The Charlotte News

Saturday, January 2, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Panmunjom, the U.N. Command this date gave the Indian Command an endorsement for its head count of Chinese prisoners the previous Thursday, which the Communists had angrily protested because it might compromise the Communists' demand that the explanations period be continued. The head count had shown that 135 Chinese prisoners of war, of the 4,385 prisoners held, had changed their minds and wished to repatriate to the Communists. The South Korean foreign minister had also protested the head count on behalf of his Government on the basis that it violated the Armistice, which limited the explanations period to 90 days, expiring on December 23. He said that if the head count continued, the South Koreans might liberate about 8,000 North Koreans in Indian custody—who were set to be liberated in any event by the Neutral Nations Repatriation Commission on January 23. The Indian Command had asked no questions of the prisoners but simply had called them out three at a time to write their names and serial numbers on a slip of paper, and then had them checked against a master roster.

In Seoul, a U.S. corporal from Texas, who had been one of the 23 Americans in Communist custody who had initially resisted repatriation to the U.S. but had changed his mind the previous day, said this date to journalists that there might be others who also would change their minds if provided protection from dagger-wielding fellow prisoners of war, seeking to prevent defections. He asked for an investigation of the conditions inside the compound where the prisoners were being maintained in the demilitarized zone, asking that Indian guards search the prisoners for hidden weapons. He was the second of the 23 American prisoners to seek repatriation, the other American, also a corporal, having done so on October 22. His story of conditions inside the compound conflicted with reports from the Indian Command. He said that both South Korean and American prisoners in the compound were armed with daggers to intimidate anyone who wished to escape, that Chinese Communist leaders had contacts with prisoners in the compound, despite Indian reports to the contrary, that a lot of the prisoners were "quite mixed up and there might be others who would come out" if provided a chance, that all outgoing mail from the camp had been written jointly and read to the other prisoners, that the prisoners were split into factions with the leaders of various groups sometimes failing to pass on information provided them by Indian officials. Indian spokesmen had repeatedly claimed that there were no weapons in the compound and that it would be simple for any prisoner who wished to repatriate to contact a guard. As of December 24, all of the Americans still maintaining their desire not to repatriate were listed AWOL and would be counted as deserters as of January 23.

Senator Guy Gillette of Iowa said in an interview this date that he would ask the Senate to curb broad investigative powers in the field of international relations, presently possessed by the Government Operations Committee, popularly known as the Investigations Committee, chaired by Senator McCarthy, indicating that the current situation was never envisioned when the Committee had been formed. He wanted the field of foreign relations limited to the Foreign Relations Committee, of which Senator Gillette was a member, indicating that the sensitivity of foreign relations could not permit "careless actions or statements" which might jeopardize the country's international status. Senator Pat McCarran of Nevada had said the previous day that he believed that the Investigations subcommittee chaired by Senator McCarthy had "done good work", but also that the subcommittee had "stepped over into a field where it was not intended to function". Senator McCarthy, in Miami, said the previous day that "digging out Communism" was not the primary purpose of the subcommittee and that it had been careful to check with the Internal Security subcommittee to avoid duplication of its work.

In Augusta, Ga., the President conferred again this date with Administration advisers regarding his State of the Union message to Congress, to be delivered January 7, following a four and a half hour session the previous day, after which he played a round of golf while his aides worked into the evening on the message. Fore... Look out, neighbor...

In New York, the first black person ever elected borough president in Manhattan, Hulan Jackson, assumed his duties the previous day.

In Tokyo, the Metropolitan police said this night that at least 16 persons had been killed and 41 injured under the feet of a surging crowd, as hundreds of thousands of Japanese flocked to the Imperial Palace to wish Emperor Hirohito a happy New Year. A Japanese newspaper estimated that 700,000 persons had crowded around the palace grounds in downtown Tokyo. Perhaps, the Empress could provide them with one of her fine, esoteric poems to satiate their enthusiasm.

