The Charlotte News

Saturday, September 18, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in London, Secretary of State Dulles met with British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden the previous day, with Secretary Dulles having flown back to the U.S. the previous night, and a call was issued as a result of the conference for a nine-power conference to seek a way to bring West Germany into the Atlantic Alliance with full equality. All 14 members of NATO were scheduled to meet on around October 15 to study the problem of German rearmament, with NATO headquarters in Paris having called the previous day for the meeting but not indicating the exact time or locus. The British Foreign Office announced that it would issue invitations immediately for the London meeting of the nine powers, the six nations which had been signatories originally to the European Defense Community treaty, France, West Germany, Italy and the Benelux countries, plus the U.S. and Canada. That conference would consider the basic methods of linking Germany with NATO, as the French Government had already agreed in principle to such a combination, provided they received written guarantees that British and American troops would remain on the continent and that German rearmament would not be allowed to run rampant. The British had sought such a nine-nation conference earlier, but the U.S. and West Germany had indicated that they were not ready for the talks. Mr. Eden had made a six-day tour of the European capitals, outlining his new proposal, and Mr. Dulles had made a quick trip to Bonn and London to confirm the U.S. position.

In Indianapolis, Adlai Stevenson said this date that the country not only needed a Democratic Congress but that it was going to have one. There were some questions arising regarding a dinner at which he was supposed to speak this night, labeled a $100 per plate fund-raising dinner, but reports having indicated that tickets were being sold for only $7.50, Mr. Stevenson having deflected the questions by indicating that he knew nothing about the controversy but that after 20 months of the Republicans, he was delighted that any Democrats could afford to pay $100.

In Paris, a judge directed a Bolivian family made wealthy by tin to restore a four-month old infant to its father without delay, with the family legal representative protesting the decision but saying that they would obey the order. The infant had been held by the grandmother at an undisclosed location, with the grandmother being separated from her husband, the Bolivian tin millionaire. The mother had died shortly after the premature birth of the infant on May 14, after she had run away with the father, son of a wealthy British hotel owner, who declared in the wake of the court order that he would ask police to search all of the residences of the family for the infant if she were not returned within a few hours. Both the grandmother and her estranged husband wanted the child removed from the custody of the 20-year old father. Court attaches said that the baby had to be returned at once or a charge of kidnaping would be filed by the father against unknown persons, which could be directed to the grandmother and her family. The grandmother had offered to disclose the location of the baby provided the father was ordered to leave the room, but the judge had refused to accommodate her wishes. The father claimed that his daughter had been kidnaped. The judge had inspected a luxurious apartment which the father had obtained for the child and had been satisfied that the child would be properly attended.

In Fort Pierce, Fla., a tornado accompanying a thunderstorm carried a house 200 feet through the air early this date and dropped it in a jumble of wreckage, killing two occupants, a man and wife, and injuring their 18-year old son and a house guest.

In Raleigh, it was certain that Governor William B. Umstead would have to ask the 1955 General Assembly to approve some increases in state taxes, following hearings of the Advisory Budget Commission, before which State agencies had sought a total of 458.6 million dollars for the coming biennium, 85 million more than State tax officials believed could be collected in revenues during that same period.

In Charlotte, Governor Umstead had stolen the show at the Young Democrats Clubs convention during the morning, with a dramatic, sometimes fiery, appeal to young Democrats to work along party lines, urging them to go after young people old enough to vote but who had never registered, indicating that no single person ran the nation or the state, that they were run by the party in control. He also urged nominees for the General Assembly to make the 1955 session a short one. About 350 persons were attending the YDC convention, headquartered at the Hotel Charlotte. This night, Senator Henry Jackson of Washington would address the group.

Charlotte Recorder's Court Judge J. C. Sedberry, Democratic nominee for the Congressional race against incumbent Congressman Charles Jonas, speaking before the Young Democrats convening in Charlotte, launched a verbal barrage this date at what he called North Carolina's "Republicrats", denouncing people who had registered with one party and voted for the other as a "group of people who affect the orderly processes of government." He said they were not truly independent voters in the normal sense, that since Republicans were in the minority in the state, they registered as Democrats for the purpose of influencing primary elections.

In Paris, General Alfred Gruenther, supreme commander of NATO, had received News publisher Thomas L. Robinson for an interview on September 14. Mr. Robinson also interviewed Air Force General Lauris Norstad, the Air Deputy for NATO, as the following editorial indicates.

On the editorial page, "The Defense of the Free World", a by-lined piece by News publisher Thomas L. Robinson, writing from Paris, states that after spending some enlightening hours at NATO headquarters, he had a clearer grasp of its vital and far-reaching problems. General Gruenther, the supreme commander of NATO for the previous 14 months, had granted Mr. Robinson an interview. General Eisenhower had been the first supreme commander and General Matthew Ridgway had succeeded him in June, 1952, when General Eisenhower began his campaign for the presidency.

