The Charlotte News

Tuesday, March 16, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Senator Joseph McCarthy and his Senate Investigations subcommittee had entered a showdown meeting this date regarding his dispute with Army officials, as the three Democratic members, Senators Henry Jackson, John McClellan, and Stuart Symington, all insisted on a full public hearing on the charges and counter-charges. Senator McClellan told reporters that at the closed-door hearing this date, he would insist that the full Senate Government Operations Committee, of which his group was a subcommittee, take over the inquiry, that all of the hearings would be public, and that a special and impartial staff would be hired to assist in the hearings, that the current staff members under fire would not be allowed to participate. The dispute revolved around the accusation by Senator McCarthy against Army Secretary Robert Stevens and the Army's general counsel, John Adams, that they were using "blackmail" tactics to block his investigations into alleged Communists in the Army. Army officials had accused the Senator and the subcommittee's chief counsel, Roy Cohn, of exerting improper pressure to obtain special favors for a drafted former aide of the subcommittee, a friend of Mr. Cohn, Private G. David Schine. Senator McCarthy had agreed to step aside temporarily as chairman of the subcommittee and allow a substitute Senator to preside over the inquiry, but insisted that he would demand to sit in the hearings and participate in the questioning of witnesses, as with any other member of the subcommittee. Senator McCarthy had selected Senator Karl Mundt of South Dakota to be the temporary presiding member.

Senate Republican leaders had called a closed-door session of their own this date to consider their course in the anticipated fight in the midterm election campaign, pitting Republicans against Republicans.

Secretary of State Dulles said this date at a press conference that the President had authority to retaliate against an enemy attack on Paris or London, without specific Congressional authorization by declaration of war, just as he had the power to retaliate against an attack on a major U.S. city. The Secretary said that such authority derived from the NATO treaty and the Inter-American defense treaty covering the Western Hemispheric nations. The Secretary defended his policy of deterring possible new Soviet aggression through buildup of massive power of retaliation, indicating that uncertainty as to when, where and how the U.S. would retaliate was the key to the success of the policy. The remarks appeared in part to be in response to the speech in Washington the previous day by Canadian Foreign Minister Lester Pearson, who had said that Canada and other NATO countries would expect to be consulted before the U.S. Government adopted any decision for "instant retaliation", the new Administration policy previously articulated by Secretary Dulles, regarding any foe who might cause the cold war to break into open conflict.

From Hanoi in Indo-China, it was reported that screaming Vietminh shock troops surged this date to within a half-mile of the heart of the French fortress at Dien Bien Phu and then faltered and fell back, carrying their dead and wounded with them. The attack had been staged from the encircling hills during a driving rain, with the rebels firing rifles, pistols and machine guns and throwing grenades and spears. The American guns being used by the French Union troops had torn wide gaps in the ranks of the Vietminh attackers, killing thousands of them, according to a French Army spokesman. An unofficial estimate of the dead and wounded among the Vietminh during four days of battle thus far had risen to between 6,000 and 8,000. The bodies of the dead rebels were strewn across the barbed wire encircling the fortress. The efforts of the rebels reminded observers of the onslaughts by the Communists during the Korean War, desperate and defying of death. The outnumbered French forces fought desperately to maintain their hold on the plain which the fortress was designed to protect. It was the most savage battle yet in the seven-year war in Indo-China and the outcome was believed likely to have a major impact on the Geneva peace conference, set to begin April 26. During the first two days of fighting, the Vietminh had taken two northern and northeastern strong points from the French, but, according to the French high command, the center of the enemy-encircled plain remained intact and the balance of the outer perimeter was still holding. The French in Saigon predicted that the Vietminh could not maintain the intense attacks of the previous two days for more than two additional days, and that by that time, both the troops and their supplies, being laboriously carried by coolies over hundreds of jungle miles from Chinese supply dumps, would be exhausted.

Joint Chiefs chairman Admiral Arthur Radford stated this date to the Senate Armed Services Appropriations subcommittee that Army chief of staff, General Matthew Ridgway, had joined in unanimous support of the "new look" military program the previous December, but now apparently was "not satisfied" with it. The "new look" involved a cutback in size and funding for the Army, with more reliance on air power and new weaponry, including the atomic and hydrogen bombs. Admiral Radford said that General Ridgway had questions about the costs and economic features of the program over the long haul. The previous day, General Ridgway had testified to the subcommittee that the Army was "not perfectly satisfied" with the program but accepted it as "sound".

