The Charlotte News

Thursday, January 21, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Panmunjom, it was reported that if the Communists refused to accept back from the Indian custodial command the 349 non-repatriating prisoners, including 21 Americans, originally from the allied side, then the Indian guards would open the gates of the stockade and walk away at midnight on Friday.

The 21 Americans who had refused repatriation would be declared "undesirable" and discharged the following day. The Pentagon had chosen a middle course of action to avoid possible legal difficulties for the men, should they change their minds. A month earlier, the Defense Department had said that it had narrowed the Army's choices of action to three, maintain the men on Army rolls and defer decision for the indefinite future, give them undesirable discharges, or drop them from Army rolls as deserters. The first course was ruled out by legal opinion that the Armistice terms provided that prisoners from both sides refusing repatriation had to be released as civilians. Some Army officers believed they should be declared deserters, but if any of them subsequently decided to return, they would then be subject to automatic arrest and court-martial and could not be convicted of desertion without a trial at which they were present. Pentagon lawyers had pointed out that the Armistice terms guaranteed the free choice of prisoners as to the side for which they intended to declare allegiance, and so lawyers suggested that a charge of desertion might not be sustainable legally. When the undesirable discharges became effective, service pay for the 21 Americans would cease to accumulate, and it would be difficult, though not impossible, for them to qualify for veterans' benefits, to be determined by the V.A. on a case-by-case basis. Each would be entitled to have his discharge reviewed and tried to show whether he was coerced into making the decision not to repatriate, should any of them decide subsequently to return home.

In Inchon, Korea, 28 U.S. Marines were said to be dead or missing this date after a troopship, loaded with 1,000 Chinese war prisoners returned to U.N. custody, collided with and capsized a small landing craft. The death toll had been surpassed by only one prior naval disaster in the Korean theater. There were 22 survivors, rescued from the waters of Inchon Harbor minutes after the collision, and none were seriously injured.

The President sent a 65.5 billion dollar budget to the Congress this date, having cut 5.25 billion from total spending, but proposing record outlays for atomic energy, continental defense and overseas military aid. The report indicated that the Government would wind up the 1954-55 fiscal year with a three billion dollar deficit. He said that no further general tax cuts were justified at the present. The proposed spending for atomic energy was increased by 225 million to 2.425 billion dollars, and would be concentrated on operations, as most atomic energy plant construction had been completed. No figure was set for continental defense, but the President said that outlays would be greater than ever before in the history of the country, to provide early warning and reaction to attack. Military aid would increase by 75 million, to a new high of 4.275 billion dollars. The President also said that there was no way for the Government to operate within the present debt limit of 275 billion dollars during the last six months of 1954, and therefore renewed his request for a higher debt ceiling. He had made the request the prior summer, but the Congress had adjourned before it could consider the matter. Secretary of the Treasury George Humphrey said that he favored raising the limit by 15 billion, as he had the prior summer. A pair of pie graphs, one showing the breakdown of tax dollars and the other, expenditures, are included with the story.

Secretary of State Dulles left Washington for Berlin this date to attend the Big Four foreign ministers conference, set to begin January 25, to discuss unification of Germany and conclusion of an Austrian peace treaty.

Near Jhampir, Pakistan, about 75 miles north of Karachi, the 60 mph Pakistan Mail passenger train collided with a petroleum-carrying freight train about 75 miles north of Karachi early this date, and officials said they feared that the dead and injured might exceed 100. There were many foreigners, including Americans and Britons aboard the passenger train, but the damage appeared restricted to lower-class coaches just behind the engine, two of which were completely burned and two others and the engines of both trains, badly damaged. Among the passengers was the Pakistani Foreign Minister, who officials said was safe, as his car was in the middle of the train. A special rescue train carrying doctors, nurses and medical equipment was rushed to the collision from Karachi. The Pakistan Mail was the fastest passenger train operated by the Northwestern Railways.

Near Cleveland, Tenn., a truck carrying 40,000 pounds of TNT overturned on a rain slickened highway the previous day, but a demolition crew safely transferred the TNT to another vehicle. No one had been injured in the accident and there was no explosion.

Luicen Agniel of The News reports of a twin-engine Beechcraft plane having crashed shortly after takeoff in the woods south of Douglas Municipal Airport during the morning, and the pilot and four passengers had miraculously walked away from the wreck, with the pilot suffering slight facial lacerations and abrasions of the right leg, and one passenger having several teeth knocked out. One motor on the plane had failed shortly after takeoff. The plane was already at the treetops at that point and so the pilot shut off the other engine to avoid a fire and held his course. The plane sheared off the tops of pine trees for 75 yards and then came to a stop in thick underbrush. All aboard thanked the good pilot. Because there was no fire, the North Carolina Air National Guard's new $45,000 fire truck, which arrived at the scene of the crash, did not get its first test. The plane was owned by Belk-Leggett Stores of Danville, Va., and was used for business trips. The first police officers on the scene said they did not understand how the pilot had been able to bring the plane down in such timber. A picture of the downed plane is included.

