The Charlotte News

Monday, August 2, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Senate Majority Leader William Knowland of California had formally asked the Senate this date to send the resolution sponsored by Senator Ralph Flanders of Vermont to censure Senator McCarthy, along with all of the proposed amendments to that resolution, to a special committee of three Republicans and three Democrats, which Senator Knowland proposed would be named by Vice-President Nixon, though he did not suggest that the Vice-President actually serve on the special committee, which would then report back to the full Senate regarding its findings. The Senate had completed its third day of debate on the censure resolution, that the conduct of Senator McCarthy had tended to bring the Senate into disrepute, coupled with bills of particulars presented by Senators Flanders, J. William Fulbright of Arkansas and Wayne Morse of Oregon. Senator Knowland said to the Senate that Senator Morse, who was criticizing Senator McCarthy's attitude toward secret Government information, having invited Government employees to provide him with any document which revealed subversion or corruption, regardless of its confidential designation, had, during the 1952 election campaign, revealed part of a top-secret document during a political speech. Senator Morse replied that at that time, President Truman had declassified the document in question, making it usable within the context of the speech. Senator Knowland expressed shock at the response. Supporters of the censure resolution were conceding that they saw little chance of its success. Senator John McClellan of Arkansas stated that he was not passing judgment on the issue of censure, but believed that a special Senate committee should be appointed to draft formal charges against Senator McCarthy.

The President this date signed the compromise housing bill into law, praising it as "a major advance toward meeting America's housing needs", not mentioning the fact that Congress had sharply reduced the public housing provisions which the President had recommended. The law was designed to make home-buying and home-modernization easier to accomplish. The Senate had passed the bill the previous Wednesday by a vote of 59 to 21, while the House had passed it on July 20 by a vote of 358 to 30.

The House Agriculture Committee formally reported this date that grocery store prices remained at near record high levels despite a substantial drop in farm prices since 1951, indicating that further declines in farm prices were expected, as more livestock and livestock products would enter the market and Government price support levels were reduced, but stated that consumers could expect little benefit from those lower farm prices unless recent tendencies of increased marketing and processing charges were curbed. The Agriculture Department said the previous day, however, that major foods would be in plentiful supply during the remainder of 1954 and that it should result in some easing of prices.

The President this date nominated Brig. General Herbert Vogel, an Army engineer, to be a member of the board of directors of the Tennessee Valley Authority, succeeding Gordon Clapp. The White House indicated that the President planned to designate General Vogel as chairman of the board after the Senate acted on his nomination, assuming he would be confirmed.

In Guatemala, it was reported that a quarrel between Guatemalan military cadets and the "liberation forces" of Col. Carlos Castillo Armas, head of the country's ruling junta, had erupted into battle this date, with two persons killed and several wounded. First reports had indicated that cadets and some others had revolted in sympathy with the deposed leftist Government of Jacobo Arbenz, but later reports stated that the conflict was between the cadets and members of the Castillo Armas army, the victors in the revolution.

In Denver, a U.S. Commissioner set bond at $100,000 each early this date for four top American Communists arrested together only a block from the Colorado Capitol Building by FBI agents, with a fifth arrested in Los Angeles, accused of violating the Smith Act for teaching or advocating the forcible overthrow of the Government. According to the U.S. Attorney, the arrests followed a lengthy investigation.

In Cleveland, O., a judge refused to grant to Dr. Sam Sheppard a writ of habeas corpus, after he had been arrested the previous Friday for his wife's murder, which had occurred during the wee hours of the morning on July 4. The attorney for the doctor, William Corrigan, had asserted that the suburban Bay Village council president who had issued the warrant and committed the doctor to jail, had no authority to do so, but the judge ruled that when the mayor could not act, the council president was authorized to do so under law. In the instant case, the Mayor, Spencer Houk, a friend and neighbor of Dr. Sheppard, was expected to be a material witness, as he had been the first person called by the doctor on the morning of July 4, the doctor telling him that he believed "they" had killed his wife Marilyn. The defense counsel said that he would appeal the judge's ruling, as the mayor could not appoint a substitute. The detectives had questioned Dr. Sheppard while in custody the previous day for about six hours, indicating that they had not learned much. For at least the time being, he would continue in custody.

