The Charlotte News

Friday, January 1, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the U.S., Britain and France this date had delivered identical notes to the Soviet Foreign Ministry, accepting Russia's proposal of a January 25 Big Four foreign ministers conference to take place in Berlin, postponing for three weeks the January 4 date which the Western powers had proposed on December 9, to discuss the unification of Germany and the Austrian peace treaty, leaving open also the possibility of other topics being raised by the Russians. The Russians favored a Big Five meeting, to include Communist China.

In Moscow, the Government newspaper Izvestia said on its front page this date that Premier Georgi Malenkov's New Year's statement indicated his belief that there were favorable opportunities for reducing international tensions in 1954. He had made the statement in reply to questions submitted by Kingsbury Smith of the International News Service, indicating also that a ban on the use of atomic weapons would be the biggest step toward peace which could be undertaken during the year, but that Russia considered it necessary also to reach agreement on considerable reduction of all types of armaments and armed forces. There had been no formal reaction by the State Department to the statements, but American diplomats had suggested informally that if the Premier was sincerely interested in improving relations with the U.S., there were ample opportunities in the near future to demonstrate it, such as the upcoming foreign ministers conference. In contrast, Pravda, the Communist Party newspaper, the previous day charged that Western powers and West Germany were ganging up on Russia in advance of the foreign ministers conference, for the purpose of sabotaging it.

In Seoul, a corporal from Texas who previously had elected not to repatriate to the U.S. as a prisoner of war of the Communists, had changed his mind this date and said that it was possible that other non-repatriating American war prisoners would likewise decide to return home. He was returned to the U.N. Command near Panmunjom after 31 months as a prisoner, and told waiting newsmen that prisoner leaders were armed with daggers to prevent defections and that mistrust and fear played roles in their refusal to repatriate. The corporal's Japanese wife, waiting in Tokyo to see him, apparently had played an important role, according to the corporal, in his decision to repatriate, as her messages had been relayed to him by the Indian guards. He was scheduled to hold a press conference later this date, but it had been postponed until the following day. He said that he now believed "very much little" of the Communist indoctrination he had undergone while a prisoner. He gave a thumbs up sign to photographers.

It suggests hope that Trumpy-Dumpy-Do and his ragtag group of supporters might one day, after weaning themselves from the big teat of executive power, be able to withdraw from their Communist indoctrination and return to some semblance of respect for American democracy—though certainly not evident at the start of 2021, even if now largely academic into the future.

Senator William Knowland of California, the Majority Leader, said this date in an interview that Democrats would have "plenty of opportunity" to propose changes to the President's foreign and defense program. But some Democrats remained skeptical of bipartisan results. Senator John Sparkman of Alabama said that he regarded the invitation to participate in a consultation on foreign and defense aspects of the Administration's program as a desirable prelude to bipartisan cooperation on foreign and defense legislation, but that there should be an indication of whether it would be two-sided cooperation, as some of the tactics employed by Attorney General Herbert Brownell in his recent revelations made about the late Harry Dexter White, blaming the Truman Administration for Communist infiltration to the Government, and by Governor Dewey in a recent speech, did not indicate that such would be the case. The Senator said he did not like the idea of "teaming up with a man who says that every time you hear the name of my political party called, you think of traitors."

The President, despite the holiday, called a group of top Administration officials to an early morning conference this date regarding his State of the Union message, ordering them to report at 8:00 a.m. to his office above the pro shop at the Augusta National Golf Club. Administration advisers, Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., Budget Bureau director Joseph Dodge, chief of staff Sherman Adams, and several others, who had arrived from Washington late the previous day, had been guests of the President and First Lady at a New Year's Eve dinner in the golf club trophy room the previous night.

In New York, the New Year was welcomed in Times Square by an estimated one million people, five times the number who had attended the celebration the previous year, despite the 20-degree weather. Traffic had been halted in the square for 25 minutes prior to midnight and half an hour afterward. The crowd was orderly. Bars, restaurants, theaters and nightclubs did a booming business throughout the nation and the devout crowded into churches and parish halls for traditional Watch Night services. In London, Piccadilly Circus drew the usual mass of New Year's revelers, and the statue of Eros received a protective wrapping against the usual pranksters. Hotels and nightspots across Europe reported sellout business at very high prices. On both sides of the Iron Curtain, people jammed into churches and prayed for peace in 1954.

