The Charlotte News

Saturday, September 5, 1953


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that 275 Americans had been released in Panmunjom this date by the Communists, who promised to return an additional 110 the following day, the 33rd and final scheduled day of the prisoner exchange program. All of the Americans, the largest contingent freed in a single day, appeared healthy. The final delivery would increase the number of repatriated Americans to 3,596, 283 more than originally promised by the Communists, increased by the number of prisoners who had been captured in the waning days of the war. The total number of allied prisoners repatriated would be 12,753, ten short of the 12,763 whom the Communists had initially said they would return. The Communists had since indicated that more than 20 non-Korean and 300 Korean prisoners had refused repatriation and would be turned over to the neutral nations repatriation commission for disposition. The allies returned 2,400 North Korean prisoners this date. Both sides confirmed that they would complete the exchanges the following day. The allies said that they would return 137 Chinese and 2,255 North Koreans the following day, boosting the repatriated total of Communists to 75,797, nearly 1,800 more than the 74,000 which the U.N. Command had originally promised to return.

The U.N. Command this date provided the Communists with a list of men "known to have been captured by you and to have been in your custody", but who had not been liberated. The note indicated that if those men were not returned by the end of the exchange program, the U.N. Command would ask for an explanation, that the men had been identified as prisoners through the Communists' own reports, broadcasts of their radio stations, and through the supported statements of repatriated prisoners and from letters those men had mailed while in camps.

Three American airmen returned this date said that they had not confessed to dropping any germ warfare bombs, despite having been threatened with death after being kicked, slapped, stripped naked and forced to stand under driving rain, thrown into holes and sometimes deprived of food and water. One of them said that he had been threatened with death before a Chinese firing squad if he did not confess, but still refused.

Maj. General William Dean, liberated by the Communists the previous day after three years in captivity, checked into the Tokyo Army Hospital this date for rest and a physical examination before heading home. Doctors described his appetite as "amazing". He had scheduled his second press conference for Sunday. Before boarding a transport plane for Japan, he had driven through the streets of Seoul the previous day, smiling and waving to thousands of Koreans who had turned out to cheer him. At the airbase near Seoul, he wept as he said farewell to General Maxwell Taylor, the commander of the Eighth Army, and other officers and representatives of South Korea, where he had been military governor during the occupation period. He stated in Korean, "Thank you very much," to a group of small Korean girls who had presented him with bouquets of flowers.

In Honolulu, a corporal known as "Slick", arrived the previous day on his way home from Tokyo and said that it was a mistake that his fellow prisoners in North Korea were out to get him because he supposedly had "ratted" on them to the Communists. He was scarcely out of his teens and looked young and a little scared, his hand shaking as he held a cup of coffee and talked to a reporter at Hickam Air Force Base near Pearl Harbor. He admitted that there was animosity in camp against men who were friendly to the Communist captors, but he denied being one of them, saying that he was friendly with everyone. He confirmed that he had gone AWOL five days from an Army hospital in Tokyo, but denied that he was seeking to run away from other liberated prisoners out of fear they might do him harm. He said that he went out and got drunk, missed his plane and decided to stay drunk. He then returned voluntarily to the hospital, saying that he had been cleared by military intelligence officers after questioning. A Hickam intelligence officer confirmed that he was not in any sort of custody and would return home just like the other POW's. Fellow repatriates aboard the plane showed no indication that they had heard of the public reports about the corporal, with one saying that he was treated just like everyone else. The returnees were scheduled to arrive at Travis Air Force Base in the vicinity of San Francisco on Sunday morning.

In Tehran, a U.S. gift of 45 million dollars in emergency aid to the new Iranian Government had prompted thanks from new Premier Fazollah Zahedi this date, thanking President Eisenhower, who had announced the extension of the aid earlier during the day in Colorado, where he was still on vacation. The extension of the aid was seen as preventing alignment of Iran with Russia. The Shah had indicated recently, after returning to the country following his six-day exile in Iraq and Rome, that the country was broke and in urgent need of economic aid, that if offered by Russia or any other country, it would be accepted.

