The Charlotte News

Tuesday, August 11, 1953


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Panmunjom, a bitter band of die-hard Americans had returned from captivity in North Korea, vowing vengeance on the weaker prisoners who had turned to Communism under pressure, regarding "progressive", the name given to those prisoners by the other prisoners, as a dirty word, wearing with honor the badge of "reactionary" placed on them by the Communist Chinese who had clubbed and tortured them but had not broken their spirits. One American returning prisoner had to be held back by force when he spotted a "progressive" at Freedom Village, saying, "I'll get that s.o.b. when I get home." Another said that if any progressives got on the boat with him going home, they would be "shark bait", that they were "hated worse than the Chinks", another saying that if he met one in a bar, he would hit him in the mouth, that one of them would not walk out and that it would not be him. Officers and newsmen were startled at the violent reactions expressed and took immediate steps to make sure some of the groups were separated to prevent possible clashes.

It appears that the Communist indoctrination had achieved its desired end, not only of indoctrination of some prisoners, but moreover, dividing the Americans, with hope that such division would spread when the embittered prisoners reached home.

A hundred Americans were returned this date, along with 24 British, 25 Turks and 250 South Koreans, in the seventh day of the exchange program.

Of those already returned Americans, 328 sailed from Inchon Harbor aboard a troop ship this date on a voyage which would take 14 to 15 days to San Francisco. All were classed as healthy. A plane bearing 17 seriously ill Americans landed at Honolulu for a night of rest before continuing homeward to Travis Air Force Base the following day.

A total of 648 Americans, of the 3,313 whom the Communists claimed to have, had been returned during the previous week, with a total of 2,372 allied prisoners out of the total 12,763 to be released. The U.N. Command had released 19,406 Communist prisoners out of the total 74,000 to be released.

Top officials in the Justice Department reported that they had no direct official report regarding any Americans on the repatriation list having turned Communist, but that reports of such cases were being followed closely. They took a wait-and-see attitude on the matter. An Army spokesman said that there was no intention to conduct any kind of witch-hunt among the released prisoners because some men had said others had accepted the Communist line. Army intelligence officers would interview all of the exchanged prisoners as a matter of course, but without any attempt to segregate those who appeared to have accepted Communist propaganda.

One released American prisoner, who had been a front-line dog handler, said this date that a Chinese soldier had captured him in November, 1951, and then eaten his dog, Judy, a German shepherd sentry. He said that after his capture, the Chinese cook came out licking his chops and the next morning they had meat for breakfast, which he could not eat, as he knew it was his dog. He said that they saw no further meat for months.

The South Korean Capitol Division was cited for its fighting in the Kumsong battle on the east-central front during the last days of the war, according to the Army this date, the citation having been awarded by General Reuben Jenkins, commander of the U.S. Ninth Corps, for that division's "courageous and determined action" in the battle.

Associated Press correspondent John Scali reports that Premier Georgi Malenkov had successfully weathered a grim power struggle inside the Kremlin and now stood virtually unchallenged as Russia's leader, at least according to the view held by top American foreign affairs experts who had been observing developments within the Soviet Union since the death of Premier Stalin on March 5. Active support from powerful Red Army leaders, they indicated, probably had been the deciding factor in enabling him to consolidate his power, despite widespread uncertainty following the sudden purge of Deputy Premier L. P. Beria. They said that it would not be surprising that if in the coming weeks, Foreign Minister V. M. Molotov and Defense Minister Marshal Nikolai Bulganin publicly declared their loyalty to the Premier. The experts' conclusions stemmed partly from the tone and content of the Premier's speech the previous Saturday to the Supreme Soviet, scolding and criticizing Communist Party chieftains generally, speaking as a man completely confident of his position. No authoritative official in Washington would say whether they took at face value his claim that Russia had mastered the production of the hydrogen bomb. Bolstering his claim, however, was an unexplained 92 percent increase in the "other expenditures" category of the Russian budget, generally attributed to atomic weaponry and other such secret projects. After analyzing the budget, the subject of the Supreme Soviet's meeting, the American experts determined that the Soviets were increasing their military budget by about 25 percent, not, as they proclaimed to the world, decreasing it.

