The Charlotte News

Thursday, July 2, 1953


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports, via Milo Farneti, that U.S. Sabre jets, flying as fighter-bombers, had surprised 30 to 40 Communist tanks in a camouflaged valley just behind the western front this date and saturated the area with 1,000-pound bombs. The resulting smoke made it impossible to conduct an accurate count of the wrecked tanks, but not since early in the war had a comparable concentration of enemy armor been spotted so near the front in Korea. There was no immediate reaction from Army officials as to why the enemy had concentrated so much armor less than 15 miles behind the front. Cloudy skies curtailed other aerial activities.

The front was relatively quiet this date, as South Korean troops had driven a Chinese contingent from a dominant knob on "Finger Ridge" during the night. There was little fighting on "Lookout Mountain" and "Virginia Hill" on the eastern front, which had been the scene of vicious back-and-forth battles in recent days.

The U.S. Eighth Army reported that heavy fighting had cost the enemy 36,000 killed and wounded the previous month, the equivalent of about three enemy divisions. The enemy had fired nearly 1.5 million rounds of artillery and mortar ammunition during June, the heaviest of the war and double the previous monthly record.

Assistant Secretary of State Walter Robertson, the President's envoy sent to Korea to discuss the truce with South Korean President Syngman Rhee in an attempt to gain his cooperation, would leave for home within two days whether or not he had been successful in his efforts. President Rhee continued to insist on a unified Korea as the price of his support for the armistice. The departure of Mr. Robertson was not to be viewed, according to sources, as giving up on a truce alliance with South Korea, but President Rhee would have to show real change for Mr. Robertson to justify staying longer. Secretary of State Dulles had made it clear that the U.N. would proceed with the truce and would not alter its position to satisfy President Rhee. Neither President Rhee nor Mr. Robertson would comment after their sixth secret meeting this date, but a reliable source said that the talks remained stalled, and that the two men would meet again the following day. Washington officials continued to predict a showdown in the truce crisis within hours, with a clear answer of whether President Rhee would accept the armistice or try to fight on alone, as he had threatened to do if there were no unified Korea.

The House approved a 22 billion dollar budget to run the Army and Navy for the ensuing fiscal year, a billion dollars less than that recommended by the President. It also approved funds to begin a third 60,000-ton super-aircraft carrier. The attention of the House then turned to the controversy over the 11 billion dollar Air Force budget, which was a reduction by five billion from that recommended by former President Truman in January and 1.2 billion less than that recommended by Air Force chief of staff General Hoyt Vandenberg, which he said was the minimum needed to reach the goal of 143 Air Force groups by 1955. The Committee and most House Republicans supported the Administration-backed 120-wing Air Force. The Committee had cut 240 million dollars from the revised Administration Air Force budget. The President had given his personal endorsement to that budget in a letter to Congress the previous day. The entire Defense Department budget was for 34.4 billion dollars, as recommended by the House Appropriations Committee.

In Raleigh, collections by the State's general fund had broken all records during the 1952-53 fiscal year, according to Revenue commissioner Eugene Shaw, in a report to Governor William B. Umstead this date.

The Jefferson Standard Life Insurance Company and the Union National Bank announced that they would build a modern, streamlined office building, an architectural drawing of which appears on the page, at the southeast corner of Tryon and Third Streets in Charlotte. The building, to cost an estimated 2.75 million dollars, would begin construction on Monday and was scheduled to be completed in early fall of 1954. Jefferson Standard would own 80 percent of the building and Union National, the remainder, with an option to purchase 30 percent more if it wished. It would be known as the Jefferson Standard Life Building.

Donald MacDonald of The News—whose surname was sometimes carried in the by-lines as "McDonald"—tells of a Charlotte mother hugging her two sons who were entered in the local Soap Box Derby race the previous day, with one brother beating the other to win the 16th annual race, after 169 other contestants had been eliminated. During the competition, the mother had screamed, jumped up and down and almost fainted in the 95-degree heat, as the heats transpired and the competition heated up. The 15-year old brother who had won the race had been an honor student at Myers Park Junior High School, and would enter Central High School the following fall, after his trip to Akron, O., for the national race on August 9. His mother said that he had always excelled in science and math and wanted to be an engineer.

In Gloucester, England, a 15-year old boy who hated getting out of bed in the morning, had decided one day in 1950 simply to remain in bed, where he continued to remain, now at age 18. Neighbors, who had wondered what had become of him, had summoned the police to his home, where they found him reading a comic book in bed. His mother said there did not seem to be anything wrong with him except that he just did not want to get out of bed. The police carried him to a hospital, where the doctors said that he was sane and healthy, but suffering from "chronic inertia". The boy had been lazy from when he was born, not walking until he was 2 1/2 years old, his parents being unable to budge him from his high chair. His mother took him to the hospital, where they had told her nothing was wrong with him, that he was just lazy. She said that he was due to be called up for the Army within a few months and she hoped that they would make a man of him, as he would have to arise with the morning bugle call. The doctors decided to keep him for awhile for observation, and the nurses tucked him snugly into a nice soft bed.

