The Charlotte News

Friday, January 15, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Panmunjom, Communist China, via Peiping radio, said this date that the U.N. Command would endanger the Armistice by accepting the 22,000 Chinese and North Korean non-repatriating prisoners back from the Indian custodial troops on January 20. The Communists were insisting that the non-repatriating prisoners be continued in the custodial care of the Indian troops until their fate could be determined by the as yet unscheduled Korean peace conference. The U.S. Eighth Army was already making preparations to receive the 22,000 prisoners, and then to release them as civilians a week hence, as scheduled, at midnight on January 22. The radio broadcast from Peiping did not say if the Communists would receive back the 21 American, one British and 325 South Korean prisoners who were resisting repatriation to their allied homelands. A spokesman for the Indian custodial troops said that they had made the unilateral decision on release and would stick by it, indicating that they did not need approval from the five-nation Neutral Nations Repatriation Commission.

Members of Congress appeared ready to approve the President's request for larger Social Security benefits and more Social Security taxes to cover the increased benefits, in response to the President's special message on Social Security sent to the Congress the previous day. Speaker of the House Joseph Martin assured that the Congress would enact most of the program, but a key Democratic leader, who remained anonymous, said that Democrats would oppose it. House Ways & Means Committee chairman Daniel Reed of New York praised the program and said that his Committee would begin work on it probably in early March. The program's details had been provided on the front page the previous day and are again provided this date.

Members of Congress were invited this date to vote for a $12,500 per year salary increase, which would boost their salaries to $27,500 per year, after a special commission set up to study salary issues had recommended that increase, together with a $14,500 increase for Supreme Court justices, and comparable raises for other Federal judges, plus higher expense allowances for the Vice-President and Speaker of the House. (For the Vice-President, there should be a special rider included to accommodate Checkers in the manner to which she had become accustomed.) There was also a recommended provision to establish an official mansion for the Vice-President and his successors—which, ironically, would not occur until Vice-President Nelson Rockefeller first moved into the Naval Observatory as the official residence in 1974, following the resignation of President Nixon in August, the succession to the Presidency of Vice-President Gerald Ford and his appointment of his successor as Vice-President, Governor Rockefeller, the second appointed Vice-President in the course of a year, both necessarily confirmed by the Senate. There was also a recommendation for further study of pensions for widows and dependents of various officials.

In Boston, Professor Wendell Furry of Harvard University testified this date before a one-man Senate subcommittee that he was one of six Communist Party members who had worked in a top-secret MIT radar laboratory during World War II, but declined to say who the other five persons were, after being ordered by Senator Joseph McCarthy to disclose their identities. The professor said that none of the others were presently employed on any government work or at MIT. He also said, in response to the Senator's question, that none of them, to his knowledge, had disappeared behind the Iron Curtain. In three previous appearances before Congressional committees, the professor had refused to answer questions about whether he had ever been a member of the Communist Party. A Harvard research assistant also appeared before Senator McCarthy this date but refused to provide names of Communists he had known.

The House Armed Services Committee this date approved a bill creating a separate Air Force academy and authorizing an outlay of 26 million dollars to begin work on it, the measure having been approved by a vote of 26 to 0—not far from the 35 to 0 score in the 1963 Gator Bowl, by which UNC would defeat the Air Force Academy in football. Estimates of final costs ranged from 125 million to 500 million dollars. The story notes that a Mecklenburg County site had been one of the original candidates for location of the academy selected by an earlier appointed civilian board. A new board was about to be appointed by Secretary of the Air Force Harold Talbott after the bill passed the Congress, and, he said, within about 90 days after that point, the site of the academy would be chosen—ultimately Colorado Springs.

Near Casablanca, a four-engined Air Force bomber crashed the previous night on the Moroccan coast, with the co-pilot killed and another member of the crew seriously injured, while two other crew members suffered lesser injuries.

In Manila, President Ramon Magsaysay's office this date ordered a supply of jumbo-sized appointment books, because the President saw so many people every day that a normal-sized datebook was not large enough.

Ralph Thomas, president of the American Automobile Association, called for help this date on behalf of drivers confounded by the infinite variations of control positions and markings on automatic transmissions in cars. He said that he was convinced that only an "advanced scholar, automotive engineers, someone versed in identifying government 'alphabet agencies' could figure it all out." He hoped that the manufacturers would agree soon on a standardized pattern of gears before they ran out of letters of the alphabet. He had provided examples of the letters in different shift patterns on different cars, included in the story. The story ends with an editor's note that it had taken decades for auto manufacturers to agree on something as simple as the "H" shift pattern for manual transmissions.

