The Charlotte News

Wednesday, September 16, 1953


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that at Panmunjom, North Korean and Chinese prisoners who were resisting repatriation had violently demonstrated this date against Communist observers at their compounds, guarded by Indian troops, in the demilitarized zone. Prisoners in all five stockades threw stones and screamed, "Kill them, kill the Communists," as the observer teams left for their headquarters at Kaesong. It had been the first outbreak of violence since the Indian troops had added precautions to guard against such outbreaks two days earlier, by stretching canvas across the barbed wire fences in front of the compounds and moving the observers further back from the stockades. The Indian troops, who reported the incident, indicated that four additional North Koreans had changed their minds about repatriation and asked to be returned home, making a total of 13 North Koreans and one Chinese prisoner who had changed their minds.

The U.N. Command this date delivered to Indian custody about 2,000 North Koreans who had refused repatriation, and 2,000 such Chinese prisoners would be delivered the following day. A total of 9,600 such prisoners thus far had been turned over to the Indian troops, with about an additional 14,000 remaining

The U.N. Command indicated that it was still pressing for an accounting of 3,404 U.N. prisoners believed to be in Communist custody, but who had not been returned during the prisoner exchange program.

At the U.N. General Assembly meeting in New York, the Russian chief delegate, Andrei Vishinsky, was expected to make a determined effort this date to obtain reconsideration by the Assembly of its previous decision at the earlier special session to limit the Korean peace conference to the belligerents, the U.N. participating nations on one side and North Korea and Communist China on the other, with provision also made for Russia if China and North Korea consented. The U.S. was ready to make just as much of an effort to persuade the U.N. to stand on its prior decision. The Russians wanted to permit several "neutral" nations to participate. Some delegates privately expressed concern that the new Communist move might delay indefinitely the convening of the peace conference, set by the terms of the Korean Armistice to start by October 28. The Assembly elected Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit, sister of Indian Prime Minister Nehru, as the president of the Assembly session, set to last 90 days.

Administration officials had not commented on a proposal by Adlai Stevenson in Chicago the previous night that the U.S. seize the cold war initiative by offering Russia a non-aggression pact and a chance to agree on disarmament. He had made the announcement before a cheering overflow crowd of some 3,500 at the Civic Opera House, televised nationally, saying that if Russia were to place impossible conditions on the acceptance of any non-aggression guarantee or decline to participate in effective disarmament, Moscow could be blamed for continuation of the cold war.

In Denver, the President had arranged to meet with Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson regarding farm problems, and it was likely that they would discuss the attacks by the Democrats in Chicago, contending that the Republicans had broken their campaign pledges to the nation's farmers. Secretary Benson denied the previous day in Salt Lake City that he had resigned his post.

At Mitchel Field Air Force Base in New York, heavy Air Force bombers, posing as enemy attackers, sought to ride scrambled broadcasting beams to U.S. cities early this date in the first national Civil Defense test of Conelrad. Experts from Civil Defense, the FCC and the Air Force appeared confident that the planes had been thwarted by the system, designed to scramble and thereby prevent enemy use of broadcasting beams to guide bombers or guided missiles to U.S. cities. Officials explained that Conelrad had an advantage over the World War II method, which had been simply to shut down all broadcasting, permitting radio stations still to provide emergency information to citizens without enabling the beam to be used as a guide for navigation. Conelrad had first been tested in 1951 by the FCC. In case of national emergency, just tune to one of the little "CD" encircled yellow triangles on your radio dial. If you are forced by prevailing winds and circumstances to tune there, it may well mean that you only have about 15 minutes to live, and so you had better hope that they are playing your favorite songs...

In New York, the New Deal wing of the Democratic Party in that state administered a resounding defeat to the conservative wing, in a nearly clean sweep of city primary elections the previous day, with Manhattan Borough president Robert Wagner, Jr., son of the late Senator, having achieved a 2 to 1 margin of victory over incumbent Mayor Vincent Impellitteri for the Democratic mayoral nomination. The candidates running with Mr. Wagner in two other contests for citywide offices also won, as well as in three of four contested races for nomination as borough presidents. The race appeared to curb an attempted political comeback by former DNC chairman James Farley and was considered a victory for Congressman Franklin D. Roosevelt, Jr., Senator Herbert Lehman and Averell Harriman. Voter turnout had been surprisingly light.

