The Charlotte News

Saturday, July 11, 1953


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports, via Robert Gibson, that U.S. Embassy sources in Seoul said this date that a joint U.S.-South Korean statement would be issued later this date and would show that an agreement had been reached with President Syngman Rhee to support the armistice. The President's envoy, Assistant Secretary of State Walter Robertson, told a press conference the previous night that he felt that his work was done and that he would depart for home this date. The joint statement would not be released until 10:00 a.m., 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, EST, the time having been the idea of President Rhee, who had said the previous day that he and Mr. Robertson had reached a "friendly understanding". Mr. Robertson, however, had refused to state flatly that an agreement had been reached, only that substantial progress had been made.

In the ground war, U.S. Seventh Division troops had undergone terrific Communist artillery fire and had withdrawn from "Pork Chop Hill" on the western front the previous night on orders from superior officers. Earlier, it was reported that Chinese troops had stormed the crest of the hill during daylight hours, but it was not known whether the enemy troops had occupied the height, which stood only 40 miles north of Seoul. The withdrawal brought to at least a temporary end the five-day battle for the hill, which guarded the Chorwon Valley supply routes.

In Washington, the Big Three foreign ministers of the U.S., Britain and France met this date and discussed the meaning of the purge of L. P. Beria in Russia as Vice-Premier to Georgi Malenkov. Secretary of State Dulles accompanied acting British Foreign Secretary Lord Salisbury and French Foreign Minister Georges Bidault in a visit at the White House with the President. Afterward, Mr. Dulles indicated that the President had discussed informally speculation on the significance of what was presently occurring in Russia. The three foreign ministers had spent most of their first meeting the previous day discussing the impact of the purge, agreeing that it might suggest a return by the Soviets to a tougher policy toward the West and harsher rule over Eastern Europe. Ambassador to Moscow Charles Bohlen was in the process of flying home to report on the matter.

The President made an offer to the Soviets of 15 million dollars worth of food, including grains, fats and other commodities from the Government-owned surpluses, to be sent immediately to the people of East Germany. The offer had not been made to the puppet Government in the Eastern Zone, as it was not recognized by the U.S.

Western observers believed that Soviet leaders planned to announce broad reforms affecting millions of citizens following the ouster of Mr. Beria. The Russian press reported this date widespread popular denunciation of him as an enemy of the people. Expected reforms included changes in the administration of Soviet law and agricultural policies, price guides and moves to increase the standard of living. Pravda supported the view that changes were in prospect, charging that Mr. Beria had used his power to block important and urgent measures in agriculture and legal reform.

Soviet Maj. General P. T. Dibrova announced in East Berlin this date that martial law which had been imposed in the wake of rioting on June 17 would be lifted at midnight. He confirmed that he had ordered the execution of one worker by firing squads and that more than 4,000 Germans had been arrested in the Soviet sector. He gave no reason for his order this date. Allied officials said that Magdenburg, Halle and Erfurt remained under martial law.

Three Democratic Senators, Henry Jackson of Washington, Stuart Symington of Missouri, and John McClellan of Arkansas, had resigned from the Senate Investigations subcommittee, chaired by Senator McCarthy, and the latter had accepted their resignations, served in protest over the employment by the subcommittee of J. B. Matthews as staff director, following his American Mercury article in which he had contended that 7,000 members of the Protestant clergy formed the largest single group supporting the Communist apparatus in the country. Senator Karl Mundt of South Dakota said that he hoped the three Democrats would reconsider their "somewhat impetuous action". Senator McCarthy had described the action as "the old Democratic policy of either rule or ruin". He said that the subcommittee would continue to function with or without them and that he had no plans to change the staff. Mr. Matthews, however, had resigned on Thursday, and the Senator said that he had no plans to rehire him. Mr. Matthews told a reporter that he had names of Catholic priests and Jewish rabbis as well who were supportive of the Communists, but that he had not named them because the article had only dealt with Protestants.

The President this date named Frances Willis, a career diplomat, to be the new Ambassador to Switzerland. She had joined the State Department in 1927 and had extensive experience in diplomatic posts, presently assigned to the State Department. She was the first woman diplomat promoted by the Department to a top post in many years. The President had appointed Clare Booth Luce to become the Ambassador to Italy, but she had not come out of the State Department career diplomatic service.

