The Charlotte News

Tuesday, January 5, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Seoul, the Eighth Army was preparing for "any eventuality" at midnight on January 22 when more than 20,000 non-repatriating prisoners of the U.N. were scheduled to be freed from custody. Among the eventualities for which preparation was being made included the possibility of an attack by South Korean Army forces should the prisoners not be freed according to the Armistice timetable. Both South Korea and the Communists had been critical of the head count which had been undertaken by the Indian custodial troops during the previous weekend, while the U.N. Command had endorsed the practice. Loudspeakers would instruct the prisoners who would be moved southward at midnight on January 22 to weed out from among them the hostile pro-Communist prisoners and agents moving southward with them. The North Koreans would be held temporarily in compounds north of Munsan, while the Chinese would be moved to Inchon to board ships for Formosa.

In Taipeh, Formosa, about 14,000 anti-Communist Chinese war prisoners were expected to arrive from Korea in early March and the Nationalist Chinese Government planned a gala welcome for the men they called "patriotic soldiers" for refusing to repatriate to their Communist homelands. Officials in Formosa said that the prisoners would be given the choice of serving in Nationalist China's army or becoming civilians, that all were expected to undergo "political briefing courses" upon their arrival.

The State Department said this date that it had begun informal discussions with the Chinese Communists to determine whether a formula could be established to begin the Korean peace conference, that special envoy Arthur Dean was prepared to return to Korea on short notice if a renewal of the talks could be arranged. The talks to establish the peace conference had been broken off a month earlier by Mr. Dean after his protest of the Communists' accusation of the U.S. for perfidy in allegedly conspiring with the South Koreans to release the 22,000 North Korean war prisoners the previous June in an attempt to disrupt the truce talks. A State Department spokesman said that a possible formula for resuming the talks would be for the Communists to eliminate from the record the anti-American charges which they had made. He said that the Communists had stated that possibility as one means of resumption of the talks.

In New York, Senators William Jenner of Indiana and Pat McCarran of Nevada said to newsmen this date that Igor Gouzenko, who had helped to smash a Russian spy ring in Canada, had given them names and information usable for internal security in the U.S. The two Senators had just returned from a trip to Canada where they had questioned Mr. Gouzenko for more than five hours the previous day. He had previously been a code clerk for the Russians in Canada. The two Senators declined to reveal where they had met Mr. Gouzenko in what they described as a hearing, which they said was presided over by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Ottawa. Senator Jenner said that names had been mentioned but that under a confidentiality agreement, they could not discuss the matter.

Foreign aid administrator Harold Stassen disclosed this date that the Administration had decided to permit wider trade with Communist countries in non-strategic items, stressing that all trade would continue to be banned with Communist China. He said that the new direction in policy had begun five months earlier after the National Security Council had made a survey of East-West trade.

In Colombo, Ceylon, informed sources had reported this date that Ceylon had offered to sell Communist China 15,000 tons of sheet rubber, and that China was studying the offer. Ceylon sold rubber to the Communists in exchange for rice.

Close associates of the President said that he was determined to solve the problem of diminished farm prices, as one of the first steps in carrying out his pledge of increasing prosperity for all, as he had indicated in his nationwide broadcast speech on both radio and television the previous night. He said that the Administration did not believe in a "boom-and-bust America" in which prosperity hinged on war or threats of war, and that his State of the Union message to be delivered to Congress on Thursday would stress Federal assistance, but neither pie-in-the-sky promises to all nor bribes to a few, nor threats to any. He claimed as one of the accomplishments of the first year of his Administration that there had been a halt in the declining farm prices, presumably referring to an Agriculture Department report the previous week which said that after months of declining prices, there had been a slight increase in December.

In Chicago, a 50-year old woman died of burns the previous night when an oxygen tent had exploded while she smoked in it at a hospital where she had been taken, suffering from pneumonia. Hospital officials said that the woman had been warned repeatedly against smoking while taking oxygen.

