The Charlotte News

Wednesday, July 15, 1953


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports, via Sam Summerlin, that an authoritative source in Panmunjom had said this night that a showdown was coming between the U.N. and Communist truce negotiators the following day, to take place in a secret session which would "make or break the talks". The sources said that there was a distinct possibility of another breakdown in the armistice talks and that the secrecy would be lifted if that were to take place. The showdown appeared to be regarding whether the Communists would continue to demand, as they had since the June 17 release of 27,000 North Korean prisoners by South Korean President Syngman Rhee, the recapture of those prisoners who had defied repatriation, and whether they would also continue to demand guarantees from the U.N. that South Korea would honor the truce, on which President Rhee had given his assurance two days earlier. Meanwhile, Chinese Communist radio in Peiping claimed that the U.N. Command negotiators had walked out of the meeting of this date. A U.N. Command spokesman stated there was no comment, as there never was regarding Communist propaganda broadcasts. The negotiators had met for 21 minutes. Allied officers were openly pessimistic regarding chances for an early armistice, because of the tougher position taken by the Communists of late regarding South Korean recalcitrance and the renewed heavy fighting on the east-central front, but elsewhere there remained optimism.

Upon his return to Washington, Assistant Secretary of State Walter Robertson, President Eisenhower's personal envoy to Korea, following his successful meetings with President Rhee to win his cooperation in the truce, said that a truce could be signed in good faith the following day if the Communists would agree.

In the ground war, fresh Chinese Communist troops, supported by tanks and artillery fire, opened a new drive at dusk this date south of Kumsong on the east-central front, ending a brief rain-induced lull in the largest enemy offensive in more than two years. Some 3,000 enemy troops launched a two-pronged regimental assault and another 3,000 were believed ready to enter the renewed fight, aimed at the allied road network. A Chinese junior officer who had been captured this date revealed that the initial Communist assault had long been planned, though allied officers did not reveal his estimates of the size of the latest attack.

In the air war, Major James Jabarra shot down his 15th enemy MIG-15 over Korea this date, to become the world's second-ranking jet ace, during his 95th combat mission of his second tour of the war, one kill behind Captain Joseph McConnell, the leading jet ace. The Air Force had said earlier in the week that Maj. Jabarra would return home before the end of July, regardless of whether he completed his tour. Capt. McConnell had already been sent home. One other enemy jet was shot down this date as well.

The U.S., Britain and France this date presented notes to Russia, formally proposing a Big Four foreign ministers meeting regarding German unification, delivered to the Soviet Embassies in Washington, London and Paris during the morning. The Big Three foreign ministers conference in Washington had concluded the previous night. The three foreign ministers, Lord Salisbury, acting for Anthony Eden, recovering from surgery, Georges Bidault of France, and Secretary of State Dulles, announced that economic embargoes against Communist China would be continued indefinitely following an armistice in Korea, as would the policy of preventing Communist China from membership in the U.N., subject to later reconsideration. They said that they had also considered measures for winning the war in Indo-China. They indicated that if the additional foreign ministers conference was accepted by Russia, it would lead to a Big Four conference of the heads of state as well.

Senator Joseph McCarthy said this date that the FBI had assured him that former President Truman had not withheld information he received from Canada about an atomic spy plot allegedly involving 150 U.S. citizens, and that, therefore, he would not seek to have the former President testify before his Senate Investigations subcommittee. When the report that he might be summoned had surfaced in the press a couple of weeks earlier when the former President returned briefly to visit in Washington, he had said from New York that he had no comment because "what I could tell you, you wouldn't print."

The President asked Congress this date to appropriate 150 million dollars for "emergency assistance to farmers and stockmen" because of the drought in the Southwest.

Newly appointed Senator Alton Lennon of North Carolina took his oath of office this date, succeeding the late Senator Willis Smith, who had died about four weeks earlier. Wake Forest College president Harold Tribble delivered the opening prayer in the Senate, praying especially for Senator Lennon, a Wake Forest graduate. The new Senator would serve on the Government Operations Committee, chaired by Senator McCarthy, and on the District of Columbia Committee.

In London, John Christie, 55, who had confessed to the strangulation murders of seven women, whose bodies he had buried or otherwise secreted in and around his apartment, was hanged this date in Pentonville Prison. A controversy continued as to whether he was also guilty of the bungled abortion death of a neighbor's baby and the mother, in connection with which the father had been hanged for the infant's murder three years earlier. Mr. Christie denied culpability in that case as to the infant, but admitted killing the wife. The prosecutor, however, indicated the previous day that Mr. Christie had lied in his confession in that regard. The case had shocked Britain as no other since Jack the Ripper. A crowd of about 200 persons, including many schoolchildren, gathered outside the prison gate where the hanging took place. There was no disturbance.

