The Charlotte News

Saturday, January 8, 1955


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Army had said the previous night that Army counsel John G. Adams and Lt. General Walter Weibel, a deputy chief of staff, had provided final approval of an honorable discharge for the dentist who had pleaded the Fifth Amendment to questions regarding past membership in subversive organizations before the Senate Investigations subcommittee, chaired by Senator McCarthy. The Senator had called the dentist a "Fifth Amendment Communist", his efforts to get at the parties responsible for his honorable discharge and promotion from captain to major having led to the questioning of Brig. General Ralph Zwicker the prior February, the claimed abuse during that questioning having been one of the charges against Senator McCarthy during his censure, that charge, in the end, however, having been dropped in favor of an amended charge regarding contemptuous behavior by the Senator toward his colleagues on the six-Senator bipartisan select committee which had taken evidence on the original censure charges and unanimously recommended censure on certain grounds. The announcement of responsibility for the discharge had prompted Senator McCarthy to call for a new probe of the matter. The final decision of discharge, according to the Army, had been made because "there existed no basis for reconsideration of the case" and the discharge had been the best and quickest way to remove the dentist in the absence of evidence he had engaged in any subversion while on active duty. It stated that the 1st Army Intelligence division had reported nine months earlier that it had "sufficient evidence of disloyal and subversive tendencies to warrant removal" of the dentist from the service. The report also indicated that General Zwicker had urged several times that the dentist be discharged because his retention was "clearly not consistent with the interests of national security." General Zwicker, at the time, had been commander of Camp Kilmer in New Jersey, where the dentist was stationed. The report named 62 persons in the Army chronology who had a part, at one time or another, in the promotion and discharge of the dentist, with Mr. Adams having been the only civilian. Mr. Adams declined to comment on the matter. Senator McCarthy said that he was still acting chairman of the subcommittee until it was reorganized under the new Democratic-controlled Senate, and indicated that he might ask for subpoenas to be issued as early as the following Tuesday regarding the further investigation of the matter.

It was reported in Tokyo that U.N. Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold and Communist Chinese Premier and Foreign Minister Chou En-lai had their third and longest official meeting this date since the Secretary-General had arrived in Peiping to try to negotiate the release of 11 U.S. airmen and other U.N. prisoners held by the Communist Chinese for alleged espionage during the Korean War. The two men had met for more than five hours, according to Peiping radio, and it reported that their meetings had thus far totaled more than 12 hours. There was no hint as to whether they were making any progress regarding the release of the prisoners. The broadcast had not yet told its listeners the purpose of the Secretary-General's mission.

In Berlin, two Americans were released by the Russians this date after years of captivity in a Soviet slave camp, the two men described by U.S. officials as being in remarkably good physical condition. One of the two, listed as a deserter by the Army since 1949, was taken into Army custody and, according to the Army, might face a court-martial, while the other was a civilian who had been trapped by the war when the Russians entered Dresden at the time of the collapse of the Third Reich in 1945, and was turned over to the State Department. Both had been imprisoned in Russia's most notorious Siberian slave labor camp.

A five-man Presidential advisory commission, headed by retired General Lucius Clay, was prepared to recommend a 101 billion dollar state and Federal highway program to take place over the ensuing decade, with the Federal Government sponsoring an additional 54 billion dollars of the program, added to the 47 billion which state and Federal allocations would normally spend during the ten-year period, 37 billion of which would be from the states. The President was expected to stay close to the group's recommendations when he submitted his highway program to the Congress on January 27. There appeared to be a certain amount of bipartisan support for a major highway program, which proponents regarded as vital to national defense and as a stimulus to the economy. But there also appeared to be divided opinion regarding the proposed financing. The 54 billion dollar supplemental program would be used to modernize American highways for maximum use during a possible national emergency. The proposal was for the Federal Government to pay substantially all of the approximately 24 billion dollar cost of updating the 40,000-mile "strategic network" of interstate highways, whereas usually the Federal Government provided 60 percent of the cost of work on interstate roads while the states paid the remainder. The report recommended establishing a new agency to float publicly sold bonds to pay for the Federal share of the work. Senator Harry F. Byrd of Virginia had said earlier in the week, however, that he did not favor the idea of issuing bonds over the legal debt limit to pay for highway development.

