The Charlotte News

Thursday, August 13, 1953


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that at Panmunjom, the U.N. allies had returned the last of the Communist Chinese prisoners who desired repatriation, despite a threat made the previous day by Secretary of State Dulles that the U.S. would retain Communist prisoners convicted of crimes until it was clear that the Communists would release U.N. POW's in that same status. Presumably, those to be withheld were among the 50,000 remaining North Korean prisoners to be released, but it was generally believed that Communist China controlled things in Korea and was more concerned about getting back its own men than the North Koreans. Peiping Radio said that the Communists had the right to retain prisoners charged with various crimes and jailed even after the Armistice had been signed. The charges to which it referred included "instigating against peace".

In the ninth day of the prisoner exchange, 400 U.N. prisoners were released by the Communists, including 250 South Koreans, 75 Americans and 75 British. Most of the returning prisoners appeared healthy. It was the first large group from Camp 1 at Chongsong, most of the previous returning prisoners having come from Camp 5 at Pyoktong. Similar stories were told by the prisoners returning this date, regarding informers among their number and cruelty on the part of the captors.

In Paris, French organized labor struck again this date in protest of the new Government's economy program, set to lay off civil servants and extend their retirement age. Most of the four million workers involved this date were ordered to walk out for only 24 or 28 hours, but a hard core of more than a million were committed to remain off the job until Premier Joseph Laniel relented on his economy program. The Premier, a multimillionaire textile industrialist, refused to budge. It was the ninth day of the strikes.

In Greece, severe tremors struck the Ionian Islands for the fifth consecutive day, as fires continued to burn within ruins from the tremors. Unofficial estimates were that 1,000 persons had been killed. A city of 10,000, Argostolian, the principal port of the island of Kefallinia, was reported to be sinking under water. Greek officials said, however, that reports that the latter island was sinking were greatly exaggerated and that the best information was that such reports were based on excited messages regarding the crumbling of quake-displaced cliffs.

The President, vacationing in Denver, this date created a new Government committee to help prevent any hiring and firing discrimination on jobs covered by Federal contracts. He abolished a similar committee which former President Truman had created on December 5, 1951. The new committee would be comprised of representatives from the Atomic Energy Commission, the Commerce Department, the Department of Defense, the Justice Department, the General Services Administration and the Labor Department. Eight other members would represent the public, and White House press secretary James Hagerty said that some black citizens would be in that group. The President said that a review of existing practices under Government contracting had demonstrated that the practices and procedures related to compliance with the required non-discrimination provisions of the contracts needed to be revised and strengthened to eliminate discrimination in employment.

Near Detroit, a fire occurred in a G.M. transmission and instrument plant in suburban Livonia late the previous day, killing two men and injuring more than 20, causing four million dollars worth of damage. Production would be impacted in the Cadillac, Oldsmobile and Pontiac plants as a result. An estimated 45,000 workers might be temporarily laid off.

In two separate incidents, one in Richmond, Va., and the other in Proctor, Ark., eight boys and a girl, ranging in ages from two to nine, died lingering deaths in two abandoned refrigerators. In the Arkansas incident, four boys and a girl had died, and in the Richmond incident, four boys had died. In the latter occurrence, the boys had climbed through a window of an abandoned building about 25 yards from the home of one of them, and then entered the refrigerator.

In Baltimore, a 57-year old grandmother who said that she really was not a "bad fellow", built a fence around a contractor's equipment, being used in a three million dollar sewer construction project, slowing the construction work. The woman stood at a window overlooking the scene holding a small caliber rifle, saying that she had to keep an eye on the workmen to prevent them from sneaking equipment out when she was not looking. The equipment was parked on her lawn, a situation to which she did not object but wanted the contractor to put it in writing that the company would repair any damage done to her lawn and pay her a rental fee. She had earlier returned a check for $150 to the construction company. She said she got tired of the company saying not to pay any attention to "that old woman" whenever she had complained. She said that she had two strapping sons who could go down to the construction company and whip any one of them, but that since she had gotten herself into the situation, she would get herself out of it.