An ore ship limped toward San Francisco under a Coast Guard escort this date after two of its holds had been flooded in a collision with a freighter off the coast of Northern California.

In Savannah, Ga., the Air Force and Civil Air Patrol had canceled at noon this date the search for a missing Navy Beechcraft plane, indicating that the chances that any member of the three-man crew and one passenger had survived the crash of the plane the previous Monday were "not too good". The Air Force said that it would resume the search at any point it received a good lead.

In Charlotte, the body of a local woman was recovered from the Catawba River late during the morning after being spotted from the air by a Civil Air Patrol search plane, the woman having been discovered missing the previous evening when her husband had awakened from a nap to find a note from her saying that she planned to commit suicide by jumping into the river from the Rock Hill Road bridge. The search for her had stopped the previous night because of darkness, weather, and the large crowd of people who had gathered at the scene, and was continued in the early morning, about three hours before the body was observed.

In New Orleans, the FBI said this date that a young couple wanted in Houston in the $57,000 robbery of a bank had been captured the previous night and that both would be arraigned this date before the U.S. Commissioner. The wife of the couple was being held as a material witness. Only one of the four alleged bank robbers remained at large.

In Los Angeles, Col. Willard Millikan, a World War II ace pilot, took off from the international airport this morning in an F-86 Sabre jet, in an attempt to establish a transcontinental speed record for planes, hoping to improve on the four hour, thirteen minute record set in January, 1946 by Air Force Col. William Council in a P-80 Shooting Star jet.

In Alice, Tex., an angry female postmaster had locked up the stamps and cash in a vault in the post office and walked out, charging that "politics" had caused her to be replaced, leaving a clerk in charge, and saying that until the acting postmaster was named or a postal inspector arrived, the post office would handle only incoming and outgoing mail. She had been the postmaster since August, 1934 and was notified by the Assistant Postmaster General the previous month that she would be replaced. She said that she was not resigning her job and planned to appeal to the Civil Service Commission.

In Philadelphia, a man lost control of his car the previous night on a ramp leading to a bridge across the Schuylkill River, ramming a horse-drawn wagon, traversing over a foot-high curb, crossing the sidewalk, ripping out a section of iron railing and dropping 60 feet to a railroad siding, with the car, according to witnesses, turning a full somersault in the air as it landed on its wheels, with all four tires blown out, the trunk lid jarred open and the spare wheel and tire bouncing out. The driver was found sitting in the car, dazed.

Traffic fatalities across the nation had reached 144 this date, during the 78-hour holiday weekend, 100 fewer than had been killed at the same point during the Christmas 78-hour holiday weekend. Forty-five others had been killed in accidents, 22 in fires. The National Safety Council estimated that 38,000 persons had been killed in traffic accidents during 1953, the same number as in the prior year, the first year since 1949 that the number of fatalities had not increased. The Council estimated that 360 persons would be killed during the New Year's weekend, ending at midnight the following day. But if the present rate continued, according to the Council president, it would render a number under 300, the lowest traffic death toll for the New Year's holiday period since 1949. He commented that apparently the shock of the heavy Christmas holiday traffic death toll, amounting to 523, plus the emphasis placed on safety by press, tv and radio, had sobered drivers into observing better safety habits. The previous New Year four-day weekend death toll for traffic accidents had been 407, against a record established of 611 in four days during the 1951-52 weekend.

In Raleigh, it was reported by the State Highway Patrol that no highway deaths had thus far been recorded in the new year as of early this morning, with 14 persons having suffered injuries in automobile accidents, the last fatality having been suffered the previous Thursday night near Raeford. The first fatality of 1953 had occurred on January 3 in Sampson County, and 1,104 persons had died in traffic accidents in the state during the previous year.

In New Orleans, the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis indicated in a nationwide broadcast the previous night that it would begin its national March of Dimes drive the following month and that inoculations in February against polio would cover every state of the nation as part of that program, costing 75 million dollars. The new polio vaccine was to be tested on between 500,000 and one million second grade school children. What about the first-graders?

