The Charlotte News
Friday, July 16, 1954
Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that at Geneva, French Premier and Foreign Minister Pierre Mendes-France, who had vowed to resign his posts unless he obtained a cease-fire in Indo-China by July 20, was seeking that cease-fire based on division of Viet Nam at the 18th parallel, but his efforts had been set back by a fruitless four-hour session with Soviet Foreign Minister V. M. Molotov. French sources said that the previous night's meeting had resulted in a complete deadlock, with both men sticking by their positions without any progress made. The partitioning of Viet Nam was indicated as the principal topic in the discussion. Premier Mendes-France was said to be seeking a cease-fire line running from Dong Hoi on the Vietnamese coast, westward to Thakhek, on the Laotian border. Western diplomats indicated that the Communists appeared willing to do business but were dickering for a larger chunk of Viet Nam, seeking a compromise between the 18th parallel across Viet Nam's narrow waist and their original demand for partition at the 14th parallel. The French wanted to hold the line no further south than the 17th parallel, as otherwise it would mean ceding to the Vietminh the important air and naval base at Tourane and the old Annamese capital of Hue, loss of the latter being particularly harmful to the prestige of former Emperor Bao Dai, chief of state of the Government which the French had set up in Viet Nam. Premier Mendes-France had hinted that he might be persuaded to turn over Hanoi to the Vietminh, but it was reported that he was holding out stubbornly to retain at least temporary control of the port of Haiphong, the major port in the rich Red River Delta, through which the French might have to evacuate their forces.
Undersecretary of State Walter Bedell Smith was scheduled to depart from Washington for Geneva this date to provide American prestige to the negotiations, and Administration leaders were convinced that the misunderstanding threatening Big Three unity among Britain, the U.S. and France, had been eliminated. Meanwhile, Secretary of State Dulles was pressing for plans to have a collective defense of Southeast Asia, which could serve to secure non-Communist parts of Indo-China from further Communist aggression in the event of a peace settlement and pave the way for possible quick intervention should war continue. Authoritative sources said that Secretary Dulles had informed the President and the National Security Council the previous day that Premier Mendes-France had assured him in Paris that France's final terms for a settlement in Indo-China would be terms acceptable to the U.S. Sources said that the President and the NSC had approved the results of Secretary Dulles's mission to Paris, where he had consulted with British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden and Premier Mendes-France. The mission of Undersecretary Smith had been arranged in lieu of Secretary Dulles being present at Geneva so that it would not appear that the U.S. was actively arranging the peace in Indo-China, while lending prestige to any agreement which would be reached and providing U.S. assurance of guarantees against Communist aggression in the future to the southern portion of Viet Nam, not to be ceded to the Vietminh, and to Laos and Cambodia.
Senator McCarthy this date canceled, at the request of Senate Majority Leader William Knowland of California, his plans to hold hearings in Boston on Saturday regarding alleged Communist infiltration of defense plants. Senator Knowland disclosed the fact during a Senate floor speech by Senator Ralph Flanders of Vermont, protesting the plans of Senator McCarthy, Senator Knowland stating that Senator McCarthy had agreed to cooperate and that it would not be necessary therefore for Senator Flanders to continue his objection. Minutes later, Francis Carr, staff director of the Senate Investigations subcommittee, announced cancellation of the scheduled Boston hearing, saying that Senator McCarthy had agreed to Senator Knowland's request not to hold sessions out of Washington. He stated that Senator McCarthy would hold hearings on Monday and Tuesday in the Senate to question some of the witnesses he had planned to question in Boston, and that ultimately he would have some hearings in Boston. The Senate was holding an all-day session on Saturday, meaning that other members would not have been able to attend the Boston hearings. Senator Flanders also was objecting on the basis that the subject of the hearings, dealing with private industry instead of government operations, appeared beyond the jurisdiction of the subcommittee. Senator Flanders indicated that on July 20, he was planning to seek a test regarding his efforts to have Senator McCarthy taken off committee chairmanships or censured.