In Geneva, the chief of police announced that Mrs. Donald MacLean, the American-born wife of a British diplomat who was widely believed to be a fugitive behind the iron curtain, had disappeared with her three children in Geneva the previous Friday, after living there with her mother for several months. Mr. MacLean and Guy Burgess had crossed from England into France in May, 1951, ostensibly taking a holiday, but had not been seen in the West since that time. In London, a British Foreign Office spokesman declined to comment on the disappearance of Mrs. MacLean. The Geneva chief of police alerted all police stations, hotels and garages to be on close lookout for her and her children along the Swiss frontier posts.

In Washington, Henry Grunewald, a one time wire-puller, was sent to jail for 90 days for violating parole on his contempt conviction for refusing to answer questions before Congress pertaining to the fixing of tax cases. Mr. Grunewald had previously been sentenced to 90 days suspended on condition that he lead a clean, honest and temperate life, one of the three alleged violations having occurred on August 21 when he was discovered with a woman semi-conscious, both in their underwear, in a gas-filled apartment in Jersey City, both of whom subsequently had been acquitted on disorderly conduct charges, a second instance having involved travel from his summer home in Spring Lake, N. J., to Newark and registering in a hotel under an assumed name for two days and part of a third, and a third instance occurring in a Washington hotel in June when he had been asked to leave after being found in a drunken condition.

Near Albany, N.Y., an American Airlines plane crashed, exploded and burned, taking the lives of all 28 persons aboard, occurring near the Albany airport. The plane had been en route from Boston to Chicago. The cause of the crash was not yet determined. The airplane had circled the airport for 15 minutes, waiting for clearance from the control tower to land in ground fog conditions. The Convair had just missed hitting a trailer camp in the area, about three and a half miles from the airport, one resident of the trailer camp indicating that the plane had hit only about ten feet from her trailer, scorched by the flames.

Hurricane Edna began curving northward in the open Atlantic this date, on a course away from land areas, showing signs of spreading out and losing some strength.

On the editorial page, "Drive for Industry Gathers Momentum" indicates that North Carolina had been late in getting into the regional competition for new industry but that the state was now making up for lost time. Enthusiasm and interest had been on display in an industrialization forum held in Statesville on Monday night, a change from the lethargy which most communities in the state had exhibited toward postwar establishment of industry. In the space of only a few weeks, Governor William B. Umstead, Robert Hanes of Winston-Salem and Ben Douglas of Charlotte, Mr. Hanes as chairman of the commerce and industry committee of the Board of Conservation & Development, headed by Mr. Douglas, had generated a lot of interest in attracting new industry to the state. The meeting had been packed with businessmen and public officials from a dozen towns and counties and Mr. Hanes, who presided over the meeting, had managed to pack into two hours a vast assortment of information which local communities would find beneficial. It lists four encouraging aspects from the forum, one of several which were taking place across the state, all of which thus far had been very successful. It indicates that for such meetings to have lasting benefit, however, the Board would have to follow through at the local level by working with and helping local officials in their campaigns to achieve a broader industrialization base.

"In Chicago, a Preliminary to Main Bout" comments on the Democrats meeting in Chicago during the week, showing that the party was very much still alive despite the commanding victory by President Eisenhower the prior November, carrying with him majorities in both houses of Congress for the Republicans. The meeting had been held with an eye toward making headlines, with some Southern Democrats pushing for repeal of the controversial loyalty oath, which had been instituted at the 1952 Democratic convention as a pledge that state leaders would undertake every effort to ensure that the regular Democratic Party ticket appeared on the state ballot. Instead of devolving into intra-party acrimony, however, harmony emerged, with the loyalty oath issue being referred to a special committee for study, meaning that it was likely dead.

The Democrats had refrained from attacking the President personally, but had taken to task Republican policies. The meeting had demonstrated that the two-party system still existed in the country and that the 1954 midterm elections would be a "lusty preliminary to the main bout in 1956", and, it indicates, it would not have it otherwise.

"At Last, the Facts about a Rumor" indicates that the hidden facts about the dismissal of Ronie Sheffield as director of Women's Prison in Raleigh were about to be revealed through Highway Department chairman A. H. Graham, who had announced the previous day that he would meet with Ms. Sheffield on Friday morning in a meeting open to the public and that she could bring with her five interested friends, and that he would also have with him people who had knowledge of prison conditions. It had been Mr. Graham who had fired her. The people had been outraged by a report that Ms. Sheffield had been fired because of a vicious whispering campaign against her, without ever providing her notice of the charges or a chance to defend herself. That public indignation had forced Mr. Graham to change his mind and provide Ms. Sheffield her chance.