In Cleveland, O., the mother of Dr. Samuel Sheppard was reported to have shot herself to death the previous afternoon, news of which had caused the doctor to break down completely, regaining his composure before he was transferred to a new cell. The doctor's oldest brother, Dr. Richard Sheppard, said that their mother was very proud and had complete faith in the innocence of her son, but that the previous trial and his conviction for second-degree murder on December 21 had been "too much for her". The doctor's father, Dr. Richard Sheppard, was hospitalized with pleurisy. Mrs. Sheppard had left a note saying: "I can't manage without dad. Thanks for everything." Because Dr. Sheppard did not want his mother to see him in jail, she had not visited him and had not attended the trial, though he talked to her regularly by telephone. She had been ill much of the time with a heart ailment and had suffered a stroke two months earlier. She had last seen her son during his brief release on bail the previous August 16, before the grand jury indictment for first-degree murder had prompted the revocation of bail just 30 hours later. Dr. Sheppard was granted permission this date to attend private funeral services to be held the following Monday for his mother. Also pending was a motion for bail pending the outcome of the appeal of his conviction for the murder of his wife, Marilyn, which occurred the prior July 4.

In Raleigh, after the General Assembly's biennial session for 1955 had been convened for four days, some of the major issues to be considered during the coming months had already been presented, including the issues of increased taxes versus reduced spending, segregation in the public schools, reallocation of State Senate and House membership in accordance with the population as required by the State Constitution each ten years based on the decennial census, but not undertaken by either the 1951 or 1953 Assembly sessions. Governor Luther Hodges had urged the Assembly in his speech to them on Thursday to take steps to meet the decision in Brown v. Board of Education, decided the prior May 17, with the implementing decision still pending, oral arguments in that case having been postponed from early December until the Senate would confirm Justice-nominate John Harlan.

In Naples, Italy, it was reported that a Navy lieutenant who had adopted a 17-month old daughter in Athens, Greece, was making his way home to his wife in Corpus Christi, Tex., reporting that he was down to 32 diapers from his original 48 and that they were going fast, that on a couple of occasions, the infant had fooled him when he thought she needed changing and did not. He wondered aloud how one could be sure. The couple had exhausted possibilities for adoption within the U.S. and resorted to the adoption abroad the previous month. He was hitchhiking home aboard Air Force planes.

On the editorial page, "The Kind of Industry This State Needs" indicates that in 1953, slightly more than 61 million dollars had been invested in new plants and plant expansion in the state, that in 1954, the investment had been slightly more than 100 million dollars, and during the first week of 1955, another 20 million dollars in new facilities had come to the state. It finds it a good way to start off the New Year, and welcomes General Electric Corporation's new distribution transformer plant, to be constructed between Hickory and Newton, and congratulates Governor Luther Hodges and Conservation and Development director Ben Douglas, as well as other North Carolinians who had helped attract the new industry. It would be the fourth G.E. plant in North Carolina, with others at Goldsboro and Asheboro, and another being constructed in Hendersonville.

The state had been troubled by lack of diversification in industry, with the majority being in textiles or tobacco, but progress was being made in new industrial fields, and the electrical and electronics equipment field was one of them. It provides some statistics going back to 1939 to demonstrate the increase in diversification.

G.E. intended to be a good neighbor and was not looking for a place which would forgive taxes, cut power rates, donate land, or provide other favors to attract new industry. Most industries were willing to pay their own way, looking for a good place for their employees to live and do business, and increasing numbers were finding that Piedmont North Carolina was the place to come.

"Footnote" indicates that elsewhere in the newspaper this date was an article by staff writer Helen Parks demonstrating how diverse industry was becoming in North Carolina. Most people knew Lamar Stringfield as a flutist and Pulitzer-prize winning composer, but Ms. Parks recounted that he was also a musical engraver, an art passed down generationally with few practitioners in modern times. It notes that the press on which the engraving was done had been found in the attic of a mountain home of a former counterfeiter in Greenwich Village, suggesting a good plot for another bucolic musical folk-comedy, if Mr. Stringfield could find time to become again an artist.

"Potter's Penny: Here We Go Again" indicates that like a bad penny, the Army-McCarthy matter was turning up again and again in Congress, with Senator Charles Potter of Michigan, who had been a member of the subcommittee at the time of the hearings the prior spring, being the latest to bring the matter back into the spotlight, by announcing that he was resuming his campaign to get Secretary of the Army Robert Stevens and Army counsel John G. Adams ousted from the Pentagon.

The piece seeks surcease of the matter, finding no good reason to prolong the agony of the feud or kindle a new controversy.

At the close of the hearings, Senator Potter had issued a statement saying that he thought the principal accusation made by each side had proved that some "separations" from government service should follow. Subsequently, Roy Cohn, aide to Senator McCarthy, had resigned, but now Senator Potter sought the resignations of Secretary Stevens and Mr. Adams because the public had lost confidence in them.

The piece finds that the public had lost confidence in Senator McCarthy and his henchmen, while Secretary Stevens had emerged from the hearings as a symbol of sincerity and earnestness, with the most critical thing to be said about him being that he was possessed of political naïveté.

Senator McCarthy had come out of the hearings as a person exhibiting swaggering arrogance and irresponsible recklessness, clearly headed for a fall, which had come the previous month when the Senate had finally voted to censure him.

