The Charlotte News

Friday, August 7, 1953


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the U.N. Command stated this date that the Communists would return 406 allied prisoners the following day, this night Eastern Standard Time, of whom 90 would be Americans, 25 British, 35 Turks and 256 South Koreans. It would be the largest release of Americans in a single day thus far since the exchange of prisoners had begun August 5. The U.N. Command would return 2,750 on Saturday, making a total of more than 11,000 Communist prisoners thus far repatriated, out of the more than 74,000 set to be released. This date, a healthier group of 394 allied war prisoners, including 81 Americans, had been released than in the previous two days. There was no explanation from the Communists as to why six additional South Koreans scheduled to be released had not been included. The South Korean prisoners released appeared more worn and sick than the other allied prisoners, the Americans having jumped from the trucks cracking jokes with each other. The allies had released 2,753 Communist prisoners this date, a quieter, better behaved group than those of the first two days, not attacking U.N. personnel this time.

Two of the American released prisoners said that they knew of at least seven American prisoners who had chosen not to repatriate, apparently succumbing to Communist propaganda lectures. Four others said that at least three Americans, all of whom were black, probably would stay behind, one former prisoner indicating that the three had received special treatment. He said that the other prisoners referred to them as "GI Chinks" or "Chink lovers". At least one Briton was also said to be probably staying voluntarily. One repatriate said that the eight were having a party when the other prisoners departed. The prisoners reporting the matter were all from a camp at Pyoktong.

Other prisoners returned this date continued to add to reports of brutality in the camps and mass burials of up to 2,000 prisoners, as well late jail sentences imposed since the Armistice for those "instigating against peace", plus intense efforts to convert prisoners to Communism.

The New York Times reported, based on an account by Sgt. Edward Hewlett of Detroit, that one American prisoner at a North Korean camp had ended enemy propaganda regarding germ warfare by the U.N., by eating a supposedly germ-infested bug, which one of the Communist instructors had produced in indoctrination class one day as evidence of the germ warfare of the U.S. Air Force. After being quarantined for two months as being near death's door, the prisoner was released looking well.

Secretary of State Dulles, in Seoul, meeting with President Syngman Rhee, was preparing to sign a draft of a security pact between the U.S. and South Korea the following day, after reaching agreement this date on the treaty. It would be subject to ratification by the U.S. Senate. It was modeled on the security pact between the U.S. and the Philippines, and provided that the U.S. would come to the aid of South Korea in the event of any new Communist aggression, and for provision of bases for American troops in South Korea. He said that otherwise, the talks had made good progress, and they had discussed every day unification plans for the coming peace conference in October. The Secretary was planning to return to the U.S. on Sunday.

Pyongyang Radio said this night that twelve high North Korean officials had been prosecuted for planning to overthrow the Communist regime and spying for the U.S. Among them was the former head of the special secret police, or a former justice minister with a similar name, and a former vice-premier and foreign minister, Pak Hong Wong. The previous month, South Korean intelligence had reported that North Korean Premier Kim Il Sung had fired Pak and the former justice minister as part of a purge of his Cabinet of those deemed pro-Russian rather than pro-Chinese, jailing Pak in the process.

The President said this date that his Administration had made "a good start" toward building an honest, efficient regime at home while exerting its power in the cause of world peace. But he conceded that the Administration had not "seen and conquered all the problems" of the nation during the first six months. He had made a statement regarding the Administration's progress in an all-network radio address the previous night.

A House Ways & Means subcommittee heard testimony this date from A. Frederick Olsen, an official in the New York office of the IRB, that a 21 million dollar tax refund claimed by Universal Pictures had received swift action beyond ordinary channels at the urgent request of former Secretary of Treasury John W. Snyder, during the Truman Administration in 1948. Mr. Olsen said that it was the only case in his experience where strict Treasury review regulations were violated on an excess profits tax case. The revenue agents assigned to the case had recommended refund of almost all which the company had sought, but the amount ultimately allowed was approximately 18 million dollars less than Universal's claim.

The Justice Department was investigating recent gasoline price increases in an effort to determine whether there had been collusive action among the oil companies. Senator Hubert Humphrey had received a letter from Assistant Attorney General Stanley Barnes, indicating that it was extremely difficult to collect evidence which would justify an antitrust action. Senator Humphrey said that he had received complaints from Minnesota gasoline jobbers and consumers anent what they believed were unwarranted price increases in the face of large stocks of gasoline, and so had referred the complaints to the Department. Mr. Barnes had indicated that the price increases appeared to be general throughout the country east of the Rockies.