On the editorial page, "A Useful Guide for Public Appeals" indicates that hasty readers might get the impression that the local chapter of the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis would not be permitted to conduct a solicitations drive in 1954 because the new local Solicitations Information Committee had not approved the campaign, but it was not the case. The committee had declined approval because the Foundation, which had widespread popularity, had not provided a complete annual audit, required by the committee prior to approval of any charitable organization. The piece thinks that the committee made the right decision, having also disapproved the American Korean Foundation and the International Rescue Committee because they had no local sponsor, had refused to submit a budget to the National Information Bureau, and employed expensive fund-raising techniques.

It concludes that the new committee was providing a good service for the community in monitoring charitable campaigns.

"Emphasis Turns from a Subdued Evil" indicates that from 1913 to 1922 there had been 597 lynchings within the United States, followed by 175 in the ensuing decade, 103 between 1933 and 1944, 21 between 1943 and 1951, and none during the previous two years. It suggests that the "vicious form of mobocracy" had thus been eliminated from the U.S. landscape.

The Tuskegee Institute in Alabama had annually compiled statistics on lynching, but had determined that the practice had lost its significance as an index of race relations, and so the Institute would replace it in the coming year with an index which would take into account income, voter participation, education and employment by race. It suggests that all people could take pride in such an advance in race relations, as the issue moved on to a higher plane. "With the decline of the poll tax as a prerequisite of voting, and the equalization of educational opportunities, the burden of becoming active and informed participants in democracy will be upon the Negroes."

It suggests that the inequities in income and employment rested jointly on both races and that white employers who offered to blacks jobs previously filled exclusively by whites would be getting at the roots of the problem.

"Now the French Are Being 'Cornquered'" indicates that the "Coca-Colonization" of Europe, lamented by the French winegrowers, might be a minor revolution compared with a new development which would possibly come to be known as the "cornquest". Europeans had long looked askance at corn, regarding it as a fit food only for cattle or hogs. But corn was now sprouting up all over the Continent, with $40,000 having been spent the previous year on hybrid seed corn by the U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization, resulting in a 60-fold increase in the value of European corn. In addition, some former G.I.'s had overcome Parisian prejudice against corn by developing a business selling popcorn on street corners.

The piece suggests that corn on the cob might soon take its place on French menus alongside escargot and pate de fois gras. It believes that American expatriates who sought escape from American influences in France would now have to look to the French Quarter in New Orleans for solace.

A piece from the Wall Street Journal, titled "What Is Your America?" indicates that when Americans sought to communicate to the rest of the world what the spirit of America was, the answer became elusive. The Voice of America did not speak with America's voice, and neither did books, pamphlets, speeches, or newspapers, each speaking with their own voice.

A young German girl had asked Lewis Gannett, book critic for the New York Herald Tribune, what the spirit of America was, after reading books about tobacco roads, the Okies, the disenchanted and degenerate, the extravagantly rich and the tired poor, asking him what book she might read to communicate what the real America was; but he could not answer.

He asked for responses from readers, and author John Steinback had written in reply that there was no such authoritative book on America because there was no such America, with authors only communicating the part of America which they knew, loved and criticized, presenting only their own attitudes toward it. He suggested the telephone book of any one of the country's cities as a starting point for the German girl's quest, that the names therein would communicate the "sense of the complication of America". She could then follow up with an Atlas with large-scale maps.

He had gone on to say: "The German girl takes a dim view of any humorous or amused attitude on the part of a writer. She feels that this is sinful in these grim times. I submit that grim though they are—they are also the most ridiculous times in all history. A reasonably detached man must find them very funny. Historians will hardly believe them—the humorless comic-opera Kremlin, Berlin split down the middle and fed by airlift, armies marching and counter-marching nowhere, nations threatening each other knowing that a war will destroy both of them, whole peoples whose full preoccupation is escape to the moon, the skies full of flying saucers, great inventions in the hands of children. Call it grim if you wish but it is also pretty silly.