Virginia State Police said this date that they had recovered the bulk of $160,000 stolen from the Government's Bureau of Engraving in Washington, locating it in a metal toolbox on a farm near Centreville. They said that a Treasury employee was suspected of the theft, and that the employee had spent several thousand dollars of the money, purchasing a new automobile. They said that an associate of the suspect had provided a tip leading to the discovery of most of the money. The Secret Service had taken charge of the money and the case, and so the Virginia officers did not know how much had been recovered. The Secret Service refused to discuss the case.

In Amarillo, Tex., $75,000 had disappeared from a teller's cage the previous day at the First National Bank and police said that they did not have any good leads in the disappearance, and were not holding anyone as a suspect. A bank employee said that he noticed a man he had not seen before in the bank at about the time the money was discovered to be missing. Police assumed that someone had entered the rear door of the teller's cage and picked up the sack, then walked out the rear door.

In Gastonia, N.C., a bandit held up a service station and a grocery store this date, taking five dollars and a tankful of gas from the service station, and $100 from the grocery store about six and a half hours later. The deputies believed that the holdups were accomplished by the same man as both victims supplied identical descriptions and in each case, the culprit had escaped in an older model automobile.

In Pawtucket, R.I., a babysitter's report that a baby was choking had prompted a fire truck and two police cars, plus a utility company emergency vehicle, to respond to the home the previous night. A captain in the Fire Department, who was a father, was the first to respond, and picked up the infant and burped him, at which point the babysitter, a bachelor uncle, apologized profusely.

Ann Sawyer of The News indicates that State Attorney General Harry McMullan had said this date that he and his staff would not take part in the public hearing scheduled to begin on Thursday regarding the charges against Police Chief Frank Littlejohn, that the participation requested by Solicitor Basil Whitener would be of no practical value to the prosecution and might be embarrassing to the Solicitor and the Attorney General.

The text of the Superior Court judge's remarks to the newly sworn grand jury regarding the hearings to take place on the matter, as indicated in the below editorial, is reprinted on the page.

On the editorial page, "Who Could Ask for Anything More?" indicates that the decision of the Superior Court judge to sit as a committing magistrate and hear the evidence against Chief Littlejohn would enable the matter to be brought into the open so that the people of the city could find out whether the Chief had been fairly or falsely accused by the grand jury in December, which had presented four presentments against him, the most serious of which had alleged that he had permitted illegal gambling to take place in the city. Solicitor Basil Whitener had said that the hearing was necessary for him to provide sufficiently specific evidence to support bills of indictment. It goes on to explain the process and finds that the judge's decision to hold hearings on the evidence rather than dismissing the charges for want of specificity had been a wise one, enabling Chief Littlejohn to face his accusers and have the opportunity to answer their accusations. The general invitation by the Solicitor to the public to come forward and present any evidence which they might have in support of the presentments would provide an opportunity for those who had not been heard by the grand jury to step forward. It finds it a good procedure.

"A Fair Rule for Firemen's Fund" indicates that five Charlotte businessmen named by Judge William Bobbitt to recommend a "sound actuarial basis" for the firemen's retirement fund had accepted a difficult assignment, as they would have to work out a scale of benefits and contributions which would be fair to the firemen, to all other municipal employees and to taxpayers. It indicates that there would be strong public support for any program which was fair to the firemen without showing them favoritism in relation to other employees.

"A Way To Encourage Red Cooperation" indicates that David Lilienthal, former chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, had suggested that the President proceed with his atomic energy pooling arrangement without waiting for Russian participation, and that the suggestion had received widespread favorable comment. Mr. Lilienthal believed that the President ought to go forward with his plan at once, whereas the piece indicates that the President ought at least provide the Soviets a reasonable time to respond to his invitation. In their response to the President's proposal, the Russians had sought to tie the atomic pooling proposal to a worldwide ban on atomic weaponry, suggesting that they might try to confuse the proposal with other issues.

It indicates that by letting it be known that the President would ask other interested nations to join with the U.S. under U.N. auspices in such a pooling arrangement, if an agreement with Russia could not be worked out, and to let it be known that the discussions on the matter would not be extended over a long period, he would thereby serve notice on the Soviets that the U.S. meant business, thereby deterring the Russians from engaging in their usual delaying tactics, while keeping the initiative and the advantage with the U.S., thereby encouraging the allegiance of other nations to the cause of freedom.

