The Charlotte News

Monday, January 11, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Panmunjom, the Communists this date proposed reopening of the preliminary negotiations to start the Korean peace conference, which had been broken off in December by the U.S. envoy, upset by the Communist allegation that the U.S. had conspired with South Korean President Syngman Rhee the prior June to release 27,000 North Korean prisoners of war. The State Department representative in Korea, Kenneth Young, said that he had received the letter this afternoon and had relayed it to Washington, that any decision would have to be made there.

India, meanwhile, officially requested that the U.N. General Assembly reconvene in New York soon to discuss the Korean question. They insisted that the action was not intended to delay freeing of some 22,500 war prisoners on January 23, in accordance with the schedule set forth in the Armistice. The Communists had demanded that the prisoners be retained in custody until the Korean peace conference could determine their fate. The Armistice had provided that the Neutral Nations Repatriation Commission would determine their fate, 30 days after the conclusion of the explanations period, which lasted 90 days, concluding on December 23. The U.N. allies had insisted on adhering to the release date, and it was considered certain that if the Commission did not approve the release on that date, the non-repatriating North Korean and Chinese war prisoners would smash their way out of the compounds where they were being held in the demilitarized zone. A source indicated that the Indian plan would be to return the prisoners to each side which had held them, and that the two commands would then agree on their disposition.

At the U.N. in New York, the General Assembly president, Mrs. Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit, called for a vote to hold a special session to begin on either February 8 or 9 to discuss the Korean situation, requiring majority vote of the 60-nation Assembly.

The President this date appeared ready to seek from the Senate ratification of the mutual security treaty with South Korea, as disclosed by Republican Congressional leaders after meeting for nearly two hours with the President at the White House. Senator William Knowland of California, the Majority Leader, said that it was his understanding that the Foreign Relations Committee would begin hearings on the treaty on Wednesday.

The President this date also asked Congress to adopt 14 amendments to the Taft-Hartley law, including a provision that workers had to vote approval of any strike before it could go into effect. The proposals contained some changes suggested by management and some sought by labor, and some would give states more jurisdiction in labor disputes, while others would require employers to submit non-Communist affidavits, the current law requiring that union leaders do so. The proposed changes would also remove some of the present restrictions against union boycotts and strikers. The President also called on Congress to make a thorough study of union welfare pension funds, with a view toward enacting such legislation as would protect and conserve those funds for workers. He said that current standards binding employers before they could make payments to unions for the benefit of the funds were inadequate to protect and conserve the funds for their intended purpose. Look out, Mr. Hoffa.

The President this date also presented his farm program to Congress, recommending that two and a half billion dollars worth of present farm surpluses would be frozen and isolated from regular markets, and that the Government would establish a flexible farm price support program in the ensuing crop year. The surpluses, already in the possession of the Government, would only be used for donation to school lunch programs, public institutions, relief, or earmarked for emergency stockpiles. The program would seek an increase of price support funding for the Commodity Credit Corp., from the present ceiling of 6.75 billion dollars to 8.5 billion. The Agriculture Department experts had predicted that corporate investments in surpluses might pass six billion dollars by the coming spring. Under the flexible supports program, Government price guarantees would be high in times of shortage to encourage production and low in times of surplus to encourage consumption and discourage over-production. The plan would permit the mandatory fixed-price supports to expire at the end of the current crop year.

The Population Reference Bureau, a private study group, indicated that the world's population might double within the ensuing 30 years and that something had better be done soon to provide enough food for that increase, as present sources of natural foods and small-scale successes in production of synthetic food would not afford the sufficient increase in available food to feed the increased population. It called on the U.S. and other nations to pioneer research and education to deal with the problem. It said that more than half of the world's population was presently underfed and that if trends of more births and fewer deaths continued, the population might be seven billion by 2010 and 15 billion by 2110. The prediction, incidentally, was quite accurate for population in 2010, and current world population stands at about 7.8 billion.

