The Charlotte News

Thursday, February 25, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Secretary of the Army Robert Stevens had been reported this date to be seeking a public expression of support from the President in his dealings with Senator McCarthy and was prepared to resign if he did not receive it. It was said that the Secretary insisted that a statement be issued by the President that he agreed with the Secretary that he did not "capitulate" during his secret meeting the previous day with Senator McCarthy and other Republican members of the Investigations subcommittee regarding the question of calling Army officers for testimony regarding the alleged "coddling of Communists" by the Army, and that the President would agree that Secretary Stevens could say that the President was in full agreement with his position. Secretary Stevens was reported to be angry and indignant over the possible effect on Army morale caused by reporting that he had essentially caved in to Senator McCarthy on the issue of calling two generals before the subcommittee, having previously stated firmly that the two generals should not comply with summonses to appear before the subcommittee because of its "abuse" of one of the generals in a prior appearance and other Army witnesses who had appeared before it. He was upset that a memorandum of agreement read to newsmen by Senator Karl Mundt, a member of the subcommittee, following the meeting between the Secretary and the Republican members, did not contain a statement that there was agreement that no future abuse of Army officers would take place, a stipulation which the Secretary insisted had been provided. The memo said only that the subcommittee would be given the names of all of those who had handled the Army's honorable discharge of a dentist in the Reserve, who had been promoted from captain to major after he had refused to answer, pursuant to the Fifth Amendment, the question of whether he had ever been a Communist. Those persons would also be made available for questioning by the subcommittee. That had been widely perceived as a capitulation by the Secretary. The Secretary had been scheduled to appear before the subcommittee this date, to be telecast nationwide by the major television networks, and, according to reports, the private conference had involved statements by the Senators that it would appear unseemly for the Secretary to engage contentiously with members of the subcommittee in such a telecast, that irreparable damage might be done thereby to the Republican Party and the Eisenhower Administration. The testimony was called off after the agreement had been formed the previous day. The story quotes from a prepared statement which the Secretary had been prepared to read to the subcommittee had he appeared this date.

The House Appropriations Committee recommended a 12.5 percent cut in the combined budgets of the State, Justice and Commerce Departments, and the Voice of America this date, indicating that they should be able to sustain on a 1.146 billion dollar budget, instead of the recommended 1.313 billion. The FBI received the entire 78.3 million it had requested, 1.3 million more than provided under the current budget. The only other major agency which had received the full amount requested was the Immigration and Naturalization Service, allocated 39 million.

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 12 to 3 this date to recommend the confirmation of Earl Warren as Chief Justice, and Senate Majority Leader William Knowland said that he planned to take the nomination to the full Senate the following day, expressing the belief that it would overwhelmingly vote to confirm. The previous day, the Committee had heard from a witness from California, who had been charged with subornation of perjury and arrested on a fugitive warrant out of San Francisco, but released long enough to permit his testimony. Only Senators Harley Kilgore of West Virginia, James Eastland of Mississippi and Olin Johnston of South Carolina had voted against recommending confirmation. Senator Kilgore said that his vote was in protest of committee procedures and that he would vote to confirm the nomination when brought up before the full Senate. Senator Eastland said he voted against the confirmation because he did not think the former Governor of California had the judicial experience to be Chief Justice. The appointment, made during the Congressional recess the prior October, had been hanging fire since the beginning of the year and the new session of Congress, delayed, for various reasons, by Committee chairman, Senator William Langer of North Dakota.

Senator John Sparkman of Alabama, the 1952 Democratic vice-presidential nominee, formally declared his candidacy for renomination this date, with three other opponents having declared for the primary, to be held the following May 4.

The President announced this date that he would grant military aid to Pakistan to help secure "stability and strength" in the Middle East. The White House made public a letter to Prime Minister Nehru of India, assuring him that "this step does not in any way affect the friendship we feel for India." India had strongly objected to the military aid from the U.S.

From Beirut, Lebanon, it was reported that one of the Middle East's strongmen, General Mohamed Naguib of Egypt, was squeezed out by that country's ruling Revolutionary Council as President and Premier on charges that he was seeking to pull Egypt "back to absolute dictatorship", with Lt. Col. Gamal Abdul Nasser, who had been the driving force behind the Army coup which had ousted King Farouk from the throne 19 months earlier, named as the new Premier by the Council. The Council was comprised of 11 young Army officers who had ruled Egypt since the ouster of the King. The Council left the presidency vacant for the time being. A communiqué issued by the Council said that President Naguib was suffering from a "psychological crisis" and that there had been unanimous acceptance of his resignation submitted the prior Monday.

