The Charlotte News

Saturday, July 17, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports from Geneva that Undersecretary of State Walter Bedell Smith had arrived by plane this date to strengthen France's hand in the conference seeking a peace in Indo-China. The delegations of the three Associated States of Indo-China, Viet Nam, Cambodia and Laos, were represented at the airport by the heads of their delegations in greeting Undersecretary Smith. They were depending on the U.S. to save them from submission to excessive Communist demands in the negotiations. French Premier Pierre Mendes-France and British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden had arranged to confer with Undersecretary Smith after his arrival. Gloom had pervaded the conference the previous night after apparently three fruitless hours had been spent in conference between the French Premier, Secretary Eden and Soviet Foreign Minister V. M. Molotov, failing to resolve differences preventing a truce agreement. One authoritative source had said that there had been no progress at all on the real issues, and that Western representatives were less optimistic than they had been about reaching a peace before the July 20 deadline set by Premier Mendes-France, after which he had promised to resign his post if no cease-fire were obtained by that point. The main point of disagreement was where to draw a partition line through Viet Nam.

In Fuerth, Germany, seven U.S. Army soldiers, six enlisted men and a captain, who had been held for 12 days in Communist Czechoslovakia, said at a press conference this date that their captors had threatened them with imprisonment if they did not reveal U.S. military secrets, telling them, according to the captain, that after a year or so in prison they would probably provide better answers. He said that they were never bodily harmed or threatened with physical violence. He said that they had gone to the border on July 4 to take a look and that they were captured by a roving Czech border patrol consisting of about 20 armed men, that they had fired several warning shots at them so that they could capture them. After their capture, the captain had protested and explained that they were on holiday. The seven men seemed nervous at the conference but otherwise appeared fit, were neat and cleanly shaven. The captain said that they did not know where they had been held, that it may have been in Prague or elsewhere.

Senator Ralph Flanders of Vermont said this date that the Senate's handling of his proposal for a vote of censure against Senator McCarthy would test its "political morality". The Senator had announced the previous day that he was abandoning his efforts to get the Senate to remove Senator McCarthy from committee chairmanships, that his resolution the following Tuesday would place the Senate on record as declaring whether Senator McCarthy's conduct as chairman of the Senate Investigations subcommittee should be condemned as unbecoming a Senator. Senator Flanders said that he would demand that a vote be taken on Tuesday on the resolution. Senator McCarthy said that he had no concern about the resolution. Meanwhile, Senator Charles Potter of Michigan was seeking a shakeup of the staff of the subcommittee, but the effort had been blocked on Thursday by throwing out as invalid the proxy vote of absent Senator John McClellan of Arkansas, which otherwise, in combination with Senators Henry Jackson of Washington and Stuart Symington of Missouri, would have, along with Senator Potter, provided the four votes necessary for a majority of the seven-man subcommittee.

Senators Wayne Morse of Oregon and Herbert Lehman of New York called this date for Government development of atomic power and criticized as a "give-away" pending Administration-backed legislation to permit private firms to take it over. The provision was included in a general revision of atomic energy laws and would allow, according to Senator Lehman, the "granting of licenses to a very few large and monopolistic private companies to develop industrial atomic power," giving away the public's rights to the peacetime development of atomic energy. Senator Morse said that the bill, designed to carry out the President's atomic policies, would turn over the power features of the atomic energy program to private industry. He wanted a "positive program of atomic power production by the Federal Government, to prevent the people from becoming the victims of monopoly power practices". Senator Albert Gore of Tennessee, a leader of the opposition to the Administration measure, told newsmen that Southern Democrats were not conducting a filibuster in their speeches, thus far directed primarily against a Presidential directive to contract for new private power facilities through the contracting authority of TVA.