It indicates that because Mr. Graham was a man of firm opinion who would not reinstate her, the best she could hope for was to clear her name and reputation. The people might hope that out of it would come a system of protecting public employees from malicious and slanderous gossip and rumors.

"British Move Clears Path for EDC" indicates that the American people were thoroughly confused about the European Defense Community project to strengthen Western Europe against Communist imperialism from Russia. The project had been slow to get underway. France, who had first proposed the idea, as a way to keep German rearmament in check, now feared a resurgence of German military dominance, with the rearming of West Germany being a key component of EDC for it to be successful. France had not yet ratified EDC, and without it, the other five members, Italy, West Germany and the Benelux countries, had been unable to proceed.

During the week, however, Britain had made a move which might accelerate the progress of the program, having agreed to join the EDC administrative council and to provide a permanent mission at EDC headquarters to coordinate British military strategy with that of the other member nations, Britain having originally refused to join on the basis that its commitments to the Commonwealth would interfere. Though the committal was short of full membership, it would likely allay French fears of German domination of EDC and convince the French National Assembly that the agreement ought be ratified.

It posits that some kind of cooperative European effort had to come sooner or later if there was to be an end to the cold war and stability in Europe balanced against stability in Asia. The American people, it ventures, could be encouraged that the objective was at last in sight.

Bernard Crick of the London School of Economics, presently teaching at Harvard, writing in the Christian Science Monitor, tells of it being a strange time for the foreign visitor to travel in the American South, as he met everywhere people who were discussing what would happen in the Supreme Court case on the desegregation of public schools, Brown v. Board of Education—a case in which re-argument had been set for early October, but which had been postponed until early December at the behest of Attorney General Herbert Brownell, prior to the recent death of Chief Justice Fred Vinson, ultimately delaying the decision, therefore, until the following May, even though originally oral argument had been heard in the combined cases the previous December.

Mr. Crick indicates that in talking to African and Asian students in London, the question would always arise as to how one could take American democracy seriously when such discrimination was practiced against its own black population. The students fiercely criticized British colonialism, but exhibited a special animosity toward the U.S. because of its constant talk and promotion of democracy under such circumstances. He indicates that when he returned to Britain to teach American political thought, he would be faced with that question constantly, but now believed he had a proper answer after attending the tenth summer conference of the Institute of Race Relations at Fisk University, a conference sponsored by the Home Missions Society of the American Congregational Churches. Whites and blacks engaged in race-relations work gathered from all parts of the nation to discuss progress. He indicates that in Europe, one scarcely ever heard of the work of such people, striving to make democratic practice catch up with democratic ideals in race relations.

He had also discovered the Friends' Service Committees who worked full time in various cities to achieve such things as the end of a segregated city transport system, the employment of blacks on equal terms by certain large business firms, and included ministers working on their own congregations and teachers obtaining representation for blacks on school boards and in teacher associations.

He had been impressed by the progress which had been made during the previous ten years, pointing out that the previous year, the black vote in the South had totaled about 1.35 million, compared with 250,000 in 1940 and 70,000 in 1920, forming a major factor in preserving Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, the Carolinas and West Virginia in the Democratic column for Adlai Stevenson in 1952, as the black vote in all of those states had been larger than his margin of victory. Sweatt v. Painter, in 1950, had been decided by the Supreme Court, the case out of Texas which held that the University of Texas Law School had to admit qualified black applicants because the State had not provided a substantially equal black law school, thus not having achieved the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson standard of "separate but equal" accommodations to satisfy the requirements of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. All interstate travel had been desegregated for many years, but intrastate travel and restaurants remained segregated, with more depending on custom than law in those areas. The average income of the black worker was still only about 54 percent of that of the comparable white worker, but that was double what it had been 19 years earlier. Though no Southern states had established FEPC, as had, for instance, New York, and while Southern Senators had blocked a Federal version, much progress, nevertheless, had been made on a local level among businessmen who believed that equal employment opportunity and equal pay for equal work had to come sooner or later.

He finds that the road ahead was still a long one to travel and that no one could pretend that there would not be "at least isolated violence and many personal tragedies" for the black child should the Supreme Court hand down the "'feared' decision" in Brown. He finds that enforcement by law rarely worked when public opinion was not accepting of change, and that one would expect therefore prolonged evasion and subterfuge to resist integration in parts of Alabama, Mississippi and South Carolina, "where the poverty is greatest, education the poorest, and the proportion of Negroes the highest." He finds, however, that the vast majority of the people he had met, as with the Southern press, viewed the matter pragmatically under the Constitution, indicating that they hoped the Court would not do anything so crazy as to permit desegregation, but that if it did, they would not cause trouble, that if their lawyers were not as smart as they claimed, they would "give it a try". There was recognition of the fact that democracy and segregation were incompatible, and in the South, which he found curiously more internationally minded than the Midwest, there was an understanding of the fact that the eyes of the world were upon them, with editorials in the Southern press pointing out that fact proving very effective. As an answer to Communist propaganda, many businessmen had begun to employ blacks on equal terms, though it pained them to do so.