Senator Paul Douglas of Illinois said that Republican claims of credit for prosperity at home and truce in Korea were "the most far-fetched thing" he had ever heard. House Speaker Joseph Martin had made the claims in a nationwide telecast the previous night, praising the record of the new Administration during the first session of the Republican-controlled Congress, saying that the Korean War had been the top problem facing the new Republican regime when it took office in January, and it had taken "a refreshing toughness" in foreign affairs which "touched off an amazing chain of events". He said the first move by the new President had been to order the U.S. Seventh Fleet to stop shielding Communist China against possible attacks from Nationalist China on Formosa. Senator Douglas said that President Truman would probably have been able to achieve peace in Korea the prior summer had he been willing to take the same prisoner of war terms which the U.S. had now accepted, indicating fear that there were weaknesses in the present cease-fire terms which would soon become obvious, one being the privilege granted to the North Koreans to build airfields almost to the 38th parallel. He said that the order regarding the Seventh Fleet had not been a change in policy, that President Truman had been permitting the Nationalist Chinese to make hit-and-run raids on the Chinese mainland coast without formal sanction. He emphasized that despite that order by President Eisenhower, there had been no invasion of the mainland by the Nationalist forces. Regarding domestic prosperity claims by Mr. Martin, Senator Douglas said that if he were not careful, he would have to assume responsibility for a recession, if and when it came—which it would in 1958. The filmed program with Mr. Martin had appeared on ABC television the previous night and would be rebroadcast on the Du Mont network this night.

The President this date called for reduction of Federal spending "with renewed vigor", in a letter to the heads of the Federal departments and agencies, so that the 2.5 billion dollars left before reaching the 275 billion debt ceiling would remain sufficient to get through the remainder of the year, without the 15 billion dollar increase he had requested in the last days of the session and on which Congress had not taken action.

Senator Joseph McCarthy called another executive session this date regarding allegations that a Communist Party member in the Government had access to closely guarded atomic and military secrets, though not providing details. After two hours of testimony from four unnamed witnesses the previous day, the Senator had said that if the evidence taken by his Investigations subcommittee proved true, a member of the Communist Party had access to secret material of the military, the Atomic Energy Commission and the CIA. He did not suggest, however, that the person implicated was an employee of any of those three agencies. Authoritative sources subsequently reported that the alleged Communist worked for the Government Printing Office, but the report could not be confirmed. The subcommittee was still working without its three Democratic members, Senators Henry Jackson, John McClellan and Stuart Symington, who had resigned in protest of Senator McCarthy's hiring and firing of staff without consulting other subcommittee members.

The Communications Workers Union this date authorized its 50,000 members in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and part of southern Illinois to strike against the Southwestern Bell Telephone Co., the strike date to be fixed by the union's district director in St. Louis. Union president Joseph Beirne said that the company's recent offer of 3.5 cents per hour in pay increase was "close to insult".

In Charlotte, W. H. Labouisse, 57, had died of a heart attack during the morning at his home. He had come to Charlotte in 1924 to represent the Charles D. Barney Co. Stocks and Bonds, was associated with another stock and bond broker, and for several years had been in the cotton brokerage business for himself. He had served in both World War I overseas for a year with the 64th Infantry as a lieutenant, and in World War II, with the Antiaircraft Division of the Army in Washington. He had graduated from Princeton University. (We are not altogether certain why this story belongs on the front page, but there it is.)

In Boise, Idaho, two pigeons had flown into the State Senate chamber through an open window five days earlier and efforts to shoo them out had proved unsuccessful, whereupon a carpenter arrived with an air rifle and shot one of the pigeons on his first attempt, stunning it so that it could be taken outside, its companion then flying out an open window without further effort.

It reminds of Senator Grassley the other day having found a dead pigeon on his farm in Iowa. There are more than two pigeons among the Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee, threatening to hold hostage the nation during hearings on a Supreme Court nominee in the closing days before the presidential election on November 3, 2020. The guy over in the White House said today that if they done did away with the ballots, there wouldn't be no need for no transition of po'er come November 4. That's tellin' 'em, Il Duce. Isn't it wonderful these days to be an Amurican in Trump's great Amurica? It makes ye so danged proud that ye can hardly contain yerse'f from just standing up and shouting something, don't it?

In Upper Darby, Pa., a burglar broke into a pet shop in the Philadelphia suburb during the weekend and took an estimated $144 worth of loot, $24 in cash and 19 parakeets.

On the editorial page, "And Now, What about Indo-China?" indicates that now that the fighting had ended in Korea, the Communists were "casting covetous glances at Indo-China" and its considerable resources and strategic geographic position astride the gateway to the East Indies.

