The Charlotte News

Friday, August 14, 1953


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that at Panmunjom, the U.N. Command asked the Communists officially this date whether they planned to retain any allied prisoners sentenced to confinement for any reason. There was no immediate response. Both sides accused each other of retaining prisoners entitled to return home.

This date, the Communists released 84 Americans and 322 other allied prisoners. Fifty additional Americans were scheduled to be released the following day, plus 50 British and 300 South Koreans. Thus far, 907 of the 3,313 Americans to be freed had been returned home as of this date, after ten days of the exchange program.

Secretary of State Dulles, two days earlier, had warned the Communists to return every allied prisoner, whether sentenced to prison by the Communists or not, and otherwise threatened to retain some Communist POW's who had been sentenced for offenses committed while being held as prisoners of war. Peiping Radio charged Secretary Dulles with "blackmail" and accused the allies of illegally holding 120 Chinese Communist prisoners, and further said that it was in accord with the Geneva Convention to retain prisoners charged with an indictable offense. The State Department denied the Communist charge and said that the Armistice specified that all POW's who wished to repatriate had to be sent back without exception. Secretary of the Army Robert Stevens, after returning from Korea, said that 250 Chinese Communists involved in criminal offenses during their captivity might be retained, stating that it was his understanding that not all Chinese POW's had yet been repatriated, contrary to the report by the U.N. Command the previous day. There was no explanation for the discrepancy provided by the U.N. Command, which referred all questions to Washington.

At the U.N. in New York this date, Britain and some other Western allies were reported prepared to take the floor of the General Assembly to demand that Russia and India be included in the forthcoming Korean political conference, set to start in October and last for 90 days, with an object of producing unity in Korea. Informed sources said that the split between the U.S. and Britain regarding the composition of the conference was more serious than previously believed. The U.S. wanted the U.N. side of the conference restricted to the 16 countries which had fought on the U.N. side in Korea. The U.S. was amenable to Soviet representation on the Communist side but not on the U.N. side. Britain was understood to believe that if these 16 countries could not agree on inclusion of Russia and India, then a separate proposal or possibly two such proposals regarding those countries should be placed before the full Assembly.

In Concord, N.H., Governor Hugh Gregg this date appointed Robert Upton, a 69-year old lawyer, to fill the seat vacated by the death of Senator Charles Tobey. Mr. Upton would serve until January, 1955, with a special election to fill the seat in 1954.

In Paris, French Premier Joseph Laniel remained in a bitter struggle with striking workers regarding his efforts to economize by cutting out civil service jobs and extending the retirement age. The strikes spread to the nation's arsenals, army hospital and quartermaster depot, with a million workers still not reporting for work, having been joined the previous day by three million other workers for a 24-hour walkout. With no end in sight, the nation's railroads remained paralyzed, its gas and electric service diminished and its communications tied in knots.

In Greece, 11 more earth tremors shook the Ionian islands of Kefallinia, Ithaca and Zakinthos this date, in what had been Greece's worst modern earthquake disaster. There was still no accurate account of the dead and injured. American observers said that they believed a Greek Government estimate of nearly 1,000 dead was too small. Admiral Lord Mountbatten, Mediterranean commander of NATO Naval forces, had flown to Zakinthos and reported by radio that he saw a large part of a cliff fall into the sea. Fires still burned over the city and it was in worse condition than Argostolian, the naval base and chief center of Kefallinia, a ruined city. British and Greek sailors formed fire-fighting parties and British Navy planes dropped relief supplies along the coast. Lord Mountbatten said that the firefighters had been menaced by exploding grenades which the fishermen kept in their cottages.

In Buenos Aires, Argentina, two commuter trains collided near the Buenos Aires station in early morning fog, resulting in at least five persons killed and 20 injured.

In South Bend, Ind., a night of rioting at two Indiana Bell Telephone Co. buildings left the city virtually cut off from outside telephone communications. Both buildings had been closed and barricaded during the morning following the disturbance, the most violent in a 24-day statewide strike against the utility by the Communications Workers of America. Nine policemen were unable to halt the disturbances which started shortly after midnight at the main building, housing the South Bend business offices, as well as at the Franklin Street exchange. No arrests were made. Eighteen windows had been smashed in the main building and two in the Franklin exchange. Rocks and tomatoes had been thrown and lighted firecrackers tossed through the broken windows. The front entrance doors to the main building had been smashed, as well as two large plate glass windows, and rear doors of both buildings were forced open. Cables had been cut in various parts of the state since the strike had begun on July 22. Negotiations attempting to settle the strike continued in Indianapolis.

