The Charlotte News
Wednesday, February 10, 1954
Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Berlin, at the Big Four foreign ministers conference, Soviet Foreign Minister V. M. Molotov presented a plan for "European security" this date, consisting of a 50-year non-aggression pact among all the nations of Europe to replace NATO. The proposed treaty specifically included East and West Germany until Germany would be unified, and would be open to all nations within Europe, regardless of their "social systems". An attack on any member nation, under the proposed pact, would be regarded as an attack on all parties to the treaty.
In Seoul, South Korean President Syngman Rhee said in a press interview this date that he was determined to reopen the war against the Chinese Communists occupying North Korea, warning that if necessary, he would proceed without U.S. support, that he was not bluffing, but did not specify a timetable, saying only that time was "rapidly running out". He again reiterated his belief that unification of Korea through a political conference was "ridiculous", criticizing U.S. policy as mistaken in trying to effect peace with the Chinese. He believed that the Chinese would restart the war whenever they were ready and that the current Armistice was only a delaying tactic to enable buildup of their military, that the Chinese were receiving new weapons from the Soviets, including an improved air arm and many giant tanks. He also said that a divided Korea could not sustain itself because of the division of food, industry and general economics across the peninsula. He said that striking first would not be waging war by aggression, but only taking back territory which was their own. He also said that he did not believe such a move would touch off World War III, as the Soviets had not done so when the U.N. forces advanced to the Yalu River in November, 1950. He said that if the U.N. would back them up with supplies, the men of South Korea would do the fighting, assuring that the forces could clear North Korea of the Chinese. The story indicates that most competent U.S. observers in Korea did not believe the South Korean forces could press an offensive for very long without both supplies and air cover from the U.S.
In Saigon, 1,500 Vietminh rebels were reported this date six to twelve miles from the capital of Laos, Luang Prabang, but the French reported that they were only lining up supplies for the bulk of the rebel forces threatening the capital, that the bulk of the 12,000 rebels who invaded Laos the prior week remained 50 miles from the capital, in the valley around Nam Bac, where they were resting and replenishing their supplies. Speculation was that an attack on the capital would not take place until the following week, and that such an attack might not occur at all, as had been the case the prior spring, when the Vietminh forces got close before withdrawing. The French conceded, however, that they had been forced to withdraw from the northern part of Laos to defend the capital and had immobilized several battalions in Luang Prabang. Elsewhere in Indo-China, the French, for the first time, announced that 105 U.S. Air Force technicians and mechanics had arrived a week earlier in Haiphong to help maintain U.S.-furnished planes for "civilian cargoes". The personnel were presumed to be in addition to the 125 Air Force technicians previously reported in Indo-China to aid the French. In all, a total of 200 such American technicians were expected to be sent for the purpose.
The President, in his press conference this date, said that every move which the Government undertook to aid the French in Indo-China had been carefully calculated to prevent the U.S. from getting involved in the hot war there, that he could not conceive of a greater tragedy than the U.S. becoming involved in that fighting or in such fighting anywhere else. He said that the 200 technicians would be withdrawn June 15. He said that there was a misunderstanding regarding a report that the House Armed Services Committee had not been informed in advance of the technicians being sent, and that he wished to discuss the matter with the members before making comment, that there was no attempt to undertake action without consultation with Congress first. Senator John Stennis of Mississippi had indicated fear that sending the technicians would lead to U.S. involvement in the fighting.