Ed Creagh of the Associated Press reports that early on the morning of New Year's Day, a copyreader looked at the copy, showing the date as January 1, 1955, and the old man shook his head, saying that while not much could be expected of reporters on New Year's morning, they could at least get the year right. Then he saw a series of predictions month by month for the coming year, which are set forth, though November and December are relegated to another page.

During the first 13 hours of the holiday weekend, there had been only 11 traffic deaths and 24 total accidental deaths, with 11 of those occurring in fires. At that average, the death rate would be far below the 717 accidental deaths recorded during the 78-hour Christmas weekend and also well below the National Safety Council's estimate of 360 traffic fatalities for the current 78-hour weekend.

In Greenfield, Ind., 12 jurors who said that they had intended to convict a defendant of manslaughter rather than second-degree murder corrected their mistake the previous day, a difference in sentencing between life imprisonment and two to 21 years. The defendant's attorney moved for a new trial and presented affidavits in which the jurors said that they had intended the lesser period of imprisonment and were surprised to learn from the newspapers that the second-degree murder conviction carried a life sentence. The judge granted the new trial and the defendant pleaded guilty to the lesser charge and was sentenced accordingly.

In Goldsboro, N.C., Col. Richard Marr, a retired Army officer, had been named the new director of the State Ports Authority the previous day by the SPA. The new director would have charge of the two 7.5 million dollar ocean terminals at Morehead City and Wilmington.

Donald MacDonald of The News indicates that City police had broken up a scheduled burglary and possible safe-crack early this date after the attempted break-in had been timed to take place just after midnight, at the height of the New Year celebrations. No warrant had yet been issued, but police had announced that two men, both cousins, were under arrest. The younger of the two men had been spotted atop the one-story Dayton Tire Sales Co. building on West Morehead Street, equipped with a hacksaw, apparently preparing to enter the building through a skylight. When he realized police had seen him, he jumped from the roof, about 18 to 20 feet, fracturing his left heel. Police closed in on him in an alley, finding a parked automobile, apparently intended as the getaway vehicle. But as he jumped, did he yell out, "Sic semper tyrannis"? And was there also a horse awaiting him in the back alley?

A poll of several of Charlotte's leading citizens had demonstrated a feeling that problems facing the nation and the city would be undertaken in 1954 in a manner which would bring peace and prosperity. Mayor Philip Van Every had said that Charlotte was a wonderful city and that its foundation was the greatness of its people, who had love for their neighbors. He wished peace, good health and prosperity to all. It provides similar sentiments issued by City Manager Henry Yancey, Congressman Charles Jonas, head of the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce, John Watlington, Jr., the Charlotte postmaster, George Wilson, Jr., Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Chief Judge John J. Parker, and Judge Willard Gatling of the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court.

On the editorial page, "A Thought for the New Year" finds that in many ways, 1953 had been a more hopeful year than 1952, with the shift of power in the Kremlin having given signs of a change in tactics by the Russians, if not in their long-range strategy, enabling optimism for peaceful coexistence between East and West, which had appeared remote in the earlier postwar years. The new U.S. Administration had cooled the political temper of the people and there was less political acrimony at large. The flood of McCarthyism, while still raging at a peak, appeared ready to wane.

It goes on to look at Communism under Stalin and its threat to the West following World War II, during which Russia had been an ally. It believes it was an overstatement to say that Communism as a political threat had vanished, as it remained a threat to areas which were overpopulated and under-producing, with poverty, starvation and death making Communism appear as a reasonable alternative. There remained a Communist espionage threat, within government, industry and labor, as there had been even during the alliance of the U.S. and Russia, even though the evidence of success of that espionage was scanty. But the Truman and Eisenhower Administration loyalty programs had brought that threat to a minimum, though it could never be entirely eliminated as long as any American was willing to sell his country short.

The flood of publicity about the external and internal Communist threats had at times appeared to confuse the American people about the gravest of dangers, Communist imperialism supported by arms, production and manpower, which had succeeded in Czechoslovakia, Poland, Rumania, Hungary and Bulgaria because of the Russian military machine maintained intact following World War II, when the Western democracies had hastily demobilized and turned to peacetime pursuits. Communist imperialism had failed in Iran, Greece, Berlin and in Korea, because the free world, led by the U.S., had demonstrated resistance.

It finds that the record ought provide a lesson for Americans in the coming year, that as long as there was evidence of Communist imperialism, as currently in Indo-China, and as long as Russia was strongly armed, with the atomic and hydrogen bombs, the U.S. and its allies had no alternative except to continue to build their strength, a heavy burden which would be carried through successive generations. It indicates that while carrying that burden, it had to be recalled that a free society was a voluntary association of like-minded peoples, the existence of which depended upon faith and trust in its institutions and in each other.