The House Post Office Committee would leave, according to its chairman, Representative Edward Rees of Kansas, to the FBI an investigation of a reported attempt to bribe a member of the Committee and that there would be no independent inquiry because it was a matter for the Justice Department. Attorney General Herbert Brownell had said late the previous day that a widely circulated rumor that the FBI was looking into such a report was true. The purported attempted bribe of $500 was to obtain a positive vote on legislation to raise the pay of postal workers. Representative Joel Broyhill of Virginia reported the attempted bribe. There was no indication of who had made the attempt. The heads of two AFL unions who had been seeking the pay raise for postal workers both denounced the attempted bribe.

In Berlin, Theodor Heuss, anti-Nazi and anti-Communist, was re-elected President of West Germany this date by an overwhelming majority in the Federal Parliament, which included delegates from the states for the purpose of the election. Christian Democratic Party member, Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, was also re-elected. Ten Communists among the 1,018 delegates had produced the only friction, one calling Herr Heuss a "disaster" for Germany's future because of his espousal of the European Defense Community unified army. He was shouted down.

In Columbia, S.C., black schools in black areas of the city and white schools in white areas constituted one proposal of the State Educational Finance Commission for the state to maintain its segregated schools, the Commission approving $14,356,746 worth of school construction planned along those lines. Governor James Byrnes had stopped $16,843,646 worth of school projects several weeks earlier after the Brown v. Board of Education decision of May 17, outlawing segregation as unconstitutional under the 14th Amendment Equal Protection Clause. He stated that the stop order had served the useful purpose of providing local school officials an opportunity to relocate planned black schools into black areas and white schools into white areas, admitting that no effort to have voluntary segregation could be perfect but that the "proper location of schools" would minimize lawsuits. The Commission had met in the Governor's office and would meet again on August 16. It approved a 20 million dollar bond issue for new schools and more school buses, and added another $69,000 to approved contracts, which presently totaled $100,347,721. Black schools had received 65.1 percent of the total.

In Chestertown, Md., about 200 men, women and children evacuated their homes around the fireworks plant this date, which had been destroyed by a fireworks explosion and fire the previous day, as teams began removing the dangerous explosives from the area. There were ten known deaths from the explosion and fire, and more than 50 persons had been hurt, with five still in the hospital. A search was underway to determine whether there were others who were dead amid the rubble.

In Allegan, Mich., a love-triangle murder case against a Detroit dentist, Dr. Kenneth Small, who had killed his wife's admirer, had ended in a dramatic verdict of acquittal by reason of insanity early this date following five hours and four minutes of deliberation by a jury consisting of 11 men and one woman. Female spectators screamed and others applauded, while some women kissed Dr. Small. He had trailed his wife to the cottage of the man whom he killed, where she was the man's guest during the previous Memorial Day weekend, and then shot him. The victim was a New York playboy-industrialist and the couple had three children. The wife was not present in the courtroom when the verdict was read. Michigan law required that he would be retained in a State hospital until the State decided that he was sane or insane. Had he been convicted of first-degree murder, he would have been sentenced to life in prison. During testimony, the wife had said that she had informed her husband of losing her heart to the wealthy industrialist. The dentist wept while he testified, corroborating much of his wife's story. The two had met while students at the University of Michigan, had been married nine years earlier, and by all appearances, had been happily married until the affair had begun. The father of the dentist had collapsed from a heart attack the day he was scheduled to testify, but testified later. Different psychiatrists for the defense and prosecution gave conflicting opinions as to the dentist's sanity at the time of the homicide.

In Freeport, Tex., the chief of police announced that a commercial fishing party charter boat had sunk 12 miles south of the town this date and that ten persons might be missing from the craft, that the Coast Guard had informed that four survivors had been rescued.

In Atlanta, lightning had tolled the bell of historic Bethsaida Baptist Church, set the structure on fire and the people who had rushed to the scene had been unable to save the 93-year old structure. Lack of water had hampered the efforts of firemen who arrived at the scene. Neighbors had saved the pulpit, a piano, church records and some furniture. The church had been built of pegged, hand-hewn timbers in 1861 and had served as a barracks for General Sherman's troops during the Civil War.

