The Charlotte News

Tuesday, July 28, 1953


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports, via Sam Summerlin, that the allies and Communists had agreed this date to begin the exchange of about 87,000 prisoners of war on August 5, and the joint Military Armistice Commission had put in motion machinery for enforcing the armistice. The Communists had agreed to free about 400 prisoners per day at Panmunjom, and the U.N. had said it would deliver about 2,760 per day, including 300 sick and wounded per day.

Meanwhile, allied and Communist forces began pulling back about 1.25 miles from the front lines to create a 2.5 mile demilitarized zone, blowing up fortifications as they went. The U.N. also began evacuation of key islands off both coasts of North Korea. The withdrawal had to be completed from the demilitarized zone by Thursday night. No armistice violations or incidents had been reported thus far. Marines reported that unarmed Chinese had wandered through the new buffer zone, coming close enough to the U.N. bunkers to ask for a cigarette. The Marines said that they had not fraternized with them.

South Korean President Syngman Rhee said, in a message to the people of South Korea, that he had received assurances that if the postwar political conference, set to begin in 90 days, broke down, the 16 United Nations with forces in Korea were determined to fight with South Korea jointly in a complete "unity of purpose".

Polish and Czech officers reportedly were traveling to Panmunjom to take up their posts on the five-nation prisoner of war supervisory commission, overseeing the fate of those prisoners who had professed a desire not to repatriate, and charged with enforcing the truce.

U.N. supreme commander General Mark Clark and chief U.N. negotiator, Lt. General William Harrison, returned to Tokyo from Korea after completing the signing of the truce documents.

Peiping Radio announced this night that American prisoners of war in North Korea had gone "wild with joy" after hearing the news of the armistice, clapping, yelling and throwing their caps into the air. It added that even the British prisoners, who were not easily excited, yelled and shouted.

In Tokyo, the U.S. Army announced this date a new rotation system which would make the normal tour of duty for soldiers in Korea 16 months beginning on October 1, while the tour of duty for those serving in the Philippines would be 24 months. Married soldiers in Okinawa who had their families with them, and unmarried soldiers, would serve 30 months, while personnel whose dependents did not accompany them would serve 20 months. In Japan, those accompanied by dependents, and the unmarried soldiers, would serve 36 months, while those without their dependents with them would serve 24 months. The new rotational system in Korea would enable the rear area soldier to get home sooner while those who would have been at the front would stay longer.

Secretary of State Dulles said this date that the U.S. would not purchase Korean unity at the price of membership of Communist China in the U.N. instead of Nationalist China, a matter on which the U.S. had the unilateral right of veto. He said that he did not think the veto would be necessary. He announced that he would fly to Korea the following Sunday to confer with President Rhee regarding the upcoming political conference and the negotiation of a U.S.-Korean security pact, under which the U.S. would guarantee to come to the defense of South Korea if it were again the subject of aggression. He said that he anticipated taking with him a bipartisan group of Senators, including William Knowland of California, Alexander Smith of New Jersey, Richard Russell of Georgia and Lyndon Johnson of Texas. He reminded that the Senate would have to ratify any treaty negotiated. Mr. Dulles disclosed for the first time officially that the U.S. had agreed with President Rhee to walk out of the political conference if, after 90 days of negotiations, it appeared to be a sham and the Communists were negotiating in bad faith. He also disclosed officially that the U.S. had stated its willingness to include in the defense pact a provision giving the U.S. the right to station forces in or around Korea for the purpose of preserving the peace, a provision which President Rhee had requested.

The American Communist Party said that the cease-fire in Korea shattered the "Wall Street cultivated big lie that a third world war is inevitable".

The House Post Office Committee decided to shelve the Administration's request for higher postal rates for the current session of Congress.

In New York, Senator Taft, who had been suffering ill health for the previous three months, had deteriorated, according to the staff of the New York Hospital. It had been announced the previous week that he would return to Washington the following day, but that announcement had now been altered, as the Senator was responding less well to treatment and was not taking food satisfactorily.

In Berlin, thousands of hungry East Germans lined up at dawn to receive food from Western relief this date, after more than 120,000 food packages had been distributed the previous day at the opening of the program, backed by a 15 million dollar donation by the U.S. The first food from that fund had begun arriving the previous day, with previous food having been distributed from the reserve stock on hand in case of a repeat of the 1948-49 Soviet blockade of Berlin. The program was set to last two weeks and was expected to provide a million food packages to East Germans. The Communist border police generally allowed people to return to the Eastern Zone unimpeded, though occasionally stopped for a check. The previous day, a suspected spy and several distributors of Communist propaganda had been arrested by the West Berlin police. The Soviets had prevented the food from being shipped directly to East Germany. Those who came across the border to obtain the food said that they did so because they could not buy food for any amount of money from the Communist-run food stores as it simply was not present. The Eastern zone had once produced most of the food for Germany, but the Communist program of collective farming and forced crop quotas had failed, causing thousands of farmers to flee to the West in fear and disgust, with East German authorities admitting that they could not find enough farm workers to bring in the current year's harvest. West Berlin officials set up soup kitchens to feed people who were standing in line for many hours through daytime sun and evening rain. Hundreds had collapsed from weakness and were treated at first aid centers, and 4,000 beds in refugee centers were provided for those who were either too weak to return home or had waited until it was past the allotted time.

