The Charlotte News

Saturday, August 1, 1953


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Senator Taft, who had died of cancer the previous morning, would be honored with a state funeral in the Capitol on Monday, approved unanimously by the Senate, with the President and other dignitaries joining in the service at the invitation of the Senate. His body would lie in state in the Rotunda beginning the following afternoon and into the evening, for the public to pay their respects. Following the memorial service, his body would be taken to Cincinnati for a private funeral and burial on Tuesday.

The last state funeral, in 1948, had been that of General John J. Pershing, who led the American Expeditionary Force during World War I. The next state funeral of an individual would be that of President Kennedy, whose body would lie in state at the Capitol on Sunday, November 24, 1963, the day before his funeral at Arlington. Senator Kennedy, in his 1956 book, Profiles in Courage, would write one of the profiles on Senator Taft, with whom he served briefly in the Senate, since the prior January, until Senator Taft had been forced by his illness to cease his duties as Majority Leader in May. Between May 28 and 30, 1958, the Unknown Soldiers of World War II and the Korean War would lie in state at the Capitol during the Memorial Day period—also encompassing Senator Kennedy's 41st birthday on May 29. It so happened that Senator Taft would lie in state on the tenth anniversary of the PT-109 incident, August 2, 1943, which had been the twentieth anniversary of the death of President Warren G. Harding, who had served in the same Ohio Senate seat to which Robert Taft was later elected in 1938.

Of the four pictured prospects, all Democrats, from among whom Ohio Governor Frank Lausche was expected to appoint a replacement for Senator Taft, Thomas Burke, the current Mayor of Cleveland, would be the choice, appointed in October.

It is, incidentally, a little known fact of history that the Republicans have been discriminated against in the matter of rotundity, for it was the case that Democratic President Grover Cleveland, it is believed for his great girth, has been counted by historians as two Presidents, while the other well-girthed President, William Howard Taft, remains counted as only one.

In Panmunjom in Korea, the four-nation neutral commission, comprised of Poland, Czechoslovakia, Sweden and Switzerland, charged with policing the armistice, met this date for the first time and heard the Communist chief delegate to the Military Armistice Commission, Lt. General Lee Sang Cho, wish them success in their task. It was decided that to facilitate intercommunication between the four groups, the Swiss and Swedish members would speak French, which would be translated into Polish and Czech, while the latter two delegations would speak their native languages, to be translated into English for the Swedish and Swiss delegates.

Meanwhile, the first group of allied prisoners were reported to be on their way to Kaesong and freedom, and the U.N. Command was preparing a full dress reception rehearsal for Monday to speed their homeward journey, with the prisoner exchange scheduled to begin the following Wednesday at Panmunjom. Peiping Radio announced their departure and said that there was cheering and handshakes among the men as they embarked in trucks. The Communists this date informed the allies that they planned to return 400 allied prisoners each day, in groups of 100 each hour for four hours.

The U.S. this date rejected a Russian official protest, which claimed that a Russian plane had been destroyed and 21 lives lost when four U.S. fighters attacked it over Chinese territory north of the Korean boundary the previous Monday, about ten hours prior to the cease-fire becoming effective. The U.S. responded to the note, which had been provided to U.S. Ambassador to Moscow Charles Bohlen the previous day, by saying that the attack by the U.S. fighter plane had occurred "inside Korean territory approximately eight miles from the Yalu River." There was no denial that the Russian transport plane had been destroyed by the fighter, an incident which had been fully disclosed by the U.N. when it occurred. The issue raised by the Russians regarded where the attack had occurred, not whether it had occurred.

The delay for four days in filing the protest led State Department officials to speculate whether the Russians were trying to divert attention from the shooting down by Russian planes of a U.S. B-50 bomber over international waters in the Sea of Japan on Wednesday, with the co-pilot having been rescued by the U.S. Air Force and Navy, while the other survivors had been picked up at sea by the Soviets, a note about which had been transmitted in protest to the Russians the previous day, seeking information on the survivors and when they would be released. The Russians were claiming that the bomber had violated Soviet territory, denied by the Far Eastern Air Force, which said the plane and its crew were on a routine navigational training mission.