Near Lincolnton, N.C., the bodies of two men were found floating in a pond the previous night and authorities quoted their fishing companions as having said that the fishing party had fought while drinking white whiskey. Another member of the fishing party had been found wandering on the banks of the pond with about 30 stab wounds from a pocket knife, and had been hospitalized in serious condition. Two other members of the party had a fight over white whiskey and one admitted stabbing the person with 30 stab wounds, resulting in his being charged with assault with a deadly weapon. No other charges were yet filed pending autopsies of the two dead men.

On the editorial page, "Brownell's Proposal Goes Too Far" indicates that "quarterback Eisenhower's team is mid-way through the second quarter of the game," but already 44 of the first-stringers had quit or had given their notice of departure soon. The President was rightly concerned about the loss of manpower and brainpower, but, it suggests, more would quit and fewer would be willing to take their places should Attorney General Herbert Brownell's proposed changes in the conflict-of-interest statutes become law.

Present law prohibited former Federal employees for two years after leaving Government service from handling any matter with which they had dealt while working in the Government, although a Federal court had ruled that the law applied only to proceedings involving a claim against the United States for money or property. The Attorney General wanted the law to apply to all proceedings involving regulation by Government agencies and a stiffening of the fines and penalties for violation.

It finds nothing but praise for the proposal as it would deter Government employees from making unwarranted decisions favorable to a private organization and then obtaining a job outside the Government as payment. But the Attorney General would also prohibit all former Federal employees from ever representing private interests in a matter with which they had been concerned while in Government employ, the piece finding that proposal to go too far. It suggests that the present law discouraged connivance and that it was unlikely an employee would accept an outside job offer which could not lead to any influence for two years. It finds it patently unfair to prevent the employee forever from putting experience in government to work by representing private interests before Government agencies. Government workers were already at a disadvantage because of lower salaries than in the private sector but many continued public service nevertheless out of a sense of patriotism, with the expectation of using their experience profitably outside of government. It asserts that the Attorney General's drastic proposal would convince many worthwhile persons that Government service was not worth its price, and so urges that it not become law.

"One Way To Bet on a Sure Thing" indicates that the Chamber of Commerce report on Charlotte's 1954 industrial expansion ought sweep away traces of uncertainty about the city's economic future, as in the coming months, new firms would create thousands of new jobs in the community, while other firms were seeking Charlotte as a potential site for location. Some 64 firms were presently looking at the city, most for establishing distribution facilities and branch offices, but five were manufacturers of hard goods. With the addition of 100 new industrial jobs to the community, 74 new jobs in other lines of work, 112 new households, 296 more people, a $360,000 increase in retail sales, a $590,000 increase in annual personal income, a $270,000 increase in bank deposits, four new retail establishments, 107 new car registrations, and 70 new residence telephones would be the result. It concludes that a community which could add new jobs by the hundred would be paid off in multiples of 100 and that it was a blue-chip investment.

"Back to the Golden Age of Peril" finds that the comic opera adventures of the five faint-hearted raft voyagers off the California coast had not dampened the spirits of the man-against-nature set at all, that the call of the wild was still echoing urgently around the globe, as another raft would set out soon from South America, bound for the South Seas and high adventure.

Such adventurers, set to keep a log and write a tale of their adventure, appeared in many places, such as the Bahamas and in the Himalayas, plus every jungle of the world, wherein "at least one literary adventurer who, with pack on back and smile on face, is chopping away creepers no white man has ever chopped away before." There were also the polar ice caps, endless caverns and trackless deserts to explore "with derring-do and a sturdy typewriter."

It suggests that it might have all started with Thor Heyerdahl's 1947 Kon-Tiki voyage or the conquest of Anapurna and Everest, finds in any event that a whole generation of "chair-borne adventurers" were growing up back home impressed with every word the raftsmen, mountaineers and creeper choppers uttered. It concludes that modern lives were so full of "mushroom clouds, massive retaliation and other unimaginable perils that it is actually somewhat comforting to turn back to those old-fashioned desperate moments involving typhoons, unsociable snakes and sliding rocks." It prefers the frightening adventures to the science of atomic bombs.

