The Charlotte News

Saturday, August 8, 1953


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Premier Georgi Malenkov announced this date to the Supreme Soviet that Russia now had the hydrogen bomb. He also said that there was great public demand for talks at the highest levels among the world's great powers, and that there was no reason for a collision between the Soviet Union and the United States. He added that U.S. statesmen would make a big mistake if they believed Soviet efforts aimed at peace were signs of weakness. He said that it was no sign of weakness in the Soviet state that L. P. Beria had been ousted as Deputy Premier and Minister of the Interior, that to have exposed him as a master agent of imperialism demonstrated internal strength. He said that NATO posed the greatest danger to world peace and criticized what he called a U.S. policy of atomic blackmail. In addition, he demanded that Communist China be made a member of the U.N. The Premier was cheered by the 1,300 deputies present at the parliamentary meeting, primarily called to address the Soviet budget.

In Washington, Atomic Energy Commission officials declined comment on the announcement. The White House also issued no comment. The U.S. had never publicly claimed that it had detonated a hydrogen bomb, though it had admitted conducting experiments with thermonuclear devices. Rumors persisted that a hydrogen bomb had been detonated the prior November 1, obliterating Eniwetok Atoll in the Pacific. Senator Eugene Millikin of Colorado, a member of the joint Atomic Energy Committee, indicated that he had no information one way or the other regarding whether the Soviet claim was true, but that it was to be expected that they were working toward that goal.

At Panmunjom in Korea, 90 additional American prisoners of war were released by the Communists this date and they appeared in better health and spirit than Americans previously released during the first three days of the prisoner exchange program. They were cheering and happy to be back on free soil. Some offered to sing "a little blues in response to a convoy of North Koreans driving up the road who were singing. Released South Korean and Turkish prisoners expressed hatred for their captors by tearing off their Chinese prison uniforms in defiance. Allied MPs had to restrain the Turks from stripping in the road. But even the MPs could not restrain the South Koreans, who had been the most brutally treated of the prisoners, many of them stripping to their underclothes as soon as they hit the ground. There were few among those released who were maimed and haggard this date, in contrast to the prior three days. The released Communist prisoners also shed their clothes, and the road from Munsan to Panmunjom was littered with U.S. Army gear. Poverty-stricken Korean civilians began collecting the gear for personal use.

Of those released this date, 250 had been South Koreans, 35 Turks and 25 British, in addition to the 90 Americans. The Communists said that that the following day's group of released prisoners would include 112 Americans, 250 South Koreans, 21 British, 13 Turks, two Australians, one Canadian and one Filipino. That group would result in a total of 401 Americans released during the first five days of the operation. The Communists had said they would release a total of 3,313 American prisoners among the 12,763 allied prisoners to be released.

Harry Shuford of The News tells of a G.I. from Shelby, N.C., Cpl. Robert Rudisill, who had just been released from a Communist prison camp, relating of how he had been forced to take part in Communist propaganda efforts while held captive for two and a half years, captured November 30, 1950 during the MacArthur offensive to the Yalu River and the big push against it by the Chinese Communists, driving back the U.N. troops. He said that the Communists had threatened to send the prisoners to a labor camp if they refused to cooperate in parades in which they were forced to carry signs reading "Resist American Aggression" and "Resist the Rearmament of Japan". He also said that brainwashing had occurred continually, particularly among the black prisoners, and that many GIs had nearly cracked under the constant pressure. His mother in Shelby said that he had decided to make the Army his career following World War II, had re-enlisted for four years in 1950, and had been in service for seven years and eight months, having been sent to Korea in August, 1950. She had received a letter from him on November 17, 1950, in which he expressed his anticipation of having matters finished up in Korea by Christmas—a response to General MacArthur's "home by Christmas" statement at the start of what was supposed to have been the last offensive at that time. During his time in captivity, she had only heard from him twice, but believed all the while that he remained alive, however becoming worried the prior Christmas when she had not received anything from him. She was now very happy and thankful to learn that he was among those freed from the Communist camps. Mr. Shuford relates that some of the other returning prisoners from North Carolina told of some captives smoking a narcotic weed, possibly marijuana.

Those, no doubt, suffered from the delusion of being free, while still being very much imprisoned.

