The Charlotte News

Thursday, September 17, 1953


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Korea, retiring U.N. Far East commander General Mark Clark this date promised a fair shake for thousands of war prisoners from both sides, who had refused repatriation. He pledged that any Americans who had taken that position had the U.N. Command's sympathy for the hardships they had endured and its understanding of the pressures to which they had been subjected. He offered them any "legal rights and protection" guaranteed by U.S. laws, and a Command spokesman said that being a Communist sympathizer was not a crime in the U.S. The Communists claimed that they held about 300 South Koreans and more than 20 non-Koreans, presumably comprised of primarily Americans, who had refused repatriation.

Meanwhile, 1,000 Chinese prisoners of the U.N. who had defied repatriation were being transferred to Indian guards near Panmunjom, and in the process, had ripped off their identification tags and refused to give their names to the Indian troops. When they saw Communist observers outside the barbed wire area, they started throwing stones, but none of the Communists had been injured. The five-nation repatriation commission gathered for a special conference, and an Indian spokesman said that it would consider refusing further allied deliveries of prisoners without their identification cards. The prisoners had apparently feared that Communist interviewers might discover their names and homes and undertake reprisals against their relatives. Brigadier General A. L. Hamblen, chief of the U.N. Command group which would talk with allied prisoners who resisted repatriation, said that they would say nothing to the prisoners which they could not back up, would not make "wild promises of immunity", but would assume all of them innocent until proven guilty, and that the prisoners would have to make some "overt act" toward repatriation to be considered as changing their minds.

In Indian Village, Korea, an Indian soldier had been killed this date by the accidental explosion of an artillery shell, the first death among the Indian troops sent to guard the war prisoners who resisted repatriation. He had stepped on or kicked the shell which exploded.

The U.N. Korean Reconstruction Agency this date approved creation of a 1.5 million dollar fund to loan to small businesses and mining firms in Korea to help businessmen recoup wartime losses.

At the U.N. in New York, Secretary of State Dulles said this date, in a 37-minute address to the General Assembly, that the world was in crisis and that it was up to the Communists to remove the roadblocks which stood in the way of peaceful solutions for Korea, Indo-China and Germany. He said that mere words were not enough and that there could be no new world climate unless the Communists contributed more to it by changing their policies. He said that the U.S. was ready to explore all possible means to bring about world peace, before scientific discoveries "wipe life off the surface of this planet". He accused the Communists of dilatory tactics in Korea since the Armistice, saying that he doubted at this point whether the Communists really wanted to comply with the Armistice and face the problem of withdrawing their forces from Korea, creating a united and independent Korea. Soviet lead delegate Andrei Vishinsky would address the Assembly with the Soviet view within a few days.

In New York, Senator Joseph McCarthy said this date that he would seek a contempt citation or perjury referral against a native born American employed by the Polish delegation to the U.N., whom he said had been described in testimony as a Communist. The employee had given conflicting testimony before the Investigations subcommittee chaired by Senator McCarthy, saying that he had never attended any meeting where espionage had been discussed, after previously stating in executive session, according to the Senator, that to provide a truthful answer to that question might incriminate him. Another witness, Paul Crouch, had said in open session this date that the Polish delegation employee had once been organizational secretary of the Communist Party in New Orleans and that he was a "professional revolutionary" of the party in the 1930's. Mr. Crouch said that Communists regarded the U.N. as an "important medium" through which to put across propaganda and also as an important place for getting Communists into the U.S. for espionage purposes. Chief counsel of the subcommittee, Roy Cohn, asked Mr. Crouch whether their aim, in part, had been the overthrow by force and violence of the U.S. Government, to which Mr. Crouch replied in the affirmative, saying that he had taken steps to bring that about. He said that he had been a district organizer for the party in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and Utah, and that since leaving the party he had provided information to the FBI and the Justice Department.

Senator McCarthy, 43, and Jean Kerr, 29, former research assistant in the Senator's office, announced that they were to be wed on September 29 in St. Matthews Cathedral in Washington. Ms. Kerr had been linked romantically with the Senator for some time.

Senator Frank Carlson of Kansas said this date that a special advisory council to his Post Office Committee was considering a proposal for a five-cent rate on first class mail between cities, aimed at covering expedited handling with air transportation for most such mail. The present rate, three cents, would remain in effect for other local mail.

