigh Speller on May 29, despite his claim to the end of innocence and alibi. The writer suggests that when there was any doubt of a defendant's guilt, it was a crime against humanity to exact capital punishment. He indicates that doubt prevailed in the minds of some humane citizens, both white and black, as to the guilt of Mr. Speller, and so a "major atrocity" had been committed by the State in executing him. He suggests that Radio Moscow would continue to harp on the case for the sake of "colored peoples in Asia and Africa" and that the people of North Carolina should reflect on the fact that such seemingly insignificant cases as that of Mr. Speller might help to influence the destiny of the world.

As indicated, three Supreme Court Justices, Hugo Black, Felix Frankfurter and William O. Douglas, had, in two separate dissents, found that the jury pool for Bertie County, where Mr. Speller was tried and convicted for rape, not murder, had not been drawn on a racially neutral basis, so as not systematically to have excluded black citizens, but the six-Justice majority in that case and the companion North Carolina case out of Forsyth County, albeit the other defendant executed the same date having confessed his guilt of another alleged rape, had decided otherwise, finding no Constitutional flaw in the trial of either defendant based on jury pools, or in the case of the other defendant, claimed coercion of his confession.

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