The Charlotte News

Monday, July 13, 1953


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that a well-informed source said this date that South Korean President Syngman Rhee had pledged in writing that South Korea would not obstruct an armistice and that the President had indicated that his country had relaxed its demand for unification by force. He said in a statement that South Korea might change its methods but not its objective of unity. A well-informed source had told Robert Eunson, the Associated Press Tokyo bureau chief, that President Eisenhower's special envoy, Assistant Secretary of State Walter Robertson, had obtained sweeping concessions from President Rhee, including the written pledge, but that Mr. Robertson did not wish to embarrass President Rhee by disclosing them. The President had reportedly also agreed not to free any more prisoners, as he had ordered 27,000 North Korean prisoners who resisted repatriation freed on June 17, angering the Communists and interrupting the truce negotiations. Mr. Robertson had refused to agree to President Rhee's demand that the U.S. walk out of a post-armistice political conference if it failed to make headway in obtaining unity of Korea within 90 days. But it was reported that there had been an assurance provided by the U.S. that it would hold another top-level conference with South Korea to work out a joint policy and that the U.S. would defend South Korea if it were again attacked by the Communists. Those promises reportedly were in addition to promises of provision by the U.S. of economic and military aid and to obtain unity peacefully.

There had been a hostile Communist reaction to the results of the conferences between Mr. Robertson and President Rhee, as reflected by correspondents at the Panmunjom truce negotiations site and in broadcasts by the official Communist radio, at least prior to the latest statements by President Rhee.

In ground fighting, two Chinese Communist divisions comprised of about 20,000 men hit allied lines on the east central front the previous night, according to the U.S. Eighth Army. The attacks occurred between "Sniper's Ridge" and the Pukhan River.

U.S. Sabre jets flying as fighter-bombers and light bombers detected the mass movement during the daylight hours of Sunday and dropped tons of explosives on the enemy lines along the east central front, hitting Chinese trenches in the Kumsong area.

The Big Three foreign ministers of France, Britain and the U.S. continued their meeting this date in Washington, planning to conclude their discussions the following day, with bilateral discussions between the U.S. and France and the U.S. and Britain scheduled for this date and the following day. French Foreign Minister Georges Bidault had told Secretary of State Dulles the previous day that there had been a sharp increase in the amount of supplies being received by Communist forces in Indo-China from Communist China, starting about three months earlier. U.S. officials noted that the timing had roughly coincided with the resumption of serious efforts for a truce in Korea. M. Bidault told the Secretary, in an obvious hope for increased U.S. assistance, of a plan developed by French commander General Henri Navarre for an offensive against the Communists in Indo-China. Secretary Dulles, according to officials present at the conference, expressed great satisfaction at the aggressive attitude displayed by that plan, and it was believed that if the French carried it out, they could expect favorable U.S. consideration of a request for additional aid. The Secretary reiterated a joint American-French statement of the previous spring which had asserted that if the Communists took advantage of a cease-fire in Korea by waging new aggressive action in Indo-China, they would be striking at the basis of the Korean armistice, citing the April 16 speech before the Society of Newspaper Editors by the President, in which he had called for peace, not only in Korea, but throughout the Far East. M. Bidault said that the Navarre plan would include a substantial increase in the present program of expansion of Indo-Chinese native forces to fight the Communists.

In Ismaila, Egypt, it was reported that machine-gun armed British soldiers had cordoned off the Suez Canal town this date and announced that they would search all persons entering or leaving the town until a British airman, missing since the prior Thursday, was found. Armed Egyptian troops immediately took up posts around all Government buildings in the town, which was near the main Suez Canal Zone base of the British. At Egyptian Army headquarters, it was said that these troops were part of routine patrols and that they would avoid friction with the British Army. The British charged that the missing soldier had been abducted and that they believed at least one Egyptian official had been involved, but the Egyptians denied the charge. President Mohamed Naguib summoned his Cabinet into emergency session in Cairo to discuss the matter.

The Senate and House this date passed and sent to the President legislation setting up a multi-million dollar relief program for the drought-stricken areas of the Southwest.

The House Post Office Committee defeated by one vote this date a move to postpone action until the following year on the President's request for increased postal rates. The Committee then adopted a motion to continue the hearings. It was not clear whether the Committee would report the rate increase bill to the full House, however, before the scheduled adjournment on July 31.

