The Charlotte News

Tuesday, December 28, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the President and other top Administration officials had cautiously withheld this date vigorous congratulations for France's preliminary move toward accepting West Germany as a full partner in Western defenses against Communism. While several Senators enthusiastically hailed the previous night's affirmative initial vote by the French National Assembly in favor of West German membership in NATO, the President and Secretary of State Dulles chose to await further balloting expected the following day before rejoicing, the ratification requiring a second affirmative vote. Some high officials believed that even if Premier Pierre Mendes-France could finally persuade the Assembly to approve German rearmament, a question still pending, his Government yet faced an unpredictable future which might produce a new crisis. The votes constituted confidence votes called by the Premier, failing which, he and his Cabinet would be forced to resign. The Assembly had tentatively disapproved German rearmament the prior Friday, not based on a confidence vote, an action about which President Eisenhower had expressed serious concern, now saying that he was gratified at the new turn of events. The vote of the Assembly had been 289 to 251 in favor of entry of West Germany to NATO. A number of Congressmen believed the vote to be a harbinger of formal French approval of West Germany's partnership with the West. Senator Estes Kefauver of Tennessee said that if the Assembly continued in the same direction in its subsequent votes, "the high point of Russian influence in Europe will have passed." Senator Mike Monroney of Oklahoma expressed similar optimism. Senator Alexander Wiley of Wisconsin, the outgoing chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, said it was "welcome news of the greatest historical importance", but cautioned that the Soviets would not idly accept it. Senator Walter George of Georgia, who would replace Senator Wiley as chairman, said that the Assembly vote was gratifying, reassuring and heartening, indicating that the free world could hold together and that it was strengthened to have France along.

The Premier still had to win two additional votes of confidence on the interlocking agreements regarding West Germany, one being to ratify the grant of its sovereignty and the other to ratify the rearming of 500,000 West German troops for Western defense through the establishment of the seven-nation West European Union, with power to control the arms and armaments of the member countries, including West Germany. The latter agreement had been rejected on Friday by a vote of 280 to 259 on its first reading, and the second vote would entail a question of continued confidence in the Government. The Assembly the previous Friday had approved a French-German accord regarding the future of the disputed coal and iron-rich Saar region.

Senator Olin Johnston of South Carolina this date demanded from the Administration the inside story of the dismissal of Wolf Ladejinsky on security and other grounds by Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson on December 16. The previous spring, the State Department had cleared Mr. Ladejinsky, but the agency for which he worked had since been transferred to the Agriculture Department, resulting in his termination. The State Department had offered to keep him on in another capacity. Senator Johnston called the matter a "ridiculous conflict", and intended to start hearings on the matter on January 17 before the Civil Service Committee of which he would be chairman in the new Congress. The Senator had requested of Secretaries Benson and Dulles a report on their separate findings about Mr. Ladejinsky. The Senator planned a broad inquiry in the upcoming hearings, to determine whether vagueness in security rules had been used to drum up charges against Democrats when there was no basis for the charges, indicating that there were a half-dozen other such cases in the files, where different agencies had made different findings on the same set of facts regarding alleged security risks.

The President said this date that he would send to the Senate the nomination of John Davis Lodge, retiring as Governor of Connecticut, to become Ambassador to Spain, succeeding Ambassador James Clement Dunn, whom the President would nominate to become Ambassador to Brazil, succeeding Ambassador James Kemper, who was retiring to re-enter the private sector. Mr. Lodge was the brother of Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., U.S. Ambassador to the U.N.

In Wilson, N.C., a woman and a man were under arrest for investigation into the death of the woman's husband the previous July, after the coroner disclosed that an autopsy had shown that he died from arsenic poisoning, though the initial cause of death had been stated as a kidney condition. The daughter of the deceased had informed authorities, however, a month after her father's death, that she suspected foul play because she had observed rat poison and insect poison in the home of the suspect and her deceased husband, which subsequently she had found in a nearby field after the death of her father. That had led to exhumation of the body in mid-December and examination of vital organs by a pathologist and toxicologist, both of Duke University Medical School, showing that the deceased had been receiving arsenic over a period of time, as shown in his hair, liver and kidneys, and had also received a dose shortly before his death in all probability, indicated by intestinal content.

