The Charlotte News

Friday, September 18, 1953


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Korea, a Communist news correspondent said this date that the only allied war prisoners still in Communist hands were the small number who had resisted repatriation, previously stated by the Communists to be about 300 South Koreans and 20 non-Koreans, at least some of whom were likely Americans. The same correspondent, normally a spokesperson for official Communist positions, subsequently said that ten or more of those prisoners who had initially resisted repatriation had changed their minds and would be returned the following day. The U.N. indicated that those prisoners would immediately be repatriated and that it would be their option as to whether they would be interviewed, that the American prisoners among them would soon be returned home. The same correspondent also said that he had checked through the list of 3,400 allied troops, of whom 900 were Americans, whom the U.N. Command had indicated were missing from the returned prisoners but who had been captured during the course of the war, according to correspondence received from them, reports of other prisoners, and statements of the Communists. He said that in checking the list, he had found that the discrepancies were the result of "faulty bookkeeping", that, for instance, Capt. James Van Fleet, Jr., son of former U.S. Eighth Army commander General James Van Fleet, had been killed after a crash of his B-26 in April, 1952, and was not among the prisoners. He said that several allied fliers on the list, including Capt. Howard Fischer, double jet ace, had been shot down over Manchuria, forbidden territory for allied pilots during the war, a contention which allied spokesmen had consistently denied, and that they were thus not considered prisoners of war.

In Moscow, the Soviet Government, through Tass, the official Soviet news agency, this date claimed to have tested a "new type" of atomic bomb in recent weeks, but said also that it wanted an international ban on weapons of mass destruction. A spokesman for the Atomic Energy Commission, however, said that the Russian announcement had only confirmed the AEC's statement of August 31 that a fission-type device had been exploded in Russia on August 23, similar to the fission-type devices detonated by the AEC in the Nevada tests the prior spring. The AEC said this date that there was nothing additional of interest to add to its August 31 statement. The AEC had confirmed on August 21 that the Soviets had conducted a thermonuclear test on August 12.

At the U.N. in New York, the U.S. formally notified Communist China and North Korea this date that it was standing firm on the U.N.'s decision to bar neutrals from the Korean peace conference. It said it had taken notice of China's proposal that the Assembly reconsider that decision, but that the U.S. would oppose any such reconsideration.

Republican leaders had urged the President to stop in Chicago to answer Democratic charges that the Republican farm program was causing farmers problems and that U.S. allies were being confused by U.S. foreign policy. By noon this date, the assistant publicity director of a Republican rally in Chicago indicated that no word had come from the President of any indication that he would attend, though he was scheduled to stop briefly in Chicago on Saturday to pick up his son John and family on his way back to Washington from his vacation in Colorado. He will probably just take in a half round of nine holes and call it a weekend.

An unnamed Senator had stated that he believed the President would appoint an experienced jurist to the Supreme Court, which would appear to exclude Governors Earl Warren or Thomas Dewey, both of whom had been considered leading possibilities as the successor to Chief Justice Fred Vinson, who had died on September 8. The same Senator said, however, that he believed Governor Warren would eventually be named to the Court, as the latter had already recently stated he would not seek a fourth term as Governor of California.

Virginia Senator Harry F. Byrd had written to the President favoring Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Chief Judge John J. Parker as the successor to Chief Justice Vinson. Judge Parker had been endorsed by the Virginia State Bar Association and numerous local bar associations within the state.

Senator Richard Russell of Georgia said this date that he did not expect the "loyalty oath", which was a pledge by Democrats to ensure that the party nominee would appear on their state's ballot, would be a serious issue at the 1956 Democratic convention, that an attempt to revive it would only alienate the South. He said that in light of the 1952 presidential results, the party would have to win the South to win the election in 1956, as General Eisenhower had carried the states of Florida, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia, traditionally Democratic. At the 1952 convention, after a great protest from the South, a compromise had been reached whereby party leaders were asked to use their best efforts to get the party's presidential and vice-presidential nominees on the ballot.

In Oklahoma City, an old Indian curse, supposed to prevent fish from biting and ducks from landing on the city's two municipal lakes, had proved "as potent as one of Salesman Sam's old cure-alls". Indians had staged a protest 100 miles northwest of Oklahoma City, regarding the release of Canton Reservoir water for the city, with Chief Henry Spotted Crow chanting an ancient hex psalm, whereupon 400 to 500 ducks landed on the lake the previous day in spite of the curse and fishing on the lake had been described as being from normal to excellent during the previous few days. Chief Benny Spotted Wolf said that the Indians had been promised the right to hunt and fish as long as water flowed and grass grew in the area, that fishing was free there but that one had to pay to fish and hunt in and around the city's lake, spoiling the Indians' hunting and fishing grounds to make the city's own better.

