The Charlotte News

Friday, August 27, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Communist China this date had announced a small-scale hit-and-run raid on the island of Quemoy, part of the territory of Nationalist China, but there was no indication that it signaled any threat of invasion of Formosa. A Peiping radio broadcast said that 40 Communist soldiers had made two separate landings on Quemoy the previous Monday night, killing 11 Nationalist soldiers before withdrawing to the mainland, 15 miles away. Nationalist sources in Taipei said that the raid had been one of several conducted by the Communists in recent weeks to capture prisoners, and they said that one Nationalist soldier had been captured and the Communists had one man taken prisoner. U.S. officials labeled the raid no more than a skirmish and indicated that even the conquest of Quemoy would leave the Communists far from their goal of taking over Formosa, which was 100 miles across the Formosa Strait, guarded by the U.S. Seventh Fleet and a U.S.-equipped army. For several weeks, Peiping radio had been broadcasting threats to "liberate" Formosa and wipe out the Nationalist regime of Chiang Kai-shek. In advance of invasion, the Communists would be expected to seize a chain of Nationalist-held offshore islands, as shown on the map on the page, running from Quemoy north to the Tachens, about 200 miles northwest of Formosa. U.S. military experts, however, discounted the possibility of a Communist attack on Formosa and pointed out that there had been no large-scale Communist troop build-up along the mainland coast opposite Formosa. U.S. sources in Tokyo said this date that they regarded the attack on Quemoy and the recent threats to invade Formosa as a propaganda campaign aimed at the forthcoming Manila conference, which would have as its goal the creation of SEATO. Those sources said that the Communists were seeking to show the participants in the conference that the U.S. would go to war over Formosa and that the signers of such a defense pact would be surrendering any initiative in the matter.

In Paris, French President René Coty returned from vacation this date to preside over a full dress Cabinet meeting 24 hours before the French National Assembly would begin debate on the ratification of the European Defense Community treaty, providing for a unified army between France, Italy, West Germany and the Benelux countries. A late bulletin indicates that powerful French politicians had banded together this date to seek a postponement of the debate on ratification, and that there were strong indications that Premier Pierre Mendes-France's Government would accede to the postponement. During the day, the Assembly of the French Union recommended that France reject the treaty, a non-binding recommendation, but indicative of the struggle which ratification faced before the National Assembly. Also, a group of pro-EDC ministers who had been under heavy pressure to resign immediately, decided to stay for awhile longer, at least until after the vote on the EDC ratification. They feared that the pro-EDC elements in the Assembly would have no voice if they resigned. The Foreign Office announced that Communist Poland had offered France an alliance against Germany.

In Rio de Janeiro, Eugenio Gudin, head of the Brazilian Institute of Economics, had been sworn in the previous night as the country's new Finance Minister, and said that his first concern would be the coffee situation, with declining exports of coffee having caused a severe foreign exchange shortage in Brazil. He also promised to do his best to stabilize prices and curb Government expenses in an effort to halt increasing inflation. Sr. Gudin had been connected with American and British cultural institutions and had written a number of books on economics. Brazil had been forced to borrow 80 million dollars from the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank, putting up national gold reserves as collateral, a loan which would come due on October 23, and Brazil's Treasury owed the Export-Import Bank 200 million dollars. Since the beginning of the year, money in circulation had been increased by 8.5 percent and the cost of living had increased by 22 percent, set to climb higher because of salary increases decreed in June by the late President Getulio Vargas, who had committed suicide the prior Monday after being forced to resign by the demands of 58 Air Force and Army generals. The new Government was said to favor easing of some of the rigid state controls on commerce and industry, allowing them to expand with greater ease, but likely would have to move slowly in blocking salary increases or putting through politically unpopular reforms. The new Government planned no changes in foreign policy, having been, under President Vargas, allied solidly with the U.S. against Communism.