The wife of UNC president Gordon Gray, the former Jane Boyden Craige, 39, originally of Winston-Salem, had died of either heart disease or a cerebral hemorrhage during a badminton game the previous day in Baltimore, where she had been recuperating from an illness in a hospital. Funeral services would be held at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Winston-Salem, with burial in Salem Cemetery the following day or on Friday. The couple had four children, including Boyden Gray, later chief legal counsel to President George H. W. Bush and also serving in various roles in the Administration of George W. Bush. Mrs. Gray had been educated at the National Cathedral School in Washington and at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. She served in various civic organizations in Chapel Hill where she had lived with her husband since he had become president of the Consolidated University in 1950. She and Mr. Gray had been good friends since childhood and had married in 1938.

In Hickory, N.C., Catawba County's third polio death was recorded this date, as inoculation for a month with gamma globulin was about to begin this date on some 14,000 children under age 10. Neighboring Caldwell County, which had undertaken the inoculations of 14,000 children the prior week, reported six new cases the previous day, for a total of 120 since the beginning of the year. Seven persons had died from polio in the two counties.

In Long Beach, Calif., an 18-year old woman was found hiding aboard a Navy ship, the U.S.S. Los Angeles, as its big guns were being used in target practice at sea. She faced charges of illegally wearing a Navy uniform. She said that it happened because of a dare and a friend who was a sailor, who came up with "the craziest ideas". She had believed it sounded like fun, and pretended to be a male sailor, after her friends bobbed her hair short. She may wind up being bobbed in the brig—where her friend, the sailor, awaited discipline.

On the editorial page, "Enough of This Guerrilla Warfare" indicates that since the end of World War II, the City had carried on a type of guerrilla warfare against the Duke Power Co. regarding bus service in Charlotte, with the City Council calling repeatedly for meetings with Duke officials, making various requests for additional service, and Duke spokesmen countering with facts and figures showing that the requests were impractical or unreasonable, that they could not make a profit by adding the proposed new routes.

It finds that the guerrilla warfare against Duke was not quite fair, even though the Council had sincere reasons for wanting better and more widespread bus service in the community, that there were many reasons why the buses could not serve every street, as the city had expanded horizontally in all directions and there was not enough traffic in some areas to support a bus line.

The prior Monday night, a spokesman for Duke had told the Council that he was getting fed up with the slander of the bus service, that they were doing the best they could. It concludes that if the Council was not careful, it would paint itself into a corner, leaving as the only option operation of a municipal bus service, partially subsidized by taxes, a situation it does not want to happen and assumes that the more sensible members of the Council would concur.

"Your Blood May Save Your Child" tells of a booklet, titled "The Story of Blood", and a paper, called "The 'G G.' Story", which were about the gamma globulin inoculation of polio, providing immunity for about a month to interrupt an epidemic, being circulated by the Charlotte Blood Bank.

It tells of the need for whole blood, to provide gamma globulin and other resources for fighting disease and for emergency use.

It urges giving blood at the local Red Cross Blood Center or at one of the Bloodmobiles in the community.

"Dictatorships in the Congress" indicates that when Congressman Daniel Reed, chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee, and Senator McCarthy had staged their one-man shows in Congress recently, they had suggested an anomaly in the Congressional committee system antithetical to democratic principles. Mr. Reed had maintained the bill to extend for six months the excess profits tax, which the President favored, tied up in his Committee for weeks, before it was finally voted out of committee onto the floor, after the House leadership had threatened to bypass the Committee and go directly to the Rules Committee. Senator McCarthy had sought to exercise power in hiring and firing staff, regarding his Investigations subcommittee staff director, J. B. Matthews, who had been hired by the Senator, and then fired after the controversy had erupted over the latter's American Mercury article in which he had charged that 7,000 Protestant clergymen were aligned with Communism. With the "docile and supine" support of the other three Republican members, Senator McCarthy had won his battle.

It posits that committees of Congress received their authority from the Congress and should not be permitted to be allowed, by the authority of one person as chairman, to thwart the will of a majority of the membership.