The Senate Banking Committee this date heard from a Richmond, Va., builder, who said that he was a friend of an ousted Federal Housing Administration official and that it was a common practice for builders to provide gifts to FHA employees, that he had dropped by to see the official to pay his respects on a couple of occasions. The official, in charge of rental housing programs at the time the builder was constructing seven Government-backed apartment projects, had twice refused to testify before the Committee, invoking the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination. Chairman of the Committee, Senator Homer Capehart of Indiana, asked the builder whether he had ever been asked for favors by any FHA official, to which he replied in the negative, and whether he had ever given anything to FHA employees, to which he replied that he had given small token gifts but nothing of consequence, that the gifts were valued at around $50, having gone to receptionists, switchboard operators and others in like categories.
In Boston, a B-29 bomber made a safe landing at the Boston airport this date, despite damage to its left wing, possibly caused by an air collision with a jet. The pilot stated that he had been flying over Cape Cod when the plane was damaged, but was not certain that the damage was caused by a collision.
In Chestertown, Md., rescue workers fought their way into the blazing ruins of a fireworks and explosives plant during the afternoon this date and brought out nine bodies, following a 90-minute series of explosions at the plant earlier this date, where it was known that 275 persons had been at work. Flames and continuing explosions prevented rescue operations for hours after the initial blast. All of the houses in the area had been cleared out of fear that explosions and fire would reach large stores of lead azide and other high explosives. The plant had been opened during World War II and had been making detonator fuses for the armed forces, as well as fireworks.
In Chicago, according to a late bulletin, a series of explosions had destroyed a small fireworks plant in a western suburb this date, with three persons killed and two injured.
The death toll from heat and storms rose to 190 this date, as cool northerly winds took the place of the season's severest heat wave in most parts of the country, with the cooler air extending from Kansas and Oklahoma eastward over Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio to the North Atlantic coastal states, with daytime temperatures being 10 to 25 degrees lower the previous day than two days earlier.
From Auckland, New Zealand, it was reported that a
Christchurch court was informed this date that a 16-year old girl,
accused with a girlfriend, 15, of murdering her mother, had
detailed the plans for the killing in her diary with the notation,
"We are both thrilled with the idea." She had asked in her
diary why her mother could not die, as thousands were dying daily,
that they felt "a trifle nervous but the pleasure of
anticipation is very great." On June 22, the diary writer's
mother was beaten to death in a park, utilizing a brick wrapped in a
stocking. At the preliminary hearing this date, the two girls had
exchanged smiles and whispers, and scribbled on pieces of paper as
the hearing proceeded. Witnesses described the girls as inseparable
companions who had written unpublished novels and operas together,
and planned to go to America together to have some of their works
published. The court was informed that the diary writer had written
on April 28 that her mother was "one of the main obstacles in my
path. If she were to die…" On the day before the murder,
an entry had read: "We have decided to use a rock and a stocking
In Grand View, N.Y., a man bought a house about two years earlier but before he had moved into it, a stream began flowing through the cellar, after which a landscape architect diverted the stream south of the house, through the garden, and soon thereafter, the new owner decided that little bridges, stepping stones and other aquatic embellishments would help his enjoyment of the tree-shaded brook and so had them built. Everything had been fine until about six months earlier, when the owner discovered another spring erupting in the middle of his lawn, again summoned the landscape architect to have the second brook diverted, this time to the north of the house. But while the owner, who was an actor, was away on a summer theater tour, men working on a New York Thruway bridge nearby broke a water main the prior Wednesday and the water company rushed in to repair the damage, at which point the two streams flowing around the house suddenly disappeared and soon were completely dry, leaving only the bridges, stepping stones and the other accouterments built over and around the streams, water company officials stating that the streams had definitely come from their pipes at the rate of between 18 and 20 gallons of water per minute.
In Charlotte, starting on July 24,
new telephone prefixes would be in operation, EDison
On the editorial page, "Americans Must Sell Their Product" indicates that U.S. foreign policy was faltering in Asia, at the Geneva peace conference, and at home, that the Communists were scoring a military victory in Indo-China, a diplomatic victory at Geneva, and the discordant voices of Congressional leaders were drowning out the voice of the President in Washington. Those events, it posits, had seriously damaged U.S. prestige, were shifting world balance of power in favor of the Communists, while the modest program by which the country had attempted to destroy the roots of Communism, Point Four, had almost come to a halt.