In San Francisco, former New York Yankees baseball player Joe DiMaggio and actress Marilyn Monroe were married in Municipal Court the previous day after a two-year romance. The ceremony was supposed to have been secret, but an estimated 500 persons heard about it and jammed the corridors of City Hall in San Francisco. The judge who performed the ceremony said that he was sorry that he had forgotten to kiss the bride. Mr. DiMaggio had kissed the bride repeatedly for news photographers, though bashfully. They then whisked away in their Cadillac, with Mr. DiMaggio saying that they had to put a lot of miles behind them, declining to say where they would spend their honeymoon. Ms. Monroe had promised to "love, honor and cherish" Mr. DiMaggio, but had not promised to obey him. The best man was Mr. DiMaggio's restaurant manager and the latter's wife was matron of honor. Also present were Mr. DiMaggio's brother, Tom, and his wife, plus Mr. and Mrs. Lefty O'Doul, presently manager of a San Diego farm club in the Pacific Coast League, having given Mr. DiMaggio his start when he had managed the San Francisco Seals. After the ceremony, Ms. Monroe said, "We're very happy." She said that she would like to have six children while Mr. DiMaggio said that they would have at least one. They planned to make their home in San Francisco, and she would go to Hollywood whenever she had to make a movie, but she said she had no current plans for any films. She had been suspended the previous week by 20th Century-Fox for not showing up for a role in "Pink Tights". A series of three pictures is included, but not those which had appeared in Playboy the prior December in its maiden issue, in which she wore considerably less than pink tights, perhaps the cause, in one way or another, for Mr. DiMaggio deciding that it was time to tie the knot—maybe to avoid more staples through her midriff. Unfortunately for the couple, whether over the dispute regarding how many children to have or have not, the happiness would fade after about nine months, and they would be divorced before the end of the year. She had been married once before, at the age of 16, to a man who was presently a policeman in Van Nuys, and had quickly divorced him also.

Blizzard conditions gripped Montana early this date and the first severe winter storm of the season had pushed into Wyoming, over the Continental Divide, on the heels of 40 mph winds. The Helena Weather Bureau issued a special advisory that Montana temperatures would fall this date and into the night to thirty below zero in the north and ten below in the south. Up to 12 inches of snow had fallen in the Flathead Valley in northwestern Montana, where schools were closed.

On the editorial page, "The Stark, Fundamental Issues in Asia" indicates that, just as Senator McCarthy, Governor Dewey and other Republicans had attributed the loss of China and other Western setbacks in the Far East to the Roosevelt and Truman Administrations, there might come a time not too far in the future when Democrats would turn the tables and regard more losses in Asia to Communism as the responsibility of the Eisenhower Administration.

It indicates that neither political party could rightfully be held responsible for what had occurred or would occur in distant lands, as Asians would make their own major decisions, even if what the U.S. did or did not do in Asia would have bearing on the outcome of the struggle. Both parties, however, perhaps with the support of a substantial majority of Americans, had shied away from making some decisions which had to be made if U.S. objectives were to be accomplished in Asia.

The Truman Administration had adopted the policy of "containment" of Communism in Asia through "limited objective" warfare, as in Korea, plus a reduction of the appeal of Communism through Point Four technological and agricultural assistance. The Eisenhower Administration preferred to reduce military and economic aid and rely instead on the threat of atomic retaliation against Russia or China in the event of aggression in Asia. The new doctrine, enunciated recently by Secretary of State Dulles, might or might not, it indicates, be successful in deterring any surprise attack but was not suited to the situation in such places as Indo-China where present Communist policy was to supply, through the Chinese, the native Communists' guerrilla warfare, avoiding an overt act of aggression by either Russia or China which might result in an atomic war.

Joseph Alsop, in his column of the previous day, had pointed out that the primary need of the French in Indo-China was more troops and not so much additional supplies, only the latter being offered by the U.S., leading to the question whether, ultimately, the U.S. Government would be willing to send troops, which, thus far, it adamantly had refused to do.

It finds, therefore, that the Dulles policy was not geared to the guerrilla-type war. While troops were needed in Indo-China, two divisions of Americans were being sent home from Korea and the Nationalist troops of Chiang Kai-shek remained on Formosa, while the French were anxious to wind up their seven-year war in Indo-China.