In Paris, a general nationwide strike was called for between two and eight hours this date by two million civil servants, demanding that new Premier Joseph Laniel cut defense costs instead of increasing the retirement age from 57 to 62 and cutting back the number of civil servants to stave off governmental bankruptcy. It was the worst strike since 1936, when Socialist Leon Blum's Government was in power. General paralysis of government functions resulted. The Premier ordered telephone workers to return to their jobs, threatened to suspend all striking civil service employees and warned that workers would not receive pay for the time they did not report to work. The rumored program of cuts and increase in retirement age had not yet been officially announced. The civil servants had worked for an average pay of $65 per month and so additional time to retirement was intolerable.

It was reported from Havana that the Cuban commerce ministry this date had authorized sale of 20,000 tons of sugar to the Soviet Union.

The FCC announced this date that it proposed to authorize a new compatible color television system which could be tuned in by existing receivers. It was sponsored by the National Television System Committee, which had been studying the color problem for more than three years. If sanctioned by the FCC, it would supplant the CBS system approved by the FCC in 1950, not compatible with existing sets without conversion, whereas the new system could still be received by black and white sets. What will they think of next?

In Chapel Hill, Dr. Edgar Wallace Knight, 67, Kenan professor of education at UNC and a faculty member for the prior 34 years, died at Memorial Hospital early this date after suffering a heart attack and stroke at his home on Wednesday afternoon. He had been in a coma since that time. Dr. Knight was internationally known as an authority on the history of education in the United States and the author of several books on that subject. He had received his undergraduate degree at Trinity College, presently Duke, in 1909, and his master's degree from Trinity in 1911, receiving his doctorate from Columbia University in 1913. During World War II, he had been regional director for the Navy V-12 college training program in seven Southern states, including the Carolinas. His writings included a five-volume set, titled Documentary History of Education in the South before 1860.

In Charleston, W.Va., a farmer wanted a permit to transport garbage to feed his hogs, and had answered a question posed by the State Agriculture Department as to the disposition of his swine by indicating, "tame".

In Rochester, N.Y., civil defense officials turned on the air raid sirens the previous night to see if new ones would work, but an old one on a school in a residential area would not stop operating because of a short, and continued to wail for 95 minutes, prompting hundreds of alarmed residents to call police and fire headquarters before a fuse was finally removed. We know how they felt.

On the editorial page, "Senator Hoey Overspoke Himself" indicates that Senator Clyde Hoey, in remarking on the appointment of Governor James Byrnes to the U.S. delegation to the U.N., had not done credit to himself. He had supported the appointment, but said that he was fed up with the type of people who had been appointed previously to the delegation, was now glad to have "a real American" on the delegation, "one who cannot be influenced by the left-wing pressure groups."

It indicates that by inference, the Senator had cast aspersions on many able former delegates, including Republicans Warren Austin, present Ambassador to the U.N. Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., John Sherman Cooper, and John Vorys, plus Democrats Mike Mansfield, James P. Richards, Dean Acheson, Eleanor Roosevelt and Philip Jessup. It suggests that apparently Senator Hoey had been upset by the fact that the Americans for Democratic Action and the NAACP had opposed the appointment of Governor Byrnes because of his views on segregation—having proposed to close the public schools in South Carolina if the Clarendon County desegregation case, part of Brown v. Board of Education, ultimately resulted in the Supreme Court holding segregation in the public schools of the state to be unconstitutional. (Incidentally, on August 5, not on the front page of The News, with the initial release of Korean prisoners of war, the additional oral arguments in Brown, ordered the previous term to be held on October 12, were continued to December 7 by the Court at the request of Attorney General Herbert Brownell who said that the Government needed more time to prepare.)

It indicates to Senator Hoey and those organizations who had opposed the appointment that the Governor's views on segregation did not add to or detract from his qualifications as a U.N. delegate, that delegates ought be evaluated primarily on their ability and experience in diplomacy, which Governor Byrnes, as former Secretary of State, had. He would not make his U.N. position a sounding board for his views on segregation, and his friends and foes alike would serve the nation best by relegating those views, it ventures, to their proper place.

"No Point in Agitating Pay Issue" deals with the City Council's effort by a minority thereof to ram through blanket pay increases for lower income municipal employees, the effort now dropped until the job classification plan would be completed around December 1. It indicates that it would not serve the minority to continue agitating for the question.

"Storage Shortage Isn't Benson's Fault" indicates that the Government grain storage program had been criticized by farm-belt Congressmen and the National Farmers Union, laying it at the doorstep of Agriculture Secretary Ezra Taft Benson and the Department for not being concerned about providing storage facilities for the grain which the Government was committed to buy under the price supports program.

