The Charlotte News

Friday, October 1, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in London, the Western Big Three foreign ministers had met with West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer this date to form a general agreement to end the nine-year occupation of West Germany. It appeared as a virtual certainty that political independence would be granted to West Germany. The nine-nation conference, aimed at doing so plus effecting rearmament of West Germany, was nearing its end. The delegates had agreed in principle the previous day on a compromise plan for controlled German rearmament, to be jointly supervised by NATO and the new seven-nation pact. Groups of experts would be left behind at the end of the conference to work out details and draft the necessary treaties, which would be signed later and submitted to the various parliaments for ratification. Under the plan, West Germany and Italy would be admitted to an enlarged Brussels Alliance, which had been formed in 1948 by Britain, France and the Benelux countries. At the same time, West Germany would be admitted to NATO as the 15th member.

At the U.N. in New York, Soviet lead delegate, Andrei Vishinsky, the previous night had called for a step-by-step program of arms reduction with nuclear weapons to be eliminated at the halfway mark. He put forth a long resolution containing the most detailed and complex disarmament program which the Soviets had offered since the forming of the U.N. in 1945. Representatives of the U.S., Britain and France stated cautiously that the proposal was a move in the right direction and that their delegations would give the proposal careful study. The points of the proposal are listed in the story. Mr. Vishinsky called on the disarmament commission to make recommendations on the British-French proposal of the previous June that U.N. members agree not to use nuclear weapons except in defense. The previous spring, Russia had rejected that proposal as a device to "legalize the use of atomic and hydrogen weapons under the pretext of using them in defense."

In San Antonio, Tex., Corporal Claude Batchelor, who had volunteered for Army service at age 16, had been sentenced to life imprisonment after a court-martial had found him guilty of three counts of collaborating with the enemy and informing on fellow prisoners in Korea. The panel had deliberated on the case for two hours and 14 minutes before rendering its verdict the previous day. The corporal told the court-martial that he had nothing to say before sentence was imposed. He had been a prisoner of the Chinese Communists from the time he turned 18 and had spent 38 months in their custody. His fellow prisoners had testified that he had taken up the Communist line and informed on other U.S. prisoners. He had been one of 23 American prisoners who had refused repatriation at the end of the Korean War in July, 1953, and then became one of two of them who changed their minds and finally sought repatriation. He had testified that fear generated during his court-martial had kept most of the other 21 prisoners on the Communist side. The three counts of collaboration were that he was to have headed a Communist-inspired postwar organization of former prisoners, that in a letter to his hometown newspaper he had accused the U.S. of participating in germ warfare, and had taken part in Communist study groups, circulating peace petitions in the prison camp and making propaganda broadcasts for the Communist Chinese. He was also convicted of informing on a private for possession of a camera and for recommending that a master sergeant be shot. He was acquitted on charges of informing on two other sergeants. His attorney had pleaded that he was temporarily insane by reason of brainwashing at the time he had collaborated, and testimony by civilian psychiatrists and depositions from civilian sources had supported that contention. Army psychiatrists, however, who had questioned him soon after his repatriation and during the eight months which followed, differed in their assessment.

Senator Homer Capehart of Indiana said this date that he was "amazed" that an internal squabble within the Administration had broken out publicly between Secretary of Labor James Mitchell and Secretary of Commerce Sinclair Weeks. Secretary Mitchell had acknowledged at a news conference the previous day that he was having differences with Secretary Weeks on labor policies and that he would be disturbed if the views of Mr. Weeks prevailed within the Administration. Mr. Weeks denied in a statement having any "split" with Mr. Mitchell, but admitted that their initial views on some subjects did not always coincide. Labor leaders had declined comment on the subject. It had been common gossip around Washington for a year that the two men had differences on labor proposals submitted to Congress by the Administration, and on appointments to key Administration labor jobs, but previously, the disputes had been maintained between themselves.

