The Charlotte News

Thursday, June 17 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that during the 36th and last day of the hearings before the Senate Investigations subcommittee regarding the dispute between the Army and Senator McCarthy, the Senator had stated that the hearings had been promoted by the Democrats, who would "suffer and bleed because of it". Senator Stuart Symington of the subcommittee accused Senator Karl Mundt, temporary chairman during the hearings, of making "unjust" and partisan remarks which would cause the hearings to end on a "sad" note. That statement had followed Senator Mundt's question as to the role which Clark Clifford, former legal adviser to former President Truman, may have played in formation of the Army charges, at Senator Symington's suggestion, against Senator McCarthy and his staff. Senator Mundt had said that it should not be forgotten that Mr. Clifford and Senator Symington were fellow Democrats and fellow Missourians and that Mr. Clifford, following advice of Senator Symington, had advised Secretary of the Army Robert Stevens in a way which might have been expected to take a different form had a Republican lawyer been advising the Republican Secretary. He said that he was not, however, attributing any impropriety to either man by the advice and that Secretary Stevens had a perfect right to receive such advice, that he had "no quarrel with the intriguing way in which politics is played." Army special counsel Joseph Welch stated that in fairness to Secretary Stevens, he should be permitted to submit a written statement on the point if he desired, and Senator Mundt said that he would be glad to receive such a statement. Senator McCarthy testified throughout the balance of the hearing this date.

Again, there is no transcript of this date's hearing available online.

Senator John McClellan of the subcommittee told reporters this date that two members of the subcommittee staff did not have clearance from the Defense Department to receive secret information, as disclosed in a letter from the Department delivered to the subcommittee during the previous day's session of the hearings. Neither Senator McClellan nor subcommittee special counsel Ray Jenkins would divulge any of the names contained in the letter. Roy Cohn, usual chief counsel for the McCarthy subcommittee, replied that it was "baloney" as to security clearances having been refused in two cases. He said that it was possible that clearances were still pending for some new members of the staff or that their names had not yet been submitted. Senator McCarthy had testified the previous day that as far as he knew, no members of the staff had ever been denied security clearance by the Defense Department and he believed all were cleared to handle secret material, and that one member of the staff was cleared to handle "top secret" material. He said that he had become aware at some point that his subcommittee was not receiving any secret material from the Department in any event and so the question of security clearance had become moot. He told newsmen this date that he knew nothing about the issue of supposed denial of security clearance to two members of his staff.

Whether, incidentally, Mr. Cohn, in responding to newsmen, had said simply "baloney" or rather a more elongated "ba-lo-ney", as was stated 19 months ago in a hearing before the House, is not indicated by the story. In both instances, we believe the "baloney" advocates to have been lying.

In Geneva, French Foreign Minister Georges Bidault engaged in a series of high-level diplomatic talks with the representatives of both Western and Communist countries this date in an effort to save the Indo-China peace talks from collapse. Both British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden and Undersecretary of State Walter Bedell Smith were reported to be considering departure from Geneva during the weekend, but French sources had said that they had agreed that the Indo-China portion of the peace conference should not be suspended or completely broken off while the French were still forming a new government. Informed sources said that they probably would agree on a standby group remaining in Geneva indefinitely while the talks continued between the military representatives of the high commands of the French and Vietminh, in their attempt to establish cease-fire lines in the event of an agreed cease-fire.

In Paris, Pierre Mendes-France told the National Assembly this date that if he were voted in as the new premier, he would offer his resignation if he could not achieve peace in Indo-China prior to July 20. He offered a three-point program for orienting France along a new national policy, saying that his objectives would be, in addition to the peace settlement, to submit a "coherent and detailed program for economic recovery", also by July 20, that he would ask for special powers to make it possible to implement such a program, and that before the parliamentary vacation, he would submit proposals to give the Assembly a chance to make a decision, without further delay, regarding France's policy concerning the European army under the European Defense Community treaty. If confirmed, as he would be, he would become France's 14th Premier and head of the 20th Cabinet during the ten years since liberation.

According to U.S. Government officials, Prime Minister Churchill, during his upcoming visit to Washington on June 26-27, might appeal for U.S. public support for closer U.S.-British teamwork, possibly to address Congress. Another possibility would be that he would appear before the National Press Club, as the President had suggested in his press conference of the previous day.