In Bonn, West Germany, the parliamentary elections were scheduled for the following day, and it was anticipated that 25 million of the Federal Republic's 33 million registered voters would go to the polls to choose a new Bundestag, the lower house of parliament, which in turn would choose the new government. Chancellor Konrad Adenauer and his Christian Democrat party expressed confidence in victory, despite a strong closing campaign from the Socialists, the nation's second-largest party. Sunny weather, with scattered showers, were forecast for the following election day. To the average German, there was no clear-cut East-West choice in the election, as had been implied by recent statements from both Washington and Moscow. Reunification of Germany, favored by all parties, was uppermost in the minds of many Germans. Both leading parties also professed opposition to any form of Soviet domination. East German Communists continued to send propaganda material to West Germany, with police having confiscated 500 pounds of Communist leaflets found hidden on an interzonal train from Berlin as it crossed the border at Ludwigstadt. The Federal Interior Ministry announced this date that any threat of wide-scale election violence appeared to have been interdicted, with the arrest of thousands of East German toughs who had been planning to commit acts of violence at polling places, in the hope of disrupting the election against Chancellor Adenauer and the Christian Democrats. Tass, the official Soviet news agency in Moscow, called the previous night for the defeat of Chancellor Adenauer and his program of rearmament in alliance with the West.

Senator Everett Dirksen of Illinois predicted this date that Republicans would and should attempt to force passage of the Fair Employment Practices Commission legislation in the 1954 session of the Congress. He made the prediction after the Agriculture Department had announced that it had abandoned its controversial requirement that banks which made farm price support loans had to promise not to practice racial discrimination in their employment. Previously, efforts to pass the FEPC legislation had been blocked by Southern Democratic filibusters in the Senate, after having passed the House. Senator Lister Hill of Alabama said that he foresaw no reduction of Southern opposition to measures of that type.

Charlotte Mayor pro tem James Smith said this date that he had received information the previous day from Drew Pearson purporting to support the columnist's charge that "an underworld gambling racket with police payoffs" flourished in Charlotte, as made on his weekly television news program the previous Sunday, but that Mr. Smith would not give a nickel for the piece of paper on which it was written. Mr. Smith had proposed a police study committee and indicated that the information had been turned over to the three-man body. He declined to provide details of the information received from Mr. Pearson, but indicated that it included the names of several informants. He added that if there were any corruption in Charlotte, they did not know about it.

Drew Pearson's column appears on the front page this date, as it relates to Charlotte, indicating that the citizens had appointed a committee to study the police department, the committee consisting of a preacher, a druggist and a businessman, each of whom appeared sincerely anxious to do a good job, provides information which he hopes would help them. He indicates that when the Kefauver Crime Committee had investigated racketeering in 1950 and 1951, their investigation of Frank Erickson, the big-shot gambler who was presently in jail, had revealed that he had organized off-track betting in Miami, placing his men inside the track, together with a series of bookmakers outside the track in the leading hotels of that city, all of which was illegal. A man named Allen Cantor had handled the bets for Mr. Erickson. Mr. Cantor and his brother, Irving, had once operated their gambling racket in Charlotte, and were on friendly terms with the present Police Chief, Frank Littlejohn, who, as chief of detectives at the time, had once sought to stop a nationwide search for Allen Cantor when he had been wanted as a material witness in a Washington murder. The information also indicated that Lamar Caudle of North Carolina, former head of the criminal division and then the tax division of the Justice Department, had, prior to joining the Justice Department, been approached by Mr. Littlejohn in an effort to stop that search. Mr. Pearson had called Mr. Caudle, who admitted that, while a lawyer, he had been called by Mr. Littlejohn to the apartment of Irving Cantor in Charlotte, without knowing that the two brothers operated a gambling ring in the city. Mr. Littlejohn had told him that the Washington police were looking for Allen Cantor in connection with the murder in an apartment building where Mr. Cantor lived part of the time. Mr. Littlejohn had told Mr. Caudle that it would be most embarrassing if the wanted poster of Mr. Cantor were placed in the post office. The remainder of the editorial is on another page.

