The Charlotte News

Wednesday, June 23, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that at the U.N. in New York, according to an American source, Security Council president Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., had stated that the Council was giving "careful consideration" to Guatemala's request for a second urgent meeting on its troubles. The previous night, Ambassador Lodge had indicated that the Council should not intervene further in the situation, but at the time, there had been no request for further meeting of the Council, since presented to the Council by Guatemala. Mr. Lodge had also warned Guatemala against becoming "a cat's paw of the Soviet conspiracy to meddle in the Western Hemisphere." He said that on the prior Sunday, the Council had voted 10 to 1 that the Organization of American States was the proper place to settle the Guatemalan problem. A direct referral to the OAS had been prevented by a Soviet veto, the only negative vote. The Council had also urged a cease-fire in the Guatemalan situation, but the Guatemalan representative had indicated that no cease-fire had occurred. His letter to the Council had renewed the charges by the Guatemalan Government that neighboring Honduras and Nicaragua were aiding "mercenary forces" invading Guatemala and sought a resolution by the Council to compel those two countries to cease all aid or consent to such aggressive acts.

In Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Col. Carlos Castillo Armas, leader of the anti-Communist forces in Guatemala, had said this date that they were prepared for a long or short battle in their efforts to take over the government, depending on how long President Jacobo Arbenz Guzman continued to believe he could win. The rebel army, in a communiqué, claimed that it had captured three additional small towns about 25 miles inside Guatemala and that they had not yet begun their real air attack on Government installations, though a few air raids had been conducted to demonstrate air superiority and give Guatemalan Government forces an opportunity to yield and prevent further bloodshed.

In Bern, Switzerland, new French Premier and Foreign Minister Pierre Mendes-France and Communist Chinese Premier and Foreign Minister Chou En-lai met in conference this date to discuss the possibility of forming a peace in the Indo-China war. The French Premier, in a press conference, said that he would not discuss the specific proposals he intended to make to Chou, and the conference was taking place in private.

Undersecretary of State Walter Bedell Smith had been quoted by an unnamed Senator as telling a White House conference of Congressional leaders this date that most of Indo-China probably would remain free from Communist control, including Laos, Cambodia and part of Viet Nam. The conference was attended by 30 key members of Congress, including both Republicans and Democrats, invited by the President to hear the report from Undersecretary Smith regarding the stalemated Geneva peace conference on Korea and Indo-China. The unnamed Senator said that the Undersecretary had said that the situation was not hopeless and that the U.S. had no new plan or proposals but believed that things might become more definite after the conference in Washington between the President and Prime Minister Churchill, set to start on Friday. An unnamed member of the House who had been present at the conference said that he had gotten the impression that the State Department expected France to seek a "truce at any price" in Indo-China and believed that Undersecretary Smith had spoken in "pessimistic" tones. Senate Minority Leader Lyndon Johnson told newsmen after the conference that it had been "just a review" and that no new policy decisions had been proposed, that he had gleaned the impression that it was time that the U.S. and its allies closed ranks and moved ahead with some kind of program to save freedom in Indo-China.

From Hanoi, it was reported that a French patrol had repulsed an ambush by 200 Vietminh guerrillas 60 miles south of Hanoi early this date, killing 30 of the Vietminh. The French said that tanks and artillery had caught the attackers in their concentrated fire as the Vietminh had fled. The French also claimed that 57 other Vietminh had been killed and 47 captured in small clashes throughout the Red River Delta during the previous 24 hours. The French had maintained their systematic bombing of guerrilla bases along supply lines from the sea, with B-26 bombers and fighter-bombers having dropped 60 tons of high explosives on five sites after leaflets warning villagers had been dropped in the areas an hour prior to the attack. A French spokesman said that monsoon rains and low clouds had prevented virtually any French air attacks against the Vietminh supply convoys west of the Delta area the previous day.

The President this date said in a special message to Congress that any cuts in the Administration's proposed 3.5 billion dollars in foreign aid would be "unjustified and unsafe" in light of the "continued ruthless drive of Communist imperialists for world domination." He said that recent events in Southeast Asia had created grave uncertainty and that the security of the region and interests of the U.S. and its allies were clearly endangered, making it "critically important that the Congress authorize the appropriation of funds needed to provide military and other assistance" to that area and to permit adjustment of the use of those funds to rapidly changing conditions. The amount which the President had requested in his budget message of January for foreign aid represented approximately a 40 percent cut to that appropriated for the program during the previous two fiscal years.