In New York, a Queens builder testified this date before the one-man hearing of the Senate Banking and Currency subcommittee, presided over by Senator Prescott Bush in Connecticut, that he had made nearly five million dollars in windfall profits on a $10,000 capital stock investment in FHA-insured apartment developments. He said that he formed 20 corporations to build five Queens projects which had cost nearly 24 million dollars, and that he had obtained FHA mortgages totaling 27.5 million dollars. He received an additional mortgage premium of $580,000. The land had cost $643,000 and he had received a land mortgage of 1.45 million dollars. Subcommittee counsel indicated that the witness had received a total windfall profit of nearly 4.9 million dollars. Another builder had testified that he had invested $27,400 on nine apartment projects in New York and New Jersey and had obtained 1.85 million dollars in profit, the difference between the actual cost and the FHA-insured mortgages.

When the Senate had adjourned the previous week, it left on the table a resolution to tighten the rules, along with six other resolutions and 29 House-passed bills, most of which were minor. A pending resolution introduced by Senator Karl Mundt of South Dakota could create controversy, providing for reimbursement to the Government Operations Committee of more than $24,000 of its funds spent by the Senate Investigations subcommittee to inquire into the McCarthy-Army controversy. Senator Carl Hayden of Arizona had proposed an amendment to that resolution, under which the subcommittee would have to comply with certain new rules before the Committee could obtain the funds, those rules requiring advance approval by the full Committee before any new investigation could be initiated, that formal notice in writing to the Vice-President would be required before such a new inquiry was begun, and that the subcommittee chairman, regularly Senator McCarthy, would have to certify that those conditions had been met.

In New York, the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals this date reversed the treason conviction and life sentence provided to an Army sergeant, holding that he should not have been tried in New York and that the Government had no right to cross-examine him on the collateral issue of homosexuality. He had been convicted of aiding the Japanese after the fall of Corregidor in the Philippines in 1942. He had been accused, among other things, of broadcasting for the Japanese and causing the death of a fellow American prisoner by giving derogatory reports on him to the Japanese. He had gone to trial in October, 1952 and been found guilty on February 11, 1953, sentenced to life and a fine of $10,000.

In Detroit, juvenile delinquency was declining, and there was evidence in police records that male gangs were not the critical problem they had been just a month earlier, with the police youth bureau estimating that gang juvenile delinquency had dropped 25 percent, probably because of a new juvenile court policy of getting tough with offenders, sending them to jail, whereas previously they had, for the most part, only been reprimanded. Adult groups had also offered aid to the authorities. Earlier in the summer, rival gangs, often armed, had met in actual combat, resulting in injury to many, with boys sometimes getting knifed. Vandalism had been frequent and school buildings had been particular victims of plunder and destruction. There had also been reports of street attacks on citizens. The court crackdown had been in effect for a month, and members of the public had begun to step forward to inquire as to what they might do to curb the incidence of delinquency. An inspector, who was head of the police youth bureau, said that there had been a decrease in "rowdyism", but not a decrease generally in juvenile crime. One juvenile court judge had insisted on having the parents in court whenever a youthful offender appeared before him, and a stern police policy was supported. Churches were seeking to develop interest from young people and there were neighborhood plans for teaching errant youngsters manners and discipline.

In Phenix City, Ala., vice purge officials speculated this date whether the release of incumbent Alabama State Attorney General Si Garrett from a Mississippi hospital meant that he would soon return to the town to take over the vice investigation again. It was learned publicly the previous night that he had been released from a Mississippi hospital on August 15. He was scheduled for a sanity hearing in Birmingham on September 3, following his indictment on charges of electoral fraud. He had announced about two weeks earlier that he planned to return to Alabama within a month and take charge of his office. He had headed the investigation following the murder in Phenix City of A. L. Patterson, shortly after the latter had won the Democratic primary to become the new Attorney General, but had entered a Texas hospital after appearing before the Birmingham grand jury, which also later indicted the ousted circuit solicitor of Russell County on charges of electoral fraud, stemming also from the June 1 runoff primary, won by Mr. Patterson. Mr. Garrett had been seriously injured in a wreck in Mississippi in July. Meanwhile, the Russell County grand jury was preparing a partial report, which was expected to include about 500 indictments resulting from the clean-up which followed the murder of Mr. Patterson. The special solicitor had stated the previous night that the indictment would be announced Monday. National Guardsmen the previous day had released a list of 102 persons from 20 states who had apparently traded with a Phenix City "factory" which made marked cards and crooked dice, after several hundred pairs of loaded dice and nearly 100 decks of marked cards had been found the prior Wednesday.