Indo-China had been exploited by the French as a colony since the late 19th century, but they had made concessions in recent times, though not enough to satisfy the natives. The U.S. had argued with France that Indo-China's goal of independence ought be granted if native resistance and foreign aid to Indo-China were to be encouraged. The French had replied that they were not spending millions of dollars and tens of thousands of lives there only to give away the land which they were fighting to save.

It indicates that if the U.S. supported the French military operation, it also supported the "decadent French political and commercial system" in Indo-China, which had within it the seeds of its own destruction. If the U.S. were to withhold aid, then Indo-China would surely fall to the Communists, in which case, as the President had pointed out the prior week, the tin and tungsten would cease coming to the U.S., India would be outflanked, Burma would be in no position for defense, and losing all of that surrounding territory would make it impossible for the free world to hold Indonesia. Thus, for the time being, the U.S. had chosen to aid the French with 400 million dollars in the fight to ward off the Communists.

It suggests that it was time for the U.N. to assume responsibilities for Indo-China's freedom and independence and that it should be considered in the upcoming General Assembly. It posits that it would be better for the U.N. to contribute the aid than solely the U.S., though the U.S. would be the prime contributor to any U.N. contribution, but with more money available. It would also take away the appearance of being a French-American fight to preserve colonialism, transforming it into another instance of collective action against aggression. The French appeared ready to reduce their costly obligations there, and if faced with the choice between free world censure and decreased aid or joining in a joint venture with the U.N., though it would end in freedom for Indo-China, French logic, it suspects, would choose the former course.

"The Problem of the 'Progressives'" comments on the so-called "progressives" being released as prisoners from North Korea, with other U.S. prisoners indicating that certain prisoners who had been indoctrinated by Communist propaganda had been referred to as "progressives" by the other prisoners. It suggests that the Army should not single them out for public attention by holding them in some central location until they were cleansed of whatever brainwashing they had undergone. It indicates that mental resiliency and will power varied with individuals and it was quite possible that the stories being told by the other prisoners regarding the brainwashing were true, but that, nevertheless, such men ought be treated with sympathy and understanding. They had been away from the U.S. for a long time and had been torn between threats and promises, with fantastic but credible lies driven into them, and, being weak, sick, tired and hopeless, some undoubtedly had cracked.

It indicates that it was only natural for the prisoners who did not break to look upon the "progressives" with scorn and derision. Yet it was probable that most, if not all, would return to a balanced state of mind after rest, medicine, nourishing food and re-acquaintance with their nation. It suggests that as the better prescription.

"Upward Goes the Population Trend" indicates that the population of the United States was growing at the rate of one person every twelve seconds or 7,200 per day, as measured by the Department of Commerce "population clock" which had just marked the 160 millionth American. It based the determination on an average of one birth every eight seconds and one death every 21 seconds, with one new immigrant entering the country every two minutes and one emigrant leaving every 17 minutes.

The American market, in consequence, was ever expanding, as was suburbia, as increasing numbers of people left the urban centers, developing new architecture, new shopping practices, new recreational and social patterns, which were being examined by American publications as a new phenomenon. The country was growing faster than it ever had before. Unlike other countries, where increasing populations meant inadequate food, that was not the case in the U.S.

Some 2.5 million new Americans were appearing every year and it regards it as neither chauvinism nor jingoism to feel a solid satisfaction regarding that trend, as long as the grave responsibilities attendant the population increase were also recognized.

A piece of from the Mattoon (Ill.) Journal-Gazette, titled "Tips on Watermelons", presents the methods to avoid the situation where a person on a hot day purchased a watermelon, brought it home to the family and cut it open, only to discover that it was not ripe. A plant pathologist at the University of Mississippi agricultural experiment station had formulated a five-point test to determine ripeness of watermelons. One was to thump it to see if it produced a good solid tone. A second test was to hold it between both hands and squeeze and if it crackled, it was ripe. The third method was to examine the spot left on the melon by resting on the ground, yellow indicating ripeness, white, not so. A fourth method was to examine the sheen of the melon, shiny if ripe and dull gray otherwise. The fifth test was that if the stem left on the melon was dried up, it was ripe.