After reviewing the anti-Communist programs, starting with the Truman Doctrine of military aid to Greece and Turkey, the Berlin airlift to relieve the blockade of Berlin by the Communists in 1948-49, and the Marshall Plan, as well as Point Four technical assistance, it indicates that the American people had become tired of similar, costly ventures, and so when the Communists, freed from the Korean War by the armistice, stepped up their drive in Southeast Asia, the French and colonial troops had borne the brunt of battle, although aided to an extent by U.S. material and technicians. Candid U.S. policymakers knew that France could not hold Indo-China and knew that the American people would not tolerate sending troops there. In an attempt to stop the Communists without the use of U.S. troops, massive retaliation against the aggressors had been threatened and Naval air support was planned, with U.S. aircraft carriers deployed in Indochinese waters for use if needed. But at the last minute, U.S. leaders, pressured by the British Government, and fearful of public reaction, relented.
It indicates that it was now apparent that a considerable portion of Indo-China was to be abandoned to the Communists and that Secretary of State Dulles, in his refusal to return to Geneva, was demonstrating that the U.S. was trying hard to dissociate itself from that loss, that the "massive retaliation" policy enunciated some weeks earlier by Secretary Dulles, had become a "'passive acquiescence'" policy. No one could say whether the decision to back down was wise or unwise, but it meant that the free world had purchased time in exchange for geography and prestige. The question now was what would American leadership do with that time.
It urges that it should improve its system for deciding on and implementing free world policy and should strengthen its defenses so that there would not be another "ignominious" Indo-China. Most importantly, the time should be used by the West to combat Communism by the effective non-military methods it had been neglecting, the notion that providing basics, food, land, clothing and decent housing, supplied the best tools against Communism and on behalf of freedom. The Communists promised plenty and sent in dedicated agents who fulfilled some of those promises. Americans needed to do a better job at those tasks, as urged by General MacArthur and Justice William O. Douglas, in abstracted pieces on the page this date.
It concludes that no matter what military means were used, unless the free world, led by the U.S., took its stand alongside the revolutionists of Asia and did what it could to guide that inevitable revolution toward self-determination, the fight against militant Soviet aggression, which had to be continued, would not be successful.
"Ike's Health Plan Deserved Better Fate" quotes the President from his press conference on Wednesday, that the members of the House who had voted against the Administration's health reinsurance bill did not understand the facts of American life, following the vote against it, vowing to continue to fight for it for as long as he was in office.
It indicates that it was the type of talk most Americans liked to hear, showing that the President was willing to provide the type of aggressive leadership which successful Presidents had always employed to steer programs through a "balky Congress".
It finds that the President had selected a deserving cause, that while the plan he proposed had not gone far enough to serve the needs of all of the people, it at least had recognized the social responsibility of the Government in an important field and was a start in the right direction. It had proposed stimulating an environment in which the growth of private, voluntary health insurance could be stimulated with taxpayer money, whereby the Government would make an initial grant of 25 million dollars to establish a "reinsurance fund", into which health insurance organizations could pay premiums, in return for which, would be reimbursed for 75 percent of any losses suffered in extending "abnormal" coverage for new, needy groups.
Conservatives who had opposed the program, influenced to a great extent by the AMA, had been fearful that it would lead to socialized medicine, and many liberals who had opposed it preferred a national system of compulsory health insurance, as had been proposed by the Truman Administration. It indicates that the conservative opposition was hard to understand as the program was designed to further voluntary health insurance, the chief bulwark to socialized medicine, placing the AMA effectively in the way of its own objectives. The plan was sent back to committee which virtually killed it for this session of Congress, though it was not necessarily doomed.
According to the Wall Street Journal, about 100 million Americans had some form of protection against future hospital expenses and over 75 million had insurance for surgical bills, with nearly 40 million having coverage for doctor visits, usually just in the hospital. At the end of 1941, only about 16 million people had hospital coverage and fewer than 7 million had coverage for surgery, with medical coverage almost unknown.