He concludes that when he returned to Britain, he would certainly not paint a rosy picture of the progress thus far made in the U.S. on race relations, as there were harsh realities which were still to be faced and genuine self-criticism was a sign of genuine democracy. He finds that the difficulties in the modern South had been vastly underestimated, but that there were many people working to end the evil of segregation in the U.S., that the vast majority were willing to go along with the Court, even if "apathetically, resentfully, habitually, fatalistically", but nevertheless moving with the times, and the attitude of the black people was not of the rebel, as might be expected, but to the contrary, completely American in social attitudes and politics, an embarrassment to the white racist, as the American black embraced the democratic credo of the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, and the 14th Amendment, becoming "the conscience of democracy, not the critics."

"I cannot help but feel that the time is as ripe as ever it will be for a great demonstration that democracy is a practical interracial principle: in the balance of world races it will have to be made so sometime, in all expediency; meantime it is being made by many in their individual lives, in all morality. I had not expected to be writing like this."

Drew Pearson, in Chicago, finds two big issues to have emerged in the Democratic meeting, which might revise the Southern wing of the party, one to hurt the Democrats in 1954 and the other to help. That which would hurt was the fact that the Republicans were reorganizing a two-party system in the South, throwing out encrusted Republican carpetbaggers for the first time since the Civil War and beginning to make the Republican Party respectable again. That which would help was the fact of the President's plans to put the states in charge of their own social security, old age pensions, public roads, power dams and other projects which had provided more money to the South under the 20 years of the Roosevelt-Truman Administrations than at any other time during history. Many Southern Democratic governors were unhappy about that plan. The President was not viewing those proposals as a North-South issue, rather wanted the states to bear their proportionate share of taxation. But the poorer Southern states would be considerably worse off economically under that plan than during the Roosevelt-Truman years. Given that status, the Northern Democrats believed the Southern wing of the party would fall back into line. Some pointed to the fact that Governor Allan Shivers of Texas, who had supported General Eisenhower in 1952 and who had championed states' rights when it came to the tidelands oil controversy, had reversed himself during the Waco hurricane and the Texas drought, prompting him to seek aid from the Federal Government. Governor John Battle of Virginia, also a states' rights advocate, also would appreciate Federal help in the wake of a recent drought in that state. The Democratic leaders believed that the issue would help to recapture all of the Southern states in the next election.

But the Republicans were doing a good job of trying to build a two-party system in the South and might succeed this time. Senator Harry Byrd of Virginia had helped General Eisenhower carry that state in 1952. The Republicans in Virginia had, for the first time in 50 years, put a candidate into the gubernatorial race who might have a chance if the anti-Byrd, pro-Stevenson Democrats decided to take revenge against Senator Byrd. The same was true in Texas, where Governor Shivers had frowned on efforts by Republicans to organize the state. But enough conservative Democrats might turn Republican such that the liberal wing of the party, led by former Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn, in combination with the Hispanic and black vote ralliers, as former San Antonio Mayor Maury Maverick, could wind up taking control away from Governor Shivers and his conservative machine. Similar situations were happening in other Southern states, such as Louisiana, Georgia, and South Carolina, in each of which he provides some detail. He concludes that how successful Republican efforts would be remained to be seen, but that Republican plans called for a lot of money to be spent in the South during the ensuing three years, and Democratic leaders believed that some of their Southern colleagues who had criticized the Chicago meeting and refused to show up for it, would be all too happy to come back to the fold sometime later.

Marquis Childs, in Chicago, looks at the Democratic meeting during the week, acting as prelude to the 1956 election, with the immediate goal being to re-elect four or five Democratic Senators who favored reform in Social Security, public power and other New Deal-Fair Deal programs. Those programs had kept the Democratic Party in power for 20 years, and defeat in 1954 would swing the balance of power to the Southern Democrats, some of whom had split off and favored General Eisenhower in the 1952 campaign.