Three plane crashes across the world had taken 50 lives, with no known survivors, two of them occurring in the Southern U.S., and one in the sea off Italy. The largest of the tolls was in a crash of a British Comet jetliner into the Tyrrhenian Sea, carrying 35 passengers and crew members, including an official of British Overseas Airways Corp., and an Australian war correspondent and author, Chester Wilmot. The other crashes included one near Shreveport, La., where a private plane crashed and burned, carrying Thomas Braniff, founder of Braniff Airways, and nine other wealthy businessmen, plus two pilots, returning from a duck hunting expedition in the Louisiana swamp. The third crash was of an Air Force B-25 medium bomber, in a pasture about six miles from Gaffney, S.C., carrying a crew of three on a training flight from Rome, N.Y., to Donaldson Air Force Base in South Carolina. In Burbank, Calif., a fourth crash occurred, but both pilots emerged with only minor injuries, though a third person on the ground was burned critically when the plane crashed into his apartment.

Snow, sleet and sub-zero temperatures hit many portions of the nation this date.

In Tokyo, a Japanese wife accused of shooting to death her American soldier husband went on trial this date, charged with first degree murder. She was accused of shooting the victim while he slept, after they quarreled over her taking their infant daughter to a public bath. The defense claimed that the husband had beat the wife and that she shot him in self-defense.

A man who was alleged to have been a holdup man who wielded a hatchet against the victim in an August, 1950 robbery in Norfolk, Va., was added to the FBI's ten most wanted list, charged with crossing state lines to avoid capture. He had suffered knife wounds in the robbery, was arrested, treated at a hospital and managed to escape by jumping from a window.

In Lexington, N.C., a 150-man posse closed in on a man who allegedly had killed three men and wounded two others in a shooting spree which had begun the prior Saturday night. The posse surrounded a five square-mile area of woods and had waited all night for the man to emerge, closing in as daylight neared. The man had never previously been in trouble, but the sheriff said that the man had been ordered out of a store by the storekeeper after an argument on Saturday night, and the man then shot the storekeeper. When the sheriff and his deputy arrived to arrest the man, he had opened fire, wounded the deputy in the head, and he died about two hours later. A member of the posse was also killed by the man late the previous day after he and two others had cornered him at his home.

Ann Sawyer of The News tells of six witnesses having testified this date in the continuation of the preliminary hearing involving charges that Police Chief Frank Littlejohn had permitted illegal gambling in Charlotte, the Solicitor seeking specificity on four presentments returned by the grand jury in December so that indictments could be sought before the new grand jury, if warranted. The witnesses this date said that they had no reason to believe that the Chief had knowledge of the violations of the law involving the illegal gambling at various private clubs and establishments in the community. Several more witnesses were scheduled to testify for the State. The defense did not anticipate presenting any evidence.

In Hickory Creek, Mo., weird, blood-curdling screams were heard during the night, setting off concerns that a panther might be in the area, but it turned out that the noises had come from a little boy's peacock. He was planning to acquire another peacock, probably one day to work for NBC, provided he also acquired a three-tone maker.

On the editorial page, "Sen. Kennedy Answers His Critics" indicates that Senator John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts had received rough treatment from Southern politicians and newspapers since he had begun making speeches about the economic problems caused by the migration of industry from New England, the Southerners alleging against him numerous fouls, the worst of which was that he wanted to make the South a whipping boy to aid New England.

In the current issue of The Atlantic, Senator Kennedy had set forth his views on the matter in a thoughtful, well-reasoned analysis of the New England problem, refuting the charge that he would penalize the South to aid New England, giving the South full credit for its advantages in the battle for industry, including a large labor supply, adequate supply of pure water, proximity to raw materials, more space, a mild climate, a friendly attitude toward industry, and a lower average labor cost. It quotes from the article.

It finds that the Senator's reasonable attitude had been misrepresented amid the criticism over one policy proposed by both the Truman and Eisenhower Administrations, the channeling of a bigger share of defense contracts into areas of unemployment. The piece finds fault with the policy for being a violation of good business practices in awarding Government contracts on any basis other than the lowest bid. But it finds that Senator Kennedy's proposals warranted consideration by Congress, as he had called for aid for the expansion and diversification of industry in older areas, including loans to small businesses, programs for retraining unemployed workers, tax amortization benefits for industries expanding into areas of unemployment, development of natural resources, better security for the jobless, and the strengthening of the minimum wage, unemployment compensation and Social Security laws.

