The Charlotte News

Tuesday, January 19, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Panmunjom, the Communists demanded this date that the Indian command withdraw its decision to release back to the Communists and U.N. Command the non-repatriating war prisoners starting the following day, and indicated it would not accept the 349 non-repatriating prisoners previously held by the Communists, including 21 Americans. The Communists insisted on having more time to interview the 20,039 Korean and Chinese non-repatriating prisoners and that those prisoners be maintained in neutral custody until a peace conference, not yet scheduled, would decide their fate. The Indian command responded that they would go ahead with the transfer. The U.N. Command had said that the returned prisoners would be freed to civilian status at midnight on January 23.

According to the opinion of military sources in Japan and Korea, the 21 non-repatriating American prisoners had until midnight on January 23 to change their minds before the U.S. Army would give them undesirable discharges or list them as deserters. An undesirable discharge did not carry with it loss of citizenship, as did a dishonorable discharge, but it was the strongest form of discharge which the Army could give without a trial. Deserters were dropped from the rolls and could be tried and given a dishonorable discharge if captured. No court martials could be held in absentia under the military code. Only the Army Department or the National Security Council would make the decision on the non-repatriating Americans.

The Administration moved this date to delay for at least six weeks a showdown with Senate critics on its flexible farm price support program, with Agriculture Committee chairman Senator George Aiken of Vermont saying he would not push for a vote on the issue until around March 1. In the meantime, he said, he would ask the Committee to consider other parts of the program. He said that he was not discouraged by the fact that a majority of the Committee favored continuation of the 90 percent parity price supports on major field crops, instead of the 75 to 90 percent flexible support system. He said that he was confident there would be a workable program.

Senate Republican leaders expressed hope that they could avert an intra-party battle over a new compromise version of the proposed Bricker amendment to limit the President's treaty-making powers. Majority Leader Senator William Knowland of California announced the new compromise the previous day and predicted its adoption would quiet any doubt that the Constitution was supreme over any treaty or executive agreement. He provided no details of the proposed compromise.

The Administration received advice from Missouri Congresswoman Leonor Kretzer Sullivan this date to forget for a minute about the Big Four, atoms, deficits and the budget and do something about the 15-cent cup of coffee. She said that coffee prices were making coffee into a luxury beyond the reach of the ordinary person, believed it "almost un-American". She said that profiteering and speculation had caused the price of a cup of coffee in St. Louis and other cities to jump to 15 cents and a pound to increase to $1.10 or higher. She sent a letter to Secretary of State Dulles asking whether the State Department had reached any agreement with the coffee-supplying nations to ensure an adequate supply of the reduced production at fair prices.

The Senate Interior Committee voted 8 to 7 this date to approve statehood for both Hawaii and Alaska, both combined in a single bill.

In Washington, a compromise settlement was reached in the Government's antitrust suit against the A&P food chain, as announced this date by Attorney General Herbert Brownell. Under the agreement, the chain would not be broken up, but A&P had to move at once to dissolve Atlantic Commission Co., its produce buying subsidiary, accused of functioning in an inconsistent dual role as a direct buyer for the 6,000 retail stores across 40 states, while at the same time acting as a selling agent for the A&P suppliers in sales to the chains of retail competitors.

In Jakarta, Indonesia, thousand of Javanese fled their homes this date in the wake of an eruption of the volcano Merapi, which killed 25 persons and injured 66 others. The volcano had been showing unusual activities since the previous March, but its first serious eruption had occurred the previous day, sending volcanic ash as far as 40 miles north of Jogjakarta. The last previous eruption had occurred in 1930, resulting in between 7,000 and 30,000 deaths. In the year 1006, the volcano had wiped out a Hindu-Buddhist kingdom which had been been flourishing in central Java, after which Javanese history was blank for 250 years. Approximately 1.9 million people lived on the mountain's fertile eastern and southern slopes and in the surrounding valleys. A lava stream was moving eastward toward a town, and the lava was described as unusually gaseous, capable of moving at speeds of up to 200 feet per second and liable also to explode.