In Rome, Premier Alcide de Gasperi's eighth government had fallen this date under a no-confidence vote by a margin of 282 to 263, his first such defeat since taking over the leadership on December 10, 1945. He would have to submit to the President his formal resignation of the government which he had reluctantly formed just two weeks earlier following the national elections. In the voting, 37 center party members of the Chamber of Deputies had abstained, though formerly allied with the Premier. The vote was doomed when the leader of the Monarchist Party announced that his group would cast its 40 votes against the Government. U.S. Ambassador to Italy Clare Boothe Luce observed the session.

In Fairford, England, two U.S. Air Force B-47 jet bombers made record-breaking runs across the Atlantic this date, one flying from Limestone Air Force Base in Maine, some 2,925 miles, in four hours and 45 minutes at an average speed of 615 mph. The other had crossed from Goose Bay in Labrador, some 400 miles northeast of Limestone, in four hours and 14 minutes. The previous record had been five hours and 22 minutes in a B-47.

On the editorial page, "Bipartisanship Strengthened by Truce" indicates that while initially, the Korean War had bipartisan support, by the time of the 1952 party conventions, it had become the biggest and bitterest political issue of the campaign. Yet, the signing of the armistice had once again united the parties in support of it. It finds some of the statements made by the President in his broadcast the previous Sunday regarding the armistice to have been echoes of President Truman and, likewise, those of Secretary of State Dulles similar to statements previously made by former Secretary of State Acheson.

Both statements were far from the "useless war" and "Truman's war" slogans which had been bandied about during the 1952 campaign by Republicans. It showed that Republican Party leadership was quite a bit more mature than it had been a year earlier when it had stated in its platform that the Democrats had, in going back into Korea, "evoked the patriotic and sacrificial support of the American people", while then producing stalemate and "ignominious bartering with our enemies", offering no hope of victory, and that the Democrats had plunged the nation into the war without the citizens' consent through their authorized representatives in Congress and had carried on the war without a will toward victory.

It finds in the new bipartisanship hope that the Eisenhower Administration would be able to lead the nation into the uncertain future without being hampered by "irresponsible political sniping at home." It also finds that the armistice had vindicated the judgment of former President Truman and former Secretary Acheson that a settlement was preferable to an all-out war aimed at total victory. With that latter question removed from disagreement, it suggests that the Democrats in Congress could, without political embarrassment, give the Administration the kind of responsible minority support in foreign policy which had been notable by its absence during the Truman Administration.

"Guns for Soldiers, No Milk for the Kids" indicates that Eleanor Roosevelt, in her recently published book, India and the Awakening East, had told of watching Pakistani and Indian workers ladling milk to undernourished children and distributing medicine to them as part of the U.N. International Children's Fund. She had also reported on the spirited debate within U.N. committees, on which she had served, regarding the function of the Children's Fund. Asian delegates from countries suffering famines wanted distribution of supplies to be the primary objective of the fund. The U.S. position, which had been presented by Mrs. Roosevelt, was that the modest funds available to UNICEF, about 30 million dollars annually, ought be primarily expended on projects which would increase food supplies and multiply available technical services. It quotes from her book in that regard.

Despite her argument, it indicates, the short-term view had prevailed in 1950 rather than her contention that the problem needed to be met by increasing the supply of food in the needy areas. But in 1952, the U.N. had come around to the U.S. position, whereby the Children's Fund, while continuing distribution of milk, food and medicine, was becoming a long-range institution.

The Congress had recently killed a provision for a nine million dollar contribution to the fund, as requested by the President. But there was enough support in the U.N. for the Fund to continue, regardless of U.S. participation, as Poland and the Soviet Union had suddenly announced during the week their support of it.

In addition, Congress had decided to scale down drastically U.S. contribution to the U.N. technical assistance program, whereupon Russia decided to contribute a million dollars for that program, and Poland decided to add some more.

Those developments could lead the people of Asia to conclude that despite the surplus dairy products and money in the U.S., Americans were reluctant to give milk to their children, while giving them guns with which to fight, as Russia was providing milk and also technical assistance. New York Times correspondent Michael Hoffman, writing from Geneva, said that some governmental observers had suggested that the U.N. technical assistance program, developed out of the Point Four program of President Truman, could become Communist-dominated for lack of U.S. support, with the Soviets reaping the principal benefit from work performed under U.S. inspiration and to a great extent by U.S. technicians.