Hurricane Barbara swept up the Atlantic seaboard this date after hitting the North Carolina and Virginia Capes, leaving two dead, several others injured, and more than a million dollars worth of property damage to corn, cotton, bean and tobacco crops. The hurricane registered gusts up to 103 mph at its height at the Marine Air Station at Cherry Point, N.C., the previous night. One of the two men who had died had touched a high-tension wire which had blown down in the storm in Norfolk, Va., and the other had been swept from a pier at Wrightsville Beach, N.C. The Norfolk Weather Bureau reported that the wind speeds had subsided to 35 mph shortly after 6:00 a.m.

In Charlotte, the superintendent of the Water Department told of a farmer shooting his .22-caliber rifle at a jaybird as it flew out of an apple tree, hitting instead the 44,000-volt electrical line supplying the sewage disposal plant, the wire not hitting the ground and so the usual safety devices not kicking in, causing the current to surge into the 200-horsepower motor in the sewer plant, burning it out, costing the City $500 for the repair.

In Denver, N.C., a man told a district court jury that his false teeth were no good because he could not "cluck" with them in his business as a horse trainer, and so contended that he did not owe the dentist $250 for his dentures. The jury awarded the dentist his fee.

In Philadelphia, the child of the hoodlum was wrapped up in her arms.

In Raleigh, Governor William B. Umstead had called a press conference for this afternoon, and it was expected that he would clarify the status of prisons director Walter Anderson, as explained in the below editorial.

On the editorial page, "Prison Muddle Grows More Muddled" indicates that since May 11, when Governor Umstead had appointed the new Highway & Public Works Commission members, the status of Walter Anderson, director of prisons, had been uncertain. Mr. Anderson had been an appointee of former Governor Kerr Scott and had advocated reform of the prison system. But some of his ideas had alienated prison personnel, while others were not readily acceptable to the Highway Commission.

As Mr. Anderson had been left dangling, it indicates that the Governor, or the chairman of the Commission, A. H. Graham, ought either give Mr. Anderson his formal reappointment or discharge him and name a replacement. The Prisons Advisory Council had sought such a conclusion. The Council wanted the prison system separated from the Highway Commission and run as a modern penal system, rather than as a place of custodial care for convicted criminals while they labored on the roads. The Council wanted widespread reform in administrative policies of the system. But Mr. Graham took a dim view of anyone who sought to make changes in the old political pattern, wanted the prison system run by the Highway Commission, and would not likely surrender his authority without protest.

It concludes that the Governor should resolve the conflict by ordering Mr. Graham to leave the prisons to the director of prisons, whoever that might be, and concentrate on building roads.

"First the Blueprint, Then the Building" indicates that it was unfortunate but not calamitous for the Social Planning Council and the private group headed by Dr. Nathaniel Tross to be of two minds regarding provision of facilities for unwed black mothers. They agreed on the objective of establishing a facility comparable to that available for white women in similar circumstances, but the difference arose over the methods, with the Tross group wanting to establish a home immediately and so resumed their drive to collect $5,000 to establish such a home, which previously they had deferred until completion of a joint study of the problem by the Council and interested black citizens of the community. The group, however, believed that the Council was proceeding too slowly and had made decisions without consulting them.

The Council members believed that the whole matter deserved full discussion before definite plans and expenditures were made, that because many women who would use the facilities lived outside Charlotte, some provision for financial support from outside the community ought be arranged. They feared that if the Tross plan were implemented, the Charlotte United Community Services would have to raise most of the money for it after the initial $5,000 was exhausted.

The Council would complete its report in about 90 days, and in view of the pertinence of the questions it was studying, and despite the praiseworthy zeal of the Tross group, the piece believes that definite plans and expenditures ought to await the Council's findings.

"Rep. Jonas Has Been on the Job" tells of new Congressman Charles Jonas, in his column in The News, having given an account of his voting record, showing that it had been quite impressive, as he was present and voted on all 61 recorded roll call votes, and had been present at each of the 52 quorum calls during the session of Congress just concluded. He had been present despite the fact that he was a member of the Appropriations Committee, which held nearly continuous meetings throughout the latter part of the session. It finds that it was a record of which Mr. Jonas could be justifiably proud, as the Congress was full of members of the "Tuesday to Thursday" club, who spent their weekends away from Washington. Others dodged roll call votes on controversial matters, even when in town. Mr. Jonas, it concludes, belonged to neither of those groups, was looking after the business of the people of his district.