The U.N. allies had raised two powerful barriers to any new Communist assault on South Korea, but no public answer had yet been provided to the question of whether the U.S. could prevent South Korean President Syngman Rhee from taking up arms against the Communists following the post-armistice 90-day peace conference, set to begin in October, should the conference fail to provide for a reunified Korea. The U.S. had reported to the U.N. late the previous day that 15 U.N. members with troops in Korea had signed a declaration warning the Communists that if they violated the Armistice, the fight would be resumed, probably to reach beyond the boundaries of Korea. Britain and Canada, while signing the document, made it clear that they were not committing themselves in advance to a strike against Communist China, but the declaration otherwise suggested that possibility. Secretary of State Dulles and President Rhee had, the previous day, released the text of their mutual defense treaty, whereby the U.S. would regard an attack on South Korea as "dangerous to its own peace and safety" and would act to meet the danger "in accordance with its constitutional process". The pact also said that the South Korean Government had agreed not to undertake any unilateral action to unite Korea during the course of the coming political conference. It was expected that the Senate would ratify the treaty early in the following session of Congress, set to start in January.

Senator Francis Case of South Dakota, chairman of a three-member Senate Armed Services subcommittee, said this date that trimming frills from plans for overseas military installations and requiring joint use of some of them by different services would save millions of dollars. He said that he and the other two members, Senators James Duff of Pennsylvania and John Stennis of Mississippi, would conduct an inspection of overseas projects in Spain, North Africa, England and France between September 4 and October 7, before approving a number of secret projects, with an eye toward elimination of such things as officers' clubs and expensive housing at the facilities. He said that a new policy of "fixed price contracts" would be inaugurated at the airbases in North Africa, whereas most prior contracts had been on the basis of "costs plus fixed fee", causing great waste and extravagance.

The Justice Department had taken over investigation of transactions involving $65,000 paid to Welburn Mayock, former counsel for the DNC, regarding the favorable treatment of a tax case in 1948 by the Treasury Department, following a personal appeal to then-Secretary John W. Snyder. Mr. Snyder, currently vice-president of Willis-Overland Motors, said that he did not recall the incident. The testimony had come to light during a House Ways & Means subcommittee hearing on influence-peddling in the Treasury Department during the Truman Administration. Mr. Mayock had testified that he had given a substantial portion of the fee to the two men who had put him in touch with the chemical company executive for whom the favorable tax treatment was obtained. Both men, however, denied receiving any money from Mr. Mayock, and the chairman of the subcommittee, Congressman Robert Kean of New Jersey, stated that the contradictory testimony suggested that someone had committed perjury and income tax evasion, and so turned the matter over to the Justice Department.

In Paris, French civil servants who the previous day had engaged in a general strike regarding the rumored intention of the new Government of Premier Joseph Laniel to cut jobs and extend the retirement age, had begun to return to work, but mail, telegraph, telephone, gas and electric power services remained out. Buses and subways returned to operation and Government employees were again at their desks during the morning. An estimated two million Government workers had taken part in the strike.

In Washington, construction on the Sea Wolf, the second U.S. atomic submarine, would, according to Navy officials, begin with its keel-laying at Groton, Conn., October 1. It was estimated that it would cost 32.7 million dollars, before the addition of its nuclear power plant, being constructed by G.E.

In Detroit, tribute was paid the previous day to the memory of the last U.N. soldier killed in Korea, Sgt. Harold E. Cross.

In Oklahoma City, $2,800 had been reported stolen from City Hall the previous day, just a dozen or so steps from police headquarters. The City Treasurer said that he had laid the bag containing the tax revenue on a window ledge, left the office for a few minutes and returned to pick up the money, discovering it gone.

In New York, a traffic expert, Robert Moses, said that trees and landscaping helped to soundproof express highways and reduce nervous tension of drivers.