"Why Tar Heels Are Different" indicates that Winston-Salem Journal reporter Chester Davis, a transplant from Montana, writing in The State magazine, had asked what was different about Tar Heels, indicating that the popularity of the magazine in which he had written, itself, was a sign that North Carolinians were hungry for information about their state. He also cited the several historical dramas in the state as showing that inhabitants liked to brag about the state and its history. He found that North Carolina had never developed the plantation system as fully as had other Southern states, that waves of migration had settled elsewhere, leaving North Carolina a closely-knit, homogeneous people, that the lack of good harbor facilities in the eastern part of the state and the rugged mountains in the western part had caused relative physical isolation, forcing inhabitants to rely largely on their own resources, and that the rural atmosphere, with small towns and villages, had prevailed against the trend toward big cities in other states.

The piece thinks that Mr. Davis, however, had overlooked the single greatest influence on the personality of North Carolinians, and its avoidance of cheap demagoguery in public affairs and promotion of clean and steadily progressive government in the state during the previous 50 years, that influence having been the University, where, for many decades, enlightened, liberal, progressive trends had made an impact on young North Carolinians who thereby gleaned a higher appreciation of "the really important values of life" and a tolerance for "new and bold ideas and programs". In recent years, the Institute of Government in Chapel Hill had an immeasurable effect on the quality and standards of local and state government. It concludes, therefore, that no list of unique factors shaping North Carolinians would be complete without inclusion of the University.

"Omission" indicates that a vice-president of the Valley National Bank of Phoenix and editor of its monthly bulletin had complained that executive offices designed by modern decorators were fashioned "along the lines of a botanical garden or the boudoir of Madame du Barry", with basic equipment including a chaise lounge, a built-in bar, a putting green and a lily pond. The piece asks why there were no Persian dancing girls also included.

Drew Pearson indicates that the average citizen would be chiefly looking at how Congress treated taxes, Social Security, national defense and other major issues at the beginning of the second session, while backstage, the American Legion and the American Medical Association were preparing to do battle against one another over the issue of "socialized medicine". The AMA, which ranked second among the registered lobbies in Washington, having spent $270,000 to influence Congress in 1952, and the Legion, which ranked eighth, having spent $106,000, would take opposite sides on the issue, the proposal by doctors to ban free hospital care by the Government for non-service-connected disabilities, impacting about 20 million veterans, or 40 percent of the adult male population of the country. The AMA had set up a front group, the National Medical Veterans Society, to fight against socialized medicine and warned its members to confine their statements to remarks which had been approved by the AMA. The Legion had told its 18,000 posts to take aim at the AMA for attacking the Federal system of care for veterans. He provides minutes he had obtained from a recent AMA meeting regarding the issue, and quotes and summarizes from those minutes. Meanwhile, the American Legion Magazine had published an editorial accusing the AMA of "urging that indigent, disabled veterans be thrown back upon their communities for indigent care in order to save the country from socialism."

Joseph Alsop, in Paris after a trip around the world in which he spent several weeks in Indo-China, discusses the French situation in the war, that General Navarre in Saigon believed that the recent Vietminh offensive against Dien Bien Phu which had cut Indo-China in half had been a serious setback but not a disaster. The danger was in France, itself, not in Indo-China. From the viewpoint of the best French leaders in Paris, the temporary setback had produced the most disastrous effects on French political opinion.

Since the Korean Armistice, the strong impulse in France was to withdraw from Indo-China. Both Foreign Minister Georges Bidault and Minister of the Associated States, Marc Jacquet, had, until recently, been opposed to internationalizing the Indo-Chinese war, wanting U.S. financial aid but no intervention by American or other foreign troops, based on the belief that injecting foreign troops into the war would provoke the intervention of the Chinese Communists, and because national pride required that the war effort remain essentially French. But both men had changed their attitudes, with M. Jacquet having stated recently that the French Chamber of Deputies would eventually insist upon the recall of the French expeditionary forces from Indo-China unless allied reinforcements were provided within the ensuing three to six months. He had not insisted that those reinforcements had to be American divisions, but rather had in mind an increase substantially in American aid to finance French-led groups of military volunteers. M. Bidault had said that in his opinion the French Government would abandon the Indo-Chinese effort in a matter of weeks unless the American Government quickly offered aid in the form of American troops, ruling out the idea of voluntary groups because it would take time for them to be trained and that it would be an unsatisfactory half-measure, setting the example for Chinese "volunteers".

