The Charlotte News

Tuesday, September 8, 1953


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Supreme Court Chief Justice Fred Vinson had died suddenly of a heart attack this date at age 63, in his Washington apartment. His wife and son were present at the time of the heart attack, summoned a physician, but the Chief Justice had died 45 minutes later. He had become Chief Justice on June 24, 1946, appointed by President Truman in the wake of the death of Chief Justice Harlan Stone, elevated to Chief by FDR in 1941. Mr. Vinson had been appointed Secretary of the Treasury by President Truman less than a year before being appointed Chief Justice.

He had not delivered a large number of the Court's opinions during his seven years as Chief, but a number of important cases had been decided during that time. The story indicates that one of the most famous had occurred just the prior June, when the Court was asked to stay the execution of convicted atomic spies Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, but on June 19 the Court had set aside a temporary stay provided by Justice William O. Douglas two days earlier to permit a newly raised legal issue to be considered, the vacation of the stay having opened the way for the execution of the Rosenbergs that same night. In a subsequent formal opinion issued by the Court, Chief Justice Vinson had said that Justice Douglas had the power to issue the stay, but that the question on which the stay had been granted had no reasonable likelihood of success, being premised on whether the 1917 Espionage Act, under which the Rosenbergs had been convicted, was at least partially set aside, insofar as the death penalty for espionage, by the subsequent enactment in 1946 of another law, the Court ruling that there was no plausible argument for that latter position, as there was no intent expressed by Congress to disturb the 1917 Act. It does not mention probably his most significant opinion, that in Sweatt v. Painter, in 1950, ruling unanimously that the State of Texas had not shown that it had provided for a "separate but equal" black law school, "substantially equal" in all respects to the State-supported white law school, and so had to admit a qualified black applicant to the University of Texas Law School, one of the principal antecedents to Brown v. Board of Education, to be decided the following May unanimously by the Court, overturning the "separate but equal" doctrine as not satisfying the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, having failed in the 58 years since the doctrine had been enunciated in Plessy v. Ferguson in the context of interstate rail transportation, to provide for the required "separate but equal" educational facilities in the context of public schools. Sweatt had not reached the issue of the constitutionality of the "separate but equal" standard. The Chief Justice had also led the three-member dissent in Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer, the 1952 steel seizure case, announced by Justice Tom Clark for the majority, holding that the President did not have "inherent powerr" as chief executive to seize private property, even in general wartime emergency, unless specifically authorized by Congress, the President having determined that because of the national defense emergency caused by the Korean War, he would seize the steel industry to prevent a strike from interfering with the national security interest. The Court found no grant of authority by Congress and so vitiated the President's order of seizure.

During World War II, Mr. Vinson had been appointed by President Franklin Roosevelt to head the Office of Economic Stabilization, the Federal Loan Administration, and then the Office of War Mobilization, in that order. He had been chairman of a House Ways & Means subcommittee while in Congress from Kentucky, prior to joining the Roosevelt Administration, and in that role had championed the 1936 Revenue Act, which had contained a controversial provision regarding undistributed profits. He had liked to say that he was born in jail as his father was chief jailer in Louisa, Ky., where he was born at home in 1890. He had been good enough as a college shortstop in baseball to make a semi-pro team and maintained a love of the game throughout his life.

Governor Earl Warren, who would subsequently be named his successor, was already considered to be in the vanguard of potential appointees. Governor Warren had announced the previous week that he would not seek re-election for a fourth term as Governor of California in 1954. Others who had been mentioned as possible replacements were New Jersey Chief Justice Arthur Vanderbilt and Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge John J. Parker of Charlotte, both Republicans. Judge Parker had said that he was shocked and distressed by the death of the Chief Justice, who had been his friend for many years and whom he regarded as a "great judge and a great man". Some politicians in Washington believed that Justice Harold Burton of Ohio, appointed in fall, 1945 by President Truman as his first of four appointees to the Court, might get the nod, as he had been a Republican Senator prior to his appointment and was the only Republican on the present Court. Governor Dewey of New York was also mentioned by some as a possible appointee, but he appeared to be preparing to run for another term as Governor.