In San Francisco, a wealthy young real estate broker, 36, kidnaped the prior Saturday and held for $300,000 in ransom had been rescued unharmed early this date by police, who also in the process arrested the suspects. The ransom had not been paid. The kidnap victim was found shackled in a rented house a few minutes after two police inspectors picked up one of the two alleged kidnapers as he talked with the victim's family from a public telephone a few blocks away. The man then confessed and led officers to the hideout, implicating his accomplice. The news media had been aware of the kidnaping since shortly after it was reported to police by the victim's family, but had maintained it in secrecy while the family negotiated for the release. The victim said that the kidnapers had threatened to mutilate him, but had done him no harm, giving him water and food when he requested it.

In London, it was reported that a Brooklyn house painter and his German wife were meeting secretly this date in an effort to patch up their romance and give their six-year old son Jimmy a normal home again, with the rendezvous arranged for somewhere in London. Scotland Yard detectives the previous Sunday night had prevented the father's attempt to fly the boy from Germany back to New York, and the wife flew to London from Germany the previous night with her American lawyer, seeking to obtain custody of Jimmy in compliance with a German court order which provided her temporary custody pending a decision by a Stuttgart court on the parents' conflicting claims.

In Santa Monica, Calif., film star Gail Russell, as stated in a caption to her photograph, pleaded guilty in Municipal Court to public intoxication, was fined $150 and placed on two years probation.

In Hollywood, Terry Moore, whose ermine bathing suit figured in an alleged publicity stunt in Korea, was welcomed back the previous night with an Oriental party attended by her 20th Century-Fox movie boss, Darryl F. Zanuck. After other entertainers at the party called Mr. Zanuck to make a speech, he stripped to the waist and asked for a trapeze, which was lowered, and he proceeded to chin himself six times, to the amazement of the 400 guests. Ms. Moore then sang a song in honor of the feat and kissed Mr. Zanuck, whereupon he jumped onto the trapeze again and chinned himself a few more times. Among the guests were Clifton Webb, Conrad Hilton, Ann Blyth and her husband, Debbie Reynolds and Geary Steffen, former husband of Jane Powell. Ms. Moore said that her boss did not seem upset about the ermine bathing suit stunt. After the dinner, other stars came into the nightclub, including Linda Christian, Jimmy Durante, Jean Simmons, Mitzi Gaynor, Xavier Cugat and Abbe Lane, Scott Brady and Marie Windsor, and John Lund. That was certainly front page news.

On the editorial page, "Bricker's Rejection of Knowland Compromise Discloses Real Motive" continues from its editorial of the previous day regarding the proposed Bricker amendment to the Constitution to extend treaty ratification to executive agreements, thereby hampering foreign policy administration by the President. It indicates that the real motive of those behind the amendment had become clear from the rejection of several compromises made the previous July by Senator William Knowland of California, the Republican Majority Leader.

Senator Bricker and his supporters had argued that various pending U.N. pacts, if ratified by treaties, would nullify the Bill of Rights, and while there was nothing in the Constitution or previous Supreme Court decisions to support such a notion, Senator Knowland had agreed to add language as a compromise which would state that any provision of a treaty or other international agreement which conflicted with the Constitution would not have any force or effect, a compromise which Senator Bricker refused to accept.

In addition, the Senator and his supporters had argued that unwise treaties might be pushed through the Senate with a small number of Senators present, voting only by voice, to which Senator Knowland met with a compromise which stated that ratification of the treaty would only be made by record voting. Again, however, Senator Bricker refused the compromise.

Senator Bricker and his supporters had complained that treaties automatically became internal law, but rejected a compromise by Senator Knowland stating that when the Senate consented to ratification, a treaty would become effective as internal law only through the enactment of appropriate legislation by the Congress.