In Des Moines, precautionary evacuation of 7,500 persons from low-lying areas was completed as the Des Moines River rose a foot past its record level set in the 1947 disastrous flood, presently four feet above the 23-foot flood stage and still rising, expected to reach 29 to 30 feet by the following day.

In Madisonville, Ky., a blind musician, unable to find land, drowned in a lake the previous night after swimming in circles until he was exhausted. He had repeatedly shouted, "Where's the bank?" after the boat from which he and a companion had been fishing capsized. A 16-year old boy, hearing the man's cries, swam toward him, but saw him disappear under the water when he was almost within reach.

In Charlotte, in a telegram to Pete McKnight, editor of The News, A. H. Graham, chairman of the State Highway & Public Works Commission, refuted charges that F. J. (Jack) Blythe, endorsed the previous day by The News for the State Senate, stood to benefit from State construction contracts if he were to be elected from Mecklenburg in the upcoming Saturday primary. Mr. Graham was apparently responding to advertisements appearing in the two Charlotte dailies the previous day, sponsored by friends of incumbent Senator Fred McIntyre, charging that Mr. Blythe's business interests would benefit directly by his winning the office. Mr. Graham had said that the charges were made by persons who were either very ignorant of the policies of the Highway Commission or very reckless with the truth.

Query, prior to 1964, whether Mr. Blythe, assuming the accuracy of Mr. Graham's statements, theoretically could successfully bring a cause of action for libel against those who sponsored the advertisement and against the Charlotte News and Observer which printed it? How about after New York Times v. Sullivan, decided by the Supreme Court in 1964? You have one hour to draft your answer, providing for it a complete rationale, while assuming that North Carolina's defamation law at the time allowed for actual damages based on a showing of negligently published false statements injurious to reputation and punitive damages upon showing of actual malice or reckless conduct in the publication of the false statements. And if you are aspiring to be a lawyer, take as your first assumption that you are as stupid as a fence post, as is your reader, and proceed to enlighten, first, yourself and then your reader regarding that which has enlightened you.

In Berlin, a policeman was sentenced this date to seven weeks in jail and fired, after witnesses testified that he had been on duty outside a food shop when a man burst into the street and ran away, with clerks emerging from the shop telling the police officer that the thief had stolen food, at which point the officer looked at his watch and said that in three minutes he would be off duty and so it would not be worthwhile to give chase. Punishment, under the assumption that the officer and the thief were subject to the proposed revised laws for Virginia in 1782, assuming the former guilty of nonfeasance, the latter of petty theft?

On the editorial page, "Sam McNinch Has Earned Re-Election" indicates that the named candidate had earned re-election for another two-year term to the Board of County Commissioners in the following Saturday's primary, providing reasons for its opinion, based on his good record during his first term.

"A Question of Journalistic Ethics" indicates that the current dispute between General Motors and the Wall Street Journal had a number of interesting angles, having begun when the Journal, following its tradition of ferreting out and developing previously unprinted news about U.S. business, had published several articles revealing details of the 1955 automobiles, one of which had carried sketches of three of the new models, Chevrolets, Fords and Dodges. In retaliation, G.M. had withdrawn its advertising from the Journal and had refused to give the newspaper's representative in Detroit or the Associated Press its figures on weekly production, plus ceasing to deliver its regular news releases to the Journal. G.M. had argued that the statements and sketches contained in the articles were confidential and had been divulged to the Journal in breach of a confidential relationship regarding proprietary rights. The Journal had replied that a newspaper existed only to provide information for its readers and could do so only by diligently seeking out what was happening and reporting it as accurately and clearly as possible, that when a newspaper suppressed the news it had found, it would soon cease to be of any service to its advertisers or to business, as it would soon cease to have any readers.

The piece concludes that G.M. had every right to withdraw its advertising from the Journal or any other newspaper for any reason, and that there was some merit to its argument regarding a breach of confidentiality in releasing to a newspaper matter coextensive with proprietary rights before the products in issue were on public display. But the Journal also had a valid point in that it had an obligation to its readers, many of whom were stock investors, to bring them pertinent business information when it was obtained. No one had alleged that the statements in the articles had been inaccurate and there was no clear line to be drawn between propriety and impropriety in the case. It finds that regardless of the merits of G.M.'s argument, the wrong remedy had been selected, as preventing the Journal from receiving legitimate G.M. news was bad public relations and would be ineffective in any event against the publication's continued disquisition, that the better remedy, if G.M. could prove damages, would be to bring a test case in court. (Presumably, the cause of action would be tortious interference with contract, based on the newspaper's inducement to breach the confidentiality agreement embracing the employee divulging the sketches, plus, possibly, where cognizable under state laws, formation of a civil conspiracy to breach the agreement.)