At Panmunjom in Korea, a dispute over the exchange of war prisoners was forming this date, as the Communists had accused the allies of holding back prisoners and the U.N. Command had prepared a demand for the return of allied prisoners it asserted had not been accounted for in the return of prisoners, which had concluded on Sunday. Peiping radio asserted that the U.N. Command was withholding 357 Chinese and Korean prisoners. The U.N. Command had formed a list of missing prisoners, which it was preparing to deliver to the Communists. Both sides contended that all prisoners who desired repatriation had been returned during the 33-day prisoner exchange program. The U.N. Command began moving the first of nearly 23,000 Communist prisoners who declined repatriation, to the demilitarized zone, where the five-nation neutral repatriation commission would ultimately determine their fate, after each side had an opportunity to meet with the prisoners and seek to change their minds. That transfer was scheduled for completion by September 18. The Communists said they held about 30 Korean and 20 non-Korean prisoners who did not wish to be repatriated.

Meanwhile, the eighth and last troop ship to return American prisoners to the U.S., had left Inchon with 297 prisoners, headed for San Francisco. Only 18 American repatriates remained in Korea, all medical cases scheduled for evacuation soon.

In Bonn, West Germany, Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, fresh off his landslide victory in the parliamentary elections of the prior Sunday, began forming a new coalition government, dedicated to the "liberation" of East Germany and close armed alliance with the West. Speaking to a huge victory rally in the Bonn town square, the Chancellor called on his people to form a united effort to release the 18 million East Germans from the "yoke of Soviet oppression and slavery." He was scheduled to present plans for the new government on Thursday to a committee of his party, the Christian Democrats. The new government would need to be approved by the new Bundestag, expected to meet for the first time on October 2. The question was how many parties would be included in the coalition. Voting had provided 48 seats to the Free Democrats and 15 to the German Party, the latter a right-wing party, both of which had been part of the Government coalition since 1949. Another three seats had gone to the Centrist Party, which said it would vote henceforth with Chancellor Adenauer, and 27 had been delivered for the Refugee Party, formed by millions of fugitives from Communist-occupied Germany. The opposition Socialists, who took a neutral position on Eastern or Western alliance, had received 150 seats. With the Free Democrats, who would undoubtedly join the coalition, Chancellor Adenauer would have a safe majority of 97 seats. He hinted the previous night that he might continue to have the German Party represented in the coalition, and might bring in also the Refugee Party members. The latter would provide him a two-thirds majority necessary to change the Constitution and authorize German rearmament if the West German Supreme Court decided that participation in the European army was unconstitutional.

In Washington, some Republican leaders, believing that voters generally looked with favor on Senator Joseph McCarthy's investigations of Communism, were intending to feature the Senator in some of the following year's Senatorial campaigns. The Senate Republican campaign committee had already begun to line up ammunition against five Democratic Senators whom it regarded as being vulnerable in the 1954 elections, Senators Allen Frear of Delaware, Paul Douglas of Illinois, Guy Gillette of Iowa, Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota, and James Murray of Montana. Good luck with that…

At Arlington National Cemetery, the burial took place this date of General Jonathan Wainwright, 70, who had died the previous Wednesday in San Antonio, after having spent over three years in Japanese prisoner of war camps following his capture after he had led his men in holding Bataan and Corregidor in the Philippines, following the departure of General MacArthur in March, 1942, then surviving the forced "death march" from Bataan. He had been one of only a few of the 300 officers and men who had originally survived the march, to have also ultimately survived imprisonment. The General was interred with a 17-gun salute, and his caisson had been pulled by seven matched gray horses to the burial site, near that of his father, Maj. Robert Wainwright.

In Rabat, Morocco, the U.S. this date formally recognized the new French-selected Sultan of Morocco, Mouley Mohammed Ben Arafa, whose nephew had been displaced the prior month by the French.

The Agriculture Department forecast this date the year's cotton crop at 15,159,000 bales of 500 pounds gross weight each, 554,000 bales more than the previous month's annualized estimate. Officials had said that more than 12 million bales would create a surplus, requiring Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson to invoke rigid production and marketing controls on the 1954 crop, with the Secretary having until October 15 to make a decision on the matter. The previous year, the crop had been 15,136,000 bales, against a 10-year average of 12,215,000 bales.