In Syria, Radio Aleppo said that a large section of the Syrian army had revolted against President Adib Shishekly and had overthrown him, but broadcasts from Damascus made no mention of any trouble at all. The Aleppo broadcast said that troops from Aleppo and the northern districts of Syria had seized the city and declared open rebellion under the leadership of Col. Mustafa Hammoud. The broadcast said that the rebels had promised the nation a return to constitutional government, calling the President "a tyrant, oppressor and slave of the imperialists". It said that Col. Hammoud had given him 24 hours to resign and leave the country.

A late bulletin indicates that the United States had told Communist Poland to close its consulates in Chicago, Detroit, and New York.

The President appointed 244 postmasters in 38 states, having previously appointed 272 on February 4.

In London, Reverend Billy Graham said this date that there would be no "mouth-foaming, hysterical emotionalism" during his three-month revival crusade in London. He said that there had been "fine American evangelists" in London previously, but he understood that they had had a rough time with "some of the more sensational characters", and that his crusade would try to correct some false impressions of American evangelists thus created, that the preaching would be about Christ. He said that the religious revival in America was supported in high places, that the President had missed going to church only four Sundays since he had entered the office, that the example was "inspiring". The Reverend said that he did not come to Britain to fight Communism, sidestepping all questions relating to Senator McCarthy, again reiterating that he was there to preach Christ and refused to be drawn in "against any side".

In Cleveland, O., Clinton Muchison, the Dallas, Texas, oil and gas millionaire, and Sid Richardson of Fort Worth, had purchased at $25 per share 800,000 shares of the New York Central Railroad, owned by the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway, as disclosed this date by the latter. Mr. Murchison was reported to be a friend of Robert Young, presently engaged in a battle to control the New York Central. The C & O president said that the sale was made at a profit to the railroad of 2.4 million dollars. Mr. Murchison also had interests in banks, utilities, chemical companies, life insurance companies and had several million dollars worth of securities in the Missouri Pacific Railroad, in addition to his oil and gas holdings.

In Denver, Colo., Harmon Kallman, correspondent for the Denver Post, tells of the the drought being readily apparent with dust and grit everywhere in the southeastern portion of the state, and that the further south and east one traveled, the fewer furrows one could discern in what had been plowed wheat land just a week earlier. Just 100 miles to the east, there were few signs of the dust storm which had taken place the previous week. Residents indicated that it was the worst damage they had seen any dust storm do in such short time.

In Jacksonville, Fla., a man had allegedly stolen a car in Durham, N.C., from an automobile showroom, to drive to Jacksonville to appear in court on a charge of stealing a car. The defendant denied having broken into the dealership to steal the car but admitted that he had taken it in Durham and abandoned it in Jacksonville. He had a new case in Durham.

In Auburn, Ala., students at Alabama Polytechnic Institute donated 1,842 pints of blood in two days, described as a national college record.

On the editorial page, "The Senate's Stock Goes Down" indicates that the Senate, in the opinion of James Reston, Washington bureau chief of the New York Times, was fast losing its claim to being the more responsible and high-minded of the two houses of Congress, that in the present session, its role had been reduced. Mr. Reston had cited several incidents supporting the thesis, such as Senator William Langer's publicizing of the irresponsible and unchecked accusations against Chief Justice Earl Warren, Senator McCarthy's abuse of a distinguished general of the U.S. Army, the failure of Democratic members of the Investigations subcommittee to protest Senator McCarthy's tactics as its chairman, the willingness of many Senators to support the Bricker amendment despite having not studied it and not understood its implications, the failure of Senator Lyndon Johnson, the Minority Leader, to call a Democratic caucus at which opposition policy could be mapped, and the Senate's casual attitude toward important pending litigation.

It indicates that the report by the Congressional Quarterly on the page this date regarding the 196 requests being made by the President in his various reports to Congress tended to substantiate the charge of Mr. Reston that the Senate was wasting time. For other than a law to increase cotton acreage, no major piece of legislation had come out of the Congress during the first two months of the current session. It concludes that the most basic thing in American democracy was the respect of the people for their institutions of government and that the Senate had done precious little thus far during the year to merit that respect.

Parenthetically, as linked yesterday in relation to the plumbers at the White House and their need to plug leaks in the Government after publication of the Pentagon Papers, President Nixon, in September, 1971, thought Mr. Reston was a "goddamned" "son-of-a-bitch", unworthy of any White House interviews, along with the rest of the Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, Time, Newsweek and all the other print-media sons-of-bitches. Eventually, by fall, 1973, if not earlier, he would come to include CBS, NBC and ABC in that category, as well—probably goddamned Timahoe, too, perhaps King of the leaks around the White House, in need of prayers from the public schoolchildren during school hours to scotch all the bloody nonsense.

