The Charlotte News

Wednesday, September 9, 1953


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Panmunjom, the U.N. Command this date accused the Communists of not returning 3,404 allied prisoners of war, including 944 Americans, and demanded a prompt accounting for all of them, "or else". The officer did not elaborate on what the ultimatum meant precisely. Most of those on the U.N. list, 2,410, were South Koreans. The spokesman also said that the number exceeded by about 3,100 the 300 prisoners whom the Communists claimed did not desire repatriation. The Communists said that they reserved the right to comment later, and demanded the return of 7,000 North Koreans who had been released prematurely the previous June by South Korea's President Syngman Rhee, who had made the release in defiance of the proposed U.N. truce, which he found unacceptable unless it contained a definite provision for reunification of the country. The U.N. Command spokesman said that the U.N. was not forcibly detaining those individuals.

At the U.S. air base near Seoul, at Kangnung, a Polish member of a neutral nations truce inspection team in South Korea this date had sought political asylum and was provided it by the U.S. air base commander, according to the U.S. Army. The individual decided to defect just as an airplane was warming up to take the inspection team back to North Korea. He expressed to the base commander fear of returning, said that he had been opposed to Communism for a long time.

In West Berlin, the U.S. High Commission newspaper reported this date than an East German housewife had killed a Communist policeman with a two-pound can of lard from the Western food parcel she had received in West Berlin, when the policeman sought to take it from her at a railway station, as she returned to East Berlin. The newspaper reported that she had fractured the officer's skull. More than 3.5 million such parcels had been distributed since July 27, an average of 70,000 per day.

In London, the Admiralty said that a British Naval launch was fired on in Hong Kong waters this date and that casualties had been suffered. The attacking force was not identified. The announcement said that further information would be released as it became available.

The President, still on vacation in Denver, would depart for Washington this night to attend the funeral of Chief Justice Fred Vinson in Washington the following day. In advance of the funeral, he would confer with Vice-President Nixon and several members of his staff, a meeting originally scheduled to take place in Denver. (No fishing vacation this year, Dick.) The National Security Council held its third meeting since the President had begun his Denver vacation a month earlier, with the Vice-President presiding.

In Rome, an American research group this date suggested cancer as an infectious disease caused by a tiny organism, which the group claimed to have isolated and obtained an anti-serum from bodies of white mice and guinea pigs infected with cancer, which would weaken and sometimes destroy the cancer-causing organism. They determined that cancer was not only a localized tumor, but rather a generalized disease caused by the organism within the human bloodstream, present in almost all animal life, including humans, but which was generally kept in check by antibodies. Tumors and other signs of cancer then appeared when the balance was destroyed by irritations or other outside causes. The work was still in a preliminary stage, and scientists attending the sixth International Congress of Microbiology, where the findings were reported, viewed them with considerable reserve.

A House Armed Services subcommittee investigating "four percenter" activities disclosed that a witness, a manufacturer's agent who was prominent in Republican activities in Washington and had been executive secretary of President Eisenhower's inaugural committee, had sworn the prior June that he did not know anyone in the Navy who was offering to use his "contacts" to obtain business for a California manufacturer. He acknowledged offering, for a four percent fee, to help a West Coast firm obtain a Navy contract for more than 25,000 rocket launchers which the company was already scheduled to get, after first having said he was positive that he could not recall any telephone conversation in which such an offer was made to Century Industries of Burbank, saying that he did not recall any percentage figure being discussed with anyone, changing his story when a log of the telephone conversation excerpts was read to him. The log had indicated that he claimed contacts with the Navy's Bureau of Aeronautics, Bureau of Ordnance and Bureau of Ships. But he told the subcommittee that in actuality, he knew no one at those Bureaus and had no experience in that field at all, knew no one at all in the Navy Department.

Hurricane Dolly, packing winds of 95 mph, suddenly arose near Turks Island 800 miles southeast of Miami, immediately posing a threat to the Bahamas, and potentially to Florida. It contained heavy rains up to 10.5 inches over the Virgin Islands, and was developing quickly, with its eye already having formed. It was moving at the rate of 15 mph, not an unusual speed over the ocean. Along its path was San Salvador, where Columbus had made landfall in the New World, and where the U.S. had a guided missile tracking station.

In Pensacola, Fla., a car hit a Louisville & Nashville passenger train at high speed this date, bounded high into the air, killing three Navy flight students who had been riding in the car and seriously injuring a fourth, identified as the driver, each in their early twenties. (Whether the driver might have seen and internalized too much "The Greatest Show on Earth", Academy Award winner the prior March as Best Picture of 1952, is not indicated. Stranger things have happened. Movies and television, if viewed too intensely, can be murder, especially to the young and callow.)

