The Charlotte News

Monday, July 27, 1953


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports, via Robert Tuckman, that generals of the U.N. Command and Communist armies signed the previous day an armistice ending the fighting in the three-year Korean War, causing a hush to fall suddenly across the battle lines 12 hours after the signing of the truce, when the cease-fire became officially effective. The guns of both sides had issued heavy barrages right up until the final minute of the cease-fire, at 10:00 p.m., 8:00 a.m. EST. The armistice negotiations had lasted for two years and 17 days, since shortly after the first anniversary of the war. The brief signing ceremony at Panmunjom went smoothly, as Lt. General William Harrison signed for the allies and General Nam Il signed for the Communists, neither having uttered a word.

Shortly after signing the armistice, Peiping Radio boasted that the Communists had won "a glorious victory" and cautioned Communist soldiers to remain "highly vigilant and guard against any disruptive actions from the other side."

U.N. supreme commander General Mark Clark told U.N. troops that there would be no "immediate or even early withdrawal", reminding the enemy "and his emissaries that our might and power stand behind the pledges of the United Nations to defend the Republic of Korea against any aggressor." South Korean President Syngman Rhee again warned that the armistice would be only a prelude to more war and "further Communist advances by war and subversion." He also again said, however, that South Korea would not disturb the truce, at least for the limited time during which the political conference, set to begin 90 days later, would seek to reunify the country and establish plans for withdrawal of Chinese Communist forces from North Korea. U.S. Eighth Army commander, General Maxwell Taylor, said that the armistice was "just a suspension of hostilities, which may or may not be preparatory to permanent peace."

President Eisenhower, in a nationwide television and radio broadcast an hour after the truce had been signed, welcomed it but warned that "we may not now relax our guard nor cease our quest." A few moments before he had gone on the air, he said, "I'm glad this war is over and I hope my son is coming home soon." Army Major John Eisenhower had been on active duty in Korea for the previous year.

Associated Press correspondent Forrest Edwards relates that the last person to die in battle in the war and the last hero might never be known. The last reported artillery barrage of the war, begun in the afternoon, had ended on the central front at 9:43 p.m., 17 minutes before the truce began amid silence. A few seconds after the truce began, wild yells erupted from American G.I.s. According to Associated Press correspondent John Randolph, "Even as the shooting ended, litter jeeps and ambulances wound down the dusty hill trails from outpost ridges, bringing moaning, broken men to rear hospitals." Just five minutes before the guns fell silent, American and South Korean artillerymen had sought to muffle the Communist big guns by sending a timed, simultaneous artillery barrage from 12 batteries. Had it not been for the artillery exchange, there would have been little or no firing on the last day of the war, as the U.S. Eighth Army had warned division commanders to fire only defensively.

Mr. Randolph tells of the prior day having approached a steep, muddy hill northeast of Kumhwa, carrying a fifth of 100-proof bond whiskey wrapped in a towel, as a sign that the armistice would be signed, then was greeted by G.I.s with excitement, understanding the signal. A sergeant had approached him and after making sure, with a worried expression on his face, that Mr. Randolph would not kid them, greeted the news with happiness, then expressing some dismay that they had to wait another twelve hours until the cease-fire, saying that he hoped they made it that long. He had then shouted to the lieutenant that they had an armistice and that Mr. Randolph had brought the battle-ending bottle just like he said he would.

The new military demarcation line agreed in the truce had provided the Communists with almost all of the ground they had won recently in the Kumsong Bulge area in their largest offensive in the previous two years. A map released this date by General Clark showed the truce line, which excluded Kumhwa and "Finger Ridge", as well as "Heartbreak Ridge", the latter having been the scene of bitter fighting during the fall of 1951, to become part of the demilitarized zone, as would "Old Baldy", "Pork Chop" and "T-Bone" hills on the west-central front, and the "Hook" and "Bunker Hill", where U.S. Marines had fought bitter battles on the extreme western front. Instead of the Bulge, the line would extend roughly east and west along the Pukhan River. The Communists would occupy "Capitol Hill" and "Finger Ridge", "Papa-San" mountain north of Kumhwa and "Anchor Hill", on the extreme eastern front. Most of the sites of the battles fought during the previous year would be within the demilitarized zone, including "Outpost Vegas" and "Outpost Berlin", where the Chinese Communists had attacked U.S. Marines only two or three days earlier, "Outpost Bak", "Arrowhead Ridge", "White Horse Hill", "Outpost Harry", "Sniper Ridge", "Jane Russell Hill" and "Luke the Gook's Castle". The line was anchored on the Imjin River just west of Munsan in the extreme west and ran north through Panmunjom, cut northeast through Korangpo to a point about five miles north of Chorwon and then ran roughly due east to "Heartbreak Ridge" and "Sandbag Castle", about 14 miles north-northeast of Yanggu, from which it then curved northeast to a point about five miles south of Kosong on the east coast.