In Laurel Springs, N.C., Robert Doughton, former North Carolina Congressman and former chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee during the Roosevelt and Truman Administrations, with more than half a century as a leader of the Democratic Party, was found dead in his bed at home this date at age 90. He had introduced more tax bills than any other person in U.S. history and had authored the country's first Social Security law, retiring from politics in 1952 after 42 years in the House. Since his retirement, he had limited his activities but had made occasional appearances for Democratic candidates in the state. He had first been elected to the House in 1910 and served under seven Presidents and nine Speakers. Doughton Park on the Blue Bridge Parkway had been named for him the previous year. He often had guided bills through the House for the scenic Parkway through the southern Appalachian Mountains. He did not smoke, drink or swear, and read his Bible every night while in Congress.

In Raleigh, State officials paid tribute to Mr. Doughton and State and national flags on the State Capitol were lowered to half-staff. Senator Sam Ervin, a long-time friend of the former Congressman, received the news of his death from a telephone conversation with The News, saying that he considered him "one of the finest public servants which the United States has ever had. No man has rendered more valuable service to the nation than he." He praised his intelligence, common sense and "unsurpassed intellectual honesty", believed he would go down as the greatest chairman of the Ways & Means Committee. He recounted an anecdote wherein Mr. Doughton, when that Committee was presented with a bill calling for a substantial tax increase, had said, "I call to the attention of the committee that you can shear a sheep every year, but you can only skin him once."

In Milford, Del., segregation forces said this date that the temporary defeat of integration of the local high school was the "first step toward our ultimate goal of making sure that no Negroes attend white schools in the state." A new school board in Milford the previous day had announced it was rescinding a previous order to allow integration by 11 black pupils in the 10th grade of the high school, finding it to be in the "best interests of the pupils in the community." It did not say whether segregation would be permanent or only effective until the Supreme Court would deliver its implementing decision in Brown v. Board of Education, expected sometime in the following spring. Delaware was one of four states, plus the District of Columbia, directly before the Court in the case. The white pupils of the school had boycotted at the point of the integration on September 7, and 10 days later, a mass meeting was held at the American Legion hall to protest the order. After another mass meeting on September 20 in the school auditorium, a petition was presented to the school board calling for the ouster of the 11 black students. The local board then took the petition to the State Board, which said that the local board had a right to enforce integration, but reprimanded it for not consulting with the State Board before carrying out its program. The local board had then resigned and the Milford schools were closed for a week, then reopened the previous Monday, with attendance during the week never having exceeded one-third of the 1,562 students enrolled in the elementary and high school grades, and the boycott spreading to several communities. Some parents had stated that they were afraid of violence while others said that they were opposed to integration. Governor J. Caleb Boggs was part of a series of meetings in Milford the previous day, but it remained unknown who had approved of the local board's action in rescinding its previous order and the Governor was unavailable for comment.

Dick Young of The News tells of the first official step this date by the City Government having been undertaken to widen Providence Road, when an order was made for a survey of a section of it between Queens Road and Briar Creek, of which you may read.

In Benevento, Italy, four children, ages five to ten, wearing war paint, dressed in Indian costumes and armed with hatchets and bow and arrows had stood in the middle of the railroad tracks before a tunnel entrance, to force a train to come to a screeching stop, at which point the train crew and railway police swarmed from the cars and collared the four youngsters, who confessed that they had planned the train hold-up in the tradition of Western movies and cartoon books. The police took them to their parents, with admonitions that they be punished in such a way to "make four little Sitting Bulls hesitate to sit."

On the editorial page, "The Press and Southern Progress" indicates that some historians insisted that the economic revolution which had produced the New South had come from the pen of Henry Grady and his militant form of journalism out of Atlanta. He had jostled Southerners from their post-Civil War slumber and helped prod the region into industrialization, such that editors all over the region took up the cudgels for progress.

It finds that newspaper leadership in the economic rebirth of the South deserved special recognition at the beginning of National Newspaper Week. There was a direct relationship between the press and progress in the South, carried on by many thousands of Southern editors since Mr. Grady had gotten the ball rolling. They had warned that the region had to break up its old patterns of culture and agriculture, make vast social, economic and political changes, and outgrow deep and angry prejudices in order to progress.