The President also urged members of his Administration and the RNC to refrain from extreme partisanship in remarks about Democrats, stemming from recent criticism of Democrats by Republican leaders, prompting several Democratic leaders to object, calling on the President to denounce such harsh rhetoric. He said that the times were too dangerous for such partisanship and that for parts of his program to be enacted, some Democratic support would be necessary. The President also expressed support for increased Federal spending on highway construction, indicating that the Administration favored 575 to 800 million dollars in Federal spending to aid state and local governments in highway construction. He said that his proposed postponement of a scheduled April 1 cut of the Federal gas tax by a half-cent per gallon would enable the increased spending. Representative Harry McGregor of Ohio, chairman of the House Roads Committee, had introduced a measure whereby 64.5 million dollars per year would be spent only on Federal highway construction. The President also said that he doubted the country could be scared into a major depression, but that the people could be led into some sort of recession. He said that there was no basis for rumors that the Government was planning to increase the interest rate on rural electrification loans. He also announced that the two divisions to be brought home from Korea, one in mid-April and the other in June, would be, respectively, the 45th and 40th.
The Air Force announced plans to open five new bases and rebuild eight old ones in the Midwest, Far West and South as part of the Administration's new defense policy, heavily reliant on air power and atomic weaponry. The bases, the announcement said, would be needed to support expansion to a 137-wing Air Force.
The Senate voted this date to impose Government controls on speculation and futures trading in coffee, determined by a voice vote without debate, the bill now passing to the House for consideration.
Joseph & Stewart Alsop, their column appearing this date on the front page, indicate that the public had been grossly misled about the infiltration of subversives into the Government, that the best witness to that fact was Scott McLeod, Senator McCarthy's personal ambassador to the State Department, who had testified in executive session before a House Appropriations subcommittee that he had failed to find any Communists within the State Department, despite a year of effort, having caused only 11 persons to be dropped from the payroll for "loyalty reasons", none because they were Communists or subversives. Moreover, seven of the cases had been initiated by the security officers of Secretary of State Acheson during the Truman Administration, merely completed by the security office directed by Mr. McLeod. Also appearing before the subcommittee had been Undersecretary of State Walter Bedell Smith, indicating that no Communists had been found in the State Department, and that, as far as he knew, there had never been any Communists within the Department except Alger Hiss and one other minor official who had long ago been fired. Mr. McLeod had said that 534 State Department "security firings" had been achieved under his watch, of whom, however, only the previously stated 11 had actually been shown to have suspected Communist sympathies or connections. One of those suspected connections, for instance, had resulted from the fact that a female employee in the stenographic pool of the Board of Economic Warfare during World War II had been assigned to Nathan Gregory Silvermaster's office, where she had worked briefly, merely an accident of Government routine, yet causing her to wind up charged as a loyalty risk because of Mr. Silvermaster having been tied to a Communist cell through the testimony of witnesses before the Senate Internal Security Committee and HUAC in 1948. She had been suspended from employment, ultimately determining to fight the charge, unlike many others in like circumstances. Mr. McLeod had also admitted to the subcommittee that a large number of the "security firings" represented persons who had not been fired at all but only had been transferred or had resigned but then classified as "security firings" after hearsay derogatory information, contained in 90 percent of the State Department employee files, was used as a pretext for so classifying them.
In New York, the New York Central's 15-man board of directors was considering the bid by Robert R. Young for control of the railroad as chairman of the board, though his chances appeared not good. If he were not approved, according to a reliable source, he intended to engage in a proxy fight for control of the railroad through purchase of its stock. Mr. Young had been barred by the I.C.C. in 1948 from control of the railroad because he was board chairman of the competing Chesapeake & Ohio Railway.
Also in New York, the alleged killer of fiction and poetry writer Max Bodenheim and his wife, found dead in a cheap East Side room the previous Sunday, had been arrested.
In Charlotte, Harry Shuford of The News tells of a 50-year old City employee having been crushed to death this date when the walls of a new sewer ditch had caved in on top of him. Efforts by the Life Saving Crew and the City Fire Department had been unsuccessful in resuscitating him. The man had been setting braces against the side of the ditch, about 10 feet deep and 3 feet wide, when a power shovel had scooped out the next section of the ditch to be cleared just ahead of him, causing the cave-in. The rest of the crew had then sought to remove him by shoveling out the dirt, as most of the top of his head and his upturned face could still be seen, effecting his removal within ten minutes. The Fire Chief said that the man was internally hemorrhaging so badly, however, that supplying him with oxygen had not done any good, that many tons of dirt had fallen on him, probably breaking his neck.