The President's opposition to the Democratic tax cut plan, regarding individual exemptions being raised from $600 to either $700 or $800, had sent Republican and Democratic House leaders scrambling this date for a few votes which could decide the issue. The President had delivered a nationwide broadcast via radio and television the previous night, in which he denounced the Democratic proposal as unsound fiscally and politically inspired. House Minority Leader Sam Rayburn said that the Democrats, nevertheless, would continue to push the issue as the President's tax plan provided favored treatment only to a few taxpayers at the top. Mr. Rayburn would deliver the Democratic response to the President via radio and television this night, with the assistance of Senator Walter George of Georgia, the senior Democrat on the Finance Committee proposing raising of the exemptions to $800, and Representative Jere Cooper of Tennessee, the ranking Democrat on the House Ways & Means Committee. Republicans claimed that a $100 increase in the personal tax exemptions to $700 would result in a diminution of 2.4 billion dollars in Government revenue. Under the Democratic plan, more than four million taxpayers with low income would be relieved of any tax burden. The average savings for most families in the middle income brackets would be about $20 per year. The President had urged that Congress go no further than the Republican-sponsored bill to overhaul the existing tax laws, liberalizing many deductions and benefiting millions of individuals, while encouraging "the growth and expansion of industry, the creation of jobs", at a cost to the Government of about 1.4 billion dollars per year.

The Senate Rules Committee decided this date to ask the Senate to vote on whether to unseat Senator Dennis Chavez of New Mexico, voting along party lines, 5 to 4, to adopt an investigating subcommittee report which recommended that the 1952 Senatorial election be voided because of "flagrant" irregularities. Former Secretary of War under President Hoover and former Ambassador to China under FDR, Patrick Hurley, had been the opposing candidate in the election. The Republican majority of the three-Senator subcommittee had found that there had been significant absence of secrecy and other transgressions during the balloting process. The lone Democrat on the subcommittee, Senator Thomas Hennings of Missouri, dissented from the report, saying there was no evidence of any fraud or other impropriety attributable to Senator Chavez, his managers, agents or any others responsible to him. The majority had stated that they were not casting aspersions on Senator Chavez personally. Were Senator Chavez to be unseated, the Republican Governor of New Mexico could appoint his successor and potentially affect the tenuous balance of the Senate, presently with 48 Democrats, 47 Republicans, and Senator Wayne Morse, a declared independent, who had agreed, since he had been elected a Republican before changing to independent status during the 1952 campaign, to vote with the Republicans for organizational purposes, leaving Vice-President Nixon to break tie votes. The full Senate would vote on a resolution which declared that no person had been elected in the New Mexico contest.

In Los Angeles, an FBI agent, made up to look like makeup manufacturer Max Factor, Jr., helped to trap an unemployed man accused of trying to extort $30,000 from Mr. Factor under threat of detonating a time bomb at his home. The father of three children was arrested the previous day as he picked up a dummy bundle of money in an orange grove in the San Fernando Valley. It was the third time that the bills had been planted, the first two times having failed to attract the suspect. The man had telephoned the Beverly Hills mansion of Mr. Factor and said that a bomb was hidden in a wall. He said he had selected Mr. Factor after reading about him in "Who's Who". He was held under a $10,000 bond on a charge of using the mails in an attempt to extort money, and a preliminary hearing was set for April 8.

