The Charlotte News

Monday, July 20, 1953


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports, via George McArthur, that in the ground war in Korea, recklessly attacking Chinese Communist troops had engulfed two vital western front outposts, "East Berlin" and "Berlin", defended by U.S. Marines the previous night, and the first 14 survivors had staggered back to the allied lines this date, pale and exhausted. The trapped Marines, before their radio had gone dead, had called in their own artillery on top of them in a desperate attempt to halt the violent onslaught. The number of Marines involved in the battle had not immediately been announced.

The U.S. Eighth Army said that the enemy had lost 6,290 killed and 1,260 wounded across the entire front the prior day, primarily in the east-central front, where the enemy the previous week had concentrated its largest offensive in two years.

Sabre jets, acting in their dual role as fighter-bombers, together with Australian Meteor jets and Marine planes hit enemy targets deep in North Korea.

At Panmunjom, allied and Communist liaison officers, including for the first time those who would oversee the cease-fire, worked in nine secret sessions this date for more than seven hours hammering out the final details of the armistice. There was no official indication of the date on which the armistice would be signed, but some observers said that it could be within a week. Fighting would end 12 hours after the signing. The month-long deadlock in the negotiations had been finally broken on Sunday with a Communist announcement that they were ready to prepare for the signing. The South Korean Foreign Minister, Pyun Yung Tai, however, hinted that more opposition to the armistice might be coming from his Government, as he said that the Communist truce agreement contained "many traps". He believed that it intended to take all of South Korea by "subversive activity and by liquidating the Army" which they had built up painstakingly and at great expense. An unnamed South Korean spokesman said that allied assurances meant that that the U.N. "had lost the war". U.N. supreme commander General Mark Clark had hailed the Communist assent as "most encouraging", believing that it would lead to an early signing, though some details still had to be worked out.

Front line infantrymen reported that a lone Chinese soldier had run out in front of the main allied line on the western front the previous night and yelled "Syngman Rhee and Chad-um-ni same same. You no damn good! You are short timers and stay in your trenches or you will be killed." "Chad-um-ni" was believed to be a dialect translation of Chiang Kai-shek.

In East Berlin, another top official was missing this date, as the Communists had purged a party secretary and also censured a Cabinet minister. Western sources predicted that others would also fall during the current week or the following week, as the search for scapegoats continued in the wake of the June 17 worker uprising. The West Berlin newspaper, Telegraf, had predicted the previous day that President Wilhelm Pieck, under medical treatment in Russia for the previous several months, would be replaced by General Vincenz Mueller, chief of staff of the East German armed forces.

West Berlin had expanded its food relief for hungry East Berliners this date, despite Moscow's refusal to admit the 15 million dollars worth of surplus American food into East Germany. West Berliners had found several methods by which to slip food past the Iron Curtain to their neighbors. Thousands of food packages were handed out in two districts along the border, and coupons redeemable in grocery stores were issued in others. The East Berliners only had to come across the sector border to pick up the gifts. Communist officials, embarrassed by the eagerness with which the people had accepted charity from "Western capitalists", rushed in new food supplies to replenish the empty shelves of state-owned food stores. They also maintained an estimated 200 Russian tanks on hand in the outskirts of East Berlin in case the serious food shortage stirred another worker revolt.

A West Berlin newspaper, Der Abend, reported that a concentration camp for soldiers of the East German people's army who refused to fight strikers on June 17 had been set up near Pasewalk, where more than 500 officers and men were interned behind barbed wire.

In the Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan, the Prime Minister was dismissed, charged with "gross bureaucratization", according to Moscow radio.

HUAC agreed this date to hear testimony from J. B. Matthews, erstwhile staff director of Senator McCarthy's Government Operations subcommittee, who had resigned following the flak over his American Mercury article in which he had charged that 7,000 Protestant clergymen were sympathetic to Communism. Mr. Matthews had sought the audience to explain his article and show that it was completely documented. HUAC chairman Harold Velde of Illinois stated that he did not believe Mr. Matthews would be heard by the Committee before October. An anonymous source said that the Committee vote was 6 to 3 to permit him to testify. It was not yet determined whether he would be heard in open or closed session. His testimony would be confined to facts to support his charge and would not involve extraneous matter.

