The Charlotte News

Wednesday, August 19, 1953


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that at Panmunjom, the U.N. Command this date denied Communist charges that prisoners had been brutally treated in the U.N. prison camps, telling the Communists that the physical conditions of repatriated POW's had proved that the accusation was a "distortion of the truth". The U.N. members of the Repatriation Commission reportedly were planning to hand the Communists a strong note, again demanding return of all allied prisoners, but there were strong indications that the note had not been delivered. The chief allied delegate to the Commission criticized Communist Red Cross workers for acting as propaganda agents for the Communists, going beyond their humanitarian mission.

Meanwhile, another 75 Americans had been liberated this date, while two ships prepared to sail for home with the men freed earlier by the Communists.

Pulitzer Prize winning Associated Press photographer Frank Noel provides the last in a series of articles regarding his 33 months of captivity in a Communist prison camp in North Korea. He indicates that after he had received his camera in January, 1952, the Chinese let him take pictures in four of the six camps where non-Korean war prisoners were being held. In wandering around, he had obtained a pretty fair idea of how many men were in each camp, estimating that there were between 4,000 and 5,000 men, most of whom were Americans. Another 3,000 died in the camps and were buried in the hills around Pyoktong and Chonchong, where most of the camps were located. He said it would account for the up to 8,000 of the 13,000 non-Korean troops estimated to be missing. The Communists had sought to cover up the number of deaths among the prisoners, sometimes as many as 48 in a day, by trying to force allied doctors to say that the men had died of syphilis contracted before they had been captured, though none of the doctors would comply, causing many to be sent to the hole. They had been held near the border of Manchuria, and a Chinese leader had told him one day that if the allies ever tried to liberate them, the Chinese would take those they wanted to keep across the border into China. He ventures that perhaps they had done so at present. He indicates that when he had been captured in November, 1950 along with Marines, Army and British troops at Koto in North Korea, they had made them walk about 700 miles over a winding route to reach Camp 5, where they arrived in about April, 1951. During that summer, the Communists had herded about 600 men and officers into a Korean theater and made the remainder listen to loudspeakers outside, while a high Chinese officer gave a bitter harangue against the "capitalistic warmongers".

At the U.N. in New York, U.S. Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., said that a resolution put forward by Russia's chief delegate, Andrei Vishinsky, had been a "sleazy maneuver" to enable the Communists to dominate the upcoming peace conference, scheduled for October. Other delegates had reserved comment on the Russian proposal, put forward to the General Assembly's political committee the previous day. It proposed that the conference be composed of three U.N. members whose troops had fought on the U.N. side, the U.S., Britain and France, plus South Korea, North Korea and Communist China, plus two Communist neutral nations, the Soviet Union and Poland, plus three other neutral nations, India, Sweden and Burma. It also provided that the decisions of the conference would be deemed to have been adopted if they had the consent of the parties which had signed the Armistice. Those parties were only the 16 U.N. nations and South Korea, plus North Korea and Communist China.

Tehran radio declared this date that royalists had wrested power of the Iranian Government from Premier Mohammed Mossadegh this date and caused him to flee. The royalists then summoned the Shah back to the throne at once, after he had gone into exile, first at Baghdad and then in Rome, after fleeing the country the prior Sunday following a failed coup attempt against the Premier, said to be sponsored by the Shah. A proclamation had been read declaring Maj. General Fazollah Zahedi as the new premier and promising Iranians a new eight-point program of social reform. General Zahedi had headed the coup attempt the prior Sunday and was reported thereafter to be hiding in the hills. There was no immediate confirmation of the radio report. It said that the Foreign Minister had been "torn to pieces", presumably by a mob. The royalist uprising was said to have occurred within the Army and police. A State Department spokesman said that it was impossible yet to form any conclusion. The 33-year old Shah, speaking from Rome, said that he would return to his country immediately if the reports proved true. He said that his country did not want the Communists and therefore had been faithful to him. He had said earlier that he had left Iran because he had wanted to avoid bloodshed and did not want the people to suffer for him. He said that he had originally planned to go to Azerbaijan in northern Iran and organize a new government to march on Tehran and Premier Mossadegh, but decided it would cause too much bloodshed, and so had fled to Baghdad, where he was forced to depart for Rome because of the Queen's health.