In Honolulu, the Navy undertook a massive search this date for survivors of a four-engine airliner which had plunged into Pacific waters with 58 aboard. A green flare was spotted just before midnight on Sunday, in the general area 350 miles east of Wake Island where the Transocean Air Lines DC-6B had last been reported on Saturday night. An empty life raft and seat cushions had been spotted earlier on oily waters in that area. The plane had been bound from Guam to Oakland, Calif., carrying eight children under ten years of age among its 50 passengers and eight crew members. It disappeared during its leg on Saturday night from Wake to Honolulu. It was the first commercial transoceanic plane crash in that part of the Pacific since World War II.

In Salem, Ore., about 1,000 convicts, after ending a three-day revolt and being fed their first meal in two days, became restive and threatened violence at the Oregon State Penitentiary late the previous night. The warden said that those still remaining in the prison recreation yard, where they had been confined since early Saturday, would stay there at least until the present morning. About 125 men had returned to their cells when the warden made the decision. With the temperature reaching above 90, the convicts had attempted to dig up a water pipe beneath the baseball diamond, but guards broke up the effort with bursts of rifle fire. The warden said that the strike had occurred because of sterner discipline he had imposed since becoming warden on April 1.

In Lenoir, N.C., the polio epidemic continued, with the total number of victims climbing to 154 in Caldwell and Catawba Counties, with a young woman, 21, having died, the fourth death since the beginning of the outbreak in early June. The victim's sister, 16, was on a respirator in an Asheville hospital, also suffering from polio. A mass inoculation program of gamma globulin, as had transpired the previous week among 13,000 children nine and under in Caldwell County, would be repeated in Catawba starting either the following Wednesday or Thursday, after the arrival of the inoculations.

News editor Pete McKnight reports from Wrightsville Beach, N.C., on new Senator Alton Lennon, appointed the previous day by Governor William B. Umstead to fill the vacant seat left by deceased Senator Willis Smith at his death three weeks earlier. Mr. McKnight indicates that Mr. Lennon was as surprised as everyone else had been in the state at his appointment, but was ready to undertake the challenge of the office and also to run for election the following year. He was virtually unknown outside of his native Wilmington and surrounding New Hanover County, despite two terms in the State Senate between 1947 and 1951. He had been selected over many better known and more influential candidates for the post.

On the editorial page, "The Un-American A-Bomb" indicates that the advocacy of more frankness on atomic matters by the President, nuclear scientists and former Atomic Energy Commission administrators might prompt many readers to acquaint themselves more fully with atomic information already at public disposal. The writings of William L. Laurence in the New York Times and Saturday Evening Post were understandable and interesting, as was a recent book, which it recommends, by Ralph E. Lapp, titled The New Force, written in a manner which was comprehensible by laymen.

The latter book explained breeder reactors, the possibility of converting the atomic bomb stockpile to peaceful uses, and the tactical use of atomic weapons. The piece had found particularly thought-provoking Mr. Lapp's chapter on the early development of the atomic bomb, the chronology of which it explains in considerable detail, starting with the earliest research by Albert Einstein, running through the Manhattan Project and the final successful detonation of the first atomic bomb at the Trinity test site at Alamogordo, New Mexico, on July 16, 1945, during the Potsdam Conference. It was especially impressed by the international nature of the development process and finds it therefore appropriate to share atomic energy with private industry as well as with allies of the country, so that materials and information could be utilized to develop fully both the wartime and peacetime potential of atomic energy. It was through that method, it concludes, that the country would outdistance the Communists in their development of atomic energy.

"C&D Appointments Are in Character" finds that Governor William B. Umstead's appointments to the State Conservation & Development Board to have been good, reappointing several Board members who had been appointed by former Governor Kerr Scott, and adding men who were well qualified to serve. It thus supports the appointments, especially of the chairman, Charlotte's Ben Douglas, and believes they would do a good job in attracting new business and industry to the state and thus broadening the tax base for needed government services.