Near China Grove, N.C., eight women and four men, all passengers on a Greyhound bus, were hospitalized this date after the bus had hit the rear of a large truck on U.S. Highway 29 at around 1:00 a.m., while the bus was carrying 32 passengers from Charlotte to Winston-Salem—along the circuitous and narrow road through the countryside. The truck driver was charged with reckless driving, though the particular circumstances leading to that charge are not described, and the bus driver was charged with following another vehicle too closely.

In Charlotte, a protest had arisen over a proposed shopping center on Providence Road at the intersection of Sharon-Amity Road, reaching a boiling point this date as a group of homeowners formed a committee to oppose it as an encroachment by business on a strictly residential neighborhood. The developer indicated that he had planned to build such a shopping center, but had no plans for starting it in the near future—waiting until 1963 to open Cotswold Mall, as referenced in a letter below—, saying that he had purchased the land at high prices and could not afford to develop it for residential purposes. He said also that the land had been on the market for some time and that there had been ample opportunity for those wishing to develop it for residential purposes to do so. He also indicated that there were no "fine homes" near the site. Just a bunch of po' people. Bulldoze 'em. Board 'em up, move 'em out.

In Bridgeton, N.J., a judge ruled that an abandoned wife did not have to pay for the clothing which her husband wore when he had departed with another woman, ruling against a haberdasher who had filed suit to collect on a bill for the shirt and pants which her husband had worn at the time. The break-up was not the fault of the haberdasher, and so it appears as one of those "hard cases" which make bad law. Perhaps he has an alternative cause of action against the husband—assuming, under state law, that they were jointly and severally liable under the contract. And to the wise-acre who then jumps up and screams out the defense, "Res judicata!" equity should always give way to fair results, assuming the shirt and pants had no faults, were double-stitched, per instructions, quite rightly.

In Sacramento, at the California State Fair, a wine tasting took place, with one woman saying: "I can feel it in my legs. I'll be like Bambi on the ice." A man, smacking his lips, said, "I just lo-o-o-ve green grapes." Another woman said: "You'll see what wine makes you do. The tongues loosen themselves." Governor Earl Warren—soon to be named Chief Justice—was present for the event and received a crown of artificial grapes to place on the head of the "vintage queen" from San Rafael. The Governor obliged, but had a hard time placing it on the young woman's head, saying that he was "about as handy as a cub bear when it comes to crowning queens." He had arrived late and so did not have time to participate in the tasting, only having a little toast with the queen. You had better stay away from the Bambi girl, the lip smacker, and the loose tongue girl, should you wish to be confirmed.

On the editorial page, "Vinson Added to High Court's Prestige" finds that no man ever appointed to the Supreme Court had brought to the bench a wider first-hand knowledge of the Government as had Chief Justice Vinson, who had died of a heart attack at the age of 63 the previous day. He had served with distinction in all three branches, the House, where he had dominated the tax-writing subcommittee of the Ways & Means Committee, as judge of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for D.C., between 1938 and 1943, and in his roles in the Roosevelt Administration as directors of Economic Stabilization, the Federal Loan Administration, and the Office of War Mobilization, appointed in 1945 by President Truman to become Secretary of the Treasury, then being appointed Chief Justice by President Truman in mid-1946 at the death of Chief Justice Harlan Stone.

When appointed to his final position, President Truman had noted that he would become the 13th Chief Justice, but that it would be "lucky for the United States and lucky for Mr. Vinson—at least I hope it is." The piece finds that to have been a prophetic remark, that though the Chief might have lacked intricate knowledge of case law, he had a strong influence over the Court through his great wisdom and force of character, while remaining a warm, friendly, gregarious person, able to play poker with President Truman and bridge with President Eisenhower.

Shortly after his appointment, he had given a definition of American freedom, saying that no one wanted to lose any of their personal liberties won in 1776, nor "be afraid to speak or listen, to read or write what we please", "to be afraid to worship as we see fit", "to be told where to work or how to work", "to be told where or how to live". "We want to govern ourselves. We do not want to impinge that right for others. We want to choose our leaders."

