The Charlotte News

Friday, September 4, 1953


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that at Panmunjom, the Communists freed Maj. General William Dean this date, who had been captured in early August, 1950, at the beginning of the war and was the highest ranking allied officer captured. He had been greeted with cheers and applause at the exchange point, having been transferred there by jeep. General Dean immediately asked about the men of his 24th Division. He was met by Eighth Army commander General Maxwell Taylor, U.N. Far East supreme commander General Mark Clark, and other top officers. In a ceremony at the hospital, President Syngman Rhee of South Korea personally pinned South Korea's highest military award on General Dean. Observers among the press noted that the General, 54, appeared ten years older than at the time he had been captured. He said that he had not seen another American since July 21, 1950. He had been separated from U.S. lines and wandered without food for 20 days before his capture. Early in his captivity, he had endured questioning for up to 68 hours straight without sleep. He was so thin that it hurt to sit down and so he sat on his hands until they became swollen. He said that the Communists were intending to punish him as a "war criminal" for his activities, but eventually changed their minds. Most of the time, his captors had provided him nothing to read and no pencils or paper, forcing him to spend lonely days working out mathematical problems in his head while in isolation. He appeared happy to see other Americans.

The Communists promised to release the following day a record-breaking 275 Americans, with the prisoner exchange program set to end on Sunday. At that point, the American repatriates would number 3,486, compared to the original number of 3,313 whom the Communists had promised to release. The number had been increased because of the release of prisoners who had been captured late in the fighting. Seven American sergeants returned this date estimated that there were still between 450 and 500 Americans awaiting release in Kaesong. Also freed this date were 200 South Korean and five British prisoners, with 25 British and 13 South Koreans promised on Saturday. It was believed that among the Americans yet to be released, were those fliers who had provided, after being tortured, phony confessions of use of germ warfare.

In Bonn, West Germany, the anti-Communist, anti-rearmament, anti-alliance Socialists made fresh denunciations of Secretary of State Dulles, in an effort to turn his support for re-election of pro-American Chancellor Konrad Adenauer into a boomerang which might sweep the neutralist opposition to power. The head of the Socialists declared that the U.S. was undertaking "shocking political interference" in the campaign, which would culminate in the vote on Sunday. The Socialist Mayor of Hamburg, Max Brauer, formerly a naturalized American citizen, said that he was "completely revolted" by the Secretary's statement endorsing Chancellor Adenauer, which had become the hottest issue in the closing days of the campaign. Most American officials hoped that Chancellor Adenauer would be victorious and opposed the Socialists' neutrality in the cold war.

In Paris, construction was set to begin during the fall on 1,875 miles of pipelines to speed the transfer of jet fuel to NATO forces in nine Western European nations. Officials of NATO announced the previous night that work on the project would be started soon and that it would cost 100 million dollars, tying in with a 400-mile pipeline which the U.S. planned to build across France to West Germany.

Senators Lister Hill of Alabama, a member of the Appropriations Committee, and John Stennis of Mississippi, a member of the Armed Services Committee, said this date that a reduction in the Air Force's production program was "shocking" and "dangerous", the latter Senator having reminded that only two weeks earlier, the Atomic Energy Commission had confirmed that the Russians had exploded a hydrogen bomb. Senator Charles Potter of Michigan asked for disclosure of all of the facts involved in the 750 million dollar cutback in the program. The statements came in response to reports, which were later modified, that plans to purchase 1,000 planes had been canceled, in addition to the five billion dollars cut earlier in the year from the Air Force budget. Acting Secretary of the Air Force, James Douglas, told newsmen that the striking power of the Strategic Air Command would not be materially impacted by the reduction, which he said was not an economy move but rather had resulted from revised estimates of Air Force needs, releasing money for other types of aircraft. He said it would mainly relate to future aircraft procurement plans rather than existing contracts. Secretary of Defense Charles E. Wilson had stated in St. Louis before the American Legion convention the previous day that changes were being made so that the Defense Department could spend the money "for the right thing at the right time and for the right purpose", and that the reduction would not affect the current production rate of 1,000 airplanes per month or prevent the Air Force from reaching its goal of 120 wings by 1955.