Senator Ralph Flanders of Vermont, a member of the Armed Services Committee, said in an interview that letting the Russians tell the world first about the B-50 incident had been "just another case of stupidity at the Pentagon or the State Department, or both." Senator John Sparkman of Alabama, a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, said in an interview that he believed it was a mistake to let the Russians and Communists get the jump on the U.S. so many times, placing the U.S. continually in the position of answering Communist propaganda when the Government "could be out first with the real facts."

Associated Press correspondent Elton C. Fay reports that Russian planes had appeared over the polar perimeter of the North American continent and Greenland, where the U.S. had airbases and other defenses, about a dozen times within the prior year. The average of similar reconnaissance expeditions over Japan was about one every two weeks, according to a well-informed Air Force source this date. The report provides detail of two of the observed patrols over Japanese territory, above Eastern Hokkaido, which had been made public, one from the previous November and another from February 17. The information was made available in response to the shooting down of the B-50.

In West Berlin, East Germans continued to pass over the border to obtain free food, despite Communist arrests and confiscations, claiming that recipients were being cultivated as spies for the West. Thousands of Russian zone factory workers were using their day off to obtain the food, unavailable at any price in the Eastern Zone. By mid-morning, the queues were three city blocks long, with people standing four and six abreast while in line. West Berlin authorities said that there would be enough food for everyone who applied, presumed to mean enough for the 18 million inhabitants of the Eastern Zone. Hundreds of East Germans had their prized fats, milk and flour seized the previous day and night by Communist police, most of the confiscations occurring in Potsdam and other sections at the end of Berlin's suburban railway lines. The Communists then distributed the confiscated Western food as Soviet aid. West Berlin police broadcast a warning to the East Germans to find safer routes back home.

Senator Homer Ferguson of Michigan said that the Senate would provide quick approval this date to a compromise foreign aid bill providing for 6.65 billion dollars in appropriations for the present fiscal year. The original Senate version of the bill had passed by a vote of 69 to 10. The compromise measure had passed the House the previous day. Senator George Smathers of Florida was threatening to have the bill returned to the reconciliation conference, where his rider to the bill, requiring that half the funds for shipbuilding under the military and economic aid program be spent within the U.S., had been eliminated after acceptance by the Senate in the original bill. His attempt to restore the rider appeared headed for defeat.

The Senate Finance Committee this date postponed until later in the day any decision on the request by the President for a 15 billion dollar increase in the national debt ceiling, from 275 billion to 290 billion. The House the previous night had voted for the increase, 239 to 158. In the Senate, however, there was heavy opposition, especially among Democrats.

The Senate passed and sent to the President this date his requested emergency immigration bill which provided for the admission of 214,000 refugees above normal quotas for European nations. The President had originally asked that provision be made for 240,000 immigrants. The House had approved the bill the previous night by a vote of 190 to 44.

Acting Majority Leader Senator William Knowland of California ruled out any chance of Senate adjournment this date, as originally planned, indicating that there would be another session on Monday.

The President was scheduled to fly to Seattle on Monday to attend the annual governors conference, at which time he would address them informally, departing Washington after the funeral services for Senator Taft. The President would attend some informal discussions at the conference on Tuesday morning, followed by a luncheon.