A piece from the Richmond Times-Dispatch, titled "A Day of the Abnormal Normal", tells of an article by Lewis Mumford in the current issue of the Virginia Quarterly Review in which he provided a dismal picture of current life and times, pervaded by "hate, fear, suspicion, and violence", with abnormality fast becoming the norm, automatism the overruling providence, and irrationality the criterion of reason. Given the fact that there was no end in sight for test of the hydrogen bomb in the Pacific, it was easy enough to find at least superficial evidence that the country was living "under the sign of Caliban", that the retreat to barbarism appeared to be increasing its pace, whether from prosperity, wars and rumors of war, or, as Mr. Mumford contended, from the outstripping of mores by sceince and technics.

Yet, church membership in the country was at an all-time high and Billy Graham, just back from his crusade in Britain and Europe, had said that demand for religious outlet was tremendous there. In addition, individual savings were at an all-time high and Americans ignored civil defense warnings, apparently in the belief that the ultimate weapons would never be used.

It suggests that the hope that civilization, "or what passes for civilization", would yet muddle through could not be forsaken, "that the over-evaluation of physical power and scientific truth", which Mr. Mumford saw as the price of modern man's soul, would ultimately lead to something like the "peaceful coexistence" of which the leaders spoke.

It concludes that come Eden or Amageddon, it would serve no purpose "to yield supinely to the hate, fear, suspicion or violence, any more than to the abnormality, automatism or irrationality" which Mr. Mumford found at every hand. "There have been 'times that try men's souls' before. And the souls have always triumphed, ultimately, over the times."

Drew Pearson indicates that important backstage huddles had been occurring among both Democrats and Republicans in the Senate regarding Senator McCarthy, and the outcome would determine the big test vote on the Senator which Senator Ralph Flanders of Vermont was bringing to a head on the following Tuesday. The editors note parenthetically that since the column had been written, as indicated this date on the front page, Senator Flanders had decided to abandon his attempt to remove Senator McCarthy from his committee chairmanships and instead would seek to have the Senate formally censure him.

Republicans were urging Senator Flanders not to force them to a vote on the matter and some of the Senators, such as Senator Leverett Saltonstall of Massachusetts, had said that they would be defeated for re-election if there were a vote, for they would have to vote for the resolution. In the case of Senator Saltonstall, he already faced a tough re-election fight and the Boston Irish were strongly in favor of Senator McCarthy. But Senator Flanders believed that the Republican Party could no longer shirk its responsibility of voting for or against Senator McCarthy's retention of chairmanships, believed he had 12 Republican Senators who would vote for his resolution, while other Senators believed he was too optimistic. Regardless, he was determined to have a showdown.

Democrats were huddling over how they should line up on the vote on the resolution, knowing that if most favored it, Senator McCarthy would lose his chairmanships, as the Democrats controlled half the Senate. But then-Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson had decreed otherwise, having taken about the same position on a similar issue two years earlier, when a Senate subcommittee had just adopted unanimously the most devastating report on Senator McCarthy's finances ever made on a fellow Senator, with the resulting question having been what the Democrats should do about it. Senator Johnson had ruled that there should be no action while other Democrats, such as Senators J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, Thomas Hennings of Missouri, and Matthew Neely of West Virginia believed that the Senate should face the issue at that time. Republicans had been busy at the time challenging other Senators, such as Democratic Senator Dennis Chavez of New Mexico and Republican colleague William Langer of North Dakota, by refusing to let them take their seats permanently, facing the humiliation of being seated subject to later vote after investigation. But as to Senator McCarthy, there had been no challenge despite the fact that only a few hours before he was sworn in for another term in 1953, a critical 400-page document on his finances had been unanimously adopted and published for every Senator to read.