U.S. forces in Japan had contributed $133,632 and a large amount of relief goods to victims of recent floods in southern Japan, according to the Far East command headquarters in Tokyo.

The Agriculture Department this date held up an announcement of what it was going to do about its non-discrimination policy, requiring that private banks making farm loans through the Government price-support program would have to subscribe to a policy whereby they would not discriminate in employment. The provision was based on an executive order made by FDR in 1943, under which all persons who were parties to Government contracts had to enter such a pledge of nondiscrimination. Southerners, led by Governor James Byrnes of South Carolina, who had bolted from the Democrats in 1952 to support General Eisenhower for election, had demanded that the Department reverse itself. In anticipation of it doing so, Walter White, executive secretary of the NAACP, had said that such a reversal would be a "humiliating capitulation" to Governor Byrnes, and called upon the President to demand the resignation of Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson. Governor Byrnes had expressed his belief that the President, once he looked at the clause, would remove it, that it had probably been inserted by a Truman Administration holdover. The solicitor for the Agriculture Department, who had taken office at the start of the new Administration, said, however, that the clause was the result of an interpretation of an executive order by his office with his approval, and was not the work of a holdover.

In St. Louis, the American Legion convention elected Thomas Bird of Charlotte as national vice-commander. He had been a leader in the Legion and community affairs since arriving in Charlotte from Asheville many years earlier, and had been active in Democratic politics for many years, having served in many capacities. The new national commander, Arthur Connell of Middletown, Conn., said in his acceptance speech that he would work vigorously for adoption of universal military training in the coming year.

For the first time in more than 50 years, the Army would allow liquor to be sold by the drink and by the bottle to commissioned and non-commissioned officers at open messes on bases—as further discussed below by Drew Pearson.

In Wissant, France, it was reported that Florence Chadwick of San Diego had swum the English Channel from Dover, England, in the record time of 14 hours, 42 minutes this date, and then immediately started a return swim, hoping to become the first swimmer ever to make a non-stop round-trip. She had come ashore briefly in France, long enough to eat an orange and take some sugar, then waded back into the water to see how much further she could swim, saying that though she was not tired, she had little hope of being able to complete the return trip to Dover. She said she had been stung by jellyfish during the first leg, but that other than that she had felt very good. The previous record swim had been by England's Tom Blower, at 15 hours, 31 minutes. Ms. Chadwick had postponed her swim nearly 25 times during the summer and had made one unsuccessful prior attempt.

A broad band of cool air and chilling showers moved slowly south and east from the sun-baked Midwest this date, pushing from its path the stubborn heatwave which had persisted for as much as 11 days through the Midwest. Temperatures fell as much as 30 degrees. Weather forecasters said the cool mass of air would cover all of Michigan and Indiana by late this date, and there was indication that it would continue eastward and southward, bringing relief to other heat-stricken areas. Chicago, which had suffered from the heatwave, received welcome relief around midnight, with the temperature dropping to 63, after it had reached 97 in the city the previous day, the tenth straight day of 95 degrees or higher, and had remained humid and in the 80's prior to midnight, with predictions for a high in the low 70's this date and 50 during the night. Throughout the Midwest, 134 deaths had been attributed to the heat. Continued record heat impacted the Northeast, with Elmira, N.Y., reporting a high of 105 degrees, and Binghamton, 100, breaking a 24-year record for the date, with 100 also having been recorded in Albany and 99 at Rochester, an all-time high for September.

On the editorial page, "Dulles Extends the U.S. Commitment" indicates that the Secretary of State had delivered a forceful speech before the American Legion in St. Louis during the week, giving the Communists more reason to forsake any plans of resumption of the fighting in Korea. He extended the containment line set by the Truman Administration to Indo-China and threatened China with retaliation if it either resumed the Korean aggression or attacked anywhere else, that in that event the Chinese could no longer rely on having a "privileged sanctuary" in Manchuria from which to operate aircraft and supply troops.

A resolution had been issued by the 16 U.N. nations who had participated in the allied fight in Korea, indicating that if there were further unprovoked Communist aggression, there would be grave consequences such that, in all probability, the fighting could not be contained within the frontiers of Korea.

Secretary Dulles had also said that the Korean peace conference would not drag on indefinitely, as had the German and Austrian conferences, the treaties still not finalized after eight years since the end of the war. He said that the allies would consider leaving the conference if after its three-month scheduled duration, things had bogged down.

