The Charlotte News

Friday, February 19, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Seoul, after the end of the 25-day Big Four foreign ministers conference in Berlin, South Korea had denounced the Big Four plans for a Korean peace conference in Geneva, but did not rule out South Korean participation in the talks, to begin April 26, saying that the conference was "fundamentally incompatible with the Korean armistice agreement". South Korea believed that the ending statement of the Berlin conference could be looked on as providing Communist China "a special invitation to become one of the principal powers—creating, in effect, a Big Five meeting that is deigning to permit the Republic of Korea to attend its own conference." The foreign ministers had decided that Communist China would be permitted to participate in the peace conference, not as one of the major powers, but rather pursuant to invitation.

The Berlin conference had failed to reach any agreement on Germany and Austria, resulting in the West German Government saying that Russia's actions at the conference had demonstrated that it intended to become "the sole dominating power on the European continent", while expressing gratitude to the three Western ministers for their efforts on behalf of Germany. Austrian newspapers displayed black borders to mark the failure of the conference to provide Austria with independence, the result of the Soviet demand that all four Western powers remain in occupation of the country even after it was granted independence by a treaty. Secretary of State Dulles, headed home this date, indicated that the failures of the conference were of a kind which could not have been avoided by mere diplomatic or negotiating skills, that the Western powers had been willing to place trust in the German and Austrian peoples, whereas the Soviet Union had not.

Vietnamese officials approved the idea of discussion of an Indo-China settlement in connection with the Korean talks at Geneva, declaring in Saigon that any such settlement would have to make it impossible for the Communist-led Vietminh to take over Indo-China. In addition to the question of Indo-China, the foreign ministers had agreed that they would exchange views on world disarmament pursuant to resolution adopted by the U.N. the prior November 28, proposing secret major-power talks to speed arms reduction.

In New York, Senator Joseph McCarthy ejected the Army's chief counsel and Brig. General Ralph Zwicker, commandant of Camp Kilmer in New Jersey, and his aides, from a closed hearing of his Investigations subcommittee the previous day, angrily asking how a former major had escaped court-martial as a "Fifth Amendment Communist". He told newsmen after the session that he had been questioning an unidentified lieutenant colonel and General Zwicker about an honorable discharge given earlier during the month to a dentist in Queens, who had refused to answer 33 questions about possible Communist links, invoking the privilege against self-incrimination each time. The dentist had served at Camp Kilmer and had been promoted from captain to major in the Army Reserves the previous November, then given an honorable discharge after the Senator had demanded his court-martial. The lieutenant colonel reportedly had declined to answer some of the Senator's questions which concerned the dentist, saying that it would violate Army regulations. The Senator then ordered the Army's chief counsel to testify, but he refused, saying that he was at the hearing only as an observer for Army Secretary Robert Stevens, though asking for time to consult with the Secretary on the matter. The Senator then ordered the counsel to leave the room, along with all Army officers present except the lieutenant colonel, saying that he was seeking to find out who was responsible for covering up and protecting "Fifth Amendment Communists".

In Palm Springs, Calif., California Governor Goodwin Knight had told the President that if he wanted to defeat the Democrats the following November, he should be kind to them. He said that the President's February 10 statement at his press conference, that Republicans should avoid bitter condemnation of Democrats, was very popular in California as it was the way they had been beating the New Deal for 20 years. The President was taking a working vacation, staying at the ranch of a friend. He tentatively had scheduled a round of golf for this date at the popular Thunderbird course, after shooting a reported 87 for 18 holes at the exclusive Tamarisk Country Club the previous day. Newsmen heard that Ben Hogan, one of the top golfing stars, had been the President's partner and had shot four under par at 68. Fore... Look out, neighbor.

The Census Bureau reported this date that cotton consumption for January had averaged 33,941 bales for each working day, compared to an average of 36,844 bales for the corresponding period the prior year, and with 32,219 bales the prior December.

In Detroit, six Communists, convicted of conspiracy against the Government, were given the choice this date of a prison sentence ranging between four and five years or going to Russia, plus a fine of $10,000.

In Chicago, a DePaul University student who had been hospitalized for a year after suffering critical burns in a chemistry laboratory accident had received a happy 25th birthday message this date from fellow students, telling him that they would stage a jazz concert benefit on March 1 and would provide him the proceeds. They had also provided 40 pints of blood for him. He was set to continue his hospitalization for another 6 to 10 months and had undergone three operations involving skin grafts.