It posits that voluntary health insurance would continue to grow, with or without the Government's help, that the nation's general welfare would be better protected if a way could be found to provide some type of coverage for all levels of society and if the shock of catastrophic illness could be cushioned for low-income groups, that those points should be among the long-range goals of any future health plans and could be achieved without resorting to socialized medicine.
A piece from the Knoxville News-Sentinel, titled "Advice to Women", indicates that it had been reported that women were becoming wary of smoking cigarettes, based on recent reports from the American Cancer Society of increased risk of cancer and heart disease, and thus were taking up pipes, that pipe-makers were happy and, in response, had started turning out smaller models with stems colored to match dresses or accessories.
It suggests that a small pipe was no good, that the idea that a smaller apparatus or utensil could be turned out as a "lady's model" did not work with pipes.
Drew Pearson indicates that the White House had now developed a far more efficient machine than had the Roosevelt or Truman Administrations for ramming hotly contested bills through Congress. FDR, during the heyday of James Farley, had one of the best machines, as Mr. Farley could use his Irish charm and his ability to grant postmasterships to change votes and steer legislation through Congress, having maintained an index file of how Congressmen voted, which the Eisenhower Administration also did. The new Administration, however, went further, during the recent farm bill debates having not only threatened to withhold campaign contributions from reluctant Congressmen, but also having used a former member of Congress, Ross Rizley of Oklahoma, to switch votes right on the floor of the House. During his time in Congress, he had introduced legislation favoring the big natural gas companies at a time when his law firm represented Cities Service, Republic Natural Gas and Panhandle Eastern Pipeline. The previous year, he had become solicitor of the Post Office and was presently Assistant Secretary of Agriculture. In the latter capacity, he had sat on the House floor during the farm bill debate, buttonholing Congressmen so brazenly that Representative Paul Jones of Missouri protested, forcing Mr. Rizley to retreat to the Republican cloakroom, from which he continued conducting his lobbying efforts. Mr. Pearson observes that seldom had a White House lobbyist been so active, having gotten Congressman Page Belcher of Oklahoma to urge flexible price supports in the Agriculture Committee, and when Mr. Belcher had received too many hostile letters from Oklahoma, had persuaded Congressman Robert Harrison of Nebraska to lead the flexible price support battle on the House floor. He had also induced Congressmen William Hill of Colorado and Ralph Harvey of Indiana to switch their votes and go along with the Administration.
The President had asked his close friend, Senator Frank Carlson of Kansas, for advice on what to do about Senator McCarthy, and Senator Carlson would send his own recommendations to the White House on the matter privately, after conducting present hearings as chairman of a Rules subcommittee regarding the curbing of unfair Congressional investigations.
President Syngman Rhee of South Korea had been obstructing rehabilitation efforts after the war by insisting on spending U.S. aid money his own way, wishing to build a superhighway from Pusan to Seoul, though few Koreans owned automobiles. American advisers believed it was more important to spend the money on food and shelter, and, as a result, practically nothing had occurred, while the Communists were rebuilding North Korea as a showcase, making it appear that the Communists were doing more for the people than the West, in large part because of President Rhee.
Army chief of staff General Matthew Ridgway was raising cain inside the Pentagon over a new Army reorganization plan which would strip field commanders of their authority over technical personnel. The plan would put the Army directly under the control of Pentagon civilians and General Ridgway had protested privately that he had not been consulted by Undersecretary of the Army John Slezak, who had arbitrarily drawn up the plan. General Ridgway also warned that it would make the technical services more important than fighting wars and would wind up costing thousands of lives on the battlefield.
The graft-ridden Federal Housing Administration had become so worried that it would not deal with even some of the most reputable construction firms. The International Development Corporation, organized by Nelson Rockefeller, a member of the Eisenhower "Little Cabinet", had been doing a patriotic, private Point Four job in Latin America, but could not obtain FHA cooperation for Puerto Rico, was presently going ahead anyway with construction of 2,000 concrete homes near San Juan, where people were so eager for houses that 500 down payments had been received even before the units had been built. A former Assistant Secretary of State and presently an adviser to Mayor Robert Wagner, Jr., of New York City, Eddie Miller, had indicated that the way to solve the steady influx of Puerto Ricans to the U.S. was to make things better in Puerto Rico, and, observes Mr. Pearson, the Rockefeller housing project ought help.