A photograph appears of the shapely
dancer from comedian Jackie Gleason's television show, who had fallen
in love with Mr. Gleason and thereby incurred the ire of his
estranged wife, when she discovered the dancer's name as a visitor to
his hospital room, where he was recovering from having killed the
stage by breaking a leg on it. The dancer, Marilyn Taylor, would
eventually marry Mr. Gleason in 1975, following his divorce from his
first wife in 1970, and from his second wife in 1975. Whether she was
any kin to June Taylor, the director of the show's dancers, is not
indicated. In any event, he must have been dancing with her for more
than 20 years prior to their marriage. But that is hush-hush and on
In Memphis, a citizen phoned the desk sergeant at the police station to report a bull standing on his street, prompting a squad car to be sent to the residential neighborhood, which then radioed for help in trying to capture the bull, resulting in a two-hour chase involving several police cars and dozens of private cars over a square-mile area the previous night. The bull nearly gored two newsmen, two cops and a Humane Society officer, and butted a police car head-on. Finally, the steer keeled over, dead from exhaustion, and was hauled away. There was still no report as to who owned the animal or how it wound up in the residential area. That's pretty simple. It was all bull.
On the editorial page, "A Campaign of Deceit and Distortion" indicates that the Republican Party was laying the groundwork for its midterm campaign on the "dangerous quick sands of deceit and distortion", sponsoring tours by the most "deceitful distorter" among Republicans, Senator McCarthy, and then telling the world that his and other Republicans' flagrant charges were "facts". The RNC had arranged for eight major appearances during the previous and current weeks for Senator McCarthy, starting in West Virginia, where, in Wheeling, he had, in February, 1950, made his famous Lincoln Day speech in which he first charged that there were some 200 "card-carrying members of the Communist Party" within the State Department, subsequently in the ensuing days providing variant numbers, down to the 57 on the ketchup bottle. On the current occasion, the Senator had said that Democrats had "the stain of an historic betrayal", a political label "stitched with the idiocy of a Truman, rotted by the deceit of an Acheson, corrupted by the red slime of a [deceased Harry Dexter] White."
Senator William Jenner of Indiana had said that the New and Fair Deals had "permitted traitors to bring us close to military defeat", that the Republicans, when they took over the Government, had discovered "heaps of evidence" of "treason" by the predecessor Democrats.
Governor Dewey, Attorney General Herbert Brownell, Postmaster General Arthur Summerfield, Presidential counsel Bernard Shanley, and Republican finance committee chairman Carlton Ketchum had all implied that all or most of the "security risks" supposedly fired by the Administration were subversive, when the truth, as brought out by persistent journalists from the Washington Post and New York Times, had shown the contrary, that there were virtually no subversives among them.
Then, the previous weekend, the President's chief of staff, Sherman Adams, had declared that "political sadists" were trying to foist a "Fear Deal" on the country, and White House press secretary James Hagerty the previous day had denied that fellow Republicans were distorting the issues, that instead they were merely stating the "facts".
It suggests that this ill-conceived strategy would not suit the purposes of the Republicans, that their best chance of maintaining their slender control of both houses of Congress in 1954 was to establish a record of accomplishment, which, because of the narrow majorities, required Democratic support to some extent. House Minority Leader Sam Rayburn and Senate Minority Leader Lyndon Johnson, who had led a minority more responsible thus far in the Eisenhower Administration than had the Republicans when they were in the minority, had raised storm signals regarding the recent attacks on Democrats, warning that continuation of them would endanger bipartisan cooperation and legislative accomplishment. It observes that political campaigns were rarely waged in the country on the high plane which thoughtful citizens would prefer, but that never, in its recollection, had so many leaders of a party stooped so low so early in a campaign, and that if the level of political debate continued to degenerate, a new low in political debasement would be reached by the following fall, with the result of commensurate decline in prestige of the Republican Party.
