The Charlotte News

Saturday, January 23, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Panmunjom, the 21 Americans and 326 other non-repatriating former prisoners of war captured by the Communists during the war, were caught this date between a new Communist refusal to accept them and a tougher allied attitude toward them. Two Communist generals had rejected for the second time a proposal by the Indian custodial command that the Communists accept back "under protest" the non-repatriating prisoners, after the Indian guards had abandoned the prisoners the previous midnight because the Communists would not accept their return. Secretary of Defense Charles E. Wilson said that the 21 Americans "must make up their minds quickly" if they wanted to return home, that their pay was going to be cut off very soon. The Pentagon said that only the refusal by the Communists to take them back had provided them a few additional hours or days of grace before "undesirable" discharges would become effective. The Communists insisted that the prisoners remain in the custody of the Indian command until determination of their fate by the not yet scheduled Korean peace conference. The Communists had proposed sending Communist Red Cross personnel into the camp to care for the men, which the Indian command was willing to accept as long as it was in accord with the Armistice.

Correspondent Fred S. Hoffman tells of Cpl. Edward Dickenson, a Virginia farm boy who had first indicated his desire not to repatriate from his status of a prisoner of war of the Communists in Korea and then changed his mind, now facing Army charges that he dealt illegally with his Communist captors to obtain better treatment, potentially carrying a death sentence. The Army had notified him of the charges the previous night, then placed him under arrest at Walter Reed Army Hospital, where he had been undergoing physical examination. He was accused of unlawfully holding "intercourse with the enemy" to obtain favorable treatment and that his activities had hurt other prisoners of war. The accusations were based on statements of former fellow prisoners and the filing of the charges did not necessarily mean there would be a subsequent court-martial and trial, awaiting a determination by further investigation. When he had changed his mind on the non-repatriation the previous October, he had told reporters that the Chinese had threatened him into remaining. The Far East Command said the previous night that it had no knowledge of any pending similar action against the other American who had renounced his non-repatriation stance on January 1.

In East Berlin, Soviet Foreign Minister V. M. Molotov arrived for the Big Four foreign ministers meeting, and immediately prodded the Western powers to admit Communist China to the conference table, stating it would accelerate the end of the cold war. The statement, read before a few Communist officials at the airfield, was broadcast two and a half hours later. The conference was scheduled to begin the following Monday. It would be the first meeting of the Big Four foreign ministers since they had failed to agree on Austrian independence at a session in New York in October, 1949. The present session was aimed at establishing a formula for German unity and a treaty for Austria, ending the four-power occupation of the latter ongoing since the end of World War II. The Big Three Western foreign ministers met for several hours for preliminary talks regarding strategy. Diplomatic sources reported that they had planned two broad approaches for obtaining positive results from the conference, one being to retain the key Western stipulation that free all-German elections had to precede German unity, and the other stated on an inside page.

Senate Majority Leader William Knowland of California this date predicted that the President would delay any appeal to the people on the issue of limiting the treaty-making powers by constitutional amendment, pending a last minute effort to reach a compromise with the amendment's sponsor, Senator John W. Bricker of Ohio. Senator Bricker had sent all Senators a letter challenging the President's interpretation of his proposal, and had told the Senate the previous day that he hoped the President was not going to make the controversy "a personal fight".

A resolution was introduced in the Senate the previous day, calling for an investigation by the Senate Banking Committee of the soaring price of coffee. The Ambassador of Colombia said it was a "normal story of supply and demand", that consumption had been rising and frost had hit the Brazilian coffee crop hard, that he had found no evidence of market manipulation behind the rise in prices and that Colombia was doing all it could to maintain a stable price.

In New York, a female artist said that a man had telephoned her the previous November, identifying himself as "Mr. Crow of WHMI-TV in Chicago", asking her six easy quiz questions, which she had answered, then saying that she had won an assortment of fancy lingerie and that someone would call on her at her home and measure her for it. Subsequently, a "Mr. Crow" had appeared at her two-room Manhattan apartment, where she was entertaining friends, and the man measured her waist and then left. He then came to her apartment again, saying that he had forgotten the measurement, and took it again, still while her friends were present. He then telephoned her, saying again that he had lost the measurement, and she told him to come over in a couple of hours, then called the police. When the man appeared at her apartment, a detective was hidden therein, and the man had suggested more detailed measurements, believing her to be alone, whereupon she began to undress and signaled the detective, who then arrested the man on a charge of disorderly conduct. He was married with one child, and said that he worked for a Manhattan optician. Police quoted him as saying that he was not going to harm her, that he was "just looking for a thrill".