Chief Littlejohn denied that he had ever befriended Allen Cantor or had helped Irving Cantor with an income tax adjustment, as charged by the column. He also denied seeking out assistance in the income tax case from Mr. Caudle. The full statement of the Chief is printed on the page.

In Mocksville, N.C., former Governor Kerr Scott said this date that he would decide sometime between Christmas and the beginning of February whether he would run for the U.S. Senate, the seat currently occupied by recently appointed interim Senator Alton Lennon. The former Governor would throw his hat in the ring and win the seat.

State Highway Patrolmen were planning Operation Safety to reduce highway accidents during the Labor Day weekend, with all days off canceled and all members of the Patrol assigned to work extra hours. A sergeant pointed out that 12 persons had been killed during the Labor Day weekend the previous year in the state, and urged drivers to keep the highways safe. The sergeant advised not driving more than 55 mph on any highway, to drive at slower speeds when instructed by road signs, to drive at 20 mph in city business sections and 35 mph in residential areas, not to drink while driving, to drive carefully and not recklessly.

During the first hours of the 68-hour long holiday weekend, 41 persons across the nation had met violent deaths, 31 of whom had died in traffic accidents, with three drownings and two deaths in a California plane crash. The National Safety Council had estimated that 440 persons would die during the weekend in traffic accidents, between 6:00 p.m. Friday and midnight Monday.

In Edwards, California, the Bendix Trophy race, now an all-Air Force event, began at dawn this date, as the first planes took off on the 1,900-mile flight to Dayton, O. Ten Sabre jet pilots were participating. The winner would be determined on the basis of total elapsed time from takeoff to eventual landing in Dayton, with the expected time to take slightly more than three hours. The previous record was set in 1951 by Col. Keith Compton, who flew the distance from Edwards to Detroit at an average speed of 553.86 mph.

On the editorial page, "The West's Stake in German Elections" indicates that Secretary of State Dulles had a penchant for saying the wrong thing at the wrong time, as when he was participating in the swearing-in ceremony for the new ambassador to Canada, remarking that he had seen quite a few ambassadors off lately and was glad to finally see one going to a "decent country". At his press conference two days earlier, he had announced that defeat for Chancellor Konrad Adenauer's West German Government in the Sunday elections would cause confusion and delay solution of the German problem, causing the Chancellor's opponents in the election to become angry over the implied endorsement, labeling it as meddling in their elections.

It finds that such remarks were unnecessary and in very bad taste when uttered by the nation's top diplomat, doing more harm than good. The remark had provided fuel for Chancellor Adenauer's opponents, which, if they were to win the elections, could compromise U.S.-German relations under a new regime. It finds that the remark was frank and truthful, as a united and strong Europe would be even more remote should Chancellor Adenauer and his moderate-center Christian Democrats lose the elections. The opposing Social Democrats opposed the Schuman Plan, the European Defense Community, providing for the unified European army, and were opposed to contractual agreements between the Western powers and Germany. They were anti-Communist, not opposed to the West, but similar to the British Labor Party, more interested in socialization of basic industries, social measures and reunification than in joining with the other nations of Western Europe. A victory for the Adenauer Government would by no means assure West German participation in a European army and further integration into Western Europe, but would supply victory to one of the world's most skillful political leaders and one of the best friends of the U.S., giving the West some additional time to work at the urgent task of integrating Germany into the European and NATO communities.

"'Communist' Is a Costly Epithet" indicates that on the West Coast, a radio commentator, James J. Tarantino, had made a big mistake recently by calling Fern Bruner, a San Lorenzo, Calif., school teacher, a "reported Communist", prompting Miss Bruner to file a libel action against the commentator and his station. Mr. Tarantino had defended his accusation by saying that Miss Bruner was a member of the United World Federalists, which the piece indicates was about as unsubversive as the Chamber of Commerce. A jury had found that the commentator and the station were liable for slander and set damages in the amount of $25,000 against each, plus another $5,000 against the station manager. It was the first time in the state that a substantial damages award had been returned for slander communicated via radio involving the epithet of "Communism".