The carpenters union returned to the AFL this date, as announced jointly by George Meany, president of the AFL, and Maurice Hutcheson, president of the Brotherhood of Carpenters & Joiners. The union had withdrawn from AFL at a meeting in Chicago the previous month, ostensibly in response to AFL action in agreeing to a no-raiding pact with the CIO.

In Chicago, a 25-year old woman, who had survived the lowest body temperature in medical history and was known consequently as "the frozen woman", was transported to a hospital after swallowing iodine the previous day, was treated and then charged by police with disorderly conduct. She had said that she did not want to go on in her current condition, as a crippled beggar. She had been found frozen stiff on February 8, 1951, on the South Side, with her body temperature registering 60.8 degrees. After long hospital treatment, her right hand and the fingers of her left hand, plus both of her legs below the knees, had to be amputated. She said that her only income was a monthly State pension of $75. Investigation showed that she had been drinking before she had been found frozen, and after discharge from the hospital, had addressed religious organizations on the evils of alcohol. She told police on Monday that she had started drinking again about two months earlier, and had taken the iodine because she was despondent over her inability to find work.

Hurricane Carol had blown itself out over the Atlantic this date, after inflicting at least one death and damaging apple and grain crops in Nova Scotia's farming belt, where there had been 70 to 80 mph winds and lashing rains, the worst in a decade, also impacting New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, where there were general power outages.

In Charlotte, J. E. Burnside, president of the Home Finance Group, Inc., was named general campaign chairman for the United Appeal fund-raising drive for 1953.

In Louisville, police in the third of three patrol cars located a reported fire this date, after the first two could only locate a bright red glow but could not place the fire, with the third car's patrolman finally reporting that it was just the sun coming up.

On the editorial page, "Gossip, Rumors Destroyed Ronie Sheffield" discusses the fired director of Woman's Prison in Raleigh, the firing having been chronicled by reporter Chester Davis in the Winston-Salem Journal-Sentinel of the prior Sunday, after Mr. Davis had thought some of the facts from the official explanation were missing, prompting him to spend several weeks ferreting those out. Mr. Davis had reported that Ms. Sheffield's career had been broken by a deliberate campaign of vicious gossip and slanderous rumors, accepted at face value without full investigation by the Highway Commission chairman A. H. Graham, with oversight responsibilities of the prisons. She had an outstanding personal and professional reputation when she first had become director of Woman's Prison in November, 1950, and had made "remarkable" progress toward better prison standards and physical facilities during her term in the position.

The rumor campaign had been started about the time the new Administration of Governor William B. Umstead had taken office the prior January, with most of the rumors traced to persons who had either been discharged from the prison system and were bitter, or who had clashed with Ms. Sheffield over matters of hospital administration, also bitter. Mr. Graham had accepted the validity of the reports without informing Ms. Sheffield of the nature of the accusations against her or providing her opportunity to defend herself, and appeared to have aggravated matters by letting it be known later that his information was "reliable" and that it could not be discussed publicly, further magnifying the rumors among the general public.

It concludes that a grave injustice had been done to Ms. Sheffield, for which there was no adequate remedy short of repudiation of Mr. Graham's actions by Governor Umstead. At minimum, the two men should ensure that there was no recurrence of the situation, as prison officials, just as the prisoners, were entitled to basic due process, notification of the accusations made against them, allowing for presentation of a proper defense in some formal proceeding.

"From the Rhine, a Boost for Federation" finds the landslide in West Germany the prior Sunday for continuation of the Government under Chancellor Konrad Adenauer and his Christian Democrats to have been quite amazing, especially given the history of Germany, historically preferring authoritarian rule to democracy. The West Germans had voted out any Communist representation from the Bundestag, the lower house of parliament, had increased the representation of the Christian Democrats, and had limited the impact of the Social Democrats, committed to neutrality between East and West, most interested in reunification of Germany and its independence. The Christian Democrats had received their principal strength from voters who had not voted in 1949, with a considerable increase in the rate of voting in the four-year interim, from 78.5 percent to 86.2 percent. The increased majority would enable Chancellor Adenauer probably to drop from his coalition the right-wing German Party, and the vote of confidence might embolden him to develop even closer ties with the West and to press for ratification of the European Defense Community, the united European army, as well as for the united Europe movement. German resurgence, however, could rouse further the fears of France and the Low Countries, who had good reason to fear German hegemony in Western Europe. If the Soviet Union collapsed without war, there could be a revival of Germany's old tendency to drive to the East, followed by a search for more territory elsewhere.