It concludes, as had Senator Kennedy, that the economy of each region was interdependent on the economies of the other regions of the nation and that when one region prospered, all benefited, while when one lagged, all were held back. It suggests that the migration of industry from New England to the South and Far West created a problem which called for thoughtful cooperation, which could not be solved by angry emotions based on inter-regional hostilities and suspicions.

The same basic principle would be in operation nine years later, when President Kennedy promulgated to Congress that which would become the Civil Rights Act of 1964, barring discrimination in private facilities open to the public and operating substantially in interstate commerce, thus subject to regulation by Congress under the commerce clause of the Constitution, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Unfortunately for the country, it took the assassination of the President for the realization of the need for those laws finally to set in with the majorities in both houses of Congress, the Civil Rights Act passed and signed into law by President Johnson on July 2, 1964.

Let us hope that in 2021, there will be no further need of tragedy before it sets in with the majorities of the new Congress that violent insurrection, encouraged, aided and abetted by the ostensible head of the Government, cannot be tolerated in a free, democratic republic, with any hope of that freedom and democracy surviving in any recognizable form, especially amid the new Administration's program to eliminate the pandemic and then get the economy moving again. We as a nation have seen quite enough unnecessary death and tragedy in 2020-21, and the instigator of it, the man at the top of the heap, needs to go now and fade quietly into the night, never to trouble the nation again. His hard-core supporters, those who are seeking to trample democracy in the name of "patriotism" to some unknown country and "faith" in some unknown "god", need to establish some grip on reality and abort their absurd fantasies of autocratic power, diametrically opposed to freedom and democracy, and any semblance of patriotism to same.

Patriotism to your form of government, discounting our form of government and the Constitution in the process, and faith in your god or gods, who supposedly tells you things in the middle of the night, in fact, only your own inner voice confirming your own wish-thinking, discounting in the process all other forms of belief and religion, hardly constitute anything resemblant to the United States of America, its laws and Constitution. It is far more akin to that collective psychosis which led to Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy of the 1930's.

"A Lesson Learned the Hard Way" indicates that the foreman of a local petit jury had thought the presiding judge rough when he had ordered the sheriff to take the foreman into custody on contempt of court for the foreman having gone to the scene of an alleged offense upon which the jury had been deliberating, taking some measurements inside a building and even talking to the defendant, all contrary to the judge's instructions not to discuss the case with anyone outside the court. It finds that the judge had acted appropriately, even if he might have spared the foreman a few hours in jail; but, it suggests, the young foreman had likely learned a valuable lesson, that the jury system would break down if every juror tried to be "a junior Hawkshaw".

Perhaps, more stress on basic civics in school and less worry about whether the little boys and girls are becoming good and proper "Christians" is in order to ensure their proper citizenship later on in life, imbued with a sense of fair play and recognition of the rights of others while also having a pragmatic understanding of how government works and why certain basic rules are necessary for government to function, and, indeed, why government is necessary in the first instance, not to oppress rights but rather to ensure that the rights of all are protected and that the rights of some are not trampled by the insistence of the few that only their interests be recognized. Government by force and the gun and government by moneyed interests are two forms of government any true democracy must strive to avoid at all costs.

"Continue Corporation Tax Rates" indicates that the previous month, Business Week had looked at the profits picture for 1953 and 1954, coming to the conclusion that corporate earnings for the prior year would be very good, but would still not be the top fiscal performer, that having been dividends, breaking all previous records. It quotes from the article.

It relates that some members of Congress and businessmen contended that the present tax rates reduced incentive and profits, disagreeing with the President, who had said the previous week in his State of the Union message that corporate taxes ought not be reduced. But, it observes, if Business Week was correct in its analysis, those contrary arguments were not valid and the President's request was reasonable and deserved support.