"Europeans seem to believe that the last book about America speaks for America. McCarthy speaks for America, Nixon speaks for America, Adlai Stevenson speaks for America. Does your correspondent know that Al Capp and Fred Allen also speak for America, that Steve Canyon is a voice—that Rodgers and Hammerstein and Frank Loesser (composer of 'Kiss the Boys Goodbye' and 'Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition') are voices, that Mickey Mouse and the Minute Women have their places?"

Mr. Steinback had closed his reply by indicating that anyone who presumed to speak for all of America was a fool, a demagogue or a liar, that the German girl would find some of America in all of its books, from comics to the new translation of the Bible, and would find all of it nowhere, "for there are as many Americas as there are Americans."

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch indicates that the followers of Izaak Walton were as devoted to the Christmas season as anyone, always quick to lift a cup or intone a song, but less fussy than most about finding gifts under the Christmas tree, as they only wanted to fish come early spring and so would have little immediate use for fishing gear as presents.

It indicates that the Ontario Department of Lands and Forests had developed a new fish for them, the splake, a hybrid, half brook trout and half togue, experimental breeding of which had been going on for a number of years, with the resultant fingerlings being placed in Ontario's waters by the DLF. It suggests that the new breed ought appeal to the angler, but would prefer that they had bred into it the likelihood of catching it.

The Louisville Courier-Journal tells of Senator Paul Douglas of Illinois having announced that he would run for re-election in 1954. It provides his pre-Senate background in academia at the University of Chicago, as an economist and sociologist of stature, an author of many books, who had also been a stalwart among the Democrats in the Senate, prior to which he had battled professional politicians as a member of the Chicago City Council. He had been a veteran of World War II, enlisting in the Marines at age 50 and incurring serious wounds in the Pacific. Notwithstanding ill health from those wounds, he had given some 1,100 campaign speeches in his first run for the Senate in 1948. His decision to run again suggested that the Senator and the Democrats were encouraged by recent developments and new issues, and so could be interpreted as augury.

Drew Pearson indicates that Secretary of Commerce Sinclair Weeks had been publicly issuing bullish statements about the economic outlook, while privately issuing nervous, confidential instructions to his subordinates that a recession was on the horizon. He had ordered his section heads to report any change in business statistics to him at once so that he could warn other Government agencies, had called upon them to analyze the economic trends and programs as a basis for stimulating growth and business stability, and also as a basis for helping to restore stability in the event of a recession. He had recommended, in the event of a recession, the very controls which he had favored abolishing when he first came to the position. He advised his underlings, however, to keep out of business and allow private enterprise to do its job if at all possible, that their role should only be to advise on the health of the business system. He had also suggested using higher tariffs as an economic stimulus, a proposal which clashed with the President's "trade not aid" policy, advising his subordinates to keep an eye on the flow of exports and imports so that he could recommend raising of tariffs if needed to protect selected U.S. industries. Mr. Pearson notes that the President was considering an atomic works program, in lieu of the traditional public works program, as a means to combat recession, with Federal funds pumped into development of atomic weapons and power projects.

Adlai Stevenson had sent out a special hand-crayoned Christmas card to the DNC, on the outside of which he had scrawled "seasons greetings" in red crayon, and on the inside had placed an etching he had obtained in India, showing a bearded huntsman shooting an arrow at a fleeting elephant, with the arrow embedded in the rear of the elephant, symbolic of the Republican Party.

Italian Premier Giuseppe Pella had appealed to Secretary of State Dulles to intervene personally in the dispute over Trieste, asking Mr. Dulles to put pressure on Marshal Tito to settle the question of Trieste and thereby circumvent the slow-moving diplomatic negotiations process.