The South had outgrown its raw, agricultural past and a new, prosperous, progressive, enlightened region was emerging.

In addition to Mr. Grady, such men as historian Douglas Freeman, Richmond Times-Dispatch editor Virginius Dabney, former Baltimore Sun writer and author Gerald W. Johnson, the late Raleigh News & Observer editor Josephus Daniels, Joe Caldwell, Birmingham's John Temple Graves, and many others, had contributed to these changes. Editorially, Southern newspapers had battled for progress, with their causes frequently being liberal, despite the region's insistent conservatism. The Richmond Times-Dispatch, for instance, had dared to campaign against the poll tax in Virginia, and in 1938 had supported the Wagner-Van Nuys anti-lynching bill, though in both instances, the legislation was opposed by Virginia Senators Carter Glass and Harry Flood Byrd.

It indicates pride in the newspaper having been a part of the tradition of independent, aggressive journalism in the South and pride in the newspaper's battle scars "from the long struggle for economic progress and social justice in North Carolina and the South." It expects more in the future.

"It Takes Men To Make an Army" indicates that it did not envy the task of U.S. military planners in modern times, trying to prepare for a war which could make World War II appear as a light skirmish, especially having to prepare within the economic limits set by Congress, and with the enemy knowing much more about their plans in an open democracy than Americans were aware of the enemy's preparations.

Under the "new look" military program, the Army was scheduled to drop 23,000 men by the end of the fiscal year, while Secretary of Defense Charles E. Wilson maintained that the reduction would not affect combat effectiveness. The piece indicates that manpower would be reduced by actually more than 23,000 over the course of a year, amounting to 231,000. Yet, Secretary of the Army Robert Stevens had announced during the week that the Army intended to increase the number of combat-equipped divisions from 19 to 24 during the ensuing two years. It would be only a paper transaction, however, at least for the time being, as five presently designated training divisions would be re-designated combat divisions, reorganized and given more equipment, but falling far short of combat readiness in either manpower or training.

Army chief of staff General Matthew Ridgway maintained that atomic or hydrogen warfare would require more manpower, not less, and so the cutback had to be viewed with alarm. He believed that nuclear warfare could result in the loss of entire units, requiring deeper battle zones, wider dispersal areas, and more supply troops needed for longer supply lines.

It urges that such undermanned, untrained new "combat divisions" suggested the need again for universal military training, to which the Administration had assigned top priority in the following year's legislative agenda. It also finds it to remind that all possible non-military means had to be tried to avert nuclear war, likely to result in defeat not only of one side, but also of much of humanity.

"A Case of Survival of the Fittest" indicates that no matter what happened in Cleveland's Municipal Stadium during the present afternoon in game three of the World Series, it had concluded that the Giants, ahead two games to zero, would win it. New York had won the National League pennant principally because of "breeding and locale".

The names of the players, Lockman, Williams, Mays, Irvin and Rhodes, all summoned "visions of minutemen and pioneers and star-spangled banners fluttering in the breeze." It also finds that the locale of Coogan's Bluff, with its natural splendor, when compared to some place in Ohio, would almost be in a foreign country if it were not for the fact that Cleveland was on Lake Erie.

So, it decides that the Giants could not lose to "a bunch of American (league) Indians—apparently all full-blooded".

A piece from the Chattanooga Times, titled "After a Slow Start", indicates that 75 years earlier, there had lived a frail, freckled-faced little boy who refused to study, requiring three terms to get out of the lower prep school grade, causing his father to conclude that he would never learn law, suggesting an army career instead. But the boy failed three times to pass the military college entrance examinations, before finally succeeding. He had then taken stock of himself and settled down, overcame a speech impediment to become an inspired orator, to whom nations would later look for leadership, praising his courage and glorifying in his faith. The person was Winston Churchill.