Senator Herbert Lehman of New York told the Senate this date that Senator McCarthy had engaged in "pure demagoguery" in blaming anti-Semitism for attacks on two of his staff investigators, Roy Cohn and David Schine, during the television program "Meet the Press" the previous day. Senator Lehman said that he was speaking as a Jew in denouncing the statement. He said that he had criticized "the antics of these two brash young men", himself, and that he felt many other Jewish persons shared his belief that they had been doing the country and the cause of anti-Communism great harm at home and abroad. He praised Senator Mike Monroney of Oklahoma, who had criticized both of the investigators. Senator Monroney was ready to introduce an amendment to the Senate rules which would allow a vote to halt investigations undertaken by Senate committees, aimed at the activities of Senator McCarthy and his committee.

Senator Styles Bridges of New Hampshire had been struck by a car this date and taken to an emergency hospital for X-ray examination. Doctors said that he did not appear to be seriously injured. The Senator had just left the White House after attending the weekly meeting of Republican Congressional leaders with the President.

In Japan, thousands of Japanese were rescued this date from flood waters as ground, sea and air rescue teams worked hard to reduce casualties in the nation's second great flood disaster within three weeks. The flooding had begun on Friday with a cloudburst and had swallowed whole villages on central Honshu Island's Pacific coast, about 200 miles southwest of Tokyo. The police estimated that there had been 273 killed, another 433 injured and 2,033 missing in the flooding. Earlier, police had said that more than 6,000 had died or were missing, but a spokesman later clarified that those totals involved many duplications caused by chaotic communications. U.S. Air Force planes dropped tons of food to stranded persons, while Japanese ships and ground forces searched the area for survivors. The rain had stopped on Sunday afternoon, but flash flooding continued to hit valley villages.

In Koga, Japan, a fireman confessed to police this date that he had won seven prizes during the previous two years for arriving at the scene of fires first because he had set them.

On the editorial page, "This Veteran 'Right' Is Wrong" indicates that disabled veterans automatically received an extra ten points when they applied for Federal civil service jobs and automatically went to the top of the list. Non-disabled veterans received five additional points.

It regards the system as unfair, causing many Federal employees to be unqualified for their positions.

Remedies had been suggested by the Hoover Commission, whereby all persons who passed the civil service exam would be placed into four groups, with disabled veterans being given first consideration but not necessarily a particular job, and all others being categorized as "outstanding", "well-qualified" or "qualified". All veterans would be placed ahead of non-veterans in preference. The National Civil Service League had proposed in its current issue of Good Government that a passing grade on the exam ought be required before any preference points were added, that the ten extra points provided disabled veterans would only be given if the veteran had a ten percent disability, and that veterans would no longer be automatically advanced to the head of the lists.

It suggests that there were other ways also to weed out incompetent veterans who were decreasing the standards of Government jobs. It urges that the laws be changed. In one case cited by Good Government, it had cost the Government a half million dollars to fire one incompetent veteran. Having a job for which the veteran was not qualified was not, it concludes, one of their rights.

"All Sorts of Ways To Govern" indicates that North Carolina had 2.69 percent of the nation's population, 1.65 percent of the nation's land, but only a half percent of the nation's governmental units. In the United States as a whole, there was a unit of government for every 1,291 persons, but in North Carolina that statistic was one for every 6,681 persons, the difference being that, unlike many other states, North Carolina no longer had townships which functioned as governmental units and was one of only five states which did not have school districts which performed governmental functions. There were 607 local governments within the 100 counties of the state, the seventh highest number of counties in the nation, 401 municipalities and 106 special districts.

The North Carolina Research Institute, in its current issue of North Carolina Facts, noted that Rhode Island had no county governments at all, and that there were more than 300 counties in the country which had to share their towns and cities with other counties, ten of which were in North Carolina, such as Rocky Mount, which lay between Edgecombe and Nash Counties. Virginia had 28 "free" cities not located in any county, as was the case with Baltimore and St. Louis. Virginia had abolished two counties during the year, which had become parts of cities. Some counties, such as Currituck and Hyde in North Carolina, did not have any local units of government other than the county, itself. Several cities, such as New York, San Francisco and Denver, governed their surrounding counties.