"Well Done" indicates that the plaques awarded to three members of the Charlotte Housing Authority by the National Association of Housing Officials had stated the case well by indicating that their long service without remuneration signified the full measure of devotion and loyalty as public spirited citizens, quoting the full inscription. The three prominent persons in the city who were so honored had provided a total of 40 years of service to the local Housing Authority. They included the chairman, Edwin L. Jones, the vice-chairman, Earl Gluck, each of whom had held his post for 15 years, from the inception of the Authority, and George W. Dowdy, who had served for ten years. It concludes that it was an unselfish public service in the very highest tradition.
"Progress on Another Segregation Front" indicates that the processes of reason and logic had been gradually eliminating segregation in many areas of public service in the South, but that nowhere more dramatically than in the use of library facilities, that the current issue of New South, a publication of the Southern Regional Council, had reported that in 1941, only four Southern cities permitted blacks unrestricted use of main libraries, while 12 provided limited service, whereas presently, black readers had free use of the main public library in 59 Southern cities and limited service in 24 others. In 11 Southern cities, one or more branches served both races, and in three, Louisville, Ky., Roanoke, Va., and Winston-Salem, black representatives served on library boards. In North Carolina, main libraries had been opened to blacks in Avery County, Burlington, Watauga County and Yancey County, while Charlotte, Fayetteville, Gastonia and Greensboro provided limited service to blacks in their main libraries.
It finds it significant progress during the course of 12 years, but that it also had to be realized, as the same publication had pointed out, that two-thirds of Southern black readers still had no library service at all, even though a million of such citizens lived in communities where library service was provided for white readers.
It suggests that it was one public service in which logic and reason, as well as economics, favored abolition of segregation as soon as possible, finding that restricted space limitations of the overcrowded Charlotte Public Library might make unrestricted use inadvisable at present until the new library was completed, at which time Charlotte ought to follow the 59 other Southern cities and towns which were providing free access, regardless of race.
Oh, no, you know what happens, as in the classroom, when you try to read a book next to or even near a person of another race. Those racy thoughts begin seeping in by osmosis, and the first thing you know, you have a mongrel race on your hands.
"Good News" indicates that North Carolina's drive for highway safety was still producing results, that at the end of 1953, traffic deaths had shown a small decrease of ten from the 1,115 of 1952. And since the beginning of the new year, the rate had fallen faster, with 86 persons having died by February 9, compared to 111 on the same date in 1953. Injuries had also decreased, with 13,949 having been recorded by December 1, 1953, down 282 from the same date in 1952. The previous year had been the first since World War II that the traffic death rate had decreased, finding it good news, and even better news that the pace of decrease was increasing.
A piece from the Chicago Tribune,
titled "A New, All-Purpose Find", indicates that physicists
at the University of California had stated that tides were not
confined to water, that land also rose and fell as a result of the
gravitational pull of the moon and sun, in some places undulating by
as much as two feet. (You can go land surfing, too
It suggests that the finding would be a boon to a lot of people, that the trucking industry would claim that the broken pavement was the result of such tides and not the trucks, that the railroads would claim that late arrivals had been the result of low tide at the point of origin and high tide in Chicago, causing the train to have to travel uphill all the way, that elevator operators who brought their cars to a sudden stop at street level would issue apologies by saying that street level had suddenly become 18 inches higher than expected, that bowlers would claim that their low scores resulted from the alley being tilted by the tide. It suggests that best of all, the varying figures for the height of Mount Everest would be explained as the differential between low tide and high tide, accounting for the 29,002-foot figure versus the 29,141 figure.