In Columbia, S.C., convicted murderer Nathan Corn, who had escaped from the State Penitentiary the previous day with five other inmates, remained at large with two of the other escapees, with two having been caught shortly after the escape was discovered. Mr. Corn was serving a life sentence for the 1948 killing of his employer, George Beam, having originally been sentenced to death after his first trial, the conviction having been reversed, resulting in the life sentence on the second conviction. The defendant's father had confessed on his deathbed to the murder in 1951, but a subsequent request for another trial based on newly discovered evidence was denied, as the validity of the confession had been called into question.

Mecklenburg County police had arrested a 21-year old man, identified by a Monroe loan company manager as a hitchhiker he had picked up at the Charlotte post office early this date, who then shot him through the stomach and took his car and approximately $40 after he had begged for his life. The suspect was charged with armed robbery, assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, and theft of an automobile. The robbery victim was in the hospital in critical condition. He had managed to hide more than $640 in cash from the robber. After being shot, he was forced at gunpoint to walk down an embankment at the side of the road, at which point the hitchhiker had driven away in the man's 1954 Chevrolet convertible. The arrested suspect denied that he had anything to do with the matter. He had been spotted by police walking along the road where the robbery had occurred, wearing clothing which fit the description provided by the victim, and was found to have $40 in cash on his person. The robber, according to the victim, had initially flagged him down by calling him by his actual first name, causing him to believe that he knew the man.

In San Bernardino, Calif., it was reported that wind-blown flames, which had burned 2,000 acres of timber and had scorched roofs and fences, now threatened a mountain town, Cajon Pass, gateway to Southern California from the east along Route 66, linking Chicago with Los Angeles. People were being evacuated from their homes in the area. Winds, with gusts up to 70 mph, were hampering firefighters and humidity was below 13 percent, with temperatures at or below freezing. A force of 188 Indian firefighting specialists were being flown in early this date from Arizona and New Mexico to join 150 State and Federal firefighters on the lines, forming a force of around 500, including relief crews. For the present, Route 66 remained open.

Dr. Richard Kimble will be volunteering, we predict.

In Fredonia, N.Y., the caretaker of the village clock wanted a raise in pay, indicating that $25 per year was not enough to induce him to climb into a church tower twice a week to wind it, indicating that 80 years earlier the salary had been $35 per year. The caretaker had been in charge of the clock for 12 years and had calculated that each trip to the clock tower took 45 minutes, which averaged out to 32.4 cents per hour, to be multiplied at a new fair rate to form a salary of $58.50 per year. We vote to give him the raise, as he sounds like he deserves it with all of that figuring. Otherwise, you may wind up with a village clock which is correct twice per day.

On the editorial page, "The West Wins a Crucial Test" indicates that after four years of hesitation and indecision, France had finally ratified the basis for Western European defense, with the National Assembly's vote to approve bringing West Germany into NATO the previous night. There remained a confidence vote called by Premier Mendes-France, demanding a reversal of the Assembly's tentative rejection on first reading the prior Friday of the agreement on German rearmament, but it appeared the Premier would achieve that victory unless there were an irresponsible change of heart in the ensuing few hours.

There still, however, remained the significant task by the Western powers of building an integrated European defense system which would be strong enough to meet a threatened force from the East. The narrow margin of victory in the Assembly the previous night meant that the task of keeping France at work on the process would not be easy, as it was a nation still apprehensive about a rearmed Germany and possessed of a parliament full of political feuds, skulduggery and frivolity. During the previous few weeks, the debate over German rearmament had weakened the new Government of Premier Mendes-France, with the object eventually of pushing him from power, former Foreign Minister Georges Bidault having led that opposition because of the Premier's passive stand on the European Defense Community treaty, which had been defeated the prior August. And former Premier Edouard Herriot had joined in denouncing the West European Union pact to permit a rearmed Germany. The opposition believed that a rearmed West Germany would dominate the Continent and might precipitate a war between the West and the Soviets to recover Germany's eastern lands, and then might enter a bargain with the Russians and turn against the West, also depriving the opportunity for negotiations between the West and the Soviets for a general European settlement.