In Raleigh, a hearing was scheduled to take place this date before Highway Department chairman A. H. Graham, at which fired Woman's Prison director, Ronie Sheffield, would be heard for the first time regarding her dismissal by Mr. Graham. The latter had read a statement saying that Ms. Sheffield's July 21 dismissal had occurred because there was no loyalty among Woman's Prison personnel during her term in the post. He said that he and former Prisons director Walter Anderson had agreed on the action, that Ms. Sheffield had been notified of the intent to dismiss her and that she had been reconciled to the action. Mr. Graham said that the people were present who had made the decisions and could answer any questions she had, but Ms. Sheffield's lawyer indicated that he had not been allowed sufficient time to prepare a defense and that Ms. Sheffield was being denied basic due process, being denied a hearing by a public officer, and so would leave the meeting.

In Cramerton, N.C., a faulty wheel journal on a gondola car caused the derailment of 28 cars of a Southern Railway freight train in the early morning hours this date. The same number train had derailed two and a half weeks earlier in Gastonia. No one was injured in this date's wreck.

On the editorial page, "Bond Funds Will Greatly Improve Schools and Mental Institutions" indicates that the October 3 bond election would involve two issues, one for a 50 million dollar bond to build new public school facilities and the other, a 22 million dollar bond to modernize and expand the mental institutions within the state, both of which the newspaper supports. It provides its rationale and urges pondering of the words of Governor William B. Umstead: "The responsibility for the education of our children and the proper care of our mentally ill is the obligation of every citizen of North Carolina, and I urge every voter to support and vote for the two bond issues on October 3. It is a challenge which we must meet."

"Stevenson Speech Was in Character" indicates that Adlai Stevenson's address on foreign policy to a nationwide audience from Chicago during the week had been what was expected from him, "an intelligent, responsible and penetrating analysis of world conditions", as he had seen them during his recent trip around the world. It finds that the speech, however, probably tried to cover too much ground, compressing into small paragraphs material better suited to separate speeches. In two major points, he had challenged basic theses of the Administration's foreign policy, that, first, it would be useless to hold a high-level conference with Russia before the Communists showed by their deeds that they were willing to back up their words, stating that it would be unwise to close the door on negotiations which, in time, might yield some results, even if Mr. Stevenson was not laboring under the "foolish illusion" that one conference could yield security; and, second, that the Administration's reductions in defense spending amounted to "unilateral disarmament", Mr. Stevenson urging instead that the nation continue to build its military power, while exploring the possibility of disarmament.

In one aspect of the speech, he appeared to break from Democratic Party policies toward the Far East in that during the Truman Administration, there had been emphasis on Europe, whereas he said that there had to be more attention paid to Asia, especially to neutral India.

The most encouraging part of his speech had been his emphasis on the importance of bipartisan support of the Administration's foreign policies, praising the record of the Congressional Democrats in helping the President carry out his policy, that if it brought the President personal success, all would rejoice, "because the nation and the free world will be beneficiaries."

It concludes: "The nation is indeed fortunate that the chief spokesman of the opposition party is so temperate and constructive in his views on foreign policy."

"Charge against Army Backfires" indicates that Senator Joseph McCarthy was far too busy for an editorial writer to keep up with him unless one were to neglect everything else, but that one of his recent statements merited comment, since it had made a broad allegation against the Army—in the coming months to explode, in a somewhat different context, into the 1954 televised hearings on the subject of Communist influence within the Army, ultimately leading to the Senator's censure by the Senate and his final undoing as a national force. He had complained that a restricted intelligence report on Siberia, disseminated among officers by the Army, was "95 percent Communist propaganda" and a "two or three or five percent … slap on the wrist for Communism". He said that proof came from such quotes from the document as: "Foreigners in the Soviet Union unanimously report the Russians as a friendly people", and "Siberia, in a social sense, is rather similar to our Far West in the late 1800's ... a land of wide-open spaces, fast-growing towns, dirt streets, and log houses."

The piece indicates that if they were accurate statements regarding Siberia, there was no reason to label them Communist propaganda, especially as they had been disseminated to officers and brass as being useful military information in case of war. It would make no sense, given that purpose, to falsify the information.