Secretary Stevens had, meanwhile, quietly gone about his business of running the Department of the Army with considerable efficiency and intelligence. He had avoided the national spotlight and had conscientiously attempted to repair the damage which Senator McCarthy had done to Army morale. It suggests that perhaps Secretary Stevens did not measure up to Senator Potter's standards as a professional politician, but that it was hardly any reason to remove him from his duties as Secretary, when he was performing them satisfactorily.

A piece from the Manchester Guardian in England, titled "Capt. Bligh: Brute and Hero", indicates that the merit of Captain William Bligh's 3,600-mile open-boat odyssey had outlived the legend of his stiff brutishness, and the present celebration of the bicentenary of his birth might further requite his shade. It imparts some information of the voyage of the H.M.S. Bounty, which had begun with limited food stocks, necessitating rationing to avoid starvation. Captain Bligh's navigational skills were recognized even by Fletcher Christian, the leader of the famous mutiny. The Captain's moral sway had been illustrated by the fact that after 48 harrowing days, the "scarecrow spartans" of the ship still had food enough for 11 more days as they went ashore at Timor, with the astonished Dutch receiving a gift of chalk, precious in Timor at the time, which had been hoarded in the boat's chest.

The boat, 23 feet long, had been towed to Batavia by a schooner where Captain Bligh sold it with "great reluctance at parting with her, which I would not have done if I could have found a more convenient opportunity of getting her conveyed to Europe."

Drew Pearson indicates that when veteran Congressman Clarence Brown of Ohio had opened the secret Republican caucus during the week, he had said with a chuckle that he did not have a schedule of procedure, but when the Democrats completed their caucus a few hours earlier, they had perhaps inadvertently left a copy of their agenda behind, which he suggested that they ought perhaps to adopt as a gesture of good will, as they would have to get along with the Democrats for the ensuing two years.

The Democrats in their caucus were led by House Speaker Sam Rayburn of Texas, who had unloosed some pent-up steam which had been bothering him and some other Democrats for some time. He said that the country must come first and that the President could expect support from the Democrats on matters affecting national security, but that they would not forget some of the tactics employed by the Republicans during the midterm elections campaign, involving reckless smearing of Democrats as alleged traitors, rhetoric with which the President had identified himself. Mr. Rayburn had specifically singled out Vice-President Nixon as the bellwether of those attacks, but also placed responsibility on the President for having praised Mr. Nixon for his job during the campaign, making the President, in the estimate of Mr. Rayburn, a party to the remarks. He found attacks on the loyalty of Democrats as Americans to be far beyond the normally accepted tactics of a political campaign, terming it "an all-time low for gutter politics and political muckraking." He said that Democrats would give no support to Republican efforts to balance the budget at the sacrifice of an adequate national defense. He recalled that FDR had pleaded in vain for sufficient defense funds prior to World War II, with the result that the war eventually cost the country about 400 billion dollars, whereas a few more billion allocated earlier might have prevented the attack on Pearl Harbor. He found the same to be true at present.

There had only been one tense moment in the otherwise calm Democratic caucus, that being when Congressman Cleveland Bailey of West Virginia had defied his party's leaders and forced them to permit him to make a speech regarding the high unemployment in his state, indicating that he would never again get all 231 House Democrats together to provide the story. Mr. Rayburn had tried to coax Mr. Bailey out of delivering his speech by appealing to party unity, but Mr. Bailey insisted, and after Mr. Rayburn consulted with House party leaders John McCormack of Massachusetts and John Rooney of New York, he offered to let Mr. Bailey speak provided he would promise not to offer his amendment generally to allow speeches at the party caucus. Mr. Bailey accepted the compromise and became the only Democrat at the caucus to make a speech on behalf of his district.

Mr. Pearson notes that Mr. Bailey had been making daily trips to Assistant Secretary of Agriculture Earl Butz—to become Secretary of Agriculture under Presidents Nixon and Ford, with a crude, infamous racially charged faux pas at one point in 1976 eventuating in his resignation—demanding that West Virginia get some of the surplus wheat which was being used for foreign relief, contending that the gift was authorized by a section of the Surplus Foods Disposal Act, a provision which Mr. Bailey had written. Whether Mr. Butz replied that all West Virginians wanted was a little kitty-cat, some loose shoes and a warm place for taking comfort was not indicated by Mr. Pearson.

