The Charlotte News

Saturday, January 30, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Berlin at the Big Four foreign ministers conference, Soviet Foreign Minister V. M. Molotov sought again this date to involve East and West Germany in the conference regarding German unity, resisted by each of the Western Big Three powers. Mr. Molotov had raised the same issue the previous day, to which the Western foreign ministers objected that the two German states did not have a unified government which could either speak or listen for the German people and thus the rival regimes could not be allowed to take part in the conference. The Western foreign ministers remained unified in their stance that free elections throughout Germany had to be an initial step toward a new, unified government. The Soviets wanted unity first, before elections. Additionally during this sixth session of the conference, which had begun the prior Monday, British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden formally proposed a five-stage plan, backed by the other two Western powers, for creating a unified free Germany.

The Senate Internal Security subcommittee started a probe this date of that which its chairman, Senator William Jenner of Indiana, called "the entire question of dispersal or destruction of files on Communist subversive activities." He restated his charge that a White House order, issued in 1944, had directed the Navy to destroy some of its intelligence files on Communist activities. Senator Styles Bridges of New Hampshire added that another order issued at about the same time had called for the destruction of "all records of a subversive nature about individuals in the Army", an order which would likely also be investigated by the subcommittee, though the order had been rescinded after he and other members of the old Senate Military Affairs Committee had made a secret investigation at the Pentagon.

The Atomic Energy Commission announced plans this date to use atomic power in a new way, for heating buildings at one of its large plants, the Hanford, Wash., plutonium-producing facility, by utilizing the byproduct of production of fissionable materials for bombs. The British had been using the heat thus generated for several years in that way, but it had not previously been used in the U.S. It would save the Government an estimated 1.5 million gallons of fuel oil each year. The AEC also said that there was promising research in the medical field regarding the use of radioactive thulium in a portable device to replace an X-ray machine, with no need for an external power supply. It also said that progress had been made in locating brain tumors with the aid of radioactive arsenic, and that there was the possibility of using ray-emitting cobalt in the treatment of cancer.

The President this date signed a bill fixing the 1954 national cotton acreage allotment at 21.4 million acres, pursuant to production controls approved by a vote of the growers the previous December, to be the first cotton production controls since 1950. The bill provided for dividing up the acreage to apply the cuts evenly among the growers and provide for hardship cases where an individual grower faced an extremely large reduction from his 1952 acreage. Generally, it provided that each grower would receive an allotment equal to 65 percent of the average cotton acreage during the previous three years or 40 percent of the highest planting in any one of those three years, whichever was larger. Supporters of the bill indicated that it would allow cotton growers two years to reduce to the desired level of production rather than forcing them to make the reduction in one year. The bill also allowed the Secretary of Agriculture to increase acreage allotments for durum wheat, that which was used in making macaroni and spaghetti, in short supply. It also provided that certain Federal funds could be used to purchase Irish potatoes for school lunch programs and other such programs. Get ready for the high-starch hauté-cuisine of school lunches, consisting of a choice of canned macaroni or canned spaghetti, heavily watered-down mashed potatoes, and the highlight, the rolls, though bearing the peculiar taint of the steamy odor normally associated with a dry-cleaning establishment.

The Labor Department made public this date figures indicating that unemployment may have reached or exceeded 2.5 million, after the Census Bureau reported the previous day that unemployment for the week ending January 9 had reached 2.3 million, an increase of 510,000 over December, with the Labor Department adding another 87,000 for the week ending January 16 who were seeking unemployment compensation, representative of only 60 percent of the unemployed. But the Department also indicated that the rate of unemployment had slackened somewhat for two consecutive weeks, normal for January after the end of the holiday trade period. Senator Paul Douglas of Illinois said that the census figures did not reflect "real unemployment" because they did not count workers temporarily laid off.

