The Charlotte News

Friday, September 11, 1953


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that a Communist source had admitted this date for the first time that the Communists were holding back some allied war prisoners in Korea who wished to go home. A Communist correspondent had said that a U.S. jet pilot and an undisclosed number of other allied airmen were being held as special prisoners because the Communists said that they had been shot down over Manchuria, forbidden territory for allied pilots during the war. He had said that one such airman was double jet ace, Captain Harold Fischer, Jr., who had disappeared the previous April 7, and, according to a subsequent Peiping radio broadcast, had been captured. The correspondent also said that release of the airmen would have to be negotiated through diplomatic channels. A repatriated U.S. Air Force major had said earlier in the week that he had learned from an "extremely reliable" Chinese Communist that the Communists planned to intern 22 U.S. airmen in Manchuria until the U.S. would recognize Communist China. Allied officers had said unofficially that there might be other airmen still held by the Communists, with one source placing the number at 35. Meanwhile, the Communists had unofficially rejected the demand by the U.N. Command to account for 3,500 additional allied prisoners, 944 of whom were Americans, who had definitely been held captive but had not been returned as part of the prisoner exchange program. There was no indication when official response by the Communists would be made.

The first of 14,700 Chinese war prisoners who had refused repatriation arrived in the demilitarized zone this date, to be guarded by Indian troops during a 90-day period in which the Communists would be able to talk to them and try to convince them to repatriate, after which the fate of the prisoners would be determined. The prisoners arriving this date, upon seeing the Communist observers, shook their fists and shouted, "Death to the Communists."

In Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Premier Pen Nouth told the Vietminh by radio this date that if they would leave Cambodia, the Cambodians would not fight them in neighboring Vietnam. The broadcast had reportedly been approved by Cambodia's King Sihanouk, producing consternation in both French and American circles in Indo-China, as both the French and Americans had been counting on Cambodian cooperation in the fight against the Vietminh. The Premier's statement said that while Cambodians were not Communists, they had no quarrel with Communism as long as it did not seek to impose itself by force on Cambodians.

The Army said this date that an intelligence report on Siberia, portions of which had been released by Senator Joseph McCarthy, was restricted information, and that any conclusion that it was Communist propaganda was refuted by a reading of the entire document. Unauthorized release of restricted information was punishable by up to a $10,000 fine and 10 years in prison, but it was unlikely that anyone in Congress would be prosecuted for same. Two days earlier, the Senator had shown reporters photographic copies of the first 70 pages of the 75-page document, suggesting that it sounded as "clear-cut Communist propaganda". The document was titled "Psychological and Cultural Traits of Soviet Siberia", and was intended for limited distribution to intelligence officers for understanding of the Soviet people, which it deemed militarily useful in case of war. Senator McCarthy said in response to the Army's statement, "Neither the Army nor any other branch of government is going to hide dishonesty, corruption or Communism by putting a 'secret' label on it."

Secretary of Labor Martin Durkin abruptly and angrily resigned his position this date, charging that the Administration had broken an agreement with him on recommendations to be made in changing Taft-Hartley. George Meany, president of the AFL, and Walter Reuther, president of the CIO, sided with Mr. Durkin and accused the President of failing to live up to promises made to organized labor. The President, in a letter, accepted Mr. Durkin's resignation, praising his work as Secretary, but otherwise made no comment.

Attorney General Herbert Brownell this date ordered his aides to investigate reports of influence peddling in connection with Government contracts, focusing on whether any Federal employee had leaked secret information which would have provided one business group an advantage over another in obtaining Government contracts. He said that the matter was under investigation by the FBI and that if they uncovered persons who had participated in such conduct, prosecution would follow. The announcement followed the publication of House Armed Services subcommittee testimony by a prominent Washington Republican, Warren Stevenson, who admitted that he had attempted to obtain a four percent commission from a California firm in exchange for the firm obtaining a larger contract for making Navy rocket launchers. The Attorney General said that the subcommittee had thus far found no involvement of Government personnel in that particular matter, but wanted an investigation done to determine whether anyone in the Government had possible connections with such activities.

In Denver, the President, still on vacation, indicated this date, through the assistant press secretary, that he would not name a successor to deceased Chief Justice Fred Vinson until after he returned to Washington, on September 18 or 19. Vice-President Nixon had flown back to Denver with the President and was scheduled to confer with him later this date. After the conference, they planned to take in a round of golf.