In Tegucigalpa, Honduras, it was reported that Guatemala, through its Ambassador to Honduras, had called on Honduras the previous night to stop anti-Communist Guatemalan exiles reported to be massing on the border for an assault against President Jacobo Arbenz Guzman's Communist-influenced regime in Guatemala. The Ambassador said that he had been provided assurances by the Honduran Foreign Minister that Honduras would prevent any incidents at the border and had given orders for seizure of any arms found there. Reports also indicated that the anti-Government forces in Guatemala were continuing their preparations for an attempt to unseat the regime.

In Washington, the Federal jury of seven men and five women had reached verdicts of guilty the previous night on five counts of assault with a dangerous weapon as to each of the four co-defendants, charged in the shooting of five Congressmen on the floor of the House on March 1, all five having since recovered from their wounds. The jury had taken 9.5 hours to reach the verdicts, which included verdicts of guilty on all ten counts against each of the three male co-defendants, including five charges of assault with intent to kill. The jury, however, was still deliberating on the latter five counts against Lolita Lebron, the reputed ringleader of the group of Puerto Rican Nationalists who claimed that they had been acting in an effort to gain independence for their country, a territory of the United States. When she heard the verdicts, Mrs. Lebron was heard to whisper that she did not see why they did not go ahead and convict her, too. There was no show of emotion at the announcement of the verdicts. All four of the defendants admitted participation in the shooting, but contended that they had not meant to kill or harm anyone, rather intending only to dramatize their demand for Puerto Rican independence. The judge would have discretion as to whether sentences on each count would run concurrently or consecutively, if consecutively, potentially amounting, on the ten counts each, to 125 years in prison, the weapons counts each carrying ten year potential terms and the intent to kill counts each carrying potentially 15 years.

In Weston, Mass., the Boston College seismograph station reported this date that it had recorded a "strong" earthquake occurring the previous night, with indications being that it took place about 3,900 miles northwest of Boston, probably in the Aleutian Islands.

In St. Louis, a man who had blamed his lung cancer on heavy cigarette smoking had withdrawn his $250,000 lawsuit against four tobacco companies and a food store chain, having filed the suit in Federal court the previous March. The withdrawal of the claim was not explained, but was without prejudice and therefore could be renewed. At the time he filed the suit, he claimed that he had smoked more than two packs of cigarettes per day between 1930 and 1952, at which time his right lung had to be removed after the discovery of cancer. An attorney for R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., one of the defendants, said that the four tobacco firms had made no effort to settle the case out of court because, in their opinion, the best medical evidence indicated that cigarette smoking did not cause lung cancer. The other defendants were the American Tobacco Co., P. Lorillard Co., Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp., and A & P, the latter being the grocery store chain where the plaintiff said he bought the cigarettes.

In Raleigh, J. C. Sedberry of Charlotte reported to North Carolina Secretary of State Thad Eure that his campaign for the Democratic nomination for the local Congressional seat had cost $2,958, of which $625 had been contributed. The former judge of Recorder's Court had lost his campaign to Marvin Ritch of Charlotte. The following day was the deadline for filing reports of expenditures made in advance of the May 29 primary.

In Rome, Italy, two newlyweds had been looking for a new home, forced out of their present accommodations, which forbade couples sharing the same room. Both were 80 years old and had been married in an old folks home, where they had met ten years earlier. Friends had offered the bride and groom lodgings for the equivalent of $3.20 per month, but the groom said that they could afford only half that amount and so rejected the offer. Meanwhile, they were continuing to live in separate rooms at the old folks home. Where are they going on their honeymoon?

On the editorial page, "In Buncombe, a Guide for Mecklenburg" indicates that at the time of the Institute of Government's consolidation study regarding Charlotte in 1949, there had only been three separate city and county health departments in the state, in Asheville, Charlotte and Rocky Mount, and now there were only two, as recently, the Asheville City Council had voted in favor of merging health services into a single department under the Buncombe County Board of Health, with the city of Asheville contributing $89,749 to finance the joint department.

It indicates that the Asheville controversy was similar to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg problem, where there was already some degree of consolidation, with the City health officer serving as acting County health officer and there was sharing of some physical facilities and joint performance of several key services. Yet, the fiction of separate departments was being preserved in spite of the obvious need posed by the rapid growth of the perimeter area of the city immediately outside the city limits. It indicates that Charlotte and Mecklenburg County were distinct in many respects, but finds no virtue in it being the only metropolitan area in the state, save unique Rocky Mount, which lay halfway in Nash and halfway in Edgecombe Counties, with separate city and county health departments.