In Rome, the 11-day old Christian Democrat Government of Amintore Fanfani fell this date, opening a new Italian political crisis, the third Government to fall during the prior six months, this time collapsing when the Chamber of Deputies refused to give the Premier a vote of confidence. Communists, fellow-traveling Socialists, Monarchists, Neo-Fascists, pro-Western Democratic Socialists and even one Christian Democrat combined to defeat the Premier. The other Christian Democrats and the Republican Party, with five votes, stood by him in a vote which was 303 to 260 against him. Later this date, President Luigi Einaudi was expected to submit his formal resignation, and the process of forming a new government would begin the following Monday. A strong contender for the premiership was former Premier Alcide de Gasperi, who had guided Italy through eight years of stable government after the war until the previous June elections, which cost the Christian Democrats nearly two million votes and greatly expanded the strength of the left and right in Parliament, breaking up the four-party coalition which Premier De Gasperi had formed. Premier Fanfani lashed out bitterly at the Communists and pro-Communists in the final debate, calling Communist leader Palmiro Togliatti and pro-Communist Socialist leader Pietro Nenni "Volga sturgeons".

In London, the British Coal Board reported that it cost a life per day to dig British coal the previous year, that 364 miners had been killed in pit accidents and 1,904, seriously injured.

In Cairo, Egypt, it was reported that a Cairo to Alexandria passenger train, speeding through a station, had rammed into a large crowd of people who had collected on the tracks to cheer President Mohamed Naguib as he passed through on another train, with first reports indicating that 42 persons had been killed and scores injured.

Near Williamsport, Pa., a safari of 800 hunters, aided by airplanes and a Red Cross mobile unit, set out this date to track down a mysterious "critter" of Cogan House Township, believed to be either a black panther, mountain lion or large bobcat which had been frightening away game from the popular hunting area on heavily wooded Bobst Mountain, 20 miles northwest of Williamsport. Local sportsmen's clubs had put up a $300 reward for its capture, plus 100 pounds of dog food for the dog which successfully tracked it.

—Yeah, Bob. You think we could enter Checkers in that, maybe defray expenses some this year? The Vice-President doesn't earn that much really, by the time all of the dog food is included.

In Washington, the Civil Aeronautics Board examiner would weigh a complaint that radio and television entertainer Arthur Godfrey had been negligent in his takeoff of his twin-engine DC-3 airplane on January 7 from the airport at Teterboro, N.J., during which, according to reports, he had buzzed the control tower because he had not been allowed use of the runway which he preferred. They should buzz singer Julius La Rosa, perhaps, and obtain his input on the matter.

In Denver, a middle-aged bride-to-be was to be wed to her steelworker fiancé on a platform stretching across iron beams atop the 23-story skeletal framework of a building on which he was working. The groom said that he had proposed the unusual altar on a dare from some of his fellow workers, who would attend the ceremony. The bride, however, was having second thoughts, saying that she did not know what she was thinking about when she agreed to the ceremony. The groom said that he was the one who was nervous. Perhaps, Mr. Godfrey could add to the festivities by buzzing the structure and televising it on his program.

In Chapel Hill, members of the North Carolina Press Association paid tribute to the memories of Mr. and Mrs. W. Cary Dowd, Jr., Mr. Dowd having been for 20 years the former publisher of The News until his retirement in 1947 and subsequent death in 1949, his wife having died of a heart attack suffered two days earlier while attending the opening ceremonies of the conference, preceding the presentation the previous day to UNC of a plaque honoring the newspaperman, to be displayed in the new school of journalism when completed—presumably Carroll Hall, though the department was later relocated to older Howell Hall, after the business school took over Carroll sometime in the latter 1960's. Speakers at the ceremony gave high tribute to both Mr. and Mrs. Dowd for their contributions to journalism and service to the community, church and state.

The Press Association also presented its annual awards to journalists the previous day, with Pete McKnight winning the editorial award for an editorial from the prior July, reprinted on the editorial page. Tom Fesperman, city editor of The News since December 31, received fourth place for feature writing for his story on Duke football star Worth Lutz and his activities during a football game, as appearing the prior October 12. Mr. Fesperman had won a first place prize for spot reporting in 1948 and an honorable mention for feature writing in 1950. Vic Reinemer, associate editor of the newspaper, received two honorable mentions, one for his editorial of December 30, 1952, "This Loyalty above All Others", and the other for a series of six articles on abuses of veterans privileges, the editorial mentioned having also received a Heywood Broun citation the previous year. Julian Scheer of the sports department had received an honorable mention for spot reporting for a series of four articles on the basketball recruiting situation at N.C. State, appearing the previous August. Members of the Charlotte Observer staff had also won awards, with reporter Kays Gary winning second place in feature writing, Harry Golden, Jr., presumably the son of Carolina Israelite editor Harry Golden, winning fourth place in spot news reporting, and Jimmy Dumbell, winning honorable mention in photography. (Whether the latter was related to the Dumbell who used to write feature stories for The News, we do not know.)