In Wilmington, N.C., Charles M. Johnson announced this date that he had submitted his resignation as collector of customs for North Carolina, to become effective September 1. He said that he planned to open a securities business in Raleigh. As former State Treasurer, he had run against Kerr Scott in the 1948 Democratic gubernatorial primary and lost. It had been speculated that he would resign, so that a Republican could be appointed by the Federal Administration. The state Republican chairman said that Josiah Maultsby of Whiteville had been cleared for the job.

The North Carolina and Virginia Capes were alerted this date regarding the approach of Hurricane Barbara, packing winds of about 95 mph, centered 130 miles southeast of Wilmington, with its center expected to pass over or close to Cape Hatteras at around midnight this date. Winds from the hurricane buffeted Wilmington at noon. The Flying Pan Shoals lightship, about 25 miles from the mouth of the Cape Fear River, reported winds ranging up to 75 mph at noon. The Miami Weather Bureau said that the storm was moving northward at the rate of 10 to 12 mph and would continue to move northward or north-northwestward during the ensuing 24 hours, with slow acceleration in its forward speed.

On the editorial page, "Mr. Brownell Is Caught Between Fires" indicates that when the Supreme Court had postponed the reargument of the school desegregation cases, subsumed under Brown v. Board of Education, continuing them at the behest of Attorney General Herbert Brownell from mid-October to December 7-8, it had provided the Administration two additional months to "juggle a very warm political potato".

The original arguments had been heard the prior December, during the Truman Administration, and so the reargument had placed Attorney General Brownell on the spot to some degree, for if he did not follow the previous Administration's attack on segregation, the new Administration might lose support from many across the nation who believed that segregation was "a constitutional anachronism which no longer deserves a place in our law", as had been stated by former Solicitor General Philip Perlman in the earlier agument. But if the Justice Department followed precedent and took a vigorous stand against segregation, the President's support from many Southerners, including Governors James Byrnes of South Carolina and Allan Shivers of Texas, would likely evaporate.

It ventures that Mr. Brownell might seek a middle course, but it did not seem possible in the school desegregation cases, as segregation would either be ruled constitutional or unconstitutional.

It suggests that the South, in the additional two months before the reargument, ought to undertake some constructive thinking rather than sitting still, as appearances suggested the prevailing attitude, in the hope that segregation would be preserved. There was a real possibility that the Supreme Court would abandon the "separate but equal" doctrine of Plessy v. Ferguson from 1896 and abolish segregation, either immediately or gradually. "The social impact that such a decision would have upon the South is so tremendous that it cannot be measured in advance. But the South cannot diminish it by keeping its head in the sand."

It provides no guidepost for that "constructive thinking", however, which should have been to consider whether, after 57 years of supposedly trying to create a "separate but equal" society and system of education within it, that had actually transpired, and, with that obvious answer, whether that system ought be provided any further experiment or whether nearly three generations of time was enough, that the clock had expired. It might have gone further to suggest also contemplation of whether such a system did anything in the long run to make society a better place to live, fulfilling the promise of "equal protection" under the law, as assured by the Fourteenth Amendment in 1868, forming, in the words of the Preamble to the Constitution, "a more perfect Union", or dedicating itself to the self-evident truths, as contained in the Declaration of Independence, "that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness", whether a system of apartheid in the United States, especially within its educational system, inuring both teachers and students alike to daily reminder of that societal schism at the border of "colored town", could ever produce those lofty goals embodied in its founding documents.

"A 'Yes' Vote for Marketing Quotas" indicates that wheat farmers had been talking about two kinds of quotas, one being the acreage quota, which was being applied to the following year's crop by Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson because of the large wheat surplus. Under it, if the farmer planted more than the acreage quota, he would not be eligible to receive the 90 percent of parity support price when he sold his crop. The other type of quota was the marketing quota, which had to be approved by two-thirds of the farmers who regularly planted 15 or more acres of wheat. The following day, the wheat farmers throughout the nation would vote on the marketing quotas.