In Charlotte, ground was to be broken on Monday morning for a new home for WBT radio and WBTV, to cost a million dollars, to be located on West Morehead Street, adjacent to Bryant Park. Charles H. Crutchfield, general manager of the stations and executive vice-president of Jefferson Standard Broadcasting Co., owners of the stations, said that the building would contain more than 47,000 square feet and that the property was sufficiently large to allow for future expansion. It was anticipated that the building would take ten months to construct. Offices and studios were presently located in the Wilder Building. The television transmitter and tower were on Spencer Mountain near Gastonia—a familiar location to anyone who ever heard channel 3's sign-off in the old days when one could only obtain a fuzzy representation on the screen to watch the late movie. Sail with the Pilot.

Charlotte received an unexpected snowstorm the previous night, with accumulation of eight inches in some sections of the state, two inches in Charlotte, an amount equal to the average for the entire month in the rare years when snow had fallen. There were 15 vehicle accidents in Charlotte attributed to the snow, plus one pedestrian accident in which a young woman had slipped and fallen on her back, suffering no broken bones. Six to eight inches had fallen around Greensboro and Winston-Salem. The Highway Patrol reported no accidents, as snowplows cleared the roads to permit the normal flow of traffic. Temperatures in Charlotte had dropped from a high of 61 the previous day to a low of 26 the previous night, and the high expected for this date was 38, with a low of 20 during the night. The temperature was expected to rise to 42 the following day. In South Carolina, temperatures had gone from 70 degrees in Charleston the previous day to 32 the previous night.

On the editorial page, "Secrecy Issue Refuses to Die" indicates that Governor William B. Umstead was correct in saying that the secrecy law passed by the General Assembly in 1953 was a matter for the Legislature to determine. It finds that he placed the responsibility where it belonged, on those who had established the unwise precedent the previous year, overturning the previous law which had required that budgetary matters be considered in public session only.

It tells of several members of the State House and candidates for the State Senate opposing the new law and promising to overturn it in the 1955 General Assembly. The Smithfield Herald had indicated in an editorial that under the State Constitution, all political power vested in and derived from the people, and, it suggests, having that in mind, the people had great power, provided they chose to exercise it, and if so, "the dangerous secrecy law will be repealed."

"County Option System Here to Stay" indicates that the executive director of the National Temperance League, Clayton Wallace of Washington, had been looking at the wrong political weathervane if he believed that North Carolina would become the first completely dry state in the nation.

It finds to the contrary that the ABC system of county by county option had worked well and would remain, despite Mr. Wallace speaking to a meeting of the Allied Church League in Winston-Salem during the week and urging its delegates to disapprove of liquor advertising to those publications which carried it and urging a statewide referendum on prohibition. It indicates that while it agreed with Mr. Wallace on the liquor advertising, it did not on the issue of the statewide referendum, that it would be unfair for residents of dry areas of the state to impose their will on residents of other areas who had chosen legal controlled sales.

"A Start" indicates that in a column during the week, the Alsops had made the charge that "security firings" by the Administration had been "amateurish political fakery", that various devices had been used to make it appear that about 2,200 Government workers had resigned or been discharged for disloyalty, when in fact they had left government service for other reasons.

It remarks that Attorney General Herbert Brownell, in his first press conference since the previous October, had declined to say how many of the 2,200 employees had been fired by the Justice Department, but admitted that there was only one former Communist in the Department's discharge list. It suggests that it was a start and wants to see a similar breakdown from some of the other departments, particularly the State Department.

"Please Qualify Prayers for Rain" indicates that while it would like to be properly thankful and poetic about the week's downpour and view it as bringing spring daffodils, violets and a big crop the following year, all it saw was a midtown traffic jam, an overloaded clothes dryer in the kitchen, mud, shoes in need of cleaning, etc.

It indicates that, as Longfellow had observed, "The best thing we can do when it is raining, is to let it rain." It finds, however, that if one were going to pray for rain, it ought be qualified by the "Gardener's Prayer" of Karol Capek: "Oh Lord, grant that in some way it may rain every day, say from about midnight until three o'clock in the morning … gentle and warm so that it can soak in…"

A piece from the Asheville Citizen, titled "Add: Rebel Yell", finds that the New Orleans Times-Picayune had discovered a recording of an original rebel yell, made years earlier at an old soldiers' home, reporting that one such old soldier had added to his rendition of the yell the phrase: "Give 'em hell, boys!"

It is reminded by the story of the career of Confederate Maj. General Leonidas Polk, who had avoided a Yankee sniper at Pine Mountain. He had been a clergyman, the Episcopal Bishop of Louisiana, and as noted by E. Merton Coulter in The Confederate States of America, would order his troops into battle by exhorting: "While we kill their bodies, may the Lord have mercy on their sinful souls—Fire!"