In New Orleans, a team of eight surgeons separated Siamese twins this date after an operation lasting nearly three hours, and their condition was said to be "very satisfactory". Doctors said that they had hope that both of the girls would survive. A spokesman for the hospital said that both twins after such an operation had never before survived. One of the twins, however, had an open area at the point of separation, whereas the other girl had a closed area. They had shared the same lower intestinal tract and had fused vertebrae. Both were bright, alert and normal in every other respect. They appeared to have separate functioning nervous systems and spinal cords, except at the junction of the dural sac, the covering of the spinal cord at its lower end.

In Raleigh, Governor William B. Umstead this date announced appointment of David Holton of Edenton as director of the State Division of Purchase and Contract, succeeding an appointee of former Governor Kerr Scott, Charles Williams of Burlington.

Sixteen North Carolina counties had been ruled eligible for Federal aid as a result of drought damage, according to the Governor this date, leaving ineligible eight counties for which the Governor had sought aid. Farmers in the approved counties would be able to buy surplus feed stocks owned by the Commodity Credit Corporation. The Governor had stressed that such loans were the only available help for farmers hurt by the drought.

On the editorial page, "Farm Policy a Political Football" indicates that the Democrats, at their meeting during the week in Chicago, had criticized the Administration for not living up to its campaign promises to farmers in its farm policy, which had resulted in lowered farm prices while farmers were facing higher costs. Three former Secretaries of Agriculture, Senator Clinton Anderson of New Mexico, Claude Wickard and Charles Brannan, had each made speeches to that effect. Mr. Brannan sought high price supports, while Senator Anderson favored flexible supports, saying that the issue would finally be determined by Congress. The three were in agreement on blaming the troubles of the farmers on the new Administration and promised that farm policy would be one of the major issues in the 1954 midterm elections.

It indicates that it had hoped that for the sake of the national welfare, the two parties would agree on farm policy and take it out of partisan politics, giving the farmer needed insurance against great market dislocations without providing an artificial prosperity through subsidies. It suggests that if farmers had any sense, they would realize that their current troubles were not the fault of the Administration, but rather the inevitable result of unsound policies adopted by the Democrats. The fixed price support principle established by law, which Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson was enforcing against his will, encouraged high production without regard to demand, and when production exceeded demand, the Government took over the surplus. It indicates that the current farm policy therefore needed revision.

But the major parties, highly sensitive to the farm vote, were resorting to fanciful schemes to attract that vote. The Administration had dallied, failing so far to present a new program, while the Democrats offered only the same policy as before.

Professor Murray R. Benedict had stated in a new book, Farm Policies of the United States, 1790-1950, that farmers would have to make a choice whether they wished to give their political influence to the side of a continually widening reliance on Government aid, which also assumed Government control, or whether they would regard Government intervention as something to be used only temporarily and in times of genuine need.

"Forgotten Aspect of Segregation Issue" indicates that the Southern Regional Council, in a recently issued pamphlet, had made the point which was frequently overlooked, that the Supreme Court might adopt alternative plans for desegregation, should it order public school segregation ended. The Council indicated that the schools would not be transformed overnight and that the Supreme Court decision would only be binding on the specific five school districts before the Court, albeit forming a precedent for subsequent court actions. But if other Southern school officials decided to view the decision narrowly, as only applicable to those specific school districts directly before the Court, proponents of integration would have to bring separate legal actions in every school district in the South to effect desegregation. With that in mind, Walter White, executive secretary of the NAACP, had estimated that a court ruling in favor of integration would probably not become generally effective for at least another decade.

The piece indicates that it was an important point to realize, and that it was not yet certain that the Court would depart from the "separate but equal" doctrine as applicable to public schools. The Court might reason, it posits, as had Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Chief Judge John J. Parker, in the Clarendon County case out of South Carolina, one of those cases joined in Brown v. Board of Education, that if segregation was no longer wise, then it was up to the various state legislatures to change it. It finds that there was no reason for the South, therefore, to become stirred up about the segregation issue in the months remaining before the Court would provide its decision. It indicates that there would be plenty of time afterward to consider calmly and intelligently what could be done and what ought to be done in response to the Court's ruling.