The piece urges that they accept it, as rejecting it would drastically reduce their income. It provides an hypothetical.

If the marketing quotas were approved, farmers who followed the acreage quota were assured of price support for their wheat at the parity price. If more than a third of the wheat farmers of the nation rejected the marketing quota, however, the price floor would drop to 50 percent of parity. Faced with that choice, it believes most farmers would vote for it.

It suggests that most farmers would prefer not to have quotas, provided they were assured of a fair return for their labor. Taxpayers would prefer not to contribute to the farm support program if there were any other way to keep the economy stable. But American agricultural productivity was so great and the wheat surplus so large, to take away the supports would bring many of the wheat farmers to financial ruin. The long-range answer, it suggests, lay in exploiting new markets overseas, diversification of agriculture and in legislating flexible price supports so that farmers could be let down easy, so as not to take the rest of the country with them.

"Long Live the Kings (the Bums)" indicates that the Brooklyn Dodgers were being fawned over by the sportswriters "like bobbysoxers in the lachrymose presence of Johnny Ray". It thinks it splendid that the Dodgers could beat their National League colleagues during the season, and it seemed that nothing, short of Carl Furillo, Gil Hodges and Pee Wee Reese collectively falling into an open manhole, could deter the Dodgers from winning another pennant. Sportswriter Red Smith had called it the greatest team in baseball.

It has no problem with that analysis, but finds the limit of praise to have been passed recently by an Associated Press writer who said that the Dodgers "rode through the West like triumphant kings, conquering all before them." It finds that if that were the case, it was time for an investigation. It goes on in that vein.

A piece from the Mattoon (Ill.) Journal-Gazette, titled "Seventeen-Year Locusts", indicates that the reader had probably heard of the 17-year locusts and that they destroyed crops and forecast wars and other disasters. It urges not to believe it. The Department of Agriculture celebrated the approach of the 1953 locusts by issuing a special pamphlet providing the true facts about the insect. It said that it did not destroy crops or eat foliage, but rather spent its brief six-week life singing and raising the next generation. The piece concludes: "What a life!"

Drew Pearson indicates that General Omar Bradley, retiring as chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and General Joe Lawton Collins, retiring as Army chief of staff, each had certain laudable characteristics. "Though great military men, they are civilian-minded. Though great combat soldiers, the thing they hate most is to see men die. Though they dislike disagreement, they champion the right of others to disagree. Though trained to fight wars, they leaned over backward to prevent war." He finds the characteristics vitally important in an age when Russia had just announced it had the hydrogen bomb.

But, he ventures, the new chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral Arthur Radford, had not always demonstrated those same qualities. The President had ordered the Joint Chiefs not to bring him minority reports, that they should unanimously agree on recommendations before bringing them to him. It was the constitutional duty of the President as commander-in-chief to obtain all points of view from his military advisers and to review their agreements and disagreements before making up his mind. Mr. Pearson notes that Generals Bradley and Collins had sat through many debates on the Joint Chiefs and had not hesitated to tell the President that they could not agree. Usually General Bradley and General Collins agreed with each other, but frequently disagreed with the Navy regarding the importance of Formosa, the use of Chiang Kai-shek's troops in Korea, or the use of super-carriers rather than B-36's.

There were two types of officers among the top brass at the Pentagon, the humble, civilian-type, G.I.-type officer, and the aggressive, politically minded officer who liked to barge into the civilian field of government. Generals Bradley and Collins belonged to the first group. He provides examples for each from World War II. But Admiral Radford belonged to the second group, providing the example of the prior December, during the President-elect's trip home from Korea and Japan, during which the Admiral had ingratiated himself to the President-elect. Seldom had an officer in uniform challenged civilian authority more brazenly than had Admiral Radford in the summer of 1949, openly criticizing Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson and Secretary of the Air Force Stuart Symington, regarding his determination to push the B-36 long-range bomber instead of supercarriers. The Admiral was relegated to the Pacific as a result. General Bradley had gone before Congress and spoken critically of "Fancy Dan Admirals".