It was increasingly likely that evangelist Billy Graham would bring his crusade against sin to Phenix City to attack the vice problem, which included gambling and prostitution. Reverend Graham, currently in Nashville, had promised the previous day to pray for guidance after ministers from the area had invited him to Phenix City for a "sin-killing revival reaching into every soul".

In New Orleans, a 5 1/2 pound girl was born in a borrowed iron lung the previous night at the Charity Hospital, with the baby being healthy and the mother's condition "much better" since the delivery. The mother was confined to an iron lung after having been stricken with bulbar polio the prior Monday. She had undergone surgery the previous day for insertion of a tube in her windpipe to ease her breathing.

In Miami, an advisory was issued by the Weather Bureau on Hurricane Carol, which had remained almost stationary during the previous six hours, but was probably moving at a pace of between 3 and 5 mph in a northerly direction, presently 325 miles east of Jacksonville with its strongest winds estimated by aircraft during the morning to be 70 to 80 mph, extending 40 miles east of its center. Gale force winds extended outward about 50 to 60 miles. The small hurricane would probably show a slow increase in intensity and size during the ensuing 24 hours and movement would likely continue slowly in a northerly direction.

On the editorial page, "Goa an Integral Part of Portugal", a by-lined piece by News publisher Thomas L. Robinson, writing from Lisbon on August 22, indicates that he had obtained an exclusive interview with Dr. Paulo Cunha, the Foreign Minister of Portugal, as published in the newspaper on August 20, that some of his answers to questions needed further elaboration in light of mounting pressure from India's Prime Minister Nehru on a wisely defiant Portugal with respect to Goa, an East Indian territory of Portugal.

Portuguese overseas territories had been granted a measure of autonomy since 1914, with each allowed to establish its own code of laws and governance of its own economy and administration of its own government under a governor appointed by Portugal's president. Budgets had to be approved by the minister of overseas territories and the territories could not obtain foreign loans. Natives were protected in land ownership and against forced labor.

The Portuguese Government took the firm position that Goa and its two neighboring territories, Damao and Dio, were not colonies, but were just as much a part of the national territory of Portugal as Angola, Madeira, or the small province of Minho in the north of Portugal bordering Spain. Yet, Prime Minister Nehru wanted to acquire the East Indian territory, and he and his followers had inspired demonstrations, attacks and uprisings in the area, which had a false quality about them.

According to Dr. Cunha, propaganda from New Delhi would lead the people of the free nations to believe that the inhabitants of Goa were not satisfied with their position as a Portuguese territory and were seeking to be merged with the Indian Union, but that looking closely at Nehru's techniques in instigating unrest and trouble, there were indications that he was following the methods of the Soviets. Nehru had urged negotiation on the matter, but the Portuguese Government believed that the "inalienable rights of Portugal" were not to be subjected to argument or negotiation. Dr. Cunha had indicated that Article I of the U.N. Charter fully protected Portugal from aggression by India on its territory.

The U.S. State Department had been working hard to try to persuade Nehru to abandon his tendency to flirt with the Communists, and so there might be a tendency to deal with the crisis regarding Goa with insufficient boldness and finality to avoid alienating Nehru.

Mr. Robinson finds that India's case for grabbing Goa appeared completely without justification, that the problem, increasing daily, should be presented to the American people and the country's allies at once, and that the Government and the U.N. would have to help to determine a solution. Otherwise, India might take over Goa and its 600,000 inhabitants.