"Ho-Hum Dept." indicates that the previous week, for the eleventh time in 19 years, hearings had begun on Hawaiian statehood. The prior hearings since 1935 had embraced 89 days in which 550 witnesses had been heard for statehood and 66 witnesses against it, with 31 visits to Hawaii by Congressmen, 133 of whom had served on various committees which considered the issue. It indicates that one of the arguments for statehood which had not been considered was that admitting Hawaii to the union would save the taxpayers a lot of money on the visits, hearings and printing of numerous reports.

A piece from the Richmond News Leader, titled "Hold on Please", suggests that it was bad public relations for those in business and professionals to have their secretaries place calls for them, then putting the called party on hold while the big-shot determined when he would deign to pick up the receiver and conduct the conversation. It indicates that at the Leader, it was a rule that if a person was at their phone, they answered their phone and if they wanted to make a telephone call, they did the dialing.

It suggests that as a New Year's resolution, the next time such a call was received from a secretary, they would either hang up or ask "Brother Big" if he had broken his wrist.

Drew Pearson indicates that Republican leaders had terminated the Agriculture Department officials who had been responsible for convicting certain persons of theft of about five million dollars worth of grain, cotton and beans from Government warehouses, and had also held up collection of money from those who had illegally purchased the stolen farm produce, while Senator Hugh Butler of Nebraska had introduced a bill which would prevent collection of money from the purchasers. In Texas and the Midwest, several grain elevator operators, warehousemen and grain dealers had deliberately sold stored Government grain, and certain dealers had bought it, fully aware of the illegality, the grain having been consigned to the Commodity Credit Corp., a subsidiary of the Agriculture Department, as security for loans to the farmer when he stored the crop in a Government warehouse, and if the farmer defaulted on the loan, the crop automatically belonged to the Government. The Dallas representative of the solicitor of the Agriculture Department had moved in vigorously to prosecute the practice, under direct orders from former Secretary Charles Brannan, and had secured several convictions and prison terms, which Mr. Pearson lists. At that point, the Truman Administration had sought to collect more than five million dollars from the grain dealers who had purchased the illegal grain. But shortly after the start of the Eisenhower Administration, when Ezra Taft Benson became Secretary of Agriculture, a letter had been sent to the Dallas representative of the solicitor, ordering him to hold up the claims to collect that money, a letter from which Mr. Pearson quotes. No further advice had been provided. The Dallas representative, Mr. Pearson notes, had handed the cases over to the Justice Department and it was reported that some officials there disagreed with the new Agriculture Department directive and were seeking to prosecute the claims anyway. Meanwhile, however, the Dallas representative, who had been in the Government for 25 years, had been ordered to close up the Dallas office entirely, ostensibly based on the economy wave, and combine it with the Little Rock office. Mr. Pearson provides a list of associations of grain dealers which had pulled strings in Washington to get the collection stopped.

Meanwhile, Senator Butler, who had operated a grain company in Omaha and was once president of a grain dealers association, introduced the aforementioned bill to prevent the Government from collecting the money.

Stewart Alsop indicates that the President was rapidly gaining in prestige and popularity, as was the Democratic Party. Polls had revealed earlier that the popularity of the President had begun to fade, but that trend had been reversed by the President's December 8 speech at the U.N., favoring creation of the atomic materials sharing pool for peaceful purposes. Everything occurring since, culminating with the State of the Union message the prior Thursday, had provided the impression that the President had made up his mind what he wanted as a program and that he was determined to get it.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee had informally estimated that the Democrats would gain more than 40 seats in the House, were the midterm elections to occur at present, a finding which had only been made for internal purposes, and so was not partisan in nature, making room for Democratic losses in Chicago, Philadelphia and other places where Democratic prospects were shaky. The Crossley poll for the Boston Post indicated about the same prospective gain for the Democrats. Another national poll had recently shown the President's increase in popularity.