General Gruenther had caused him to realize that any philosophy of isolationism for the U.S. or any other free country would prove futile and disastrous, as the territory controlled by Soviet Russia made it mandatory for the free nations to combine to develop military strength and an unparalleled form of cooperation, with any weak link in NATO armament potentially being disastrous. There was no atmosphere of undue alarm at NATO headquarters because officers such as General Gruenther and his Air Deputy, General Lauris Norstad, realized that much had been accomplished during the previous 3 1/2 years of building and strengthening NATO. But the leaders of the organization were aware that Russia and its satellites were steadily becoming stronger, such that there could be no relaxation of the effort to continue to build NATO into an integrated military machine.

It was believed at present that Russia had approximately 175 divisions in its army, and that its satellites had an additional 80 divisions, with the air arm consisting of about 20,000 planes, most of them jets, and its navy including approximately 400 submarines, with about 30 billion dollars having been invested in the Russian navy since World War II. Russia had about six million men in uniform at this point, about 4.5 million of whom were in the air force and about 500,000 in the navy. Intelligence reports indicated that they appeared to be improving their military machine in quality and efficiency of personnel.

NATO was designed as a defensive instrument only. To maintain sound economies in Britain, France and Italy, there was no possibility of maintaining standing armies comparable in number to that of Russia, and so the effort was to match Russian manpower with expert training and performance of NATO forces, combined with superiority in atomic striking power.

The Northern Command of NATO was headquartered at Oslo in Norway, the Central Command, at Fontainebleau, a short distance from the Paris headquarters, and the Southern Command was headquartered at Naples in Italy, where the U.S. Sixth Fleet could provide strong support. The Mediterranean Command was headquartered at Malta.

General Gruenther and his staff of about 400 officers, representing all 14 of the NATO member nations, administered the activities of the four European commands, calling upon him to use diplomatic skills to build a strong morale and eternal vigilance among the leaders and the people of every NATO member. General Gruenther praised the spirit of cooperation at NATO headquarters and indicated that if the same spirit of cooperation pervaded the 400 million people of the NATO nations, peace would be permanently assured. He was aware not only of the military status of each nation, but also of its political and economic developments, which had a great impact on each nation.

At present, he was seeking to make certain that West Germany would make a major contribution to the "military shield" against potential Soviet aggression in Western Europe. As Mr. Robinson wrote, British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden was about to land in Paris to discuss ways in which West Germany could be brought into the future plans for the defense of Europe, and the urgency of the situation was felt by the military leaders at NATO headquarters, because of the essentiality of the 12 army divisions and some 1,200 planes to be provided by West Germany to the NATO forces.

Mr. Robinson had also spoken for an hour with Air Force General Norstad, who provided a vivid picture of the progress which had been made in building up some 121 NATO airfields at strategic points throughout Europe, with some 16 slated to be added in the near future. The U.S. Air Force was essential to NATO defense, as were the planes of Britain, as those planes were able to deliver atomic bombs.

Mr. Robinson concludes that nothing had inspired him so much during his visit to Europe as the visit with the NATO leaders and the discussion with them of their tasks. He urges that it had to be kept in mind in the U.S. that the defense of the country depended on the unstinted willingness of the U.S. to contribute to NATO, the country's first line of defense and perhaps its last line.

"Salute to the Young Democrats" indicates that Charlotte was playing host to the Young Democrats across the state, wherein enthusiasm was high for a non-presidential election year. Many of the YDC members were already veterans of the political arena, and it was refreshing to see such an energetic group at a time when there was growing concern all over the country about the reluctance of youth to participate actively in public affairs. In many places, young people were shunning public service of any type, and one educator had lamented recently that the time had come for the public to determine whether they wanted some of the best brains in public service or consign it to mediocrity.

In the past, the country had grown big and powerful based on devotion to community service, devotion which was needed more than ever at present, and, it posits, one good way to develop it was through participation in such political organizations as YDC, representing more than partisan political clubs, acting as democracy's training academies.