Portugal, he indicates, had never catered or compromised with the Communists, had long ago cut off diplomatic relations with Russia. It was likely that Russia would continue to try to get Nehru to take further action to take over all of Portuguese East India.

"Stiffen Punishment for Armed Robbery" urges that the wave of armed robberies across the state in the previous year suggested the need for stiffer punishments under the law of the state, which already permitted a maximum of 30 years for armed robbery, while most Superior Court judges were reluctant to provide sentences in excess of 10 years. The minimum was five years. The expected sentence apparently was not a deterrent.

It points out that hanging had been a standard punishment even for relatively minor offenses in earlier times, and executions had been conducted in public, with retribution being the guiding principle, that principle surviving into modern times with the present death penalty for murder.

Most modern penal codes stressed the deterrent effect of punishment and the adoption of the philosophy as a policy could be traced to the utilitarian teachings of Jeremy Bentham, William Paley, John Stuart Mill and Herbert Spencer, counseling that the welfare of society was represented by "the greatest good for the greatest number".

It concludes that if society was to be protected from ruthless gunmen, drastic punishment would be necessary, that present state laws were adequate for the task, and should be utilized to impose stricter sentences than the current norm for armed robbery.

A piece from the New York Times, titled "Tomatoes", seeks to put the quietus on the bromide that tomatoes were poisonous. Recently, a radio announcer had said that they had been considered poisonous 50 years earlier, but the fact was that they had been sold all over the country, canned and fresh. An encyclopedia claimed that they had been considered inedible until sometime during the previous century, also nonsense.

It indicates that the tomato was a native American vegetable, grown and eaten by Aztecs and Incas at the time white men first arrived, the name having derived from the Aztec word "tomatl". The Spaniards had taken tomato seeds back to Spain early in the 16th Century, and the tomato had been grown, eaten and improved there ever since that time. Gardeners in England knew and grew the tomato in the 17th Century, and it was grown in the American colonies prior to 1750, from seed imported from England and Spain. Thomas Jefferson had grown tomatoes, as stated in his garden records, and they were considered neither exotic nor a curiosity. By the account of Mr. Jefferson, they had been on sale in the Washington markets long earlier.

It thus urges that the claim of "poisonous tomatoes" be finally put to rest.

Jack Anderson, assistant to Drew Pearson, writes his column this date, as Mr. Pearson continued to be on vacation, indicates that Federal agents were combing the country for a man who had fleeced the Government out of $10,000 and disappeared without a trace. The previous March, the Veterans Administration had received a routine insurance claim from a man in South Carolina, after his son, an Air Force sergeant, had drowned, leaving $10,000 in G.I. insurance, naming the father as the beneficiary. The claim had been investigated thoroughly for three months and everything had been found to be in order, with the $10,000 check then issuing to the father. It was mailed, however, to a rooming house in Washington, the address on the claim, rather than to the home of the sergeant's father, and in the meantime, a stranger had moved into the rooming house and registered under the name of the father, minding his own business. The stranger had stayed just long enough to receive the check from the Veterans Administration, then went to the Treasury Department, demanding payment, the latter telling him that it was too large and suggested that he take it to his bank. The man became indignant and spoke bitterly of the sacrifices of fallen G.I.'s and the way their beneficiaries were being kicked around by the Government, threatening to take his complaint to the Secretary. Eventually, Treasury officials were able to obtain approval for cashing the check and the impostor received the $10,000 in cash, the last he had been seen. Federal agents were looking for him.

Marquis Childs, in Paris, tells of the prospects for the European Defense Community treaty, with Premier Pierre Mendes-France presently intending to keep to his schedule of three days of debate in the National Assembly, after which a vote would be taken, after two years of delay, with the belief on the part of American officials that the majority would vote against its ratification by a considerable margin. They based that view on the recent Brussels foreign ministers meeting, in which the other five EDC signatory nations had rejected the French-proposed amendments to the treaty, which Premier Mendes-France had said would be necessary for ratification. There was also a resurgence of anti-German feeling in France caused by the refusal of West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer to meet with Premier Mendes-France until after the conference had ended.

