The Charlotte News

Monday, January 25, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Berlin at the Big Four foreign ministers conference, starting this date, France, represented by Foreign Minister Georges Bidault, and Britain, represented by Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden, had pleaded with the Russians to join the West in uniting Germany as a member of a "safe community" of peaceful nations. Secretary of State Dulles presided over the initial session as temporary chairman. M. Bidault stated that the conference should be confined to German unity and the Austrian peace treaty. The Soviets wanted it to be a springboard for discussion of Asia, with Communist China participating, a position which the Western Big Three opposed. Mr. Eden proposed free elections to form an all-German assembly, which in turn would form an all-German government, at which point the peace treaty should then be negotiated. The Soviets wanted the two sides of Germany, East and West, to create between themselves the machinery for a composite reichstag, which would force the West to recognize the Communists who ruled the East.

The President sent to Congress an eight-point program for revising Federal housing laws this date, with the declared aim of providing "good housing in good neighborhoods" for every American. He urged authorization of four more years of public housing, with 140,000 new units to be begun. He said that the program should be coupled with a new and experimental plan to encourage private enterprise to meet the needs of low income families, that the Government should underwrite longer-term mortgages with lower down payments for families left homeless by slum clearance.

The House Ways & Means Committee this date voted to allow deduction of up to $600 per year from taxable income for child-care expenses in the case of working widows and widowers who had children under 10 years of age. It rejected any allowance in the case of married couples where both the husband and wife worked. Congressman Danial Reed of New York, chairman of the Committee, said that they had decided that the tax laws should not encourage mothers to leave home except in cases of dire necessity. Staff experts estimated that 400,000 taxpayers would be affected and the tax relief would amount to 40 million dollars per year.

Secretary of Labor James Mitchell this date told the Senate Labor Committee that he believed the President's proposal for a Government-supervised secret strike vote of employees whenever a labor dispute entered the strike stage was a sound one. He believed that the vote ought be taken before the strike was called. He said that the proposal might be impractical but should be tried. Senator Irving Ives of the Committee found the proposal to be an "extreme interference" with the internal conduct of unions. Secretary Mitchell conceded that the recommendation was a restriction on unions, but said it would also give individual union members the right to express their opinions on the strike issue.

In Detroit, Jimmy Hoffa, Michigan director of the Teamsters Union, said that the threat of a multi-state trucking industry strike had been eliminated this date when employers said they would pay an axle tax on vehicles using Ohio roads. The axle tax ranged from half a cent to 2.5 cents per mile, depending on the number of axles on a truck. Initially, the employers had refused to pay the tax, indicating that Ohio was the only state which refused to grant a reciprocal agreement on the tax. The employers wanted the drivers to pay the tax, prompting the threat of the strike.

In Kampala, Uganda, novelist Ernest Hemingway and his wife were safe after escaping death in two plane crashes in the upper Nile country of East Africa. On the prior Saturday, their chartered sightseeing plane had crashed in the bush on the banks of the Victoria Nile River, three miles below the 400-foot Murchison Falls of northwest Uganda. A launch carrying tourists to the falls had rescued them the previous day and brought them to Butiaba. At that point, the couple boarded a rescue plane, which also crashed and burned during takeoff. Again, however, the passengers, including Mr. Hemingway and his wife, and the crew emerged unhurt. Thereafter, they traveled by land to Entebbe. The initial crash had occurred in an area teeming with crocodiles, elephants, buffalo, lions and other big game. The couple lived most of the time outside Havana but were presently on a five-month journey through East Africa.

In Charlotte, Keith Beaty this date was sentenced in Federal District Court on his prior conviction for three counts of Federal income tax evasion involving about $200,000, to two years in prison and fines of $20,000. Federal Judge Wilson Warlick read part of a doctor's report prepared on Mr. Beaty, saying that he was in "good general condition", in response to the jury's recommendation that mercy be shown him in sentencing based on his health condition. The defendant remained at liberty on bond pending a determination by his attorneys as to whether they would file an appeal, which they had indicated they would if he received a prison sentence.

Also in Federal District Court in Charlotte, the Gaston County Sheriff and his Deputy went on trial this date for criminal charges of violating the civil rights of a Gaston County man, and an all-white jury was selected to hear the case. The man allegedly had been severely beaten the prior May 27, and the Government had charged that his 14th Amendment rights had been violated. The first witness for the Government said that the beating had occurred in his home following a "drunken brawl" erupting out of a party given for the Sheriff and his officers in a cabin in Gaston County. The witness said that he had returned to his home later that night and then after he had gone to bed, someone had knocked on his door, and said that he was the man the witness had hit. He then saw it was the Deputy Sheriff, and a scuffle ensued over a gun which the witness was carrying. The witness said that it was a hot night and he had only been wearing a "wrapper"—whether a Juicy Fruit or a Doublemint being anybody's guess. The remainder of the report on the day's proceedings is on an inside page. It was just getting good…

Ann Sawyer of The News tells of a half-million dollar bond issue to build and equip a new county home to be put to a vote the following spring, marking the end of nearly a year of discussion and planning by the County Commissioners on establishment of the home. At the same time, the Commissioners hoped to test public opinion on the purchase of voting machines.