Justice William O. Douglas, in one of three articles on the page this date regarding Asia, in a speech delivered on April 7, 1952 before the National Conference on International Economic and Social Developments, stated that he had no prepared manuscript or speech or qualifications other than having had the privilege of visiting in the Middle East and Asia for three summers, having seen most of the land from the Mediterranean to the Pacific, and having returned filled with prejudices. He had come back with his heart very heavy and his mind filled with fear for the future of America, because he had realized that America did not understand the world in which it was living. He believed that a new point of view was necessary, lest the West might disappear insofar as civilization, and that if it did, it would carry with it not only the things held dear but the hopes and aspirations of "little people around the world—the little people of the rice fields of Southeast Asia, the aspirations of the goat-herders of Persia." America, he indicated, was more important, as was the West generally, than it had pretended to be, that it had been assuming a false role not true to its character, its ideals, or its civilization.
He found that the U.S. had been engrossed in the luxuries of civilization, such as golf clubs, hot dogs, soft drinks, the rich-material civilization that productive capacity had given it. During the previous summer, he related, he had been on the Sinkiang border in an area called Gilgit, Hunza and Nagir, where the habitable region was about a half-mile wide and 100 to 200 miles long, with valleys around 5,000 feet and canyon walls as high as 28,000 feet, a bleak, desolate, terrifying country, where people, in February and March, had nothing left to eat and the problem in March and April was to find enough out-croppings of new weeds or flowers which would tide them through. They could not grow anything more than they already were producing, no matter how much Point Four technical assistance they were provided. He tells, however, of a geologist, John Clark of Illinois, who was in a hospital with amoebic dysentery which he got in that area after teaching the people simple industrial skills, such as how to make a pipe and how to turn a lathe. Until the previous summer, no wheel had ever been seen in that area, and Mr. Clark had brought the people a few of the rudiments of industrial civilization to provide them something with which to trade to send over the high passes of the Karakorams and the Himalayas, down to the Punjab to exchange for food. The people had been so thankful to him that they had lined up for six miles to shake his hand and kiss him before his departure in November, 1951. Justice Douglas had found no other experience abroad which had been as moving to him, from the American point of view, except one, when a black lawyer from Chicago, Edith Simpson, had stood up in New Delhi and defended America on the race issue before a hostile audience.
He observed that feudalism had produced Communism in Russia and was the source of its political strength, and that as long as there was the opportunity for people to work and meet the ordinary requirements of life, none of the desperate creeds would have any appeal to the American people or the West, nor to others. But the downtrodden peasants of the Middle East would have to undertake desperate measures to escape feudalism.
He found those people to have been wonderful, "as fine as the people in our communities here." He urged that when the Point Four program was undertaken, Americans had to make up their minds whom they were for, the people or the landlords, an inevitable issue. He was gratified that many Americans had stood up in the villages and said that they were for the people, but he had also seen other Americans involved with other projects who had been aligned with the landlords, residing usually elsewhere such as Paris.
Point Four, he instructed, was a political instrument which would create an economy either one way or the other, and he urged doing it the American way, such that if the same type of conditions as were extant in the Middle East and Asia were present in America, the people of the group before whom he spoke would be forming an American revolutionary committee to promote a revolution "to destroy the octopus that was overpowering us." He indicated that the proudest thing in U.S. history was the American Revolution, the ideas of which had circulated abroad throughout the world. He urged making it a good revolution, putting American ideas and a few dollars behind it, that if one had good ideas, not much financing would be necessary, that it was the lousy ideas which required a lot of money to put forth.
He concluded that ideas were very dangerous, had no boundaries, no state lines or national lines, that they were the most powerful things in the world, and that a few simple, good, old-fashioned ideas from the Declaration of Independence, coupled with some Point Four assistance, could stem the political tide of Communism, whereas despite all the money which could be collected and all the guns and atomic bombs brought to bear on the matter, but without the ideas of freedom and justice and opportunity, the "Red tide of communism will roll on and on and on. And that's what it's doing today."