In New York, a 67-year old newly wed woman told a Federal Commissioner that she wanted to withdraw her criminal complaint against her new husband, whom she had accused of absconding with $303,100 worth of her jewels and cash during their honeymoon, after the couple had been reunited the previous day through an attorney for the husband. The attorney said that the new groom had "good reasons" for disappearing on March 5, a day after the couple were wed, saying that he had to go out to obtain a repair on his cream-colored Cadillac convertible with tangerine interior. The Commissioner had ordered the man held on $10,000 bail until the U.S. Attorney in Richmond, where jurisdiction for the alleged crime existed, could be consulted about the matter. The couple had driven 20 hours from the site of their wedding in Palm Beach, Fla., to Fredericksburg, Va., where they checked into a motor court, at which point the man departed, saying that he had to obtain repairs to the automatic windows of the car. The cash and jewels had been contained in the trunk. His attorney said that after he departed, he feared that he was being followed by another car, and because of the amount of cash and jewels in the trunk, headed out of town, leaving the car in Paterson, N.J., and taking a train to New York where he proceeded to a hotel and slept for 48 hours, contending that after waking up, he could not remember what had happened to his wife until he read in the newspapers that she had filed a complaint against him and so surrendered voluntarily through the lawyer. The money and jewels were still intact in a safe deposit box, according to the attorney. Well, that all sounds perfectly plausible. No harm, no foul. All is well and lovey-dovey. The happily reunited couple are even pictured together again, headed for a lifetime of connubial bliss and mutual understanding, into the sunset in his cream-colored Cadillac with the tangerine seats, with her entire assets, except the family jewels, converted to cold, hard cash in the trunk, at his suggestion, just before their happy wedding, now safe and sound from the thieves of the world in a safe deposit box in New York.

In Miami, Fla., the temperature dropped to 47 this date, equaling the low for the date established in 1916.

Betty Boyer, in her weekly "Grocery News" column of the following day, would tell of pies "fit for a king".

On the editorial page, "Nixon Failed To Meet the Issues" indicates that Vice-President Nixon's Saturday answer to Governor Adlai Stevenson's Miami speech of a week earlier had accomplished little, having been a combination of platitudes and generalities, plus a few misrepresentations and distortions of history, coupled with a generous amount of praise and admiration for the President. The Vice-President had not faced the great, searching questions posed by Mr. Stevenson, transcending political partisanship. The Vice-President, for instance, had not effectively answered Governor Stevenson's accusation that a large segment of the Republican Party had embarked on a calculated campaign to destroy public confidence in the loyalty, patriotism and integrity of the Democratic Party. He had also dodged the charge that the Republicans had deliberately sought to deceive the American people with a numbers game regarding the alleged subversives who had been terminated by the Administration. He had also not satisfactorily answered Governor Stevenson's questions regarding the "new look" defense strategy. Instead, he credited the Administration "instant retaliation" policy with causing a temporary easing of international tension, while, in truth, that new policy had not been tested and the shifts in Soviet policy had resulted from internal disputes following the death of Stalin a year earlier.

The Vice-President agreed with Governor Stevenson that legislative investigations be carried out in a fair and proper manner, admitting that Senator McCarthy had engaged in "reckless talk and questionable methods", making himself the issue rather than the investigation of Communists, diverting public attention from the program of the Administration. (Vice-President Nixon had in his store a wealth of personal experience at that sort of diversionary conduct from his time with HUAC before being elected to the Senate in 1950, and so all he really had to do in that portion of the speech was to look into the mirror and examine his perpetual five o'clock shadow.)

The Vice-President was reported to have more influence over his associates in the Senate than any other Vice-President in modern history. The piece indicates that it had hoped therefore that he would have something to say about the Senate's failure to discipline Senator McCarthy, that the Vice-President's failure to include such a statement had been the most glaring omission of the speech.

It ventures that McCarthyism posed a threat to the Republicans and the nation, would not disappear until the Vice-President's Republican colleagues in the Senate disciplined Senator McCarthy. So long as he was able to run loose while enjoying the support of a substantial part of the Republican Party, Governor Stevenson could, with justification and telling effect, "aim his darts and score a bullseye."

"Blythe Will Be Strong Candidate" indicates that Jack Blythe, who had entered the campaign for Mecklenburg's State Senate seat, and had served for a portion of a term after the death of his brother Joe in 1949, would make a strong candidate and a good legislator, as he had been during his prior stint.