Even if they lost the Bulge, at least they saved Jane Russell. That's a relief. If she had gone over to the Commies, what then?

Secret records released this date after the truce showed that the Communists had told the allies that they would return 12,736 prisoners of war, including 3,313 Americans, the report providing the remainder of the breakdown, most of whom, 8,186, were Koreans. The allies informed the Communists that about 5,000 Chinese Communist prisoners and 69,000 North Koreans would be returned. The U.N. indicated that about 7,800 North Koreans and 14,500 Chinese prisoners would be turned over to the five neutral-nation repatriation commission, to determine the fate of those prisoners who resisted repatriation to their homelands. The Communists indicated that they would return 300 prisoners per day, including additional sick and wounded, the bulk of those prisoners having already been exchanged. The U.N. Command said that they would return 2,400 able-bodied Communist prisoners per day, plus 360 sick and wounded each day, with the allies holding about 3,000 in the latter category. The truce required that all prisoners who wanted to repatriate would be exchanged within 60 days. The allied officer at the session the previous day had told the Communists that the U.N. position was that the proposed rate of exchange of 300 prisoners per day was too small in light of the number the U.N. would exchange each day.

Associated Press correspondent Elton C. Fay indicates that during the war, the U.S. had lost more than 22,000 soldiers dead in battle and another 118,000 casualties. The U.S. had spent more than 15 billion dollars to cover the costs of 1.125 million tons of artillery ammunition, over 1.8 billion bullets and grenades, 800 tanks, 40,000 trucks, more than two million shells for Navy guns, and hundreds of thousands of tons of bombs. It had triggered a general rearmament program for which the Government had spent to date over 101 billion dollars. The troops would not begin to come home, according to Secretary of Defense Charles E. Wilson, until they could be safely withdrawn, presumably six months hence or longer, depending on how fast prisoners were exchanged and whether the truce would last. The Secretary also said that current military production plans would continue until such time as an orderly plan could be worked out which would take into account the changed requirements of the Korean War. On June 25, 1950, the day the North Koreans launched the attack on South Korea, the U.S. had under arms 1.48 million men in the Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force, with fewer than half a dozen Army divisions manned and equipped to battle readiness, whereas now there were 3.5 million men in uniform, being trimmed somewhat under the economy program, and the Army had 20 divisions.

In the wake of the armistice, diplomats would begin the struggle between the U.S. and Britain over admission to the U.N. of Communist China, and the Communists would have to deal with the impact of the armistice on relations between the Soviet Union, Communist China and North Korea. It was too early to tell whether the truce meant the beginning of a new and more peaceful era, but officials in Washington had no doubt that it posed many problems which were beyond action while the fighting continued. The U.N. General Assembly would meet in a special session in New York the following month, its primary task being to set the stage for the political conference regarding Korea and perhaps other Far Eastern issues, set to convene by late October. The principal U.S. goal of that conference would be to seek Korean unification under a non-Communist government. The question was, if the Communists were willing to give up North Korea, the price they would ask. Many authorities in Washington believed that it would be U.N. membership for Communist China, displacing Nationalist China on the Security Council, with its unilateral veto power, plus an end to trade embargoes against Communist China and satisfaction of Communist China's claims on Formosa.

The President this date formally requested that Congress provide an initial 200 million dollars for Korean relief, indicating the need to act promptly to alleviate the devastation suffered by the people and the economy of Korea during the war.

Not on the front page but quite significant to subsequent history was the occurrence the previous day of what would later coalesce as the "26th of July Movement" in Cuba, led by 26-year old Fidel Castro and, later, in 1956, the year younger Dr. Che Guevara, prelude to the New Year's Day Revolution of 1959, in which strong-man El Presidente Fulgencio Batista was forced into exile and a new Government established...