In Amarillo, Texas, the President said this date that the Government would not "dilly dally" while cattle starved on barren ranges during the drought in the Southwest. Some of the ranchers believed that price supports on cattle were the only way the cattle industry in that region could survive after years of drought. Six governors of those states promised small farmers that they would receive the same relief given the cattlemen. The President, along with Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson and chief of staff Sherman Adams, conferred with the governors in Amarillo for two hours. Texas Governor Allan Shivers said that the governors and the President had discussed proposals for price supports, though that issue was not referenced by the President in his speech.

In Savannah, Ga., the wreckage of a B-50 bomber, missing from nearby Hunter Air Force Base with ten men aboard, was sighted early this date in a marshland along Rock Fish Creek, with no sign of survivors.

In Fresno, Calif., armed troops patrolled the downtown streets this date as police searched for an arsonist who had plunged the community into near panic. Loiterers and casual passersby were ordered out of the downtown area in the wake of 12 fires set almost simultaneously in major buildings the previous day, amid a rash of false alarms. Governor Earl Warren authorized use of volunteer National Guardsmen, who spent the night guarding the downtown area from looting and further arson at hospitals, schools and other public buildings. More than 20 firefighters who had been overcome by heat or smoke had been hospitalized, but there were no other reports of injuries. Damage was estimated at $800,000. Theaters, dance halls and other amusement centers closed under an emergency proclamation. Most of the fires had started in restrooms or closets in the buildings. When the first fire broke out during the early afternoon in the four-story Hughes Hotel, the outside temperature had been 101 degrees.

In Raleigh, Governor William B. Umstead named Alton Lennon, 46, a Wilmington lawyer who had served previously in the State Senate, to fill the unexpired term of deceased Senator Willis Smith, who had died three weeks earlier. Mr. Lennon said that he expected to be a candidate in 1954. He had not been previously mentioned as a likely appointee. Former Governor Kerr Scott, who was expected to run for the Senate seat the following year, said that whatever the Governor did with regard to the appointment was all right with him and that it would have no impact on his decision to run or not the following year, that he was not going to run against anyone but that he would run for the Senate if he did so. Mr. Lennon had no comment about a possible campaign against former Governor Scott. Mr. Lennon had supported Governor Umstead in his unsuccessful bid in 1948 against former Governor J. Melville Broughton, in the race for the same Senate seat, and had again supported Governor Umstead during the gubernatorial race of the prior fall. Senator Clyde Hoey said that he welcomed Mr. Lennon as a colleague and that he would perform "splendid service".

Former Governor Scott would run and win the Democratic primary in 1954 against Senator Lennon.

On the editorial page, "Prelude to Another Stalin Regime" suggests that two points ought be remembered in the struggle for power in the Kremlin, that, first, a totalitarian regime, to rule long and successfully, had to vest control in a monolithic party or group with solid uniformity and an harmonious pattern, and the corollary to that principle, that a monolithic party had to be headed by a strong man who was so powerful that he commanded complete obedience of all party members, instilling awe and fear among the people. Such had been the case with Benito Mussolini in Italy and Adolf Hitler in Germany, as well as Joseph Stalin. Since the latter's death, there had been an uneasy balance of power in the Kremlin between Premier Georgi Malenkov, V.M. Molotov, Nikolai Bulganin, and Mr. Beria, each of whom had been jockeying for power and authority.

The West knew little about the struggle, but there was reason to believe that it followed the classic Soviet pattern set by Stalin when he had come to unchallenged leadership through purges of the competition. If that were so, then the ouster of Mr. Beria was likely but an incident in a continuing series of events to come.

As long as the balance of power in Russia was tottering, its ability to move quickly and decisively was limited, but once rule would be consolidated in a single man, regardless of who it was, order and cohesion would be restored and the danger of Russian imperialism resumed. Thus, it concludes, any sense of satisfaction in the West over the ouster of the sinister Beria and the resulting unrest ought be tempered by the realization that it could be the prelude to another Stalinist regime.