It suggests that the indiscriminate application of the term was becoming dangerous, and courts were recognizing the seriousness of the charges, urges that if a few more persons such as Miss Bruner would take their cases to court, a lot of loose talkers would have to shut up or pay. If the accused did not go to court, the suspicion of truth in the accusation would increase.

Incidentally, the trial judge in the case, Albert C. Wollenberg, as elucidated in the above-linked Des Moines Register reprint of the NEA Journal article on the case, would subsequently, in 1958, be appointed to the Federal District Court in San Francisco, where he would serve until his death in 1981—things we pick up along the way. (While on the subject of the First Amendment, freedom of association and freedom of speech and their tension poised against the common law limits of defamation, Judge Wollenberg's son, Albert C. Wollenberg, Jr., himself later a longstanding San Francisco Municipal Court Judge, was once the deputy prosecutor assigned to prosecute comedian Lenny Bruce for obscenity in 1962, a charge on which Mr. Bruce was acquitted by the jury, albeit with some of the jurors expressing afterward dislike of their verdict and stating the hope that the laws on obscenity in California would be amended. But, regardless of how you view the outcome of the case, don't blame Judge Wollenberg, as he was assigned the matter and had to do the best he could with the cards dealt him.)

"We Like Tough Traffic Cops" thanks the traffic captain and his men for deciding to have vehicles towed which were parked in no-parking zones during the prohibited early morning and late afternoon rush hours. There would be no exceptions, and given the fact that congestion had been caused by the illegal parking, it commends the new policy.

"The Legion and the Ladies" rises to the defense of American womanhood, particularly those women who examined recent copies of Consumer Reports before shopping for a new refrigerator or vacuum cleaner, or to determine how various canned goods compared across brands. For the American Legion, in its convention in St. Louis, had said that it was "unalterably opposed to the Consumers Union and its publication, Consumer Reports."

It suggests that the likely source of the objection by the Legion was that the Consumers Union was charged with being a Communist front, though not on the Attorney General's list of subversive organizations, with HUAC reporting that one of the organization's leaders had been reported to have been a Communist about a decade earlier. The reputation had apparently been acquired undeservedly from rumor, as the publication, it finds, was a credit to American journalism.

It does not blame the Legionnaires for the hasty judgment as they did not have much time to study their resolutions before voting on them, and some good might derive from the condemnation, as Consumer Reports might do a comparison of various veterans organizations.

A piece from the Richmond News-Leader, titled "Meditations on Fenestration, at 12:15 A.M.", asks whether the reader had ever meditated on windows, in the vein of considering the pretty view through the window, while also considering how to get the windows closed when it was raining. It suggests that windows had personalities of their own, like coat hangers or curtain rods, "exhibit the maddening obstinacy of the inanimate; they are possessed of demons."

It indicates that when it rained in the middle of the night, as it had the previous night, the courses of action available to the husband and head of the household were two, either to lie very still in bed, pretending to be asleep, in the hope that his wife would get up and close the windows, or go ahead and close them, himself. But given that the possum act would not work, there was really only one choice, especially as the dining room windows would be too stubborn for the wife to budge.

Some windows were willingly cooperative in closing, "the Boy Scouts of fenestration". But other windows went "cock-a-hoop on no discernible provocation; the right side tilts down or the left side goes up." By peculiar coincidence, those windows were always located behind sofas or over the television set or above the children's toy box, where leverage was difficult to exert and brute strength was unavailing.

It asks whether the reader had ever stepped on a marble, barefooted, at 12:15 a.m., and then leaping backward, stepped on a toy airplane, unable to swear for fear of waking the baby, still unable to get the window to come down.

It suggests that in the future, things might be different in the home, but in the house of the present, the "ordinary window is a sad commentary on the technological genius of our civilization." It stopped raining at 1:30, it reports, but asks whether one had ever tripped over a hobby-horse trying to get the windows open again.