Also in Charlotte, a man clad in a raincoat during the late morning drew a pistol on a middle-aged woman, operator of a grocery store, and took approximately $40 in cash from the register, ordered her into a restroom, bolted the door and fled. A postman walking near the grocery store had given police the license number of an old model Cadillac which he had seen leaving the vicinity at the time of the holdup. That car was subsequently spotted by police and stopped, and the driver was taken back to the store, but the woman, still suffering from fright, said that he was not the robber. Two patrolmen who investigated the incident said that the woman was suffering from shock but was otherwise unharmed. It was the second armed robbery in Charlotte within 16 hours and the fifth within the previous six weeks. The previous night, a hooded man held up an assistant manager of a drive-in theater, taking $53 in cash from the box office. The prior Monday, a man armed with a pistol had taken $544 in cash from an ABC store, and early in December, gunmen had held up a men's store and a finance company. Thus far, none of the holdups had been solved.

Also in Charlotte, members of Oasis Temple of the Mystic Shrine held their annual meeting and ceremonial in the city this date and elected Johnie W. Bennick of Charlotte, the vice-president of Scott Drug Co., as their new potentate, succeeding Dr. Claude Squires of Charlotte. A high point of the ceremonial program was the presentation of a check for slightly more than $100,000 to officers of the Shriners Hospital for Crippled Children in Greenville, S.C., representing proceeds collected from the Shrine Bowl football game played in Charlotte the prior month. The total contribution to the hospital from the 17 annual Shrine Bowl games had reached approximately $700,000. The Oasis Shriners voted to present $1,000 to Masonic and Eastern Star Home in Greensboro and a like amount to the Oxford Orphanage.

On the editorial page, "Seawell Backers Are on Solid Ground" indicates that Herbert F. Seawell, Jr., of Carthage, had long been one of the state's most prominent and capable Republicans and a capable lawyer, who, as the Republican candidate for governor in 1952, had conducted a high-level campaign. But when he came up for consideration for becoming the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of North Carolina, a position which he had openly sought, with an endorsement of a distinguished array of leading North Carolina Republicans and Democrats supporting him, Attorney General Herbert Brownell had refused to assent to the appointment by the President, and then said he did not have time to discuss the matter with North Carolina Republicans. The latter reasoned that the Attorney General was upset with Mr. Seawell because of his suggestion, following the Attorney General's raising of the case of deceased former State Department employee Harry Dexter White as an example of there having been numerous Communists serving the Government during the Truman Administration, that the Republicans ought to quit digging up dead Democrats and come up with some live Republicans. Mr. Seawell stood by his statement and said that the day when Republican leaders could not take criticism would be a sorry day for the party.

Republican leaders in the state had begun fighting to defend Mr. Seawell, indicating they thought it incredible that he was rejected, and repeated their request during the week to the Attorney General that he be appointed. It finds them on solid ground, and that Mr. Seawell could ably serve North Carolina while also helping the Republican Party in the state, that the Attorney General had made what appeared as a spiteful decision, and that if he had the courage to reverse himself, the party and the state would profit.

"Reminder of a Fundamental Freedom" indicates that the prior Monday, the Supreme Court had, without issuing an opinion, unanimously reversed state bans against two movies, one dealing with murder and gangsterism and the other with love life in old Vienna. The court had only cited its prior decision two years earlier in "The Miracle" case, in which it had held that movies were entitled to the protection of the First and Fourteenth Amendments, and so a ban by states of director Roberto Rossellini's "The Miracle" for supposedly being "sacrilegious" violated the Constitution.

It indicates that there nevertheless remained laws on the books penalizing obscenity, just as there were limits against libel and slander, and so the Court had stopped short of banning all film censorship, although Justices Hugo Black and William O. Douglas, it indicates, would have gone further, according to their concurring opinions. It concludes that the court had reminded the country of a fundamental freedom and that self-appointed and state-selected censors needed constantly the reminder that the ultimate censorship of movies had to be in simply refusing to attend them.

"For a Big Job, an Able Man" finds that Addison Reese of Charlotte, named to be the new president of American Trust Co., was a good selection, replacing Torrence Hemby, who would become chairman of the board. It indicates that one reason Charlotte had become a great financial center was that the men who ran the city's banks had always placed full confidence in their community, and that those who ran American Trust had never shown any tendency, along with the rest of the bankers in the city, "to exalt the past as a guide to the future."