In Cleveland, a man who was a 75-year old veteran of the Spanish-American War living at the Ohio Soldiers and Sailors Home in Sandusky, said that he had gotten "a heck of a lot of kicks" from his 4,450-mile trip around the eastern half of the United States, after building a 15-foot boat from a kit he had bought from a mail-order house, to which he added an outboard motor and struck out the prior November down the Ohio River from Portsmouth, O., to the Mississippi River and into the Gulf of Mexico, then around the tip of Florida, up the intra-coastal waterways to New York, over the Erie Canal, back along the shore of Lake Erie, with then only 60 miles from there to his home. He said that the Mississippi had been "mighty rough" in spots and that he had come close to freezing to death at one place near Caruthersville, Mo., when rain and hail began falling. He had sometimes hitched rides with tugs and barges and once had traveled 65 miles in a single day. He had received free meals from outboard motor dealers. He said he could not swim but that it did not matter. He was scheduled to appear on radio and television programs during a visit to Chicago, and when the urge hit him, he would begin another journey along the same course, though perhaps, he said, this time deciding to settle in Florida, which he had liked.

On the editorial page, "Not Only Theaters Hurt by 20% Tax" indicates that the Charlotte Hornets baseball club, like a lot of ball clubs, had not been favored with large numbers of spectators during the season, as some formerly loyal fans preferred to watch baseball on television, while others preferred other amusements, resulting in the Hornets having a tough time financially.

If the 20 percent Federal tax on baseball tickets, as with other amusements, including movie tickets, were removed, the ball clubs could make more money or could attract more spectators, if the surcharge, once deducted from the price of the tickets, were passed back to them. It suggests that the President had demonstrated wisdom by his pocket veto of the bill which had repealed only the tax on movie tickets. Television and other amusements were cutting into movie profits and the movie industry had convinced Congress that the repeal of the amusements tax as applied to movies was necessary to prevent their ruin.

It indicates that it might be necessary for some movie theaters to close, but other amusements might also have to fold, and if the President had singled out one of the hard-pressed industries for relief, the others would be entitled to the same treatment. The President had promised to ask for a reduction in the tax on amusements generally the following January, and that, it concludes, appeared a fair proposition.

"Same Old Story—A Few New Characters" indicates that the testimony of Welburn Mayock, former counsel to the DNC, and other witnesses appearing before a House Ways & Means subcommittee, chaired by Robert Kean of New Jersey, had opened up a new chapter in the influence-peddling schemes transpiring during the Truman Administration. Mr. Mayock had been chosen by a chemical company, which was then in tax trouble, on the basis of his position with the DNC at the time. He said that he had been paid in 1948 $65,000, a substantial portion of which had gone to the DNC. An unfavorable tax ruling at the lower echelons of the Government had then been overruled at the top. One of the persons involved had also contributed to the Republicans, to make doubly sure that he was protected.

Other cases dealt with Universal Pictures and Monsanto Chemical, details of which were just emerging, emphasizing the questionable ethics of former Treasury Secretary John W. Snyder, who, to date, had not commented on the matters and had not been asked thus far to testify. It suggests that Mr. Snyder ought to want to get the record straight if it had been distorted, and if the evidence continued to mount against the Treasury Department under his direction, he ought to be summoned to testify. Mr. Kean had said that the hearings the previous day would be the last, unless further developments warranted reopening the matter. It observes that the disturbing and sometimes contradictory testimony during the week suggested the need for a continued investigation.

Sure, that's what the Republicans are best at doing, dredging up the past, so as to take the focus off the fact that they have no idea of what to do about the future.

"Deane, Cooley—Not Jonas—Were 'Rebels'" indicates that it had been comparing the votes of Representative Charles Jonas to those of other North Carolina Congressmen, to see how Mr. Jonas, as the lone Republican in the delegation, had gotten along with his Democratic colleagues, finding that the majority of the delegation had agreed with him more often than with a couple of the Democrats. After going through some of the detail of the various votes involved, it concludes that Congressmen C. B. Deane and Harold Cooley had been most often in disagreement with their North Carolina colleagues, both disagreeing on four of the nine key issues, voting against an unsuccessful amendment which would have reduced Mutual Security funding for foreign aid, etc. On two of the nine issues, there had been unanimity in the delegation, as all had opposed reduction of soil conservation funds and statehood for Hawaii.

"Air Survey Will Benefit Charlotte" applauds the $5,000 voted by the City Council during the week for the purpose of a professional survey of Charlotte's air service, finding it a wise investment as insurance that facilities, for which a great deal of money had already been spent at the Municipal Airport, would be utilized to their fullest extent and with maximum profit to the city and its surrounding area.