Drew Pearson indicates that so many Congressmen had been calling up the Defense Department for free transportation to warm climates that Undersecretary of Defense Roger Kyes had decided to do something about it, contacting Secretary of the Air Force Harold Talbott to inquire where the hell they were all going and what were they going to do, as it was embarrassing for the Air Force to be flying members of Congress all over the globe while there was a defense economy move ongoing. Secretary Talbott said that the Congressmen could not be banned from the travel as long as Defense Department officials were doing the same thing, at which point Undersecretary Kyes asked what officials were taking junkets. Mr. Talbott indicated that he knew of only one scheduled trip presently, an overseas venture by Assistant Secretary of the Army John Slezak, at which point Mr. Kyes issued orders for him to stay home. Both men finally agreed that special airplanes should be cut out for Congressional trips unless the Defense Department determined that it was strictly business. It meant that over two dozen Congressional committees, which planned to investigate everything from uranium in South Africa to statehood in Alaska and the information program in South America, might have to put up with the inconvenience of Air Force schedules so that they could travel at Government expense. Groups such as the Armed Services, Foreign Relations and Appropriations Committees, taking legitimate overseas trips, would still be able to get the special planes.

Sometimes, he comments, wives and families who had waited several months to join their husbands and fathers overseas would be bumped from military transport vessels by sightseeing Congressmen. He cites the example of Republican Congressman Robert Wilson of California who had arranged passage to Hawaii for himself and his family, leaving on a ship sailing August 26 and returning September 8. He names four other Congressmen who were planning to take their wives on vacations to Europe. Three more and their wives had arranged government transportation to both North Africa and Europe. Technically, the Congressmen were supposed to pay for their wives' fares, but all that was charged was $50 per person to Europe or the Mediterranean. The Congressmen were not charged anything on the theory that they were traveling on business. He indicates that the irony was that most of the junketing Congressmen had voted to cut the military budget on the basis that the armed services were wasting money. He notes that three other Congressmen were taking early vacations, two of whom had taken their wives and children, but Congressman Adam Clayton Powell of New York, who had taken a similar trip the previous month, had left his family at home.

Joseph Alsop addresses Premier Georgi Malenkov's claim made the previous Saturday before the Supreme Soviet that Russia had the hydrogen bomb. The first question was whether he was telling the truth. Earlier tests of Soviet atomic bombs, the first having been in August, 1949, and the second and third in October, 1952, had first been announced in Washington and then confirmed by Moscow. The U.S. had been able to detect the explosions through increased radioactivity in the atmosphere, a detection mechanism first established in 1948 by the Atomic Energy Commission. Patrol planes sampled the clouds to detect the fact of a detonation, and its precise location could be determined by seismographic and other evidence. Thus, it was nearly inconceivable that a Soviet hydrogen bomb detonation could have escaped American detection, unless it were detonated underground. But the essential component of a hydrogen bomb, tritium, would have escaped somehow into the air, where the minutest quantities were detectable. A radioactive cloud, however, took several days to circle the earth and so analysis of data produced by the long-range detection system would take probably two weeks or more to show the results. Thus, soon it would be known whether Premier Malenkov had lied. But since the Russians also understood long-range detection, it was unlikely that he had done so.

That led to the question of whether the announcement was as serious as it appeared. The chief limiting factor in an atomic program was the costly production process of separation of uranium 235 from its more common isotope, U-238. By the same token, the chief limiting factor in a hydrogen bomb program was the need for tritium, its supply limiting the number of hydrogen bombs which could be produced. Western scientists only knew of a production technique for tritium by the same reactors which made plutonium for atomic bombs. The production of tritium was also slow, in addition to being quite expensive. Tritium had only one-tenth of the explosive potential, atom by atom, of plutonium. Tritium was mixed with deuterium, which also contributed to the hydrogen bomb's explosive power. The bomb had to be triggered by an atomic bomb of great size to produce the hydrogen fusion. The explosive potential of tritium which went into the bomb was not an accurate measure of the explosive potential of the completed hydrogen bomb. Producing a single hydrogen bomb from a reactor would eliminate the production of a larger number of atomic bombs, with a much greater explosive potential. One hydrogen bomb of two megatons was roughly equal to 100 plutonium bombs with a total power of ten megatons. As one atomic bomb was enough to destroy all but a small number of targets, the U.S., which already had a large atomic stockpile, could afford to make the exchange to produce a hydrogen bomb. But a nation with a limited stockpile would be short-sighted to make that exchange.

Unless the intelligence had quite under-rated the speed of Soviet atomic buildup, the immediate effect of a first Soviet hydrogen bomb detonation might not be wholly unfavorable to the U.S., though it would allow the Kremlin to boast of its new terror weapon, while also, however, delaying the overall Soviet atomic buildup.