"Congressmen Restrict Their Competition" indicates that one of the reasons not often discussed for the reluctance of members of Congress to give themselves a raise was that they wanted to reduce the competition for their seats by making it hard for candidates of modest means to seek the job. Presently, Congress was considering whether to raise their $12,500 per year salaries, plus $2,500 for expenses, to a salary of $27,500, including expenses, as recommended by an 18-member commission which had been studying judicial and Congressional salaries. The commission had also recommended an increase in pay for Justices of the Supreme Court, from $25,000 per year to $39,500, plus an additional $500 for the Chief Justice. Other Federal judges would likewise receive pay increases under the recommendations.

It indicates that it had long advocated pay increases for those jobs and hoped that the Congress would vote for the increases, though, it comments, some members were not worth the salaries they presently received. A raise, however, might induce many to run who were worth more than the proposed salary, and if Congress did not pass the measure, it would suspect that the members were unduly interested in their own self-perpetuation in office, not economy.

A piece from the Wall Street Journal, titled "Values in a Name", indicates that in New York recently, former President Truman had told a taxicab driver who sought his autograph that the only signature of real value in the country was that of Button Gwinnett, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, who had been a merchant born in England, signing for the state of Georgia and dying within a year of the signing, without having been much of a letter writer, making his signature so scarce that it was worth a large amount of money.

It indicates that there were other ways to determine the value of signatures, that, personally, it liked the autographs of the Treasurer of the United States, Ivy Baker Priest, and that of the Secretary of the Treasury, George Humphrey. "On the long green stuff they are very valuable, indeed, and in the higher bills they are collectors' items for which even the owner of a Button Gwinnett would gladly make a swap."

Gwinnett County. Button. Election machines... Hugo Chavez.

Robert Bendiner, writing in the Reporter, indicates that at a recent session of the Institute of Traffic Engineers, those who had planned the modern highways, designed to smooth the traveler's journey through elimination of sharp curves, intersections, traffic signals and pedestrian crossings, were now concerned that drivers were slipping into a dream world and needed artificial hazards to keep them awake. So they had designed nuisances at the conference to substitute for those they had removed, such as serrated concrete patterns to keep the driver awake with non-rhythmic sounds, special-band radio broadcasts, and a general proposal made by Charles Murphy, director of traffic engineering for the Automobile Club of New York, that they begin thinking "in terms of antiquing" expressways.

Mr. Bendiner suggests that such antiquing might be carried to the cars themselves, for instance reverting back to manual gearshifts to keep the motorists busy, or a springless chassis and buckboard seat, eventually working back to two-cylinder, four horsepower engines, replete with blowout tires and a hand crank.

Drew Pearson indicates that the Senate Insular Affairs Committee had debated Hawaiian statehood behind closed doors recently, with Democrats accusing Republicans angrily of playing politics by allowing Senator McCarthy to investigate corruption in Democratic Alaska and refusing to follow reported leads into increasing Communist activity in Republican Hawaii. Senator George Smathers of Florida said he believed that everyone was practical enough to recognize that if Hawaii entered the union, there would likely be two Republican Senators, and if Alaska were allowed in, there would likely be two Democratic Senators—quite counter to the politics of each of those states during the past many decades, since the 1960's.

Senator Hugh Butler of Nebraska had said that such a result was not a foregone conclusion, and Senator Arthur Watkins of Utah suggested that it was all in the mind of Senator Smathers, who then responded that it was in someone else's mind suddenly to find corruption in Alaska while ignoring corruption in Hawaii. He said that former Hawaii Governor Ingram Stainback had said that Communist strength had increased on the islands since 1950. But Senator Russell Long of Louisiana, a Democrat opposing statehood for Alaska and favoring admission of Hawaii, said that the Justice Department had reported that the situation had gotten better since that time, to which Senator Smathers indicated that the anti-subversive committee of the Territory of Hawaii, in a report they had filed in March, 1953, said that it was worse. Senator Butler then produced a letter from Attorney General Herbert Brownell, from which Mr. Pearson quotes, saying that there was no reason to believe that Communism was a greater menace in Hawaii at present than it had been in 1950. Senator Smathers then said that it was simply the Attorney General giving his opinion, but Senator Guy Cordon of Oregon retorted that it had also been Governor Stainback's opinion to which Senator Smathers had earlier alluded.