This story, incidentally, is the third reference to the Sheppard case appearing in The News, starting the day after the beginning of the Coroner's inquest on July 22, continuing through July 26, the second story having appeared on July 28, and is the first mention of the doctor's arrest. Following the inquest, the Cleveland area newspapers, especially the Cleveland Press, had editorialized that Dr. Sheppard should be arrested at once. It is an example of how not to promote an atmosphere of justice and fairness surrounding a case, by attaching to a particular stance before all of the evidence is heard on both sides of the given issue and then expressing the conclusory opinion without reservation, as if one were playing a parlor game, in this instance, with a murder, trying to figure out who did the deed without regard to the humanity of the situation, its abstract truth, or the inherent fallibility of intuition based on little fact and less reasoning. But such were the times in 1954, when Senator McCarthy, and before him, others, such as former Congressman Nixon, had conditioned a portion of the gullible public to leave ratiocination at the door and conjure a form of counterfeit "truth" through inveiglements of the mind, induced by the desire to accord the opinion being expressed by the familiar voices who appeared to have all of the answers, and then rationalization of those devices as their only method of confirmation, so "that distill'd by magic sleights/ Shall raise such artificial sprites/ As by the strength of their illusion/ Shall draw him on to his confusion."

An overriding socio-philosophical question might be posed as to whether the sudden notoriety of the Sheppard case, at its core a rather ordinary local case of homicide, be it from malice domestic or malice external, derived from its being a convenient "Afghanistanism", that is a diversion from the more substantive and angst provoking stories of the time, the political internal strife associated with Senator McCarthy and McCarthyism, amid the continuing threat from abroad to the country from Communist China and the Soviet Union, after the failure of the recently concluded Geneva peace conference to unite Korea, though predicted at the time, and the perceived appeasement of the Communists in the French-driven truce agreement anent the war in Indo-China, also amply predicted for weeks in advance by both U.S. diplomats and the most reliable columnists of the time. A similar question might be posed regarding our current, practically obsessive, Afghanistanisms of the past couple of weeks or so in mid-August, 2021.

In Enid, Okla., Vance Air Force Base was conducting an experiment in turning over kitchen duty to a catering service, with females dishing up scrambled eggs with a smile for breakfast this date. On the second day of the trial, it was said to be a tremendous success, slated to continue for 11 months. The females involved also rated it a success, ranking it better than the alternative of a secretarial job, and one airman indicated that they could serve him dogfood now if they wanted and he would not know the difference, that it was better than eating in a restaurant, as one could walk out without paying. They may need the services of a doggie psychologist...

On the editorial page, "Our Children Will Live in Anarchic or Totalitarian World, Unless…" quotes from three news items, the first two of which are dated July 29, one from Karachi, Pakistan, and the other from Singapore, the first from the New York Times and the second from Reuters, the first indicating that the Soviet Union had been reported that date to have offered Afghanistan, as a "potential Communist ally", 250 million dollars worth of technical aid, similar to the U.S. Point Four program, and Afghanistan was reportedly seriously considering early acceptance of the grant, the aid to be for road-building, multi-purpose hydroelectric projects and mining development.

The second item, from Singapore, indicated that the city's "pleasant isolation" from the neighboring Federation of Malaya, which for six years had been fighting 5,000 Communist jungle terrorists, was being shattered, that there was a feeling in Singapore that it might be sitting on a powder keg which could blow up at any time, with one high British official comparing the signs of Communist infiltration into the British colony to an iceberg because of the few signs of Communist organization and influence appearing on the surface, while a huge mass lay underneath, with special officers claiming that they were finding increasing evidence of outside inspiration for acts against public order, their special concern of the moment having been Chinese students.