It still does not account for the
Drew Pearson indicates that within
the FCC files was an interesting story of how wires could be pulled
in Washington by powerful Republican publishers. He suggests that if
the record had been made public two days earlier, it was possible
that Senator McCarthy's man on the FCC, Robert E. Lee, might not have
been confirmed. The Washington lobbyist for the Cowles brothers,
publishers of Look, the Des
Moines Register and Tribune
and the Minneapolis Star-Journal,
had sought to buy off a rival applicant for a television station
Mr. Pearson indicates further that during the FCC hearings at which Mr. Murphy had made a better showing than the Cowles vice-president, Mr. Murphy had received a phone message from the vice-president to meet him at his hotel, where he offered Mr. Murphy about $150,000 to withdraw his application, including in the package the offer of working for Look and advancement within the Cowles organization. Mr. Murphy declined, saying that he did not like living in New York and preferred Des Moines, that his company intended to run a good television station and the proposal was only a payoff, of which he did not approve. He was also offered a merger of the interests, under which the Murphy company would own 12 to 15 percent of the television station, also not acceptable to Mr. Murphy, except on the basis that the Cowles brothers would take the smaller percentage, a counter-proposal upsetting the Cowles vice-president. When the latter's efforts at negotiations finally failed, he issued his veiled threat that the FCC had changed and would be favorable to the Cowles application because of the presence of Mr. Lee and their friendship with the President.
Marquis Childs indicates that on the whole, the Administration had been treated favorably by the press, giving the first Republican Administration in 20 years the benefit of every possible doubt, though some in the Administration believed that it was a disservice, as criticism often provided a corrective for mistakes. There was a glaring exception to the rule, that of newspapers published by labor and farm organizations, which had gone from being skeptical at the start to becoming critical, to developing an openly hostile tone of late. It was not true of all of those publications, but in one field, public power, the attack was being carried on by a number of publications down to the grassroots, potentially decisive in districts where Republicans and Democrats were separated by only five percent or less of the electorate.
The latter controversy had warmed up after the Department of Interior had taken steps the previous year, seeming to many public power advocates, including leaders of the rural electrification movement, to be calculated to cut the supply available to "preference" users, farm co-ops and municipalities. The fear was that ultimately, the rates would be raised. The dispute was fueled even more by an Administration move regarded as intended to split the largest co-op organization in the power field. At the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association convention in Miami, former Governor of North Dakota, Fred Aandahl, presently Assistant Secretary of Interior in charge of water and power resources, had told the more 5,000 delegates, representing 3.5 million farmers, that Clyde Ellis, executive director of the Association was crusading for a Federal power monopoly, suggesting that the organization work cooperatively with the Federal Government in a more reasonable program of Federal power. The delegates took it as an invitation to break from their leadership, prompting Mr. Ellis to rebut the charge, as did several delegates, who demanded to know whether the Administration's policy would mean less power and higher rates for farm users.
After that convention, the newspapers published by the rural electric co-ops in 25 states and the Territory of Alaska had begun to take up the issue with their 1.8 million readers. Editorials stressed that electric co-ops presently purchased power exceeding 14 billion kilowatts per month at a cost of more than nine million dollars per month, that an increase in the rate by even a third of a cent per kilowatt-hour would cost the farmers 40 million dollars per year in additional electrical costs, adding to the farmers' burden of higher supply costs and lower produce prices. That attack was particularly effective in the Missouri River Basin, where the Interior Department's new criteria for power rates had caused alarm, and in the West where water and power were vital to future development. It was an additional irritant to the general disfavor by farmers shown the Administration's farm program, regardless of whether they were Republicans or Democrats.
The Democrats were exploiting the dissatisfaction. One speaker at the Miami convention had been Senator Burnet Maybank of South Carolina, charging that the Administration had destroyed the partnership between the Federal Government and the local power systems, saying that while the co-ops were being handicapped, the Administration was providing private utilities tax write-offs so that "Federal taxpayers will pay for the cost of at least two or three private dams—plus a fat bonus." (Sounds like the fatcats get to pass the buck on the fat tax.)