Drew Pearson tells of Secretary of Defense Charles E. Wilson having just signed a secret policy order postponing U.S. arms shipments to West Germany for 12 to 18 months, after Secretary of State Dulles had given him the approval to proceed. That directive had upset a lot of Pentagon plans. For three years, the Pentagon had been stockpiling guns, tanks and jeeps for the proposed new West German army to have been formed under the European Defense Community treaty, matériel worth nearly a half billion dollars, designed to outfit a 12-division, 400,000-man army, an 80,000-man air force, and a 20,000-man coastal navy. It had been announced by the military aid director that those arms would be provided to West Germany immediately after the agreements were signed, but now all of that had been reversed from pressure coming from the West Germans themselves, resulting in the Pentagon withholding the armaments until the Germans had trained the men to use them. The Germans had feared that by rushing the hardware to them prior to training of a German army, the U.S. would be inviting Russian aggression. There was also a strong minority in West Germany opposed to rearmament, and the U.S. could not afford to have that minority claim that Chancellor Konrad Adenauer was being pressured by the U.S into rearming. Meanwhile, the German army, reduced to a 12,000-man border patrol, was to be built up over the course of the ensuing two years, so that the sending of the arms would be delayed for at least a year. Mr. Pearson notes that U.S. military men complained that the German stockpile tied up a lot of U.S. storage space within the country and in Europe, space which the Pentagon needed for its own equipment. By October, the storage problem would be critical and yet the arms could not be shipped.

The press appeared to be paying less attention to Senator McCarthy at present, a contrast with the past. On August 28, the Senator had attended a large $100 per plate Republican dinner in San Diego, netting $80,000 for the party. Although the dinner was covered amply by San Diego newspapers, most other newspapers in California and elsewhere had ignored it, and the press associations had sent out only brief dispatches regarding it. The dinner had been significant because it had been said at Republican headquarters that the Senator would campaign only in states where requested, while friends of the President were reported unofficially not to want him to campaign anywhere. But Senator McCarthy must have received clearance from Senate Majority Leader William Knowland of California to attend such an important political dinner, which probably explained why he had mentioned warmly Senator Knowland while ignoring the other Republican Senator from California, Thomas Kuchel.

Mr. Pearson notes that FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, who appeared to have been dabbling in politics lately, had been at the same hotel where Senator McCarthy had been staying while in San Diego, and that the two had been at the same hotel the previous summer when Mr. Hoover had given a press conference praising Senator McCarthy.

Stewart Alsop indicates that the trend toward the Democrats in the midterm elections had been made official by the results in Maine from the prior Monday, with Congressman Edmund Muskie having won the gubernatorial election over incumbent Governor Burton Cross and the races for Congress and the Senate seat of Margaret Chase Smith having been closer wins for the Republicans than had been prior elections. Mr. Alsop concludes, after having visited five states, that the problem was the economy and the blame being attributed for it to the Republican Administration. The Republicans were also playing to the hands of the Democrats by claiming that the country was prosperous and that anyone who doubted it was a "prophet of gloom and doom", when the fact was that the Administration had been victimized by its own statistics.

It was statistically accurate to say that the country was very prosperous, when compared to the standards of the Thirties, and reasonably prosperous by any standards, but it was misleading politically. Almost everywhere Mr. Alsop had visited, he heard the same phrase: "Things aren't too good around here." There were special local reasons, such as the coal prices in West Virginia, coal and farm prices in Kentucky, textiles manufacturing dislocation in New Jersey, upstate milk prices in New York, with serious unemployment in many upstate one-industry towns, a decline in steel demand in Ohio, where people said that the operations were only at two-thirds of capacity.

Everywhere Mr. Alsop had gone, he had seen the political results from the economic downturns. In Kentucky, Republican Senator John Sherman Cooper was not given much of a chance for re-election against former Vice-President Alben Barkley. In New York, Averill Harriman, the probable Democratic nominee in the gubernatorial race, expected to base his campaign on the issues of unemployment and upstate milk prices, and anticipated winning on both issues. In Ohio, Democratic incumbent interim Senator Thomas Burke, successor appointed to the seat of the late Robert Taft, had begun by talking about foreign policy, but recently in a conversation with David Lawrence, Mayor and true Democratic boss of Pittsburgh, had been told of a survey Mayor Lawrence had initiated showing that unemployment and underemployment were the chief concerns of a high proportion of Pittsburgh voters. Senator Burke had then decided to switch his campaign theme mainly to economic issues.

It was true that things were not too good in many areas, but only by comparison with the height of the biggest boom the country had ever had, following World War II. But such talk of relative good times did not make people any happier. Farmers whose cash income was down 20 percent were not pleased, as the industrial workers were not for no longer receiving time-and-a-half overtime pay, and neither were the store owners who might be getting by, but whose businesses had been booming the previous year. There were millions of such people in the country.

The Republican Administration had a great deal about which to boast regarding the domestic economy, having inherited a farm price support system which was already breaking down and which would have collapsed had it been continued. The boom which the Administration had inherited had been supported by heavy Government spending, which had been curtailed without turning the boom into a bust. Yet, everything was not so rosy as the Republicans were trying to suggest, making it easy for Democrats to suggest that the Administration was a creature of big business, callously indifferent to the troubles of the farmer, the industrial workers, and the small businessmen. While that latter line was not true either, it translated into effective politics, while it was ineffective politics to tell those who were hurting that they were really very prosperous.

