The Charlotte News

Saturday, May 1, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that at Geneva, Secretary of State Dulles and Soviet Foreign Minister V. M. Molotov had met privately this date to continue their talks regarding the President's plan for an international atomic energy pooling arrangement, as he had presented to the U.N. the prior December 8, the second such meeting between the foreign ministers since arrival the previous Monday to begin the peace conference on Far Eastern questions. The talks remained secret. Secretary Dulles would return to Washington on Monday.

From Hanoi, it was reported that the previous night had been "calm" at Dien Bien Phu, after units of the defending garrison had struck the previous day in raids which had driven the Vietminh from an undisclosed number of entrenchments and gun emplacements close to the French barricades surrounding the underground and entrenched fortress. The French high command acknowledged that the Vietminh were continuing to dig a web of trenches and foxholes reaching ever closer to the shrunken fortress, only about a mile in diameter at present, with entrenchments of the enemy within 1,800 feet of the French headquarters of the fortress.

An Air Force Staff Sergeant, Herbert Manchester, of McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey, who admitted in testimony the previous day before the Senate Investigations subcommittee investigating the Army-McCarthy dispute that he had directed the taking of the controversial photograph of Army Secretary Robert Stevens, Private G. David Schine, an Army Colonel, Jack Bradley, and a fourth person, Francis Carr of the subcommittee staff, whose left arm was only visible, was quoted by the New York Times this date as saying that no one had asked him to take the picture the prior November 17. An issue had been whether Secretary Stevens had asked for the photograph to be made, with Private Schine and Roy Cohn, normally chief counsel for the Investigations subcommittee, having contended that the Secretary had asked for the photograph, and the Secretary having testified that he doubted that he had done so. Sergeant Manchester said to newsmen, though not asked in his testimony, that he directed photographers working under him to take the picture because he had read of Private Schine in the New York Times the day prior to the taking of the photograph and believed the picture with the Secretary was news. He also said that Private Schine, later the same day, had asked him not to send it out for publication. Why did not Joseph Welch, Army special counsel, elicit that relevant testimony? Perhaps time will tell.

At the close of the hearings the previous day, special counsel for the subcommittee, Ray Jenkins, had elicited from Secretary Stevens an acknowledgment that when he had considered relieving Maj. General Kirke Lawton from his command of Fort Monmouth in New Jersey, he so informed Senator McCarthy to find out how he felt about it. The Secretary said that he wanted General Lawton to continue in command because he had been cooperating fully with the investigation of Senator McCarthy at Fort Monmouth, and that in fact he had been left in command to the present time. He said he was not afraid of reprisal from Senator McCarthy if General Lawton had been removed, that he had sought the opinion of the Senator on the matter as part of his own policy of cooperating with the Senate probe, but had decided independently to retain General Lawton in command on his own merits.

Senator Karl Mundt of South Dakota, temporary chairman of the subcommittee during the investigation, said that an attempt might soon be made to shorten the public hearings by narrowing the issues between the Army and Senator McCarthy. In response to an inquiry about Senator Mundt's suggestion, Senator McCarthy said to reporters that he could not see how the hearings could be truncated. The Senator had called the hearings "a waste of time", and other Senators had also complained of lack of progress. Senator Mundt denied that he had received any suggestion from the White House or other high Republican officials, however, for some compromise to end the hearings. The President had said at his Thursday press conference that he hoped the investigation would conclude quickly. Some Republicans had indicated that they believed the inquiry was damaging the Republican Party politically by the spectacle of Republican appointees clashing with Republican elected officials and their aides. The hearings were in recess during the weekend.

In Moscow, the Soviet Air Force had stolen the show this date in the giant annual May Day parade, with the first public display of a huge swept-wing jet bomber and 175 new jet fighter planes. The traditional May Day speech was provided by Soviet Defense Minister Marshal Nikolai Bulganin, who did not mention any foreign nation or attack the U.S., an exception to previous such speeches. He said that the Government was seeking to raise the standard of living by providing the good things of life as well as defense.