The suggestion that windows were possessed by demons might resolve the riddle of why some of the lunatics in the country, such as the nuts on the radio out in Texas, prefer windowless bunkers. It appears as another plot by the radical, globalist Democrats, out to destroy the country and prevent Trump's re-election as chief kibitzer, by keeping all the windows stuck in either the up position, to let in the rain and prevent voting, or in the down position and thereby prevent egress from the house, which already has so many locks on the doors that it would take a month to get through any one of them.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop indicate that when the President returned from Denver after his vacation, he would find an official report proposing that spending for air defense until 1960 should be between six and seven billion dollars per year. The report had been prepared by a committee headed by Maj. General Harold Bull, the President's old friend and wartime G-3, and included officials, for the most part, appointed in the new Administration. The committee had been appointed by the National Security Council, with the purpose of preparing a report on defense for the American people. The report had been vetted from a scientific viewpoint by another committee, headed by Dr. Lee Dubridge, the President's scientific adviser, and included several distinguished scientists, endorsing the Bull committee's proposals, as had also the Air Force. The next step would be the Joint Chiefs, other than Air Force chief of staff General Nathan Twining, who obviously would endorse the proposal. Typically, the Joint Chiefs would resist having to reshuffle defense priorities, but the President had ordered them to take a new look at American defense planning, and if it was to have any significant changes, would need that sort of reshuffling of priorities. The Chiefs already had several reports available on the air defense problem, all concluding generally that a significant air defense effort was urgently needed to confront the constantly growing Soviet air-atomic capabilities, producing a gap vis-à-vis the U.S. capabilities, especially in domestic air defense.

After the Joint Chiefs had stated their positions, the final decision would be with the National Security Council and the President. The amounts proposed by the Bull report did not represent a new increase in spending, as they included the present appropriations for air defense, but involved a net increase of about 3 to 4 billion dollars. As a member of the NSC, Budget Bureau director Joseph Dodge was seeking to persuade the President to reduce the level of defense spending to below 30 billion dollars, meaning a significant reduction in force levels for all of the services, ruling out an increase for air defense of the type proposed by the Bull committee.

Secretary of Defense Charles E. Wilson had resisted any arbitrary reduction in the defense budget, at least until the new Chiefs were able to conduct their new examination. Secretary of the Treasury George Humphrey, whom the Alsops regard as the ablest man in the Cabinet, had predicted that the Administration would reluctantly ask for new taxes if it decided that the Soviet development of the hydrogen bomb required an increase in defense spending. The President was genuinely concerned over the burden which defense spending placed on the national economy, but would also not likely pretend that the Soviet hydrogen bomb did not exist, as had President Truman initially with regard to the first Soviet atomic bomb, and it was even less likely, given the report from his own people regarding the desperate need to build air defenses.

Marquis Childs considers the bad press which was besetting Secretary of State Dulles, finding it almost as severe as that which had plagued Secretary of State Acheson for many months during his four years in the post under President Truman, suggesting that it may not be the man but rather the nature of the office which was causing dissatisfaction. He reminds that since 1941, the American people had been caught up in the turmoil of war or cold war, and consequently were looking for some magical solution to cure it all, after more than 150 years of living in peaceful isolation. But no one yet had found the formula for peace.

When Secretary Dulles had made his speech earlier in the week before the American Legion, he had set forth many of the hard truths about the situation, having adopted an almost apologetic tone when discussing the result of the Korean War and the truce, which was remarkable given that the Eisenhower Administration had, five weeks earlier, brought an end to an unpopular war which had cost the country 25,000 lives and nearly 125,000 wounded and missing. The Truman Administration had spent many futile months in trying to accomplish the same thing, and so one might have expected an American Legion audience to cheer the achievement of the truce. The explanation for the Secretary's tone might have derived from what the London Observer had stated in an editorial was the "split mind" of the Administration and the Republican Party. On the one hand, Republicans, championing Nationalist China and Chiang Kai-shek, took the position that Communist China must never be permitted to consolidate its hold on the mainland, and that a continuing war, be it cold or hot, would have to go along with the program of aid to Chiang to ensure the downfall of the Communists and the return to the mainland of the Nationalists. Yet, having stopped short of victory in Korea, the U.S. would now sit at a conference table across from the Communist Chinese, notwithstanding the fact that many returned American prisoners had told stories of torture at the hands of their Chinese and North Korean captors.