Joseph Alsop, in Nongkhay, Thailand, tells of having spent Christmas and New Year's Day in Nongkhay in northeastern Thailand, the most exposed to Communist pressure and the most penetrated by fifth columns. He was told by a friend who ran a local silk factory that no one could understand the region without getting the feel of village life, and suggested that it was a pity that no village party was coming up because going to such a party was the best quick way to see what a Thai village was really like. Mr. Alsop had therefore asked whether he might give a New Year's eve party at the village of the Lotus Lake, where the friend's silk factory was located. At that point his friend's partner and the village headman took over and made arrangements for the party, which cost $35, for a cow, half a buffalo, several ducks and chickens, plus about 15 gallons of "white mule" for the common people, with a specially invigorating bottle of white mups mixed with black monkey's blood for the honored guests. There was also a musician who played the ken, or khaen, an instrument halfway between bagpipes and panpipes, plus prizes to persuade young ladies to dance, which they were reluctant to do without inducement. (General Nguyen Khanh of South Vietnam undoubtedly did not play the khaen, and General Nguyen Cao Ky bailed him out of an attempted coup in 1965, just as the cow and coop had been the key on the khaen bailing out the party attended by Mr. Alsop in Thailand in 1955.)

Mr. Alsop describes in great detail the party, which lasted until dawn and was a success. He had learned from it that Thai villagers were charming, gay and friendly people, and from the partner of his friend that they hated Chinese and Vietnamese with an intense passion, equated Communism with its Asian converts. From the loudspeaker, he had learned that it was a semi-neolithic community, experiencing a violent impact from Western civilization, and had learned that the village headman had not been factually accurate when he promised that Laos white mups mixed with black monkey's blood never gave one a headache.

Robert C. Ruark finds the saddest thing about France was the selfishness which had made the country undependable, having twice during the previous six months been willing to throw away all of its allies just to make their own bargain, despite having done the West a favor recently by recognizing West Germany as a part of the Western European Union and NATO, permitting its rearmament.

He indicates that all Germans loved France as a shrine and it was the home of all tourists when they left home. But the French did not fight very well anymore and bargained with their friends to the last bitter moment, such that they could not be counted on as allies. They had come through finally because they had to, but they wore out their welcome with the bargaining. They had also worn out trust, and Mr. Ruark does not care how wide the smile was of Premier Pierre Mendes-France.

He notes that another sad thing about the French was that they did not like anyone, not even themselves, and did not trust anybody.

A letter writer from Lincolnton indicates that he was a regular reader of the newspaper and had been for several years, obtaining it by delivery. He indicates that the editors should be proud of Mayor Philip Van Every and his intelligent looking family, a picture of whom had appeared in the December 24 edition. He finds Mrs. Van Every and their four daughters to be beautiful, says that he was preserving the picture and that if he were a young man, he would move to Charlotte.

A letter writer from Sacramento, Calif., states that every citizen who believed in everything for which the country stood and in the Constitution, should join together to end segregation, that as long as it persisted, there would never be peace in the world because there was not peace in the hearts of the citizens of the United States. No one could look into one's own heart and say that segregation was just, "unless he is of the Devil!" He questions whether those who supported continued segregation were upholding the second commandment: "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself."

A letter writer indicates that he had noticed that the newspaper prominently displayed anything pertaining to non-segregation in the public schools while providing little to those who believed in segregation, that he could not understand a Southern newspaper being so partial. He indicates that he was aware that they edited out everything which came into the letters column against "non-segregation". In the letters column of January 4, he contends, the editors had allowed more space for "writers from the north" than for "12 pieces against non-segregation". He hopes that the state would tell everyone, including the Supreme Court, and editors such as those of The News, that the state believed "in a pure race, be it white or black, and not a mongrel race of people."

The editors note that syndicated columns, features and views of contributors to the letters column did not necessarily reflect the editorial opinions of the newspaper, that the newspaper's opinions were carried in the editorial column on the left side of the editorial page, that its stand on segregation had been clearly stated on May 18, the day after the Supreme Court had announced its decision in Brown v. Board of Education.

We are not certain that the letter writer knew how to read very well, as it appeared to us that the entire single letter comprising the column which he references pertained to opposition of "non-segregation", but we give him, as we gave that letter writer, the benefit of the doubt and assume that he may have also considered Douglas Cater's piece of January 4 and was referring to the whole page, not just the letters column of that date in his weighing of relative space allowed for pro and anti-segregation stances. Some of these writers do not write with great clarity, requiring liberal interpetation of their prose, providing us almost daily with empathy for high school English teachers forced to critique and grade expository compositions.

A letter writer notes that in the column of Drew Pearson appearing January 4, the coattail riders of the President, even including such a "fine man" as Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., were already beginning to bedevil the President regarding whether he would be a candidate for re-election in 1956. He wonders why they could not grow up, that it was cheap politics and the President was not a cheap politician. He would like to see the President re-elected, but believes he was also entitled to a few years of rest and health, neither of which he would be able to obtain if he decided to run again for a second term. He thinks that many of the politicians urging the President to run again were low enough and selfish enough to try to make the President think that he was a traitor to his country if he did not run again. He wants the coattail riders and the press to back off and let the President alone on the subject of running again. He hopes that he would not do so, to preserve his health.

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