The late Secretary of Interior Harold Ickes had written in 1938 that President Roosevelt feared a possible revolution if he followed conservative Democrats in their advice to halt relief spending and farm aid in an effort to balance the budget. The second volume of his diary, The Inside Struggle, was to be published May 3, covering the period November, 1936 until the German invasion of Poland in September, 1939. The diary told of the unsuccessful so-called "court packing" plan of the President to add up to six justices to the Supreme Court as "assistant justices" as each existing Justice reached age 70, an attempt to neutralize the "nine old men", as President Roosevelt had called them in frustration over their anti-New Deal decisions, until death and retirements began to permit him appointments, starting with Hugo Black in 1937, upon the retirement of Justice Willis Van Devanter, eliminating the need for the politically unpopular court-packing plan. (At the time, the first term of FDR had afforded no Supreme Court appointment, the first time that had occurred since James Monroe's first term, 1817 to 1821, overlapping then the longest consecutive period in the nation's history, twelve years, from 1811 to 1823, inclusive of James Madison's second term, 1813 to 1817, without an appointment, explained historically probably by the desire of Chief Justice John Marshall to stabilize the Court's power as a co-equal branch of the Government after its primarily shaky and subordinate role prior to 1801. Since the first term of FDR, only the single term of President Jimmy Carter, between 1977 and 1981, and the first term of George W. Bush, from 2001 to 2005, the one to which he was "elected" only by dint of the anachronistic electoral college with an assist even there by the five to four majority decision of the Supreme Court in Bush v. Gore, have been without a Supreme Court appointment for a full four-year first term. The three appointments by Donald Trump, also not elected by the people, during his single term between 2017 and 2021, are the most appointments by a one-term occupant of the White House since President William Howard Taft got six appointments, befitting his rotundity, between 1909 and 1913, and President Herbert Hoover got three in his single term, 1929 to 1933—though the appointments, in those instances, were not arranged by a power-mad Senate Majority Leader who blocked hearings on the predecessor President's proper appointment in his last year in office following the death of a Justice, on a conjured supposed "election-year precedent", which had no precedent in fact regarding a vacancy occurring prior to the political conventions, then turning around and breaking that fictive precedent in unprecedented manner, rushing the filling of a vacancy occurring only two months before the ensuing election by death of a Justice whose appointment had occurred by the opposing party's President, with all polls indicating that the occupant of the White House would lose—as he did, decisively, both popularly and electorally. Parenthetically, President Warren G. Harding got four appointments in his first term, cut short by his death in 1923, and so whether he would have been re-elected is not known, his successor, Calvin Coolidge, having been re-elected in 1924. It is important for the political leaders to recognize the larger picture, that politicization of the Supreme Court undermines public confidence in the institution, now at a nadir because of the continued Republican insistence on control of it over the past 50 years, not by dint of happenstance but by a disingenuous, persistent effort exerted toward that control, part and parcel of which were the questionable electoral college outcomes of 2000 and 2016, but most tellingly in the maneuvers by Mitch McConnell in 2016 and 2020 which literally stole two seats from proper appointments by Presidents Obama and Biden, now demanding therefore correction of that errant course through revision of the Supreme Court membership, to restore balance in the public's mind and confidence in the continued vitality of the Court as an institution of government. Candidly, at present, it is seen by most as a games-playing, intellectually dishonest Club for the special interests to lord over the rest of us unrepresented peons, a rubber-stamp for Republican legislative policies at the state and Federal level, certainly not the impartial protector of individual liberties as counterbalanced against proper police powers of the states and Federal power, to avoid encroachment of government on such liberty interests, or the ultimate, impartial arbiter of disputes between the legislative and executive branches or between the states and the Federal Government, as its role is properly defined, whether or not one might like its results in individual cases. If people, including legislators at the state and Federal levels, presently concerned, properly so in a general and not race-specific context, about law enforcement overreach, for instance, would pay more attention to this basic problem of the Court's imbalance through 50 years of time and its results to the society, then those more specific day-to-day problems would be much closer to resolution.) Mr. Ickes also told of the midterm election setbacks of 1938 after the failed attempted purge by FDR of anti-New Deal Democrats and of behind-the-scenes social gatherings at the White House.