The Democrats had charged that the Republicans only wanted Hawaiian statehood so that they could obtain two Republican Senator to bolster their slender working majority in the Senate, a charge denied by the Republicans. Senator Watkins said that he had heard Hawaii might deliver two Democratic Senators, a contention with which Senator Henry Jackson of Washington took issue, asking how many Democrats had been elected from the Territory in the previous 20 years. Senator Long then countered that he had heard that Republicans enjoyed only an 8,000-vote majority in the most recent elections.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop indicate that since General Eisenhower had returned from France, after being NATO's supreme commander for 18 months, to run for the presidency in 1952, he had been sold many lemons in the name of "smart politics", but that the worst lemon had been the strategy by the Administration's "amateur Machiavellies" for dealing with the Communist issue. They relate that while the Administration boasted of 1,456 persons, since increased to 2,200, who had been fired from the Government as "security risks", in an effort to take away the Communist issue from Senator McCarthy, the fact of the matter was that the claim was built on dishonesty. For half of the firings had actually been resignations of people never accused of disloyalty, that only after the fact of their resigning, the State Department files had been combed to find various forms of gossip which could be used as "derogatory information" and thereby justify a statistical claim after the fact that they had been fired for disloyalty. About half of the 306 State Department security firings had been handled in that manner, and if extrapolated to the rest of the Government firings within the 2,200, it could be assumed that about 1,100 cases fell into that category.

Another technique, equally dishonest, involved the transfer of large numbers of people from the administrative control of the State Department to the foreign aid staff of Harold Stassen and to the newly independent Information Agency, the transfers subsequently labeled State Department security firings, although the great majority of those employees had been cleared upon furthering investigation and were never in fact fired at all. In about 19 of 20 cases, the reason, if any, for the firings had been heavy drinking, temperamental unsuitability or the like. Any pro-Communist charge was in the category similar to an actual case involving a female Government worker accused of "sympathetic association" with her husband, the latter having finally been determined to have been a mousy fellow who never took interest in politics. There was no case of actual subversion within the security firings at the State Department, and, they indicate, it was doubtful that there were any throughout the Government.

Notwithstanding those facts, the public had been led to believe that the high number of security firings meant that a large number of persons had been found within the Government who were Communists and subversives. That perception had actually given credence to Senator McCarthy and his original charges since 1950, never borne out, that the Truman Administration was rife with Communists, especially within the State Department.

They observe that it was no wonder, therefore, that few self-respected persons would want to work for the Government. They regard the Administration effort in this regard as "amateurish political fakery", which had been rather easily exposed.

According to reports, they indicate, the President and his chief of staff Sherman Adams were beginning to realize that they had been sold a lemon and were not pleased by the realization. The Alsops conclude that the fact might help the Administration's "amateur Machiavellies" to understand that they were no equals to Senator McCarthy when it came to "slick political flim-flammery."

Marquis Childs indicates that in the upcoming weeks, the President would face a series of tests as critical as any in his long career and that failure could place in jeopardy all for which he had stood, as well as his reputation and popularity with the people. The President's associates and friends were placing renewed confidence and trust in what they saw as a "new Eisenhower", master of the situation which in the early months of his Presidency had been strange and alien. He and his team had gone a long way toward mastering the job, given that they represented a party which had been out of power at the executive level for 20 years, and it would have taken even an experienced politician some time to get on top of the job. The President had learned that, when it came to politics, one could not govern simply by having a group of men talking around a table, attempting to reconcile their irreconcilable differences. He had been accustomed during his military career to having the final say as chief of staff to his subordinates after hearing arguments from both sides, then having that decision accepted. But politics inevitably was different, and the President, after undertaking an earnest but largely futile effort to reconcile the irreconcilables of his party, was now determined to fight for what he considered essential to his program.

His first test would be whether he could stop the Bricker amendment, adoption of which by the Senate would constitute a severe blow to his prestige, acting essentially as a vote of no-confidence by a majority of his party. In addition to his military experience, the President's imperfect knowledge of the American system of government had contributed also to the failures of omission and commission during his first year in office, lacking an understanding of the practicalities and realities of the political system.

Mr. Childs recalls a long discussion he had with General Eisenhower when he had been president of Columbia University beginning in spring, 1948, at which point the Democratic convention in Philadelphia was embroiled in the question whether to renominate President Truman, with most of the New Dealers in the Americans for Democratic Action favoring a draft of General Eisenhower as the nominee. Those included Leon Henderson, James and Franklin Roosevelt, Jr., and others, who stated publicly their wish to draft the General. That was disturbing to General Eisenhower, saying that he did not want to run for the presidency, and did not agree with the political views of the New Dealers promoting him. He was a states' righter, with views akin to Senator Harry F. Byrd of Virginia, and those views did not appreciably change by 1952 or the beginning of his Presidential term.

The new President believed in an oversimplified way that he would be able to turn powers back from the Federal Government to the states where they properly belonged, but that view did not take into account the reality as contrasted with theory, that there were many who talked of states' rights as a smokescreen for their real objective, to eliminate functions of government of which they disapproved. And more often than not, the states were unprepared or unwilling to assume those responsibilities. The President's states' rights view thus called for far more than just pulling a lever or two, but also know-how and firm resolution.

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