Premier Mendes-France had countered with the argument that ratification of the pact would provide France with an important role in East-West relations, and that if it did not ratify the treaty, Britain and the U.S. would rearm West Germany independently, leaving France isolated, without a voice in Western affairs.

It finds that the Assembly had finally given an indication the previous night that it was willing to face the realities of the age, eliminating the anxiety and frustration of Britain and the U.S. The West was overmatched in Europe, and Britain and the U.S. were aware of the fact, and it was nonsense to imagine that France could be ignored in constructing the framework of Western defense, as the menace of the Soviets could only be met through united strength in Western Europe, including France and West Germany.

"The Need for Trained Labor" indicates that former Charlotte Mayor Ben Douglas, now director of the State Department of Conservation & Development, had reported that more than 100 million dollars had been invested in new North Carolina plants and plant expansions during 1954, whereas the figure for 1953 had only been about 61 million dollars worth, and that opportunities for growth continued unlimited, as the state remained uncrowded and isolated from war-vulnerable congestion, with its geography providing ready accessibility to the greatest markets of the world, and also possessed of ample labor, adaptable and willing to provide an honest day's work for a day's pay.

It finds his statement true but that the state's industrial picture was not completely rosy when it came to labor supply, as many of the new jobs in the state demanded special skills and training which, for the most part, the workers in the state did not have. There was a great need in the state for increased vocational training, which could be made available to a large segment of the population. Many rural schools in the state had excellent courses in agricultural subjects, but training in other vocational fields was limited to a few urban school systems, nonexistent in many sections of the state. Skilled metal workers would be needed, as well as trained manpower for electronics and other electrical fields, plumbing, tool and die making, brick-laying, drafting and technicians of many sorts.

Don't worry too much, as in about 15 years, the new Administration will need plenty of plumbers, who will not need any training or intelligence at all to carry out their work. Just find a Democrat who can be bugged or photographed, place the bug or snap the image, and depart. Simple. The pipes are laid, the leaks repaired, with leaks in the neighbors' pipes produced to even the score.

"Language Is a Living Thing" indicates, as had an editorial the previous day, that Charlotte educators looked askance at so-called "Coolspeak", the current slang among teenagers, and the Greensboro Record, in a piece reprinted on the page the previous day, had registered a protest against use of the word "terrific" to mean something outstanding and positive, when in fact it meant the same thing as "horrific".

The science of changes in language was semantics or semasiology—sounding, not rhyming, as "phraseology"—, an excellent example of which had been suggested by Dr. Calvin Linton of George Washington University, involving "to let", meaning "to allow", when once it had meant "to hinder", thus resulting in Hamlet having shouted at one point in the play, "I'll make a ghost of him that lets me." (In keeping with the principal's thought distracted twain mind, it, however, could be freighted with additional meaning, as a circular sentence, a tautological statement starting over at its end, pregnant, in that event, with yet additional splayed potential implications carved on the tree regarding the ghost to which he refers, one or both of the translucent before him in the air or he who might become thus from the still corporeal, should interloping transgression interrupt his adventitious intercourse.)

Tracing some of the changes in language was difficult because of the vagueness of meanings and the complicated nature of ideas which had to be expressed in words, often causing the search for precise meanings to produce strange transformations. For instance, "soon" had once meant "at once", rather than its modern meaning, "within a short time". In addition, most ordinary words had more than one meaning, with, for example,"man" meaning on the one hand, "human being", without regard to sex or age, or, on the other, as the designation in contrast to "woman" or "boy". Different words also had their particular contextual usage, even though they might mean the same thing intellectually, and some words had competing meanings.

Experts indicated that the reason for changes over time in usage of words was human nature, the same reason why human institutions and customs changed. "Language lives and changes as those who use it live and change."

Wow, man, like, daddy-o, that last one was, like, too much, you know, blows our mind clean off the spinning top onto the table and the slicked linoleum waxed up on the kitchen floor, rolling all the way out to the driveway and into the road, down the road to the river, and down the river to the ocean, and across and back home again. "Language lives..." The Language is dead; long live the Language. Dig  it. Not just profound, but pro-found.