He had said that he was making the statements in the hope that they would deter further aggression and make the need to fight unnecessary. The piece indicates that former President Truman and his advisers had followed the same policy in providing military aid to Greece, Turkey, Berlin, and Western Europe, under the Truman Doctrine, and now it was belatedly being applied to Korea. What was new was the extension of the policy to Indo-China and the suggestion of retaliation to the homeland of any aggressor, Secretary Dulles having referenced Communist China directly in that regard.

The piece suggests that the pronouncement by the Secretary had brought to mind the speech by Secretary of State Acheson establishing the U.S. defense perimeter in the Pacific in early 1950, running along the Aleutians to Japan, including the Ryukyus, and then to the Philippines, but excluding Korea, which Secretary Acheson had said would initially, if attacked, have to rely on local resistance and then the U.N. Six months later, the Communists had attacked South Korea and Mr. Acheson's critics claimed that his exclusion of Korea from the defense perimeter had encouraged the attack. Secretary Acheson had replied that it would have been poor strategy to indicate that the nation would protect a distant area when the U.S. did not have the military strength at the time to back up its words.

It suggests that Secretary Dulles invited similar criticism in the event of a Communist attack on such a country as Iran, not included in the area which the U.S. was committed to defend. His statement would be viewed in Asia as an announcement that U.S. troops or airmen, with or without allies, might retaliate against the Chinese if they invaded Indo-China and in any event would engage the battle. It suggests that it was not sure that the Congress and the people would back up the Secretary, however, in that pledge and it would be quite embarrassing to U.S. foreign policy if they so refused.

"Bad News for the Careful Young Driver" indicates that the insurance rates proposed by the National Bureau of Casualty Underwriters and the Mutual Insurance Rating Bureau would provide young drivers under age 25 no break in rates, despite a driver having taken a driver's education course in high school and despite a safe driving record, because many people in the age bracket had accidents. If they did not live at home, the insured would have to pay two and a half times the rate for pleasure car owners who did not have young drivers in the family, and one and a half times the rate paid by the person who used the insured car for business. The new rates would reduce by ten percent the cost of insurance for the pleasure driver over 25, and would reduce the rate somewhat for the driver under 25 who lived at home.

It indicates that the insurance industry was seeking to equalize the cost on the basis of accident studies, but in fact was not doing so, as there were many thousands of trained and disciplined young drivers paying the much higher cost than "some doddering Sunday drivers", simply because they fell into an age group with a high incidence of accidents. It indicates that something close to equality could be achieved through a rating system which took into account the frequency of accidents of the individual insured, regardless of age. Insurance companies already used such a plan for fleets of five or more vehicles in North Carolina and responsible insurance salesmen were suggesting that it should be applied to individual automobile owners. It finds it made more sense than the present system, and hopes that the responsible young drivers would advise their insurance agents, the State insurance commissioner and prospective legislators to adopt such a system.

"Two Sensible Laws, Needed in N.C." indicates that the 1953 General Assembly had not paid much attention to the displaced voter who had moved from elsewhere and did not have time to establish new residency prior to the election, thus being denied the right to vote. But North Carolina Secretary of State Thad Eure had returned from a conference with other state secretaries, promoting the "Connecticut plan", whereby a registered voter who removed himself to another state could continue to vote in his original home state for President and Vice-President until he had time to fulfill the residency requirements of the state to which he had moved. Connecticut had passed a law which applied the same principle also to the precinct and state levels.

The piece finds the legislation progressive and sensible, suggests that readers ought to urge progressive and sensible friends and neighbors to run for the next General Assembly.

A piece from the Montgomery Advertiser, titled "Firing at the Moon", tells of Dr. Fritz Zwicky, an astrophysicist at the California Institute of Technology, having stated that within a few months he would be ready to fire small rocket projectiles at the moon and Mars, and when they struck their targets they would make vivid flashes, which could be seen through large telescopes. It suggests that when Dr. Zwicky had been a small boy, he, like other boys, would probably take potshots at the moon when he was returning from the fields late in the afternoon.