Mr. Pearson indicates that Senator Johnson's ducking of the McCarthy issue at that earlier time had been attributed to the fact that Texas oilmen were heavily behind Senator McCarthy and Senator Johnson feared they might enter a candidate in the race against him if he opposed Senator McCarthy. The Louisville Courier-Journal had pointed out that the policies of the Democratic Party in the Senate were shaped by the election ambitions of one man rather than the good of the nation.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop indicate that Undersecretary of State Walter Bedell Smith's trip to the Geneva peace conference closed a period of uncertainty in U.S. policy which had begun with the weekend meeting two weeks earlier between the President and Prime Minister Churchill in Washington. The President and Prime Minister had discussed and agreed upon an Indo-China settlement which the U.S. and Britain could accept and guarantee, closely resembling the "honorable settlement" as defined in Paris by Premier Pierre Mendes-France. The acceptable terms were that it would not be so bad if the Red River Delta in North Vietnam passed to the Communists, while South Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos did not, providing a defensible line in Indo-China which could be guaranteed against further Communist aggression. There was also a decision made to proceed without delay to form a Southeast Asian defense community to halt Communist aggression in the whole region. The President had insisted that if the French reached a reasonable settlement in Indo-China, he would guarantee it, but not become a direct party to the settlement, which would remain a French responsibility, as he would not join in giving North Vietnam to the Communists.

That agreement was communicated to the French in the "seven points". The President's decision to guarantee the settlement but not to join it had been immediately denounced in Paris as hampering the negotiations, while providing satisfaction to Premier Mendes-France. In Washington, there was some guilty sense of having passively consented to another great Communist advance. The initial response was to protest that every ally had been to blame for the result, but not the U.S., becoming louder after Senator William Knowland stirred a controversy regarding admission to the U.N. of Communist China, saying that he would resign as Majority Leader and then devote his energies to seeing to it that U.S. funding to the U.N. would be canceled. That caused the Administration, in turn, to be more eager than ever to dissociate itself from anything hinting of appeasement. Initially, the decision was made that neither Secretary of State Dulles nor Undersecretary Smith would be physically present at Geneva during the final negotiations, and it was announced that the U.S. had withdrawn its offer to help train Vietnamese troops, conveying the picture that the U.S. was picking up its marbles and going home.

Marquis Childs indicates that the successful overthrow of the Communist-dominated Jacobo Arbenz Government in Guatemala, engineered with the guidance and help of the U.S., had removed a large worry from U.S. policymakers. But there was no guarantee in the aftermath that the future would not hold trouble. The guidance and help from Washington of the new Government could bring progress, economic development and the well-being for the many, all of which the Communists had promised and had at least partially convinced many Guatemalans they had been providing. To meet that test, with the deadline a little more than three months away, U.S. policymakers were busy trying to formulate political and economic policy.

At the conference of the Organization of American States in Caracas during the prior February, an anti-Communist resolution had been proposed, regarding which, to obtain its unanimous adoption, the U.S. had promised to hold a conference on the economic future of Latin America in Rio sometime during the last quarter of the year. Out of that, something more than talk had to develop to keep Latin Americans from becoming blasé about another conference, one of many over the years. If it had sufficient scope and developed plans with imagination and creativity looking to a long-term integration of hemispheric economy, Mr. Childs posits, then it would do much to offset the resentment felt toward the U.S. in Latin America. The resentment was widespread in the wake of the Guatemalan revolt, obviously assisted by the U.S. Partly, that resentment grew from propaganda from Communists and fellow-travelers, but at San Marcos University in Lima, Peru, a full-scale debate had been initiated by the students to cover such questions as whether Guatemala did not have a right to a Communist Government if the people wanted it and whether intervention by the U.S. was justified.

Some Latin Americans were saying that it was the last chance for the U.S. to obtain wide support, lest there be a large-scale turn toward right-wing dictatorships and Communism. The U.S. had to establish a first-hand relationship with the new leadership and no longer would it be enough to know and work with a few of the "right people". Communism had the advantage of having dedicated agents who never surrendered, who, when driven out, went into the hills and lived with the peasants, for whom the promises of such men carried far more weight than distantly conveyed words from the U.S. The attraction of the non-Communist world had to be at least as great as the spurious attraction of Communism, which would be the real test in the months ahead.