It indicates that such a development would delight the neo-isolationists in the U.S. who wanted to discredit the U.N. The Communists had exploited the Congressional decisions to cut funding to the U.N. aid program, but there was still time for it to be reconsidered, and the piece strongly recommends that such take place.

"Governor Byrnes Joins the Team" indicates that the President's designation of Governor James Byrnes of South Carolina as a U.S. delegate to the U.N. had been a stroke of genius. Governor Byrnes had supported General Eisenhower during the campaign and so it was expected that he would be rewarded, and the U.N. was a natural appointment for him. The problems arising from the end of the Korean War would present to the U.N. a tough assignment, regarding potential reunification of Korea and admission of Communist China to the U.N., as well as the lingering possibility of additional Communist aggression in Southeast Asia. That was occurring when many Americans, frustrated by the fact that there had been no greater participation by the U.N. allies in fighting the war, believed that the U.N. experiment ought be ended.

Even those who disagreed with the politics of Governor Byrnes recognized him as a man of vast experience and great skill in international diplomacy, having been Secretary of State under President Truman and serving as War Mobilizer and "Assistant President" under FDR. The fact that he was politically conservative would help instill confidence in doubters regarding the positions which the Government might take in the forthcoming U.N. deliberations. Mr. Byrnes had a worldwide reputation which would strengthen the prestige of the U.S. delegation.

A piece from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, titled "Mrs. Housewife", indicates that Armi Kuusela of Finland, Miss Universe, now married and residing in the Philippines with her husband, had said that she was too tired to be Miss Universe, that her household duties kept her too busy.

The piece indicates that it would be too tiring just to be Mr. Western Hemisphere, as would, on some days, being Mr. North America. Pushing a lawnmower around the lawn made it occasionally hard to be Mr. Immediate Neighborhood. It concludes that it was better to be a simple Manila multi-millionaire with a handsome and sensible wife and no more pretentious title than that of Mr. Virgilio C. Hilario.

The Associated Press provides a survey of editorial excerpts from various newspapers regarding the truce in Korea. The New York Times said that despite the truce, there was still no peace in Asia and that the struggle against Communist aggression would have to continue.

The Chicago Tribune said that America had gained nothing from the war except the lessons which could be taken from the experience, the most important of which having been that the country should fight only when its safety was plainly endangered, never true vis-à-vis Korea, causing Americans to be, for the first time in the nation's history, eager to see the end of a war short of victory.

The Baltimore Sun had stated that in the long view of history, the U.N. soldiers who fought and died in Korea would be seen to have turned the tide and called a halt to the "spreading darkness which threatened to engulf the globe." It hopes so, while recognizing that there were still problems to be confronted in Asia.

The Hearst Newspapers, in a nationally carried front page editorial signed by William Randolph Hearst, Jr., expressed gratefulness to God that the war had ended and suggested that there were lessons which could be taken from it, that the U.N. could not keep the peace, that England had enforced the "Pax Britannica" for about a century with the world's greatest Navy at its disposal and absolute control of the seas, that the principle remained the same such that the U.S. had to have the greatest Air Force in the world to keep control of the air, that, henceforth, appreciation of the complexities of global politics would be more accurate, and that the decision made by former President Truman and former Secretary Acheson and others, not to allow Generals MacArthur and James Van Fleet to win the war when they could, had produced for President Eisenhower the only alternative to an interminable stalemate, ending the war, which Mr. Hearst had found a realistic and intelligent approach, for which he had been hoping from the new Administration.

The Washington Post said that whether it would have been better to have followed the path recommended by General MacArthur to carry the war directly to China, "a tenable military doctrine", no one could say with finality, but there could be no question that the military mission of the U.N. had been accomplished and that had been the most important gain.

The Atlanta Constitution said that the truce might point the way to a step-by-step approach which could lead eventually to world peace, that the question of which side had won would be debated interminably, a question without definite answer, which history would have to decide.

The Richmond Times Dispatch indicated that the only satisfaction from the truce, aside from the lives saved, was that the Moscow-Peiping rulers would not have stopped sacrificing their expendable troops unless forced to do so by a turn for the worse in the satellites and in Russia, severely dislocated by the shock of Stalin's death, and that the truce should not delude the American people into letting their guard down.

The Louisville Courier-Journal said that the truce did not mean peace, except in the sense of the cease-fire, that at best it meant a period of hope for peace, of saving lives and treasure and hope for security "yet unattained".

The Dallas News indicated that the truce contained far less than the U.N. had demanded when it entered the fray and if it did not put the U.N. down as having lost the war, it would be because it was only a truce in a war which might yet be won.