The issue of recognition of Communist China and admission of it to the U.N. could be used by the West as a negotiating tool, but, of itself, it suggests, was of little consequence. Russia had profited more from U.S. aid during the period of the New Economic Plan of the 1920's than it had from U.S. diplomatic recognition in 1933 and onward. Likewise, it suggests, trade in strategic materials with Communist China, presently insignificant in amount, appeared less important than the neglected matter of rearranging trade patterns in the free world so that countries such as Japan and Britain, which previously had traded with mainland China, could find other markets which permitted them to maintain a strong economy without the Chinese trade.

It ventures that if the Administration's view was that there should be an all-out war or none at all, then the McMahon idea of a gigantic aid program, proposed as alternative to a gigantic arms program, ought be reconsidered, relegating the lesser issues to the background and facing the fundamental issues of the situation in Asia.

"Let Them Earn the Right To Vote" discusses the proposal of the President that the voting age be lowered from 21 to 18, and wonders whether it should be done by amendment to the Constitution, as the President had proposed, or only state by state. The President had relied on the oft-stated argument that if a person was old enough at 18 to fight for his country, then he was old enough to vote.

At present, only Georgia permitted 18-year olds to vote. Senator Richard Russell of Georgia, while believing that the lower minimum age in his state was working well, opposed an amendment to the Constitution changing the voting age as a violation of states' rights.

The piece indicates that it could not generate much enthusiasm for the issue one way or the other, as it viewed chronological age as no real indicator of a person's ability to take part in government and because many 18-year olds did not appear to care whether they had the right to vote or not, as with their elders. It finds the President's argument, if taken to the other end of the age spectrum, to suggest implicitly that when one became too old to fight for one's country, that person should forfeit the right to vote. The states' rights argument was also not very important on the issue. But it finds, on balance, that if the voting age were changed, it ought be initiated at the state level, as it would mean that more young people would have to get out and earn the right to vote by agitating for the change in each state's laws. It indicates that one thing which might change its opinion would be for younger people to engage in politicking on their own behalf, lobbying legislators and writing letters to the editor, which it regards as not asking too much.

The voting age was changed in Federal elections in 1971 by the 26th Amendment to the Constitution, ratified the same year, having gained currency during the latter 1960's because of the draft for the Vietnam War, reviving the argument that if one was old enough to die for the country, one was old enough to vote. It might also be noted that in the latter 1960's, young people became active in the anti-war movement, as well as throughout the 1960's in the civil rights movement, and so, presumably, fulfilled the prerequisite of the editorial for active involvement in politics.

"'Wash-Outs' Aren't Always Wash-Outs" indicates that back in the days when there were posters in front of the post office featuring P-40s, encouraging people to become a flying cadet, there were stories circulating of "washed-out" pilots who had not made the grade in flying school or who had acquired wings but then were kicked out of the Air Force for some unseemly conduct in a bar or barracks, and nevertheless became an object of awe among "embryo birdmen" for perhaps buzzing a girlfriend's house or looping over a bridge when the commanding officer happened to be driving across it, admired for their proficiency, if not their timing.

But many had washed out because they were not pilot material, were instead sent off to navigation, bombardment or gunnery school, or to a desk or hangar job. Their buddies had pointed out that the instructors had it in for certain cadets and that some could become excellent pilots if the Air Force had allotted more time for their training.

It indicates that the thoughts had come to mind when the story of Col. Bill Millikan's new flight record had been announced, flying his F-86 Sabre jet from Los Angeles to New York in four hours, eight minutes and five seconds, beating the old record by five minutes. Col. Millikan had made a name for himself in World War II by shooting down 15 German planes. It suggests that every "washed out" cadet could take some satisfaction in the accomplishment, as in 1941, before the colonel had joined the RAF, he had been washed out of the Army Air Force because he was assessed not to be "pilot material".

Drew Pearson indicates that the Administration had alarmed big business recently when the Justice Department brought an antitrust suit against Pan American Airways, long considered a sacred cow among both Republicans and Democrats in Washington. The basis for the suit was that Pan American and Grace Steamship Lines had formed a company which could monopolize air transportation between the U.S. and Latin America. During the Roosevelt Administration, there had been an initial attempt by Assistant Attorney General Thurmond Arnold to bring an antitrust action against Pan American, but the effort had been stopped by Attorney General Robert Jackson, indicating that Mr. Arnold would have to resign if he initiated such action, the President eventually promoting Mr. Arnold to a judgeship on the U.S. Court of Appeals to get him out of the way. Mr. Pearson notes that the Assistant Attorney General, Stanley Barnes, who was undertaking the latest action against Pan Am and Grace had been the subject of a joke around Washington, asking how soon it would be before he was promoted to the Supreme Court. Mr. Pearson also indicates that former Attorney General under President Calvin Coolidge, Harlan Stone, had been appointed to the Supreme Court by President Coolidge when he had insisted on prosecuting Alcoa, belonging to Andrew Mellon, then Secretary of the Treasury.

