The Charlotte News

Tuesday, July 21, 1953


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports, via Robert B. Tuckman, that in Panmunjom, there was new opposition to the truce coming from South Korea this date, as allied and Communist staff and liaison officers continued to put finishing touches on the armistice. All signs continued to point to the signing of the cease-fire soon, possibly within the week, but there was no exact date yet assigned. South Korea's Foreign Minister, Pyun Yung Tai, told newsmen that his Government might "change its attitude" toward cooperation with the truce unless it received assurances from Washington that Korea would be unified and that the U.S. would resist any new Communist aggression. President Syngman Rhee had made no public comment since the Communists had agreed on Sunday to go ahead with the signing. He was reported, however, not satisfied with a statement which had revealed portions of secret Panmunjom meetings at which the U.N. Command had reportedly promised not to support any "aggressive action" by South Korean forces after a truce. The Foreign Minister would not confirm or deny the reports.

Secretary of State Dulles said this date that the U.S. would refuse to discuss the admission of Communist China to the U.N. at the prospective Korean political conference, scheduled to occur 90 days after the truce. He said that the U.S. would wish to discuss measures by which to prevent Communist forces released by the truce from being used elsewhere for new aggression, such as in Indo-China. He said, in response to statements by the South Korean Foreign Minister, that he was not aware of any qualifications to the statements previously made by President Rhee, indicating intent to cooperate with the truce.

In the air war, two U.S. Sabre jets had been shot down the previous day by Communist planes, the first such Sabres lost in combat since May 17. One of the shot down Sabres had destroyed two MIGs before it went down. Both of the pilots remained missing. A total of 131 enemy MIG-15 jets had been destroyed in the prior two months, 74 of them in June.

Ground fighting reached a comparative lull, with most of it centered in the Kumsong area on the central front, where Chinese divisions had attacked South Korean forces the prior week.

Federal Civil Defense administrator Val Peterson said to the Senate Appropriations Committee this date that the U.S. was "living in a fool's paradise" by refusing to spend money on civil defense. The House Appropriations Committee had reduced the civil defense budget to 37.7 million dollars from the requested 125 million. Mr. Peterson said that the money was needed, that it amounted to less than one half the cost of one aircraft carrier, to provide for the country in its time of greatest emergency need. He stated that other than $60,000 for the construction of two dummy houses at the Yucca Flat atomic testing grounds in Nevada, nothing had been spent within the country for research to protect ordinary citizens in case of an atomic attack. He had sought $812,000 for research on the effects of an atomic blast and said that neglect of that work would be "short-sighted". He said that in the event of a chemical attack there were no gas masks available to protect the people. Committee member, Senator Allen Ellender of Louisiana, asked Mr. Peterson if it was not better to spend the money to minimize the chance of an attack than to take care of its effects should it occur, and that he had been hearing for 17 years of the evils of possible gas warfare and yet no nation had ever launched such an attack. Senator Homer Ferguson stated that the country had "heard the cry of wolf often".

Parenthetically, so that dummies will not take offense, the reference to two "dummy houses" was not in regard to the putative I.Q. of the occupants, but rather premised on each being inhabited by a dummy family.

Bishop G. Bromley Oxnam of the Methodist Church told members of HUAC this date that the Committee should "frankly admit its inaccuracies and misrepresentations" regarding him, and asked it to stop the practice of releasing "unverified and not evaluated" material to the public. He said that the country could not "beat down the Communist menace by bearing false witness against fellow Americans", that the Communists wanted a divided America full of suspicion and that the practices of the Committee fed those desires.

Senate Minority Leader Lyndon Johnson said in an interview this date that Democrats in the Senate would do everything they could to see that the President's most important legislation received consideration during the session, scheduled to end August 1. He appeared to share with some of his colleagues, however, the belief that the President would be lucky to obtain approval of the proposed postal rate increases and the proposed admission during the ensuing three years of 220,000 immigrants above the presently allowed quotas, most of whom would be refugees from Communist lands. Ten additional appropriations bills still had to be cleared, taking a large amount of the remaining time. Senator Pat McCarran of Nevada, whose prior restrictive immigration bill the proposed immigration measure was designed to amend, already reduced from its originally proposed 240,000 immigrants, had vowed to talk for a long time in opposition to the measure. There was also opposition to the President's requested authority to send surplus food to foreign countries during emergencies.