In Rocky Mount, N.C., a high state Baptist official this date answered charges by a minister who had threatened to resign his pastorate in North Rocky Mount unless his congregation withdrew from the Southern Baptist Convention for what he described as its lack of foreign missions and its support of two colleges, Wake Forest and the University of Richmond. The congregation was scheduled to vote on August 9 regarding the pastor's ultimatum. He charged that only 2.7 percent of every dollar given to the Convention's cooperative program actually went to foreign missions. He presented two speakers who claimed to have received reports that whiskey was hauled into Wake Forest dormitories "by the truckload", and that one of his relatives had attended the University of Richmond and had left as "an infidel". A Wake Forest graduate in the class of 1951 had told the congregation that drinking at social fraternity dances at Wake Forest was deplorable. The president of the North Carolina Baptist State Convention, Reverend Douglas Branch, pastor of the First Baptist Church in Rocky Mount, said that the information regarding foreign missions was inaccurate, that the Convention's foreign mission board obtained 39.71 percent of each dollar for the cooperative program. He also said that Wake Forest and the University of Richmond were supported by Baptists of their respective states and the Southern Baptist Convention had no connection with the colleges. Dr. Harold Tribble, president of Wake Forest, could not be reached for comment, but Reverend Branch quoted from a letter he had received from Dr. Tribble, defending Wake Forest professors for their Christian faith and inviting the North Rocky Mount church officials to inspect the college conditions. Reverend Branch said that if anyone had received reliable reports of whiskey law violations at Wake Forest, they would be obligated to report it to police, and characterized the charges as "irresponsible".

In Union Pier, Mich., State Police reported that the vice-president of Swift & Co., Nathan Swift, 41, had been killed late the previous night in an automobile accident when his British sports car had been rammed broadside by another car. The accident occurred as Mr. Swift entered the highway from a restaurant where he had dined.

In Brookhaven, Pa., a man robbed a grocery store of $55 the previous day, the borough's first recorded crime since its incorporation in 1945.

On the editorial page, "Oft' Frustrated but Never Defeatist, Taft Died as His Finest Hour Began" indicates that Senator Taft had been a strange mixture of "heady success and deep frustration". As the son of deceased former President William Howard Taft, serving from 1909 to 1913, as a successful and wealthy lawyer, as a happy and proud father, as a powerful leader in Congress, proclaimed by millions as "Mr. Republican", whose every public statement had made headlines, the Senator knew the satisfaction which came from having accomplished what he put his effort behind, as well as from being admired and respected, even by political adversaries. His most cherished ambition, however, to be President, had been denied him by the party he served so faithfully, and, "by one of those strange twists of fate, death robbed him of the other chance to achieve the greatness beyond anything he had known."

He had been usually cast in an opposition role while in the Senate, with the Republicans having to behave as the minority party objecting to the majority, obstructing, where possible, majority proposals which created useful political issues. But since the inauguration of President Eisenhower, he had put their differences aside and worked with the inexperienced new Administration, giving it the benefit of his wise counsel, and on several occasions, when the Administration had been in trouble, for instance, with the appointment of Charles Bohlen as Ambassador to Russia, the extension of the reorganization authority of the President, the extension of the excess profits tax for six months, and the continuation of the reciprocal trade act, his personal intervention had prevented possible setbacks. He had adjusted quickly to the new role and by the time his illness caused him to step aside as floor leader, he had grown into the job. Thus, it finds, the most poignant part of his death was that he had just been entering on the period of his greatest and most useful public service.

The Administration and the Republican Party would miss him sorely, as he was respected by both wings of the party, keeping the rival factions from each other's throats and melding them into a reasonably unified moderate party. Without him, there was danger that the right wing of the party would veer further to the right. And there was no ready replacement for the Senator as an adviser and consultant to the White House on legislative matters. He had been the best informed Republican on domestic matters and no one knew more about the whims and moods of the Senate, when it was proper to press a bill and when compromise was the wiser course.

His major fault, it indicates, was his deficiency of historical perspective which prevented him from seeing the position in the world into which America had been cast, assembling a record both before and following World War II of opposing the Roosevelt and Truman Administrations in seeking solutions to problems abroad. But, in that role, he had also served a useful purpose by joining the issues and forcing proponents of internationalism to justify their proposals.