Mr. Childs suggests, however, that everyone in the country was suffering to one degree or another from the dualism of words heard and spoken, and from the actions which the country had been compelled to take.

At the recently concluded session of the U.N. General Assembly regarding the constituent membership and agenda of the Korean peace conference, it was widely reported that an effort would be made immediately after the Assembly adjourned to force the issue of Communist Chinese membership, as favored by most West European, Asian and Arab countries, though the U.S. staunchly opposed it. The resentment caused by preventing India from participation in the peace conference would become a factor in this contest. He suggests that the U.S. might be able to delay a showdown in the matter until after the peace conference, and the propaganda of the Communists would then make it difficult for Western Europe to force the issue. That was the assumption of those who were fearful of the matter causing divisiveness among the allies, but it would not remove Communist China as a major factor in Asia.

Robert C. Ruark, in Rome, had been asking himself, during his tour of Europe, where the U.S. had failed and why they hated Americans so badly, that everywhere he went, they wanted Americans to go home. A salmon fisherman and foreign expert, William Phillip Simms, for whom Mr. Ruark had great respect, had suggested that the U.S. ought to come home and mend its own fences, letting foreign nations determine the solutions of their own problems. Economic expert Bernard Baruch, with whom Mr. Ruark was acquainted, had always maintained that giving was a thankless deed, with the beneficent winding up with lumps unless the beneficiary had something to offer in return. His late grandfather used to say that the man who provided unlimited credit at a country store soon would wind up with no money, no stock, no store and no friends. He believed that his grandfather had pegged the present situation vis-à-vis foreign aid.

He suggests that during his travels over the previous many years, he had come to realize that no one outside loved the United States these days. It was for the same reason that Texas was not loved in America. He indicates that the U.S. had too much and gave too much, making people uneasy by the sheer munificence. The symbol of America was the Cadillac convertible "when the donkeys don't carry enough kindling." The problem, he believes, was that the U.S. had less experience in expert meddling than any other country in the world, that it was poor at espionage and could not maintain secrets.

"The world's awful wide. Maybe if we let the separate sections administer themselves for a while, we couldn't do any worse than we've been doing trying to run the whole shebang."

No one, of course, realized at the time that the recent coup in Iran, overthrowing Premier Mohammed Mossadegh and enabling the return from a six-day exile by the more pro-Western Shah, eliminating the nationalists from power in the principal hope of resolving the British oil dispute regarding expropriation of British oil properties, had been facilitated by the CIA and British intelligence, MI6, though immediately carried out by the forces of the army and police under the direction of Maj. General Fazollah Zahedi, the new Premier, in the corollary hope of preventing Iran from being drawn into the Soviet orbit.

A letter writer complains that thousands of gallons of gasoline were being wasted every day in Charlotte by a lack of coordination of traffic signals downtown, that traffic policemen waved their arms frantically at motorists to get them to speed up, beyond the speed limit, prompting his further complaint that they would get you either for obstructing traffic or violating the speed law. He suggests amendments to the traffic laws.

A letter writer regards the outrage expressed in response to Drew Pearson's comment on crime in Charlotte during his previous Sunday news show, the writer saying that a high crime rate could not exist unless there were corrupt or inefficient police officers, and suggests that it might be significant that Charlotte's crime rate matched that of Chicago during its most corrupt and gangster-ridden era. He also finds that there was something wrong with an organization which could not attract and keep good men, as with the Charlotte Police Department. Parents of several boys who reportedly had committed suicide while in jail were charging more sinister acts of homicide. He goes on citing several suggestions of corrupt officials in the city, and counsels against making Mr. Pearson prove his charges, indicates that if there was a mess, as he believed there was, it was the job of the Charlotte citizens to clean it up. He wants the investigation assigned to an impartially selected grand jury with the guts to do something, rather than by a "jack-leg commission" as appointed by the Mayor.

A letter writer from Concord indicates that he was sorry to hear the news that General Jonathan Wainwright, the hero of Corregidor in early 1942, had died in San Antonio, indicates that he was one of America's greatest soldier-statesmen, who would never be forgotten for his heroic defense of Bataan.

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