Dan Rose, writing in the Philadelphia Bulletin, in a piece titled "Sour Note", indicates that nearly every bird in the world awakened at the same time and spent 15 minutes screaming at the top of their voices, with jaybirds railing at the robins and the robins swearing at the sparrows, while the thrushes, wrens, and cardinals carried on "like opera singers warming up their tonsils for Tannhauser or The Barber of Seville". He finds little music in the medley but rather regards it as a cacophony of sound, something akin to the tuning of an oversized orchestra. Then there was sudden silence as the clock struck five, which was too early for breakfast. He wonders how the birds would like it if humans sang and shouted together at 4:00 in the morning.

Drew Pearson indicates that the last public function which Senator Taft had attended had been a public housing conference on May 12, accompanied by Senator Tom Hennings of Missouri, a Democrat. Two weeks later, he was informed by his doctors that he had cancer and so stepped away from his duties as Majority Leader in the Senate. During the May 12 conference, he had stated to Senator Hennings that he should not have attended the function, as he felt tired all the time, that his doctors had said that he suffered from anemia. He said that he would not have attended had it not been for the fact that he had accepted the invitation a long time earlier and did not want to let down those attending the conference, as public housing was one of his great interests.

Then, two months later, his Republican colleagues in the Senate, while Senator Taft lay on his deathbed, took advantage of the absence of Senators who favored slum-clearance and redevelopment programs, attending the funeral of Senator Charles Tobey in New Hampshire, and passed by voice vote a bill drastically reducing the public housing program which Senator Taft had helped to pioneer. The bill permitted cities which had already started housing programs to withdraw from them and gave a special bonus to Los Angeles, attaching a special rider permitting that city to be reimbursed for about ten million dollars worth of land, architectural fees and housing plans, all at the behest of the real estate lobby.

Los Angeles had begun clearing out Mexican and black slums, preparing to build public housing projects under the Taft Housing Act, until the real estate lobby got busy and pumped money into a campaign to defeat Mayor Fletcher Bowron, a Republican, electing in his stead Congressman Norris Poulson, also a Republican. The Congressman persuaded Senators William Knowland and Congressman John Phillips, also of California, to add the rider to benefit Los Angeles, the only city in the country so favored. That treatment, however, might induce other cities to fall in line. The President's housing chief, former Congressman Albert Cole of Kansas, had provided his approval for the special legislation and the drastic scaling down of the Taft housing program.

Mr. Pearson relates that Senator Taft had been so devoted to the housing program that during the Republican convention of 1948, in which the Senator was running for the presidential nomination, he delayed his departure from Washington to attend the convention in Philadelphia, so that he could go to the House and seek to convince Speaker Joseph Martin and Majority Leader Charles Halleck that they should push public housing.

At the close of the recent session of Congress, Mr. Halleck was seeking to have passed a bill which would suspend the deportation of 960 aliens, some of whom were married to Americans and some of whom had husbands fighting in Korea, all having been in the U.S. for seven years and fully investigated by the FBI. The bill had already passed the Senate and had been approved by all of the appropriate House committees. But when Mr. Halleck asked for unanimous consent to the bill, Congressman Overton Brooks of Louisiana objected on the basis that certain aliens who deserved no special treatment had been included among the beneficiaries of the bill. A debate then ensued, in which Representative George Long, a brother of the late Huey Long, began orating against the bill, though no one, including the reporter, could exactly discern what he was saying. As he left the microphone, Congressman Will Neal, a Republican of West Virginia, asked whether Mr. Long would yield, to which the latter affirmed that he would, whereupon Congressman Neal said that Mr. Long ought to watch his language. The bill passed by a vote of 117 to 3. The exchange between Mr. Long and Mr. Neal, notes Mr. Pearson, had been excised from the Congressional Record, as the reporter could not understand the oratory.

Stewart Alsop, in London, indicates the likelihood that British Prime Minister Winston Churchill would be resigning in the near future because of ill health. He tells of the Prime Minister, age 80, having suffered a mild stroke in late June, leading to his doctors' orders that he remain away from his duties for at least a month, leaving the Government in the hands of Chancellor of the Exchequer R. A. Butler, as the Foreign Secretary, Anthony Eden, was also unable to attend to his duties because of his recovery from a recent surgery.