It indicates that the shortage of storage facilities could not be charged to Mr. Benson, as it resulted from agricultural policy which had encouraged overproduction of wheat, high price supports and absence of acreage and marketing quotas, as well from trade policies which did not encourage overseas sale of wheat. The Truman Administration could be charged, it says, with the overproduction policy, and Republican members of Congress could be charged with the obstruction of trade expansion. Grain storage, furthermore, was not primarily a function of the Government, as storage facilities on the farm formed a part of good farming technique. The Government could not be charged with negligence in not getting the farmers to provide for their own forecast surplus.

"Down with Dior—Hold that Hemline" indicates that the men of the country needed to do something about Christian Dior, lest the debt limit of many thousands of American homes would have to be revised upwards to accommodate the new fashions. On top of it, the wives' "knobby knees" would be exposed to public view by the new fashions. The other prominent fashion designers were not so eager to make men finance new wardrobes, having held the hemlines at current levels. But the Vogue and Harper's Bazaar writers had been a-twitter over Dior's new creations as the new "New Look".

It recalls that when hemlines had been raised in 1927 and 1928, the result had been a depression in 1929. It hopes that before that might happen again, an enraged woman would slip into a Schiapperelli costume with a "unicorn hat" accompanied by "a fly swatter hanging from an evening belt" and provide Mr. Dior with a few thrusts which would cast him into the Seine.

A piece from the Winston-Salem Journal, titled "Out, Damned Scott", presents in poetic fashion, presumably by the resident poet laureate at the Journal, Wallace Carroll, though with no ascription, the new North Carolina poet laureate, J. L. Pearson, replacing Arthur T. Abernethy, poet laureate under former Governor Kerr Scott.

"Both are good poets,/ Abernethy and Pearson;/ No hard feelings, drink down/ the toast./ Abernethy's rhyme was as good as any,/ No one can doubt his poetic station./ But Scott is gone and Umstead's in,/ Time for change in the/ administration./ Poets are sensitive creatures/ to be sure./ Apt to be temperamental and nervous./ The only way to protect/ poets laureate/ Is put them under personnel/ classification and civil service."

Well, perhaps it was not Mr. Carroll after all, as he was more given to rhyme, at least most of the time.

Drew Pearson indicates that Senator Harry F. Byrd of Virginia, who had been a supporter of General Eisenhower in the 1952 campaign but an opponent of the recent attempt by the President to raise the debt ceiling by 15 billion dollars, had sat in the upstairs of the White House one day the previous week twiddling his fingers, while downstairs, the President argued with members of Congress to raise the debt limit. The President eventually rose to explain that Senator Byrd was waiting upstairs, whereupon he joined the Senator to talk for 90 minutes. Senator Byrd later summarized the conversation, having told the President that he would put the squeeze on him regarding the debt limit, that the President had promised a balanced budget but that every time things got tight, he had yielded. The Senator said he knew what would happen if they granted the requested increase, that it would continue to be spent, whereas if they did not, the Administration would be under pressure to put things on a businesslike basis, and so that was what they intended to do. He also told the President that it was the Republicans, not the Democrats, who were blocking the increase. He related that Senator George Malone of Nevada had said that he would not vote for it if God himself told him to, expecting a laugh from the President, instead remaining glum.

The chief gripe among the Senators regarding the debt increase was its timing, coming just before the scheduled adjournment of the session, believing it to have been a ploy. They also did not like the fact that the Treasury had increased the interest rates on government bonds, which would counterbalance part of the current economizing, eventually to cost three billion dollars annually in higher interest rates. W. Randolph Burgess was the Treasury official in charge of increasing interest rates, and the large banks, one of which Mr. Burgess had been an officer, would profit the most from the increase—as further explained below by Marquis Childs. Mr. Burgess did not require Senate confirmation, but his power over interest rates was the same as if he had been confirmed, further irritating the Senators.

The Louis W. Kellmer Production Co. of Philadelphia had filmed the latter days of the House session for an educational film to show how a bill was passed, but most of the film would be made after the Congressmen had left town.

Vice-President Nixon had thanked Senator Wayne Morse of Oregon for agreeing to vote with Republicans following the death of Senator Taft, so that the Senate would remain under Republican organizational control, though actually in numerical control of the Democrats, assuming that Senator Taft's replacement would be a Democrat, appointed by Democratic Ohio Governor Frank Lausche—as would be the case. Senator Morse had switched from being a Republican to being an independent the previous fall, prior to the election. Mr. Nixon had told him that the White House had been worried that he would shift his vote to the Democrats, providing them Senate control.

Marquis Childs tells of Secretary of the Treasury George Humphrey having decided against any further drift in the economy, with about three-fourths of the 272.5 billion in Federal debt being on a short-term basis, and desirous also of tamping down inflation, preventing a bubble from forming on the economic boom. In consequence, the Secretary had found himself in the midst of cross-currents of politics and economics. His first decision was to retain for an additional six months the excess profits tax which was scheduled to expire on June 30. That pitted him against Republicans in Congress, primarily Dan Reed, chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee. That group was determined to cut taxes, no matter what else occurred. Mr. Humphrey, however, stood his ground, and promoted on radio and television the retention of the tax. As a businessman, all of that was new territory for him.