In Indianapolis, 800 city bus and trolley drivers struck for higher wages this date.

In Athens, Greece, it was reported that earthquakes which had struck the central part of the country the previous day, crumbling whole towns, had killed at least 20 persons and injured 130, rendering more than 25,000 homeless. Light tremors continued throughout the day. It was the worst earthquake disaster in Greece since that which had devastated the Ionian Islands the previous August, killing up to 1,000 persons and destroying the homes of 420,000.

Tornadoes and winds hit six states in the Southwest and Midwest, leaving one person dead, at least 56 injured and causing hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damage, most of which had occurred in Texas, where 39 were injured. The only fatality had been in Many, La. In Milano, Tex., a tornado sucked a cow into its maelstrom and set it down 30 feet away, unhurt. In Bismarck, Ark., a farmer and his wife clutched their two small children, who were nevertheless lifted from their arms by a tornado and set down a few feet away without injury. At Greenland, Ark., a brooder house was picked up, carried about 300 yards and dropped down intact. In Salty, Tex., a tornado passed through the wall of a house, but a phonograph prevented the wall from falling on the family, huddled in quilts on the floor. A six-year old boy in San Augustine, Tex., said to a nurse treating him that he was sitting in his house when the storm hit him in the head, being one of six injured in the town when tornadoes destroyed three homes there.

In Colorado, Wyoming and Minnesota, there was snow, with six inches reported in International Falls, Minn., which had a season total of 84 inches—not the only snow going on in the nation during this week.

The President went to Burning Tree Country Club this date for lunch and a round of golf.

Emery Wister of The News indicates that hecklers of the President's scheduled visit May 18 to Charlotte had already arrived at Freedom Park, in the form of ducks, which did not like the sound of music, setting off a unanimous chorus of quacks at the first note. It was estimated that 75 would arrive by the time of the President's visit. The park had been the home of more than 200 ducks just before Easter, but the City had thinned them out by providing several to a park in Shelby, such that there were only 23 by the time of the Easter sunrise service, but those had quacked to the sound of the singing. They had made life miserable for Democrats at a rally at the park a year or so earlier, taking bread from the mouths of those picnicking. One Democrat had thrown down a cigarette butt and a duck immediately pounced on it and waddled away, quickly dropping it, however, when he discovered that it was inedible. That duck had some sense. Better warn the President, as he smokes.

On the editorial page, "Why Not Bonds for School Sites?" indicates that it was never an easy task to balance needs against available funds in putting together the County Government budget, but that the current year had been more difficult than usual. In a major decision on the previous Wednesday, the commissioners had struck out of the budget $300,000 for purchase of school sites for both the city and county systems, reducing the tax rate by 9.5 cents, a decision undertaken reluctantly, but with the tax rate having already increased by 17 cents over the previous year, to 93 cents, the addition would have pushed the rate over one dollar.

It indicates that there was a way out of the dilemma as the County commissioners could issue bonds without a vote of the people for necessary functions of government up to two-thirds of the amount of the bonded indebtedness retired during the previous fiscal year, which, in this case, was $468,000, meaning that $312,000 in bonds could be issued. Long earlier, the County Government had adopted a plan whereby it would borrow money for new school buildings, and since a new building required a site, it would be consistent with that past policy to issue bonds for the purchase of the necessary sites. It finds that it would be cheaper in the long run to issue the $300,000 in bonds presently for that purpose, as property in undeveloped areas would presently be cheaper than in the future after those areas would become developed.