On the editorial page, "A Better Plan for Police Study" indicates that the Charlotte Civil Service Commission's resolution, asking the City Council to relieve it of the assignment of studying the police department, had been quite in order, as had its suggestion that the study be made by a special committee. It explains its support of the request, so that the study would remain impartial in appearance. It also explores the issues at stake, regarding personnel matters, the most efficient use of equipment, administrative procedures, salary scales, retirement programs, fringe benefits, and working conditions, among others. It urges also that the Civil Service Act be studied to determine whether it was strong enough, as it had received criticism for being too weak, with the Commission's authority too restricted.

The previous day, the Council had tabled for a week the request of the Commission, and it indicates that in the ensuing few days, it hoped that the Council members would conclude that the study committee recommended by the Commission would be helpful in building a better police department.

"On Bedfellows and Surplus Commodities" finds the strange situation in Congress where Democrats had been yelling about a "give-away" program, which was supported by Republicans. Senator Richard Russell of Georgia had called the plan of the President to use Government-owned agricultural surpluses to combat famine abroad "the Brannan Plan on an international scale". Senator Albert Gore of Tennessee called it "the most monstrous give-away in the government's history".

In reply, Senator William Knowland of California, temporary floor leader for the Republicans, had said the surplus would be used to meet family or other urgent relief requirements in friendly nations, and Congressman Clifford Hope, Republican chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, called it "a very good approach to the matter".

It finds that it was too much to hope that such a program would be approached on a nonpartisan basis, despite the need for food abroad and the help it would provide in fighting Communism. Whether a program was good or bad in the eyes of a particular member of Congress often depended on whether it had been suggested by the leadership of the party to which the member belonged. The fact that the President was considering use of the surplus in the famine areas abroad suggested the problem with U.S. farm policy, under both Democratic and Republican administrations. Thus, while discussing what to do with the surpluses, Congress ought to debate how to avoid them in the first instance.

"Peas in a Pod—That's Us" indicates that the boss had said that an editorial should be written approving of the heat wave, in which the writing could be clever, original and different. "Be clever, he says, when all the sizzling rays of the blistering sun are focused on our Ivory Tower until they have saturated the sound-proofed walls that keep out the noises from the shimmering street far below." And it goes on regarding being original and being different, in the same vein.

"Nuts. It's hot. Damnably hot. Hot as you know what, and to heck with being original, clever, or different. It's hard enough just being."

"A Thought" indicates that, ordinarily, it would have sympathy and understanding for a man who hated television so much that he burst into a tv rehearsal, slashed the cameraman and bashed an actor on the head with a water pitcher, but indicates that it was aware that there were people who felt the same way about editorial writers.

A piece from the Asheville Citizen, titled "Spoiled Water", indicates that the 150-acre Lake Junaluska in western North Carolina was one of the state's most picturesque settings, but, according to the Haywood County Health Department, had become unsafe for swimming and so had been closed for that purpose. Untreated domestic and industrial sewage flowed into the lake after rains from its tributaries, and so, for the time being at least, it would be unavailable for recreational purposes. Remedial steps would be undertaken, but it finds that the lake's problem was a microcosm of a larger problem throughout the state.

Lakes and streams were becoming increasingly polluted in the absence of vigorous sanitation enforcement and could become a state tragedy of large proportions, not brought about by malice or greed, but rather by inertia and delay.

The 1951 General Assembly had created a State Stream Sanitation Commission as a successor to a half dozen previous agencies, but the Commission had begun under extreme legislative handicaps, as the statutes under which it operated were cumbersome and perhaps unworkable, with lobbyists in Raleigh having put four times the energy into fighting sanitation laws as had the proponents in drafting and passing them.

It concludes that what had occurred at Lake Junaluska could happen any place at which pollution was allowed to occur. "At times it seems as though North Carolina, with a certain self-flagellate fury, is bent upon destroying its water resources wherever they are."

Drew Pearson indicates that when German crowds had faced the Communist "people's police" in East Berlin, throwing rocks and logs into the tracks of tanks and burning pictures of Stalin, they had complained of the need for more food. East Germany had long been the food bowl of Germany, whereas West Germany was heavily industrialized, dependent on East Germany for its surplus of wheat, milk, and butter. But under Communist rule, East Germany's food supply had been siphoned off into Russia, and "trampled in the mud of discouragement" by Soviet farm quotas. The previous winter, when Mr. Pearson had visited Berlin, he had talked with refugees who had left their family farms owned for centuries because of the quotas becoming impossible to meet. So the rioters in the streets were shouting "butter!"