It indicates that the moon shot would not be easy, that the projectile would have to travel 25,000 mph to clear Earth's atmosphere and that it had to hit the dark of the moon during the new moon or first-quarter, so as to be visible when it hit. It would also take a minimum of ten hours for it to strike the moon from its launch time. A strike on Jupiter, of which he also dreamed, would take two years from launch to accomplish.

It wishes more power to Dr. Zwicky and hopes that he would blast the man in the moon between the eyes, as the editorialist had tried often enough years earlier.

U.S. News & World Report tells of the Administration going ahead with plans to close down some Federal operations of a commercial or industrial nature, while curtailing others, with direct competition between government and private companies being reduced. Nevertheless, the Government did not intend to sell off the Federal power plants, as had been recommended by former President Herbert Hoover and urged by the private utility interests. The TVA would continue and the President promised that new power plants would be built, with the result that Republicans would be producing and selling more electricity than had the Democrats, even though the Republicans would not build as many plants as the Democratic Administrations had planned.

Neither would the Postal Service be farmed out to private contractors, as had been suggested by the Council of State Chambers of Commerce.

The Administration had also set up a new agency instead of RFC to make business loans.

There was talk of making greater use of the Export-Import Bank to finance exports, and other agencies continued to make loans to farmers and veterans, meaning that the Government would remain a big banker. It would also be the largest buyer and seller of home mortgages, through the Federal National Mortgage Association, which held about 2.5 billion dollars worth of mortgages, sold to it by banks and other institutions.

The Administration was doing its best to get out of two businesses, as the Commerce Department had sold the tow boats, barges and terminals operated by the Inland Waterways Corporation, a Federal carrier on the Mississippi River and some of its tributaries, and Congress had approved the sale of the Government's synthetic rubber plants which had been built during World War II.

War housing projects were to be given to schools and local authorities, sold to private owners or demolished. Some of them were unwanted, even for free. There were no plans, however, to sell 122,000 homes which Federal agencies were renting to civilian employees, usually at below fair rental value.

The Republican aim was to forestall "socialistic" experiments by letting private industry develop peaceful uses of atomic energy, such as power plants run by nuclear reactors. But the Government would continue to make atomic weapons and sell radioactive by-products.

In other fields, Republicans were not moving any faster than Democrats to get rid of Government businesses, such as the Navy factories which made ten million or more gallons per year of paint for Naval use, two of which such plants the Democrats had indicated they might close. But Republican Secretary of the Navy Anderson had not gone that far, telling the Navy to buy more from industry but still allowing it to continue to make its own paint.

Members of Congress had asked the General Accounting Office to investigate charges that military stores, which were set up to sell only essentials to isolated servicemen and their families, were selling a variety of merchandise, even to civilians, despite private shops being nearby. It was expected that the GAO report would indicate that the military stores had broken rules and cost the taxpayers money. Defense Department officials were warning these Government shopkeepers to curtail their operations. Democrats had decided to close two of the six coffee-roasting plants run by the armed forces, and the Republicans had not gone any further.

The piece covers other such cases, in every one of which private industry claimed it could supply the products more cheaply. But Government officials said that they were only interested in current operating expenses and not in long-term private deals, even though they might save the Government money over time.

Thus, the Government's business activities were being checked here and there, over opposition, but the Government still owned the nation's largest merchant fleet, printing establishment and life insurance business. Some of the businesses were over a century old and catered to millions, and did not yield readily to private enterprise.

Drew Pearson indicates that a red border around a military document meant that it was "classified" and thus off-limits to journalists, but being classified did not necessarily mean that the document dealt with national security. Sometimes, the classified matter was simply that of which the Pentagon brass hats had not wanted taxpayers to become aware. One such matter, he recounts, was the Army's recent secret order dealing with imbibing of liquor on military posts, which had been classified, so that church and temperance groups would not become aware that the Army was on the verge of becoming a nightclub business. A law had been passed in 1901 forbidding the sale of liquor on military posts, but the Secretary of the Army had set it aside to permit such sale, a secret order to that effect having been signed by Adjutant General of the Army Maj. General William Bergin, effective September 1, 1953, stating that it would be to the advantage of morale to allow such sale in moderation, as long as it did not become the major open mess activity. The regulations he promulgated indicated that bars or lounges could not be constructed and located so as to suggest a saloon or gaudy nightclub.