If the Journal had said in the article that, based on the junk G.M. was producing for 1955, it would not be surprising if, by 1959, the firm were to produce a vehicle which would prove, in various rollover tests, to be unsafe at any speed, could the Journal be sued under libel laws?

"Don Hollenbeck", recalling the CBS radio and television reporter, who had been found dead the previous day, the apparent result of suicide, after police had found five unlit gas burners emitting gas into his apartment, indicates that he had been one of the better reporters in broadcast news, providing refreshing relief from the "high-tension newscasters who, with rare exceptions, dominate the air waves these days." It indicates that he had a delightful sense of humor and touch of whimsy, adding an extra ingredient to his programs. It concludes that his death and the manner in which it had occurred would not, for a long time, erase him from the memories of millions of listeners.

A piece from the New York Times, titled "Little Man, Farewell", indicates that Charlie Chaplin had recently accepted the "peace prize" of the Communist-sponsored World Peace Council, part of which was $14,000, which he did not need, and another part, a scroll which he also did not need. It indicates that if he had known more about Russia or perhaps was less bitter, he would have been aware that the prize was not a peace prize at all, but one offered to those in or outside Russia who served the purposes of its brutal imperialism.

Mr. Chaplin had once stated that his ideology consisted of sympathy for "the little man—his right to have a roof over his head and to work and raise a family." It suggests that he ought to know that the little man depicted in his films could not survive and prosper in the current Russia.

In his films 40 years or so earlier, Mr. Chaplin had been a contributor to U.S. victory in World War I, and the release he had provided from the daily cares of life, along with the humorous criticism of society, it ventures, had endeared him forever to the audiences. But now he had allowed himself to be used by a sinister conspiracy, departing from the little man he had once portrayed, that little man being the victim of the conspiracy which he now served. While he likely did not call himself a Communist or fellow-traveler, he was nevertheless moving leftward toward Moscow, and the recollection of his earlier persona on screen almost, it finds, brought tears.

Drew Pearson indicates that Vice-President Nixon, who had been busy backstage working in the past on behalf of Senator McCarthy, was now trying to patch up divisions within the Republican ranks and get the two sides on the McCarthy issues back into harmony. The Vice-President had been holding secret conferences which made it appear that he might emerge as the primary leader of the Republicans. Senators Everett Dirksen and Karl Mundt, both members of the Army-McCarthy subcommittee, RNC chairman Leonard Hall, Postmaster General Arthur Summerfield, the only member of the Cabinet who still supported Senator McCarthy, and at times Senator Homer Ferguson, had attended those meetings, along with Senator McCarthy on occasion. The discussion had been along the lines that the President did not understand politics and was tired of the fight over Senator McCarthy, such that the less he was bothered with the subject, the better, it having been suggested to the Vice-President that he should be the sole liaison with the White House, bothering the President with the matter as little as possible. The confreres wanted to make Senator Dirksen the Republican leader in the Senate at the next session, instead of Senator William Knowland, a rival to the Vice-President, both hailing from California, and a possible challenger to the Vice-President for the presidency in 1956—Mr. Pearson having stated several times in his column that conventional wisdom had it that President Eisenhower, because of age, health concerns and the fact that he did not like politics, would step aside in 1956 and not seek re-election. Senator McCarthy had promised to go along with the advice of the group, but he had done so before and had not adhered to that promise. Mr. Pearson notes that the group had not yet been able to attract Attorney General Herbert Brownell or Deputy Attorney General William Rogers, the latter having been the last Republican who had sought to form an agreement with Senator McCarthy, at Miami the previous Christmas.

Those who had seen Premier Pierre Mendes-France operate in Washington had advised that the U.S. should not discount his abilities, and judging by the heavy vote he had received by the Assembly in support of his new Cabinet, others in France felt likewise. Though he had been viewed with some skepticism by U.S. Ambassador to France Douglas Dillon in his reports from Paris, the new Premier had experience in Washington as the first executive director of the World Bank, and its first U.S. head, Eugene Meyer, had found him friendly to the U.S., anything but a left-winger. The new Premier had contended in the early years immediately after World War II that if France had entered Indo-China promptly and vigorously, the problem with the Communists could have been avoided, and he had so advised American friends at the time. Since that time, as the Indo-China war had dragged on, he had refused to enter French Cabinets which had no program and now believed that the only suitable course was to conclude the war, after salvaging as much as possible. The Americans who knew the Premier and had conferred with him when he had visited the U.S. the previous September suggested that France might be in for new rejuvenation under his leadership.