"Sen. Robert Taft gave himself selflessly to the public service of his state and nation. Though he never achieved the Presidency, he left a mark upon U.S. history more indelible than that of many men who did reach the White House."

"From a Maverick, a Morsel for the GOP" finds that independent Senator Wayne Morse, in his decision to vote with the Republicans on organizing the Senate in the wake of the death of Senator Taft, which would, after his Democratic replacement, leave the Senate composition as 48 to 47 in favor of the Democrats, had done a proper thing, in light of the fact, as Senator Morse recognized, that the people had voted for a slim majority control by Republicans and that they should therefore remain in control until the people had a chance to review the record of the Senate in 1954. The record would only be confused, it suggests, were a Democratic Senate to take over at this juncture, with a Republican House.

It finds it ironic that the outspoken maverick from Oregon now found himself in such an influential position. Since he had decided during the 1952 presidential campaign to switch from being a Republican to an independent, he had been increasingly isolated by the Senate Republicans, having been denied his old committee assignments and shut out from party councils. It indicates that it would not be surprised if the Republicans in the Senate now began treating him with more civility, given that he held the key to whether the Republicans or Democrats would be in the majority, with Vice-President Nixon able to break tie votes in favor of the Republicans.

"In Search of the Middlin' Way" indicates that the State magazine was exercised regarding the dilemma which confronted a salaried North Carolinian with a family who headed for the ocean during the summer months. That family, and especially the kids, wanted to do a little cruising on the water and still have enough money left to take in a performance of The Lost Colony or the carnival. But when they arrived at the ocean, all they found were fancy charter boats run by uniformed specialists, who would demand a week's salary for a cruise. One had to either take such a large boat or load the family into a rowboat, a prospect which seemed too heavily inclined toward exercise during a vacation. There were no middlin' boats available.

It regards the matter as being quite typical, that businesses were specializing and asking for more money than the non-specialist could afford. It indicates that it had taken a lot of finagling to convince a car dealership that it was not interested in a dozen or so extra gadgets, that a lot of people resigned themselves to acceptance of the Kleenex holder just to get rid of the salesman and get the car. Now that someone had done damage to the family car, the trunk specialists wanted to fix it better than the rest of the car, at a very special price, instead of doing a middlin' job which would permit the old Plymouth to stand unabashedly behind the boss's Buick. There were also the lawn specialist, the plumbing specialist, the supermarket specialist, and others of the type, which it explains further.

It wonders what had happened to the middle way approach, which the President had said he was going to institute.

Harry Golden, writing in the Carolina Israelite, in a piece titled "Negroes on the Local Ballot", indicates that during the previous election there had been two black candidates running for a place on the Charlotte City Council, despite 32 percent of the population being black. Leading citizens of every type of political thinking and many clergy had stated the opinion that it was time for a black person to occupy one of the seven seats on the Council. It had been believed that the two black candidates would split the vote in the black community, and so interested citizens had sought to get one of the candidates to withdraw.

Mr. Golden initially had joined in that effort, but upon reflection, caught himself participating in a "most thoughtless procedure". He found himself doing something which interested citizens had fought against for a long time and asked himself who was he or anyone else to say to candidates, "Gather yourselves into one mass and give us one of you." It led to the stereotypical statement, "Pick one out, boys, just so long as he is black." So he had caught himself and stopped, silently apologizing to the black candidates for even thinking such a thing.

He advocates looking at each person as individuals and hopes that he would be judged by his individual actions and efforts, that if two black candidates wanted to run for office, that was fine, as it would be for 14 black candidates to run, for "an indiscriminate 'representative' was far less valuable than the defeat of two individualists."