"No Need To Grease the Hoover Cart" indicates that Federal spending during the fiscal year would be an estimated four percent below that of the previous year, and that the next fiscal year would see spending cut by another 7.5 percent, based on the President's proposed budget.

While the spending decrease, along with some other economic indicators, suggested that a major recession might be likely, the fact was that local and state government spending was going up at the same time, totaling more than 25 billion dollars the previous year, expected to increase annually at the rate of ten percent, which would almost compensate for the forecast decreases in Federal spending. The Commerce Department had recently reported that state and local governments had on hand 10 to 15 billion dollars, with a backlog of 100 billion dollars in construction projects, and that state and municipal bond issues had hit a new high the previous year of more than five billion dollars worth. There were two reasons for the state and local increases, that they were a good cushion for the economy and represented increased government activity at a level where it needed strengthening. It indicates that one of the best ways to ensure decreased Federal Government spending was to increase the authority and activity of state and local governments so that they could take over those functions which had to be accomplished by government at some level.

"For Young Local Artists, a Backpat" indicates that one could take either side in the debate on whether public schools were spending too much time on such subjects as art, sculpture, ceramics, enameling and the like, to the neglect of fundamentals, as had been raised recently by a letter writer, but that there was no debating the ability of young people in Charlotte in those fields. The first North Carolina Art Exhibit, which was currently on display in Winston-Salem, had a total of 302 works by 249 students, 94 of which, by 77 students, had come from the Charlotte schools. Of those, two had been awarded one of the four first prizes, 16 presented with gold keys and 75 with certificates of merit. It indicates that the whole community, the parents and teachers, could all take pride in the accomplishment of the Charlotte students.

"Too Much Trivia in the Mail" indicates that recently, the Army had reportedly saved several thousand dollars by adopting a veteran's suggestion that it quit drilling holes in broom handles which were not hung on pegs, finds that a letter writer this date had an equally meritorious and simple suggestion for saving the Government money by having the Post Office Department furnish notice forms to send to companies which mailed second, third and fourth-class mail which was unwanted by recipients.

The writer's suggestion had prompted the editors to survey the pile of mail accumulated on their desks, which it references by several examples contained therein, concluding that the writer had a good suggestion.

A piece from the Greensboro Daily News, titled "High Medical Costs", indicates that the first year-end report of Greensboro's Cone Memorial Hospital reflected the high cost of medical care, showing an operating loss of $496,000, a loss which few hospitals across the country could afford, though Cone could because of the bequests of the late Bertha Cone and other members of the Cone textile family. The hospital was the largest stockholder in Cone Mills, producing an income of $900,000 the previous year, used to make up the operating deficit.

It wonders what other hospitals, however, would do in facing such losses, and suggests that the medical profession had a responsibility to find the answer, to exert leadership and come up with a plan which would render medical costs reasonable, that otherwise others less competent and intelligent would be left to deal with the problem, that when the simmering issue of high medical costs reached the boiling point, it would be time to "watch out".

Drew Pearson tells of the backstage events which had led to Secretary of the Army Robert Stevens being summoned before the McCarthy subcommittee, illustrating what occurred to an official, regardless of party, if he either appeased or stood up to the Senator. Secretary Stevens had telephoned the President while the latter was in Palm Springs for the purpose of asking whether he should issue a statement throwing down the gauntlet to Senator McCarthy, charging him with "unwarranted abuse of our loyal Army officers", to which the President gave his approval, leading to the revenge being presently sought by Senator McCarthy.

Some months earlier, the President had issued a contrary order to the Secretary and other Cabinet officials, telling them to cooperate with the Senator and give him whatever he wanted, the President at that time believing that the Senator was the problem of the Senate and not the executive branch. That initial cooperation had been the reason the Senator had received carbon copies of the Army's investigation of itself at Fort Monmouth, regarding radar secrets having supposedly been compromised by espionage. Secretary Stevens had stayed out of that controversy, not defending the Army, until a series of critical reports had appeared in the Republican New York Herald Tribune, showing that there had been no espionage danger at Fort Monmouth and that the only result of the investigation had been a decline in morale. At that point, Secretary Stevens held a press conference, admitting the truth of the article, which had been followed up also by articles in the Washington Post and the New York Times. He said that no one had been charged with espionage at Fort Monmouth, that there may have been some charges ten years earlier, in 1944, when Julius Rosenberg had worked there, but that there had been no evidence since that time. At that point, Senator McCarthy, infuriated by that statement, asked Secretary Stevens to meet him in New York, and at a private luncheon, attended also by Senator McCarthy's subcommittee counsel, Roy Cohn, the Senator rebuked the Secretary for making a statement which placed the Senator in a bad light. The Secretary then had indicated in response that he was pushed into holding the press conference and that there was nothing else he could say but the truth.