"A Project for Tar Heel Clubwomen" indicates that a Nineteenth Century editor, whose counsel had been sought by clubwomen, had advised that they "raise more hell and fewer dahlias". A story from Salem, Ore., stated that the State Legislature had refused for many years to reapportion seats, not providing growing metropolitan areas equal representation. The League of Women Voters, working with the Young Republicans and the Young Democrats, had developed a plan which virtually assured reapportionment in 1955, drafting an amendment which placed responsibility for reapportionment on the State Secretary of State, with State Supreme Court review in case the Legislature failed to act. Via the initiative plan, whereby voters in some states could propose laws by petition, the amendment was put to a vote and passed overwhelmingly, and the previous week the State Supreme Court had upheld it.

It indicates that an amendment to the State Constitution in North Carolina would be on the ballot in the fall, and if passed would write into law an inequity to the largest counties in the state, Mecklenburg and Guilford, which were presently only entitled to one State Senator apiece, while three other smaller Senatorial districts with less than 150,000 residents had two Senators, the State Senate by design to be apportioned in its seats according to population, as the House at the Federal level. The amendment would assure that there would be only one Senator per district, regardless of population, and the piece indicates that it had to to be defeated and the injustice rectified. It hopes that the clubwomen of the state would follow the advice of the old editor and the example set by Oregon women.

A piece from the Chattanooga Times, titled "What? No Floods?" indicates that some editorial writers in the North and East writing about the TVA demonstrated that they knew little about the subject. An editorial which had appeared in the Chicago Daily News regarding TVA said that what had started as flood control investment and power facilities presently totaled more than 702 million dollars.

But before the TVA dams had been built, floods were a yearly threat to every town and farm on the banks of the Tennessee River, whereas now there were no such floods. It recalls a flood less than 40 years earlier which had caused downtown Chattanooga to become an island. It indicates that between the creation of TVA in 1933 and 1948, 22 floods had occurred in Chattanooga, which, before TVA, would have equaled or exceeded a flood stage of 30 feet, at which level damage would begin. TVA's water-control systems, however, had lowered the flood stage to about 12.5 feet and the total estimated savings in flood damage averted in Chattanooga alone during the 15-year period had exceeded 45 million dollars, more than a quarter of the flood-control investment in the entire river system. Experts contended that without TVA dams, damage from floods such as had occurred in Chattanooga in 1867 would cause about 100 million dollars in damage to Chattanooga, but with the TVA reservoir system, the damage could be reduced to about 12 million.

Flood control had been so good that an editorial writer in Chicago imagined that the Tennessee River never had any floods. The Daily News editorial in Chicago had shown that there was a need for educating the citizens of all parts of the U.S. regarding TVA and what it had done for conservation, navigation and flood control. It indicates that prior to TVA, the region had known what "hell and high water" actually meant.

Lucien Agniel of The News, in the second of a series of articles on education in the state, tells of the shortage of qualified teachers. He indicates that in North Carolina, the demand for white elementary school teachers stood between 1,500 and 2,000 annually, while fewer than half that number were being produced by the state's 20 public and private colleges and universities.

Dean Charles Prall of the school of education at Woman's College, UNC at Greensboro, had stated that the major problem was to attract more women into education, that revising the certification procedures might help but was not enough. He stated that in Michigan, there was an ongoing experiment with a teacher-aid program and there was consideration of adopting such a program for North Carolina to alleviate the clerical work and off-duty projects engulfing teachers. The teacher-aids were high school graduates with an interest in education, hired to assist teachers with some of the less technical phases of education, including correcting workbooks, making charts, taking roll, assembling and distributing materials, taking messages, making monthly reports, writing on the blackboard and scoring tests. The early results of the Michigan experiment had been promising.

Dean Prall indicated that a subsidy program to encourage young people to enter teaching might also be adopted, the only other practical suggestion being bandied about.

Chancellor Edward Kidder Graham of Woman's College was an ardent foe of the current certification process, publicized in the spring of 1952, after he had addressed the North Carolina Conference of Editorial Writers, and his views, remarks Mr. Agniel, would be related later in the series.

The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction had a viewpoint of cautious optimism tempered by the reality that something needed to be done to attract teachers. The State superintendent, Charles Carroll, said that "war babies and prosperity babies" were presently crowding the classrooms. He was distributing a pamphlet designed selectively to recruit teachers, a pamphlet prepared with the assistance of Dr. James Hillman, director of the Division of Professional Service, which was in charge of certification. Dr. Hillman was also concerned about the teacher shortage but was not enthusiastic about the Michigan experiment, as he found that teachers did not generally like to have non-professional persons participating in their classroom activities, and so doubted it would be effective. Both he and Mr. Caroll were less hostile to the idea of providing a subsidy to attract teachers, but both believed that nothing of the kind was under consideration in the state. They hoped that things would get better before they got worse, but both were opposed to relaxation of certification requirements, which they believed were entirely necessary to ensure competency of teachers in the state.