Mr. Alsop concludes that there was no escaping the point, however, that Premier Malenkov's claim of the hydrogen bomb was a final warning to the U.S. that it could no longer be complacent about Soviet air-atomic power. He posits that if the U.S. abandoned its "suicidal complacency", and faced the hard facts of the situation, the next phase would be a drastic change of national policy.

Marquis Childs indicates that change was the prevailing order in Washington, with the result that a certain indifference set in to those who departed. General Omar Bradley had been in Washington since the end of the war, first as the head of the Veterans Administration for two years, then as chief of staff of the Army for two years, and for the prior four years as chairman of the Joint Chiefs. Although, as a five-star General, he would never actually retire, he was returning to private life.

During the period in which Louis Johnson headed the Defense Department, between early 1949 and September, 1950, the armed services were drastically reduced, with only 590,000 men in the Army and a total of 1.46 million in all of the armed services, as of June 30, 1950, just five days after the North Koreans had attacked South Korea.

The bitterest part of General Bradley's tour of duty was when the American forces had been driven back from the Manchurian border in late November and early December, 1950, during the MacArthur offensive designed to end the war before Christmas. A split within the armed services, which had been concealed from the public during World War II, then broke into the open, the rivalry between Europe and Asia for supplies, men, ships, and publicity. During World War II that contention was between the theater commanded by General Eisenhower in Europe and that commanded by General MacArthur in Asia. When the dispute broke into the open during the Korean War, General Bradley was drawn into it, forced to testify before the Senate committee which investigated the dismissal by President Truman of General MacArthur in March, 1951. General Bradley had testified that an all-out effort in Korea was the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time, based on his military judgment regarding the potential of the Soviets and the need to safeguard the storehouse of industrial capacity in Western Europe. For making those statements, he was pilloried, accused of trying to defend the Truman Administration, just as he was later charged with inconsistency for not having challenged the economizing of Secretary of Defense Johnson, who reduced the defense budget to 13 billion dollars.

General Bradley believed very strongly that military men could not, under the Constitution, make either military or foreign policy, that they were subordinate to civilian authority no matter what their rank, and that they were to carry out the orders of the President as commander-in-chief of the armed forces. Mr. Childs indicates that most of the criticism directed at him had been from the fact that he had tried to live up to that belief. "Bradley was a soldier even though he wore five stars on his shoulder and in the showdown he took his orders. In the longer light of history, when some of the bitterness has presumably worn away, that may be seen as part of the great service he has rendered his country."

Mr. Childs suggests that, despite his great reputation as a field commander during the war in Europe, the latter might be General Bradley's greatest contribution, leaving behind a precedent which could not be ignored. He indicates that the General "not for nothing" had been the symbol of the G.I., the soldier's general, the prototype of Bill Mauldin's famous cartoon figure, Willie.

Robert C. Ruark, in Pamplona, Spain, indicates that recently he had sat with Ernest Hemingway to watch a bullfight in the same town the latter had immortalized in The Sun Also Rises, 25 years earlier, which Mr. Ruark regards as his best book. He had written of the running of the bulls through the streets of Pamplona, amid a holiday atmosphere in which the Basques became quite drunk and danced in the streets. When Mr. Hemingway had written the book, there had been a bullfighter name Nino de la Palma, a slim, brave boy who was made into a hero in the book. He was no longer slim or brave, but still was around as manager of the best and bravest bullfighter in Spain, Antonio Ordenez. The latter was so good that the judges had let him cut two ears from his first bull and one from his second. He had killed the second by holding the sword in a hand which had been ripped open by an accident during his first attempt to kill his second bull, as he had slipped on the sword as he sought to deliver the coup de grace. Yet, he succeeded in the second attempt, then going to have his arm placed in a sling.

Mr. Ruark relates that attending the bullfight had been a big thrill for him, especially attending it with Mr. Hemingway. One brave but bad bullfighter named Jesus Cordoba had dedicated the bull to Mr. Hemingway, but then performed badly with the first bull and no better with the second, which was unwilling to fight and anxious to leave, prompting a great number of hisses from the crowd. Mr. Hemingway looked on sadly and took a large bite out of the wineskin which they shared, saying, "There is nothing we can do for our friend, now, except not to spill any wine on his cape," which he had presented to them for safekeeping. Mr. Ruark comments that it appeared to be a fitting accolade and a very accurate description.

Sounds like a load of bull.

That's what Trump can do next year in his retirement, run with the bulls. Being so good at it figuratively, perhaps a literal go would do him good. Maybe, he could take McConnell along with him.

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