Senate investigators wanted to stanch the nearly 150,000 auto thefts each year, mostly the result of teenagers hot wiring cars, after breaking the wing windows or picking the door locks. Committee investigators wanted to eliminate the wing windows, have manufacturers place an outside lock on the car which could not be picked and an inside lock on the ignition.

All of that is well and good until the manufacturers outsmart the owner of the vehicle with electronic anti-theft devices which immobilize the car when they short out and cease to function, costing upwards of $1,000 for a $50 part which has to be recoded by the dealer before the car can be started again. With that, the anti-theft efforts have come full circle over the past 25 years or so, to defeat the owner of the car and line the pockets of the manufacturer, while the thief probably has retired to another line of work, purchasing at rock-bottom prices immobilized vehicles not worth fixing at the dealer, then selling them for parts—unless the owner is determined and willing to spend some time locating the immobilizer, buying a replacement with the same part number and then the software necessary to recode it, all for under about $100 and probably 40 hours of time, most of which spent in schooling oneself in the recoding operation.

Marquis Childs indicates that Secretary of State Dulles had a strong conviction of the vital importance of continuity in American foreign policy, and within that framework, he had put forth his latest analysis of policy changes in his speech to the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, saying that a mobile military force capable of quick shifts to meet aggression wherever it occurred made good sense, contrasting that with the costly effort to build fixed strength at every point of possible danger. He said that the way to deter aggression was for the "free community to be willing and able to respond vigorously at places and with means of its own choosing." Implicit in that statement was use of atomic weaponry in lieu of ground forces in an effort to obtain more bang for the buck. As that policy was implemented by the National Security Council, it was becoming evident that the contest with Communism had changed in its emphasis from military to economic.

In Europe, U.S. Ambassador to Italy Clare Boothe Luce had indicated great growth of Communist strength in that country, wracked with poverty. In Asia, new and uncertain democratic governments were struggling against heavy odds to overcome serious economic and social problems, such as in India, Burma, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and Japan, where the submerged power of Communism was growing. At the same time, the Communist regime in mainland China was consolidating its power and was largely conducting the economic life of Southeast Asia, using it as a fifth column.

Leading officials in the Administration believed that Communist China had to be isolated from the non-Communist world through, to the extent possible, non-recognition of China and trade blockade. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral Arthur Radford, was the chief proponent of that course, followed also by Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs, Walter Robertson. Admiral Radford had advocated that course within the NSC, drawing an analogy between Russia at the time of the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917 and Communist China in 1949 at the conclusion of the civil war. After 1917, the West had helped to build the technological strength of the Soviet state, especially during the Depression, and Admiral Radford stressed that the same kind of Western trade could not be permitted to aid Communist China build up its infrastructure, calling for a trade boycott to prevent industrialization.

Mr. Childs regards it as a logical and consistent policy and likely the best course to ensure American security in Asia. But he also points out that those who advocated the course often ignored the clear implication that if it were to succeed, it would necessarily be accompanied by a concerted effort, calling for large American expenditures. An example was Japan with its 83 million people, which had to have a trade outlet to avoid starvation, where trade with China had been traditional. Thus, alternative markets had to be developed by U.S. aid for Japan to supplant those lost to China if a trade blockade were implemented. Isolating Communist China, he concludes, was not, of itself, a policy and time was running out with no positive policy, increasing the peril that most of the rest of Asia would, in the years ahead, become Communist by default.

James Marlow indicates that the principal question raised by Secretary Dulles in his outline of the change in American military strategy and foreign policy was whether it would work. He had indicated that the country realized how poorly it had been equipped to fight a war when it had to mobilize suddenly at the start of the Korean War, beginning hastily to rearm and build ground armies, a policy which could not be followed in subsequent wars because of the expense in money and manpower both for the U.S. and its allies. The Communists, in contrast, had a much larger reservoir of manpower from which to draw and demonstrated less regard for human life. Furthermore, if the U.S. attempted to maintain forces under arms indefinitely, waiting for another outbreak of aggression, it would bankrupt the country. Either way, the Communists would win the war of men and money, and such a policy would enable the Communists to pick their battleground.

Thus, the Administration had decided to place reliance on power to hit the Communists with "massive" retaliation, implying again use of atomic weaponry, with that retaliation occurring, according to Secretary Dulles, at places of the country's own choosing.