A piece from the Florida Times-Union, titled "Personality Blown Away", indicates that a Texas hat manufacturer might have stirred up a lot of trouble when he had declared that the kind of hat a man wore was a "highly reliable" indication of his personality, which, it posits, might ruin the hat business should men become worried about what psychological secrets their hats were revealing. Moreover, the millions of men who did not wear hats except when it rained, might think that their lack of head adornment indicated that they did not even have a personality. It finds that it would also have to worry henceforth about picking up the wrong hat in a restaurant, and thereby donning another man's personality.

Drew Pearson indicates that the Justice Department had quietly maintained a record of wire-pulling from Congress to secure pardons for former convicts, with the record showing that those with pull had been able to obtain Presidential pardons while those without it, could not. Mr. Pearson had obtained a list of the members of Congress who had engaged in such wire-pulling, and for whom they had done so, starting with Congressman Dewey Short of Missouri, on behalf of convicted tax evader Charles Prettyman of Missouri; Congressman William Mailliard of California, on behalf of two San Francisco liquor violators; Senator Glenn Beall of Maryland, on behalf of a postal regulations violator of Philadelphia and a tax-evader of Baltimore, the latter also having received help from Congressman George Fallon of Maryland. Senators Spessard Holland and George Smathers of Florida had obtained a pardon for a convicted embezzler of Government funds, and Georgia Congressman Prince Preston had obtained a pardon for a convicted moonshiner after he had served two years in a Federal reformatory, also receiving help from Senator Richard Russell of Georgia. Congressman James Utt of California had obtained pardons for two tax evaders and Congressman Michael Feighan of Ohio had obtained a pardon for a man whose crime is not indicated. He continues listing several other members of Congress and the persons for whom they had intervened to obtain a pardon.

Low-flying planes had raided U.S. Arctic outposts just before Christmas, but instead of bombs, had dropped Christmas trees, decorations, parcels and other goodies, within a few hundred miles of the North Pole, to bring Christmas to snowbound G.I.'s, provided by the Air Force wives' clubs of the Newfoundland bases. Individual gift packages, full turkey dinners and hundreds of pocketbook novels had also been parachuted to the isolated outposts.

Stewart Alsop indicates that with an Administration program which was not very controversial, a popular President, and a non-election year, the upcoming session of Congress ought be brimming with "peace and good will to men." But, he adds, it would not be so, for the reasons that there was a bitter split within the Republican Party and the Democrats intended to exploit it for all it was worth. The Democrats were considering 1956 and exploiting that schism was central to their strategy for winning back the White House and continuing and extending their hold on both houses of Congress. Their hope for the latter was encouraged by the fortuitous fact that about three times as many Republicans as Democrats would be up for re-election in doubtful states, thus requiring a Republican landslide, not only one for the President, for them to win back the Senate; and the electorate was unlikely to vote them back into power when they were busy kicking themselves in the teeth.

The reciprocal trade issue provided a good example of the manner in which the Democrats would exploit the Republican split. The President had indicated that he wanted the Randall Commission tariff program, which would permit him to reduce most tariffs by 15 percent during a three-year period, as passed in the current session, and the Democrats, largely united on the issue, would be happy to oblige. All of the Democrats on the House Ways & Means Committee, for example, were for reciprocal trade, while the Republicans were completely split. In the Senate, the Republicans were divided down the middle on the matter, while there were only a handful of dissenting Democrats, notably Senators Harley Kilgore and Matthew Neely, both of West Virginia. Thus the Democratic leadership intended to place reciprocal trade near the top of the calendar, in the hope that the Republicans would then engage in contentious debate on the matter.

The Democratic leaders were pledged to bipartisanship on foreign policy and defense, but they would feel no pangs of conscience were there to be dissension among Republicans on those issues. Many Democrats, led by Senate Democratic Leader Lyndon Johnson, had risen to "commend" Senator William Knowland's call for a "great debate" on the Administration's foreign policy late in the extraordinary session regarding the McCarthy censure. The Democrats thus could adopt statesmanlike poses on the sidelines, while the Republicans shouted "warmonger" and "appeaser" at the President of their party. The Democrats were convinced that, with a strong assist from the Republicans, their position would be greatly improved during the ensuing two years. The Democrats, however, were privately convinced that the President could beat any potential Democratic presidential contender.