Drew Pearson indicates that the most important development at the recent meeting at the Quantico Marine Base had been an order issued by the President that his new Joint Chiefs, taking office this date, had to settle their differences inside the Pentagon and henceforth send him only unanimous recommendations, that he would no longer heed minority views sent to him. In the past, the Navy had frequently differed from the Air Force and Army regarding Korean War strategy, but henceforth, no dissenting opinions would be allowed. The new chairman, Admiral Arthur Radford, had served notice that he considered the 1952 election to be a mandate for the new Joint Chiefs to revise their previous policies, though not elaborating on the changes he expected to make, while stressing the importance of the Far East. Admiral Radford had long been an advocate for U.S. intervention in China, rescuing the Nationalists in Formosa and putting Chiang Kai-shek back in power on the mainland, moves opposed by the retiring Joint Chiefs as likely to embroil the country in a major war with Communist China.

A "top-secret" sign had been posted outside the conference room as the President had met with the Joint Chiefs at Quantico, but Mr. Pearson had been able to obtain a brief account of what had occurred, except for matters which were omitted for secrecy. The President had "rambled along pleasantly" about team play and harmony and how pleased he was to meet with his former comrades-in-arms, then telling a joke about a duck hunter who was so "roaring drunk" that his companions had left him behind in the rear blind while they went ahead to man the forward blinds, until one lone duck had flown by, prompting the hunters to blast away, all missing, until the duck passed over the last blind, at which point the drunk shot the duck dead, prompting the others to rush back to congratulate him, whereupon he said that it was nothing, for, "Out of the flock of ducks, I wash bound to hit one." The President added that out of all the speech-making at the military conference, he wanted to stress one point, regarding the unanimous nature henceforth of recommendations. Then Admiral Radford spoke about coming changes in military planning, and the other matters of which Mr. Pearson had already related.

He notes that the theme of the meeting had been "team play", though some of the admirals and generals complained that they had been treated like high school kids on a picnic. At a barbecue, for instance, they had been provided huge aprons with "The defense team" spelled out in big letters across the top and "varsity" written across the middle. Secretary of Defense Charles E. Wilson and his civilian assistants had also spent $100 each on prizes for the brass hats who caught the biggest fish, played the best golf and otherwise excelled in sporting events. Most of the winners were generals, who had been bucking Secretary Wilson on budget cuts to the Air Force.

Joseph Alsop tells of the former relationship between the President and Senator Taft as suggesting the gap which was produced by his death. Both had begun with profound suspicions of one another during the campaign for the Republican presidential nomination the prior summer, and even before that, as General Eisenhower had been a potential rival. He described the General as part of "George Marshall's group", which he regarded as the more world-minded military men, whom he planned to replace with "Douglas MacArthur's group" if given the chance.

For General Eisenhower, his greatest motivation for entering the race, as he said prior to the convention, had been that Senator Taft was an isolationist and that otherwise he would be the nominee.

Despite the fact that Senator Taft had accepted his defeat with equanimity, the campaign had produced bitter memories for the Senator, reflected in his attack on the choice for Secretary of Labor, Martin Durkin, head of the Plumbers Union. As Mr. Durkin had strongly opposed Taft-Hartley, the Senator had seen the appointment as a personal rebuke.

But it served as something of a turning point, as the Republican politicians informed President-elect Eisenhower that if he did not choose to work with the Senator, he would have to fight him, tearing the Republican Party asunder and crippling the President in Congress. By the same token, Senator Taft had to be impressed by the failure of his usual allies to support his attack on Mr. Durkin. Both men, in consequence, realized that they had to work together. The Senator had remarked that he was finding President-elect Eisenhower "a man of good will." Exposure to the Senator personally had also altered the President's view of him, realizing that in person he was not the brash-talking stump speaker who sometimes stepped on toes of those with whom he disagreed. At work, however, the Senator showed his "deeper qualities of courage and determination, intelligence, practicality, unremitting industry." Those qualities made him one of the most respected members of Congress.