Mr. Alsop concludes that if the Republicans were to have any chance in November, the Administration had to persuade the millions of voters that it was not indifferent to their troubles and that things would get better, not worse, and it had to do so quickly.

Doris Fleeson, in London, indicates that some British domestic politics was involved in the sudden, swift search by Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden for an acceptable form of West German rearmament, as a large number of British voters had just made it clear that they had misgivings about rearming its old nemesis of World War II. While these were Labor voters and so the immediate problem was that of former Prime Minister and Labor leader Clement Attlee, Mr. Eden had been reliant on a bipartisan approach to foreign policy, whereby Mr. Attlee helped to neutralize the danger from the far left of the party, led by Aneurin Bevan.

It was said that Mr. Eden had in mind a proposal under which an inspection system would be created for all the forces committed to NATO, including rearmament of West Germany, which he hoped would be brought into NATO. But it remained to be seen whether the U.S. and Britain would allow NATO inspectors wide powers over their NATO units, especially regarding atomic secrets. While that was admitted by officials in London, it was still argued that the Germans would rearm and that they probably could not be made to do more than any of their Western allies were willing to do, in light of the French rejection of the European Defense Community six-nation unified army.

The upset in British politics had come during a congress of the British Trades Union, representing the biggest part of the Labor Party, when, unexpectedly, a routine resolution that a rearmed Germany would have a share in Western defense had passed by only a narrow margin, signaling that perhaps at the Labor Party's upcoming conference, they might defeat the Attlee leadership. The congress had shown no inclination of accepting Russia propaganda in the form of an invitation to send a trade union delegation to Moscow, voting that down decisively. But the headlines read that opponents of German rearmament might have conquered within the Labor Party.

A letter from the RCA field representative comments on the editorial, "There Is No 'Short Cut' to Art", regarding the RCA 45 rpm album of records titled "The Listener's Digest", wherein 12 masterpieces were condensed for the novice listener, the editorial having found considerable fault with the concept, as there was no shortcut to art or culture. He suggests asking the editorial writer why, in Charlotte, the Opera Association had less support than it deserved or why the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra was sparsely attended, while at the same time artists of less talent filled Memorial Stadium or the former Armory-Auditorium, which had burned down earlier in the year, with its horrible acoustics. He indicates that less than 16 percent of the records sold nationally were in the classical music category, which he prefers to call "serious" music. He says that RCA realized that the other 84 percent of the record-buying public would, if properly exposed to the classics, come to appreciate and love them to the same degree as he did. He finds that a person could not just sit down, listen and immediately comprehend all of the subtleties of serious music, that it could be very complex and frightening to the uninitiated. "The Listener's Digest" had attempted, successfully in his opinion, to overcome that difficulty in presenting the top works of Beethoven, Brahms, Tchaikovsky and other great composers in abridged form, editing, much as editors of a newspaper edited the letters to the editor. He indicates that the abridged music could be likened to a first grade reader in school, acting as a primer for the average person so as not to overwhelm them at first exposure to such music. He says that several years earlier, he had attempted to have the newspaper run a weekly column reviewing the better records of all labels, believing it would generate interest in good music, but the newspaper had abruptly refused, in sharp contrast with its editorial of the prior Monday. He believes that to be consistent, the editors ought also carp at Reader's Digest for its condensation of standard and current literature. But he believes that the editors would agree that the magazine had raised standards by that practice, and believes that the editors had lost sight of the fact that everyone needed a starting point from which to appreciate better music. He also points out that the records were not being offered for sale, but had been made available only with the purchase of a new RCA Victor 45 rpm record player. (Don't kid us. Your company will be packing up those sets with Elvis, Pat Boone and Perry Como records soon enough, probably by 1957, maybe with one platter of Arthur Fiedler and the Pops thrown in for condescending good measure.) He concludes that "The Listener's Digest" was a constructive step toward helping people enjoy better music and was in contrast to the "unconstructive" editorial from the newspaper's "slightly jaded 'ivory tower'".

A letter from the manager of the record department of the Southern Radio Corporation responds to the same editorial, also giving praise to the musical collection presented by RCA, for the same reasons.

A letter writer from Daytona Beach, Fla., calls attention to an article which had appeared in the newspaper on August 24, concerning changes recently made in the firm known as Snook Brothers, Inc., that it had been organized in 1945 by the writer and his late brother, that he had remained active in the firm until the beginning of 1949, at which point he withdrew and sold his stock to his late brother. A third brother had joined the firm in 1946 in a sales and managerial capacity, and following his withdrawal, became a stockholder and vice-president, having recently resigned from the firm, which was now without any of the brothers involved in the organization. He complains that the letter would not be necessary had the article been based on the facts.

No Snooks are any longer involved in Snook Brothers. Probably not even Snooky Lanson. Get the facts straight.

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