Mr. Childs points out that it was politics of a specialized kind, and that the power issue alone could determine control of Congress in the midterm elections in November.
James Marlow indicates that while the President remained aloof from ordinary political strife, other Republicans were heavily criticizing the Democrats, beginning to get on their nerves to the extent that some Democrats were now calling on the President to ask them to relent, provided he disapproved of their rhetoric, or openly to endorse them if he did not, a sudden turn in relations between the President and the Democrats, who had saved much of the President's program during the first year of his term. The Democrats had refrained from saying anything very mean about the President, as they respected his popularity among the people. Mr. Marlow observes that it was a rare relationship which now appeared in danger of disappearing, should the Republican attacks continue on their present course.
White House chief of staff Sherman Adams had gone on the attack during the previous weekend, saying that the Democrats who talked about the possibility of a depression were political "sadists" trying to hand the country a "Fear Deal", igniting heavy criticism from the Democrats because of the position in the White House of Mr. Adams.
In addition, the issue had arisen over the claimed firing of 2,200 Government employees because of supposed subversive disloyalty, which had turned out to be based on false claims, as it included those employees who were resigning or being transferred to other departments and happened to have, as did a large percentage of the Government employees, derogatory information in their files making them susceptible to being labeled "security risks", it turning out that only a small percentage had actually been fired for that reason, and that those few had been separated because of drinking problems, homosexuality or engaging in too much gossip. The President had not yet revealed how many of those 2,200 employees were actually found to be Communists or fellow travelers or otherwise subversive, despite questions from the press and from Democrats in Congress on the matter.
A letter writer indicates that there were certain groups of people in the community trying to take matters into their own hands by closing theaters during Sunday evening hours out of respect for the Sabbath, that living in a free and democratic country, a person ought have the privilege of choosing whether he wanted to go to church or the movies.
Hey, choose the right movie
A letter writer from Fayetteville indicates surprise at the editorial, "You're Not Confused, Mr. Fleming", dealing with the sale of butter and edible oils to Communist countries, favoring the sale of the surplus butter, despite it being substantially below the price being paid by U.S. consumers, to avoid complete loss of the surplus to spoliation and consequent loss to the taxpayers. The writer believes that the Government policy of prohibiting the sale to Communist countries should continue and suggests that few households in Charlotte used butter because of its high price, that the Government, because of the support-price program, was responsible for the high price, and so there should be no concern for whether Russia or any other country could use it, when Americans could use it themselves at lower prices.
But then, moron, there might be another depression after the dairy farmers, and other farmers producing commodities subject to the support-price program, would eventually go broke, the first victims of the Great Depression beginning in 1929. You do not think holistically, only seeing to the end of your nose at the dinner table.
A letter from A. W. Black, who had not written in awhile, suggests that ministers supporting the blue law ban on Sunday movies apparently believed that by maintaining it they could fill their empty church pews, finds that the move was a restriction on the Constitutional right of religious freedom, which guaranteed also the freedom from religion. He believes that they were, themselves, undermining the institution of the church by being overzealous in its defense.
A letter writer from Chapel Hill indicates that sometime the following month, North Carolina Republicans would gather for their state convention, suggests that they should not nominate anyone for statewide offices, that despite there being 300,000 more voting members of the party in the state, their candidates still were nominated by the political bosses, that Republican primaries had, in the past, been farces, with only 16,000 persons bothering to vote in the 1952 primary for the lieutenant gubernatorial nomination because the winner had already been picked, the loser not carrying any counties. He suggests that North Carolina Republicans could not expect voters for their candidates until the choice was made by the people and not leaders of the party. He lists several potential candidates for the U.S. Senate seat from among Republicans, including Representative Charles Jonas, says that if the convention hand-picked a candidate, one of those qualified candidates should file and turn the race into a genuine contest. He urges Republicans to elect Republicans and cease spending money in the Democratic primaries.
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