In Camden, N.J., a father who had believed briefly that his soldier son might still be alive after having been reported as killed in action in Korea 11 months earlier, admitted that he had been the victim of a cruel hoax. He had received a telegram the previous Saturday purporting to be from his son, sent from New York City. After waiting, however, for five days with no further word, he concluded that the telegram was a hoax. He said that he would not be satisfied until the person who had perpetrated the hoax was put in jail.

In Santiago, Cuba, a family reported this date the kidnaping of their eight-year old boy, a member of the internationally known Bacardi rum family of Cuba, a ransom of $50,000 having been demanded.

In Meadville, Pa., a man faced 10 to 20 years in prison for pushing his girlfriend to her death under the wheels of an Erie Railroad freight train the previous December 27, after a jury had found him guilty the previous night of second degree murder. He had denied the charge but admitted that he and his girlfriend had argued and were pulling at each other's clothing when the freight train had passed.

In Hollywood, actress Anne Sterling had been found unconscious in her apartment this date, beside two pillboxes, one empty and the other containing 12 capsules, but was reported out of danger after being transported to the hospital and having her stomach pumped. She had been hospitalized for awhile in 1945 after taking an overdose of sleeping pills. She had bit parts in films and television since arriving in Hollywood, but had made headlines on several occasions by her court appearances, the latest having occurred the previous September when she recovered a $2,200 marten stole she accused a friend of stealing, the accused having been acquitted of the charge of stealing the stole.

In Tokyo, actress Marilyn Monroe, following a four-day tour of Korea, this night flew back to Japan and received a warm welcome from her new husband, Joe DiMaggio, who kissed her gently as she stepped from the plane. Only a few Air Force personnel were on hand to greet her, in sharp contrast to the thousands who had greeted her at every stop in Korea. Before her departure from Korea, she had told newsmen that she had never felt like a movie star before she came to Korea. They undoubtedly had seen her pictures in the nationally published magazine from the prior December.

In Pittsburgh, Pa., a woman who lived near a hospital heard a noise at the door the previous day, opened it and in walked a monkey. It took more than an hour for two officers to corner the simian, which had escaped from the hospital research laboratory.

In Marshall, Minn., the city had found a way to handle people who did not handle shovels after snowstorms, by clearing the sidewalks and then submitting a bill to the adjacent property owners.

In Graham, N.C., a would-be bride had given up hope, having written to the Alamance County Register of Deeds during the week, returning her marriage license issued in January, 1953, saying that she was sorry to have to return it but that she had been stood up for a year.

Lucien Agniel of The News reports that David Clark, a lawyer from Lincolnton, was considering running for the Democratic nomination for Congress, but had been hesitant to get into the race because he did not want to endure a major primary fight, and so was awaiting the final decisions of other potential candidates before declaring.

Donald MacDonald of The News tells of two Charlotte policemen, Dick Allen and Earl Fesperman, having a patient who had been a naturalized American since about 1916, originally from Syria, and who, at age 56, had lost his health several months earlier, dropping from 225 to 140 pounds following a nervous breakdown and refusing to eat or leave his room, his wife having taken over the managerial duties of their grocery store and called in doctors to assist him. He had balked at taking his medicine prescribed by a doctor and his weight continued to drop, until his wife sought to admit him to a hospital to be fed intravenously, resisted, however, by her husband, and so finally had resorted to the police for help to get him to take his medicine. She said that he had always respected policemen and would follow their advice. Initially, two detectives had been assigned to the matter, but the man did not think plainclothes officers were really police and so continued to refuse to take his pills, until the two uniformed police officers came to the rescue and began to visit him twice daily about three weeks earlier, successfully getting him to take his medication.

Choking black clouds of dust engulfed sections of Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas, Nebraska and Colorado this date, as visibility was cut to zero in the Texas Panhandle and streetlights had to be turned on. It accompanied a Western cold front which had moved across those states, and tornado alerts had been issued for sections of Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas. The dust had swirled into the Panhandle from Colorado and Kansas, where businessmen at Garden City had shoveled dirt off their sidewalks as if it had been heavy snow. The dust storm was expected to reach the Mexican border by this night or the following morning, as gusts up to 65 mph marked its southward sweep. Much of the country was wet and windy, in the Midwest and Northwest.

On the editorial page, "Dr. Manion Got His Come-Uppance" indicates that on January 30, the Alsops had written that if the President carried through with his decision to fire Dr. Clarence Manion as chairman of the Commission on Inter-Governmental Relations, it would dispel doubts of his leadership ability which had arisen during the time when the President had been learning the political game, even if the Republican right-wing would howl in rage.