Associated Press correspondent Eddy Gilmore, who had lived in Moscow for 11 years and had married a Russian dancer in 1943, had found out late in the 1940's that the Soviet Government would not allow her to leave the country with their two children, the Government only recently having relaxed that rule so that he could return for the first time since 1942 to the U.S., where he was writing a series of stories about his experiences in Russia, the first of four such articles appearing this date. He reports regarding the average Russian, "Ivan Ivanovich", indicating that the Kremlin for the first time in years had been showing some concern for that person. He finds that the pledge by new Premier Georgi Malenkov to raise the standard of living of the people, while heard before, appeared to have substance this time behind it, that the Communist Party and the Government were behaving as if it really mattered how the people felt. He reports that during the last days of June, the rumor had come out of Moscow that the money was going to be changed again, creating a citywide panic, the story of which had been blocked by Soviet censors from being reported in the West. The rest of the piece is on an inside page.

It was reported in a West Berlin newspaper this date that Soviet troops had attacked partisan bands comprised of Poles, Czechs and Germans, who had seized two towns in Soviet-occupied East Germany. Another West Berlin newspaper, Telegraf, published by the same company, said that Polish partisans had fought a battle with Soviet troops the prior Thursday in a forest near Niesky, ten miles from the Niesse River frontier with Poland. There was no confirmation of the reports, however, from Allied sources, who recalled that previous rumors in West Berlin of widespread Polish rebellion and martial law in Warsaw and Kraków had been subsequently discounted by Western diplomatic missions in Poland.

In Bonn, West Germany, British authorities announced this date the arrest on July 9 of six Germans on charges of spying for the Soviet Union. One of two women arrested had worked until recently as an operator at a British military telephone exchange, and the four men arrested included a former German air force lieutenant, described as a member of the Communist Party for the prior two years.

Port Said, Egypt, at the Mediterranean entrance to the Suez Canal, had been declared by Britain out of bounds for its troops during the four-day liberation festival starting the following Thursday, commemorating the first anniversary of the military overthrow of King Farouk and his regime, the declaration designed to avoid risk of clashes between British troops and Egyptians in the volatile area.

In Chamonix, France, a French mountain climber was brought to safety this date after dangling for three days at the end of a rope over an Alpine chasm on "The Fool's Needle", a sharp peak of the Mont Blanc range on the French-Italian and French-Swiss border, from which he had been hurtled by a storm the prior Saturday, taking the life of his companion when the latter fell into the deep chasm.

In London, a cat belonging to executed confessed murderer, John Christie, was also executed this date, as the local Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals had determined that the cat was too mean to live with anyone, that it was savage and beyond rehabilitation, despite many persons having offered it a home. Mr. Christie had confessed to killing seven women and was convicted for the murder of his wife. He had been executed the prior Wednesday.

Also in London, an 86-year old man was fined $30 this date for placing horse bets in a pub, but the court stated that at his age, he would not ban him from going to the pubs, because the judge hoped that he might be able to do so when he reached 86.

In New York, the 840-acre Central Park marked its centennial this date. Why not?

On the editorial page, "Ike's Respect for the Legislative Branch" indicates that Senate floor leader in the absence of Senator Taft, Senator William Knowland of California, had stated in an interview with U.S. News & World Report that in all the sessions he had attended with the President, the latter had made it clear that he recognized the constitutional responsibilities of Congress as a coequal branch of government. Senator Knowland had elaborated on the efforts of the Administration to work in cooperation with Congress.

It regards it as one of the primary accomplishments of the new President that he had restored "dignity and harmony in the relations between the executive and legislative branches". It finds that President Truman had a tendency to be scornful of individual members of Congress, and also of the institution itself, prompting many members to attack the President personally, contributing to the loss of respect for the office. President Eisenhower, it finds, had been careful to avoid conflict in personalities and that members of Congress had reciprocated in kind. It finds that relations between the White House and Congress were better than in many years past, that governance would be improved as a result.

You can't have it both ways. Just a couple of weeks ago, you appeared to be complaining of the lack of leadership shown by the President. Is he milquetoast, going along to get along, appeasing in the process the likes of Senator McCarthy, or is he restoring dignity to the office and smooth relations with the legislative branch? It appears as the same side of a one-sided coin.

"Matthews Will Get His Day in Court" indicates that erstwhile staff director of the McCarthy Government Operations subcommittee, J. B. Matthews, would soon have his chance to provide his justification for his article in the American Mercury, in which he had stated that 7,000 Protestant clergymen were sympathetic to Communism, revelation of which and the ensuing controversy had cost him his job shortly after being hired by Senator McCarthy.

It indicates that Mr. Matthews deserved to be heard. The ACLU had pointed out that there was question as to whether his civil liberties had been fully accorded at his firing.

It indicates that no one had contended that the clergy had not been infiltrated to some degree by Communists, as ministers were interested in social justice for all men and so might have fallen for the lure of Communism, especially during the "despondent Thirties". It would be one thing to study the extent of Communist infiltration to the clergy, but another to fire loose, unsupported charges, as had Mr. Matthews in his article. It finds it "utterly contemptible" for one person, as had Mr. Matthews, to presume himself as a judge of the loyalty of the U.S. clergy.