He posits that such a situation made the time ripe for action by the President, who had been elected on a pledge to do something behind the Iron Curtain. During the campaign, both General Eisenhower and John Foster Dulles had decried the static policy of the Truman Administration in the cold war and urged that it should be ended by stirring the peoples behind the Iron Curtain. The U.S. Government had about a quarter million pounds of butter, acquired at taxpayer expense to alleviate surplus, and lest it turn rancid, it could be sent to Berlin with great effect on the people, undermining the Soviet regime.

It was easy for people to pass back and forth between East and West Berlin, as Mr. Pearson recounts he had done a dozen times while visiting there. Several thousand people crossed the border daily on their way to work. Were the Soviets to refuse a gift of free butter from the U.S. to East Germany, the U.S. radio station in Berlin could announce to East Berliners the offer to come across the border and pick it up. The same could be done with surplus wheat, being stored in old ships on the Hudson River. A million loaves of bread required relatively little wheat, and yet such a quantity of bread in Berlin could take East Germany permanently out from under the Iron Curtain. But when American relief agency officials had approached Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson on those problems, they had gotten nowhere. A religious man, when the head of an American relief agency had twice approached the Secretary to release the surplus food, he had responded by asking that they bow their heads in prayer, but had no answer about releasing some small part of the surplus. The previous week, some farmers wanted to donate wheat, but Mutual Security Administration head Harold Stassen could not be reached by phone to determine whether the MSA would pay the bill for the transportation costs, as it had in the past under such circumstances of American contributions of relief.

Meanwhile, people behind the Iron Curtain were still smoldering and hopeful of a token of support from the U.S. Free elections had been guaranteed under the Yalta pact of February, 1945, and now the U.S. had a chance to push the other way, to produce embarrassment in Moscow and encourage the masses of Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, East Germany, and Rumania.

Mr. Pearson recalls his leadership role two years earlier in releasing freedom balloons at the Czech border, carrying messages of friendship, which had stirred up the nation, causing a train to cross the border into West Germany, some of the passengers and crew aboard seeking freedom. He suggests that if mere leaflets could accomplish such results, a million loaves of bread and a few tons of surplus butter could likely do a great deal more in East Berlin.

Marquis Childs tells of the President, when he had been president of Columbia University, having, in 1950, written a letter inviting other institutions of higher learning across the world to join in celebration of the bicentennial of the University, stating that "freedom of scholarly inquiry and expression, the right of mankind to knowledge and the free use thereof" was the "one principle which all free universities unfailingly must defend" as "essential to human liberty, welfare and progress". The theme of Columbia's bicentennial then became "Man's right to knowledge and the free use thereof". Columbia, in suggesting helpful exhibits on the theme, urged that "libraries may wish to sponsor book displays illustrating the history of freedom of mind and, by way of contrast, book burnings and censorship."

Now, in contrast to that theme stood the State Department's book-burnings and elimination of books otherwise from Information Service libraries abroad, because they contained merely controversial matter or were by authors who had been critical of Senator McCarthy.

Mr. Childs says that those libraries had, in many instances, grown "like Topsy", including collections taken from the Army after the war, with little thought as to their contents. Thus, some of the books genuinely had no place in such a library. Senator McCarthy had made an orderly clean-up of the libraries all but impossible, but Secretary of State Dulles had to bear a large share of the blame for not issuing a clear directive on the subject, resulting in the libraries using their own judgment and bending over backwards to remove any book tainted by Communism or fellow-traveling. Some of the books removed contained mere illustrations by artists suspected of Communism. Others had nothing to do with Communism or politics, such as books by Albert Einstein on mathematics and physics.

He concludes that the method of disposal, whether by burning or other means, was not the issue, but rather it was the shocking fear of ideas behind the action.

The Congressional Quarterly indicates that the veterans lobby believed it had achieved a great victory regarding the amount and kind of hospital and medical care to be made available to veterans in the ensuing fiscal year. The veterans groups had been willing to accept curtailment of some other benefits to achieve victory on that issue. The House had given them what they wanted, but the showdown was yet to come in the Senate, where the veterans would stage a similar flood of letters and telegrams urging the expansion of care.

The House approved about 555 million dollars on June 17, the amount most recently requested by the VA and the veterans lobbying groups. It had cut 300 million dollars, despite an attempt by Representative Edith Nourse Rogers of Massachusetts, chairman of the Veteran Affairs Committee, to restore that amount for compensation and pension payments. Veterans organizations, nevertheless, regarded the bill as a victory insofar as hospital and medical funding.