The third article in the series would treat certification and how it operated.

Drew Pearson indicates that Democrats had been joking with their Republican colleagues in Congress for installing roll call bells in the Republican Club, across the street from the House Office Building, so that they could slip over to the bar for a drink without missing any roll call votes. Wyoming's Democratic Senator Lester Hunt had found statistics, that Washington consumed 96,000 gallons more liquor during the first year of Republican rule than the last year of the Democratic Administration. In 1952, the city had drunk 4.055 million gallons of liquor, whereas in 1953, the figure had risen to 4.15 million gallons, not counting beer and wine, higher than milk consumption in Washington. (Senator McCarthy may have been responsible for at least half of the increase.)

The fate of the Administration's tax bill largely lay in the hands of former Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn of Texas. The tax bill faced tough sledding, as Mr. Rayburn was about ready to send the entire tax bill back to the Ways & Means Committee, and because of his prestige, almost every Democrat and some Republicans would support him. One reason for his opposition to the tax bill was that it gave too many favors to the big taxpayer and followed the "trickle-down" system used during the Harding, Coolidge and Hoover Administrations when Andrew Mellon had been Secretary of the Treasury. (The big melons provide the trickle-down to the peons below when Republicans control the White House.) The new tax bill contained five big loopholes for the corporations, including dividend credits, accelerated depreciation, reduced taxes on foreign income, the availability of deductions for contributions to charities, and re-establishment of pension inequities whereby corporations could obtain tax breaks for paying large pensions only to top executives, each of which he explains in some detail.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop tell of the shocking "sordid tale" of Senator McCarthy and his subcommittee counsel, Roy Cohn, and their "pet", Private G. David Schine. For policy reasons, Assistant Secretary of Defense Fred Seaton had heavily censored the Army's original account of the attempts by the Senator and Mr. Cohn to obtain special favors for Private Schine. The uncensored version of the story was about three times longer than the 5,000 words submitted to the Investigating subcommittee.

The whole report had been filled with the obscenities used persistently by Mr. Cohn whenever he was bullying the Army Department officials to obtain the special favors. At one point, the Army Department counsel, John G. Adams, was forced to leave a New York taxi occupied by Mr. Cohn and Mr. McCarthy because of the strong language used in the arguments regarding Private Schine. Those who knew Mr. Cohn regarded him as having unbounded arrogance, inflated egotism, and a "Nazi -like sense of power", all derived from his position on the subcommittee. The Alsops indicate that if that part of the story were ever told, no "honorable American" would have any illusions about the true nature of McCarthyism.

Even after the censorship, Senator McCarthy was repeatedly shown in the report to be telling Army officials to give the Private "the works" whenever Mr. Cohn was not around, but whenever he was, the Senator sat silently or even supported Mr. Cohn in the effort at seeking the special treatment for the Private. Mr. Cohn appeared to have a special power over the Senator. (The Alsops had recently talked to Senator Ralph Flanders of Vermont.)

The original document purportedly contained a quoted statement from Senator McCarthy that he wanted to get rid of Mr. Cohn but had been unable to do so. It also had contained an indication that Mr. Cohn had been receiving substantial financial assistance from the wealthy Mr. Schine—whose father owned several hotels, including the Ambassador in Los Angles which Mr. Schine had managed for a time—, while Mr. Cohn was threatening to "wreck the Army" to obtain favors for the Private.

The original report also was said to have contained the record of attempts by one well-known member of the McCarthyite press to act as peacemaker, calling Army officials to promise that Senator McCarthy's and Mr. Cohn's investigation of the Army would be immediately called off, provided Private Schine were assigned soft duty in New York City.