The President had supported the three compromises.

It indicates that the real intent of the Bricker amendment was to limit the foreign policy-making ability of the President, as was evident in its key provision subjecting executive agreements with any foreign power or international organization to the same ratification requirements as treaties. It posits that it was a section put forward by isolationists who no longer trusted the executive branch or the Senate, and had lost confidence in the Constitution and in the nation itself.

It quotes from testimony provided earlier by Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Chief Judge John J. Parker of Charlotte in opposition to the amendment, saying that it was both unnecessary and dangerous.

The piece urges Senators Clyde Hoey and Alton Lennon of North Carolina to vote against the treaty, as it was a dangerous and misguided attempt to tie the hands of the President at a crucial moment in world history.

"Should U.S. Sell Butter to Reds?" indicates that there were differing arguments on whether to meet the request of the Soviets to purchase from the U.S. 150 million pounds of surplus butter and a large quantity of cottonseed oil, also in surplus. One group in the Administration believed that with lessening military tensions, some trade in non-strategic materials with Russia and its satellites was inevitable, but other Administration leaders believed that any items of trade useful to Russia aided its Government in strengthening its economy and hold over the Russian and satellite peoples, and thus should be avoided.

Another problem arose from the fact that the supported market price of butter in the U.S. ranged between 69 and 75 cents, while Russia proposed to purchase the butter at the world price, which ranged between 40 and 50 cents. Secretary of Commerce Sinclair Weeks had said that the U.S. would not have the American housewife paying significantly more for butter than anyone else. But without the sale to the Russians, the butter would inevitably become rancid or would have to be given away at home or abroad, ultimately in either case costing the taxpayers more than selling it at the world price to the Russians. If the U.S. could get needed products such as manganese in exchange, that would even be better.

It suggests that the application of the President's "enlightened self-interest" yardstick to measure the greater benefit to the nation than to the Soviets ought favor trade in non-strategic materials.

It should only sell the best of butter, and then only to the Red Queen.

"GOP Changes Tune on 'Loss of China'" quotes language from the 1952 Republican platform condemning the Truman Administration for losing China to the Communists, substituting "on our Pacific flank a murderous enemy for an ally and friend." It indicates that while it was strong language, it was mild compared to the charges made on the campaign hustings by Republicans in Congress, that there had been a "sellout", "appeasement", and "treachery" by the Democratic Administration with regard to China.

The Administration's position, however, when facing the responsibility of managing foreign policy, had changed, with the current State Department Bulletin having an article by Walter McConaughy, director of the Office of Chinese Affairs, indicating that the collapse of the Nationalist Government on the mainland of China in 1948 and 1949 had been largely the result of the bitter and heroic early struggle with Japan, that it could not seriously be argued that the U.S. was primarily responsible for that debacle, that the U.S. help before and during those years between 1945 and 1949 had been quite substantial, even though proving ineffective.

The piece concludes that if the nation ever again passed through a political era of "such frenzied irresponsibility by the minority party", the people should recall that quiet change of position by the Republican leadership.

Drew Pearson indicates that the Air Force would send high-flying observation planes and guided missiles into the upper atmosphere for a closer look at Mars in the coming June, at the point when Mars approached the nearest point to the earth during the previous 13 years. The flying saucer enthusiasts claimed that the saucers appeared in greater numbers when Mars was close to the earth. The Air Force was skeptical about those claims, as there was no evidence linking flying saucers with other planets. Astronomers, however, had noticed straight lines across the face of Mars, leading down from the polar caps, which could be canals dug by intelligent beings to carry irrigation water from the melting glaciers to warmer regions.

The missiles to be sent for the closer look would be equipped with special instruments, and a scientific expedition would journey to South Africa, the closest point on earth from which to observe Mars.