It indicates that it was not advocating abolition of Mecklenburg County as an entity but points out that many communities had found it desirable and economical to consolidate local government units, encourages Charlotte and Mecklenburg officials to face more realistically that issue.

"Book Banning—Final Chapter" indicates that the International Information Administration, headed by retiring Dr. Robert Johnson, had released a 44-page report which stated that the overseas libraries had been distributing more than six million anti-Communist books, that since 1948, the State Department had purchased 16,736 copies of anti-Communist books for the libraries, that more than six million copies of 44 anti-Communist titles had been distributed through commercial channels, and that 84,785 copies of 30 Federal documents on Communism had gone into the library program. Hundreds of copies each of James Burnham's The Coming Defeat of Communism, Louis Budenz's This Is My Story, Whittaker Chambers's Witness, Victor Kravchenko's I Chose Freedom, and 3,500 copies of the HUAC report, 100 Things You Should Know about Communism, were among the anti-Communist books on the shelves. The books which had been subjected to public criticism recently had amounted, the report said, to only a fraction of one percent of the total books in the libraries. It also said that the agency had been eager to avoid the impression abroad that its primary purpose was propaganda rather than information dissemination and so had been reluctant to discuss in detail some aspects of its counter-offensive program.

It finds that the Administration now appeared determined to stand on the principle of judging books primarily on their contents and usefulness in a particular region, the overseas information program apparently having rendered a valuable service in the battle against Communism.

Fothergil Foster, writing in the Saturday Evening Post, in a piece titled "Denatured News for Busy Executives", tells of obtaining his news from newsletters, confidential bulletins and dope digests, which boiled everything down to its essence. For instance, from the summary of taxes, he had gleaned that they were probably here to stay, the move to abolish them stymied, "might come later, but mighn't". As to war, it was yes or no, as Malenkov was undecided, "but could move swiftly for a fat guy. Man to watch is Poppov, new Commissar of Synthetic Caviar", whom no one else was watching.

He similarly summarizes the Far East and the meat situations, and then warns: "Nothing above for quotation, except in strictest confidence in the more exclusive clubs."

Drew Pearson indicates that two years earlier, Mutual Security Administration head Harold Stassen, the present psychological warfare expert of the Administration, C. D. Jackson, and Mr. Pearson had been on the German border sending propaganda balloons into Czechoslovakia. The balloons carried leaflets, and during each night, they had launched 2,000 such balloons, extending over a fortnight, carrying 11 million leaflets to the Czechs. The leaflets had been successful, prompting Premier Antonin Zapotocky to attack them on the floor of the parliament, and the official Communist newspaper to carry a front-page cartoon showing President Truman releasing the balloons, even though the U.S. Government had nothing to do with the venture. The State Department had not been enthusiastic about the effort, though Joint Chiefs chairman General Omar Bradley had supported it.

Mr. Pearson suggests that a similar effort be made with respect to East Germany in the wake of the June 17 uprising, to show East Germans that Americans were supportive and friendly, making it difficult for them to wage war on Americans. He suggests attaching ten pounds of food to each balloon from the 15 million dollars worth of surplus food being sent by the U.S. to Berlin and from C.A.R.E., which already had several tons of food in West Berlin, enclosed in waterproof material.

With L. P. Beria having been purged and signs all over the Soviet empire indicating its cracking, it was a good time, he posits, to take advantage of the unrest and thereby help to prevent war.

Stewart Alsop, in Berlin, indicates that the U.S. Government faced a dilemma in that the East German uprising of June 17 had, in large part, been stimulated by the desire for unification of Germany. Most Berliners, including Mayor Ernst Reuter of West Berlin, believed that the U.S. should have already demanded a Big Four conference to demand unification. But the U.S. was not enthusiastically supportive of unification, as it would have to withdraw its troops from West Germany for the Soviets to do likewise in East Germany, something which the U.S. was not prepared to do.