"Reminder of Fifth Amendment's Value" indicates that Sheridan Fahnestock, publisher of a weekly newspaper in Maryland, had recently invoked his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination after being asked to identify the author of a letter which had appeared in his newspaper as having been written by the conservative columnist and commentator Fulton Lewis, Jr., the latter a crusader against juvenile delinquency and drinking in a Maryland community, causing him to be charged with criminal libel. The piece suggests that the newspaper publisher could be charged also, probably leading him to invoke the privilege. It indicates that the incident served to remind that the Fifth Amendment was not merely or primarily a device by which suspected subversives could thwart investigation and justice. It had been used before by newspapermen and had recently been used by a Federal housing official.

It indicates that the Fifth Amendment privilege had to be available always to any accused person, no matter how heinous the crime charged against them, as it was a fundamental liberty for a person not to be required to testify against him or herself in an incriminating manner.

It notes that Mr. Lewis had often spoken derisively of "Fifth Amendment Communists", those who proclaimed the Fifth Amendment privilege in the face of questioning about whether they had ever been Communists. Yet, because of the weekly newspaper editor's invoking of the Fifth Amendment, half of the libel charges against Mr. Lewis, stemming from the letter to the editor, had to be dismissed.

"Shoring up the U.S.-U.K. Alliance" indicates that during recent months, the Anglo-American alliance had been badly strained, with the President and Prime Minister Churchill never having established the rapport which had characterized their wartime relationship or the association between President Roosevelt and the Prime Minister. The two men had met briefly in New York before President Eisenhower had been inaugurated in January, 1953, but then U.S. concentration was on Korea, and by the time the two men had met in Bermuda the previous December, along with French Premier Joseph Laniel, the meeting had to be ended abruptly by the President, to fly to the U.N. in New York to deliver his well-received speech proposing an international pooling arrangement for atomic energy.

Meanwhile, Congressional charges had caused undue emphasis to be placed on differences between U.S. and British policies regarding trade with Communist countries, and basic differences of opinion, complicated by misunderstanding, had separated the allies on the Indo-China question. Because of those differences, news of the upcoming visit by Mr. Churchill had been welcomed, hopefully to clear up misunderstandings and provide the President the benefit of the wise counsel of Mr. Churchill, who could profit from talks with Americans who were now carrying the burden of world leadership. While the two countries did not always need to agree, they should at least seek to draw up a common policy based on a recognition of the substance of the disagreements.

The piece quotes from a speech by the Prime Minister in 1940, just after he had succeeded Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain at the fall of France to the Nazis. He had said that the British Empire and the United States would "have to be somewhat mixed up together in some of their affairs for mutual and general advantage" and that he did not view the process with any misgivings, that he could not stop it if he wished to do so, nor could anyone else, comparing it to the Mississippi River, continuing to roll along. "Let it roll. Let it roll on full flood, inexorable, irresistible, benignant, to broad lands and better days."

We do not mean to quibble with the Prime Minister's poetic analogy, which made perfect sense in the context in which he made it in 1940, but, in the abstract, does its "full flood" phraseology not omit and even negate Henry Wallace's efforts as Secretary of Agriculture in the 1930's under FDR to educate the farmers, as well the industrialists and timber interests, as to the better techniques within the Mississippi Valley, the benefits of crop rotation, diversification, contour plowing and other soil conservation techniques to avoid the soil erosion which left the banks unable to withstand the "full flood"?—no less than the run on the banks after the stock market collapse of 1929 caused the "full flood" of the Depression. Perhaps, it was one reason FDR tapped Mr. Wallace in 1940 to be his new vice-presidential running mate, replacing Vice-President John Nance Garner, who went home to sulk, rejected, in Uvalde, Texas. In many ways, the wise policies of Mr. Wallace had served to save the country from itself economically and helped to restore some measure of prosperity by 1940, even if measured then in terms only relative to the depths of the Depression in 1931-32, prosperity finally being fully restored only by the war economy, that, however, accompanied by war rationing and restraints on buying of consumer goods made of steel and other vital materials needed for defense, leading, in turn, to the postwar boom when those restraints were finally loosed. Follow history like a river, as it is, and you will understand its trends and rough spots better, thus to understand the present more readily as it passes by you daily in torrent.