The third item from which it quotes comes from Sophiatown, South Africa, dated July 30, via the Associated Press, indicating that an "earnest young black man" had begun speaking from a truck platform, indicating that in response the crowd of 2,000 black Africans at the outdoor mass meeting had thrust out clenched right fists, with thumbs up-raised, shouting in native dialect, "Africa, come back!" The young man had exhorted that they should be digging South Africa's gold riches for themselves and their children, not for large mining companies, that they would take their rightful place among the peoples of the world and rule for the benefit of the people. The young man was Duma Nokwa, youth secretary in the African National Congress, the largest native political group in the Union of South Africa, who had visited Moscow and Peiping as a guest of the Communists the previous year.

The piece begins by indicating that it was 6,000 miles from Malaya to South Africa and 5,000 miles from South Africa to Afghanistan, but the pattern of events the previous week in those widely disparate places had been cut from the same cloth, based on the three dispatches. "Brown men, yellow men, black men in the Near East, Far East and Africa are revolting against the old order of feudalism and colonialism." Meanwhile, Communists were standing by guiding and directing the revolutions to their own ends. It finds that the same story applied to the Mau Mau country of East Africa, and that it might soon be applicable in Portuguese West Africa, where, according to the editors of Harper's , in a preface to Basil Davidson's story on forced labor there, hundreds of thousands of people were born, lived and died "under a system so indistinguishable from slavery that it can justly be given no other name," forced to work for the Angola Diamond Co., owned by Belgian, American and British interests, or to bring uranium out of the Congo, for which they were paid a nickel per day, and thus would be ready for indoctrination by the Communists whenever the latter got around to them.

Added to those conditions were the Communist victory in Indo-China, achieved less than two weeks earlier, the British abandonment of the Suez Canal Zone the previous week, the French offer on the previous Saturday of internal sovereignty for Tunisia, plus the hurried U.S. decision to speed up the building of bases in Spain and reduce the building program of airbases in French Morocco, based on the possibility that Morocco would shortly be controlled by a government which would not permit the U.S. to use the bases it had built there.

It indicates that history was rushing along during the year so fast that the meaning of the events had not been sufficiently considered. It posits that the meaning was that the U.S. might, within a few years, have left virtually no allies in the world, as the Communists would win over more countries at the present pace. Countries that were not converted to Communism might be forced into neutrality, unless the tide of events could be turned, which would not be easy. Sending military equipment could boomerang, as it had in China and Indo-China, ending up in enemy hands. American concepts of freedom and democracy were far different from those applied in Asia and Africa. And lies about life under Communism were easier to put across than the truth about democratic life, as the Western powers had two strikes against them because of the colonial exploitation and discrimination of the past and, in some locations, the present.

But without aid and leadership from the U.S., weaker countries would inevitably knuckle under fast to the Communists, causing disadvantage to the U.S. in the event of war from the loss of airbases as well as allies. Those possibilities suggested the need for "preventive war" at present, but such a policy would be morally repugnant to free men and might leave the world in worse shape than if the Communists were permitted to continue their expansion.

It finds that there appeared to be no answer other than a program of technical assistance and aid in carrying out long-sought reforms for the people of Asia and Africa, for getting in on the revolution ahead of the Communists. There was no guarantee that such a course would be successful, but war or appeasement would necessarily be unsuccessful. It concludes that if the Western world continued to let the world go by default to the Communists, the children would, it fears, live in an "anarchic world laid waste by war, or serve a totalitarian master."