But the renewed U.S. assurance that it was not going to pull out of Europe would offset any possible German attempts at future aggression, would reassure the nationals of less powerful European countries. The Adenauer victory presented a good opportunity for the U.S. to renew that pledge for the Atlantic community, which remained the bulwark of the free world, the starting point for an effective international organization.

"A Policy Question for Congress" indicates that when the Raleigh News & Observer referred to a "rapid tax write-off" and the Richmond News Leader referred to an "accelerated tax amortization", they were discussing the same thing. It had come up in the argument over a certificate granted to the Virginia Electric Power Co. to write off 65 percent of the cost of the Roanoke Rapids dam over the course of five years. The American Public Power Association had denounced the grant of the certificate as "flagrant" and "shocking", on the basis that Vepco had argued that the dam was needed to fill the normal, peacetime needs of its customers and that, therefore, the project could not qualify as a defense project. The News & Observer and the News Leader had been at odds with the project for years, as with the entire question of public power, the former believing that the Interior Department ought construct the project, and the latter, that Vepco should do it. Thus, the News & Observer had agreed with the Public Power Association that the tax write-off was "another giveaway", whereas the News Leader had defended the grant.

It suggests that a broader policy question had been raised by the debate, which should be addressed in the following session of Congress, to begin in January. On April 20, the Joint Committee on Defense Production had reported that owners of plant facilities worth 15.6 billion dollars had benefited from the tax write-off program since the start of the Korean War, and that of that amount, the electric industry had received five-year amortization grants on nearly four billion dollars worth of new facilities. The program had been designed to encourage rapid expansion of U.S. production to improve the nation's defense mobilization potential, and had apparently produced the desired results. But, it finds, when the law could be applied to a project such as the Roanoke Rapids development, which had been planned long before the start of the Korean War, delayed by court action, it was time to take another look at the policy to see whether it had outlived its usefulness.

A piece from the Christian Science Monitor, titled "Wheels of the Past", remarks of the passing steam engine in operation of farm equipment and how young people, to be aware of that past, had to see one in operation usually on some special occasion. The big-wheeled steam engines of the past had pulled water wagons and threshing machines at the speed of 5 mph.

Events at county fairs were held to exhibit the machines of the past, as stated in the Farm Journal. But, it indicates, for all the nostalgia, "few would trade the gasoline-driven harvesting and threshing combine for the privilege of firing a boiler and getting more wheat straw down the back of the neck."

John D. McKee, in a piece from the Atlantic, tells of having been diagnosed by his pediatrician during infancy as a "spastic", the term then used for victims of cerebral palsy. He could not crawl at all until age two, and then only by pulling himself forward with his arms, without the usual effort in combination with his legs. At the time, even that feat was considered a miracle. Doctors said that he would never walk, but at age 6, after much effort, he had learned to walk. After four operations and a great amount of physical therapy, he had walked his way through grade school, high school, and was now going through college. He had held jobs which required walking several miles per day.

He had gone to Boy Scout camp for two summers, but could not swim, something his parents had said he should never attempt to do. But as his independence increased, he learned to swim at the age of 28. Because he had fallen often, he did not walk the downtown streets alone until he was a senior in high school. Now, he roamed the streets of the city with complete lack of concern.