"Too Bad Joe Didn't Go Too" indicates that when Senate Investigations subcommittee staff director J. B. Matthews, hired by Senator McCarthy, the subcommittee chairman, had resigned his post the prior Thursday in the wake of the controversy surrounding his article in the American Mercury, in which he had claimed that 7,000 Protestant clergymen supported Communism, it was too bad that Senator McCarthy had not resigned along with him.

It finds that, as with Senator McCarthy, Mr. Matthews added up the names of persons who formerly had belonged to left-wing organizations, threw in several hundred who had signed a petition advocating repeal of the McCarran Immigration Act, and obtained a few more names from rumor and thin air, until, "presto", he had 7,000 Protestant clergymen in support of the Communist Party.

Senator McCarthy was now snooping around the CIA, to which he had assigned sinister motives. Meanwhile, the CIA, the State Department and the clergy of all faiths, as well as educators, librarians and other groups which Senator McCarthy had tried to insinuate were infiltrated by Communists, continued their work, as the actual and dangerous Communists doubtless appreciated the "havoc and dissension created by the completely irresponsible Senator."

A piece from the Richmond Times-Dispatch, titled "A Wonderful Invention", tells of the new British-made jukebox which would deliver three minutes of silence upon the deposit of a coin. It provided a respite from the "screechy hillbilly or ear-shattering boogie-woogie record" which otherwise might be playing. It suggests that it would enable people to enjoy their lunch by continually feeding nickels into the slot and playing the silence, "while lovers of bedlam fumed and fretted in the uncomfortable (to them) quietness." But one had to be quick in beating them to the slot.

It indicates that it was a first for which the British had a right to be proud and that smart American jukebox distributors ought produce a similar model. "Silence is golden."

The person who wrote the piece obviously came of age during the silent movie and wax cylinder era and cannot appreciate the need for vibration through the air which sound-producing boxes generate, especially in need in the angst-ridden atomic era, as a means to ward off the lingering memory of the momentary silence intervening the end of the buzzing of the German V-1 rockets and their death-imminent detonation during the second blitz of 1944.

Drew Pearson indicates that Democratic Senators were seriously considering a battle against the nomination by the President of former Connecticut Senator John Danaher to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York. (He would be nominated actually to the D. C. Circuit.) The appointment had been urged by Leonard Hall, RNC chairman. Mr. Danaher had been a skillful Republican fundraiser of late and was president of Capitol Hill Associates, a Republican "drinking club" across from the Capitol, plus director of special activities for the President-elect the previous November. He represented Firestone and Goodrich in the rubber field, and some Senators had wondered what part, if any, he had played in persuading the Administration to sell the Government's valuable synthetic rubber factories to the rubber industry. He also represented the Fuller Brush Co., and in 1947, shortly after the lobbying act was passed, requiring registration of lobbyists, he was listed as the highest paid lobbyist for Congress, with a fee of $25,000 from the Revere Copper and Brass Co., which he received for getting the import tax on copper suspended. While a Senator, he had been in favor of high tariffs, but as a lobbyist, he had opposed the import tax on copper for his clients. During 1946, he had also been listed as having received $20,000 per year from the RNC as its liaison with Congress.

The President had won a notable victory in obtaining the six-month extension of the excess profits tax through the end of the year, but inside Republican ranks, relations had been strained to the breaking point in achieving the victory. That was evident in the House Ways & Means Committee, where chairman Daniel Reed had sought to block the bill to extend the tax for weeks, before finally allowing it to come to a vote, which wound up 16 to 9 in favor of the President's position. He provides some of the detail of the rancor which immediately preceded the vote. Mr. Reed stated that in all his time in Congress he had never seen the kind of pressure which had been brought to bear on the Committee to force out a tax bill which the majority of that Committee still did not want.

Joseph Alsop indicates that while the Administration had won its fight over the excess profits tax, it had to give ground on extension of the special corporate income tax and excise taxes, which would expire the following spring, creating a loss of three billion dollars in revenue, which the Treasury could not afford.

In agriculture, the parity provisions of the farm statutes would run out in 1954 and would have to be replaced, controversial at a time when there was a farm recession in progress.

On foreign economic policy, the Reciprocal Trade Act had to be replaced, an even hotter subject than farm policy.

And in Social Security, the President had repeatedly promised to broaden coverage, but that legislation would come before the House Ways & Means Committee, where Representative Reed still opposed the President on taxes and foreign trade, and wanted revenge for the recent defeat regarding the excess profits tax.