Russell Forbes, second in charge at the General Services Administration, had broken with the tradition of resigning "with regret", stating that it was "with great pleasure" that he tendered his resignation.

The Army was stuck with 15,000 surplus 20-mm. gun mounts, worth millions of dollars, stored at Mechanicsburg, Pa., rapidly becoming out of date. It had sought to palm them off on the nation's allies but had found no takers.

Secretary Dulles did not know it, but hundreds of career employees in the State Department would resign overnight if they could get a letter of appreciation to take with them, but the division chiefs were so leery of inadvertently providing praise to a potential target of Senator McCarthy that they would not express themselves in writing, with the result that many who wanted to quit were afraid to do so.

A French newspaper had recently hinted that the U.S. had found a way to take the explosive power out of atomic material, hence the proposal by the President of atomic sharing. As far back as 1946, the U.S. had developed a process of "denaturing" fissionable material so that it could be used for atomic fuel but not weaponry. The President's plan would require that all fissionable material contributed to the shared pool would have to be so processed. Scientists claimed that it would take so long for the thus polluted material to be restored to its utility for atomic weaponry that it would not be worthwhile for the latter purpose.

Top scientists had threatened to walk out of Project Lincoln, the top-secret study of U.S. continental defense, if Senator McCarthy were to proceed with another irresponsible investigation, such as he had recently undertaken anent radar operations at Fort Monmouth in New Jersey. His investigation had so disrupted one secret Army project at Fort Monmouth that it had to be transferred to another facility. Two of Senator McCarthy's investigators were already snooping around Project Lincoln, and a spokesman for the Project who had sought an appointment with the President would warn that if the Senator were allowed to make another circus out of an investigation of the Project, it would be endangered.

The FTC was investigating several big oil companies for forcing their dealers to sell sideline products or lose the more lucrative motor oil business.

Washington lawyers complained that business had fallen off drastically in the previous six months, with, for example, former Secretary of State Acheson's law firm having dismissed 19 lawyers since the previous June.

Clay Blair, Jr., a first-rate Washington correspondent, had authored a book, The Atomic Submarine and Admiral Rickover, telling the inside story of how the Navy had almost kicked out Admiral Hyman Rickover, the genius behind the atomic submarine. Mr. Blair and his wife, Joan, incidentally, in their 1976 book, The Search for J.F.K., first revealed that the young John Kennedy had visited Charlotte for the purpose of finding a ghost writer for his father's memoirs, during the weekend of February 8-9, 1941, coinciding with the publication of The Mind of the South on February 10. The fact and purpose of the visit at that time had been established from Mr. Kennedy's own contemporaneous correspondence.

Commentator Frank Edwards, traveling by helicopter, had played Santa Claus to more than 4,000 North Carolina orphans, personally distributing a gift to each one.

Joseph Alsop, in London, provides a probable account of the death of L. P. Beria in Russia, based on reconstruction, in the manner of Hercule Poirot, but on the word of a very high authority. He cautions that no one could say whether it was true or not, but that it fit all of the facts, which no other theory did. He first asks what the character of the dead man was, finding Mr. Beria to have been brilliant and ruthless, with the reputation of knowing more about the real world than most of his rivals in the Kremlin, having reached the pinnacle of power as the head of the secret police, appointed to halt the Soviet terror of the 1930's.

Prior to the death of Stalin on March 5, he had shown his hand only once on the international scene, during the 1948-49 Berlin blockade, when a well known Russian general, known to be Beria's man in Berlin, had come secretly by night to the house of the U.S. political advisor in Germany, Ambassador Robert Murphy, and explained that he represented "certain groups" in Moscow who feared that Berlin was getting out of hand, pleading with Ambassador Murphy to negotiate a settlement through those groups, an overture which the State Department believed Mr. Beria had stimulated, but which led nowhere in the end.

Mr. Beria had also headed Russia's successful postwar atomic program, and knew more of atomic hot war than anyone else in the Kremlin.