A piece from the Sanford Herald, titled "Struggle on a Creek Bank", indicates that children had reported to the writer that there was an owl at the corner near the new road, which was crippled and unable to fly, flopping around piteously on the high bank above the little creek. Thus, the writer got into the car with the children and hurried to the owl's location, until coming upon it in the darkness, sitting motionless, appearing not to understand the situation at hand, then quickly lifting itself into the air and flying away, very silently and very low, carrying away, in the process, some small animal within its talons. The children, to their horror, began to realize that the owl had not been stricken at all, but rather had simply been struggling to kill its prey when they had earlier observed it thrashing about.

"Who is good and who is wicked? Who is to be helped and who is to be opposed?" It indicates that the children did not know when they had seen and heard the struggle, and would never learn.

Drew Pearson tells of the great filibuster on the atomic energy bill now being over, regarding specifically the President's executive order to the Atomic Energy Commission to form a contract between TVA and an Arkansas private utility to supply power to West Memphis, Ark., the opponents believing it illegal as having been opposed by the AEC majority and contrary to the aims of TVA to supply cheap electricity to the public. Following the filibuster, Senators were in a less bitter mood and were debating privately. Senator Thomas Kuchel of California claimed that Senator Frank Barrett of Wyoming deserved an award for being able to sleep during the filibuster, complaining that the latter had snored so loud that he had kept Senator Kuchel awake all night. But Senator Barrett countered that it was actually Senator Alexander Wiley, who had been snoring louder than he had been. Someone else had claimed it was Senator Glenn Beall of Maryland who had the snoring record. Senator Wiley denied everything except that he snored, saying that he placed a cot in the Foreign Relations Committee room and "slept the life of Riley" until the bell would ring, signifying a quorum call.

The top political paradox in the nation at present, opines Mr. Pearson, was the manner in which money was pouring into Tennessee to support a relatively unknown Congressional playboy, Representative Pat Sutton, against one of the top men of the Democratic Party, Senator Estes Kefauver, candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1952. Mr. Sutton's chief claim to fame in Washington was for having many of his relatives on the Government payroll, for getting admission of his nephews into the Naval Academy, for becoming embroiled with a woman over a red Pontiac in Miami, and for selling suits of clothes in his Congressional office. He had never passed any legislation of note, but had introduced legislation which, if passed, would have been a great help to the underworld, one bill having been designed to permit a long list of foreign-born racketeers, convicted of crimes of moral turpitude and thus deportable, to remain in the U.S., introduced at a time after Senator Kefauver's committee had exposed the Mafia as the chief underworld group dominating organized crime in the country and subject to deportation by the Attorney General. Mr. Sutton's bill had been proposed a month after the Justice Department had issued on March 23, 1953 a final deportation order against Carlos Marcello of New Orleans, who had figured prominently in the Kefauver hearings. Mr. Marcello had helped operate the famed Beverly Club just outside New Orleans, owned by Frank Costello and Phil Kastell, and had been branded by Senator Kefauver as the top bad man of that area of the country. He had served a year in Atlanta for selling marijuana and was cited for contempt by Senator Kefauver, causing him to serve an additional sentence in jail, after which he was ordered deported. Charles Murphy had been secretary and treasurer of the Beverly Club and was so close to Mr. Costello that he held his power of attorney to handle all deals in Louisiana. He was the bookkeeper for Mr. Costello and the treasurer of a company which manufactured slot machines in Louisiana for Mr. Costello, all of which had been adduced during the Kefauver hearings.

Mr. Murphy happened to be a member of the board of directors of a company which supplied a helicopter to Congressman Sutton at an estimated cost of about $20,000 to his Senate campaign.

Mickey McBride, owner of the race wire which linked bookies together across the nation, had also figured prominently in the Kefauver hearings, and Mr. McBride's former associate, Robert Venn, who had operated Mr. McBride's Miami radio station, was now Congressman Sutton's public relations man and campaign manager. Mr. Venn had staged Mr. Sutton's successful and very expensive radio and television talkathons in different parts of Tennessee, probably costing the campaign at least another $40,000.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop tell of House Minority Leader Sam Rayburn having remarked recently that the Democrats would pick up 20 seats in the midterm elections, a significant change from the 40 to 60 seats which Minority Whip John McCormack had predicted publicly the previous April, the difference reflecting the diminishing confidence of the Democrats, who had been warning each other in the spring against overconfidence.