On the editorial page, "Bricker Supporters Put on Spot, Caught with Motives Showing", a reprinted editorial from the previous July 29, appears on the page this date after winning the prize for editorial of the year, as awarded by the North Carolina Press Association the previous day to its author, editor Pete McKnight.

The note indicates that Mr. McKnight had also won the editorial writing award for 1951 with "Hoover's Plan for America", commenting on the former President's address outlining his "Fortress America" concept, as well as the 1950 award for his editorial, "Handwriting on the Wall", discussing the three recent Supreme Court decisions at that time which had reversed practices of segregation in the University of Texas Law School and the University of Oklahoma graduate school, both finding that the states had not provided substantially equal facilities for black students as those provided for whites to accord the "separate but equal" standard necessary at the time to pass muster under the Fourteenth Amendment, per the 1896 decision of Plessy v. Ferguson, and in interstate train travel, the latter based on Federal statute.

"Whimsical Boffs, Hoorawrious Hahas" tells of a letter received in the newspaper office indicating that artist George Wunder, who sketched "Terry and the Pirates" for the funny papers, had misstated that Kowloon was a part of Communist China, when it was actually a part of the colony of Hong Kong.

The piece indicates that a few months earlier, in the same cartoon panels, it had been indicated that Terry and his buddy Hot-Shot had left the pilot's cabin of their C-47 unattended while they hassled with the AWOL WAC stowaway, a transgression in the pilot's handbook. But it, like the geography error pointed out by the reader, had to be forgiven, for, as suggested by Pogo's friend, ole fox, comics abounded with "whimsical boffs and hoorawrious haha", and that was enough for the newspaper.

A piece from the Robesonian of Lumberton, titled "Persistent Industry", indicates that Robeson County moonshiners were persistent, that according to the latest report by the local sheriff, 84 stills had been destroyed in December, 1953, with more than two per day being the average and three during the winter. Yet, no sooner than they were destroyed, new stills were set up and bootlegging continued.

It suggests that such persistence would normally contribute to success in other activity and that a legitimate industry within the county during the winter months, when farming was virtually at a standstill, might be a boon to bootleggers as well as other citizens given to legal pursuits, by giving them more dependable employment than they now had.

Drew Pearson tells of a recent dinner party held by Eric Johnston, former head of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, now a movie mogul, for Teamsters Union head Dave Beck. Present were Chief Justice Earl Warren, who had known Mr. Beck in California, HEW Secretary, Oveta Culp Hobby, Washington Senators Warren Magnuson and Henry Jackson, and California Congressmen Jack Shelley, a member of the Teamsters, George Miller, and Chet Holifield. Nothing had been said at the dinner about politics, but Mr. Johnston had made a speech after dinner, just before showing the group the British film, "Captain's Paradise", in which he said that he and Mr. Beck did not always agree, that Mr. Beck had supported an opposing candidate, Mon Wallgren, when he ran for the Senate from Washington, but considered him a fine American of honor and honesty.

Mr. Pearson notes that those who listened to the tribute recalled the Teamsters dinner in September, 1944, at the Statler Hotel, given in honor of FDR, embarking on his campaign for a fourth term, the speech in which he railed at Republicans for attacking his little dog, Fala, with the Scotch temper. He says further that a day after the Johnston dinner, guests picked up the newspaper to read that the Teamsters had loaned a million dollars to Fruehauf, the truck trailer manufacturer, and offered another five million to New York trucking firms. One guest had remarked: "Moscow would never believe it, even if Malenkov was here to see it in person." Mr. Hoffa would.

Senator Everett Dirksen of Illinois had urged Republican Senators to boycott the television program of former Senator Blair Moody of Michigan on the basis that it was slanted toward Democrats and against Republicans. Senator Alexander Smith of New Jersey agreed, said that he had appeared once on the program and complained that Mr. Moody, who had been a Washington correspondent for the Detroit News for 20 years prior to becoming a Senator, having established a reputation of objective reporting obscuring his political bent, had asked the Senator a lot of tough questions.