A letter from H. F. Seawell, Jr., in Carthage, 1952 Republican nominee for governor, indicates that he had read an editorial of July 13 regarding him, clarifying that it had used the wrong word in suggesting that he had been "disappointed" about not having been chosen as the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of North Carolina, that in fact he had been "disgusted" and still was, thinking that the national Administration had ignored and bypassed not only the Republican organization and its newly elected Congressman Charles Jonas, but practically every official citizen of the state, both Democrats and Republicans. He indicates that about half a million people had voted for him for governor and he loved the state and all the people who lived in it, knew of his own knowledge that those in authority took special delight in delivering a rebuff to the state, that it was calculated, egotistical and done with a "'holier than thou'" attitude, typical of power put into the hands of "'little minded'" men who decided to operate behind their private iron curtain and then demonstrate to North Carolinians "their personal power and magnificence". The latter he finds smacking of Fascism and old-time methods of "'carpet bagism'".

A letter writer finds that the innocent who had suffered from the increase in the water rates were not so much the consumers but the water department workers who were having to redraft bills for customers following the City Council decision to rebate the amount of the initial increase to allow for a period of adjustment to the new rates. Nor were they going to be paid overtime for the task, while losing a week of their vacation time. He thinks therefore that the City Council ought to reimburse them for their loss, out of the pay of each member of the Council, if necessary.

A letter from the executive vice-president of the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce thanks the newspaper on behalf of the Chamber for coverage of the recent dedication of the new airport terminal building on July 10.

A letter writer agrees with two previous letter writers that showing reruns during the summer on television was a bad situation and that something should be done about it. He wonders whether it was the network broadcasting used programs or the local station, that whoever was at fault should remedy the situation at once, that they were a captive audience insofar as television was concerned. He hopes that a new channel would add a little "spice and variety" to the situation. He wants an explanation from the stations.

Here are some non-retreads to watch. Take it or leave it. Move to Canada or Mexico, where they don't show reruns. We forewarn, however, that the "Jack Paar Show" theme will stick in your head after awhile and you can never get it out, will one day wonder from whence it came.

A letter writer from Pittsboro indicates that the Congress appeared divided into just about as many parts as there were members, especially in the Senate, regarding foreign policy. He wonders what was to be gained by fussing about who had lost China or who was losing Indo-China to the Communists. He indicates that China had never really had a national government in the first place, various areas having been under the control of warlords. The U.S. had initially sided with the group which apparently had control of more territory and then concluded it was a doubtful gamble, wavered in support of the initial choice, after which the group backed by Russia gained power and were now well-entrenched. He suggests that there never had been a definite commitment to any person or group in China by the U.S. and that a large amount of U.S. aid, in money and war matériel, had fallen into the hands of the Communists through the Nationalist Chinese. He suggests that the mistake was repeated in Indo-China, where the U.S. had gambled away about five billion dollars on France in its fight with the rebellious natives, without any understanding in Washington of what the conflict was even about. He indicates that the U.S. might be quite justified in not liking Communist China and its political and economic philosophy, but that there was no justification for pulling down the temple on the greater portion of mankind just because of the dislike of those who had beaten the favored group.

A letter writer responds to a previous letter writer, saying that as a former New Yorker, the previous writer should not break his leg getting back to the North, that this writer was content where he was and he hopes "it continues as it is."

Presumably, the "is" refers to segregation.

A Pome from the Atlanta Journal appears, "In Which Is Offered A Probable Diagnosis Regarding A Bad Disposition:

"If you are too quickly irked
Maybe you are overworked."

And if your teapot too quickly perks,
You may be becoming a boor and a jerk.

Framed Edition
[Return to Links
Page by Subject] [Return to Links-Page by Date] [Return to News<i><i><i>—</i></i></i>Framed Edition]
Links-Date Links-Subj.