"What To Do with McCarthy" indicates that a University of Virginia professor had suggested a method of dealing with Senator McCarthy which it thinks should be utilized more frequently, to laugh at him. For a demagogue taken seriously, according to the professor, was dangerous; but if shown to be a "cheap, tawdry buffoon", he would be destroyed

The advice coincided with an incident cited by Jack Anderson and Ronald W. May in their book, McCarthyism, the Man, the Senator, the Ism, that when listeners were hostile, the Senator frequently turned on them furiously, as he had at Smith College in 1952, when the female students there had hissed at him. They indicated that he could take boos and jeers better than ridicule, and when a University of Wisconsin audience had started laughing at him, he had gone to pieces.

It indicates that laughter was good for anyone and when it could serve the additional purpose of deflating a demagogue, it was all the better. One should not limit the mirth to an intellectual snicker, but should make it a belly laugh or horse laugh, adding that if the readers did not think the Senator was worth a laugh, then they should read or listen to some of the things he was saying at the hearings ongoing in Washington.

We wish to know further about the order given by Warrant Officer Moe to destroy the five other negatives taken November 17, 1953 for being "too thin for printing ..., underexposed or something", as S.Sgt. Manchester testified yesterday. As long as we are on the subject of pixies, as stressed by Senator McCarthy, also yesterday, seeking definition thereof with particularity from Joseph Welch, this could be the most relevant part of the picture, to discern the meaning of "something". If by that, for instance, he meant "overexposed", then is that a cryptic reference to some scandalous exposure of the activities of the four men when the camera was otherwise not clicking its shutter, blinking a disgraceful spectacle involving the United States Army? Inquiring minds wish to know.

"A Boost for the Bard in Stratford, Conn." tells of receiving from the Rockefeller Foundation on April 23, marking the putative date of the birth of William Shakespeare, as well as his death, an announcement that the Foundation would grant $200,000 to the American Shakespeare Festival Theater and Academy, a non-profit organization chartered by the State of Connecticut in 1951 to establish in America festivals similar to that in Stratford-on-Avon in England. The theater would incorporate some of the best features of the original Globe Theater and present plays during the summer months in association with a summer school for training Shakespearean acting and directing.

It comments that the Foundation had thus established a good hedge against its many worthy projects in the social sciences by establishing a fund for one of the three possessions of mankind, as Ralph Waldo Emerson had put it, which were certain to continue after the events of the present time were forgotten, the other two being the Bible and the marble of the Greeks.

A piece from the Sanford Herald, titled "Imagine Our Embarrassment", tells, in roundabout manner, of having intended to call the office of Senator Alton Lennon via the wrong number, winding up reaching the office of his Democratic primary opponent, former Governor Kerr Scott, whose secretary had answered coldly when they asked for the publicity director for Senator Lennon.

Drew Pearson indicates that Senator McCarthy had complained that Mr. Pearson's column had been responsible for raising Private Schine's draft status such that he had been drafted the previous fall. He indicates that he would hate to think that the draft boards were sitting around waiting for newspaper columnists to report on persons subject to the draft. He refers back to a July 17, 1953 column he had written, in which he had raised the issue of Mr. Schine having unfairly obtained deferments from the draft, which appeared at the same time Senator McCarthy had frantically sought to obtain an officer's commission for Mr. Schine from the Army. He indicates that in looking through the notes on Private Schine in preparation for a recent television program, he had noticed that he had omitted some interesting facts on him in that earlier column, which he now sets forth.