It also provides two other quotes, which it regards as more than "wrist slaps" to Communism, such as one indicating that the "free worker in the Soviet Union is as much chained to his job and local area as is the convict", and that "such an existence would be intolerable to Americans", which militated against every facet of government activity in the Soviet Union. It went on to say that British and American Communist sympathizers who visited Russia always returned in "bitter disillusionment" and that there was no better antidote to radicalism.

The piece concludes that in declassifying the document and making available to the public certain portions of it which the Senator had ignored in his statement, the Army had effectively countered the Senator's criticism by showing his erroneous claims through the quotes he had taken completely out of context.

Drew Pearson indicates that at the Democratic meeting in Chicago during the week, former President Truman had given Adlai Stevenson a fatherly pep talk behind the scenes, urging him to be more critical of the Republicans. Previously, former Governor Stevenson had been somewhat ill at ease with the former President, and at times during the 1952 campaign, had been irked and irritated at the way the President had insisted on making his Administration the most important issue. The former President had been needled at times by some of his advisers, notably Matt Connelly, against Governor Stevenson. But in Chicago, they had talked as equals and seemed to get along perfectly, even if the former President had talked to him "like a Dutch uncle". He urged Governor Stevenson to take hold of the leadership of the party and give it direction, that there had been enough of "dignified acquiescence". At one point during the conversation, Mr. Stevenson expressed doubt as to his electability, that he was not sure he had the qualifications necessary for the presidency. Mr. Truman had replied that "if a knucklehead like me could get elected and make a go of it, you wouldn't have any trouble at all." A friend of Mr. Stevenson suggested after this pep talk that the former Governor would undertake leadership steps within the party.

The routine of ganging up against Senator Estes Kefauver, as evident at the Chicago convention in July, 1952, was again apparent at the 1953 meeting in Chicago, with many Democrats referring to him as Senator "Daniel Boone", in reference to the Tennessee Senator having adopted a coonskin cap during the 1952 campaign as his identifiable symbol. He had obtained the largest primary vote during 1952 among Democrats, but was nevertheless excluded from any meaningful role in the Chicago meeting, relegated to the position of only a subordinate speaker, as he had made the mistake of incurring the ire of former President Truman.

There had also been resentment demonstrated toward DNC chairman Stephen Mitchell, Adlai Stevenson's hand-picked man, who had rubbed many Democratic stalwarts the wrong way. Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, for example, would not even speak to him. Mr. Mitchell had ignored Col. Jake Arvey, who had first picked Adlai Stevenson to run for Governor of Illinois. It was generally understood that he would soon resign as DNC chairman, and if that had not been the case, he would have been asked during the week to do so.

During the meeting, Senator John Sparkman of Alabama, the vice-presidential nominee in 1952, had quipped that when the position of recently resigned Labor Secretary Martin Durkin would be filled, there would be more money in the Cabinet than in the Treasury, a reference to the idea that there had been "eight millionaires and a plumber" populating the Cabinet, while Mr. Durkin, former head of the plumbers union, was the Labor Secretary.

Congressman William Dawson of Chicago, one of the two black members of the House, had said that it was the job of a corporation to make money, the job of the Government to have a heart for the American people, but that Secretary of Defense Charles E. Wilson had said that what was good for General Motors was good for the United States.

Georgie Jessel, at a point when a waiter had dropped a tray, had commented derisively that it was John Foster Dulles stubbing his toe again, a reference to some of the gaffes of late made by the Secretary of State.

Senator Guy Gillette of Iowa, quoting former President Truman regarding Senator McCarthy, had said, "If one man is afraid to speak his mind, then the nation is in peril of losing its freedoms."

Mr. Stevenson had said that the Republicans would now charge the Democrats with "creeping harmony"—as opposed to "creeping socialism"—and that the Democratic problem was to break through the "sound barrier of the one-party press". He had also said that the Republicans were essentially telling Moscow, "one false move from you guys and we'll reduce the defense budget another billion dollars".

Senator Paul Douglas of Illinois had quipped that the great trait of the Democratic Party was its "ability to withstand oratory".

Budget cutbacks in the Navy shipbuilding program had been so severe during the year that only one new submarine would be built in 1953, other than the atomic submarine, Mr. Pearson noting that even during the peaceful years of Presidents Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover, four to five submarines were built each year. Atomic submarine experts had said that the first two nuclear submarines would travel at a speed of 45 mph.

Tax sleuths in Denver believed they had uncovered more than 1,500 Federal tax evaders by looking through the classified telephone directory.