In addition, politicians returning from the hustings had reported much the same phenomenon. Senator Paul Douglas, who was up for re-election in 1954, had spent a long time determining whether to run again, as he was more inclined to academia than politics, and had financial worries. Nevertheless, he had decided to run because he believed he could win. Though normally pessimistic, he had come to that conclusion after traveling by car around Illinois for almost 13,000 miles, making 290 speeches in 150 towns in 88 counties, concluding that there was a very strong Democratic trend, more so than at any other time since he had entered politics.

Others from the same area of the country, such as Senator Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota, who had claimed to have shaken 250,000 hands during the prior fall, had reached the same conclusion for the same reasons, primarily regarding the economy and depressed farm prices. Many of the farmers blamed the lack of storage space for their surplus crops on Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson, generally also blaming the Republicans, a similar issue to that which had defeated Governor Dewey in 1948, when everyone had thought down to election day that he would win rather easily against incumbent President Truman.

James Marlow indicates that the President, who had provided to Congress his suggestions this date for amendments to Taft-Hartley, could only be sure of the fact that he had made a lot of people mad in the process, sure to displease union leaders who wanted the law completely abrogated and replaced with a new law, as well as businessmen who wanted the law made tougher or not changed at all. He could not be sure that the majority of both groups would see the proposed changes as being for the good of the country and therefore get behind them. Nor could he be certain that the majority of the Congress would agree to make any changes or, if so, that they would be the changes he had recommended.

During the previous year, when Congressional committees were holding hearings on proposed changes to the law, no one came from the Administration to provide recommendations. Former Secretary of Labor Martin Durkin had stayed away, eventually resigning because he claimed that the President had broken his pledge to put forward to the Congress 18 recommendations made by the Secretary which would have been acceptable to labor. The result had been no action by the Congress on Taft-Hartley. The reality behind the scenes was that the Administration had not made up its mind the previous year as to what changes it wanted to recommend, and had only made its decision between the time of Mr. Durkin's resignation the previous September and the present.

President Truman had wanted Taft-Hartley removed from the books, as did labor union leaders. The original law in 1947 had passed over the President's veto. But President Truman had been unable in the ensuing five years to get any action to amend or eliminate the law and return to a status quo more similar to the original 1935 Wagner Act, which had established the NLRB and Government-assisted collective bargaining in the event of otherwise irresolvable disputes between management and labor.

Robert C. Ruark suggests that the time to pay an employee more money was in the half-formed stage of the employment experience and skills, to keep the employee around the premises long enough to become grounded in the nature of the trade, grooming the employee for executive status. A lot of young talent, he observes, was lost because the apprenticeship was so long and starved that the candidate for future distinction abandoned the cherished work for something faster and more immediately lucrative.

He relates that at one point press-agentry almost got his services for a $20 raise over his job as a reporter, but he had settled for a $10 raise and stayed on the job, with his editor stretching the budget to enable the raise. He remained with the same firm for nearly 20 years and believes he would have made a lousy press agent anyway.

He believes also there was too much emphasis on certain training in closely confined fields, that when applying for a job, the employer asked for the amount of experience in some particular line of work, without realizing that once the employee had garnered enough experience in a particular trade, it extended to many areas of that trade. He suggests that if he were hiring for a firm, he would hire for potential rather than past experience, intending to teach the employee enough in a short time to provide the employer with the knowledge of whether the new employee would work out or not. He would pay the new employee an amount commensurate with the employee's needs while that person was training to become an executive.

He concludes that there was no lack of talent in the country, but rather that there was an absence of sufficient imagination among executives willing to gamble on some young person from the sticks, who might turn out to be the next chairman of the board.

A letter writer from Gastonia indicates that he had read in the newspaper that Mecklenburg doctors had considered forming a medical grievance committee and had watched the letters column for comment, had seen none, and so indicates that in his experience, such grievance committees were a waste of time, possibly even a fraud, as the doctor always won because the person who complained was regarded as a psychopath or a crackpot. Complaints had to be in writing and few people could or were willing to do it, and then the doctor was enabled to respond orally. Furthermore, if the doctor were proven guilty of the conduct on which complaint was made, there was only a slap on the wrist, provided the doctor would agree to it. He points out that the doctors could withdraw from the organizations which sponsored the grievance committees, and so it was inherently unfair.

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