He indicates that Mr. Schine had quibbled regarding whether he had been in the Merchant Marine or in the regular Army as a lieutenant in 1946-47, serving in the transport service. After that service, he graduated from Harvard in 1949 and then ran a radio station in Albany, N.Y., in which his father owned stock. Then, at age 24, he became vice-president and general manager of the Schine Hotels, owned by his father, which included the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles among others in Florida, Massachusetts and Albany. Mr. Pearson indicates that the hotel chain had been involved in the Kefauver organized crime investigation during 1950-51 when the father, Meyer Schine, was shown to have received $45,000 from Frank Erickson for a three-month gambling concession at one of his hotels in Miami and for the right to make book at his hotel in Boca Raton, Fla. In 1950, young Mr. Schine, still 24, had become executive vice-president of the Schine Theaters, the largest independent theater chain in the nation, also owned by his father. That chain had recently been criminally indicted by the Justice Department for willful violation of an antitrust order to which the chain had agreed.

Mr. Schine had told Mr. Pearson that he had paid for his own trip to Europe with his friend Roy Cohn the previous summer and that Mr. Cohn had paid his own way, though asking repeatedly why Mr. Pearson wanted to know that kind of information. He acknowledged having obtained his position as an unpaid research aide for the McCarthy Investigations subcommittee through his friendship with Mr. Cohn.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop indicate that the a force of U.S. aircraft carriers had been stationed off the coast of Indo-China in the Gulf of Tonkin for possible use to deploy air support to aid the French defenders of Dien Bien Phu if necessary, stationed there since the Vietminh move against the fortress had come to a climax. It was possible, they suggest, that the moment for use of massive air support had already passed, as the fortress was now less than a mile wide and the tropical rains had begun, making it difficult to hit the Vietminh effectively without also hitting the defenders. At least, that was the contention of the same Administration leaders who had opposed intervention on constitutional and political grounds at the first debate of the matter before the National Security Council, after the French had first sought aid in the fight to save the fortress. Since then, the situation had worsened and the question was again being considered.

The French had allowed their finest fighting troops to be entrapped at Dien Bien Phu under the misapprehension that the Vietminh would be unable to succeed in attacking the fortress, as they had not been able to do at other French fortifications within the interior. General Henri Navarre, the French Union commander in Indo-China, wanted to establish a position from which the French could attack the Communist supply lines. But now the Communists were able, with increased Chinese Communist support, to hit the fortress with heavy artillery and anti-aircraft guns, successful in interdicting supplies to the fortress via the adjoining airfield, leading to the French request for an increase in the U.S. role to counteract the Communist Chinese aid.

The loss of the best French troops would be a severe blow to the French and the loss of the fortress would also free enemy divisions for attack elsewhere, perhaps in the Tonkin delta area. The loss would also intensify the feeling at home that the French should seek a negotiated peace and withdraw. But division of the country or other compromise to obtain such a peace would mean inevitable loss of Indo-China to the Communists, and with it the rest of Southeast Asia, as no defensible position could be established elsewhere, as recognized by the President and the NSC. Senate Majority Leader William Knowland had reflected the general view of policymakers when he said that after Asia was absorbed, Communism could turn upon the West with "invincible power".

The Congressional Quarterly indicates that 19 bills had been introduced in Congress to outlaw the Communist Party during 1953 and 1954, 15 of them in the current year, whereas only 14 such bills had been introduced between 1941 and 1952. The House Judiciary subcommittee on immigration and nationality currently was holding hearings on about a dozen of those bills and action on any one of them would be the first time such legislation had progressed in Congress.

Attorney General Herbert Brownell opposed outlawing of the Communist Party on the ground that it would force its members underground and raise constitutional questions about the rights of individuals, as well as cause conflict with and invalidate the present weapons being used against the Communists, the laws requiring foreign agents to register, prohibiting Federal employment of persons who were members of political groups advocating the overthrow of the Government, the Smith Act making it a crime to advocate the overthrow by force or violence, and the Internal Security Act of 1950, requiring the registration with the Attorney General of Communist-action or Communist-front groups, including foreign-born Communists in the category of inadmissible and deportable aliens. The Subversive Activities Control Board, pursuant to the latter Act, had ruled on April 20, 1953 that the Communist Party was a Communist-action group, ordering it to register with the Justice Department, a ruling being appealed by the party. Mr. Brownell had pointed out that if being a Communist were made a criminal offense, then Communists could refuse to register on the grounds of self-incrimination.