Emery Wister of The News indicates that Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Chief Judge John J. Parker of Charlotte, whose name was among those mentioned as a possible nominee for Chief Justice, was going about his normal tasks, preparing opinions on cases which had been heard by the Court. His telephone, however, had been ringing all day, with people expressing hopes that he would receive the nomination. He said that he would be honored to receive the appointment, but remained aloof from any efforts on his behalf. He had been nominated by President Hoover in 1930 to the Supreme Court, but the nomination had been defeated.

Hurricane Dolly curved to the northeast this date in the open Atlantic, on a course leading away from the U.S. mainland, with its winds still at 100 mph. It was presently about halfway up Florida's Atlantic coastline, moving at a speed of 11 mph.

In Cleveland, O., a three-quarter mile stretch of a principal crosstown street blew up the previous day, killing one person and injuring five, at least two of whom were in critical condition. The cause of the explosion had still not been determined. The gas company said that their mains had probably broken after sewer gas had exploded. A strong odor of escaping gas caused thousands of sightseers to retreat. A hole 30 by 18 feet had been ripped in the street in front of one store, and cars had been flipped on their sides and tops. Manhole covers were hurled into the roofs of several houses. Pictures are included.

In Washington, a man dressed as the devil, with horns and a suitcase labeled "devil's private portfolio", had been arrested for parading without a permit, as he sought to advertise a Sunday night revival meeting. He was released into the custody of the evangelist who would conduct the revival. We thought the evangelist, once he had the devil in jail, would keep him there.

On the editorial page, "Injustice Is Never a 'Closed' Case" indicates that State Highway & Public Works Commission chairman A. H. Graham might have suggested that the case of Ronie Sheffield, fired Woman's Prison director, was closed, but that he was wrong. It urges that it would never be closed until there was a public admission by Mr. Graham that Ms. Sheffield had been badly treated in her discharge on July 21, based on a whispering campaign against her without the charges ever having been disclosed to her or being given the opportunity to answer them. It says further that it would not be closed as long as North Carolina had a conscience and sense of decency and fair play.

It says that three esteemed North Carolina women, members of the Prisons Advisory Council, in letters to the Winston-Salem Journal, had placed the matter in focus. The widow of the late Governor and Senator J. Melville Broughton had described the matter as "a complete repudiation of one of the fundamental principles of our government—namely, that a person is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty by the courts." The first woman to ever serve as commissioner of Public Welfare in the state, Kate Burr Johnson, had stated that Mr. Graham ought be asked to reinstate Ms. Sheffield with back pay and enable her to resign in decency, and that statements derogatory to her character, said to be in the files of the Highway Commission, ought be destroyed, that if Mr. Graham refused, Governor William B. Umstead ought intervene. Mrs. Charles G. Doak, leader in the North Carolina Federation of Women's Clubs, had agreed with Ms. Johnson's proposal.

The piece concludes that if Mr. Graham persisted in his attitude that the case was closed, the Governor ought intervene in the matter.

"Cooperation" indicates that County Recorder Ed Stukes had not been too heavy-handed in providing sentences of from six to twelve months and fines ranging from $50 to a bond forfeiture of $400 for 17 alleged bootleggers arrested by County ABC agents. It posits that for the alcohol control program to be effective, there had to be strict enforcement of the law and stern punishment meted out by the courts. It finds that the ABC agents had done a good job in holding down bootlegging to a bare minimum, and with the cooperation of the Recorder, they would virtually stamp it out in the community.

"Observations on One-Party Rule" indicates that Adlai Stevenson had just criticized the President for not having made any appointments of Democrats to Administration positions, other than Governor James Byrnes of South Carolina as a member of the U.N. delegation. It finds that while Governor Stevenson had overlooked Martin Durkin, appointed Secretary of Labor, the criticism was valid.

The prior December, Vice-President Nixon had told reporters that it was essential that the Administration not make the same mistake as had the Democrats by loading the Cabinet with members of one party. The statement had prompted James Reston of the New York Times to count the number of Republicans appointed by President Truman, finding numerous examples, including John Foster Dulles, Robert Lovett, Allen Dulles, Paul Hoffman, John J. McCloy. Warren Austin, and others—omitting mention of Senator Harold Burton as his first Supreme Court appointment in 1945.