"The Vindication of 'Chip' Bohlen" states that Ambassador to the Soviet Union Charles Bohlen's confirmation to the post had been stymied earlier in the year by Senators McCarthy, Styles Bridges and Pat McCarran, the latter charging that State Department security officer, Scott McLeod, had refused to clear Mr. Bohlen because of information received from the FBI, though overridden by Secretary of State Dulles. Senator Bridges had charged that Mr. Bohlen was an "exponent of appeasement and containment" and an "obedient and faithful subordinate of the Democratic Administration". Senator McCarthy had said that "Moscow is the last place in the world" for Mr. Bohlen and demanded that he submit to a lie detector test. Secretary Dulles, however, stood firmly against the attacks, and was supported in that stance by the President. Eventually, on March 27, Mr. Bohlen had been confirmed by a vote of 74 to 13.

Now, it indicates, the wisdom of the President in appointing Mr. Bohlen had been confirmed. "While McCarthy and the other windbags were sounding off in Washington," Mr. Bohlen was in Moscow analyzing the developing struggle for power after the death of Stalin. The State Department had announced the previous day that he had tipped them off that L. P. Beria was soon to be purged and that he had planned his vacation so as to be outside Russia and available for quick consultation in Washington at that point.

It suggests that if the President were wise, he would challenge Senator McCarthy again by calling back into service George Kennan, former Ambassador to Moscow under President Truman and another outstanding expert on Russia. It also advises the President and Secretary Dulles to do something to halt the exodus of experienced career diplomats under the attacks of Senator McCarthy and his informers in the State Department. It suggests that unless Secretary Dulles did something soon to improve the morale, there would be no one left in the Department other than "hacks, lackeys and nincompoops."

"A Problem for Community Study" indicates that facilities for unwed black mothers were one of the great social needs of the city and the region. There were three maternity homes for white girls in North Carolina, one of which was in Charlotte. But there were none for black girls in the entire Southeast. A proposal out of the black community to establish one in Charlotte merited serious community attention. Promoters of the home had received approval of the City Solicitations Committee for a public campaign to raise $5,000 toward its establishment.

It cautions that hasty action, however, would be ill-advised, that first a community study of the purpose and scope of the proposed institution and its financing ought be undertaken. It suggests that perhaps the Social Planning Council of the United Community Services ought undertake such a study.

"Hogan Did All Right, Too" comments on golfer Ben Hogan having won the British Open the previous day in Scotland, indicating that telephone callers to The News sports desk had asked all during the previous day how he had been doing. It finds that on a day in which L. P. Beria had been thrown out of his post as leader of the Russian secret police, when negotiators in Korea had reopened the truce talks, when the President had flown to the Texas drought area, the telephone on the news desk was almost silent except for those who wanted to know how Mr. Hogan was doing in Carnoustie.

Drew Pearson comments on the flak arising in response to the article in the American Mercury by staff director J. B. Matthews of the Senate Investigations subcommittee, chaired by Senator McCarthy, in which he had stated "the largest single group supporting the Communist apparatus are Protestant clergymen", finds that it had a divisive effect on Protestants and Catholics at a time when harmony between the two groups appeared to be on the rise. Mr. Matthews had received support from the Coughlinite groups and the Christian front, which also supported Senator McCarthy, support which had aroused bitterness in the Protestant world. Many Catholic leaders disapproved of Senator McCarthy but had not been as vocal as his supporters. It should have been obvious to the Senator, comments Mr. Pearson, that Mr. Matthews would have aroused resentment among Protestants and Jews, regardless of his article in the Mercury. He was given credit in Senate testimony for leading the unfair attack on Assistant Secretary of Defense Anna Rosenberg when she had been erroneously branded a Communist. He was also a friend to Joseph Kamp, sentenced to jail for refusing to testify regarding his Constitutional Educational League. Mr. Matthews had been a contributor to Father Coughlin's newspaper, Social Justice, which had been officially recommended by the Nazis before Pearl Harbor. He had the backing of Allan Zoll of American Patriots, Inc., listed by the Justice Department as subversive, as well as the support of rabble-rouser Merwin Hart.