Now, the Democrats had all but abandoned hope of taking control of the Senate and some were privately worrying about taking control of the House, while Republicans, who had been gloomy in the spring, were now becoming extremely hopeful.

Fate had something to do with the reversal of Democratic optimism regarding the Senate, after Senator Lester Hunt of Wyoming, whose re-election had been assured, committed suicide, rendering the successor to the seat doubtful as a Democrat. Senator Homer Ferguson of Michigan, a Republican, had been highly doubtful of re-election until the death of his opponent, former interim Senator Blair Moody, now making Senator Ferguson's re-election a virtual certainty. Popular Colorado Senator Ed Johnson had decided not to run again, and with 22 Democratic seats at stake against only 15 Republican seats, it was agreed that it would take a very heavy Democratic trend to place the Democrats in control of the Senate for the 84th Congress.

Just a couple of months earlier, Democrats had been proclaiming that such a trend was so clear that only the most blindly partisan Republican could fail to see it, but now they were not sure that they could see it themselves. The bitter farm revolt which had been forming in the spring, leading, it was thought, inevitably to the resignation of Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson, had now evaporated. Senator Milton Young of North Dakota had been quite confident of sinking the Administration's flexible price-support bill, while Senator McCarthy had been outdemagoguing everybody else by making noises about 100 percent parity. But now the flexible price-support principle had been embodied in the House farm bill and Senator Young and his like-minded colleagues had lost support in the Senate for defeating flexible supports, and no one any longer talked of Secretary Benson's resignation. Thus, the Democrats could no longer count on the rage of farmers to supply them votes.

It had also not been long earlier that Senator Paul Douglas of Illinois and other Democrats were warning that a recession was already upon the country; but now employment was increasing, bucking the normal seasonal trend, and the recession showed signs of recovery. Democrats complained that it was because Republicans had discovered that soft money was good politics, but, the Alsops observe, Democrats had no exclusive patent on that discovery.

Another factor which had contributed to Democratic confidence was the daily television spectacle of the Army-McCarthy hearings in the spring, now fading from the minds of voters.

Enough of the Eisenhower domestic program would be enacted to head off the charge of another Republican do-nothing Congress, as President Truman had charged of the 80th Congress in 1948, leading to his surprise victory. The Republicans would enter the fall campaign with record amounts of cash and, it was rumored, with such tricks up their sleeves as new cases of the type concerning the late Harry Dexter White—as raised anew to public attention the prior fall by Attorney General Herbert Brownell, charging the Truman Administration in that case with laxness in ferreting out Communists, Mr. White having been in the Treasury Department before being revealed before HUAC as a Communist in August, 1948, shortly before his death from natural causes. The Republicans were also counting on the memory of the truce in Korea to cancel out any bad taste left from the appeasement in Indo-China to achieve a fragile peace.

Doris Fleeson indicates that when the Democratic members of the Government Operations Committee had heard that the Committee chairman, Senator McCarthy, had chosen former Senator Owen Brewster of Maine to be the new Committee counsel, they had taken a firm stand and decided that his choice was good. Since the Committee dealt with all reorganization plans and had wide powers over every department of the Federal Government, the choice of Senator Brewster would not be received well at the White House, where the Administration had consistently refused to give him a job. His job for the Committee, strictly speaking, was not the same as that of Roy Cohn, who had recently resigned as counsel to the Investigating subcommittee, and members of the Committee were indicating that the position of Committee counsel was less important, representing simply an act of kindness by Senator McCarthy to his former colleague.

Ms. Fleeson observes that Mr. Cohn had diverted the spotlight from the Committee, itself, but now that he was gone, Mr. Brewster, having displayed a talent during his Senate years for political intrigue, might fill the shoes of the 26-year old former counsel.