It indicates that another test was looming, under which Senator McCarthy was now seeking to investigate the CIA, starting with William Bundy and extending to other CIA employees. CIA director Allen Dulles, with the apparent support of the President, did not want his Agency subjected to such an investigation, and the National Security Council had unanimously voted to order CIA officials not to respond to subpoenas.

"Early Truce Again Seems Unlikely" finds it unlikely that the truce would conclude soon, with major fighting having broken out again, despite the South Koreans having finally agreed to cooperate, at least insofar as not seeking to obstruct it for a period of three months. But the Communists had criticized the talks between President Rhee and Assistant Secretary of State Walter Robertson, claiming that the U.S. could not assure that South Korea would indefinitely abide by the truce or not release further Communist prisoners of war who were defiant to repatriation. It suggests that the Communists' primary answer had come on the battlefield, where allied lines had been driven back several miles in some sectors, not allowing much room for the hope of a prompt truce.

Drew Pearson indicates that the President's psychological warfare adviser, C. D. Jackson, deserved primary credit for pushing the 15 million dollar food gift to East Germany, which had placed Moscow on the spot. Secondary credit went to certain State Department officials. For several weeks, however, they could not get any action at the top and so the announcement had not come during the height of the East Berlin revolt on and after June 17. More than a week earlier, Secretary of State Dulles had been asked at a press conference whether he had given any consideration to provision of food to East Berliners and he replied in the negative, behaving as if the thought had never crossed his mind. Mr. Pearson reminds that he had suggested the idea in his column for the previous three weeks. Following the press conference inquiry, Mr. Dulles sent a cable to U.S. High Commissioner James B. Conant in West Germany, asking what he thought of the idea, and the latter replied favorably.

Meanwhile, the food plan had been sidetracked by two things, an attempt to obtain wider authorization for the President to use surplus food for any area at any time, and by legislation, aimed as an attack on Senator Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota by Congressman Walter Judd, also of Minnesota, who planned to run against Senator Humphrey in 1954. Senator Humphrey had begun proposing use of farm surpluses for provision of the have-not nations the prior January, and on June 8, after securing White House approval, the Senator had introduced a bill for the purpose. But three weeks later, the White House pulled the rug out from under him and withdrew its support, then submitted virtually the same bill under Republican sponsorship, without limits on time or spending, a move stimulated by Mr. Judd. The irony was that the Administration had helped Senator Humphrey draft his bill, which Mr. Pearson details.

When Senator Humphrey had pointed out that the substitute bill presented by the White House was virtually identical to his own, except that it had no limitations on time or expenditure, Senator George Aiken, chairman of the Agriculture Committee, who had introduced the White House substitute, asked Senator Humphrey whether he understood why he received a copy of the President's bill over three weeks before the White House had cleared it and before it was sent to Senator Aiken for introduction, to which Senator Humphrey responded that he was not aware that he had such a pipeline into the White House. Afterward, Senator Aiken, following being apprised of all the facts, apologized.

Stewart Alsop, in Berlin, says that L. P. Beria was "murdered in Berlin". (The official account tells of his summary execution the following December in Moscow after being found guilty of treason, conspiring with the "imperialists" against the Soviet State, pursuant to his recent arrest.) He assumes in consequence that there had to be great fear and insecurity throughout the Soviet Empire among the puppet rulers and proconsuls. He suggests that Wilhelm Zaisser, the East German secret police chief, famous for his polished boots and ruthlessness, and a follower of Mr. Beria, was such an example, having been, according to reports, sent the way of Beria by a Soviet proconsul dispatched from Moscow to Berlin for the purpose. Others, including East German Premier Otto Grotewohl, who were Beria followers, might expect the same treatment.

Such concerns posed great danger for any police state, the questions having given rise to the recent revolution in June. The objective of that revolution had been to seize power from the East German puppet regime. Premier Grotewohl had admitted that but for the Soviet tanks and troops, order could not have been restored. The workers' revolution followed exactly the pattern outlined by Marx and Engels, that oppressed workers would rise up when conditions became intolerable and the oppressors became confused and indecisive. Both conditions had occurred, the first one long-standing, the second, having arisen on June 11 when Moscow ordered "easement for the populace", leading to confusion and indecision among the puppet rulers.

The uncertainty and fear following the purging of Beria would also create similar revolutionary ardor throughout the Empire. Many of the naïve revolutionary workers had believed that the revolutionary Russians would actually applaud and approve their effort, but, instead, the Red Army had crushed the uprisings in a matter of hours. It could do the same anywhere within the Empire. The fact that the Soviet troops and tanks had to be called upon, however, had shown the worthlessness to the Soviets of their puppet regimes in a moment of crisis.