The Air Force would compile a special report, still unpublished, summing up its findings on flying saucers, acknowledging that 20 percent of the reports could not be definitely associated with familiar things. About eight percent of the sightings came from civil airline pilots and approximately 25 percent from military personnel, some from qualified scientists, with the majority coming from civilians. In an attempt to photograph a flying saucer, the Air Force would set up diffraction-grating cameras at various air towers and use a continuously operating Schmidt telescope equipped with a camera to photograph the night sky in a series of photographic plates.

The President had recently met at the White House with black leaders, who had come away from the meeting disappointed in the President's stand on fair employment but were convinced that the President was not intolerant. He had declared that segregation and discrimination based on race or color had no place in a free country and that he would do all within his power to get rid of it. He did not agree with NAACP leaders who contended that the only way to combat race discrimination in employment was to have a law, such as the Fair Employment Practices Act, protecting workers against intolerant employers. The President agreed that there were biased employers, but said that while he did not agree with them, he could not approve of the use of any kind of compulsion regarding employment, and expressed doubt about the jurisdiction of a Federal FEPC commission in the various states.

When the NAACP executive secretary Walter White had told the President that slum clearance in some areas meant that black residents were moved out but could not move back after new housing was constructed, the President appeared to know about that and said that he had discussed it with his housing officials, saying it was intolerable and that something would be done about it, that Federal assistance should never be given to anything which promoted segregation. The President appeared surprised to learn that segregation was still practiced in interstate travel, despite a Supreme Court decision outlawing it. The black leaders informed him that a black Air Force lieutenant recently had been jailed in Florida because he would not surrender his seat on an Alabama-bound bus. The President was incensed at the report and said he would see to it that a complete investigation was made of the matter.

Joseph Alsop assesses where the U.S. stood vis-à-vis the Communist threat to the free world after the first year of the Eisenhower Administration and after the death the previous March 5 of Joseph Stalin. He indicates that the death of Stalin had given the Kremlin more flexibility in policy both at home and abroad. He says that, for instance, Stalin had been imperiling the vital Russo-Chinese alliance and had been exercising tyranny for the sake of tyranny against his own people. Since 1951 at the latest, the Soviet Union's national income would have allowed more generous treatment to the Russian masses, as there were huge strategic stocks of wheat, other storable foods, army clothing and the like, and now the Kremlin's new rulers had ordered greater liberality with respect to the people. Stalin's diplomacy had worked to unify the Western allies and spur them on to greater effort, but the new Kremlin leaders were not so blundering.

There was no evidence as yet that the Soviet empire had been weakened by the internal convulsions following Stalin's death. Every informed person had known that the Germans hated their Russian masters with a passion, but when the revolt erupted the previous mid-June, it was put down with only a slight show of force. In the same manner, L. P. Beria was liquidated without great upset. Mr. Alsop asks whether those were signs of strength or weakness, unable to provide the answer.

Similarly ambiguous was the fact that the Soviets were now buying consumer goods abroad and paying for them with their vast supplies of gold, which Stalin had hoarded, but the fact had not resulted in any relaxation of the great military effort in Russia, which indeed was going the other way.

The world balance of military power was plainly moving against the West, as the Pentagon was now touting the country's great superiority in atomic weapons. But that had been the case for at least three years, and the Pentagon glossed over the fact that the Soviets had developed enough atomic weapons to devastate the U.S. In every other respect, U.S. and Western military efforts were being weakened and cut back, while the armed forces of the Soviet empire were being continually increased. The ensuing two years, he suggests, ought give Communist China a modern land army of 170 divisions and a modern air force of 3,500 planes, creating an imbalance of power in Asia.

In addition, the movement of local political situations all over the world had been unfavorable to the West, though there had been some successes, such as the prevention of a Communist takeover in Iran, the Korean truce, and the fortunate results in the Philippine elections. But, he cautions, everything for which the U.S. had fought to prevent in the Korean War would likely occur if there were trouble in Indo-China, where the position of the French was perilous in the extreme. Conditions in Europe were also darker than at any time since 1947, and even NATO might be in danger. Moreover, neither the Administration nor any other Western leaders appeared to have any answer to the new Soviet strategy of encouraging Western disunity and complacency through its peace entreaties in Europe, meanwhile pressing the attack on the free world's soft Asian flank.