When his firing was announced during the week, a member of the Commission, Representative Noah Mason of Illinois, regarded it as a "national calamity", smacking of "autocratic dictatorship", and promptly resigned in protest. Senator John W. Bricker of Ohio, whose amendment and the support of it openly by Dr. Manion was the primary reason for the firing, found it disturbing that "men of great ability who did not see alike with the leader of an administration" could not continue in an official position. Senator William Jenner of Indiana said it was a dangerous age when such a man was made to "walk the plank because he has fundamental views he believes in".

The piece regards it as nonsense to suggest that the President had fired him solely because of his opinion on the Bricker amendment, as the President had been aware of that position when he was appointed the prior September, Dr. Manion having testified in support of the amendment before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee in April of the previous year. Shortly after his appointment, he became an embarrassment to the Administration, however, in October saying that he favored selling off TVA to private enterprise, forcing the President to deny that the Administration had any such intention. Then, he began making speeches across all of the states in support of the Bricker amendment, launching venomous attacks against members of Congress who opposed it, by implication attacking the President, who also opposed it. He also had neglected his assignment with the Commission, which had not started its work.

It finds that he had gotten what he deserved by being fired and should never have been appointed in the first instance, as he was far more to the right in his political thinking than the members of Congress who had spoken for him during the week, too extreme for the chairmanship of a commission engaged in an important task, a post which should be occupied by someone of more moderate views.

"Atomic Energy Opens New Frontier" indicates that the President's message to Congress on atomic energy had been complete and timely, seeking from Congress a change in the Atomic Energy Act, to permit the U.S. to share information on the tactical use of atomic weapons and peacetime atomic power information with allies, also recommending that U.S. private industry be given a larger role in the development of nuclear power, all of which he deemed essential to national security. Britain had perfected and tested atomic bombs, outpacing the U.S. in the race to produce atomic power, and France and Canada had also established atomic programs. The President said that he did not propose to share any military secrets which would hold value for a potential enemy.

It indicates that William Laurence, Pulitzer prize-winning journalist for the New York Times, had happened to be in Charlotte during the week to speak before the Executives Club, occurring coincidentally on the same date that the President had sent his message to Congress, Mr. Laurence backing up everything the President had said. He had explained that the necessity of protecting the free world from armed aggression had forced the U.S. to concentrate on developing a large atomic stockpile and a wide variety of atomic weaponry since the war, but also indicated that the stockpile was now sufficiently large and the airplanes designed to deliver them sufficiently well situated in overseas bases that the threat of retaliation posed an adequate deterrent to the possibility of major aggression, at least for the ensuing decade or two. With that status, the nation could now afford to begin exploring the "new frontier" opened by atomic energy, for ships and locomotives, electric power plants, radioactive by-products to seek out and destroy such diseases as cancer, polio, and arterial sclerosis, and to slow the aging process of the mind and body, as well as producing radioactive tracers to determine how a plant grew, and methods of rendering desert regions fertile, etc.

The U.S. had already spent more than 12 billion dollars developing atomic weaponry and an expenditure of half that amount exploring the peaceful potential of atomic energy in the ensuing two or three years would significantly accelerate the revolution in that field. It indicates that in that massive undertaking, the free nations should all work together, as the new form of energy, it suggests, enabled the "best hope that human freedom will survive and eventually triumph over all forms of totalitarianism."

That may be true, as long as there are no Three Mile Islands and Chernobyls left on the horizon, a problematic issue for the past 45 years or so.

"A Plot against Voters Back Home" indicates that a paper titled "Plan To Escape Roll Call on Bill Increasing Pay of Members of Congress" was circulating among the members of the House, outlining the procedure by which members of Congress could get the bill passed without casting record votes, suggesting that it be called up without prior notice to press and opponents and that debate be sharply limited, engaged in only by the advocates of the bill, at which point there would be a quorum call and the bill would then come up for passage. When the chair asked for the yeas and nays, members would sit in their seats, such that the request for the yeas and nays would be denied because it could not be granted unless 20 percent of the members present stood up. In that manner, the House members could raise their pay through a voice vote while opponents and constituents back home would never know how they voted.

It indicates that some Congressmen might feel that it was only through such a devious device that a pay increase could be approved. It grants that Congressional salaries should be increased, but ventures that it was a bad way to go about it, that any member who voted for it ought have the vote recorded by his name, that the member who lacked that much courage was not worth their present salary.