Senator McCarthy's statement that he would investigate a Democratic Senator for wrongdoing had brought a chuckle from one of his Republican colleagues, Senator John Williams of Delaware, who had sought during the entire session of Congress to probe certain income tax irregularities, including those of Senators, but had been stopped by the Republican leadership. He had been afforded that right by the Democrats when they controlled Congress, being given carte blanche by the Democrats to investigate tax irregularities of Democrats, and had done an outstanding job in that regard. But when the Republicans took control in 1953, Senator Eugene Millikin of Colorado, the chairman of the Finance Committee, had refused to provide Senator Williams the same power, with the result that he had been largely silent during the current session. Senator Millikin had put the brakes on him because he was about to investigate tax matters involving several Republican Senators, including Senators McCarthy and Styles Bridges of New Hampshire, the latter having been involved in a seven million dollar tax fix of a Baltimore liquor dealer, a friend of Henry Grunewald, the Washington middle-man fixer.

Mr. Pearson notes that while Senator Williams had been stymied, Senator McCarthy had been provided access to all manner of privileged tax returns.

Marquis Childs indicates that the controversy between the Army and Senator McCarthy had left many Americans with the sense that something "strange and alien" was happening, shattering traditional and accepted patterns of conduct. Europeans were particularly disturbed in like manner, as Mr. Childs had learned after spending four months touring Germany, France and Italy recently. The inhabitants of those countries had inquired whether America was becoming Fascist and wanted to know why so many people were afraid of Senator McCarthy, how he had obtained so much power, with one European elder statesman, long a friend to the U.S., commenting that not until McCarthyism had come to America did he understand how Hitler had come to power in Germany, that Europeans found it hard to believe that the fear of Senator McCarthy and of Americans, themselves, could occur against a backdrop of freedom.

Mr. Childs indicates that there was a recently published study of the power relationships which had helped Hitler become dictator in Germany, The Nemesis of Power by J. W. Wheeler-Bennett, an historian of Oxford University, analyzing Hitler's divide-and-conquer technique, particularly as it applied to the German general staff of the military. After reading it, Mr. Childs had concluded that there were several important parallels between the rise of Senator McCarthy and of Hitler, that Hitler had worked unceasingly to win the allegiance of the German army away from the state and to the cause of Nazism, similarly to Senator McCarthy having insisted during the recent hearings that despite armed services personnel having taken an oath of loyalty to the Government, they should provide to the Senator any evidence they had of corruption or subversion within the services. In addition, the myth of having been stabbed in the back, invented by the German general staff to excuse the final defeat of 1918, exploited then by Hitler to glorify German military might and plant in the mass mind the belief that World War I had been lost because of a "Marxist-Jewish-Communist" conspiracy, was not dissimilar to the "20 years of treason" myth which Senator McCarthy and many other Republicans had invented to prove that everything which had gone wrong or of which they disapproved was the result of a vast conspiracy by the Roosevelt-Truman Administrations. Third, the breakdown of legal and constitutional procedures in Germany based on the conviction that the end justified the means, carried to the ultimate extreme of armed warfare against Communist Russia in mid-1941, was not dissimilar in technique to that being used by Senator McCarthy in fighting Communism. Finally, a deep and disturbing suspicion of psychopathic forces at work behind the political façade during Hitler's rise to power regarding his close associates, also characterized the atmosphere surrounding Senator McCarthy's staff during the recent hearings.

Mr. Wheeler-Bennett had pointed out in his book that the Nazis under Hitler's leadership had shown a "venomous disregard for the decencies of public life", never before witnessed in German politics, consistently posing for the army the choice of either a revival of the pride of service and the glory of a restored Germany or the triumph of "democratic Marxism".

In the past, occasionally, generals had become involved in American politics, such as the draft following the Civil War of General U. S. Grant for the Republican presidential nomination, and his ensuing two-term Presidency between 1869 and 1877, beset by graft and corruption by the end of his second term. When the draft of General Eisenhower had been ongoing prior to the 1952 Republican convention, other generals had openly sought to prevent his nomination, prime among whom had been General MacArthur, with two schools of military politicians being divided roughly between those, as General MacArthur, who wanted an Asia-first policy and those who wanted a Europe-first policy.