The wife of Edward Rothschild, who had refused to testify the previous day before the Senate Investigations subcommittee chaired by Senator McCarthy, anent the allegation that he had obtained Government secrets through his job as a bookbinder at the Government Printing Office and had been a Communist, also refused to testify this date on the same subjects, also asserting her privilege under the Fifth Amendment. Senator McCarthy said he had complete lack of cooperation from the Pentagon regarding an alleged leak of secret military information to a Washington newspaper correspondent, whom he did not name. He said that the leaker was an unnamed civilian employee who was permitted by the military to resign. He said that he planned to question the GPO personnel director regarding why Mr. Rothschild had been retained in the employment of the Office after charges of Communist activity had been made against him. He also intended to question the secretary of a loyalty board which had recommended the previous month against dismissal of Mr. Rothschild. He claimed that prior testimony to the subcommittee had demonstrated that a Communist cell had been formed in the Office as early as 1938 and that there was evidence that secret documents had been stolen from the plant. He contended that Mr. Rothschild had stolen a code book and other secret data. Mr. Rothschild had stated in executive session, according to the subcommittee, that he had access to secret documents but had never taken any.

The President had called this date for "an action committee" to deal with the problem of discrimination in employment on Government contracts, according to Vice-President Nixon, who would chair the new committee. He said that the President expected concrete action on the problem of discrimination in Government contracts, that the committee would study the problem and receive and attempt to deal with specific complaints. He said that between 39 and 40 billion dollars were spent on Government contracts each year, about a quarter of all the money spent on production in the country. Seven members of the new committee had taken an oath in the presence of the President at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel this date, after the President interrupted his vacation in Colorado to fly to New York for a day of Government activity, including the dedication of a 32 million dollar Federal housing project.

In Providence, R.I., three escapees from the North Carolina State Hospital in Raleigh had been arrested at gunpoint in a rooming house this date, six hours after they had released a 16-year old Connecticut boy whom they had kidnapped near his home the previous night. The boy said that they had climbed into his convertible coupe after he stopped to pick up one of them. The three then ordered him to drive to Providence, where one of them said that he had relatives, finally releasing him and abandoning the car in South Providence. Police officers found the three hiding in a clothes closet within the rooming house. The room had been rented by a brother of one of the escapees who had formerly lived in Providence. One of the three was from South Providence and the other two were from North Carolina.

Dr. Alfred C. Kinsey's long-awaited new book, Sexual Behavior in the Human Female, would be published the following month, and Associated Press science reporter Alton L. Blakeslee had spent several weeks studying the volume and preparing a report on its findings, which would appear in the newspaper the following day.

On the editorial page, "Should Russia and India Sit In?" addresses the issue of whether Russia and India ought be allowed to participate in the Korean peace conference. The European and South American allies wanted Russia and India included because they were major U.N. powers in Asia and ought be included in any agreement which had any chance of success. They also believed that exclusion of India would not be regarded well by other non-Communist nations. Originally, the U.S. was against both Russia and India participating, as India had not been a combatant in the war and Russia had tried to maintain the fiction that it had not fought in the war and so should not be allowed to participate in planning the peace. The U.S. had argued that inclusion of those two powers would broaden the discussion to the whole Far Eastern situation and bog down the conference. Now, the U.S., however, had given its approval to Russian participation, provided North Korea and China approved. The U.S. still would not vote for the participation of India, and India had said it did not want to participate unless the other countries, including the U.S., desired it.

The piece sees no harm in participation by either nation. It regards a Korean settlement unlikely if only Korea was discussed, and if only China and North Korea represented the Communist side. That would leave Korea probably in limbo indefinitely, similar to the cases of Germany and Austria since the end of World War II. Inclusion of Russia and its single vote on the agenda and other matters would not be important, and it would be better to deal with Russia directly instead of through its puppets. India, as a major Asian power, had a legitimate concern regarding peace in that region of the world. It had contributed appreciably to the Armistice and was not a Communist country. It might be able to broach compromises which the Communists and the allies who had fought in the war could accept, even if neither side would suggest them for loss of face. It also finds that discussion of non-Korean matter would not be harmful, and that some useful outcomes might be achieved.

It favors denial of the Communist request that other neutral nations participate in the conference. The satellite countries of the U.N. had a legitimate right to participate in any discussions before the General Assembly, but had no business participating in the Korean conference, just as nations friendly to the West which had taken no part in the U.N. action in Korea would have no right to participate. It presumes that the effort was, in any event, a bargaining chip, in the hope that refusal by the allies to admit the satellites to the conference would encourage the allies to make concessions on other points.

Because there had been no clear-cut victory in Korea, except for vindication of the principle of collective security, the peace conference could not be one, as after World War II, where the U.S. and its allies dictated terms to the vanquished. "It was a strange and different war. It will be a strange and different peace." It suggests that maintenance of an uneasy peace, backed by continued strength, might prove the best way for the U.S. and its allies to proceed until Communist imperialism was toppled by internal troubles.