The New York Herald Tribune said that the signing of the truce brought a new period of testing for the countries which had fought together under the U.N. flag, but that the prospect of a breach of the truce could not be lightly ignored. It greets the truce with relief and satisfaction.

Summaries of other reactions come from the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Portland (Me.) Press Herald, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Newark (N.J.) Star-Ledger, the Memphis Commercial Appeal, and the Indianapolis Star.

Drew Pearson provides several messages sent from readers across the country, who were supportive of Mr. Pearson's urging of friendship outreach to the people behind the Iron Curtain, including his balloon campaign which carried messages to the people of Czechoslovakia.

He indicates that the winds in the upper altitudes always drifted from the west to the east and that there was absolutely nothing which Premier Georgi Malenkov could do to change that natural fact, as the earth's rotation spun the opposite way. He could purge the weatherman in Moscow and reorganize the Weather Bureau in Tashkent, but it would not do any good. It was why the Japanese had been able to launch balloon-carried bombs during World War II and get them to reach as far as Detroit. Thus, it could work for the few hundred miles across Germany, Czechoslovakia and Poland, carrying food for friendship plus a message from individual Americans, service clubs and chambers of commerce. It was fairly easy for East Berliners to go to West Berlin to collect American food, but there were a lot of people in more distant parts of East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Poland and Hungary who were also eager to obtain such food, which could be carried successfully by balloon.

Thus far, State Department officials had been dragging their feet on providing permission for that type of diplomacy, but, he suggests, one day they might wake up and realize that the most effective type of diplomacy was people to people.

Marquis Childs tells of the acceleration of legislation at the end of the Congressional session, resembling "a fire sale in a bargain-basement." On one of the tables was the "slightly battered" foreign aid program, marked down several times, with the temptation to do so again. Arguments were being made that it was up to Western Europe to unite, that about all of the U.S. aid which could be of benefit to those nations had already been sent. But arguments on the other side had it that reduction of aid would undermine further the already troubled Western alliance.

If Point Four technical assistance aid were arbitrarily cut, there would be potential damage between the West and the Arab, Asian and Latin peoples of the underdeveloped countries. Communist propaganda was telling those peoples to kick out the imperialist Americans and British and achieve a Communist paradise, while the West told them that through freedom and democracy they could achieve peace and prosperity of the kind enjoyed by the U.S. The Point Four program and its U.N. equivalent, while only costing a relatively small amount of money, had made a deep impression on the underdeveloped nations. American dollars would buy what was vitally needed from the U.S. for their development while other currencies would not. But there was a move in Congress to cut in half the two-thirds of the funding of the U.N. program borne by the U.S. There was also a move to cut Point Four.

The Administration had asked, for instance, for only 94 million dollars for India and Pakistan technical assistance, which would make little difference to India's five-year plan intended to move it from primitive feudalism toward a modern and productive economy. But the cutback would mean unfinished projects would have to be halted, leaving the area between Indonesia and Libya with a string of such projects, each of which would remind the people of broken Western promises.

The Soviet Union, which had contributed nothing to the U.N. technical assistance program, now had come forward with an offer of a million dollars at a meeting of the Economic and Social Council of the U.N. in Geneva, with a Soviet delegate warning the other delegates that the U.S. intended to renege on its technical aid promises.

Stewart Alsop, in Vienna, indicates that the Kremlin's attempt to impose Soviet-style Communism on Eastern Europe could be counted as one of history's most abysmal failures, explaining the recent rebellions in East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and elsewhere in the satellite countries. But it was also true that in an "inhuman and technological sense", the Kremlin's empire in Europe had been an extraordinary achievement. Western experts were very familiar with what was going on in East Germany by the fact of the constant flow of thousands of refugees into West Berlin every week, while what was occurring in the more distant satellites was only relatively more obscure. The same story was occurring, a paradoxical combination of total political failure and remarkable industrial achievement.

The political failure was the result of the artificial regimes within the satellite nations, brought to power without any mass base of popular support, and maintained in power against universal hatred by the people, especially among the industrial workers, who were supposed to be the loyal supporters of the Communist regimes. The Skoda armament plants in Czechoslovakia, for example, had a labor force four times that before the Communist takeover, but much of what was produced went to the Soviet Union, for instance about 90 percent of the armaments, while consumer goods had been sharply reduced in production, as had been food production by the fact of the forced collective farm system and the drain of farm workers to the factories. The result was unrest among the workers. The recent currency reform in Czechoslovakia had hit the workers and the party functionaries most heavily, but to meet the industrialization goals, it had to be done.

Mr. Alsop concludes, however, that it was wishful thinking to suppose that the Soviet system was about to disintegrate.

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