Mr. Marlow asks whether the U.S. would be prepared to carry out such a threat in the event of a new instance of aggression, whether it would be prepared to bomb China, and if so, prepared to face the potential for a sudden attack from Russia in aid of their ally, thus leading to atomic war. He also asks whether U.S. allies would agree to that strategy, a problem which the Truman Administration had also faced and had nixed when General MacArthur had urged bombing of Manchurian air and supply bases during the Korean War. But Secretary Dulles had indicated a decision made consistent with the position of General MacArthur, a policy which would not be tested unless the Chinese or Russians attacked.

Mr. Marlow also suggests that rather than overt aggression, the Communists might seek to foment internal revolution, and wonders whether the U.S. would be prepared to retaliate in that event, such as in Italy.

Secretary Dulles had recognized the need for land armies as local defenses which would be backed up, in the case of attack, by the massive retaliation, but had not indicated that the Truman Administration, until the need for ground forces became evident with the aggression in Korea, had also depended on the atomic bomb as a deterrent to Russian aggression. The Russians, by using North Korean Communists to do the fighting, had avoided direct confrontation, not providing the casus belli.

Robert C. Ruark indicates that it was a difficult task to keep handkerchiefs clean from smudges of lipstick, because everyone was kissing each other, women kissing men routinely in nightclubs and restaurants as a form of casual greeting, women kissing women, and even men sometimes kissing men, though he drew the line at the latter course. He says that he did not mind some mild wrestling but finds public kissing unsanitary and a waste of time.

Much as this column this date is a waste of time, and so you may go ahead and read the remainder of it for yourself, should you be inclined to appreciate more fully the kissing habit apparently extant in 1954 in the night spots around New York. He concludes that the Italian elections had been swung by the fact of excluded ballots, not counted for their bearing extraneous marks of lipstick.

A letter writer, who signs only "Democrat", finds that layoffs in employment around the country, expected to increase to 3.5 million in 1954, would likely ensure the defeat of the Republicans in 1954 in the midterm elections.

A letter writer from Forest City, a member of the National Guard, tells of the benefits to society of the Guard, that it had sent 100,000 men to fight in the Korean War, was a strictly volunteer group of citizen-soldiers "ready to serve and defend" the country against attack of any enemy aggressor. He assures that they were not draft dodgers and felt as much a part of the nation's defense as any branch of the service, that they were ready for the call to duty and were strong, in need of everyone's support. He also indicates that they needed volunteers, and so indicates that if one were between the ages of 17 and 35, they could join the Guard by contacting a local Guard unit.

He likely never envisioned that the Guard would have to be mobilized to protect the inauguration of a new President against the whacko followers of the outgoing whacko occupant of the White House, who has spent the last five years encouraging those whackos to engage in violent, abusive and generally disruptive conduct whenever it suited his purposes—which is why the whacko is leaving office on Wednesday with the lowest approval rating during his entire term of office, 29 percent, amid the most consistently low approval ratings, never rising above 50 percent, in the history of polling on the subject, and, of course, impeached for the second time, this one for instigating insurrection on January 6, encouraging his gathered followers to march to the Capitol to "fight like hell" to "take back" the country after the election in November was supposedly rigged by a dead Venezuelan dictator and consequently stolen from him and his mindless, red-hat wearing cult followers, a baseless allegation which has been debunked in and out of the courts literally dozens of times during the previous two months. It is likely that we shall never see his like again darken the door of the White House as its occupant, at least, should we be that fortunate as a nation.

We welcome President Biden and Vice-President Harris to their new Administration, which, no doubt, will be strictly engaged in a positive effort to get the demoralized country moving again out of the morass of the pandemic and consequent economic valley, while the Justice Department does not neglect its sworn duties to uphold the law and Constitution by seeking prosecution of those who have encouraged, aided and abetted, and participated in the recent insurrection, as well as the several other prior crimes taking place within the context of the current outgoing Administration. Deterrence is a central tenet of the criminal law in any context. That is not a negative, as many Republicans, who supported the nut, contend, but rather a positive attempt to prevent ever again any recurrence of the kind of incompetence and divisiveness which has dragged the country down not only in the past year but for all of the previous four years.

By the way, Trumpie, this is not Kent State and it is not 1970, nor 1776, nor 1865, and there is no controversial war or draft taking place for you to protest. Nor was there any "stolen" election. Your very unpopular Leader, who lost the popular vote by 2.9 million in 2016, lost by seven million this time, plus the electoral college, this time. Go home and read something honest and edifying for a change, rather than spending your next several months and years paying legal bills and fending off jail for a cause, not only long forgotten but never existing in the first instance.

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