Eventually, where there had previously been fear and suspicion of the Senator at the White House, there developed a positive dependence on him, with the President coming to depend on him in a way that very few Presidents of the past had depended upon members of their party in Congress. Mr. Alsop finds it to have been curious to see the sense of loss after Senator Taft was forced by illness to abandon his position as floor leader. Since that time, the President had begun to take upon himself duties of party leadership which he had previously omitted, a role in which he had been extremely impressive, not altering the fact, however, that the Senate without Senator Taft was a "much smaller place, while the White House without Taft has been a much less happy and self-confident place."

The Chicago Daily News, in an editorial, indicates that to the knowledge of David L. Shillinglaw, no one had ever questioned his loyalty or patriotism, as he had been a Chicago business and civic leader for the previous 25 years, including being commander of the Illinois American Legion, the founder of a reputable Chicago investment banking concern and an active Republican for 23 years. But he had, nevertheless, lost an appointment to a key U.N. position because of "security" precautions. The man who had removed his name from sponsorship, an assistant to Senator Everett Dirksen of Illinois, who had recommended him for the U.N. Economic and Social Council, acknowledged that he was "clean as a whistle". Senator Dirksen's assistant explained that he had found that Mr. Shillinglaw had belonged to the Institute of Pacific Relations, which had been investigated the previous year by a Senate subcommittee, headed by Senator Pat McCarran of Nevada, finding that the IPR at one time had harbored "Communists and pro-Communists". The assistant did not accuse Mr. Shillinglaw of being in either category, saying that he had known him for years and that there was nothing wrong with him.

Mr. Shillinglaw was trying to forget the episode and put it behind him, while observing that when a loyal American who had a thirst for knowledge and an inquiring mind could not read what he wanted or evaluate it in the light of his own experience, then it was no longer America. He said that the IPR had always been an educational and informational organization, which he had joined in 1936 to learn about world affairs. He said that the experience had been valuable and that the organization had been cleaned up long before Senator McCarran ever investigated it, that he was glad he had become a trustee of the organization. He also said that he was amused by a question put to him by Senator Dirksen's office, as to whether he would like another type of job, to which he replied by asking whether there were degrees of loyalty in Washington. The question was confirmed by Senator Dirksen's assistant.

The editorial indicates that IPR had claimed to have disposed of its last pro-Communist member in 1947 when Frederick Vanderbilt Field, executive secretary of the organization for six years, had resigned upon request.

Peggy Streit, in Paris, tells of American female college exchange students, two of whom, rising seniors at Hiram College in Ohio and Sarah Lawrence College in New York, she had interviewed after their junior year spent under the Sweet Briar College exchange student plan, being educated in the French language, of which they had known little at the start of the previous school year, plus French politics and other aspects of French culture, generally equating to their "independence". Both had found the year quite valuable but wondered what it would be like to return to the U.S. and cope with daily quizzes, basketball games and social gatherings at which they drank Cokes.

French college life was very different than in America, with no weekend formal dances, basketball games or movies, rather coffee with friends at sidewalk cafés after classes, where the chief topic of discussion was politics. The two students had learned to hold their own in such discussions, answering questions about McCarthyism, American dollar diplomacy and isolationism, while fending off the impertinence of some of the questions of the French by asking their questioners about why the French Government had been so unstable since the war, immediately bringing silence.

They were also asked if American students necked in the back seats of cars, about the Kinsey Report, which everyone in Paris thought ridiculous "because everybody knows about those things anyway". They were also asked if men washed dishes and American women were frigid. The two tried to explain the American dating system, which was very different from that in France, where there were two types of boyfriends: the "camarade", who was a platonic figure with whom a girl might go to a party, but getting to it on her own and paying for her own coffee, while talking intelligently about the collapse of the French Government, or touring on a motorcycle to explore a partially picturesque street; the second type being an "ami", who was actually courting the girl, who was expected to be completely feminine, while being escorted to the theater where she was expected to behave as a lady, a person he might wish to marry. They told the two students that a smart girl never introduced one ami to another. "You learn these things to do when you have studied in France awhile…"

Sounds like those French girls were plotting a ménage a Troyens, about which the American students probably did not wish to know too much.

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