A piece from the Memphis Press-Scimitar, titled "Just Plain Harold", indicates that most people had never suspected the "pixie-like traits" which lay just beneath the surface of the serious-minded New Dealers Harold Ickes and Henry Wallace. In the recently published diary of the late Mr. Ickes, former Secretary of Interior, he told of Mr. Wallace, while Secretary of Agriculture prior to 1940, having suggested that they "play hooky" after a short Cabinet meeting, and so they took a ride in Mr. Ickes's car to the edge of the Potomac and sat on the grass, Mr. Ickes musing that it might have been a great shock to the socialites of Washington if they had seen two members of the Cabinet lolling on the grass like any other two people.

The piece wonders at Mr. Ickes having suggested himself and Mr. Wallace to be just like other people.

The Wall Street Journal tells of millions of Americans seeking to lose weight, with one estimate being that 35 million people in the country were heavier than they should be, by an average of 16 pounds. The result was that a major business in foods intended to maintain strength while enabling loss of weight and satisfying the pallet had blossomed. The foods might contain as little as a twentieth of the calories of comparable conventional foods, accomplished by removal or reduction of sugar, salt, fats and oils. They included such unlikely items as chocolate bars, peanut butter, mayonnaise and maple syrup.

It goes on quite a bit, in case you are interested in what diets looked like in 1954.

Drew Pearson indicates that the U.S. Information Service had banned the collected writings of Thomas Jefferson from overseas libraries, in an effort to appease Senator McCarthy and his objections to matter considered subversive or controversial in those libraries. The officials now were embarrassed about the ban and wished they had not gone quite so far in the effort to appease him, but the book had been removed from the shelves of some of the libraries, while others had not done so. The reason for the removal was that the writings had been compiled by Sheldon Foner, who had been listed by the State Department among those who had pleaded the Fifth Amendment when called before a Congressional committee, falling within a State Department policy which removed books authored by Congressional witnesses who invoked the privilege against self-incrimination. The libraries which had not removed the book had determined that former President Jefferson's writings were more important than the compiler.

Following the White House radio correspondents dinner recently, commentator Fulton Lewis had given a gala party at the Shoreham Hotel in Washington, attended by various celebrities, most of whom were men. HEW Secretary Oveta Culp Hobby had been invited, having an excellent past of public service, having been head of the WAC's during the war and also publisher of the Houston Post, as well as possessing great charm, having been "positively ravishing" during the dinner. She at first indicated that she must have come to the wrong place, after seeing all of the men present, but was ushered in by Mr. Lewis, who said that they needed someone like her to tone up the party. But after her entry, he had to ask her for her name, which, upon being told, he instantly recognized and realized his faux pas for not being aware of the identity of a member of the Cabinet.

The Securities & Exchange Commission, charged with policing Wall Street, appeared to be on the verge of junking a regulation which had saved American consumers and investors millions of dollars, a rule which required investment bankers to compete against one another in bidding for the bonds of public utilities. Prior to 1941, the big investment firms had divided up the utility bonds among themselves, and many boards of directors of investment houses had tie-ins with utility boards of directors, such that a bond issue was sometimes floated by advance secret agreement rather than through competitive bidding, keeping the price to the utilities high, the utilities paying an average of $20 in commissions, discounts, etc., for every thousand dollars they borrowed between 1936 and 1941, after which the regulation in question had gone into effect, and the utilities then began paying an average of $6.58 per thousand dollars they borrowed. The savings meant reduced rates for consumers, as the cost of bond issues invariably was passed on to consumers. The vigorous opposition by Robert Young, then of the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad, together with Cyrus Eaton, a Cleveland banker, had helped change the noncompetitive flotation of utilities stocks and bonds through the adoption of the rule. But presently, a quiet drive was underway to kill the competitive bidding, a drive led by the new Republican SEC chairman, Ralph Demmler, the former law partner of Senator Dave Reed of Pennsylvania, personal attorney for the late Andrew Mellon. Mr. Demmler had arranged one of the largest banking mergers of recent years, between Mellon Securities and the First Boston Co. Robert McDowell, SEC director of corporate regulation, formerly of Sullivan & Cromwell, representing such investment houses as Goldman, Sachs, Blythe & Co., Lehman Brothers and First Boston, was also in favor of eliminating the regulation. Though most of the large bankers were supportive of the move, Halsey, Stuart & Co., the largest investment house in the Midwest, had filed an objection, as had some of the smaller banking houses, along with labor groups, among them the president of the Railroad Trainmen. The briefs filed against the regulation were not subject to public inspection under SEC regulations.