On the editorial page, "An Armistice on One Battleground" states that victory over Germany and Japan in 1945 had been accompanied by celebrations, prayers and thanksgiving that the slaughter had ceased, but that above all else had been the emotional rejoicing that the war was over. The signing the previous date of the armistice in the Korean War had not given rise tothe same mood as had the end of the European and Pacific wars respectively, in May and August, 1945.

Regardless, victory had been achieved, even though no net gain had been accomplished in terms of actual real estate or in the sense that enemy casualties were infinitely higher than those of the allies or by the fact that there had been much greater destruction of enemy territory as contrasted with that in South Korea. The victory had occurred, at least temporarily, by the facts that all-out war, which could mean total annihilation in the modern atomic era, had been averted, and that the U.N. had acted as a common organization to make it clear that aggression was dangerously unprofitable.

Those who advocated all-out war needed to realize that sweeping victories, as in World Wars I and II, had not secured the peace in the past, and had often led to subsequent wars. Those who saw no advantage in repelling aggression without inflicting severe retribution, should bear in mind, it urges, that the U.N.'s concerted action in Korea would have a beneficial effect on other small nations, as such might have had on Japan in 1931 when it had marched on Manchuria, or on Italy, in 1936, when it bombed Ethiopia into submission, or on Germany in early 1938 when it took over Austria through Anschluss.

It indicates that the President's "brief but moving" address the previous night had amply observed that an armistice on a single battlefield did not mean peace in the world, that even if peace came to Korea, the threat of Communist expansion continued.

If the U.N. alliance were to founder, the Communists might be led to seek expansion again. Likewise, if pressure ceased at home to maintain adequate defense, the same temptation might present itself.

The rehabilitation of South Korea presented a challenge to all U.N. members, as well as the problem of dealing with President Rhee during the forthcoming political conference, in which he had essentially demanded that the U.S. seek and accomplish reunification of Korea.

It concludes that if the allies remained together and strong, the Communists would likely not seek further expansion and the allies could concentrate on Soviet internal troubles. It suggests that an appreciation of the nature of the victory in Korea and the continued efforts necessary to ensure a permanent peace would increase the likelihood that history would view the Korean War as a milestone in the fight against tyranny.

"Trading with the Enemy" indicates that in view of the charges made by Senator McCarthy's Investigations subcommittee, that trade among U.N. countries fighting in Korea was continuing and even expanding with Communist China, the subject deserved attention.

It regards trade which provided an enemy with military equipment to be foolhardy. But it could also be argued that in modern warfare, practically all goods were strategic in the sense that they were valuable to the war effort, and so, under such a diluted distinction, all trade between the free world and Communist China should have stopped.

But in Britain, where there was a need for greater proportion of imports, the problem was different from that in the U.S., with only about one-sixth of the reliance on imports. Thus, the question was where the balance of advantage lay between imports and exports in a particular country's trading. Trade with the Communists was attractive to foreign countries because it did not require use of scarce dollars, and tariffs erected by the U.S. and other free countries between one another hindered trade. Additionally complicating the matter was the fact that Communist countries were also offering particularly attractive deals to non-Communist countries to lure contracts away from the U.S.

It indicates that while it might be in order to review trade policy with the Communists, it should not be forgotten that while trading with the enemy provided sensational headlines, the solution lay in facilitation of trade between the free nations.

"The Senate Will Miss Charles Tobey" laments the passing of the Senator from New Hampshire, who had died at age 73 of a coronary thrombosis the previous day, after 35 years of public service. He had served as the Speaker of the New Hampshire House, as a member and president of the New Hampshire Senate, as Governor of that state, as a Congressman, for three terms, and as a Senator from 1939. He had been deeply religious, possessed of an inquisitive and persistent mind, great courage, high morals and fearless independence, the latter quality endearing him to his constituents and fans all over the nation, dismaying in the process Republican Party leaders. He believed that principles took precedence over party loyalty, often leaving his Republican colleagues to side with Democrats when he was convinced his fellow Republicans were wrong.

In his latter years, he had tended to swing from puckishness to indignation, possibly because that brought him nationwide attention during the televised crime hearings of 1950-51. He had earned by then the right to be called a "character". It concludes that the Senate and the nation would miss him.