In the meantime, it finds, it had to be borne in mind that it was natural for the membership of the peace conference to be contested, but in the long run, of minor significance.

"Don't Expect Tax Cut from Ruml Plan" tells of a plan put forward by Beardsley Ruml, who, years earlier, had put forth the "pay-as-you-go" tax plan. His new plan, he claimed, showed how 12 billion dollars could be cut from the Federal budget, two billion of which would come from greater economy and the other ten billion, from separating regular operating expenses of the Government from capital expenditures, which, as investments, would be expected to pay for themselves. The latter category included Social Security, public works, stockpiled defense materials, agricultural surpluses, and atomic energy development. He would thus keep the cost, for instance, of atomic power development separate, and when atomic plants produced power and isotopes for industry, the returns would go to a special fund. The plan would mean additional interest payments on public investments and that the special funds would need replenishment from the regular budget when the returns did not adequately cover the expenditures.

The piece thinks that the plan might make Government bookkeeping more understandable and would help legislators and the public determine the actual cost and value of long-term capital expenditures, and so thinks it worth a look by Congress. But it remains unconvinced that it would provide substantial tax relief.

"Two Little Words, Et Cetera" indicates that the "etc." contained in the Armistice agreement regarding the subject matter to be discussed at the peace conference was giving the world quite a lot of trouble. The Communists believed that the term included Communist China's bid for U.N. membership, and a lot of other things. But the U.S. thought otherwise.

In another context, the State Department had sent out instructions to overseas Information Service libraries to remove from the shelves books by "controversial figures, Communists, fellow travelers, etc." The U.S. High Commissioner to West Germany, James Conant, wanted a definition of "etc." in that context. It had taken about three months and a dozen official orders before the situation had been clarified.

It concludes that the moral was to beware of any agreement which included the term "etc.", and that if one caught a writer using it, it could be assumed that he could not figure out more specific language, was in a hurry, "or too lazy to look up all the facts, figures, etc."

Warren H. Phillips, writing in the Wall Street Journal, from Beaune, France, tells of there being several memorials dotting the nearby landscape to members of the Resistance who had been executed by the Nazis during the occupation of France. Fresh flowers were usually placed at the memorials, as the local peasants and shopkeepers still retained bitter memories of the war. Their continued hatred for the Germans was responsible for the slow progress toward a European army including West German troops. The concept had been proposed nearly three years earlier and approved by the participating governments 15 months earlier, but had been stalled primarily because of the French National Assembly's failure to ratify the plan.

In Paris, the members of the National Assembly rationalized the refusal on the basis that the present East European unrest and the purging of L. P. Beria would keep Russia busy mending its own fences for awhile, while others argued that Russia's new "peace policy" could be reversed if the West provoked the Kremlin by creating a European army. But the underlying sentiment against the Germans was the real reason for the reluctance.

Foreign Minister Georges Bidault had made ratification of the unified army contingent on a settlement of the Saar satisfactory to France. The French could not understand the logic of the U.S. Congress in having made part of the following year's military aid appropriation contingent on ratification of the unified army. The people could not understand trying to force on them a concept which they did not support.

The U.S., Britain and France had publicly reaffirmed their support for the European army following the recent foreign ministers conference in Washington. M. Bidault reportedly had told his Allied colleagues that it had scarcely a chance of being passed by the National Assembly, which was a reflection of the citizens of the country.

Drew Pearson indicates that Congress had quietly investigated in the first session insecticides and pesticides being sprayed on fruits and vegetables, which accumulated in the human system and might decrease life span by as much as a decade. Dr. Robert Mobbs of Aberdeen, N.C., had testified before the House Interstate & Foreign Commerce Committee that he had spent five years studying the problem after a child in his hometown had died of what he was convinced had been pesticide poisoning. He said that benzene hexachloride had been found in tests to produce abnormal, cancer-like cell growth. Yet, it was used to spray on crops, to dust the troops in Korea and in vaporizing devices to air out homes and restaurants. He said that reports prepared by doctors and chemists on insecticide toxicity had been largely ignored, minimized and suppressed. He wanted tougher regulations on pesticides and insecticides. But instead of doing so, the Committee had approved a bill introduced by Congressman A. L. Miller of Nebraska which had been endorsed by the insecticide companies, which would leave it to the manufacturers to test their own pesticides and submit their findings to the Government. At that point the Food & Drug Administration would have 60 days to determine, on the basis of that report, the dosage which could be sold to the public. The head of the FDA warned, however, that irresponsible operators might submit inadequate toxicological data on which the Government would nevertheless have to fix the dosage in a brief period of time. He advocated having an unbiased scientific body assess the tests to be conducted on new pesticides. He said that the danger occurred when 20 different poisons were present in someone's dinner, any one of which might not hurt the diner, but all of which in combination might cause damage.