Mr. Alsop ventures that the process which ended in the execution of Mr. Beria, following his secret trial wherein he was found guilty of treason, had begun with the death of Stalin, who had driven the Chinese satellites almost to the breaking point by his refusal to lighten their military-economic burden, and had driven the U.S. Administration to the point of consideration of spread of the Korean War into China. He was also preparing another great purge which endangered every Russian leader.

He suggests that there was little doubt that Stalin had been "put out of the way" for those and other reasons, by an alliance between the secret police and the majority faction of the Red Army, preeminent in the Kremlin for as long as the coalition lasted. In the months following the death of Stalin, the supporters of Mr. Beria, also since executed, had been rising within the Kremlin hierarchy, and Mr. Beria was known to be the chief policymaker despite Georgi Malenkov being Premier.

Following the death of Stalin, his tough policies at home and abroad were hastily reversed, especially in the foreign arena, where it became evident that Russia wanted to end the cold war, the first manifestation of which had been the finalization of the Korean truce, followed by hints that the Soviets were planning to withdraw from East Germany in exchange for the withdrawal from West Germany of the occupation forces of the U.S., Britain and France. Western foreign offices heard that the Kremlin would soon urge unification and neutralization of Germany.

In consequence of those new policies, the closest friends of Mr. Beria in the Red Army probably were disturbed by the possibility of having to abandon strategic East Germany. But the counter-argument, which Mr. Beria might have posed, was that the buildup of Soviet power could easily continue after the end of the cold war, which would bring disarmament and disunity in the West.

It was reported that Mr. Beria had made an overture to the British, comparable to that made during the Berlin crisis to Ambassador Murphy, through semi-professional intermediaries the previous April, the probable stimulus for Prime Minister Churchill's speech in May, calling for high-level talks between the East and West, a speech hailed in Moscow but denounced in Washington by the White House and the State Department.

In early June, the relaxation of the tyranny in East Germany had led to the workers' uprising in mid-June in Berlin and elsewhere. Mr. Alsop posits that Mr. Beria's former allies in the Red Army were likely thereby hardened against any abandonment of East Germany, ending with the arrest of Mr. Beria on June 26, nine days after the Berlin uprising, and his eventual recent execution.

Mr. Alsop concludes that Stalinism had been reinstituted in a more dangerous form by Premier Malenkov, and that the only way to end the cold war at present was for the free world to accept defeat. He suggests that, notwithstanding that fact, the West was practicing disarmament and disunity.

Frederick C. Othman says that he would miss 1953, having found it a "first-class, bang-up year", and that if 1954 were as good, he would have no complaints. The prior year had brought the end of the Korean War among many other major developments, such as the launching of the Nautilus, the world's first atomic-powered submarine, which he believes would maintain the peace. It had also brought color television to the market, as well as a few bargains, especially in automobiles, the production of which had been increased such that no one had to wait in line for the newest model to arrive at the dealer. The Government had cut its operating costs drastically and promised another heavy cut. It had also cut income taxes by 10 percent—actually, just compensating for the 10 percent increase which had taken place after the beginning of the Korean War. Housing starts had increased and apartment dwellers, who had been put on waiting lists in earlier postwar years, could finally obtain a house. Ham had returned to ham sandwiches and clerks in stores had product to sell, especially electronic equipment. Push-button gadgetry in the kitchen was plentiful, as were furnaces with electronic controls, and red tractors with headlights front and rear, for plowing backward, were available for the farm.

He finds that life on his farm in McLean, Va., was much easier than earlier, with city water coming to the rural areas, along with sewers and subdivisions, eventually, he believes, enabling him to sell his "beaten-up acres" at city prices, allowing him to move further into the woods.

Ninth Day of Christmas: Nine fools in Congress dancing the Trumpy.

Tenth Day of Christmas: Ten more calls from Tweety threatening retaliation against those standing by old, stodgy, corny principles of democracy.

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