"Sacrifice" finds that when Defense Secretary Charles E. Wilson had been forced to divest himself of more than 39,000 shares of General Motors stock the prior winter in order to be confirmed as Secretary because of the conflict of interest otherwise posed by the fact that G.M. was the largest single contractor of the Defense Department, he had obtained 2.65 million dollars, as the stock was then selling at $68 per share. It had since dropped to $60 per share, and had Mr. Wilson been selling his stock presently, he would have received $312,000 less. It concludes that what was bad for General Motors had not been too bad for Charlie Wilson.

A piece from The State magazine, titled "Not All That Glitters", indicates that experienced Chamber of Commerce men and industrial engineers already knew that which some Southern communities were finding out the hard way, that it was quite possible for an industry to be a liability rather than an asset to a community. Some communities were so desirous of having industries locate in them that they would make concessions and appeals to any enterprise they could find.

A man acquainted with the textile business had indicated that a North Carolina community would obtain a big headache from a little mill to be located there, operated by a "bad citizen" of New England, who would likewise be a bad citizen in North Carolina. Another community already was experiencing disillusionment, with a new plant, which had claimed its average wage would pay $65 per week, having thus far paid no more than $35 per week. It indicates that community leaders were aware of the futility of crowding their towns with industries which would lower rather than raise the standard of living, and community builders would do well to follow the advice and example.

Drew Pearson indicates that a week after Premier Georgi Malenkov's speech before the Supreme Soviet announcing that Russia had the hydrogen bomb, U.S. scientists and intelligence experts had come to the conclusion that it was not the case. There was no evidence to prove that an explosion resembling an hydrogen blast had occurred. The particles detected in the atmosphere of late showed no radioactivity from an atomic blast or hydrogen blast. On the other hand, scientists believed that Russia probably had some kind of hydrogen device which could be exploded, but not yet a bomb which could be carried in a plane to an enemy country. The U.S. had never dropped an hydrogen bomb from the air, only having detonated a ground-based thermonuclear device on Eniwetok the previous November 1. When finally completed, the U.S. hydrogen bomb would be so large that it would require changes even to the largest long-range bombers for it to be transported to a target. The Soviet Air Force had no planes even as large as the U.S. B-36.

Italian hydrogen bomb expert Bruno Pontecorvo had disappeared behind the Iron Curtain three years earlier and had undoubtedly been working for the Russians on the device, hence the conclusion by scientists that Russia probably had it. The Atomic Energy Commission had held that the U.S. Army had infringed on the patent held by a group of Italian scientists, led by Dr. Enrico Fermi, who had been one of the chief contributors to the U.S. atom bomb during World War II. Such a conclusion indicated how widely the secret of the atomic bomb had been known in various parts of the world.

An editorial from the London Observer indicates that the age was one of long armistice. World War II still awaited a peace settlement eight years after its conclusion, thus effectively still being under an armistice. There was an armistice between Israel and its Arab neighbors, lasting for the prior five years, and an armistice between India and Pakistan regarding Kashmir, with no definite prospect for peace in either case.

It suggests that given the complexity of the problems which the Korean War had produced or revealed, the recent armistice in the Korean War could not produce a feeling of optimism regarding an early peace settlement. It suggests that the Korean War could be regarded as "the Little Third World War". While it had been confined to a small and narrow area, all of the great powers had, directly or by proxy, participated in it, and all of the conflicts in the world had been reflected in it. It was hard to see how Korea could find unity and settled peace until conditions for a general world settlement were realized.

The Korean War had been three separate wars rolled into one, a United Nations war against aggression, the paramount aspect for Britain and the Commonwealth, but only one of several aspects for the U.S., accounting for the several disagreements between the U.S. and its allies. From the U.S. point of view, the war had been, perhaps primarily, a test of strength between the U.S. and the Russo-Sino power, and between the American and Communist way of life. From the U.N. point of view, the result of the war had been victory, as aggression had been checked and the aggressor thrown back to the starting line, but from the American point of view, it was only a draw, for Russia, China and Communism remained undefeated and the contesting armies continued to face each other in strength.

Finally, for the South Koreans, the war, once begun, had acquired inevitably the character of a civil war for national unity, such that a result leaving the country still divided appeared as an outright, bitter defeat.

For the Communists, there was no clearly discernible viewpoint. The North Koreans had also sought unity, which had been frustrated. The Russians, who had originally controlled and supported the North Koreans, regarded the action as a movement of a pawn on the worldwide chessboard in the cold war. The fact that North Korea had moved during the war to control by the Communist Chinese suggested the possibility of a potential Russian and Chinese conflict, but it would be difficult to assess that issue at present.