Chester Bowles, in a November, 1953 postscript to his Ambassador's Report following his service as Ambassador to India, provides the second article, indicating that as he had followed the newspaper reports from India and Asia in the months after his return, he believed that many Americans were yielding to the temptation to relax amid the blessings of the "richest standard of living the world has ever seen". He had read of the Korean peace conference with nations which should be America's staunchest friends, had read of Prime Minister Nehru's angry remarks in Parliament, that, "The countries of Asia, however weak they might be, do not propose to be ignored, do not propose to be bypassed, and certainly do not propose to be set upon." He had read of the "book burning" in the U.S. Information libraries overseas and had wondered how many Indians recalled his opening-day speeches at several of those reading rooms wherein he had applauded the sacred freedom of the mind. He had also read that the U.S. Information Service in India had been drastically reduced, with the American Reporter eliminated in four of the major Indian languages. He read that the outlook for expansion of Point Four was becoming more gloomy and that many of its most experienced administrators had resigned, that many members of Congress were expressing increasing impatience with non-Communist nations which failed to see the complex problems of the world as the U.S. saw them.
He remarked that much divided the U.S. from the people of Asia, but that time was running out and that those who made U.S. policy for Asia carried heavy responsibilities, that if in 5 to 15 years, Asia had failed, for lack of sufficient moral and material support or for any other reason, there would be angry Congressional committees holding hearings as to why U.S. public officials had failed to learn from the failure in mainland China and asking who was responsible for the collapse of free India and free Asia.
He had confidence that the American people would overcome the natural tendency to isolation and indifference, just as he had faith that Asians would overcome the temptation to totalitarianism. In India, Burma, Pakistan and Indonesia, as well as in a half-dozen other new nations, he had seen free Asians pulling themselves up by their bootstraps, fiercely determined to resist encroachment on their new freedom, and America was fortunate to have such governments so committed to democracy. In the months since his return, he had spoken to many groups and observed an eager desire for greater understanding of Asia and Asians, for bold and constructive policies, finding that the Government was lagging behind its citizens, fearful to give the positive, nonpartisan leadership the majority was seeking.
He concluded that a "new frontier" awaited, "working with people of all races and religions in the economic, social and political development of every underdeveloped continent and country, which is this century's main adventure." He posited that if it became the great positive mission of the country, then he believed that the creative, courageous spirit of the frontier days would be rediscovered and the truths which had once been regarded as self-evident would be relearned.
General Douglas MacArthur provides the third article, from an address to Congress on April 19, 1951, after being recalled from his Far Eastern command by President Truman, indicating that before one could objectively assess the situation existing in Asia at that time, there had to be a comprehension of Asia's past and its revolutionary changes, that having been long exploited by the "so-called colonial powers", with little opportunity to achieve any degree of social justice, individual dignity or a higher standard of life, "such as guided our own noble administration in the Philippines," the peoples of Asia having found their opportunity in World War II to throw off the shackles of colonialism and now were seeing the dawn of new opportunity to obtain dignity and the self-respect of political freedom.
With half of the earth's population and 60 percent of its natural resources, those peoples were rapidly consolidating a new force, both moral and material, with which to raise their living standard and adapt to modern progress within their own distinct cultural environments. It was an inexorable movement which could not be stopped and was corollary to the shift of the world economic frontiers, in response to which it was vital that the U.S. orient its policies with that basic evolutionary condition rather than pursuing a course which was blind to the reality that the colonial era was past and that the Asian people coveted the right to shape their own free destiny.
He indicated that what they sought was friendly guidance, understanding and support, not imperious direction, "the dignity of equality and not the shame of subjugation." Their prewar standard of life which had been low was infinitely lower at that time, after the devastation of the war, and world ideologies played little part in Asian thinking and were little understood there. The people wanted the opportunity for a little more food, a little better clothing, a little firmer roof over their heads, and the realization of the normal nationalist urge for political freedom. Those political-social conditions were only indirectly bearing on U.S. national security, but formed a backdrop to contemporary planning which had to be considered if the U.S. was to avoid "the pitfalls of unrealism".
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