Dr. Mobbs had testified that it was known that many foods were contaminated by insecticides and that human tissue presently contained DDT and probably other insecticides, while no one knew what the ultimate effect would be. A baby food company had tried to get away from using foods containing insecticides, but was about ready to abandon the search as it could find no food in sufficient quantity which did not contain some insecticides. Dr. Mobbs said that he had begun his research five years earlier after an insecticide plant in his community had started mixing a dust boll weevil spray, and that the air was constantly permeated with insecticides, causing many people to become ill in the town. A child living in a home adjacent to the plant which manufactured the insecticide had died suddenly of a virus-like infection. He had found that if the substance was fed to an animal, it would kill it. The child had died from a perforated stomach and he believed it had been caused by the chemical. A patient had made himself a guinea pig to see what the effects of the insecticide would be, and when he died of a coronary disease which had appeared aggravated by exposure to the dust, the doctors had found DDT in his tissues. The American Cancer Society recently had given a grant to a professor of biochemistry at Columbia, in which he had used benzene hexachloride to produce abnormal cell formation, and yet that substance, lindane, was being used in a way which contaminated crops and got into the milk supply. It was used in many restaurants and in home vaporizing devices, as well as being utilized to dust troops and prisoners in Korea.

Mr. Pearson notes that most of the insecticide manufacturers tested and labeled their products to safeguard the public, and that without those sprays, insects and rodents would spoil most of the country's food supply. Apples, for instance, had to be protected from over 200 insects. But the insects developed immunity to the sprays and so it constantly took more poison to kill them.

Marquis Childs indicates that the problem of the current session of the U.N. General Assembly consisted of the disagreement between the U.S. and most of the rest of the free world regarding settlement with the Communist part of the world. That disagreement had begun with Prime Minister Churchill's speech of May 11, proposing a Big Four conference of the heads of state. That proposal had appealed to millions of people in Europe and Asia who were looking for a way out of the tension of the cold war. The British, the Canadians, and most of the British Commonwealth delegates to the Assembly meeting had arrived anticipating a Korean political conference of broad scope, beginning with an attempt to work out a settlement for Korea and if that effort went well, the confreres would take on other troubled spots across Asia, such as Indo-China.

Those delegates had expected the same attitude from the U.S., but had been shocked by the narrow view of the conference held by the American delegation. Nevertheless, the U.S. view had controlled the initial part of the meeting, with the exception of a British resolution dealing with Russia, that it would be invited to participate in the peace conference provided the North Koreans and Communist Chinese approved.

The conception of the conference was that the U.S., Communist China and South Korea would make the peace, and that the U.S. would not be bound by any voting procedure which concerned solely Korea. The delegates representing the other nations participating in the action in Korea would be present at the conference. The conception of Ambassador to the U.N. Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., that there would be two sides to the conference, the U.N. side, consisting of the 16 combatant nations, and the Communist side, consisting of North Korea and Communist China, had prevailed. That had put a strain on the Western alliance and on the U.N., but it was too early to tell the extent of the strain. To many, the U.S. position appeared as a repudiation of the U.N. and the collective-security approach to aggression in Korea.

Ambassador Lodge candidly had informed the British and Canadians that the Eastern seaboard of the U.S. might accept a round table conference empowered to consider broad Asian settlement, but that such an arrangement would never be accepted in the Midwest.

Robert C. Ruark, in Rome, tells of Ada Smith, known in the Twenties in Europe as "Bricktop", the toast of Paris and Venice during that era. She was still appearing in a late-night gin mill down the hill from the Excelsior Hotel. Her audience once had included princes, grand dukes and even kings, but now only consisted of a limited number of solvent Americans and occasionally former King Farouk of Egypt. Her conversation was something out of a 1920's novel, of which he relates.

When Farouk, whom she called Farvel, occasionally came to see her perform, she would sing, "Go down, Moses, into Egyp' lan' and set my people free," adding in a sarcastic aside that "ol' Man Mose is probably dead".

She was assisted by a British singer named Charlotte and a piano player name Murray Grand. After midnight, it was difficult to wedge into the place because Rome's night life was not particularly sparkling after the late dinner hour.

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