The Kremlin was still seeking to shore up the puppet regimes by continuing the policy of "easement for the populace", but, observes Mr. Alsop, in Germany, the workers' appetite had increased by that on which it had fed and word was being passed in the factories that they would arise again during August.

Marquis Childs indicates that the Western coalition was threatened on both sides of the Atlantic with dissolution as the policymakers of the West were being confronted with unrealities which were in fact present almost from the inception of the alliance. American aid had always been considered stop-gap, a crutch by which Europe could recover from the ravages of the war. But after five years since the inception of the Marshall Plan, it had become apparent that certain disabilities could not be cured by U.S. aid. The Senate Appropriations Committee, for example, had pointed out that the French Government had shown that it was constitutionally incapable of imposing a system of adequate taxation to support itself, with U.S. dollars having partially made up the difference. After seven years of fighting in French Indo-China against the Communists led by Ho Chi Minh, the French were no nearer to effecting an end to that war. The U.S. had been urging the French to grant greater independence to the Indo-Chinese peoples and provide for conscription, but the French had seen little reason in continuing the fight if the end result would be to turn the country over to the Indo-Chinese after the Communists had been defeated.

If Congress should vote additional aid for the war, as sought by Foreign Minister Georges Bidault, during the just-ended Big Three foreign ministers conference in Washington, it was unlikely to result in anything more than a continued stalemate.

While the dilemma in Italy had been less evident, U.S. aid there had addressed some of the same inadequacies, compensating for the pressure of population. The European powers had discussed plans for exchanging people between the countries, but such plans had never gone very far. The wealthy in Italy were not taxed as were the wealthy of the U.S.

If the President had behind him a more nearly unified Republican Party, a substitute for the policy of aid might be put into effect to enable lower tariffs and thereby increased trade with Western Europe, providing an infusion of dollars. But since it was impossible to force down the tariffs by any significant amount, that prospect was out. Thus, if Europe was not going to be trading with the U.S., it would likely turn east, toward Russia and the satellites, further undermining the Western alliance.

A letter from the president of Auxiliary No. 6 of the United Spanish War Veterans, thanks the newspaper for pictures and an article on the Elmwood Cemetery gates, which the Auxiliary, and everyone with whom the writer had discussed the matter, wanted to replace to produce a more attractive entrance to the cemetery.

A letter writer indicates that the article and pictures anent the gate to Elmwood Cemetery had appeared in the July 7 edition of the newspaper, finds it commendable that the newspaper would call it to the attention of readers. She concludes, "A condition of bare utility jars the tender sentiments of visitors to this city of the dead."

A letter writer, responding to the June resolution of the 26 Baptist ministers to the County and City School Boards urging that the Bible instruction program in the public schools of the community be terminated as violative of the principle of separation of church and state, as embodied in the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, indicates that in the U.S., the majority was supposed to rule but that it had always been taken for granted that minorities were also protected in their rights. She believes that the Bible should not be taught in the public schools as it would discriminate against minorities, and that there was need for expression of different thoughts about opposing theories of religion. She believes that teaching the Bible in the public schools would cause one belief system to be implemented above others and that freedom to think and change was necessary in a free society. "The majorities of today were the minorities of yesterday and may be the minorities of tomorrow."

A letter from the pastor of the Church of God in Charlotte, tells of lengthy discussion having transpired at a recent meeting regarding teaching of the Bible in the public schools of the community, and the members then having passed a resolution, which he provides, whereby the Church approved the continued teaching of the Bible as an elective course in the public schools.

The beat goes on regarding this endless, redundant recitation of the pros and cons of this particular issue, one of the more stimulative of response in the community during the entire prior 16 years of The News which we have covered on a daily basis. Again, it can be summarized very quickly, by looking at the Supreme Court cases on the subject decided prior to 1953, that the simple dichotomy was whether the religious instruction took place on public school property or off public school property, the former being violative of the First Amendment and the latter being permissible, regardless of whether it occurred during school hours, as long as it was non-compulsory and did not utilize public funds for its support. So the simple solution presented itself: have the non-compulsory teaching available only off school grounds, in various churches or elsewhere, and, voilà, no es problema.

Why be so stubbornly complicated? Was not the real issue that some Protestants in the community simply wanted to have their way, regarded their ideas of religion to be superior to all others?

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