One of those progressive Senators, Paul Douglas of Illinois, had not yet made up his mind whether he would stand for re-election, indicative of the division within the party. He was touring most of the 102 counties of Illinois to determine his chances of re-election before making his decision. The facts in Illinois looked grim from the Democratic perspective. Support for Senator Douglas was wavering within the CIO because he had not gone along with a judicial appointment, and was also hanging in the balance within the Chicago and Cook County Democratic machines. His strong stand for the Korean War and in favor of Formosa had also caused problems for him. The question appeared as to whether a man of independent, or comparatively independent, judgment could have a career in national politics. His victory in 1948 by a majority of more than 400,000 votes had been as much a surprise to the Senator as to everyone else. He had supported much of the Fair Deal, fighting the transfer of tidelands oil to the states, supportive of TVA and public power, and had raised embarrassing questions about the proposal to repay holders of German bonds which had sunk to a fraction of their former value. He had made powerful enemies with those stands, with the oil industry putting up $250,000 to try to defeat him. Sources indicated that the Republicans would try to use Senator McCarthy in Illinois as a means of smearing him.

Mr. Childs indicates that Senator McCarthy was being brushed off and cleaned up a bit so that he could be utilized in 1954 with at least an appearance of political righteousness. The plan appeared to be to use him against any challenge to free enterprise orthodoxy as practiced by the Eisenhower Administration. Senator McCarthy would have the backing of the rich oil interests who had given generously in the 1952 campaign. A planned weekly television program by the Senator would keep him in the public eye.

The professional politicians, including former President Truman, had never cared much for Senator Douglas. (It might be noted that while still in the House, Congressman John F. Kennedy, appearing on "Meet the Press" in December, 1951, had indicated that his first choice for the Democratic nomination in 1952, provided President Truman did not run again, would be Senator Douglas.) The professional politicians had found Senator Douglas, a former economics professor, too much the schoolmaster, the prototype for which had been President Woodrow Wilson. But, Mr. Childs posits, if the divided parts of the party could not close ranks around such members as Senator Douglas, it would signal that independence was a handicap and that conformity to hard-boiled politics and rigid economic thinking, the order of the day.

Robert C. Ruark, in Rome, indicates that since he had stopped watching television, he had no further reason to knock it, similar to 3-D movies, which he would also not knock until he started watching them when they got better. He was happy that television was the "final refuge of unemployed transients who do not wish to list 'B-picture girl' or 'drink-cadger' as their visible means of support." He indicates that every time one saw a newspaper report of a love-nest raid, the male was either a television producer, director or writer, while the female usually called herself a TV model or actress. He finds it a handier gimmick than that prevailing in his youth when "every disconsolate dame was an 'interior decorator,' and the more modern equivalent before TV, was 'Broadway model.'" He says that through the years in journalism, they had to have a "handy gimmick to hang onto the soggy girls we fish out of rivers, the he-correspondents in divorce actions, the sad little waifs that show up in night courts for making too much noise in too many bars." Television had given such persons stature.

He also indicates that he had never known of a murderess who was not labeled "petite" or "dainty", "or if she is a real horror, 'attractive.'" He finds that there was a law against ugly women taking a pistol and shooting through the barroom door. The ugly women were poisoners. "Even the sash-weight kids come in as candidates for 'comely'"—referring to women who used sash weights to bonk someone on the head. (If you are too young to know what a sash weight is or never lived around an old house where the windows used them for counterbalance to ease the shutting and opening, for the past 60 to 70 years accomplished through springs rather than weights, they are one or two-pound iron masses, elongated like a giant pill or slender pine-cone. Because they were prone to come loose at times from their ropes and fall down into the cavity next to the window, extras were often on hand around old houses, making for handy bonkers when bonkers.)

He goes on in this vein, finding that if glamour had to be attributed to such persons, television was their spiritual home because it provided a certain dignity to disrepute and was hard to trace. A television "producer-director" could do almost anything to a television "actress-model" and someone would rush to their sides to stand by them until they slid back into anonymity.

"But sometimes I would like it better if we said that a drunken tramp got in a hassel with her unemployed, pimply barfly, and the cops took both the ugly dame and the pimply swain off to the jailhouse and we heard no more about it."

Incidentally, the word is pronounced as "bar-fly", not as we once heard in a video store, regarding the movie of the same name, "'Barf-ly', wonder what that's about," to which we were tempted to say as the uninvited stranger to the overheard conversation, "A man with a barfing habit—it's good if you like barf movies," but refrained out of video store decorum. If you are too young to know what a video store was, ask your grandma or grandpa. And if you have never heard of barf, then you are in good shape, not hanging too much with wastrels and urchins of the street.

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