The present could be viewed optimistically as a passing phase when civil political authority was reposed in military men during a global war and that when it was completed, the constitutional balance between the civil and military authorities would be restored. But a more pessimistic view could interpret the attempt of Senator McCarthy to appeal directly to the military over the heads of the civilian Government as a "fateful precedent opening the way to the evils" which had brought down the Weimar Republic in Germany, coincident with the rise of Hitler. The divisive force of Nazism had corrupted all organized life in Germany, not only the military, and as late as December, 1932, the leaders of finance and industry had urged President Von Hindenburg to make Hitler chancellor based on the belief that responsibility would sober him and eliminate the errors which afflicted any mass movement, a mistake, indicates Mr. Childs, which had seldom been equaled in history.

Vic Reinemer, associate editor of The News, provides a review of Clarence Streit's Freedom against Itself, just published by Harper & Bros., finding that the Russians would not appreciate the book as it had listed 1,012 major inventions, discoveries and innovations made since 1750, of which only 22 could be attributed to the Russian empire and only 24 to the entire Communist bloc nations, while Western Europe and North America had produced 967, and the U.S led the list of individual countries with 341, followed by Britain with 221, France with 177 and Germany with 151.

Mr. Streit, former New York Times foreign correspondent, presently editor of Freedom & Union magazine, had been the philosopher and leading advocate of Atlantic Union since 1939, the proposal for a federation of the peoples who lived in the Atlantic region. He related the productiveness and ingenuity of the mind to freedom and political systems, that freedom was producing the rapid advance of discovery and invention, while a faulty grasp of freedom at the same time was halting political and moral progress, that the free peoples had for a long time been dividing freedom against itself, causing depression, dictatorship and war repeatedly to befall free peoples and all of mankind. Because free minds had concentrated on technological rather than political progress, free peoples were united and aided by machines while divided by political policies, that on the one hand, free peoples had created an Atlantic community while on the other, they left that community ungoverned. Meanwhile, dictatorships, which inhibited the development of new ideas and processes, had been quick to adopt the products of free societies by utilizing slave labor to run the machines. Thus, the free societies helped to arm the slave world technologically while not arming themselves politically.

Mr. Reinemer tells of the book being divided into five parts, describing each part, concluding with how the danger of fear and mistrust, carried over from loyalty in military fields to monetary and economic areas, could be turned into opportunity by the free societies, ending their own divisiveness and constituting an effective free government for their common concerns, through the calling of a federal convention among the free nations, where delegates from the Atlantic countries would explore the possibilities of confederation.

He concludes by suggesting that the book would likely not receive the attention it deserved, any more than other such measures of wisdom were adopted except as forced by the occasion, as a quote from Benjamin Franklin contained within the book had indicated. Thus, Mr. Reinemer counsels that more citizens take the time to acquaint themselves with the persuasive proposals of the book, consider them and then act on them.

A letter writer from Pinehurst quotes from the "Washington Wire" column of a recent issue of New Republic, regarding McCarthyism being a moral issue with which the President had been unwilling to deal head-on, having said that it would demean the office by engaging in personalities, the piece finding that sincere and high-minded, but folly, that it implied that President Eisenhower was above FDR, Woodrow Wilson, TR and Abraham Lincoln, each of whom had engaged in personalities while President. The writer recalls President Wilson having publicly denounced by name rascals within the Democratic Party even before his nomination, to the point where his friends believed the practice had jeopardized his chances. But after he was elected, he was called a "poor politician", as he refused to sacrifice principle for expediency when urged to do so "for the good of the party". In a recent article, Gerald W. Johnson had revived another memory of President Wilson's uncompromising courage in directly, in a telegram, rejecting the vote of a man who had undertaken to dictate to the President how he should conduct foreign relations, saying in the telegram that since the correspondent had access to many disloyal Americans and that the President did not, he would ask the man to convey the same message to them. The letter writer comments on the June 16 editorial, "Words Alone Won't Curb McCarthy", indicating that three top Republican Party spokesmen, White House chief of staff Sherman Adams, Governor Thomas Dewey and Attorney General Herbert Brownell, had put on a "well-timed puppet show" the prior Sunday denouncing McCarthyism without naming the Senator, concluding that they needed to do more than engage in words, that they should consider support of the resolution introduced by Vermont Senator Ralph Flanders to censure Senator McCarthy. The letter writer believes that the President also had not learned that lesson, that Senator McCarthy could not be controlled through indirect statements, and he suggests to the President that he effectively address the same sort of telegram which President Wilson had to the voter, with reference to Senator McCarthy, in which case all who loved decency and justice and believed in government by law would be deeply grateful.

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