The Mercury was now owned by Russell Maguire, once close to the Christian Front and a backer of the recent anti-Semitic document, "The Iron Curtain over America". At a dinner given in honor of Mr. Matthews at the Waldorf on February 13, speakers included Senator McCarthy and columnist George Sokolsky, plus a message read from Vice-President Nixon. The guest list included Messrs. Hart, Zoll, and Kamp, columnist Westbrook Pegler, the financial agent of Sir Oswald Mosley, leader of the British Union of Fascists, Roy Cohn, and others.

Mr. Matthews had once testified that he was probably more closely associated with the Communist Party's united front movement than any other individual in the country. He had been able to cash in on his mistakes.

Catholic leaders indicated that Catholics were quite opposed to Senator McCarthy, not liking the fact that he had never married or that when he was a judge he had granted quickie divorces. The largest circulation Catholic newspaper, Our Sunday Visitor, however, printed two articles by Father Richard Ginder which supported the Senator. But America, the publication of the Jesuits, differed with Senator McCarthy regarding his attack on Governor Stevenson the prior fall, and Commonweal, the Catholic lay weekly, had published a statement by Father Leon Sullivan, who had once been imprisoned by the Chinese Communists, saying that he would rather return to that prison than avail himself of Senator McCarthy's "protection", finding him a great threat to American freedom, possibly greater than that posed by the Kremlin, comparing the Communist Chinese justice system which had convicted him to the way the Senator operated, not recognizing the basic American principle that a person is innocent until proven guilty. He had said, "If you must betray democracy in order to save it, why bother?"

We might note that it was Senator McCarthy's view, adopted from the collective perspective of HUAC in years past, that if a person came before his committee and asserted his or her privilege under the Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination, it meant automatically that the witness was guilty of whatever it was the leading question had assumed as underlying facts, against answer to which the assertion was made, not making any room for the alternative basis for the assertion, especially regarding matter from many years in the past, that an innocent variation between a current recollection of prior events and a statement made in the past by the declarant or a statement made by some third party might become the grounds, as it was in the case of Alger Hiss vis-à-vis the accusations of Whittaker Chambers, for perjury. Perhaps, no better example could be exhibited than the variation, perhaps again via the catsup bottle, of Senator McCarthy, himself, from the above-linked "Meet the Press" program of December 13, 1953, in which, during the course of a mere 30 minutes, somehow the number of persons discharged from the Eisenhower Administration in 1953 for disloyalty, "perversion" or other grounds, had jumped, mysteriously, at least according to the Senator, by 30 persons, from 1,427, at 10:30, to 1,457, at 23:12, some twelve and a half minutes later. Were the Senator under oath before himself and certain members of his committee, such as Senator Mundt, as inquisitor in the mirror, would he not have been the subject of intense questioning as to which number was the correct one, whether either he had a secret earpiece whereby someone off camera tipped him to the up-to-the-minute new number or whether he was in fact lying about the whole issue, making up the numbers, as usual, as he went, and perhaps then, for that variation, becoming subject to indictment? at least by application of the Hiss standards for same adopted by the New York grand jury, with the aid of Mr. Nixon's capacious and flawless memory, in December, 1948, in the wake of the Hiss-Chambers inconsistencies before the Nixonized HUAC the prior August and afterward before the grand jury, itself.

Stewart Alsop, in Berlin, tells of the dissidence ongoing in East Germany affecting the world situation. He looks at Bitterfield, a small industrial city in the Eastern Zone, as seen through the eyes of two men, Wilhelm Fiebelkorn, a school teacher, and Horst Sovarda, a skilled electrical worker, both of whom had arrived a few days earlier in West Berlin after being condemned to death for their part in the June 17 workers' uprising, both having been leaders in the revolt which seized the city and for a time exercised power therein.

Herr Sovarda told of the Communists having been easing restrictions on the population in early June, when the workers at the electro-magnetic combine in Bitterfield were told that their "production norms" would be increased. An order to strike was passed through their organized cells, a setup similar to Communist cells in capitalist countries, until, on June 11, the Communists capitulated to their demands, at which point the workers returned to their jobs. But on June 15, they struck again, making more demands. The factory closed down and the Communists did not respond with the expected violent enforcement. On June 16, the American radio station in Berlin, RIAS, told of the construction workers' strike in East Berlin, and word rapidly spread through the Bitterfield workers, causing every factory in the city to go on strike. The workers filled the streets on the morning of June 17.