Cynics recalled former Senator Brewster's involvement in the Howard Hughes hearings in 1947, suggesting that he was ideally equipped for the job since he was an expert on wiretapping, having reportedly, according to Mr. Hughes, employed a District of Columbia police officer to conduct a wiretap of Mr. Hughes during the course of the hearings, though the charge had never been finally proven. Senator Brewster had also employed presently indicted Henry Grunewald as his messenger during the 1950 campaign when Senator Brewster had been chairman of the Republican Senate campaign committee. He said at the time that he had received appeals for financial help in the primaries from then-Congressman Richard Nixon and Senator Milton Young of North Dakota, that since he was not supposed to interfere in the primaries, he had borrowed $10,000 and sent Mr. Grunewald to California and North Dakota with $5,000 each to contribute to Mr. Nixon and Senator Young, both of whom had won their primaries, and the sums had been repaid to Senator Brewster from the Republican campaign treasury. The trial of Mr. Grunewald was scheduled for the following winter or spring, which conceivably could take Mr. Brewster from his duties at the Committee, as he might be called as a witness.

Ms. Fleeson indicates that Mr. Brewster did not need money as his wife was wealthy, but that he was devoted to politics and had been seeking a place within the current Administration, having failed in part because Senator Frederick Payne, who had defeated him, had consistently opposed him.

The New York Herald Tribune indicates that news that a new roof was being put on the cottage of the family of Anne Hathaway, William Shakespeare's wife, near Stratford-upon-Avon in England, was of even more moment now than it would have been in the 16th century, when the Hathaway family had been living there and had an eligible girl on their hands. It posits that the roof had probably been pretty patchy in those earlier times, though it had not stopped the marriage to Mr. Shakespeare. Anne Hathaway had moved out of the old homestead after the marriage, but the house had been preserved as a memorial, and memorials required upkeep, especially when they had thatched roofs.

It suggests that being married to a creative artist must have been just as trying in those times as it was presently. Moreover, she had three children to take care of and William was continually going to London at inopportune times to supervise his plays.

People would come along centuries later and spend their lives seeking to prove that William Shakespeare did not write the plays and that his authorship developed from a type of literary confusion, but Anne had known better, "having had to put up with the great man's whims and ways for most of her lifetime". Will never did much around the house, and after his death, he had only left to her his "second best bed with the furniture". It concludes, therefore, that it was about time that somebody got around to fixing the roof of the Hathaway family cottage.

A letter from FBI director J. Edgar Hoover thanks the newspaper for its July 20 editorial, "FBI Informants Aren't Special Agents", and indicates that he was pleased that the editors had seen fit to bring to the attention of readers the distinction, especially in view of the confusion which had existed in that respect. He also tells of pleasure in reading of the editorial's "kind and generous remarks" concerning the FBI.

A letter writer indicates that it was necessary to have 540 volunteers for two hours per week at the Charlotte Filter Center, which stood watch for Communist bombers. She outlines the threat, indicates that the threat was real, and that the need for the volunteers to man the warning system was real, to guard against a sneak attack by air. She indicates that they presently had about 300 volunteers and needed a total of 840 for Operation Skywatch, provides a phone number by which volunteers could pledge two hours per week.

A letter writer comments on the July 29 editorial on catsup and its interest in rheology, the science of the flow of matter. The person, labeling him or herself, "Experienced", indicates that no matter how one shook the bottle, "First none'll, and then a lot'll."

If the latter two letters are juxtaposed, rheologically speaking, to provide some implication of oozing bloody Communism into their midst, then what does it say about the first letter? It is simply an epistemological inquiry, not meant to have a correct or incorrect answer, any more than the ontological inquiry posed famously by Hamlet, but rather to train one's thinking to inquire into the nature of things: Is it righteous to kill the murderer of one's father, save while the malefactor is praying?

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