He notes that General Nathan Twining, the new chief of staff of the Air Force, and General Matthew Ridgway, the new Army chief of staff, were both conscientious, civilian-minded generals who believed in teamwork. But with the President demanding unanimous decisions, and with the "brilliant, aggressive, talkative" Admiral Radford as chairman, the Joint Chiefs were likely either to function his way or completely fall to pieces.

Marquis Childs discusses the plight of the farmers, with farm prices decreasing while the cost of goods on which the farmer depended, tractors, gasoline, electric power, were increasing. It was one reason why the controversy over the Hell's Canyon Dam in Idaho was more serious than generally understood.

The dispute had occurred when Secretary of Interior Douglas McKay had withdrawn the Department's objection to granting the Idaho Power Company the right to develop a part of the site. Spokesmen for public power in the Northwest favored the big hydro-electric-irrigation project proposed by the Truman Administration, and had spoken out in favor of it before the Federal Power Commission. They had argued that only through full-scale Government development could low-cost power be obtained for the region. They insisted that a Federal dam was an essential part of the great Columbia River system, which had produced rapid expansion of the Northwest.

On the other side of the argument were the spokesmen for the private company, arguing that the job could be done just as well by them, with great savings to the taxpayers.

The interest in low-cost power from Hell's Canyon went beyond those who would benefit from it directly, being tied to the development of low-cost fertilizer for farmers in 17 Western and Midwestern states. Idaho was estimated to contain up to 60 percent of the nation's phosphate deposits, from which phosphatic fertilizers could be produced. The savings to farmers would be 3.4 million dollars per year on one plant proposed by the Central Farmers Company, according to the company manager. He said that at least nine additional plants would be necessary to meet the requirements of the Midwest.

Robert C. Ruark, in Paris, discusses French fashions, as Christian Dior had raised the height of skirts to that of the 1920's flapper styles. He wonders why women had to be slaves to fashion changes, when they ought adapt to what made them look best.

"If I was a dame—and thank the Lord I am not—I would buy some clothes to make me look better than how I look when I am private, instead of buying clothes to make me look like everybody else. If I got legs like Cyd Charisse, I would wear skirts of ballet-length. If I got what Marilyn Monroe's got up top, I would chop off the bodice until the Legion of Decency screamed editorially at me. If I was a fattie, I would try to cut me down with something unobtrusive, and if I am a beanpole, I would stick some padding in at the right places.

"But a dame is such a simpleton about these things that they just got to try to look like all the other dames, everywhere, and twice a year at that. I still remember the New Look, and wake up screaming, and scream twice as hard when I recall the Charleston Age."

He has been hanging around Ernest Hemingway a day too often.

A letter writer from Albemarle indicates that the majority of Americans felt that if the Korean Armistice were violated by the Russians or Chinese, the U.S. ought blockade the entire Chinese coast and use atomic weapons to destroy its war-making industries in North Korea, Manchuria and in China proper. He also advocates letting the two Communist powers know that the U.S. would oppose Communist China as a member of the U.N., until it proved that it would pursue a peaceful course. He also favors letting the Germans know that the U.S. was demanding their freedom, as well as those of all of the satellite countries, sending them messages via Radio Free Europe, the Voice of America, and by balloons, and training thousands of refugees from those countries to return to their native lands to let the people know that Americans wanted liberty and freedom for them.

A letter writer from Cicero, Ill., indicates that since his childhood when he had first become acquainted with North Carolina and its people, he had a warm feeling in his heart for both. As he grew older, he got to know personally a number of people from the state and his feeling of kindness increased. Subsequently, he had read a great deal about North Carolina and its inhabitants, and he had come to admire and appreciate their character and spirit. He had made a hobby of collecting items from North Carolina.

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