Senator McCarthy persuaded the Secretary to issue a clarifying statement, to the effect that when he had made his earlier statement at the press conference, he had been speaking for the Army and not for Senator McCarthy, leaving the inference that the Secretary had not known what the Senator had been developing in his executive sessions of the subcommittee and that perhaps there had been some fresh evidence of espionage unknown to the Army.

That had satisfied the Senator for a short time, but when Senator Allen Ellender of Louisiana produced a letter from Secretary Stevens, again denying that there was any current espionage at Fort Monmouth, as determined by the Army, Senator McCarthy had become infuriated again and had remained so since, Mr. Pearson concluding that it did not pay to appease Senator McCarthy.

The Congressional Quarterly indicates that the President had sent 196 specific requests for legislative action to Congress, that his February 17 message on atomic energy had substituted 15 recommendations for three more general requests the President had submitted earlier. Many of the requests were already being acted on, such as the authorization of U.S. participation in the St. Lawrence Seaway, which had passed the Senate and was pending in the House.

The Quarterly had organized the 196 proposals by broad subject categories and presents them under the headings of agriculture, involving 33 proposals, which it then lists, health, with six proposals listed, Social Security, with seven listed, unemployment insurance, with six listed, education, with five listed, housing, with 15 listed, foreign policy, with nine listed, including approval of two treaties, revising of methods of controlling foreign aid, involved in three, facilitating exchange of certain atomic information and material, involved in four of the requests, then labor, with 18 requests listed, all involving Taft-Hartley, military and veterans matters, involving five proposals, Government generally, involving eight requests, internal security, involving also eight requests, postal services, involving four requests, civil service, involving seven requests, resources and works, involving 22 requests, taxes, involving 41 requests, and debt and contracts, involving two requests.

James Marlow recaps the front page report on the averted confrontation between Army Secretary Stevens and Senator McCarthy, wonders whether Secretary Stevens had decided to relent on his own in his original insistence that the two Army generals not respond to the Senator's summonses to testify before the Investigations subcommittee or whether he had been talked into it, to avoid open controversy within the party, by either the President or the Vice-President, the latter having been close by when Secretary Stevens had talked the previous day with the Senator about the matter. The White House had said that the President had not set up the meeting and Senator Mundt had said that the idea had been his, not the President's or the Vice-President's.

Secretary Stevens said later that he was not a man who surrendered, but in fact, indicates Mr. Marlow, he had done just what Senator McCarthy wanted, agreeing to provide the names of those who had handled the case of the New York dentist's honorable discharge from the Army Reserve and promotion after the dentist had refused, 14 months earlier, to answer questions about membership in subversive organizations, and also relenting in his previous order that the two generals not appear further before the subcommittte, though their part in the matter was only remote. Secretary Stevens said that after the meeting, he was confident that the officers would not be "abused" in the questioning, as he had previously stated as the reason for not allowing the generals or other officers to testify further before the subcommittee.

Mr. Marlow suggests that whether it was a surrender or a truce depended on whether Senator McCarthy would pursue the investigation with the Army generals or allow the Army to conduct its own investigation and then perhaps provide a public report. He speculates that the Administration might have decided initially that it was time to have it out with Senator McCarthy once and for all, and then suddenly changed its mind for strategic reasons.

A letter writer from Chapel Hill indicates that for several days the furor over "dipping" milk prices had been increasing considerably, to be expected as much as when consumers were complaining about the rising prices. The chairman of the State Milk Commission had been paraphrased in the Durham Morning Herald of February 17 as having said that a "disaster" could occur if the "price war" spread, and that some difficulty was posed by the fact that he did not have the power to control consumer prices. He provides other statements from the Herald on the matter, finding them to imply a serious problem with milk prices, which he proceeds to explain in detail and finds that the Commission's position required an open and complete explanation of the commissioner's public and private views regarding the milk industry.

A letter writer, as stated in the above editorial, indicates that the Post Office Department ought provide a form notice for individuals or companies to send to companies to prevent them from sending junk mail to individual recipients.

But the problem with the suggestion is that you would spend more time filling out those forms and sending them back to the myriad of companies and organizations which send out such mail than you would by simply keeping a trashcan or paper recycling receptacle handy by the mailbox for deposit of it all as soon as it arrives. Moreover, once they got your return correspondence, they would only start sending the mail to your address under "Occupant", probably then turning your name over to some list which catalogs probable subversives.

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