Senator Frank Carlson of Kansas, the President's favorite Senator, had received a personal birthday message the previous week from the President and the First Lady, but was delighted even more by a scrawled message from the President's mother-in-law, Mrs. John Doud, stating: "Halsninsgar I mangd," Swedish for "many greetings".

Senator John W. Bricker of Ohio was so dedicated to passage of his treaty-limiting amendment to the Constitution that he had privately served notice that he would reintroduce it every year until it passed. Mr. Pearson indicates that the inside fact was that the feature of the amendment most hamstringing for the President's conduct of foreign policy had been drafted by Senator Arthur Watkins of Utah, who nevertheless believed that the Constitution, which he now sought to limit, was divinely inspired.

New York Times correspondent William S. White had written the untold story of the late Senator Taft's life, soon to be published as The Taft Story. Since the death of Senator Taft in late July, 1953, the old guard Republicans who had followed him had been growing increasingly restive until they were now "seething with discontent", writing letters to each other, accusing the President of selling out to the New Deal and wrecking the Republican Party, albeit placing primary blame on Governor Dewey's advice to the President, thus seeking a meeting of the Republican National Committee in the hope of seizing control from chairman Leonard Hall, a Dewey man.

The Congressional Quarterly examines the status of wiretapping and the request by Attorney General Herbert Brownell that Congress permit wiretapping in cases of national security, involving espionage, subsequently broadening his proposal to encompass gamblers and racketeers.

Representative Kenneth Keating of New York had the previous year won House Judiciary subcommittee approval of his bill to authorize wiretapping in "national security" cases, provided a Federal judge approved the wiretap. He forecast a positive recommendation from the full Judiciary Committee and the House. Another bill was sponsored by the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Chauncey Reed of Illinois, which would legalize wiretapping based only on approval by the Attorney General. After Attorney General Brownell asked for a broadening of the scope to include gamblers and racketeers, Senators Pat McCarran of Nevada and Estes Kefauver of Tennessee, both members of the Judiciary Committee, and Senator Kefauver having chaired the Crime Committee which examined organized crime and gambling in 1950-51 in several itinerant hearings across the country, described the Brownell proposals negatively, Senator McCarran calling them "the most dangerous things to American freedom proposed in a long time", and Senator Kefauver referring to them as "peeping Tom" legislation.

But Senator Homer Ferguson, chairman of the Senate Republican policy committee, predicted passage of the proposed legislation, provided it had the proper safeguards. The Americans for Democratic Action the previous year favored the legislation to permit wiretapping within certain limitations, after approval by a Federal judge. The ACLU, generally opposed to wiretapping, had testified that it preferred the Keating bill as containing the most safeguards.

Current law under the Federal Communications Act of 1934 prevented wiretapping, with violators subject to two years imprisonment or a $10,000 fine or both, but no one had been convicted under that statute. Many convicted of Federal crimes, however, after use of wiretap evidence, had their convictions reversed on appeal, based on the concept that the wiretap was illegal and derivative evidence could therefore not be used against the accused.

In New York, where wiretapping was legal and the evidence admissible in state courts, the New York City Police Department and the County District Attorney shared the services of professional wiretappers who installed and removed taps, requiring the services of about 200 police officers to monitor them.

The legality of wiretapping had been debated since a case developed out of New York City in 1895, pitting the Fourth Amendment on one hand with the need for policing agencies to utilize technological advances available to suspected criminals. Prior to the advent of the telephone, police could shadow suspects by following them, but the police now argued that the suspect could enter a telephone booth and have virtual contact with others without the police being able to intercept the communication. Opponents of the practice warned that it was a step toward the society depicted in George Orwell's 1984 and that the day might come when electronic devices under the control of the Government could peer into the private lives of every citizen, searching for possible infractions of the law. The FBI and military intelligence services regularly used wiretaps, despite it being against the law, but the evidence obtained could not be used in court.