The old soldier's addition to the rebel yell had been credited to Maj. General Frank Cheatham, who commanded a Tennessee division. When General Polk inherited General Cheatham's division, and the time came for a charge, the churchman, General Polk, said: "Give 'em what Cheatham says, boys, give 'em what Cheatham says!" It adds that they did.

But then they lost the war.

Drew Pearson indicates that Congressman Daniel Reed of New York, chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee, had been deliberately high-handed with the Democratic members thereof, that when the President had invited him to the White House to discuss taxes, he had instead sailed to Panama, and now that he was back in Washington, was ramming complicated changes in the tax laws through the Committee without first consulting the Democrats. In the past, when the Democrats were largely in control of the Committee, he had demanded that members be given time to study each amendment, that neither the Treasury nor anyone else would preempt the Constitutional functions of the Committee in writing the tax laws. But now that he was in control, he was demanding quick votes under parliamentary rules on amendments drafted by the tax adviser to the Committee, who conferred with outside "professionals", persons previously unknown to the Democratic members or to the public. Democrats, however, had learned that the advisers included Roswell Magill, a top Wall Street tax attorney and former governor of the New York Stock Exchange, who had long advocated lower rates for corporations and high-bracket taxpayers, and John Hanes, Wall Street investment banker, director of the United States Lines, Mutual Life Insurance, Bankers Trust and various other large corporations, and also the largest orchid grower in the world.

Under the rules, members of the Committee could not, after becoming more familiar with a tax amendment, ask the Committee to reconsider its approval of an amendment, unless the member had voted against the amendment in the first place.

Senator Wayne Morse of Oregon, who had been kicked off his important committee assignments after he switched from being a Republican to an independent in the fall of 1952, was in a position to demand a separate dining room for his independent party, as both the Democrats and Republicans had separate dining rooms, could also demand a separate cloakroom for the same reason.

Marquis Childs finds that the most curious appointment which the President had yet made was that of Robert E. Lee to become a member of the FCC, with no visible qualifications for the post. Mr. Lee had been an accountant, then an FBI agent, and eventually director of investigations for the House Appropriations Committee, in the latter capacity coming to know Senator Joseph McCarthy. From the files of that Committee had come the list of alleged Communists in the Government ranging from more than 200 down to the ketchup variety, as stated variously by Senator McCarthy in February, 1950, raising him to national prominence. When Senator McCarthy had set out to defeat Senator Millard Tydings in his 1950 re-election bid in Maryland, claiming that Senator Tydings had whitewashed an inquiry into Communists in the Government, Mr. Lee had given Senator McCarthy help.

Much of the questioning of Mr. Lee during his brief confirmation hearing by the Senate Interstate Commerce Committee had regarded his relationship with Texas oilman H. L. Hunt and the "Facts Forum" radio and television programs which Mr. Hunt financed, those programs receiving a million dollars worth of free air time per year on the basis that it was an impartial presentation of current issues and thus educational programming, its other costs charged off as tax deductions by Mr. Hunt. The claim that the programming was impartial had been challenged, with a thorough analysis having been conducted by Ben Bagdikian of the Providence (R.I.) Journal-Bulletin, in a series which concluded that the net effect of the programming was "to disseminate fear, suspicion and divisive propaganda", that the pattern of the broadcasts was to present isolationism, reaction and McCarthyism as the alternatives to treason or stupidity. The program had sponsored the literature of racists and demagogues, some of whom were connected with fascist organizations on the Attorney General's list of subversives.

Senator Mike Monroney of Oklahoma, a member of the Commerce Committee, had asked Mr. Lee about his connection with Mr. Hunt, Mr. Lee replying that he had been moderator on the first three shows of "Facts Forum", for which he had been paid $400, later returning $100 of the money to Mr. Hunt. He also said that he believed the program to be impartial. Senator Monroney expressed fear of the creation within the FCC of a great propaganda machine which would crush free dissent and criticism. Mr. Childs observes that it was no idle fear as the FCC had such control over the communications industry that the timid leaders of that industry would be discouraged from presenting anything controversial, encouraging reaction and divisive fears.

When former President Truman had used the word "McCarthyism" in his reply to the charge by Attorney General Herbert Brownell that the former President had knowingly appointed a Russian spy, the deceased Harry Dexter White, to high office in the State Department, Senator McCarthy had demanded equal time on radio and television networks, warning that if any stations which had carried the former President's talk then failed to carry Senator McCarthy's speech, he would file a complaint with the FCC, on which sat his friend Mr. Lee, and a second commissioner, John Doerfer, formerly active in Wisconsin politics and appointed with the approval of Senator McCarthy and Senator Alexander Wiley, also of Wisconsin.