Democratic strategists had no clear idea yet how they would deal with that situation, most believing that a direct attack on the President would not pay dividends. When the new DNC chairman, Paul Butler, had recently attacked the President, calling into question his leadership, Senator Johnson had reportedly telephoned to give him hell. Mr. Butler reportedly had come around to the view that a direct attack on the popular President would be self-defeating. Some Democrats believed that a strategy of identifying the President with Wall Street and "big money", starting with the controversial Dixon-Yates contract promoted by the Administration, might be the proper manner of proceeding. The present intention of the leadership, however, was to exploit the Republican division, while leaving the seemingly insoluble problem of how to criticize the President to the eventual Democratic presidential nominee.

Mr. Alsop concludes that the confidence of the Democrats regarding their ability to hold both houses of Congress in 1956 standing in sharp contrast to their lack of confidence in their prospects for recapturing the White House, suggested an obvious fact, that the Republican Party was almost totally dependent presently on the President, something which some of the more sensible Republican conservatives were beginning to recognize.

The Congressional Quarterly indicates that the "big business bias" charged against Defense Secretary Charles E. Wilson by Democrats during the 1954 midterm elections campaign might cause further fireworks in the upcoming Congress. According to Senator John Sparkman of Alabama, to become chairman in the new Congress of the Senate Small Business Committee, there had been deliberate discouragement of small business by the Pentagon through "concentration" of defense contracts in big business, and he intended to do something about it, indicating that he would reactivate the Committee's Procurement subcommittee to "stimulate a better program in the Defense Department for small business." He also intended to find out whether present credit facilities were adequate to help small business carry out defense contracts. He said if it was found not to be the case, then additional legislation might be needed. Senator Sparkman believed that the policy of Secretary Wilson had brought concentration to a "dangerous point". He also said that a new policy just inaugurated by Mr. Wilson might cause a few more firms to obtain defense contracts, but that they would not necessarily be small businesses, a view shared by outgoing Republican chairman of the Committee, Senator Edward Thye of Minnesota.

Senator Russell Long of Louisiana, also a member of that Committee, was supportive of Senator Sparkman, saying that he had never seen a time under the Administration when credit facilities available to small business were adequate, believing one answer to the problem might be to require large defense suppliers to subcontract a certain percentage of their work to small firms.

For procurement purposes, as defined by the Small Business Administration, a small business was one which employed fewer than 500 persons, which made up 98 percent of the 4.2 million businesses in the country, accounting for about half of the nation's dollar output. Yet small businesses had less than a fourth of the prime defense contracts. It provides supporting statistics.

As a result of Administration policies, small firms had been awarded 56.5 million dollars in contracts, which might otherwise have gone to larger firms of known competence, who would be able to place higher bids; and one "certificate of competency", assuring Government agencies that low-bidding small businesses were capable of handling specific contracts, had been issued to a small firm in North Carolina, resulting in $373,000 in Government contract awards.

A letter from the vice president and general manager of Elk Cotton Mills in Fayetteville, Tenn., acknowledges receipt of the enclosure to the newspaper which had described the booming and attractive city of Charlotte, with emphasis on the importance of the textile industry. He indicates that foreign commerce in cheap textiles was operating as competition to U.S. textiles and that with tariffs already too low, any discussion of reducing tariffs further should be canceled, that tariffs instead should be raised to protect jobs of Americans employed in the textile industry. He finds, therefore, that an editorial of September 22, advocating against higher tariffs, was inconsistent with the emphasis on the textile industry within Charlotte. He says that the U.S. textile industry was quite worried about the situation and could see only hard times ahead as it fought for a constantly shrinking domestic market.

Your watch isn't wound and you're hitting the center bar, we fear, at every bump in the road. Sit down and think while riding.

Fourth Day of Christmas: 'Fore Augusta putts aplenty.

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