He indicates that parents had often hidden cerebral palsied children away in their homes because they were bewildered and ashamed of what they had brought into the world. Such persons had been committed to homes for the feeble-minded because they were unable to express themselves and demonstrate their intelligence. Many such persons exhibited involuntarily inappropriate facial expressions, appearing to smile inappropriately or grimace inappropriately, simply because of lack of control of their facial muscles. Because they could not swallow correctly, some drooled continually. He had never experienced those problems, but had to watch himself carefully when he ate in company, as dining out had been one of the hardest obstacles for him to overcome. His parents had refused to allow him to think of himself as any different from his brothers or from other normal people. He was perfectly relaxed at home and if he spilled something from the table, it was regarded as ordinary. When he would have a particularly rough time with food, his mother would suggest that he sit on the floor so that if anything fell up, they could hand it to him, thus breaking the tension with laughter. He says that such a parental attitude was the only one to take with cerebral palsied children. Those whom he knew who had similarly overcome their greatest difficulties had such guidance in the home.

He explains the difficulty in having to learn to type with one non-paralyzed finger, to tie his own tie after hours of practice in the mirror, and even to drive a car, which he had been doing since late 1949, despite his parents having suggested he would never manage that task because of the rigid reaction of his muscles in any startling situation. For years, it had taken him an hour to bathe, until finally he cut the time in half, something he considered a great accomplishment.

He finds some positive benefits from the affliction, in that he had developed a love of reading at an early age because of his physical limitations, and had acquired an interest in all manner of sports and wrote about them, because of his inability to participate in an organized fashion.

He says that he did not consider himself handicapped because he had overcome so many difficulties, suggesting that a person was handicapped only when he or she failed to look on the particular problem facing them as a challenge to be met. Once the challenge was accepted, what might have been a handicap became one more obstacle to the achievement of one's dreams.

Drew Pearson indicates that when the Reverend Carl McIntyre, president of the International Council of Christian Churches, had been stopped by German and State Department authorities from dropping Bibles by balloon behind the Iron Curtain, he had asked what the State Department was afraid of, whether the word of God did any harm. Mr. Pearson indicates that his irritation was understandable. The State Department generally was opposed to efforts at placing propaganda behind the Iron Curtain. One group, the propaganda experts, were anxious to push any program which would get the right information behind the Iron Curtain, and had encouraged private groups, cooperating with them. A second group, the political advisers, feared reprisals from Russia and reaction within the satellite states, advising that the people in those latter states should not be stirred to revolt until the U.S. was ready to support them. A third group, consisting of Secretary Dulles and the men immediately around him, had promised the American people during the 1952 campaign that the Eisenhower Administration would promote unrest and revolt behind the Iron Curtain, encouraging "quiet revolution" in the satellite countries through such methods as passive resistance, work slowdowns, and industrial sabotage. But recently, Mr. Dulles had reversed himself and ruled that the food packages, being dispensed from West Berlin to East Germans, could not be dropped by balloon over East Germany, despite the Air Force having outlined a plan under which such delivery was feasible and the fact that the Jaycees were anxious to promote the project. Secretary Dulles had said that balloons were impractical for the purpose, as the Russians would shoot them down.

Mr. Pearson again points out that in July, 1953, the Crusade for Freedom had launched 6,600 balloons into Czechoslovakia from West Germany, carrying eight million pieces of Czech paper money and 1.5 million leaflets telling Czechs about the Berlin riots of mid-June and the purge of L.P. Beria in Moscow, which was news to them. When the Communists became aware of the first balloon drop, they used seven MIG-15 jets for an entire day trying to shoot down the balloons, with the result that only three balloons had been shot down in two hours, while they were being launched at the rate of 200 per hour. The following day, the Communists deployed five ME-109's to try to stop the balloon barrage, again without success. He indicates that he had pioneered the first balloon operation over Czechoslovakia two years earlier, when they had dropped about 11 million leaflets, and efforts to stop the barrage had completely failed. He suggests that based on Mr. Dulles's campaign pledges, he should at least examine the facts of the balloon barrages further.