The Premier was not going to make the vote one of confidence in his Government, and so he would remain in power to effect the economic reforms which he believed were necessary for France to take its place in any form of European union, which he intended to make into a kind of French New Deal through the broad powers granted him. He would undertake such drastic steps as reducing the subsidy for the wine producers, which would be sure to upset powerful interests, at which point the test would come as to whether he could unscramble the subsidized economy of France and increase production. There were plans also to get the housing industry going on a much larger scale, a downfall in France.

Meanwhile, the State Department was promising an "agonizing reappraisal" of its foreign policy in the event of EDC's final failure. American observers in France believed there were very few practical steps which could be taken to make France feel U.S. disapproval. The leftover aid for the French in Indo-China was still being received in the form of dollars, which helped the French dollar balance, but that was not important and would soon end. The Finance Minister, Edgar Faure, had recently made a speech in which he said that the country's surplus of dollars for the current year would be in excess of a half billion, and for 1955, without American aid, would be between 100 and 200 million, in effect providing notice that France was not afraid of threats of American reprisals. American researchers confirmed those figures.

The Congress had cut off U.S. military supplies to France in the foreign aid bill, but as long as the U.S. had five divisions in Europe as part of NATO, it looked to be a case of cutting off the nose to spite the face. The U.S. could stop supplying modern jets to French air units, and yet General Alfred Gruenther had said that it was imperative to Europe's defense that the units be modernized. In addition, a considerable part of the French force had been equipped with U.S. matériel already.

Mr. Childs indicates that there remained two agonizing choices in the appraisal process, one being to concentrate on the immediate rearming of West Germany, to the exclusion of France. But Britain would not be expected to follow such a course and it would be difficult for the U.S, as one of the three occupying powers, to try to go it alone with West Germany. Hundreds of millions of dollars had been invested directly in France in airbases and lines of communications and supply linking French ports with the forward areas of the Rhine, where the NATO force with five U.S. divisions represented the defense of the West. Almost as important were the American airbases in French Morocco, which were a key part of the strategic air defense. The other choice was to withdraw the American divisions and retire to "Fortress America", which former President Hoover and others had advocated. But such would represent such a dramatic reversal of the policy of the previous nine years that Americans who looked at it ruled it out.

He concludes that unless the calculations were wrong, the changes which would come in the ensuing few months would not be sudden or dramatic but rather would be an evolution toward a new policy as opposed to a revolution.

James Marlow tells of Assistant Attorney General William Tompkins, who had joined the Administration in July, placed in charge of a new section in the Justice Department, the Division of Internal Security, with his job being to prosecute Communists and subversives. He had been U.S. Attorney for New Jersey since the beginning of the Administration and had recruited a staff to work against racketeers with such vigor that he had impressed the Administration, causing Attorney General Herbert Brownell to bring him to Washington.

There were only two laws on the books which the Government could use against the Communists, the Smith Act, passed in 1940, making it a crime to teach or advocate the overthrow of the United States Government by force or violence, used already against several American Communist leaders, and the McCarran Internal Security Act of 1950, requiring that Communists register, with failure to do so subject to prosecution. The constitutionality of the latter statute had not yet been adjudged by the Supreme Court, and a decision on it was not expected until the following spring.

The Administration had sought from Congress some other laws to get at Communists, but not an act outlawing the Communist Party or making membership a crime, as that could wreck prosecutions planned under the Smith Act and the McCarran Act. But on August 12, the Senate had voted to outlaw the Communist Party, surprising to Mr. Tompkins. The Republicans had only been seeking to pass a law which would hamper the collective bargaining rights of unions which were infiltrated by Communists, and so were taken off guard by the move of the Democrats to outlaw the party. The Justice Department and the Administration generally spent the ensuing week seeking to amend the Senate bill. Eventually, Congress had passed, and the President had signed into law, an act which did not criminalize being a member of the Communist Party but would deprive it of the privileges accruing to political parties.