It adds that President Truman had also made some bad appointments, such as William O'Dwyer as Ambassador to Mexico, Mon Wallgren as a member of the Federal Power Commission, and Tom Clark as Attorney General and then Supreme Court Justice. It finds therefore that "when he was bipartisan, he was very, very bipartisan, and when he was partisan, he was awful."

"One Enjoyable Way To Spend an Evening" tells of Charlotte being one of five cities in the state and one of several throughout the nation which had a World Politics course during the fall, in which people came together at the library for one night per week for ten weeks to study the great political thinkers and theorists of the age, from Thomas Jefferson to Karl Marx to John Stuart Mill. It was the second annual such course and it urges participation.

A piece from the Washington Post, titled "On Calling 'Em Right", tells of Life magazine having conducted a photographic experiment with a baseball being pitched as a curve ball to see whether in fact it broke to one side or not, as pitchers and batters claimed, finding instead that there was no break but only a gentle arc described through the air. The experiment was confirmed by a professor at MIT, who conducted a wind tunnel experiment on a baseball.

It suggests, however, that just as Galileo had to prove, by dropping things from the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the validity of his theory that gravity acted equally on objects regardless of their mass, the experimenters would likely have to demonstrate the optical illusion they had found in the breaking ball to convince those who stubbornly clung to the notion.

In the alternative facts world of the last four years, if His Highness says that there is no ball, in fact, that it is a figment of collective imagination, then that is the way of it for his universe of believers in Trumpdom. The ball does not exist. There is no ball. It is not there. It never was. It is simply a fake news story, repeated so many times during the last 150 years that people actually believe that baseballs really exist, the product of incredible mass ignorance.

Incidentally, we believe that we mayhaps have discovered what caused the deep purple bruising and cuts on Mitch's hands recently, while hammering home his final jammed-through judicial nomination, changing the rules of the game to make any little nib bunt count as a grandslam. Okay, next season, the rules change again, possibly to make a traditional grandslammer count as seven runs...

Drew Pearson discusses the life of the late Chief Justice Fred Vinson, whom he regards as a great man. He recounts of having been on a camping trip with the Chief Justice in the Adirondacks about a month earlier. They were having lunch, during which the Chief Justice smoked a cigarette, then crushed out the butt, and poured water over it to ensure it was completely extinguished, suggesting to Mr. Pearson his attention to detail in being careful and considerate. He had told of an historic Cabinet meeting regarding the atomic bomb when he had been Secretary of the Treasury in the Truman Administration in 1945. Secretary of War Henry Stimson, former Secretary of State under President Hoover, had proposed that Russia be given the bomb, arguing that they would obtain the secret anyway and that giving them the secret would improve chances for peace. The proposal prompted a heated debate. Secretary of State James Byrnes agreed with Secretary Stimson on the matter, as did Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins, but Secretary Vinson led the opposition, arguing that since the American people had paid for the acquisition of the secret, they had the right to keep it. Attorney General Tom Clark, to join Chief Justice Vinson on the Supreme Court in 1949, agreed with him. The President postponed the decision but finally decided that the secret should be maintained.

A few weeks after he had become Secretary of Treasury, Mr. Pearson had spoken to him about Harry Dexter White, then-Assistant Secretary, who had been identified as a Communist or pro-Communist. He told him that he had no evidence of the allegation but that he was certain that Mr. White was one of the men used by the Russians as a contact in Washington. In the ensuing couple of weeks, Mr. White left the Treasury Department and it was later confirmed that he had been part of a Soviet spy ring.

In the fall of 1948, the President wanted the Chief Justice to go to Moscow for a conference with Stalin regarding peace, but the Chief Justice was not enthusiastic about the mission, doubted its effectiveness, but agreed to accommodate the President if that was what he desired. He insisted, however, that he would have to resign the Court and not be reappointed, and so the President dropped the idea.

Mr. Pearson had the impression that though he had always enjoyed his work as Chief Justice, Mr. Vinson's happiest days had been spent as Economic Stabilizer under FDR during the War and as a member of the House before that. He, along with Price Controller Leon Henderson, had done a good job of keeping prices down during the War, with prices actually having been lower at the end than in 1941.

He concludes by observing that it was probably because President Truman regarded Mr. Vinson as an able administrator that he had wanted him to run for the presidency. Mr. Pearson asserts that he would have made a great President. But Mr. Vinson did not believe that any member of the Court ought leave to run for the presidency and so, characteristically, he had refrained.