In a 1939 Supreme Court case, Nardone v. U.S., Section 605 of the Federal Communications Act of 1934 was applied to prevent use by Federal agents of wiretap evidence, resulting in reversal of liquor-smuggling convictions. In 1939, the Court decided in separate cases that the same section applied to exclude evidence obtained from wiretap "leads", that is indirect evidence obtained from evidence directly obtained in the wiretap, from intrastate telephone conversations, and from transmissions in which the sender had granted permission for the tap. But in 1942, the Court ruled that a defendant not involved in a wiretapped transmission could not object to evidence obtained thereby.

In 1950, wiretap evidence had made headlines when it was revealed that a Washington, D.C., police lieutenant had admitted that in 1947 and 1948, he had tapped the telephone of TWA mogul Howard Hughes, at the alleged direction of Senator Owen Brewster of Maine, interested in coercing a merger between TWA and Pan Am and its chairman, Juan Trippe, friend of the Senator.

The U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York had reversed, in an opinion delivered by Judge Learned Hand, the convictions of Judith Coplon for conspiracy to steal and then provide classified Government documents she had obtained in the course of her job in the Justice Department to a Soviet intermediary, who was her lover and a U.N. Secretariat employee, on the basis that the convictions were the result of evidence obtained through wiretaps.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop discuss the prospect of the President firing Dr. Clarence Manion as chairman of the Commission on Inter-Governmental Relations, assigned to study the interrelationship between the state and Federal Governments. The reason for the action by the President was that Dr. Manion, whom the President had appointed the previous year, had been making statements in support of the Bricker amendment to the Constitution, a position which the President opposed. Dr. Manion was a former Democrat and the former dean of the Notre Dame Law School, now going about as a professional orator for extreme right-wing Republican causes. The Alsops suggest that his point of view was so far to the right that it would cause Senator Bricker to look like a Socialist. He had been appointed by the President as a concession to the Republican right-wing, and was being introduced to audiences as the President's chosen expert in the field of states' rights versus the Federal Government.

He would vehemently denounce before audiences every Republican Congressman who was supportive of the President's stand on the Bricker amendment. The President's leadership against the amendment was consistent with the leadership which he had shown since the beginning of the year after the second session of the 83rd Congress had convened. Nevertheless, pro-Eisenhower Senators of both parties were saying that the Manion case would be a test of White House firmness, and those Senators were wary. The previous winter, the President had told the Democratic leaders that he had corrected the State Department draft of the Yalta resolution himself and ask for their support, which he received. But when the right-wing Republicans objected, the President abandoned the position. Likewise, earlier the previous year, Senator Alexander Wiley of Wisconsin had courageously denounced the Bricker amendment, and at the President's next press conference, the President undercut Senator Wiley's position.

The Alsops indicate that if the President carried through with his decision to fire Dr. Manion and did not succumb to the importuning of certain advisers who recommended a soft approach, he would dispel the doubts instilled in Congressional supporters during the time when he was still learning the political game the previous year, in which case Congressional support would be significantly strengthened, to the great consternation of the Republican right-wing.

Robert C. Ruark, having arrived via ship in Melbourne, Australia, writes to the veterans who had been stationed in Australia during the war and indicates that the place was exactly as they might recall it, not as originally pictured prior to a visit, as a wilderness of sheep and kangaroos, but rather civilization on a "gentle scale, and a vast kindness, and a hospitality that I believe is unmatched anyplace in the world except maybe Texas." He provides a detailed description of how it was, that as soon as people came off the boat, whole families would approach them, invite them home for dinner, then make them part of the family.

He indicates that four years earlier when he had visited, things were somewhat nervous and unsettled, but no more, the country returning to its former liveliness, again filling with migrants from all over the world, a return to the peculiar character it had "when the Yanks invaded it like a scourge of locusts."

He indicates that when he got off the boat on this trip, he went to the Hotel Australia and had a beer with the same barmaid everyone from the war would remember, "the nice old girl down at the end of the bar." They went out drinking at Claridge's, which looked the same, and the Sydney oysters tasted just as the veterans would remember, while the singer sang just as she had at the Embassy.

He concludes that he had a happy old feeling. "I am back, I am official home."

Framed Edition
[Return to Links
Page by Subject] [Return to Links-Page by Date] [Return to News<i><i><i>—</i></i></i>Framed Edition]
Links-Date Links-Subj.