The President was upset with the testimony of FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, that the two major goals of the Communist Party were to settle the Korean War and to recall U.S. troops from abroad, because those two goals had been also undertaken by the Eisenhower Administration.

Former Congressman Hamilton Fish of New York, an isolationist, had been holding secret conferences at the Mayflower Hotel to stir up opposition against his fellow Republican, Senator Robert Hendrickson of New Jersey, who had a courageous record of battling isolationism.

Marquis Childs indicates that the Foreign Operations Administration, responsible for foreign aid, and the Department of Agriculture were discovering that it was not so easy to give away surplus food from the bulging warehouses being operated by the Commodity Credit Corporation under the price-support program. FOA had compiled a report which showed that about 280 million dollars worth of foodstuffs was being given away under authorizations approved thus far in the present fiscal year, with other operations prior to the end of the fiscal year on June 30 likely to increase that amount. By comparison to the large amount of surplus accumulated by the CCC, over five billion dollars worth, likely to grow to more than six billion by the end of 1954, it was a very small amount. The bill for storage was running close to $500,000 per day.

Thus, under pressure from both Congress and the Department of Agriculture, FOA was reported to have hastily decided to give 98 million dollars worth of the surpluses to Bolivia and Liberia to make a better showing for the year, but FOA officials had denied that such an emergency allocation had been made.

The largest single amount under the current giveaway was 70 million dollars worth of wheat provided to Pakistan, the second largest amount being 64 million dollars worth to Britain, Norway and West Germany, in the latter, surplus American food being sold for local currency. Under one section of the law, 26 million dollars worth of food had gone to East Germans and in Christmas packages distributed in various European countries. The FOA total included such items as 6.5 million dollars in famine relief for Bolivia, Jordan and Libya.

Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson had made a bold move recently when he ordered dairy price supports cut to the lowest permissible level under the law, effective April 1, potentially having political and economic repercussions in the farm states, in which the Republicans would badly need to win races in the midterm elections in the fall to maintain control of one or both houses of Congress. Consumers, however, would hail the change for reducing prices on dairy products.

The Government's present consignment of butter was over 270 million pounds, increasing steadily, and the Government would continue to buy butter under the present supports at an average of a little more than 65 cents per pound until the April 1 change date, after which it would drop to between 56 and 57 cents, resulting in a consumer retail price of around 65 cents.

A deal had been contemplated by the Department of Agriculture whereby the offer by Russia to purchase the surplus at a price lower than the U.S. consumer price, in exchange for minerals and other commodities in short supply in the U.S., might be accepted, though the Department had not seriously considered the matter for its potential political repercussions at home. But Howard Gordon, president of the CCC, had just resigned after putting forward a proposal for allowing the consumer to purchase butter in the market at 46 cents, with the difference between that and the support price to be made up by a Government subsidy, akin to the plan put forward by Charles Brannan when he had been Secretary of Agriculture under President Truman, denounced by some Democrats and most Republicans as smacking of socialism, causing a committee of Congress to back away.

James Marlow discusses, as does the above editorial, the firing by the President of Dr. Clarence Manion, former dean of the Notre Dame Law School, as chairman of the President's Commission on Inter-Governmental Relations because of his outspokenness in support of the Bricker amendment to the Constitutional provision regarding the treaty-making power, an amendment which the President had consistently opposed as hamstringing the ability of the President to conduct foreign policy. Dr. Manion had been appointed chairman the prior early September and was then fired on February 17, with no reasons stated by the White House, though the implication was clearly his publicly stated position on the Bricker amendment. He had stated in his 1950 book, The Key to Peace: "Those in charge of our national defense must be made to realize that if the fascinating American story is made plain to our actual and potential enemies, military opposition will liquidate itself in the wild scramble to follow the American example." He had also urged in the book adoption and ratification of the Bricker amendment, as well as another amendment which would limit the power of Congress to spend money.

Senator George Aiken of Vermont had said that what had actually cost him his job was that he was too conservative to be of value to the Administration. Other Senate Republicans had criticized the firing, and one member of the Commission, Representative Noah Mason of Illinois, had resigned in protest.

Dr. Manion had also been criticized for making too many speeches in general and spending not enough time at the headquarters of the Commission.

The Government provided to the states 2.8 billion dollars annually in aid money in 22 programs covering such fields as public health, highways, education, and housing. The Commission was charged with finding where Federal and state duplication of services could be avoided, with consequent elimination of some of the Federal aid.


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