It reminds that religion was the strongest single bulwark against Communism, that no Protestant nation had been infiltrated to any degree by Communism, and that branding members of the clergy as "leftists" or "fellow travelers" was a "diabolical scheme" by political reactionaries to frighten the church into conformance with a narrow definition of Americanism.

It finds that Mr. Matthews, a former Marxist-Socialist, would be in better company appearing before HUAC than as staff director of the McCarthy subcommittee, when he took the witness stand "in the company of many other soft-headed fools who once sold the American system short and, having seen the error of their ways, now profess to teach the rest of us real Americanism."

"Taking Medicine to the People" tells of Duke University, following the example of Fulton County in Georgia, taking medicine to the people through a series of medical town halls. Two had been held, one on polio and the other on skin diseases. Other topics coming in the fall would be rheumatic fever and tuberculosis. The theory behind the program was that providing people with facts about disease was one of the best ways to practice preventive medicine. The town halls were being broadcast and re-broadcast on radio stations to provide a wider audience.

It concludes that the program would have beneficial results for doctors and patients. Fear of disease deterred many from seeking medical assistance until an illness became critical, making it more difficult then to treat and cure. It praises the Duke doctors for the effort.

"The Weather?—It's Revolting" wonders whether, with L. P. Beria having fallen from grace in Russia, Malenkov and Molotov might be deposed before the end of the dog days of August. Elsewhere, including within the U.S., there were signs of rebellion, such as the resignations from Senator McCarthy's Government Operations subcommittee of Senators Henry Jackson, Stuart Symington, and John McClellan, in protest of the Republican members having given the chairman the exclusive power to hire and fire staff. Members of the House had rebelled against the chairman of the Ways & Means Committee, Dan Reed, who had rebelled against an extension for six months of the excess profits tax. In North Carolina, Governor William B. Umstead had rebelled against political pressure by appointing an unknown, Alton Lennon, to fill the Senate seat vacated by deceased Senator Willis Smith.

It goes on in that vein, after which it concludes that it was mere poppycock that revolutions were born of injustice. Rather, it was the heat, as shown by the fact that the Declaration of Independence was signed in Philadelphia at the beginning of July.

It concludes that in Africa, where it got really hot, a politician had just been declared eaten by his constituents. "Now if that's not revolting, what is?"

Drew Pearson indicates that Communists had been attacking Protestant churches behind the Iron Curtain for being anti-Communist, while the former staff director of Senator McCarthy's Government Operations subcommittee, J. B. Matthews, had been attacking Protestant churches in the American Mercury for supposedly being pro-Communist. The Soviet drive was headed by the father of convicted British atomic spy Klaus Fuchs. They may have taken a cue, suggests Mr. Pearson, from HUAC, which had used an expelled Presbyterian minister, Dr. Carl McIntire, to make it look as if the clergy approved of the attacks by the Communists on the clergy. He provides further detail of the efforts by Emil Fuchs in East Germany to attack the Protestant clergy for their anti-Communist stance, noting that though no ministers had been jailed in the U.S. because of their teachings, Bishop G. Bromley Oxnam of the Methodist Church had been pilloried in Congress based on false evidence, with both the Communists and the McCarthyites attacking the clergy only because they dared preach against totalitarian tactics both in the U.S. and behind the Iron Curtain.

At a 90-minute White House breakfast recently, members of the House Appropriations Committee had listened to the President make a strong plea for approval of his request for 5.15 billion dollars in mutual aid funds, pointing out that if Congress made a substantial cut to the amount, it would shake morale of nations such as France and Italy at a crucial time. Representative John Taber of New York, chairman of the Committee, responded that he agreed with the President in principle, but wondered how long U.S. taxpayers could continue such a large expenditure of aid money without suffering an economic depression. Mr. Taber indicated that the allocation was the largest single obstacle to balancing the budget, a position supported by Representative Otto Passman of Louisiana. The President indicated his awareness of the fact, but stated that the U.S. was the most prosperous nation in the world and that the present was not the time to reduce aid to free Europe with Communism on the run and the Kremlin bosses fighting among themselves. Mr. Pearson notes that the President, with his presentation, had saved 400 million dollars in cuts which the Committee had determined to make prior to the breakfast.

Stewart Alsop, in Berlin, tells of Gordon Ewing, State Department foreign service officer, class three, on whose shoulders had fallen the unusual task of making independent decisions which could affect the course of history. On June 16, he had been attending a routine administration meeting at the headquarters of RIAS, the American radio station in Berlin, of which he was political program director, when the news came that East Berliners were staging a march on Communist Government buildings. At that point, Mr. Ewing, aware that any overt official act by the U.S. could provide the pretext for the Soviets to move on Berlin or make trouble in some other way for the U.S., turned down the workers' request for a direct appeal for a general strike to begin the following morning, but did include in the regularly scheduled broadcast a news account of the visit to the station by the strike leaders and their plans for a strike. There had been no time to consult Washington, where the situation was not yet known anyway.