Gerald W. Johnson had said that freedom was a dangerous business and that not the least of the dangers was that the freeman had to think for himself. It indicates that the problems could not be solved by emotion, prejudice, suspicion, scapegoating, or blind lashing out.

"On the Enrichment of the Language" indicates that when 300 of the nation's economists had gathered in Washington during the week, they had come up with a few terms unfamiliar to the public, such as that the current economic decline was a "moderate recession" rather than being preliminary to another "great recession", with the largest group believing that the country was in the middle of an "orthodox recession", while a smaller number believed it to be a "rolling adjustment", and a still smaller number, that it was an "inventory recession". One speaker described it as an "economic contraction", as in 1949, but suggested that supports embedded in the economy would not only cushion the effect but would also break the chain of "cumulative retraction".

It indicates that the English language was flexible and that professional men developed their own peculiar jargon, often following Humpty-Dumpty's rule: "When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less." But after reading the jargon employed by the economists, it agrees with the chairman of the National Industrial Conference Board, Martin Gainsbrugh, who said that the forecasts had moved him "from cautious optimism to optimistic caution" regarding 1954.

"From up in the Clouds, an Idea" indicates that the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, in musing about the height of the Oregon State basketball team, had recalled the suggestion of Kansas head coach "Phog" Allen that the baskets be raised from 10 feet to 12 feet, an idea which the Post-Dispatch did not find palatable. It had remarked that Oregon State had a center who was 7'3" in height, two forwards who were 6 '8", and two guards who were 6'6", finding therefore that raising the baskets would do no permanent good, as it would only be a matter of time until there were eight-foot centers everywhere.

The current week's Dixie Classic basketball tournament in Raleigh had included Oregon State, ranked fourth in the Associated Press poll, but notwithstanding their commanding height, both Duke and Tulane, neither team having especially tall members, had beaten the Beavers. News sports editor Bob Quincy had noted that there were some good big men in the tournament, Swede Halbrook, at 7'3", Dickie Hemric, at 6'7", and Don Lange, at 6'4", but that the real stars had been Hall Brooks, 5'11", of Seton Hall, Joe Belmont, the same height, of Duke, Rudy D'Emilio, 6'0", also of Duke, and Billy Lyles, the same height, of Wake Forest.

It indicates that it would be a good thing for the sport if less emphasis were placed on the height of players, as spectators did not get so much fun from watching ungainly tall young men lumbering up and down the court as from the speedier, more agile and better coordinated smaller players. Many athletes had been shut out of intercollegiate basketball by the emphasis on height, and the substitute of intramural basketball did not enable them to obtain scholarships. It suggests that perhaps someone might organize a league for players who were under 6 feet tall, and if so, it wagers it would attract most of the spectators.

It does not point out that UNC coach Frank McGuire, in his second season at UNC, had commented that with the big men continually coming into the game, they would have to raise the basket two feet to compensate or players such as the Swede would "make the game a farce". Ironically, his comparatively diminutive UNC team in 1957 would win the N.C.A.A. championship over Kansas and Wilt Chamberlain, to complete a 32-0 season, a record for an undefeated season which still stands, subsequently tied by the 1976 Indiana N.C.A.A. championship team under coach Bob Knight.

Hudock, he was a big guy, 6'7". You remember Jim Hudock, who played under both coaches McGuire and Dean Smith. Surely you do.

The Manchester Guardian Weekly tells of the warning provided to the NATO nations by Secretary of State Dulles, to get in line behind the European Defense Community agreement to form a unified army or else face a reexamination by the U.S. of its foreign aid and troop commitments to Europe, having caused anger in France, and that the underwriting of that warning by Prime Minister Churchill had caused still deeper consternation. In effect, the French had been told that they had to choose between ratification of the treaty and sacrificing the support of the U.S. and also of Britain. If the U.S. were to withdraw its troops from Europe, it would mean the end of NATO.

The warning of the Prime Minister had undoubtedly been intended to underscore this calamitous result if France were not to get on board with EDC. That which the Prime Minister had heard in Bermuda at the early December Big Three conference of the heads of state had convinced him that the U.S. had made an irrevocable decision on EDC and that apparently his view that rearming of West Germany within a broader NATO than only EDC had been unacceptable to President Eisenhower. That which the Prime Minister had stated corresponded, he said, to that which he had learned of the U.S. position in Bermuda.