Drew Pearson again discusses Secretary of Interior Douglas McKay's plan to lease Alaskan oil lands to private oil companies. People at the Interior Department were not speaking with the press. The Interior and Navy Departments had 48 million acres of oil land in Alaska, previously set aside for national defense, and Secretary McKay, along with Undersecretary of Defense Robert Anderson, had proposed opening up the area to oil companies for private exploitation. Many Navy officers opposed it, as did Democratic Congressmen and some Republicans. Undersecretary Anderson was an oil man, and though one of the most respected members of the Cabinet, his position as former vice-president of Associated Refineries in Texas and head of the Texas Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association made him vulnerable. In addition, the new Undersecretary of State, Herbert Hoover, Jr., had long been a director of Union Oil and president of United Geophysical, which had a contract with the Navy for exploring Alaskan oil lands.

Mr. Hoover was also one of the heaviest contributors to Vice-President Nixon's secret $18,000 personal expense fund, the subject of the "Checkers" affair in September, 1952, and it did not look very good for Mr. Nixon that 15 of the secret donors to the fund had been oil men.

The New York Journal of Commerce had pointed out that the oil companies had obtained every law they wanted through the previous Congress, increasing the public domain for oil and gas leasing, obtaining the right to develop both minerals and oil and gas on the same public lands simultaneously. Taken together with the tidelands oil, there was almost nothing the oil industry had not received, and when added to the contributions the oil men had made to the Eisenhower campaign in 1952 and the 48 million acres of Alaskan oil lands to be turned over to the oil companies, it was no wonder that some Republicans, such as Senator Leverett Saltonstall of Massachusetts, had warned the President to proceed slowly to avoid another Teapot Dome scandal, as had plagued the Harding Administration.

Doris Fleeson tells of the former secretary-treasurer of the Mississippi Power and Light Co. having testified before the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on monopoly, making it certain that the next Congress would have to conduct an investigation of the power industry. That investigation could achieve the same status as the inquiries into public utilities during the early days of FDR's Presidency, and constitute a substantial reversal of the favorable climate for private utilities which had existed since the Depression.

Mississippi Power and Light was one of four operating subsidiaries of the Middle South Utilities, which was the Dixon part of the Dixon-Yates combine which the Congress had authorized the Atomic Energy Commission to contract with to provide TVA power to the private utility to enable it to provide power to West Memphis, Ark., and the former secretary-treasurer had provided his inside knowledge that Dixon-Yates operated virtually without risk, with any losses to be passed on to its operating companies and therefore to consumers. Meanwhile, they were guaranteed a nine percent return on their investment. He had been fired by the company for what he described as a long fight for increased independence in the operations of the company, after 27 years of employment, and had testified to the problems the firing had caused him and his family.

He had believed that the holding company act would cure the problems of the industry, but that as the years had passed, the same absentee landlordism had largely nullified the good purposes of the act.

The evident intent of Senators William Langer and Estes Kefauver of the subcommittee to pursue the whole story to which the former secretary-treasurer of the company had pointed, not just confined to Dixon-Yates, would be bad news for the utilities. The subcommittee, which had been refused funds to investigate Dixon-Yates, would almost certainly obtain them now, enabling the public versus private power issue, which had reverberated through the midterm election campaign, to become an issue in the 1956 election as well.

Robert C. Ruark suggests that the State of New York could contribute substantially to deterrence of crime by convicting and electrocuting the four confessed thrill-killers, "for being exactly what they are—punks." He believes they had achieved their place in "punkdom" when they kicked people to death and beat people with whips in New York City. They had admitted that they beat two men to death and, without provocation, had attacked many other people.

He suggests that John Dillinger, Pretty Boy Floyd and Ma Barker were similar types of "heroes", as was Al Capone, Benedict Arnold, and the Rosenbergs.

He concludes: "The punks have waited a long time for a real good representative set of saints. I think the State of New York can provide same if the electric current is still working."

A letter writer appreciates the editorial appearing September 23, titled "Planning for Tomorrow's Traffic", finding it well-written and clarifying of the misunderstanding regarding the necessity for widening streets. He encloses a copy of a petition with more than 400 signatures which had been filed with the County Commission on the subject, presented verbatim.

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