James Marlow indicates that every President for the previous 30 years, including President Eisenhower, had supported the idea of making the St. Lawrence River a seaway for ocean-going ships to travel between the Atlantic and the Great Lakes. The Senate had been debating for the previous week a bill to have the U.S. partner with Canada in developing that seaway, which would include deepening the channel and building locks at a cost of 88 million dollars for the U.S. and 175 million for Canada.

The issue had been before Congress several times since the end of World War I, but whenever it had come to a vote, as in 1934, 1944, 1948 and 1952, the Senate had voted against it. Canada, fed up with waiting on the U.S., had indicated that it would go ahead and develop the seaway, with or without U.S. help.

The seaway had been supported by the military chiefs of staff, the Secretary of Defense, the National Security Council and the National Security Resources Board, and the President believed it ought go forward for the sake of national security.

Mr. Marlow explains that the waterway stretched for 1,185 miles north from Lake Ontario through the St. Lawrence River and gulf to the Atlantic, that for 144 miles, the river formed the boundary between the U.S. and Canada, and any American development would be limited to that stretch, as the rest of the waterway was in Canada. If Congress approved the seaway, the U.S. would join Canada in deepening the channel where necessary to a minimum of 27 feet, building locks, and charging tolls for the ships passing through it. If the U.S. did not join with Canada, then Canada alone would collect the tolls, mostly from U.S. shipping. Work by the U.S. would cover about 11 miles, plus the building of three locks and guard gates, while Canada would deepen the channel as needed elsewhere, build four locks, and widen the Welland Canal, which joined Lakes Ontario and Erie. The work would take about six years.

A letter writer indicates that traffic signals at secondary streets crossing Independence Boulevard stayed green too long, particularly at three intersections which he names, indicating that the City traffic engineer knew what he was doing and probably had reasons for the timing of the signals, but advises that the traffic along the boulevard had previously moved smoothly, but was now going in starts and stops.

A letter writer from Blairstown, N.J., a past president of the National Licensed Beverage Association, comments on the editorial, "The Public Be Damned", reprinted from the New York World-Telegram & Sun, finding that it had done a serious injustice to him and 144,000 other tavern owners across the country. In a speech in Atlantic City, he had said that sale of alcohol to a minor was the responsibility of the licensee and the controlling agency, but that the effort of the minor to purchase the alcoholic beverage represented a parental failure, that it was about time the responsibility for purchases by minors was placed where it belonged, on the parents. He indicates that only part of the statement, however, had been reported, and it had destroyed his meaning. He asserts that he and the organization he represented were quite in favor of stringent requirements in connection with licensees' sales to minors. He indicates, however, that their efforts had to be matched by parental training and inculcating a sense of responsibility in minors.

A letter writer responds to a letter published January 15 from someone who signed only "Democrat", believes that the letter should have been printed on the front page as it was the first public admission by anyone who bragged about being a Democrat that under the party's 20-year rule, they had "primed the pump" so hard that they had burst the inflationary balloon and could not prevent the present period of readjustment and partial return to reality. He suggests that the real cause of growing unemployment were the high taxes and unreasonable demands of the leaders of organized labor. He says that no employer, except the Federal Government under Democratic rule, would deliberately bankrupt his company.

A letter writer responds to the same letter, indicating that the previous writer's concern about there being 3.7 million unemployed had to be compared to the 4.7 million unemployed during fiscal year 1949-50, which would have been higher, the writer suggests, had it not been for the Korean War. He indicates that in the adjustment from a wartime to peacetime economy, there would be disruptions regardless of which party was in power. He wonders if a "few people unemployed" was the worst thing which could happen.

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