Marquis Childs, in Chicago, indicates that Adlai Stevenson, in the role adopted in his nationwide broadcast speech earlier in the week regarding foreign policy, could serve a useful purpose as a constructive critic of Administration policy, especially given his background, having served on the original U.S. delegation to the U.N. Charter conference in San Francisco in 1945 and having served as a member of the U.S. delegation to the U.N., alongside John Foster Dulles, during the Truman Administration, prior to his becoming Governor of Illinois in 1949. He had just completed his round-the-world trip to both Europe and Asia, and so could provide a sense of what was needed to explore the path to peace for both continents. President Eisenhower had offered Mr. Stevenson a position in the current U.N. delegation, but he had declined, and the position had instead gone to Governor James Byrnes of South Carolina, former Secretary of State under President Truman.

Governor Stevenson expressed doubt in the speech that there was anything to the peace overtures extended by the Kremlin beyond a change of tactics with the new regime after Stalin's death, and so likely believed that there was little chance of gaining any meaningful agreement out of a high-level conference between the Big Four leaders. He also, however, had expressed the belief that it was unwise to take a rigid stance against any such meeting, as had the President and Secretary of State Dulles until Russia and the Communists had taken affirmative steps toward peace, such as in East Germany and the other satellites, and in Indo-China, insofar as Communist China, believed to be to a degree a pawn of the Russians, as in Korea. Mr. Childs believes that advice of Mr. Stevenson to have been the best provided to the Administration by his speech, as such rigidity would almost assure against any possible long-term solution to the problem.

Mr. Childs suggests that Mr. Stevenson had perhaps found his role for the ensuing couple of years, acting as a sort of ombudsman to the Administration foreign policy, providing a rational and objective point of view, a tone he had adopted throughout the 1952 campaign, and that as head of a national foundation, he would have the leisure and resources to serve all Americans, not just his own party.

Robert C. Ruark indicates that he had seen at a Veterans Administration hospital use of a therapeutic modality in psychiatric cases, whereby the patients were churning homemade ice cream, a therapy which had appeared to work well for returning veterans.

Mr. Ruark explains that homemade ice cream was much better than that which could be purchased from stores, provided one was careful not to contaminate the cream with the freezer salt surrounding the container. The churning, he had found from personal experience, was good personal therapy. He says in conclusion that he would rush off to churn the freezer so that his family would have dessert, "an individual sense of responsibility to the commonweal, and besides, I'm hungry."

A letter writer from Bladenboro responds to a responsive letter to his prior letter, regarding FEPC, saying that he agreed that blacks should "strive to advance themselves to equal acceptance through industrious effort and deportment", suggesting that the writer would likely agree also that black citizens had exerted great diligence toward that end since the abolition of slavery by the 13th Amendment. He finds the letter writer in error regarding the description of FEPC as a "crutch law", regards it as justifiable as a means of realizing more fully one of the highest ideals in a democracy, equality of opportunity. He suggests that segregation was dependent on myriads of crutches, in the form of state codes and city ordinances, as it was an unnatural condition.

A letter writer forecasts a Republican attempt to pass a civil rights bill in the upcoming session of Congress and wonders whether the plight of blacks was so bad that special laws had to be passed for their benefit, that from what he could see, even in the South, "Negroes are not faring so badly". He suggests that the NAACP was using the "Negro for a sucker and telling him how bad his plight is in the United States, and by telling him and us he needs special civil rights laws for his well-being".

Well, we hope you can pass one of the literacy tests used down 'ere in Mississippi, so that you can vote, too, as you slap your slavering lips on the cooling liquid flowing from the "Black Only" wawta fountains, while sitting up eya in the balc'ny of de movie theata to watch your fav'rite Hollywood thrilla unfold down at the Bijou—or down 'ere at the Car'lina.

A letter writer indicates that since his request for a grand jury investigation of charges leveled against the Charlotte police department, appearing in the September 5 edition, he had received many phone calls, some of which had been anonymous, others from reputable citizens, who expressed the need to clear the air. Some had said that they could not understand the actions of some members of the City Council in their violent denunciations of Drew Pearson for charges he had made on his Sunday television show against Charlotte's high crime rate, suggestive of police corruption, as Mr. Pearson charged further in his column of September 5, appearing on the front page of The News, contending that Charlotte Police Chief Frank Littlejohn had helped two brothers involved in a gambling ring several years earlier, who had subsequently run an offtrack betting ring in Miami for notorious New York gambling kingpin, Frank Costello. The writer again urges that a Federal grand jury investigate the matter.

Speaking of corruption and Trump voters, Good night, Don.....

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