The piece indicates that it was not likely, however, that the U.S. would dismantle Western defenses in Europe solely because France might reject EDC. It posits that the rearming of West Germany was not immediately essential for either military or political reasons, though West Germany could not remain unarmed indefinitely.

It was unlikely that EDC would be ratified by France in the ensuing few months, and the French leadership had asked the NATO Allies to act as a counterweight and guarantee against West German rearmament. But no such guarantee had thus far been provided, with Prime Minister Churchill having said that Britain would maintain its troops on the Continent "at least as long as the American troops". That would not be enough for the French. But Britain could not make itself secure by withdrawing across the Channel in the modern age of long distance jet aircraft and rocketry, as such a position had almost been out of date in 1940 at the time of the fall of France and the ensuing Battle of Britain.

It suggests giving the French the guarantees which they wanted, involving a lesser undertaking than what the Allies were asking the French to accept in the rearmament of West Germany, its traditional enemy. It posits that if EDC failed, it would not be the fault of France only, but also the U.S. for its "clumsiness" and Britain for its "aloofness". It concludes that the British Government still had time to make amends.

Drew Pearson sets forth his predictions for 1954, starting with the Russians not being able to afford an attack on the Western world for some time because of unrest in the satellite nations and a severe crop setback during 1953, thus unlikely to disturb world peace in the coming year. He indicates that there would be sporadic trouble, however, in the Near East, the Far East and North Africa.

Peace talks would transpire throughout the year and would provide no one satisfaction, with the Chinese Communists seeking to avoid every basic issue and South Korean President Syngman Rhee repeatedly threatening to start the Korean War all over again, though chances were that he would not carry out that threat.

In business, industrial production would be down by about ten percent, with retail prices also dropping, though not by much, for the first time since the end of World War II. Unemployment would be about three million by the end of 1954, and because of unemployment insurance, old age pensions, Federal deposit insurance and other safeguards put in place after the Great Depression, there would be no depression likely.

He goes on to talk about Senator William Knowland, the new Majority Leader, as discussed below by Frederick Othman, agriculture, where farm prices would continue at about their present levels, with some declines, postal rates, taxes, and wiretapping, with the attempt by Attorney General Herbert Brownell to legalize it in some circumstances involving investigations of espionage, likely to fail.

He also looks at Senator McCarthy and the Democrats, who had walked out of the Investigations Committee after Senator McCarthy had undertaken unilaterally to hire and fire Committee staff members, and Mr. Pearson predicts that in the coming year, the Democrats would return to the Committee, provided Senator McCarthy agreed to give up his dictatorial control over investigators, that if he refused, the Democrats would seek to cut off the operating funds for the Committee, which they could do with the help of Senator Wayne Morse. The greatest asset of Senator McCarthy was the money being funneled to him from oilman H. R. Hunt of Texas, from certain oil companies in California, such as Superior Oil, from Robert Wood of Sears and from the old America First crowd, giving the Senator more money to spend than any other member of Congress. Mr. Pearson predicts that the Senator would disburse the money to less fortunate Republican candidates in the midterm elections, provided they would agree to follow the McCarthy line once elected, and that he would, in consequence, create a national political machine which would promote him as the vice-presidential nominee in 1956 and the presidential nominee in 1960.

In fact, of course, 1954 would turn out to be the year of the Senator's undoing, with the nationally televised Army-McCarthy hearings in the spring, leading to his censure by the Senate and the downfall of his influence, continuing to his eventual death in 1957.

Mr. Pearson also comments on the old Southern-Republican coalition which, for about the prior eight years, had dominated backstage dealings in Congress, with Republicans agreeing to support the Southerners regarding cloture and segregation while the Southerners agreed to back the Republicans in opposing public power and various other New Deal issues. But now, the Southerners were mad at the Republicans over the issues of segregation, farm policy and attacks on Protestants, the latter seen by many Southerners as an attempt to embarrass Protestant churches and put the Catholic Church in power. Thus, he predicts, even the most conservative Southern Democrats would refuse to join any Republican coalition during 1954.

Lastly, he predicts that in Russia, the last of the old guard Bolsheviks, Foreign Minister V. M. Molotov, would be purged by the end of the year, with signs already having appeared that he was being relegated to the sidelines.