Adhering to that code, it finds, Chief Justice Vinson had been able to lead the Court cautiously into a vast expansion of the "separate but equal" doctrine in Sweatt v. Painter in 1950, while also gradually restricting the freedom of Communists to teach and advocate the overthrow of the Federal Government by force or violence, in the several proceedings, notably Dennis v. U.S. from 1951, regarding Communist Party members convicted under the Smith Act. It finds that he could also move decisively when he thought it advisable, such as in the Rosenbergs' case the previous June, after Justice William O. Douglas had issued a stay of their executions until a new theory, not previously considered by the courts, could be determined, involving whether a 1946 law had superseded and replaced the 1917 Espionage Act penalty provisions, under which the Rosenbergs had been sentenced to death, the Chief calling the Court into session two days afterward, vacating the stay on the basis that the theory advanced had no chance of success, as there was no Congressional intent evidenced to suggest that the Congress in the later law intended to abrogate or supersede any portion of the 1917 Act.

Regarding that case, it should be noted that Justice Douglas, in his posthumously published 1980 autobiographical volume, The Court Years, stated that in August, 1953, Chief Justice Vinson, while the Court was still out of session, had invited Justice Douglas's brother, Arthur, to have a drink with him, at which time he confided that Justice Douglas had been correct in issuing the stay and that he had been wrong in convening the Court for a special session to set it aside two months earlier, leading Justice Douglas to speculate in his autobiography whether Chief Justice Vinson had a premonition of his imminent death. Justice Douglas remarked that he was a good medical candidate for a heart attack as he smoked incessantly, evidenced by his photograph appearing on the front page the previous day, and got little exercise. Perhaps, he should have gone hiking around Washington and on the Appalachian Trail with Justice Douglas.

Another significant case, which it omits, in which Chief Justice Vinson delivered the opinion, unanimous, albeit with three Justices recusing themselves from participation, was Shelley v. Kraemer in 1948, holding racially restrictive covenants in contracts to purchase real property unenforeceable, deemed violative of the Fourteenth Amendment Equal Protection clause, holding further that while private, non-governmental parties could contract under such covenants and voluntarily abide by them, they could not seek enforcement in the courts as that would invoke the state action required for a violation of Equal Protection.

It concludes that the expressions of grief over his death from both Democrats and Republicans had been a measure of the esteem in which he was held.

"Here's Something To Yell About" indicates that the Administration of Governor William B. Umstead had made a good start toward exploding the myth that the State tax structure was unfavorable to commerce and industry, but adds that there was still much to be done. The Governor had found an eloquent chairman for his commerce and industry committee of the Board of Conservation & Development in Robert Hanes of Winston-Salem. One of the jobs of Mr. Hanes would be to explain the tax structure in terms of services rendered, and, it finds, he should be effective at it.

"After the Rains Came the Dawn" indicates that for three days and nights, the rain had come in irregular bursts, slammed against the windows by a driving wind from the northeast, and when it had stopped, the clouds had dropped down, producing misty and damp, clammy cold, coating leaves and rocks with beads of water which ran together into big drops, which came down slowly and monotonously in drips.

"Even the plump and cheery little juncos lose their balance and gaiety and sit bedraggled and disconsolate in the bush on the rock ledge outside the window. And the red squirrel that comes late in the afternoon to snatch the seeds put out for the birds is less frisky than usual."

It proceeds to describe a drive to Grandfather Mountain, appearing from out of the mist following the rains. It had dashed plans for hiking to the various peaks of the mountain or having outdoor fires in the crisp coolness of the early fall. Finally, on the last day, the peaks of Grandfather had shown through as "a picture of unforgettable beauty."

"And so you start, reluctantly, for home, the short vacation over, but with the memory of that magnificent moment helping to erase any regrets over other plans that went awry."

There should have been a comma for clarity after "Rains" in the title, but maybe it was rained out at the last moment before deadline.

A piece from the Carlsbad (N.M.) Current-Argus, titled "And Now—The Dickel", indicates that an Illinois town had introduced a new coin, the dickel, worth seven and a half cents, or, it comments, about as much as some of the new dollars. The dickel could only be spent in that town, Lincoln, but, it suggests, might catch on like the Lincoln penny. You could put it into slot machines and receive nothing, just as with any other money, and it would not buy much, just as with any other money. It suggests, however, that it was worth more than a Communist promise. You could purchase anything you wanted for 7.5 cents, even though a magnifying glass would be necessary to view the contents of the purchase.

It suggests that the next coin would be a "boke", halfway between a buck and being broke.

It adds that they had a new expression in Lincoln: "Don't take any hickory dickels."

It leaves off the diller, the killer halfway 'twixt a dix and a dollar, $5.50.