Indeed, in the subsequently consolidated Charlotte-Mecklenburg County schools, it would take until 1971 for the plan of desegregation to be finalized, as the Supreme Court, in Swann v. Board of Education, unanimously affirmed the U.S. District Court's equitable plan for desegregation, after the School Board had not submitted an adequate plan for same in 1969 following an order by the District Court to do so, arising from a challenge to the system's plan, originally approved by the District Court in 1965, whereunder, as of the 1968-69 school year, there were 14,000 of 24,000 black students in the system who were still attending schools which were at least 99 percent black in composition.

"Good Appointment" indicates that absent a clear-cut national policy on civil defense on which all officials could agree, the newspaper had been unenthusiastic about local and state programs. But it finds that Foster Blaisdell, named the previous day as the city-county civil defense director, former superintendent of the local Park & Recreation Commission, in which position he had performed well, would do an excellent job of coordinating local civil defense.

"A Double Tragedy, with a Lesson" indicates that occasionally an editorial writer ran across a story with facts which added up to an editorial so meaningful that no additional comment was necessary. It had found such a story in that of Kenneth Hemric and Locksley Hutchens, ages 23 and 22, respectively, who had grown up together in Boonville, had played together and gone into the Army together, both serving in different outfits in Korea. Cpl. Hutchens had been captured 34 months earlier by the Communists, and two months later, his close friend had also been captured. Both had returned home this month, and a special celebration in their honor had been scheduled in Yadkinville for Saturday.

But the prior Monday night, Mr. Hemric had taken Mr. Hutchens for a ride in the brand new red convertible he had bought with his accumulated Army pay, and some time later, the Highway Patrol found the car turned over, after leaving the road and clipping a power pole, with both occupants dead. The grief-stricken parents were now planning joint funeral services.

A piece from the Greensboro Daily News, titled "Blind Vote", finds that a Gallup poll had examined opinions regarding the most beautiful scenery among the states, finding California topping the poll, followed by Colorado, Pennsylvania, New York, Florida, Washington, Wisconsin, Oregon, Virginia and Kentucky, in that order among the top ten.

It questions why North Carolina, with its sand dunes at Nags Head and the Great Smokies, had not made the list, with some of the most beautiful mountain scenery in the country around Little Switzerland, Fontana Dam, Chimney Rock, Grandfather Mountain and Mount Mitchell. It concludes that the poll's respondents must not have gotten around the country enough or perhaps the state had not advertised enough its scenery.

It quotes Harold Kaplan, Jr., who had written at age 17:

"I've never been to Timbuctoo,/ I've never been to China./ But of all the places I've never been,/ I prefer North Carolina."

Drew Pearson indicates that there was so much censorship at the Pentagon that no one dared speak out publicly against Secretary of Defense Charles E. Wilson's policy of concentrated arms production, with which the Secretary was proceeding. The opposition was real and in some cases very bitter. Repeated warnings had come from the military that the country could not afford to make key defense factories sitting ducks for an atomic attack, but the Secretary had nevertheless placed important arms production in a few large factories, many of them with General Motors, of which he had been president prior to becoming Secretary of Defense. Pentagon advisers initially thought that they had stopped that process when the G.M. hydramatic transmission plant had burned down at Lavonia, Mich., cutting auto production for most G.M. cars. That fire had also cut back the independent auto companies which bought their transmissions from G.M., a curtailment which would not only affect employment but also the steel industry, which had fallen below a 90 percent production rate the previous week, potentially having an impact on the entire economy. It was why military leaders at the Pentagon opposed the concentration policy, which had departed from the Truman policy of dispersal of production among many smaller plants, even if the cost was higher.