"Keep Hitting on Psychological Warfare" applauds the Crusade for Freedom, Drew Pearson and the groups which had launched the balloons into satellite countries carrying pamphlets promoting freedom and democracy, an idea which worked. The Crusade for Freedom had recently targeted Czechoslovakia, delivering the news of L. P. Beria's downfall and providing a commemorative coin with an inscription designed to foster Czechoslovakian national pride and encourage revolt against their Communist masters. Angry denunciation by Czech officials had attested to the program's effectiveness.

It suggests that it would be appropriate to launch bundles of leaflets across borders via artillery or to mail the pamphlets or toss bundles from the Oriental Express and other trains passing into the Iron Curtain countries. It finds the present to be an ideal time for exerting psychological warfare, and as Congress did not appear disposed to meet the Administration's request for Government-financed psychological warfare, private undertakings would need take up the slack. It therefore provides the address for Crusade for Freedom in New York.

Drew Pearson tells of Ambassador to Italy Clare Boothe Luce having sent a telegram to the State Department, upset over the invitation to the Yugoslav military delegation to visit Washington, while ignoring the Italians. She said it had infuriated the country's allies in Italy and might cause the fall of the Government of Premier Alcide De Gasperi, as the Yugoslavs were rivals to the Italians.

Robert Young of the railroad industry had bought 25 percent of the New York Central Railroad and could now almost completely control that organization. The Interstate Commerce Commission had ruled that Mr. Young could not control the Central, but now that his Chesapeake & Ohio and his Allegheny Corporation had acquired the one-quarter stock of the Central, the ICC would have to consider the question of dominance. William White, the new president of the Central, was already adopting Mr. Young's railroading ideas, with lighter passenger cars, a central reservation bureau, and closer relations between stockholders and the railroad. If the Central was combined with the C & O, Mr. Young would have the largest railroad network in the country.

Mr. Pearson indicates that the most tragic part of the Southwest drought was the damage it would do to the following year's crops, unless a cover crop were grown before the windy season began the following March. Without it, the land would be blown away to the point of non-reclaimability. Experts of the Department of Agriculture who had been making a survey of the region, had determined that droughts appeared to recur about every nine years and in odd-numbered decades. Bad droughts had occurred in the 1930s, followed by normal rains in the 1940s, and another drought now in the 1950s. Man-made efforts to combat the Dust Bowl had been successful in the 1930s, and if the lessons had not been ignored in the Southwest, there would be no trouble in Texas and New Mexico presently. Western Kansas and Oklahoma, hit hardest by the 1930s drought, had learned their lessons and were relatively better off presently. In those earlier times, when the lesson of the Dust Bowl was being remedied, politicians criticized the "crackpot ideas" of former Secretary of Agriculture Henry Wallace and Rexford Guy Tugwell. But the soil conservation measures which they implemented had saved those areas presently, now covered by grass. Yet, the farmers of Texas and New Mexico had not applied the lesson and, encouraged by the abundance of rain during the 1940s, had opted for heavier grazing and more cotton and wheat production, producing now heavy soil erosion from the drought. The experts said that 1934 had been the worst drought year, but that 1953 might even be drier.

The Bankhead-Jones Act of 1936 had provided for Government purchases of half a million ruined acres and large sums were spent to encourage farmers to keep their land in grass. So, with the Texas and New Mexico farmers not having applied the lessons, unless a cover crop could be grown prior to spring, there would be no assurance that the land would not become unreclaimable in large parts of the Southwest.

Joseph Alsop tells of hard evidence now being available that the Soviet Air Force had started series production of a six-engine turbo-prop bomber with a round-trip range capability of approximately 5,000 miles, as well as that factories around Moscow, formerly producing the MIG-15 jet, prominent in the Korean War, had been converted to production of a new Soviet fighter, believed to be for night and all-weather operation. Such news merited large headlines. The new long-range bomber had been debated in the West since 1951, when the prototype had been observed at the Moscow air show, the debate centering on whether it presaged an aircraft comparable to the U.S. B-36, the backbone of the Strategic Air Command. Most of the intelligence experts had predicted that such a plane would be produced in quantity by 1953, but the Pentagon, exercising its "customary reckless optimism about Soviet deficiencies", believed that prediction groundless. Yet it was now almost certain that the prediction had come true, overcoming the previous weakness of Soviet strategic air defense.