"An Interlude on a Street Corner" indicates that with three letter writers discussing dogs this date in the letters column, it was hesitating to bring up the subject of former News reporter Tom Revelle's mobile rabies inoculation clinic, which had given rise to the promotion of better neighborliness within the city. The City truck would pull up at a prearranged time, with pet inspector Revelle, with an assistant along for recording inoculations and payments of licensing fees. Dog owners would show up, drawing other dog owners to the location, some of whom had not seen each other for some time even though they lived only a block or so apart. The men would swap stories about the previous day's golf score or their tomato plants or the latest political gossip, while the women renewed acquaintances, asking about their children and their flowers. Within a few minutes, their pets were inoculated, and as the neighbors walked away from one another, they made mental notes to try to see each other more often, knowing all the while that it would not likely occur until Mr. Revelle again came to the neighborhood.

A piece from the New Orleans States, titled "Birthdays with Pay", indicates that under a new work contract negotiated with a Portland, Ore., firm, 1,250 workers would receive a paid holiday on their birthdays.

The piece views it as giving rise to other possibilities, such as paid vacations on wedding anniversaries, income tax day, the opening day of hunting season, and the first work day after annual vacations, plus many other such potential holidays. It indicates that bronze plaques had been erected to far less deserving innovations.

Drew Pearson indicates that it had been exactly a year since General Eisenhower had met with top military leaders at Quantico, Va., telling the Joint Chiefs that he wanted unanimous decisions from them, approved by the chairman, and that if a minority opinion were sent to him, he would treat it as if it had not been sent. As the top military leaders met again at Quantico, the Joint Chiefs, instead of being unanimous, were split much more widely apart than at any time during the Truman Administration. If they could reconcile their differences during the week, it would be a miracle. General Matthew Ridgway, Army chief of staff, had hinted privately that he might resign. Some of the military men outside the Joint Chiefs were becoming more vocal in proposing a preventive war. Joint Chiefs chairman, Admiral Arthur Radford, wanted to use U.S. air and naval power in Indo-China immediately to save Hanoi, as cabled reports from the U.S. Embassy had indicated that Hanoi and all of northern Indo-China was sure to fall unless there were direct and nearly immediate aid from the U.S.

General Ridgway had told a group of friends at his home recently that if air and naval forces were sent to Indo-China, it was sure to mean that U.S. ground troops would soon follow, and that the Army could not spread itself that thin, a prospect which would inevitably trigger his resignation.

General Nathan Twining, Air Force chief of staff, agreed generally with General Ridgway, believing that the recent cuts to the military budget would make it foolhardy to enter Indo-China.

Admiral Robert Carney, chief of Naval Operations, had previously been against intervention, but his recent speech, hinting at the feasibility of a preventive war, had been interpreted as partly tending toward the position favored by Admiral Radford. Mr. Pearson notes that the Admiral's statement in the speech about the Joint Chiefs getting exercise by "jumping at conclusions", had been interpreted as a backhand slap to Vice-President Nixon's April statement regarding ground troops being sent to Indo-China if necessary.

Admiral Lewis Strauss, chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, had taken exception to statements made in Mr. Pearson's column that AEC commissioners were ice-cold, stiff and edgy during their meetings, partly because everything they said was being recorded by a device planted by Admiral Strauss. The latter said that a stenographer recorded what was said at Commission meetings, that there was no recording device in place, and so Mr. Pearson corrects his earlier misstatement, but does not withdraw his statement that the commissioners were ice-cold, stiff and edgy, as much evidence had already been made public regarding the resentment by a majority of the commissioners to the heavy-handed approach of Admiral Strauss in chairing the Commission, seeking from Congress the power to make unilateral decisions. The Admiral also stated that he was not tapping any of the telephones of the commissioners, a statement which Mr. Pearson indicates he had not made in the column. He had said that several commissioners considered their wires as tapped by security officers, and so refrained from making sensitive statements over the telephone. Mr. Pearson says that it had unfortunately become a regular suspicion, if not occurrence, in many Government bureaus during the present era, as it had been estimated that about half of the agencies in the Government tapped telephones or monitored phone conversations, legally permissible as long as the conversations were not divulged.

Marquis Childs indicates that at a recent National Security Council meeting, General Matthew Ridgway had not discussed at any length the political implications of involvement in Indo-China, but had drawn an analogy to the situation at the end of the Spanish-American War at the turn of the century, with the U.S. having a problem in pacifying the Philippines after its long years of oppressive colonial rule under Spain, producing among the Filipinos hostility toward any white governing power imposed by military force. The U.S. had eventually sent 70,000 troops to the Pacific islands and yet pacification was extended and would have been much more prolonged had it not been for the policy of the first civil Governor, William Howard Taft, helping the people toward independence and statehood.