Herr Fiebelkorn, known as a militant intellectual, was elected the leader of the Bitterfield District Strike Committee, which then began organizing the strike. The Communist mayor was evicted from his office, and the workers took over all public buildings, the secret police and the Communist party headquarters, freeing 86 political prisoners from the jail, leaving six convicted criminals locked up.

Herr Fiebelkorn dispatched two telegrams, one to the "so-called democratic people's government in Berlin", containing a list of demands, including free elections, the release of all political prisoners, the dissolution of the people's army and of the government, itself. The second was addressed to "the honorable Semyonov", the Soviet proconsul, stating politely a request to lift the siege in Berlin and proclaim his solidarity with the workers of the Zone.

The reply was in the form of tanks, and by the early evening of June 17, all public buildings had been retaken and martial law declared, with both Herren Fiebelkorn and Sovarda condemned to death, ending the revolt in Bitterfield.

Herr Fiebelkorn said that the revolt had been stimulated by the universal hatred felt by East Germans to the puppet Government and its weakness, as sensed by the workers soon after the death of Stalin on March 5, further reinforced by the failure to oppose their demands during the first half of June.

The same pattern had been repeated in 75 other cities in East Germany. Mr. Alsop states that as he wrote, it appeared that another such revolt was in the making, with the sitdown strike in East Berlin by several thousand workers starting to spread throughout the Zone. He cautions, however, that it would be wrong to assume that some Western propaganda would stoke the embers into an open fire of discord and coup, as the Soviet tanks remained to quell immediately any disturbance. But it was also not correct to assume that the revolt was not very important. "It might well be, instead, a great turning point in world affairs."

The Chattanooga Times, in a piece titled "The Queen's English", quotes Queen Elizabeth II, from her post-coronation radio broadcast on June 2 to the Commonwealth, as twice having used the phrase "you all" in reference to the people of the Commonwealth, according to a news service, while another had reported her as saying only "you" in both instances. A journalist in Memphis decided to settle the matter and asked the New York headquarters of the news service to clarify the usage through London, which had cabled in return that the Queen had, in fact, said "you all".

It suggests: "And what was to be expected from a kinswoman of Marse Robert E. Lee himself?" It goes on, combatively, to warn that the next time anyone from the North spoke disparagingly of the Southern usage of "you all", it would reply: "You all just don't speak the Queen's English up there, bub!"

It fails to account for the fact, however, that the Queen did not contract the second person plural-plural to "y'all" or combine it in some foreign concatenation into "you'uns", as some of the Southern folk did and do, the old Scotch-Irish and German lingual underpinnings to speech being hard to break in their fasteners even over the course of a couple of hundred years or more of generations. Some are what they hear in the crib, and have difficulty breaking free from that pattern of safety-penned speech—bound, as it might be, by the corn-hog ratio, as long as the dog didn't first occupy it.

Memphis, incidentally, had received a muddled response regarding the inception of the address, as the Queen actually said: "When I spoke to you last, at Christmas, I asked you all, whatever your religion, to pray for me on the day of my Coronation." Memphis received the correct information, however, on the conclusion: "As this day draws to its close, I know that my abiding memory of it will be, not only the solemnity and beauty of the ceremony, but the inspiration of your loyalty and affection. I thank you all from a full heart. God bless you all."

And for those who believe in the preternatural, we point out again that Mr. Farley made his announcement of his 1940 bid for the presidency at the Robert E. Lee Hotel down 'ere in Wins'on-Salem.

A letter writer addresses his lengthy argument, in favor of continuing the Bible teaching in the public schools of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, to the 26 Baptist ministers who had submitted the petition originally seeking its end. He presents an elaborate argument to justify continuation of the program, finding that it should not be deemed illegal under Supreme Court cases—a highly dubious proposition, as it differed little from the cases which had struck down similar programs as being violative of the principle of separation of church and state under the First Amendment Establishment Clause.

Unfortunately, the letter writer does not know what he is talking about.


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