Senator Joseph McCarthy had claimed that bets were being taken from within the Government Printing Office and had called a bookie before the Senate Investigating subcommittee to examine that report. Mr. Pearson suggests that he must have had his tongue in his cheek, for if there was any Senator who had gone in for gambling on Capitol Hill and elsewhere, it was the "jumping gentleman from Wisconsin". Just before he made his announcement regarding the GPO, he had been playing the ponies at the Del Mar racetrack near San Diego, with FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, Clint Murchison, the Texas oil king, and Sid Richardson, also of the Texas oil aristocracy. Mr. Pearson agrees with the Senator that gambling should not exist in the Government Printing Office, but suggests that the Senator was "throwing stones from glass houses", proceeds to provide in detail some of his gambling adventures. He had played roulette in Puerto Rico the previous December, had once admitted to Mr. Pearson's assistant, Jack Anderson, that he placed bets regularly with a bookie in the Senate Office Building, as a young lawyer in Wisconsin had been credited with making more money at poker than at law, had, while his committee had been probing the loan from RFC to the Lustron prefabricated housing corporation, been seen at Pimlico and other Maryland racetracks with the head of Lustron, had lost a large amount of money, according to a witness who testified before the Senate, but then cashed a check with the head of Lustron, who then tore up the check. The latter gave a different version, denied that he was in the habit of tearing up checks for Senator McCarthy, though admitting that he had torn up two, which the Senator claimed to have replaced.

Marquis Childs tells of the many new commissions and committees appointed by the President or heads of the various departments and agencies to study various problems in the executive branch and provide recommendations. He looks closely at one such committee of 57 members appointed by Attorney General Herbert Brownell to study the antitrust laws. The committee included 13 professors from various universities, Wendell Berge, a Washington lawyer and former head of the antitrust division of the Justice Department, whose views on the need for strong enforcement were well known, retired Supreme Court Justice Owen Roberts, whose views on antitrust laws were a matter of record, with the remainder almost entirely consisting of members of the large law firms throughout the country.

Trust-busting had been initiated by President Theodore Roosevelt, who denounced the large combines put together in oil, steel and other basic commodities toward the end of the 19th Century. President Roosevelt challenged them because he believed they were exercising a power greater than that of the Government. Now, the giant corporations dwarfed those of TR's time. A view was coming into greater vogue that bigness, of itself, was not a violation of antitrust laws. Former New Dealer David Lilienthal, chairman of the TVA and former chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, had written a book on the virtues of bigness in big business. The co-chairman of the Brownell committee, Professor S. Chesterfield Oppenheimer of the University of Michigan, held that view. The other co-chairman and the new head of the antitrust division of the Justice Department was former Superior Court Judge in Los Angeles, Stanley Barnes, who admitted that he knew little about antitrust law. The chief assistant directing the study would be J. Thomas Snyder, who had been general counsel for Standard Brands.

Fifteen antitrust actions had been undertaken by the new Justice Department during the previous seven months, including indictments returned principally against smaller companies. A month earlier, Mr. Brownell had announced the indictment of the Louisiana Fruit and Vegetable Producers Union and six of its officers, the indictment charging that the growers conspired to fix the price at which strawberries would be sold at auction. According to the union officials, they were all small producers. At the same time, the Department dropped an eight-year prosecution against the cement industry.

Mr. Childs concludes that it might not yet form a pattern, but it did represent the straws in the wind.

Robert C. Ruark thinks that too much was being made about the returning G.I.'s from Korea, that they had experienced a rough time and the prisoners had experienced an even rougher time, with some having apparently been brainwashed and tortured. It was possible that some of the returnees would be Communists, tragic cases, but not necessarily irremediable, provided there was not undue focus on them.

He looks back to World War II returning veterans and believes that too much was made of the suggestions by psychologists and others that they would prove to be difficult to handle after having gone to war, that they would make bad husbands, become loafers, perhaps even become criminals. While some had fit that category, by and large, he indicates, the veterans had been very well-adjusted persons who married or returned to their families, settled down to jobs and became contributing citizens. He suggests that the veterans returning from Korea would likely prove no different, and that any aberrant behavior would likely be from a smaller percentage of men than in the general population among those who had not gone to war.

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