James Marlow indicates that Senate Majority Leader William Knowland of California would face a tough job in the coming year, trying to fill the shoes of Senator Taft, who had died at the end of July, only days before the end of the 1953 Congressional session. Senator Knowland now had the task of guiding the President's program through the Senate and appeared determined not to be a rubber stamp for the White House but to speak his mind in disagreement with the President whenever he saw fit, in the tradition of Senator Taft. He had not demonstrated yet that he could be as outspoken as Senator Taft, however, and still prevent fellow Republicans from taking from it a cue to run off in all directions for themselves.

The new Majority Leader had been in the Senate only seven years when he succeeded Senator Taft and had worked hard at his new responsibility through the closing weeks of Congress, when he was acting Leader after Senator Taft, in late May, had decided to step away from his floor duties because of his health problems. But his task then, compared to what confronted him presently, had been mild. Senator Taft had worked both for the party and the President, and because of his great prestige and influence, had been able to disagree openly with the President on some points while still gathering Senate Republican votes regularly for the Administration. Senator Knowland lacked the influence of Senator Taft, but still had to guide the President's program through the Senate.

In addition to the problem of less experience, Senator Knowland also faced a one-seat narrower majority than had Senator Taft, as Senator Taft's seat had been filled by Governor Frank Lausche of Ohio with a Democrat, meaning that the Democrats had a nominal majority in the Senate, 48 to 47, with Senator Wayne Morse of Oregon, however, after having become an independent in the fall of 1952, assuring that he would vote with the Republicans in the event of any close vote, to effect ties which would then be broken by Vice-President Nixon and for purposes of organizing Senate committees. Even with the 48 to 47 majority which had prevailed during the first session, the President had to depend on Democratic votes on major issues. Thus, Senator Knowland would, likewise, have to appeal to some Democrats and effect some compromises on Administration programs.

During the current week, when the President had announced a policy of letting defense contracts in areas of high unemployment, some Democrats, particularly those from the South, had protested, and shortly afterward, Senator Knowland had referred to the new policy as a disappointment, saying that he would support legislation to modify it. Recently, after the President had said he hoped that Communists in government would not be an issue in the 1954 midterm elections, Senator McCarthy had said that it would be a principal issue and Senator Knowland had said that it would be an issue.

Mr. Marlow concludes that the Administration, in 1953, had been getting ready for 1954, and the President, in his State of the Union message on January 7, would set forth a program on agriculture, Social Security, taxes, foreign policy and military aid, such that Senator Knowland's ability as the successor to Senator Taft would receive a full test.

Frederick C. Othman tells of running into George Larrick, deputy commissioner of the Food & Drug Administration, and asking him why he had allowed the FDA to approve the dying of sweet potatoes red, after an experience Mr. Othman had in preparing sweet potatoes at home, winding up with red dye all over the kitchen and his hands. Mr. Larrick had explained that the Administration's chemists were worried about food coloring and that on January 19, the FDA would begin hearings on the subject of whether orange growers would be allowed to continue tinting their fruits orange with coal tar dyes. He said that some oranges, particularly those from Florida, were still green when fully ripe and people in other parts of the country refused to buy them, prompting the packers to dye them orange. It was legal as long as each orange was labeled artificially colored. He explained that some of the dyes used on oranges and in certain cakes, candies, and soda pop, had been approved 40 years earlier as non-injurious to health, but that the Government chemists had decided to take another look and so had been experimenting with animals, mainly rats, feeding them quantities of the colors mixed into foods, and had thus far gotten about a third of the way down the list of chemicals. Most of the colors had proved harmless to the rats, even when eaten in large quantities, but three of them had made the rats sickly. Those three dyes had been used on some oranges, but he doubted anyone consuming them would suffer ill effects. The dye did not penetrate the rind and even someone consuming the rind was probably safe. He added, however, that it was a matter of principle for the FDA not to allow use of any injurious chemicals on food, even if in a non-injurious manner.

Mr. Larrick had also explained that there were vegetable dyes which might possibly serve the same purpose but that no one had determined how to apply them to oranges.

As for the red sweet potatoes, Mr. Larrick said that he had not yet dyed his own hands with them, and Mr. Othman suggested that he have sweet potatoes for dinner and see for himself how to ruin dish towels.

Speaking of sports and oranges, we shall make another private prediction, however incautiously, given prior experience with predictions gone awry, that UNC, in its first Orange Bowl appearance, will triumph over Texas A&M, 31 to 28. Were it nor for the opting out of four of UNC's top players, we would venture a slightly larger margin, perhaps 35 to 28.

Eighth Day of Christmas: Eight Trumpies milking their morons for all they are worth.

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