Drew Pearson indicates that foreign aid director Harold Stassen's program to conduct an aptitude test for picking the best men to remain in Government had turned out to be a great publicity gag, but otherwise "the biggest hoax Washington has seen in a long time." Mr. Stassen's aides had been constructing a list of employees they wanted to fire at exactly the same time the suggested scientific test was being given. After the test was given, Mr. Stassen proceeded to fire those who had scored with the highest marks, including top officials, while those with the lowest marks, with a couple of exceptions, were retained. Within the Eastern Division of the Technical Cooperative Assistance program, Point Four, Mr. Stassen had fired 17 out of the 20 top officials who received the highest scores, including the administrator for the Near East, the assistant administrator for the same area, and the chiefs of every country except Israel and Iran. With the President being worried over the recent occurrences in Morocco, Tunisia and Africa generally, where vital U.S. air bases were in jeopardy, those firings could, Mr. Pearson comments, prove highly dangerous, as those areas had looked to Point Four technical assistance programs as one of their biggest aids, winning many friends for the U.S., in an area where friends had been scarce. In the Asia Division of TCA, Mr. Stassen had also fired the five men who scored the highest, also an area about which the Administration had been worried, as exhibited in a speech the previous week before the American Legion by Secretary of State Dulles. Mr. Pearson concludes that it was no wonder that the chairman of the House Civil Service Committee, Congressman Edward Rees, had criticized the manner in which those employees had been fired, with years of Government service and civil service rating to their credit.

Mr. Pearson notes that on September 1, 1952, during the campaign, General Eisenhower had promised that when he became President, there would be no discharge of "hard-working civil service" employees, and that no one could say that he was fair if, when the Republicans came into power, he would authorize or condone any such discharge. He had made a similar statement in a speech in Frederick, Md., on September 25, 1952.

The statement by Assistant Secretary of the Treasury Randolph Burgess which had caused Bernard Baruch to withdraw 1.5 million dollars from the National City Bank had occurred in a speech about two years earlier, in which Mr. Burgess, then vice-president of that bank, stated his opposition to price controls. Mr. Baruch was an advocate of controls and thus immediately withdrew his deposits, telling the bank that he had no confidence in it while operated by such men as Mr. Burgess.

He indicates that the United Nations World magazine was not owned by Phillips Petroleum interests, as had been reported by Walter Winchell, but was edited by Roger S. Phillips, son of T. W. Phillips, who was president of Phillips Gas and Oil Co. of Butler, Pa. He adds that Mr. Phillips was doing a fine job as editor.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop tell of "Operation Candor", the informal name within the Administration for a project to tell the truth to the American people regarding the threat to the nation from Soviet air-atomic capability. A decision had been made early in the Administration, having been discussed prior to the inauguration, to have the President level with the people in an informal television talk or perhaps a television talk amplified by radio. A National Security Council meeting on the subject, at which Drs. J. Robert Oppenheimer and Vannevar Bush were present to support such a plan, had been held during the spring. Yet, there was still wavering on the subject, with some leading Administration officials hoping that the NSC would reverse its decision in support of such a talk.

Those persons who opposed the program argued that most of the information, except that which was secret, was already within the public domain. There was truth in that, but the information had been ferreted out by only a relatively small number of people, who had done their best to make the information more widely disseminated, but, overall, the general public remained ignorant of the situation and the actual threat to the country. A Gallup poll had recently confirmed that gap in knowledge, finding that two-thirds of respondents thought there was little or no risk of destruction of their cities by atomic bombs. It remained for the leaders to discuss the situation candidly.

The experts were aware that Russia already had the atomic bombs necessary for a crippling attack on the country, as well as the long-range air delivery devices necessary to accomplish it. They were aware that unless drastic measures were taken to improve U.S. air defense, the Soviets would be able to deliver a devastating air-atomic attack within 18 to 24 months. By and large, however, the country remained oblivious to that fact.

The Alsops indicate that if the President were completely candid, the current approach to defense would no longer be tolerated, and so it was hard to accept that a decision to be candid did not also imply a further decision to take a different approach to defense.

James Marlow indicates that foreign aid director Harold Stassen, at a news conference the previous day at the State Department, had discussed the Foreign Operations Administration, successor to the Mutual Security Agency, of which he had been the head initially, with the successor agency, for economic reasons, having been reorganized by the President to include two other agencies under it, Point Four technical assistance to underdeveloped nations, and an agency which had provided Point Four guidance to South American countries. Mr. Stassen had dismissed in the process 350 employees the previous week, with many saying they had been "Stassenated", setting up an empty filing cabinet as a mock coffin and dropping into it their "RIF", reduction in force, notices, draping it with white gauze and carbon paper to appear as black crêpe.