Neither man had been personally converted to the desirability of withdrawal from Indo-China, but were offering their analyses of the practical political situation confronting them. The French Cabinet had confirmed those analyses during a discussion of the Vietminh offensive against Dien Bien Phu.

James Marlow indicates that the President, in his report to the nation the previous night on the first year of his Administration and the prospect of his program for 1954, claimed that a "strong and consistent policy" had been developed toward gaining and retaining the initiative in foreign affairs. That statement had echoed recent statements by Secretary of State Dulles that Russia was presently on the "diplomatic defensive" and that the free world had taken the "diplomatic and moral initiative".

The President had put the Russians on the defensive near the end of the year by suggesting the atomic pooling arrangement of materials. But earlier actions were questionable as to being initiatives. When he first had taken office, he had removed the Seventh Fleet from Formosa, with the idea that the Nationalist Chinese would then attack the Communist Chinese mainland, but that had never occurred. He had challenged the Soviets the previous April 16, in a speech to the editors and broadcasters in Washington, to demonstrate by action their desires for peace which they had been willing to state in words, and nothing had come of it, other than, perhaps, the finalization of the Korean truce. Prime Minister Churchill had, in May, suggested a meeting of the Big Four heads of state, including Premier Georgi Malenkov, but President Eisenhower had rejected the idea, settling on a Big Three meeting in Bermuda in early December, followed by the invitation to Russia to join a Big Four conference of foreign ministers, which would take place on January 25 in Berlin.

The President had embarrassed the Russians during the summer with the U.S. food giveaway to East Germans in West Berlin, prompting the Russians to announce that they would put more effort into giving the satellite countries a better life. It was not known whether agents of the Administration had encouraged the East German workers to revolt on June 17, a revolt which had placed the Russians on the defensive by revealing the discontent of people living behind the Iron Curtain.

There had been no apparent progress toward getting France to ratify the European Defense Community agreement establishing the unified army for Italy, France, West Germany and the Benelux countries. Notwithstanding the warning of Secretary of State Dulles that were France not to ratify the agreement soon, the U.S. would have to revise its European policy, conveying the possibility of cutting off aid and withdrawing troops from Europe, France had still not moved any closer to ratification. Without France, there could be no EDC.

A letter writer complains of the Southern Railroad track which crossed Hutchinson Avenue, with no signal light or cross-arms at the crossing, and no flares placed as a warning of an approaching train. She indicates that in recent weeks, a man had been killed at the crossing and that she and her small son had nearly been killed at the same place when they nearly stepped onto the tracks in front of a train which had sounded no horn or whistle indicating its approach.

A letter writer thanks the foreman of the grand jury in investigating the charges of police corruption in the city.

A letter from former Republican Congressional candidate several years earlier, P. C. Burkholder, also thanks the grand jury and its foreman for their public service. He agrees with Drew Pearson that Solicitor Whitener should recuse himself from participation in the matter, and that if he did not, then a Federal grand jury should investigate the police corruption.

While at it, they ought to investigate the country buttermilk problem, too, don't you think?

A letter writer comments on the editorial of December 31, "The Public Be Damned", as reprinted from the New York World Telegram & Sun, agreeing that alcohol should not be sold to teenagers, but also indicating that it should not be sold to adults either, suggests that had "cottage prayer meetings been glorified as much as cocktail parties", thousands of teenagers would never have learned the taste of alcohol at a very young age. Church members, not teenagers, had voted in 1947 for the ABC system in Charlotte, and bootleggers had been against the ABC stores. He asks who was responsible for the condition.


Twelfth Day of Christmas: Twelve drummers drumming Trumpanarchyville for Trumpy while Georgia does the right thing...

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