At least a month earlier, the complete text of the original report had been communicated by the Army to Assistant Attorney General William Rogers—who would, as a campaign assistant, in November, 1960, according to Theodore H. White in his 1975 book, Breach of Faith, talk Vice-President Nixon out of contesting the close election with Senator John F. Kennedy in Illinois and Texas on the basis that a contest would only lead to challenge by the Kennedy campaign of the close results in California, where there had been reported considerable vote manipulation in the southern area precincts—, and at least two weeks earlier, the document had been provided to White House chief of staff Sherman Adams—never liked by Mr. Nixon and later to encounter his Waterloo over the gift to his wife of a vicuña—not cloth—coat. The entire record would have been placed before the subcommittee had it not been for the fact that Secretary of the Army Robert Stevens had surrendered to Senator McCarthy regarding his previous order to Brig. General Ralph Zwicker and another general not to accept further summonses from the subcommittee because of past abuse of Army officers.

The Alsops surmise that it was not reasonable to believe that the Defense Department had given out the published version of the report without full White House approval. The censorship of the report was understandable, as it desired to tell the story unsensationally. But, they suggest, the full facts ought to be published, and venture that perhaps they would be eventually, as an answer to Senator McCarthy's and Mr. Cohn's "phony howls of indignation".

Marquis Childs, in Essen, West Germany, tells of the name Krupp having, for at least three generations, been a trademark of the industrial power of Germany, especially the power of the coal and steel complex in the Ruhr Valley. It was a measure of the restoration of Germany for Mr. Childs to be received by Alfred Krupp, the present head of the family business, in the austere offices of the company. He was 47 and had the reserve and rectitude of the reigning head of a great house. There were no visible signs of the years he had spent in an Allied prison after being convicted of colluding in the war crimes with the Nazis in 1939.

The company had been rebuilt and its products were once again in markets all over the world. But the visitor quickly learned from Herr Krupp that all was not the same as it had been 15 years earlier. As a condition of commutation of his sentence from 15 years to 11 years, the company had to be broken up. Whereas prior to the war, it was completely integrated from the raw materials in the mines through to the finished products, the Allies had specified that Krupp retain fabrication and sell the production facilities for iron and steel. When that would be eventually completed, the total payroll of the company would be about 40,000 workers, whereas prior to the war it had been 160,000. The Allies had set a five-year time limit on selling off three-fourths of the business, and one year had already passed. Herr Krupp had admitted that when the Federal Republic gained its full independence, as presumably would occur after the ratification of the European Defense Community pact, the law requiring the break-up of Krupp would be altered. Other industrialists in the Ruhr had complained to Mr. Childs that decartelization had done more harm than the dismantling of plants as war reparations during the first phase of the occupation.

Herr Krupp had declined to express an opinion on the subject of decartelization versus dismantling, merely saying that he was grateful to the Americans for ending the dismantling process.

Mr. Childs remarks that to the visitor who had seen the Ruhr in complete destruction in 1947, the transformation was amazing, with plants having been restored and rebuilt and great new housing developments constructed. The heart of industrial Europe was proceeding at its old pace.

A letter writer from Rock Hill, S.C., indicates that the editorial page of the newspaper measured 22 x 15 inches and was, in consequence, 330 square inches of "consistently stimulating, thought provoking editorials, cartoons, syndicated columns", perhaps also extending to the letters column. He found 175 square inches of the March 13 edition devoted to Senator Flanders and his recent Senate floor speech attacking Senator McCarthy—possibly conflating the edition of March 10 with that of March 13. He believes the newspaper was being too tough on the Senator, that too much ink and space was being wasted on him, and his recent "ridiculous charge", for instance, against Edward R. Murrow after the latter had narrated a program on "See It Now" about the rise of the Senator through his charges since February, 1950 of Communists in the Government, especially the State Department, more recently turning his attentions since the prior fall to the Army. The writer thinks that more attention ought be provided to rising unemployment, tax reductions, the midterm elections and the danger of Communism from without, as well as to other matters of regional and national interest. "Is the answer to McCarthyism less and less newspaper space?"

Senator McCarthy, incidentally, would be granted by CBS time on April 6 to respond to the March 9 broadcast on "See It Now". A couple of weeks afterward, on April 22, the nationally televised public portion of the hearings into the controversy between the Army and the Senator would begin.

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