Nevertheless, the move to outlaw Communist Party membership was gaining momentum in Congress. The penalties among the bills ranged from bans against holding Federal office, elective or otherwise, to loss of citizenship, ten years in jail and fines up to $25,000.

HUAC in 1953 had recommended in its annual report that the Smith Act be amended to make proof of membership in the Communist Party prima facie evidence of violation of the Smith Act. Mr. Brownell had stated that 105 leaders of the Communist Party had been indicted under the Smith Act since 1951, with 67 of them having been convicted.

Doris Fleeson discusses the Congressional farm bloc's campaign to force high mandatory fixed farm price supports on the Administration and the President having won the first battle against it by winning the first test vote, defeating an amendment to the wool subsidy bill by eight votes in the Senate by using the implied threat of veto of the bill with the amendment. Senators were now convinced for the first time that the President intended to back Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson.

There was no great risk in the Senate races for the fall in doing so, as the Republicans privately admitted that they probably could not beat Senator Hubert Humphrey in Minnesota or Senator Guy Gillette in Iowa, but believed the consumer appeal of the Benson program would hurt Senator Paul Douglas's chances in Illinois, while normally Republican farmers would not revolt in large numbers. Kansas and Nebraska were safe for continued Republican control while the Southern states would continue to vote for Democrats.

Urban dwellers were supportive of the Secretary's program, prompting Senator Richard Russell of Georgia to comment that it was "unworthy" of the Secretary of Agriculture to gain such approval at the expense of the farmers.

In the House, the farm spokesmen continued to insist that the story would be different, that they would write the farm bill instead of having the Senate version forced on them. That had occurred in the closing days of the 1948 session when flexible price supports, now desired by the President and Secretary Benson, had been written into law in the Senate and the House confreres had to accept them.

A letter writer takes exception to the editorial of April 19, "What N.C. Needs Is More Taxpayers", as well as with a column by Lucien Agniel of the following day, which he believes had criticized newcomers to the state for being the principal critics of the state's tax structure. He believes that newcomers should be heard, as they sometimes brought with them good ideas, and that honest criticism did not suggest disloyalty.

The editors respond that the editorial and the column had made no reference to resentment of comments by newcomers and did not "infer" any disloyalty.

That's fine, but you should have used "imply", not "infer", as we happen to have pointed out yesterday in conjunction with the Eric Sevareid piece. While technically, in a purely tertiary sense, "infer" can be used in that context, the preferred and most widely accepted usage today means to deduce logically. Thus, to avoid misunderstanding, "imply" should always be used when meaning "to insinuate". Or, one could just say "insinuate". It is true that Shakespeare used "infer" in the sense of imply, but that was in the 16th century and in the context of the character of the unruly, comedic erstwhile pal of Hal, Falstaff, in Henry IV, Part 2, often orotund as a knave, more than Knight would fain be rotund as the moon's circumference slips, might wait to day. We do not speak today normally by resort to Elizabethan English, unless we are being deliberately stilted in our manner of address, usually only for comic effect, or quoting the Bard to lend gravitas to our puny words. But of need to excess be not go by resort in general usage to archaic meanings of words when another word will suffice to convey the meaning more clearly, less ambiguously. Regardless, it is quite clear that Shakespeare never employed "iconic" in any context or suggested that one of his characters was delivering an "omage", would not have done so, except in the context of dialogue of the characters who were cast as being of the peasant class, unable to use the Queen's English, designed to appeal to those in the cheap seats, s.r.o., who, according to legend, chiefly got drunk during the plays so that they could howl with laughter, probably at some of the wrong lines meant entirely seriously. But we were not there, and you were not either. Anyway, use "imply" or "insinuate", not "infer", in that context, unless you want to be viewed by the better educated as a third-class peasant, irrespective of economic circumstance.

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