Next, Dr. Eberhard Schutz, a star radio commentator on the station, a former Communist who now hated Communism, submitted to Mr. Ewing the proposed text of a commentary on events in East Berlin, ending with, "We hope we shall have more such victories to report." Mr. Ewing allowed the broadcast to go forward as written. He then interrupted the regular schedule of programs to devote all of the broadcast time to the uprisings.

Meanwhile, as the night drew on, all over East Germany, little groups of angry men were clustered around radios listening to the RIAS broadcast of the events of the day, as the strike leaders planned for the following day, on which the workers would chase the Communist functionaries from their offices and take over the cities, albeit briefly. Without the broadcasts, the uprising could not have taken place.

By nightfall on June 17, the Soviet troops and tanks had crushed the uprisings, but at a terrible cost to the Soviets, for which L. P. Beria would pay dearly. By the morning of June 18, Mr. Ewing was tired as he had not slept in two full days. As he perused the U.S. wire reports, he read that he, according to Senator McCarthy, was one of the "pro-Communists" whom the Senator meant to "take by the scruff of the neck". The Senator had also included Mr. Ewing's wife in the warning. It had not come as a complete surprise to Mr. Ewing, as the Senator intended to use Dr. Schutz as proof that Communists ran RIAS. Mr. Ewing's wife had been taken to Russia on a trip by her eccentric stepfather when she was a child, the pretext on which Senator McCarthy intended to claim she had Communist sympathies. He also knew that a German journalist-adventurer, whom Mr. Ewing had fired for his inability to distinguish fact from fancy, had been delivering poison into receptive American ears.

Mr. Alsop indicates that Mr. Ewing's existence at the radio station was in a sort of limbo. Senator McCarthy had not yet made good his threat and the State Department had not offered Mr. Ewing to Senator McCarthy as a pacifier, as in the case of Charles Thayer, Theodore Kaghan and other able men in Germany. But, he indicates, the pattern was familiar, as it was accepted practice to encourage disgruntled foreigners to tarnish the reputations of American officials. He concludes that the U.S. had an odd way of rewarding courage and intelligence displayed by those who served the interests of the country.

James Marlow indicates that the first immediate benefit to the U.S. from a Korean truce would be to end the killing of American soldiers, but that when the long-range effect of a truce was examined objectively, the outlook might be gloomy, as the truce might cost the U.S. more than had the fighting continued. The Administration was fully aware of that prospect, but had determined that the only options were to continue the fight, with the possibility of starting world war three, freighted with only the advantage of exchange of American lives for Chinese lives, more expendable in Communist China, or agree to the armistice and end the slaughter, hoping that the results would not lead to the gloomy prospect that the truce could free up Chinese troops and its economy for a fight other places in Asia, where Communist Chinese prestige reportedly had only increased by their fighting in Korea having stopped the U.N. forces.

The Chinese economy, however, had been badly damaged by the war, the country's five-year plan announced when the Communist Government had taken over four years earlier having been delayed by the drain on finances. The Chinese were dependent on Russia for 70 percent of their supplies. Those provided good reasons why the Chinese might want a truce. Additionally, the Chinese would seek an end to the embargo by the U.S. on trade with China by U.S. allies, and would seek a seat on the U.N. Security Council, though the U.S. would likely resist both attempts.

A letter writer provides a very long statement regarding the increase in the number of deaths from highway accidents over the weekends, as a glance at the headlines of newspapers, he suggests, on any Monday morning showed. He thinks it was the result of use of the roads over their intended capacity, especially by the abundant numbers of trucks. He recommends bringing highways up to speed. Most of his complaint would be eliminated within the coming three or four years with the inception of the four-lane interstate highway system, not incidentally developed to aid in civil defense by enabling ready travel, military and civilian, from one part of the country to another in time of national emergency.

A letter writer indicates that he had stood on the corner of Alexander and East Trade Streets on Sunday, July 12, for an hour trying to catch the Elizabeth bus, finally gave up in disgust and caught a taxi. He indicates that some of the Duke Power Co. bus drivers stopped ten feet from the pavement on Hawthorne and Elizabeth to pick up passengers, tying up traffic in all directions—not surprising as they were apparently off the ground. When they then pulled away from the curbs, they would run over cars in their way unless the latter yielded. He thanks the newspapers in the city for cooperating with the City Council to inform the public of the way Duke was treating its passengers.

You missed the bus.

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