Mr. Churchill had not disclosed his intentions even to his intimates, but had made it clear that he wanted Mr. Eden to succeed him. In Britain, such matters of succession were determined by a small inner circle of leaders, in this case comprised of the Prime Minister, Lord Salisbury, who was acting Foreign Secretary in the absence of Mr. Eden, Mr. Eden and Mr. Butler. Mr. Eden was expected to make a full recovery by September or early October, and so it was unlikely that Mr. Churchill would resign before that point. It was also possible that he might stay on to try to accomplish his great goal of achieving world peace, as it had especially stuck in his craw that the Socialists had tried to label him a war-monger in the 1951 general elections.

The Prime Minister's motivations, in a speech on May 11, for calling for a four-power meeting of the heads of state, including new Soviet Premier Georgi Malenkov, were in part political, as an important by-election was then pending, and in part personal, to counter the charge that he was a war-monger. He was also aware that the death of Stalin represented a great sea change in Russia and that it would be folly to adhere rigidly to past policy in light of the opportunity to make headway in breaking the ice of the cold war. He believed that the West would strongly resist making further sacrifices to organize its defenses, unless all available avenues for peace had been exhausted. Mr. Alsop observes that the last point was being confirmed every day.

Mr. Churchill was outraged by the suggestion that he wanted to appease the Russians. His May 11 speech had struck a responsive chord in England and throughout Europe, and for that reason, his prestige was nearly as high presently as during the war. Conservatives who had once hoped for his retirement and considered him a liability to the party, now looked forward to that prospect with great regret.

Mr. Alsop observes that Mr. Churchill appeared at times to be the only great man left in the world, and that when the day came when he would have to step down, likely to come soon, it would be a "sad day for the world as well as for Britain."

Mr. Churchill would not resign until April 5, 1955, and he would be succeeded by Mr. Eden.

Marquis Childs indicates that a debate still swirled among the advisers to the President as to whether he ought to tell the American people and the rest of the world about the swift development of the hydrogen bomb and its great capability for destruction. A committee appointed by the President to study psychological warfare, headed by William H. Jackson, had recommended that an attempt be made to warn the Soviets and at the same time alert the free world to the peril of the drift toward atomic war. In response, a speech had been drafted for the President to deliver, but policy advisers remained quite divided as to whether he should give it. A decision on the matter would not be made until the President returned from his vacation in Colorado, but the odds were against such a warning, as the President appeared also opposed.

Senator Alexander Wiley, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, had said in a public statement that the second session of the 83rd Congress commencing the following January ought devote itself almost entirely to confronting and attempting to solve the problem of atomic warfare. He recommended telling the American people as much of the truth as possible, limited only by security, so that they would be ready to accept some level of sacrifice in terms of defense, especially the continental defense system, which would probably result in higher taxes.

The question remained as to how much information would the President divulge in such a speech, in order to provide a realistic picture of the destructive capacity of atomic weaponry. It was also questionable whether the Russians would be inclined to believe the President or simply treat such a speech as propaganda. The other question was what would be the course of action should such a warning be given and the Russians not heed it, that then public opinion might push for a showdown, utilizing atomic warfare against Soviet cities. Those questions gave rise to many others.

The Congressional Quarterly indicates that nine of the 71 roll call votes in the House during the first session of the 83rd Congress had been key votes, according to an analysis by the Quarterly, providing the stands taken on those issues by Representative Charles Jonas of the 10th North Carolina Congressional District, surrounding Charlotte. It proceeds to list those stands.

Senator Clyde Hoey of North Carolina had voted on seven key issues, which it also provides.

The late Senator Willis Smith, it further indicates, had voted with Senator Hoey for an increase in soil conservation appropriations and for providing the states title to the offshore oil lands.

Senator Smith's successor, Alton Lennon, had voted with Senator Hoey against the increased exemption from excess profits taxes, for an increased Air Force appropriation and for deletion of the "oil for education" amendment to the offshore resources bill, which would have provided for Federal Government leases of the lands to the states, with the royalties derived therefrom going to education. Senator Lennon had voted for the 500 million dollar reduction in Mutual Security Administration appropriations for military aid to Europe, which Senator Hoey had opposed.

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