Mr. Pearson indicates that on August 17, his column had given the first indication that Mr. Wilson was going to push ahead with that program despite it favoring his old company. The three largest automakers had been producing the Patton M-48 tank, but Mr. Wilson had excluded Ford arbitrarily from the production, which meant that it would not be given the right to bid on continued production of the tank, leaving it to Chrysler and G.M. to bid against one another, with the loser being excluded from production the following spring. Studebaker was excluded from the bidding regarding production of 2.5-ton trucks and was ordered to wind up its production of them by September, leaving G.M.'s truck and coach division to bid against REO Motors for that contract. The Pentagon also ordered production stopped on the M-47 tank, manufactured by Chrysler and American Locomotive, not impacting G.M. On the other hand, production of the M-41 tanks would be continued at full pace at G.M.'s Cadillac plant in Cleveland. G.M. was also taking over the added production of antiaircraft guns, presently manufactured by American Car & Foundry. On September 12, despite the Lavonia fire, Secretary Wilson had determined to go forward with the plan of concentrated production, with G.M. given the Patton M-48 tank contract and Chrysler ordered to close down its manufacturing facility by the following April, even though Chrysler had first developed the Patton tank. The reason for that action had been that the Chrysler bid was 12 percent higher than that of G.M. G.M. and REO were also awarded the contracts for the 2.5-ton trucks, with Studebaker excluded.

Governor James Byrnes of South Carolina had given to Mr. Pearson some sidelights on a Truman Cabinet meeting at which then-Secretary of War Henry Stimson had proposed giving the secret of the atomic bomb to Russia in 1945. Mr. Stimson had served as Secretary of War in the Cabinet of President William Howard Taft, and as Secretary of State in the Cabinet of President Herbert Hoover, having become Secretary of War under FDR shortly before Pearl Harbor in 1941. The late Chief Justice Fred Vinson had told Mr. Pearson a month or so earlier about an historic Cabinet meeting in 1945, at which Mr. Stimson had proposed giving the atomic secret to Russia on the ground that Russia was certain to get it anyway and that the U.S. could build a better atmosphere for peace if it took the initiative in sharing the secret. Mr. Vinson, then-Secretary of Treasury, had opposed Mr. Stimson on the proposal and was under the impression that Governor Byrnes, then-Secretary of State, had been present at that meeting and sided with Mr. Stimson. Governor Byrnes, however, had informed Mr. Pearson that at the time, he had been in Paris attending the foreign ministers conference, but had heard about the meeting after his return, and that the Chief Justice had been correct in his memory that the State Department, represented at the meeting by Undersecretary Dean Acheson, had agreed with Secretary Stimson. Governor Byrnes said that he had always taken the opposite view, however, and had asked Bernard Baruch to draft a plan regarding the sharing of the atomic bomb secret. Mr. Baruch formulated a plan with Undersecretary Acheson to exchange information on civilian phases of atomic energy and for abolition of atomic weapons, provided there could be international inspection of Russia's munitions and atomic plants to ensure adherence to the plan. Governor Byrnes had told Mr. Pearson that after Secretary Stimson retired from the Cabinet, he had come to see Mr. Byrnes when the latter was attending the U.N. in New York and said that he had changed his mind about sharing the atomic bomb secret with Russia and that his earlier position had been a mistake.

Joseph Alsop indicates that the President had approved plans to provide seven reports to the American people related to different aspects of the threat to national survival caused by the Soviet air-atomic capability, proposed to begin on Sunday evening, October 4, and continue every Sunday evening thereafter until November 15. Known as "Operation Candor" in Administration inner circles, it would start with an important speech in which the President was expected to deliver the hard truth about the national situation, and that each of the additional six reports would be delivered by Administration leaders, including Secretary of State Dulles, Senator Alexander Wiley, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Secretary of Defense Charles E. Wilson, Deputy Secretary of Defense Roger Kyes and Joint Chiefs chairman, Admiral Arthur Radford. The latter three were expected to emphasize that which could be accomplished by an effective air defense against atomic attack.

Those planned speeches were an outgrowth of the Lincoln Project's study of air defense and the various studies of the air defense problem which had followed. There would be a civil defense report by the Civil Defense director Val Peterson and his deputy, Catherine Howard, and there would be a report on the balance between national solvency and national survival by Secretary of the Treasury George Humphrey, and probably by the Budget Office director, Joseph Dodge. The latter would be a key report as it would provide a clear indication of how much real national effort and sacrifice the Administration intended to ask of the country as insurance against a devastating air-atomic attack. It was possible that Secretary Humphrey would propose a national sales tax as one means of paying the defense bill.

At the conclusion, on November 15, the President was scheduled to sum up the program.