The June uprising had transformed the situation both for the West and for the East, dramatizing the issue of German unity for all Germans, and also diminishing enthusiasm for the policy of "integration before unification", further dampening the prospects for a unified Western European army. It had also compromised the position of pro-American West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, who was the chief proponent in Germany of the unified army.

The U.S. had everything to gain by taking the initiative on German unity, to exploit the revolt and the purge of L. P. Beria by the Kremlin. If the Soviets were to reject such a U.S. initiative, it might revive the army project by persuading both French and Germans that there was no rational alternative, and, as well, might strengthen the position of Chancellor Adenauer in the coming elections in September, while placing the Kremlin squarely on the defensive. It also could be timely because the Russians might be in a mood to negotiate a reasonable German settlement in light of the problems within their empire.

But Secretary of State Dulles had to be persuaded to accept a Big Four foreign ministers meeting in the fall and, because of the need to preserve the U.S. bases in Germany, was not in favor of unity. U.S. policy had for long been based on division of Germany. There were wise Americans in Berlin who would exchange a paper German neutrality for the evacuation of Soviet troops from the Eastern Zone.

Mr. Alsop concludes that, whether the latter group were right or wrong, it was time to cease regarding German unity with fear and to make a serious effort to find out whether there was an alternative to the policy of division of the country, as well as Europe as a whole. The rigidity was one reason why U.S. policy in Europe was showing every sign of falling apart.

Robert C. Ruark says that he supports the views of Dr. Russell Cecil, a geriatrics specialist, who recommended that as one got older, he should follow, in moderation, certain youthful habits, such as drinking or smoking a cigar or gazing at women, to lower blood pressure.

Mr. Ruark, not yet 40, says that he emulated Bernard Baruch, a friend, who would turn 83 during the month, and another publisher friend who did not like having his name in the paper, who was 70. Both men remained very active and Mr. Ruark says that he hoped he would live to be 70, would take the doctor's advice and practice moderation in many things, as did his publisher friend, from cigars to poker.

He advises that a man who had appeared recently in the Mary Hayworth column, chastened by the fact that he had developed a crush on a young married friend of his daughter and made a pass at her, which caused her to recoil, should, instead of being remorseful, have been thankful that there was "enough beast left" in him "to raise its ugly head", because so few men of his age ever "'took the young woman in my arms and passionately kissed her.'" He concludes that the man did not know how lucky he was.

Mr. Ruark, as we have previously indicated, would die in 1965 at a relatively young age.

A letter writer from Troy, N.Y., indicates that Senator McCarthy ought be replaced by the "capable and respected" FBI, as the Senator's investigators were "crude rabble-rousers, amateurs of the Keystone comedy variety."

A letter writer commends the newspaper for its fine editorial page and fairness in commenting on controversial subjects and personalities. Even when he disagreed with its views, as when the newspaper had supported General Eisenhower for the presidency in 1952, he found it supported its position with reasonable arguments. He especially thanks it for the comments on Senator McCarthy, as he found it refreshing to read something other than praise for him. He is certain that the Communists loved the Senator, whom he believes was their greatest asset in the country. "He is the personification of Dr. Goebbels", and his Big Lie theory. He thinks that the Senator's statements would be better received in the Kremlin than in the Congress.

A letter from City Councilman Basil Boyd comments on the editorial of July 15, "Enough of This Guerrilla Warfare", in which, he says, the newspaper had unintentionally paid him a very high compliment by giving him credit for the effort of the previous three City Councils since 1948 to secure proper and adequate bus transportation services for the community. He thanks it for the public recognition of his service. He indicates that he did not take full credit for his proposals as they had been unanimously endorsed and approved by the members of each of the prior three Councils. He says there had been much improvement in the services and facilities of the Duke Power Co. bus transportation since he had been a member of the Council, but that it still could be improved more.

A letter from a minister, who had written several times previously, states that if Russia ever defeated the U.S. in war, U.S. liberals would be the first group destroyed, as tyranny could not flourish in a climate of free inquiry. Americans, he believes, were aware of the designs of the Kremlin but less aware of the dangers of native fascism. McCarthyism was a "sinister evil" which polluted the body politic. "Let us not sleep the deadly slumber of death."

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