Marquis Childs discusses the new perception of West Germany as a good nation and France as bad. The reason for the shift in perception had come about by German industry since the war having rebuilt itself and by the demonstration of political unity in the face of the Communist threat from the East, giving rise to a will to leadership of Europe. Economically, West German electrical and engineering firms were combining to obtain contracts in the Middle East and Africa for building major projects, such as the Aswan Dam on the Nile in Egypt.

The re-election of the Adenauer Government in the recent elections, extending the Christian Democratic majority centrist coalition, meant that there was renewed hope for the European Defense Community and the united European army, the theory being that Chancellor Konrad Adenauer could now get the program ratified and that the example would inspire France to do likewise.

But France still was fearful of a rearmed Germany, especially in light of the drain on France's domestic military preparedness caused by the Indo-Chinese war. Of the 12 to 14 divisions planned on paper for NATO, only seven to eight were estimated to be combat ready. The Indo-Chinese war had drained manpower, especially among commissioned and non-commissioned officers. The draft in France required the consent of the draftee to be sent to Indo-China. The trained soldiers sent to Southeast Asia would otherwise form the core of the new divisions for the European army.

As a result of this status, influential politicians in France, such as Pierre Mendes-France, reflecting a large proportion of public opinion, believed that the seven-year war in Indo-China had to be ended.

Robert J. Ruark, in Rome, finds Social Security inherently unfair, believes it ought to be optional for the employee to participate in it. He thinks the system was unconstitutional and "morally rotten", compelling employees to save for retirement, when the payout was too meager to afford a decent standard of living, a change from the original concept when payees could live on the amounts originally paid out in 1935 when the system was established. He thinks it is as ethically wrong as would be a bank to take the depositor's money and then refuse to give it back, only repaying it in small installments.

He is mentally in Pamplona again, running with the bulls and drinking with Hemingway.

A letter writer from Cheraw, S.C., finds that the President's lifting of price and wage controls had been at the instance of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to repay a political debt from the campaign, was "done for the big man at the expense of the little man", resulting in rents rising by as much as 100 percent in many places and wages cut in some places, while the cost of living continued to rise. He concludes that the Republicans had found fault with the New Deal, the Fair Deal, as well as the Square Deal of Theodore Roosevelt, and now were giving the nation "the Rotten Deal".

A letter writer from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., wonders why anyone should be surprised that Russia had the hydrogen bomb, as for more than 20 years, the State Department and the Government Printing Office had been "loaded with Commies". "It looks as if this nation is deliberately plotting our own destruction. They teach in our schools, stand behind our pulpits, write school textbooks, and Sunday School literature, and in general get away with murder, and there is very little said, nothing done about it."

There's only one thing for you to do, therefore, move to Russia, where at least the Commies operate in the open where you can keep an eye on them and there is no hush-hush. You left out all the Commie movie writers and tv writers, Commies everywhere.

A letter writer from Pittsboro finds no reason for jubilation over the results of the West German election, thinks that the presence of four million German youths to make sure that East German thugs did not carry through with their plans to upset voting may have had a lot to do with the vote. He believes that landslide elections in Germany were not convincing of an expression of democracy at work. He thinks that a united and rearmed Germany would dominate Europe as completely as the U.S. dominated the Western Hemisphere. He believes that England and the U.S. would part company on the issue if the U.S. persisted in urging German military build-up. He praises Germany's recovery after the war, says it knew how to use what it had. He finds that a German army of 16 divisions would inevitably dominate Europe as part of the united European army. He believes that there was not much difference in having Russia dominate Europe from having Germany in such a position, but that at least Germany did not appear to have an ideology which it wished to export worldwide and so he prefers it to Russia.

A letter writer from Monroe comments on a September 2 editorial, "FEPC through the Back Door", indicates that racial discrimination had no place in a democracy and that each individual ought be adjudged by their own merits rather than skin pigmentation. He finds the editorial to have been a far cry from one which had appeared a short time earlier, urging more opportunities for qualified blacks who were being forced to migrate out of the state to the North to obtain a standard of living commensurate with their education. He suggests that the editors would do well to remember that "the age of master races belongs to history and that all the James S. Byrnes' and the reactionary printers' ink of the world cannot stay the hand of progress."

Framed Edition
[Return to Links
Page by Subject] [Return to Links-Page by Date] [Return to News<i><i><i>—</i></i></i>Framed Edition]
Links-Date Links-Subj.