Mr. Tompkins and his staff were trying to determine what the new law meant and how they could use it against the Communists.

The London Times, in an editorial, looks at the British and American reactions both to the Geneva settlement of the Indo-China war and to the shooting down of the British airliner by the Chinese, followed by an attempted shooting at two U.S. rescue jets by Chinese planes, and the shooting down by the U.S. planes of the latter. Their reactions had been different in kind and degree, based on the different traditions and geography of the two nations. U.S. condemnation of Communist China represented a firm belief that the Chinese Communists, and probably the Russians, were people outside the borders of civilized law, and so their word was not to be trusted. The belief was that to try to reach formal agreements with them was probably a waste of time, that the only form of coexistence possible was "vigilant aloofness".

In contrast, the British view, while also wary of Communist intentions and the need to resist Communist aggression, tended to oppose the concept of a world divided between sheep and goats, between countries with whom it was possible and those with whom it was impossible to make agreements. British experience suggested that international agreements could be used to reconcile conflicting interests held in common, as some of the most durable British agreements, such as those with France in 1904 and Russia in 1907, had arisen out of conflict.

Both points of view could be seen as practical and based on common sense. The two attitudes were the natural outcomes of two distinct historical traditions. The U.S., during its time of isolation, had come to regard with derision what seemed to them to be the jungle of quarreling nation states outside its borders. When they were obliged to step into the jungle, themselves, they set forth two implied conditions, that the jungle beasts should acknowledge the rule of law and that the law should be a moral one. From that had come the U.S. fondness for declarations of principle, such as the Kellogg-Briand Pact of 1928, purporting to outlaw war, and the Caracas resolution outlawing Communism in the Americas.

Britain, on the other hand, had, for hundreds of years, lived side-by-side with an unsettled Europe, needing to watch over scattered overseas dominions while usually avoiding universal principles as a guide for policy, preferring certain pragmatic maxims, such as the freedom of the seas or the need to keep the Low Countries free from domination by a great power. Thus, when the issue, for instance, of admission to the U.N. of Communist China came up for consideration, it would be adjudged by different standards in Britain and the U.S.

In U.S. perceptions, the Communist conquest of mainland China was a primary example of immorality, whereas most Britons regarded it as a nemesis brought on by years of misrule. President Eisenhower had insisted that the recognition of Communist China was primarily a moral question and that its membership in the U.N. had to be ruled out at present. Prime Minister Churchill, on the other hand, had avoided all references to morality regarding the U.N. or immorality regarding the Chinese, conceding that, at present, considering China as a candidate for admission to the U.N. was inopportune, though not forever to be excluded.

Both outlooks, it opines, had their obvious dangers, as the attempt to order the world on moral lines was apt to split the Western alliance without reforming the world, while the pragmatic approach had the weakness of ignoring the fact that public opinion was most receptive to foreign problems when they were presented as a moral choice. That view also tended to look on negotiation as an end in itself, not as a means to an end, that it could be calamitous if used to arouse false hopes or to obscure a nation's true interests, or to put off resistance to aggression until it was too late. But at its best, negotiation could assure that wars would not be started recklessly.

It concludes that diplomacy could not ignore emotions, but that in the case of China, it ought be possible to probe beyond emotions and discover the solid strategic ground where the real interests of both Britain and the U.S. coincided. It counsels that Americans who believed Britain was soft toward China should take notice of how sternly Commons had received the news that China was ready to attack U.S. rescue planes without warning, and, likewise, that the British who believed that some Americans wanted to have a war with China ought take notice of how swiftly Americans had withdrawn their approval to South Korean President Syngman Rhee's suggestion to Congress that the U.S. provide air and naval support for an attack on China to force the Communists out of North Korea.

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