The piece finds that there was an elemental force at work in Korea, the groundswell of Asian nationalism. China and the U.S., in temporary control of the two respective halves of Korea, might find that they were handling explosive material. Under such circumstances, it appeared an idle hope that the political conference to meet for three months starting in October, could effect unification by peaceful means. Adlai Stevenson had said recently that Korea could not be settled in Korea. It indicates that a unification of the country would now be possible only if the U.S. and China agreed to it, a prospect unlikely to occur unless they also agreed on the many other issues which divided them. Even then, it was unlikely to occur by peaceful means. If left to themselves, the North and South Koreans would probably be at each other's throats almost at once.

The immediate aim of the U.N., and of Britain and the Commonwealth, could therefore only be a modest one of maintaining the Armistice. But it was infinitely preferable to renewed war in Korea, with its concomitant threat of a general war.

It posits that, paradoxically, it was in Europe rather than in Asia that Britain could hope to reap political harvests from the Armistice. For with the end of the fighting in Korea, the chief psychological obstacle to new diplomatic contact with Russia had been removed. The chief prerequisite for renewed peace negotiations with Russia, mentioned by President Eisenhower in his speech to the association of editors on April 16, had been fulfilled, and the West and Russia could now resume the search for a settlement. It was in Europe, it suggests, rather than in Asia that the conditions for a settlement recently seemed to be maturing.

Stewart Alsop, in London, relates of two incidents which kept coming back to his memory after his recent travels in Europe. One occurred in West Berlin at a house which held some 40 to 50 men who had been involved in the East Berlin workers' revolt of June 17, and had been condemned to death, in absentia, in East Germany. They appeared to test credulity in their story about taking over city after city in the Soviet zone, wherein the people had spontaneously risen up and seized power from the Soviet puppet police state, the "vopos", volks police, having thrown their weapons in the canal and joined the uprising. None, they said, had remained loyal to the regime. One said it was a "volksfest", with people celebrating in the streets, believing they were free.

Increasingly, Mr. Alsop had concluded that they were telling the truth, that it had been a genuine workers' revolution in which within a few hours, the puppet police state had crumbled, until the Soviet tanks and troops arrived to restore order.

The second memory which kept coming back to him had occurred in a dreary railroad station in the Soviet zone of Germany near midnight, when the American military train bound for Frankfort had stopped for a moment. Across the platform, there were large numbers of young boys boarding a battered train, apparently on their way to "some Communist strength-through-joy festival." A large, poorly dressed man was walking along the platform and stopped suddenly to stare stolidly at Mr. Alsop, prompting him to wave impulsively and shout "Hi!" The man at first smiled broadly and started to wave, but then stopped his arm in midair, as if arrested by some invisible force, then turned and walked away rapidly. Mr. Alsop mused that while trains sometimes were mildly resemblant to a prison, for the duration of his journey, he believed that the prison was, instead, outside the train and all around.

Marquis Childs indicates that for many, the truce in Korea already had a bitter taste, as reports from the Far East indicated that Americans there shared a widespread feeling of frustration and foreboding. They doubted that the Armistice could lead to lasting peace. They felt that there would be only an uneasy interval before the start of a larger war, which would be fought at a disadvantage because of the truce. Among some in the military and some diplomats, the view was colored by the conviction that the U.S. could never afford to come to terms with the Communist regime in China, even if it were split from Moscow. The new chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral Arthur Radford, held that view and spread the opinion during his lengthy tour of duty in the Pacific.

Mr. Childs had received a letter from a war correspondent friend who had been in Korea twice and had a son in combat there for a year, in which he had taken issue with the view that the end of the fighting at least offered the hope that a larger conflict could be avoided and that eventually a settlement in Asia could be achieved. The correspondent believed, to the contrary, that it would be just the opposite situation, and because his view was shared by many Americans in the area, Mr. Childs quotes at length from it. He regarded the truce as having been appeasement by the U.S., that the two Administrations had been more concerned about votes than the long-term preservation of human life and avoidance of other physical destruction, out of the fear of provoking an all-out war. Mr. Childs indicates that the same view was expressed less forthrightly by some officials in Washington who feared that the truce would lead to admission to the U.N. of Communist China. They feared that appeasement would bring on more appeasement.

In June, 1952, the Joint Chiefs had suggested an offensive in Korea to then-U.N. supreme commander General Matthew Ridgway, after which he conferred with U.S. Eighth Army commander, General James Van Fleet, who had said that it was strategically and logistically feasible, but, as related to the Pentagon by General Ridgway, the casualties would be unacceptable, a conclusion in which General Van Fleet had concurred.

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