The piece recaps the effort in the House to curtail those benefits, in opposition to which the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans, and American Veterans of World War II had urged their members to wire, write or phone members of Congress.

A policy meeting had been held on June 3, possibly in response to that outpouring, in the office of Speaker of the House Joseph Martin, at which Republican leaders and officials of the VFW, the Legion and the DAV were present. It was agreed that Congressman John Phillips of Illinois, a veteran, himself, who had favored cuts in certain VA programs, would make a clarifying speech, which he did the next day, prompting leaders of veterans groups to say he had reversed his position. He had pointed out the process by which his subcommittee had made its decisions, to clear up "misunderstandings" and "make it easier for members to answer their mail", before the matter was taken up by the parent committee. He said that it would be unfortunate if veterans problems were made into political issues and that those who had sent the mail would support the Committee and the Congress when they actually discovered the facts.

A letter writer from Mount Holly, in the seventh grade, says that he or she had experienced reading from the Bible in the schoolroom and had found it very boring. But recently, the student had purchased a Junior Bible, edited by Edgar J. Goodspeed, with narrative stories of the creation, the fall, the flood and other such episodes. The student had found it much easier to understand than the regular Bible. During the Bible readings, the student had seen "a stray eraser, a piece of chalk or a spit-wad or two flying across the room", with an eraser occasionally hitting a girl or boy, as attention was diverted from the teacher reading the verses as the students became bored. Occasionally, a teacher would reprimand a boy or two and have him stand in the corner. While running to the bus after school, the student would sometimes see a fight, with another child egging on the two fighters. The student would recall the reading of the golden rule in the classroom and wonder if reading the Bible and that quotation had really done any good. The student believes that students needed, instead of the words of the Bible, better influence from the teachers and other people they met.

Incidentally, the youthful student should not confuse the version recommended by the seventh-grader with that edited by J. Edgar "Speed", which probably will be considerably variant in its verses and interpretation.

A letter from a minister who had written previously in protest of the executions of the Rosenbergs on June 19, again writes regarding the matter, again asserting that the death penalty was always wrong, that "Uncle Sam, without mercy or shame, has raped the goddess of justice", in the process making the Rosenbergs martyrs. He regards their executions as a lynching under color of law. He indicates that the Rosenbergs had never intended to harm the nation, that their motive had been hatred of fascism in Europe, where Hitler had killed millions of Jews, the Rosenbergs believing that a strong Soviet Union would prevent the revival of Nazism. He wonders whether the nation was psychopathic or at least neurotic, and if so, whether it could overcome its neurosis by such activity as burning of books and convicting people on mere suspicion. "The spirit of the Spanish Inquisition is abroad in our quasi-Fascist culture." He reiterates that capital punishment was immoral and says he had tried to present it in some of its "ugly horror".

A letter writer says that advocates of Bible classes in the public schools sometimes had a genuine motive of sparking interest in the Bible, but he reminds that teaching of any literature in school was its kiss of death, as with the classics, Shakespeare and poetry, causing many adults to turn away from those subjects because of earlier regimented teaching of them in school. Others appeared to have the motive of indoctrination of innocent children, those people being "the ones that the constitutional fathers sought to guard against." He praises the 26 Baptist ministers who had petitioned the County and City School Boards to end the Bible-teaching program in the public schools as violating the principle of separation of church and state. He indicates that the danger in Charlotte had not yet reached the level of inquisition or state-sanctioned indoctrination, but should be eradicated in its early stages before it became stronger and ultimately fatal to the whole structure. Charlotte boasted of its great number of churches and he wonders why they could not, in outnumbering the public schools, handle the teaching of the Bible, that if Bible teaching was so popular in the high schools, as some letter writers had indicated, the churches ought be overflowing with people seeking religious instruction.

A letter from P. C. Burkholder, former Republican and Democratic candidate for Congress in earlier years, indicates that one of the disciples of Jesus had said to the Master that there were others teaching in his name and asked whether he wanted them to stop the teaching, to which he had said no, that if they were stopped and were supportive of the teachings of Christ, the disciples would be working against themselves, and if they were against the teachings, they would soon come to naught. He says that the Bible should be taught under all conditions, and that as long as there was no compulsion to study it and as long as there was free discussion on whether to accept or reject any portion of it or doctrine or creed pertaining to it, they were a "spiritually free people living within our constitutional right as our forefathers and God intended for us to do."

What about country buttermilk in the schools? Should students have the choice as against whole milk and chocolate milk?

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