General Ridgway pointed out to the NSC that gun emplacements in the Indochinese jungle would have to be surrounded by armed guards round the clock to prevent infiltration, and the use of local forces for supply and transportation, done extensively in Korea, would be all but impossible because of the hostility of up to 80 percent of the population. The General's premise was that the principal enemy was Russia, a corollary to which was that the essential area to maintain from Communist control was Western Europe, with its great reservoir of industry and trained manpower.

In the NSC discussion which followed the General's presentation, there was a suggestion that Russia might be happy to see the U.S. drawn into an Asian war which would inevitably quickly become a land war, at least in the view of the Army, depleting U.S. strength while Russia's strength remained unexpended.

Repeated efforts had been made to try to get General Ridgway to discuss his differences with Joint Chiefs chairman Admiral Arthur Radford, but he had refused. There had been a virtual freeze on information out of the Joint Chiefs and, to some extent, from the Pentagon, itself, since the acute crisis over Indo-China had arisen. Admiral Robert Carney, chief of Naval Operations, had made a commitment to write a magazine article based on an extensive intelligence digest, showing the buildup of the Soviet Navy, but the Joint Chiefs had ruled it out by its standing order that no chiefs, deputy chiefs, service secretaries or assistant secretaries could write articles. (As indicated during the week, Admiral Carney had spoken in an interview to U.S. News & World Report, advocating establishment of a line by the U.S. which the Communists could not transgress without reprisal.)

Those on the civilian side of the Government who agreed with General Ridgway's thesis, believed strongly that the public should know his views, particularly since the interventionist viewpoint, championed by Admiral Radford, had been widely disseminated, the Admiral having stated in a speech six weeks earlier that no further area should be allowed to fall to the Soviets, regardless of cost. Vice-President Nixon had told the American Society of Newspaper Editors in April that if it became necessary, he would favor use of U.S. ground forces in Indo-China, in the event the French had to withdraw otherwise. Recently, there had been an effort by Administration spokesmen to retreat from such a position, and the Vice-President had been conspicuously silent. Secretary of State Dulles, in his Western speech-making tour, had criticized Britain and France for failing to meet U.S. preconditions for "united action", indicating that the U.S. would never fight for colonialism, while reserving the right to take action alone in the event of an attack which would jeopardize U.S. security.

Mr. Childs indicates that if there had been a shift in U.S. policy toward Indo-China, it would likely never be officially proclaimed. Those siding with General Ridgway believed that the greatest test of either intervention or non-intervention was yet to come in the mounting threat to Hanoi and the Red River Delta region, which, if lost, would enable the Communist world to have an area rich in resources which they could employ against the free world, the reason why Admiral Radford favored intervention.

A letter from King and Prince invites Charlie and Tinker to their country home, where, they claim, they had fun-loving freedom which any dog or cat could have.

Is it segregated or integrated?

A letter writer thanks the newspaper for its editorial of June 10, "It's So Peaceful (Ha!) In the Country", depicting the deplorable conditions with which dogs had to contend in the fringe area of the city.

A letter writer comments on the same editorial, indicating that the dogs were badly misinformed as to the septic tanks and wells in the county, and finds that in terms of polluted streams, Sugaw Creek, in the city, was also known for being polluted with industrial waste. She says that she had lived in the county several years earlier when the temperature had dropped to 11 degrees, and they had no frozen pumps and heard of none among her neighbors.

A letter writer indicates that the sad plight of the poor, abused taxi driver who had been fined and jailed for not paying off a small loan of $50 had touched him, as no bank would lend him the money and so some villain had done so on the strength of his signature, with the understanding that unless he paid the money back, he could be prosecuted for tendering a bad check, the security for the loan. He finds it to be the equivalent of robbery. He believes that the citizens should become Christians or at least act like them, such that interest rates on such loans would drop, meaning that the Legislature and the newspapers would no longer have reason for concern. He would like to hear from the lender who had trusted the taxi driver, as it did not appear of interest to the newspaper or the Legislature that the taxi driver and people like him had taken the money from the lender and either refused to pay it back or could not do so. He finds it an omission that the old-fashioned Christian virtue of honesty and the value of a man's word had never been mentioned by the editorial writers.

Believe it or not, for the first time in a full month since the Brown v. Board of Education decision, in a full column of letters to the editor, not one pertains to segregation or integration, only dogs and small, high interest loans.

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