He also had to face the prospect of borrowing if Congress was not going to provide enough money in excess of revenue to run Government programs. Thus, there was the necessity of raising the debt limit, with only 2.5 billion left in borrowing power before reaching the ceiling.

Part of the opposition to the Secretary's policy had come from sources who wanted more inflation. Marriner Eccles, chairman of the Federal Reserve Board under FDR and in the early Truman Administration, in letters to Senator Paul Douglas of Illinois, had conflicted with the latter Administration regarding policies he believed were inflationary, but now believed that the danger of inflation had passed and that the threat was deflation.

Senator Robert Kerr of Oklahoma was a critic of current Treasury policy, indicating that the Treasury official in charge of interest rates, W. Randolph Burgess, a former officer of the National City Bank of New York, was working for the bankers in raising interest rates, criticizing him for continuing to receive a pension from the bank, though Mr. Burgess contended that it was an irrevocable pension which he helped to earn, paid to him by an insurance company with no connection to the bank. Senator Kerr, partner in Kerr-McGee, had spent a lot of time on behalf of the natural gas interests in the Southwest, and had sought to deregulate natural gas, vetoed by President Truman, with the same result having been accomplished, however, after President Truman had named his old friend, Mon Wallgren, to be chairman of the Federal Power Commission. The result had been that the consumer rate paid for natural gas had increased throughout the country, while the reserves held by a few companies had increased in value by hundreds of millions of dollars. Recently, the large companies had raised the price of gasoline, which was inflationary, prompting a demand from Republican Congressmen to regulate the entire industry.

Mr. Childs indicates that almost any move by the Government was bound to help or harm some private interest. Senator Kerr, he ventures, undoubtedly believed he was acting in the public good or at least for his own region. But Secretary Humphrey and Undersecretary Burgess were equally convinced that they were doing the right thing for the whole country.

Robert C. Ruark, in Paris, suggests that the French had been displaced from Paris by Americans and other nationalities, that walking through the streets of the city, one could not help but run into an American. The same applied to Rome, Madrid, and London, where the tourist had replaced the locals. He found more Texas talk in Europe than in Texas. Hamburger joints had begun to appear in most of the major European cities, and kippered herring was available in Rome and a decent gazpacho in Leeds, England. Nor was there any such thing as a separate language any longer in Europe, as everyone spoke a blend of English-French-German-Spanish-Italian. One could see American movie stars all over Paris.

There had been a time when a visitor to Europe could return home with a smirk of pride, but no more, as everybody was going to the Continent for vacations. He relates that when he had been a kid, after hitching a ride on a freighter, he had returned to Wilmington, N.C., as a celebrity for months. But now, he had seen several Texas wildcat oilmen in a small town in Spain "acting as if the province of Navarre was a section of Deaf Smith County."

A letter writer comments on the editorial, "UMT—the Long-Range Answer", finding UMT to be no answer at all, and hopes that universal military training would not ever become law. He says that he did not take the time to prepare a long rebuttal, as he wanted to get it off his chest, but adds that he enjoyed reading the newspaper.

A letter writer from Pittsboro indicates that he had been for Senator Taft for the Republican nomination in both 1948 and 1952, that the Senator had been for what the country needed, more than any other public man of the current generation. He indicates that he would not see his equal again.

A letter writer indicates that the column of George Crane, carried in the August 5 edition of the newspaper, suggested that his "indecent and spuriously cow clinic on sex" was applicable to human beings, that "cow psychology" and the "erotic ardor of the bull" had been the determining factors of marriage. He says that in 21 years of involvement in marriage counseling, he had never once given such advice, which he regards as "claptrap". He says that marriage was more spiritual than physical, but that Dr. Crane placed marriage "on a mighty low barnyard basis when he, speaking of sex appetite says: 'The human male is no different in this respect than the bull or stallion.'" He suggests that perhaps the youngsters were placing too much emphasis on the "sex angle", as emphasized in most movies and by the "nude females on the front pages of the newsstand magazines", leading to the current divorce-mill rate as the net result. He advises stressing the spiritual side of marriage, controlling and harnessing sex, placing the latter in its rightful place as being of secondary importance in a successful marriage.

A letter from two sailors in the Navy aboard the U.S.S. Bremerton, presently serving in Korean waters, asks that the newspaper put their names and addresses in print so that they might find someone with whom to correspond.

Talk with them about spiritual matters, and we are certain that you will likely develop a cordial friendship which will lead, in time, to a marriage made in heaven.

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