Regarding defense and the budget, the issue had also been ducked during the year by cutting defense spending and blaming the remaining deficit on the Truman Administration. The budget would have a 6.6 billion dollar deficit and perhaps more in fiscal year 1954-55. The President would then have to choose between three undesirable alternatives, a steep increase in taxes, stripping of national defense or forgetting about budget balancing. Raising all of those issues in an election year would be problematic for Republicans in Congress and any one of them was sure to arouse the anti-Eisenhower wing of the Republican Party. Party harmony was unlikely to provide a workable strategy.

Marquis Childs indicates that the Eisenhower Administration, after six months in office, had done nothing to end the drift in continental defense from atomic attack. The tendency had been to "apply a poultice to the potential cancer." One such form was the Federal Civil Defense Administration, with its air raid sirens, fallout shelter signs, bulletins and pamphlets. But the practical result of the program, except for stockpiling medical and other supplies, had been negligible. There were Civil Defense organizations in some few cities, providing knowledge of shelters in subways and basements, the usefulness of which would be contingent on the people having adequate forewarning of a nuclear attack. But with the inadequate radar facilities guarding the country, that was not assured.

Congress had steadily cut the budget for Civil Defense since its establishment in 1951, appropriating 105 million dollars in 1952. President Truman had sought 600 million dollars for the 1952-53 fiscal year, but Congress had cut that down to 43 million dollars. Val Peterson, a former Governor of Nebraska, had been appointed head of Civil Defense by President Eisenhower, and was requesting 125 million dollars for the 1953-54 fiscal year, a cut of 25 million from the last Truman budget. But Congress would only approve a fraction of that amount.

Mr. Childs suggests that it was so little that it would be better for the program to be abolished completely, as it provided the illusion that something was being done when it was not.

The present state of the radar warning system would provide civilians virtually no notice of an atomic attack and would give the Defense Fighter Command so little time to react that a sizable number of enemy atomic bombers would be able to get through the net. The Kelly report on the continental defense system had indicated that a two-hour warning was minimally necessary, but little progress was being made in establishing such a system. It could be built, with full Administration support, in a little more than three years, at a cost between five and ten billion dollars.

James Marlow discusses the foreign aid program in the face of the desire by a large part of Congress to end it within the ensuing couple of years. Senator John McClellan of Arkansas had stated that taxes were the highest ever paid in the country and expenditures were also the highest in peacetime, resulting in the largest peacetime deficit the country had ever had. But Mutual Security Administration director Harold Stassen had told a Senate committee, to justify the 5.2 billion dollars in foreign aid sought by the Administration for 60 countries, that the aid program might have to continue for another decade, provided Russia continued to be a threat. Secretary of State Dulles had added that some countries could not get along without U.S. aid and that if they did not get it, the Communists might get them.

If Congress were to end the aid program in the ensuing two years, and also maintain tariffs at high levels, preventing foreign trade to obtain dollars, the result could be that allies would turn toward Russia for trade, something which Congress also did not want to occur. Congress was reluctant to lower tariffs so as to protect U.S. industry from foreign competition, and so there had been great opposition to renewal of the Reciprocal Trade Act, as favored by the President. Both houses finally approved of keeping the program for at least one more year.

The Administration did not regard all trade by the allies with Iron Curtain countries as bad, as Mr. Stassen's deputy administrator, Kenneth Hansen, had recently stated that many countries friendly to the U.S. needed some trade with Iron Curtain countries to receive, in exchange for their goods, coal, bread, grains, foodstuffs, and forest products. He had said that the real questions to be considered were the subject of the trade with the Iron Curtain countries, when it was traded and who got the net advantage.

A letter writer believes that the 26 Baptist ministers who had petitioned the City and County School Boards to end the Bible instruction program in the public schools had been misunderstood, that they did not oppose the Bible per se but rather the teaching of religious doctrine. He believes that there was good teaching ongoing in the public schools and that if every denomination placed a teacher there, he wonders what the schools would be like. He says that there were many religions but only one salvation.

A letter writer indicates that the board of the Wesley Heights Methodist Church had unanimously adopted a resolution on June 30 approving the teaching of the Bible in the public schools.

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