The schedule and even whether the speeches would occur were still not definitely decided, and it could wind up so watered-down as to serve no useful purpose or even turn into a political stunt. But, as of the present, it appeared that the program of trusting the American people with the truth would be a "remarkably courageous and wholly admirable experiment in government."

Marquis Childs, in Chicago, again looks at the Democratic meeting held earlier in the week, finding former President Truman and Adlai Stevenson having gotten along well, as well as they had during the 1952 campaign. The two men were of quite different backgrounds, former Governor Stevenson having had a patrician upbringing, compared to the former President, who had earned his political stripes in rough-and-tumble local politics in Missouri. Now, the former President was probably as happy as he had ever been in his life, with the Presidency behind him and confident that history would vindicate his major decisions. In light of the troubles of President Eisenhower, there was a kinder and more understanding attitude toward him, especially given the way he had assumed office in April, 1945. He had also won a great amount of esteem from Americans for having returned to his roots in Independence, at a time when Americans were increasingly rootless. Other former Presidents and aspiring presidential candidates had disappeared into the Waldorf Astoria Towers or hovered around Washington, fretting and fuming at the shifting course of events. The confidence which the former President exuded was one reason why so many Democrats had been sitting outside his door waiting to see him that it was hard to get him to attend the Democratic meetings in Chicago.

In contrast, former Governor Stevenson was still looking for a base among Democrats, following his six-month round-the-world tour. He had no home, as the farm where he rested after returning from his trip, at Libertyville near Chicago, was rented. He expected to take a small apartment in downtown Chicago, but the fact that his former wife still resided in Chicago complicated the situation. The real question was to establish a base from which to operate as a public figure for the ensuing two or three years. For the present, he had no plans, but would need to stay in the public eye if he had any hopes of garnering the 1956 nomination.

Since the former President remained the most powerful figure in the party, Mr. Stevenson's position for the present was assured. An "unnatural" peace and harmony, at least for the Democrats, had prevailed at the Chicago meeting.

A letter from the pastor of the Mount Holly Free Will Baptist Church indicates that in the September 14 edition of the newspaper, he had seen where the Charlotte-Mecklenburg County Ministers Association had asked the newspaper to refrain from advertising beer and wine, and that the editors had responded in a note that they considered beer and wine table-type beverages and so had accepted that advertising, while not doing so for liquor advertising. He indicates that the people had forgotten God and His laws and were making laws to suit themselves, suggests that the fifth chapter of the Book of Daniel in the Bible indicated the results of wine, and that throughout the country on the highways, the results were visible from drunk driving. He quotes from Proverbs 20: "Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: And whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise." He indicates that Communism was a public enemy to the country and that beer and wine were in the same category, that nothing good could be said about either, insofar as bettering any nation, state, community or home. He does not understand how anyone could be against liquor and for beer and wine.

A letter writer indicates that he had helped a crippled man down long steps at the Courthouse the previous day, a situation which happened almost daily, and suggests an editorial advocating installation of a hand rail to aid the aged and infirm.

A letter writer from Gastonia congratulates the newspaper on the editorial, "Chairman Hall Lacks a Funnybone", which had indicated that RNC chairman Leonard Hall had criticized the Democratic Digest for mocking the Administration, indicating that the publication was undermining the Administration foreign policy with its audience abroad, in Canada and in Paris, the editorial finding that, if anything, the fact of open criticism in the U.S. showed foreign audiences that democracy worked, enhancing the country's image. The writer indicates that many U.S. newspapers were sold abroad and some were printed in foreign languages, and that many U.S. radio programs were heard in Canada. He finds that Mr. Hall lacked a sense of values, as well as a sense of humor, and needed to understand that there were no iron curtains on the written word and information coming from the U.S. The simple remedy was for the Administration to change the policies which the Digest satirized.

A letter writer indicates that Judge John J. Parker was a man of intelligence, integrity and unquestioned intellectual capacity, but was, nevertheless, a product of "an unwholesome environment" which had perpetuated the caste system of segregation. That status, the letter writer asserts, disqualified him for consideration as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, that his appointment to that position would be a "colossal tragedy". "When we in America so integrate the races as to make democracy real, other nations will respond to our ethical and moral leadership. Progress is required in human relations. We have no place for retrogression on the Supreme Court."

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