Mr. Stassen had said publicly that he regretted the dismissals but had no other choice because Congress had ordered that reductions in staff be made. His public relations assistant handed out a chart showing the new chain of command at FOA, with the changes becoming effective on October 1. The conference was anticlimactic, as these changes had already been announced.

Toward the end of the conference, Mr. Stassen had been asked whether he thought the country would have to continue giving economic aid to Western Europe after the end of the current fiscal year, to which he answered that he thought there would be very little, if any, necessary because Western Europe had been making such good progress, with four percent higher production than at any time in Western European history.

Mr. Marlow indicates that the journalists departed the conference without hurrying to the phones, whereas six years earlier, when Secretary of State Marshall had suggested his plan of economic aid to Europe, there had been a shock of excitement both in the U.S. and in Europe. At that time, no one knew whether the Plan would work to contain Communism, but after six years, Mr. Stassen was able to indicate, almost as an historical footnote, that the Plan had worked very well.

A letter writer from Bladenboro, N.C., indicates that the furor caused by a few South Carolina banks and men of importance over the contract provision for banks providing to farmers price support loans requiring non-discrimination in employment in those banks, had been "positively sickening". He asks how long blacks would continue to give their lives on the battlefields of the world for economic and social freedoms while being deprived of those freedoms "by the dastardly Un-Americanism of a few bigoted Southerners". He indicates that the FEPC, which had been established during the war by President Roosevelt by executive order pursuant to the war powers act as applicable to all Government contracts but had been resisted in Congress since the war, though repeatedly pushed by President Truman to become a permanent commission to enforce non-discrimination in employment, had worked successfully and without infringement on personal prerogative in the North. "God save the microscopic minute-men of the South."

A letter writer from Cheraw, S.C., indicates that some Southern governors called themselves Democrats but were not Democrats, rather were something akin to the Progressive Party of former Vice-President Henry Wallace in 1948. He hopes they would "fade away somewhere" and advises that the Democrats should not invite them to Chicago for the mid-September meeting, as they would get mad and not play ball if they could not run the team, "like a bunch of kids". He advises teamwork.

Why not just call them Dixiecrats, rather than associating them with the opposite side of the political spectrum, the Progressives, given that Mr. Wallace fought against segregation on the front lines in Dixie, even against the notorious Sheriff "Bull" Connor of Birmingham, risking jail to make his point of not accepting Jim Crow laws of the time. That seems to be a rather stubborn, paradoxical reach to make a point.

A letter writer indicates that on Sunday, she had been sick and could not attend church, but heard a wonderful sermon on the radio, wishes that every pastor could have heard it, as the minister had said that some ministers were more interested in money than in saving lost souls. She indicates that she knew members of churches in Charlotte who were unsaved, that pastors had been asked to see them but had never gone, and that Christians were supposed to be winners for Jesus. She thinks it is time for pastors to wake up and check on the lost or saved, for no one knew when Christ was coming and that money would not pay one's way into heaven.

A letter writer from Rock Hill, S.C., indicates that Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare Oveta Culp Hobby had recently addressed a San Francisco meeting of the American Hospital Association, challenging the American medical organizations to find a way to save the American family from destruction by catastrophic illness. She said that most Americans did not desire socialized medicine, but long-term illnesses could wreck a family's economy. She said that high income families and low income families which had to accept aid could pay their bills without destroying their savings, but the middle income families who had to pay their own way were severely hurt financially. She had also said that middle income families were in favor of socialized medicine for that reason. The writer, who remains anonymous, indicates that the problems had to concern every thinking citizen, and urges that Government funding had to be used to expand medical schools to provide the doctors to meet the needs of the population, especially in sparsely populated rural areas.

A letter writer agrees with a previous letter writer that there ought to be a grand jury investigation of the Police Department in Charlotte, rather than by a committee appointed by the City Council. He says he did not know anything about alleged corruption in the Department, but that as a citizen he wanted a complete investigation by a competent body.

A letter writer from Gastonia indicates that plans which had been set forth in the newspaper for Cotswold shopping center had not included a theater, and he asks what was a shopping center without a theater. He urges establishment of a first-class theater, one that would not be closed by the 20 percent amusement tax, which the theater owners were seeking to be canceled.

A letter from a patrolman and a detective of the City Police Department, and a lieutenant of the County Police, thanks the newspaper for its support in publicizing the second annual convention of the Southern Police Institute Alumni Association, especially reporter Donald MacDonald, indicating that the convention had been a success.

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