As more units were equipped with this new bomber, the Soviets would cease dependence on the TU-4, which could only reach American targets on one-way suicidal missions. But with a 5,000 mile range, all American targets could be reached from Soviet advanced bases in Kamchatka and on the Arctic fringe, with round-trip capability. The new plane was also more modern than the B-36, with better speed, altitude and other characteristics. The TU-4 equated to the B-50, which along with the B-36, comprised the bulk of the Strategic Air Command. Thus, the Soviets were reaching parity with the U.S. in that regard.

The new production of the night and all-weather fighter was significant as a defender of the Soviet Union, something which the U.S. did not have in adequate numbers, the expectation being that no more than one-tenth of one percent of attackers at night or in bad weather could be intercepted by present U.S. air defense. The Soviet system was much better developed, with only one present weakness, its reliance on the MIG-15, a day fighter, rendering the Soviet Union thus presently penetrable by the B-36s and B-50s, which, however, would become obsolete when the Soviets developed a night fighter, capable, on current intelligence estimates, of realization in quantity within two years or so.

Mr. Alsop concludes that the vulnerability of the U.S. was again increasing while the vulnerability of the Soviet Union was again in reduction, as the U.S. Strategic Air Command was also being reduced in its ability to serve as protection, "trends about which no sane American can be complacent."

Robert C. Ruark indicates that he had voted Republican in 1952 and had never belonged to a subversive organization, that though he had worked for many newspapers, the "pink ones" would not print his output. He wonders what would happen to irresponsible persons who strayed from the designated routes open to foreigners and accidentally wound up in a restricted area of atomic production or a concentration camp in Communist countries, that doing so automatically made one a spy, not just lost. He says he would hate to get shot in Communist territory while searching for "a cucumber sandwich and a wild-strawberry sundae, or imprisoned for questioning the validity of the caviar at Joe's Troika, Tables for Ladies in Back." He thus suggests to summer tourists that they skip seeing the "Soviet worker's paradise", which was "full of fleas, bad food and full-gray people, all spouting doctrine at you, with very few Esso stations and seldom amusement. Once you've seen a steppe you've seen a steppe, and the women are awfully lumpy."

In addition to the problems attendant getting lost, he imagines that Senator McCarthy would take a dim view of any tourist spending his holiday on the Volga. He would not want to have to explain, under oath, what motivated a visit to Moscow.

A letter writer comments on another letter which had attributed the high accident and death rates on the highways to the increased amount of traffic, especially that of trucks, saying that he did not agree, as he had observed that most Charlotte motorists ignored the traffic regulations by speeding, cutting in and out of traffic, passing cars when prohibited and exhibiting general discourtesy and lack of concern for safety. He urges the newspaper to start a safe driving campaign to arouse public opinion on the issue.

A letter writer says that he had traveled 38 states and seven countries, but had never seen the cooperation exhibited in the Oakhurst and Sharon-Amity areas within the city. A businessmen's club in Oakhurst was constructing a playground and the Christian Fellowship was building play and picnic grounds otherwise. He thanks those organizations for their efforts in deterring juvenile delinquency.

A letter from the pastor of the Calvary Presbyterian Church, Independent, tells of the congregation having unanimously passed a resolution in favor of continued teaching of the Bible in the public schools—in response to the June 10 resolution of the 26 Baptist ministers, urging the City and County School Boards to cease the teaching as violative of the First Amendment Establishment Clause, providing for separation of church and state.

A letter writer comments on an editorial of July 24 referring to the Highway Commission as comprised of road-builders, rather than prison directors, urging that the Commission be left to its primary role rather than politicizing the administration of the prisons. She asks whether the newspaper had favored separation of the prisons from the Highway Department, to which the editors respond that they had, long earlier.

A letter from Congressman Charles Jonas informs, anent the editorial of July 22 on the FDA inspection bill, that it had passed on July 16 in the House, and that he had voted in favor of it.

A letter writer responds to an editorial, "The Bursting of Another Bubble", agreeing with it, saying that "egotistical eccentrics like McCarthy are detrimental to any nation and are completely dispensable to same."

A letter from the moderator and clerk of the Session of the West Avenue Presbyterian Church indicates that they joined the Men's Fellowship Club of the church in urging continuation of the teaching of the Bible in the public schools of Charlotte.

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