Recently, Mr. Hunt had made a personal application in competition with others for a television station in Corpus Christi, Tex., was permitted to change his application and then was awarded an uncontested channel by unanimous vote of the FCC, including Mr. Lee.

Time  tells of the New York Times, at the time Senator McCarthy had begun his investigation of possible security leaks in the Army Signal Corps at Fort Monmouth the previous October, having reported the matter in great detail based on Senator McCarthy's daily briefing of reporters on what had been adduced in closed sessions of his subcommittee. The result had been sensational headlines such as "Rosenberg Called Radar Spy Leader", "Radar Witness Breaks Down: Will Tell All about Spy Ring", and "Monmouth Figure Linked to Hiss Ring".

But the previous week, three months later, the Times had informed its readers, in a series of three articles by reporter Peter Kihss, that the investigation by Senator McCarthy had not only turned up nothing new in the way of security leaks or espionage, but had actually damaged the morale of scientists and other Monmouth employees. He had indicated that neither the subcommittee nor the Army had yet charged any present Monmouth employee with being a Communist or espionage agent, that the subcommittee's intimations on possible past or present espionage were not in the form of admissible evidence, and that the Administration had already tightened security regulations and opened investigations pursuant to the President's April 27 executive order, prior to Senator McCarthy's inquiry. The Times had also said that the Army investigators had found no spies, and admitted that the case of Fort Monmouth had been a lesson which would not quickly be forgotten, that the reading public ought understand that it was difficult, if not impossible, to ignore charges brought by Senator McCarthy just because they were usually proved "exaggerated or false", that the remedy lay with the reader.

The Time piece indicates that the Times had been dealing with a problem which had created consternation for many newspapers, getting the truth to readers while still conforming to standards of journalistic objectivity, under which quotes of Senator McCarthy had to be reported in the same manner as those of the President. It observes that daily journalism in the country had not yet achieved the standard recently described in a speech by Turner Catledge, the managing editor of the Times: "A new responsibility has been added to that of collecting and presenting the facts. I refer to the responsibility of explanation. Explanation and interpretation are, indeed, new dimensions of the news."

A letter writer from Marion says that he had once been a fan of Arthur Godfrey, but had ceased listening or watching after Mr. Godfrey had fired on the air in October one of his best artists, Julius La Rosa, and finds confirmation of his action in the recent story that Mr. Godfrey had flown too low over an airfield, endangering the public, blaming it on the wind rather than his poor piloting skills. He indicates that when Chesterfield cigarettes had turned down Mr. Godfrey for renewal of their advertising contract, they had realized, along with his other tv viewers, that he was through as a tv entertainer.

A letter writer from Pittsboro indicates that he was happy to see that the State Department and the Pentagon had concluded that Communism and the U.S. concept of democracy could not coexist in the world and that the type of aggression the U.S. would attempt to stop in the future would be that calculated to lead to a general or global war, that material and men might be given to Indo-China by Communist China so long as the men were volunteers and the material was in the nature of military aid, as that which the U.S. had provided to France during the previous year, that otherwise the U.S. would not intervene in Indo-China, as many feared it would. He suggests that the U.S. was at a handicap in dealing with the peoples of Asia and Africa, in a way which neither Russia nor China was, that the white man was suspect in both Asia and Africa because of the colonial system, and those peoples were now coming into their own, that while the West was not guilty of the charge, being white meant that a term of probation had to be served after colonialism ended. He was also pleased to see that Senator McCarthy was being curbed in his committee investigations of Communists in the Government by way of ideological inquisition. The full committee had defied him by sending some of his citations for contempt to the Justice Department to be studied, which the writer regards as meaning they would not be acted on. He says that he detested Communism but would not have freedoms eviscerated by those who wanted to root out subversives in the country, that freedom was already being compromised at an alarming rate.

A letter from the secretary of the Parents League thanks the newspaper for its cooperation in presenting articles about its panel discussion on whether parental authority was obsolete.

A letter writer indicates, in response to the editorial, "A Good Line, but Not Jefferson's", that Ralph Waldo Emerson, in his "Essay on Politics", had said: "The less government we have, the better—the fewer laws and the least confided power."

The editors respond that they had substituted Mr. Emerson's quote between editions of the original editorial appearing January 6, after discovering that Thomas Jefferson had not uttered it—as it had explained on January 12.

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