After waiting for 11 years during rent control to raise rents, landlords across the country were now doing so, causing much perturbation among tenants, to the great concern of Republican leaders who had voted to end the controls. Over 15 million tenants, who had been living in rent-controlled homes, were presently paying increases, as much as 100 percent in some areas. The Government, using 1947-48 as a base period, had calculated that rents had risen from a national index figure of 100 to 124 and would likely hit 130 by the end of the year. Even the 26 "critical areas" which were still under rent control were, in fact, at the mercy of landlords because Congress had neglected to leave any money to enforce rent control, except for $60,000, barely enough to hire eight people to run the nationwide rent-control program. The Budget Bureau had ordered servicemen who lived in Government-owned housing to pay the fair market rate for rent in each locality where the housing was located. Angry tenants charged that the Government, under the Republicans, had transferred its sympathy from the tenants to the landlords.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop find the times peculiar, when a conditional commitment to take the U.S. into a possible major war had produced hardly any interest in the public. Secretary of State Dulles, in his speech the prior week before the American Legion, had made that commitment when he declared that the U.S. would go to war with Communist China should the Communist Chinese intervene in Indo-China. The Alsops conjecture that so little attention was paid to the statement because of its conventional diplomatic language. But, undoubtedly, the statement was well understood in Communist China and in Russia. It was officially explained to the Government in France as meaning that the Administration would fight Communist China under the conditions set forth by Secretary Dulles, who had the backing of both the President and the Security Council in making the speech, which, because of its importance, he had drafted himself.

They indicate that the reasons for the statement were partly because Indo-China was presently entering an extremely critical phase in the fighting, as the Korean truce had freed up Communist Chinese reinforcements for the armies positioned in Hanning, just above the Indo-Chinese border. The French had always feared that if they made too much progress against the Vietminh Communists, the Chinese would intervene to assist the forces operating under Ho Chi Minh, and that fear was presently more acute than ever. General Navarre, commander of the French Union forces in Indo-China, had been asking for support in Paris for the type of plan which the U.S. had always hoped for, an aggressive campaign to drive back and destroy the Vietminh army and guerrillas. New French Premier Joseph Laniel had approved the Navarre plan, on the conditions that the U.S. would provide support in the event of Chinese Communist intervention, as Secretary Dulles had just assured, and that there would also be a promise of substantial aid from the U.S., perhaps as much as 400 million dollars, to pay for creating Indo-Chinese anti-Communist forces on the scale of the South Korean Army in the Korean War. General Navarre would need such native forces and probably additional French forces to effect his plan.

The Indo-Chinese Communists, who were benefiting from the long delay in approval of the Navarre plan, were already taking the offensive, even before the end of the rainy season, at which point fighting would normally begin again. General Navarre was organizing his own offensive as rapidly as possible. With the Chinese Communists reinforcing their troops on the other side of the border and many French political leaders grumbling that the Indo-Chinese venture ought to be abandoned, the Alsops posit that critical was a mild word for the new phase.

Robert C. Ruark, in Rome, indicates that he had read in a medical magazine that men who were bald were more virile biochemically than men with a full head of hair, provided they had the same genetic tendencies to go bald. He takes solace from the finding and thinks it explains why women were attracted to him ever since he had started to lose his hair. He had checked with Bing Crosby, William Morrow, Jimmy Durante, Charles Boyer, Xavier Cugat and Brian Ahern, all of whom were bald and all of whom gave him the same answer with regard to increased female attraction.

He found the premise confirmed by Roberto Rossellini, married to Ingrid Bergman, despite being bald, and by Rex Harrison and Leo Durocher, the latter married to Laraine Day.

We can think of another explanation, if there is more than an iota of truth in Mr. Ruark's findings, having to do with a return in appearance more closely aligned with infancy, thus bringing out maternal instincts. But, we had better keep our peace on that for the sake of diplomacy. In any event, you can't argue with the story of Samson without appearing as an heretic.

The Congressional Quiz of the Congressional Quarterly asks what had the Democratic and Republican platforms said about public power in 1952, answering that in part, the Republicans had said they favored greater local participation in the operation and control, and eventual local ownership, of Federally-sponsored, reimbursable water projects. The Democrats had said that the acceleration of resource development projects should be continued and the Roosevelt-Truman policies in that area extended.

It answers the question whether all imported Mexican farm laborers were illegal "wetbacks" in the negative, saying that Congress on August 1 had extended the law authorizing controlled recruitment and importation of Mexican farm workers, more than 197,000 of whom had been so contracted in 1952.

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