Montana was enduring sub-zero temperatures for the 12th consecutive day, with 26 below recorded in Great Falls and 23 below in Lewiston and Cut Bank, while a full-scale snowstorm had struck Utah, where there were up to 16 inches of snow at Randolph, near the Wyoming line in northwest Utah, closing two major highways and making others dangerous to travel. Smaller amounts of snowfall had hit southern Idaho and northern Nevada. The zero temperatures stretched across the Dakotas and Minnesota early during the day, and freezing temperatures were prevalent as far south as southern Oklahoma.

It's a hard snow's a-gonna fall...

On the editorial page, "A Tax Benefit for One Group" indicates that until the House Ways & Means Committee completed its task of rewriting the Federal tax laws, it might not be wise to draw conclusions. But, it suggests, the decision to grant an exemption for up to 15 percent of the income derived from dividends caused serious questions to be raised.

Proponents of the exemption argued that corporate profits were taxed twice, one as ordinary corporate income and then as dividend income paid to stockholders. They contended that the partial exemption would encourage more people to purchase stocks. But the piece finds that if stocks were subjected to such favorable treatment, then bonds, purchase of which had been encouraged during the war by the Government, and income-producing real estate and the like should also be treated likewise.

It suggests that tax legislation which favored one class was questionable and that it would be better to lower the schedule of corporate taxes, providing more profit to be divided among the shareholders, and to cut excise taxes uniformly while increasing the personal exemptions for individuals, thereby benefiting the greatest number in the fairest manner.

"Why the FCC Is No Place for Lee" indicates, as does Drew Pearson this date, that Robert E. Lee, appointed to the FCC, was not qualified for the position by his background as an accountant, FBI agent and investigator for an appropriations committee of Congress.

It indicates that the facts that he had also been a friend of Senator McCarthy and had been a part of the unethical campaign in Maryland to defeat incumbent Senator Millard Tydings in 1950, and of his association with oilman H. L. Hunt and his appearance as moderator on some of the early programs sponsored by Mr. Hunt, "Facts Forum", dealing with right wing causes while pretending to be impartial and receiving free airtime as a result, were not disqualifying, as that would use the McCarthy tactic of guilt by association.

But his lack of experience and training in granting television and radio station licenses was disqualifying and the President had not been well advised to appoint him. It hopes that the Senate would correct the error by refusing confirmation.

"Progress along the St. Lawrence" indicates that it had taken centuries from the time of the first discussion during Balboa's time of a waterway across the Isthmus of Panama before the Panama Canal ever became a reality. Napoleon, during the Egyptian campaign, had envisioned the Suez Canal. Viewed from that historical perspective, the St. Lawrence Seaway was making rapid progress. About 100 miles needed development for serving Midwestern cities.

The Senate had voted the previous week, 51 to 33, for U.S. participation in building the Seaway. There was a 50-50 chance that it would pass the House, in which case the President, who supported it, would sign it into law.

Previously, the defeat of the project had been the result of pressure from the competition, principally the railroads, port and coal interests. But in more recent years, iron ore resources had been developed in the Québec-Labrador area, and steel companies, anxious to obtain the ore cheaply, had become proponents of the Seaway. Moreover, the current bill deleted provisions of previous bills which had tied in power development along the St. Lawrence River with the Seaway, provisions which power companies found objectionable.

The Eisenhower Administration had stressed the defense aspect of the Seaway, that if rail facilities in the Great Lakes were bombed away, there would be the need of an alternative water transportation route. The Seaway was therefore a logical and overdue development of a natural resource, and it hopes that the House would pass the measure so that the country would have a string of seaports from Buffalo to Duluth.

A piece from the Carlsbad (N.M.) Current-Argus, titled "Don't Look at Us", tells of the editorial writer's seven-year old daughter who had used good grammar and proper enunciation until she started school, at which point she began using double negatives, "ain't", and consistently said "she don't" and "he don't". When asked what had happened, she told her parents that it was the way t'other kids done talked.

With a newspaper editor as a father and a schoolteacher as a mother, the parents were dismayed about their daughter's transformation after entering school, but consoled themselves on the belief that perhaps in the future, she would shake off the "bum speech" after growing up some more. Until then, the piece admonishes, anyone hearing his daughter should know that she did not learn her English at home.

They should carry signs around their necks at home, reading, "Ban the Bum".

Drew Pearson tells of debate starting in the Senate regarding one of the most controversial of the President's appointees thus far, Robert E. Lee to the FCC, a post for which, as indicated in the above editorial, he had absolutely no qualification. He indicates that during the Hoover Administration, the most important bureau from the viewpoint of natural wealth had been the Federal Power Commission, allocating dam sites to electric power companies. But now that most of that had been developed, the FPC was not as important as the FCC, granting Government gifts of television licenses, from which fortunes could be derived. It could help sway public opinion within the country, as many television and radio stations were owned by newspapers and the danger of monopolization of the news, of "canned thinking", according to former newspaperman, Senator Mike Monroney of Oklahoma, was not to be treated lightly.

Some newspapers were tailoring their editorials because of pending television licenses. One Wisconsin publisher had indicated that his newspaper had been fairly critical of Senator McCarthy and he supposed that, in consequence, they would have a tough time getting a television license. A Midwestern editor had said that the publisher of the newspaper did not want them to print too much about Senator McCarthy because of a pending television license application before the FCC. They were aware that Senator McCarthy had two men on the FCC, Mr. Lee and John C. Doerfer of Wisconsin. They were also aware that the same day Mr. Lee took his seat on the Commission, it reversed a ruling it had refused on three previous occasions, regarding establishment of a television channel in Milwaukee.

The Denver Post, a strong supporter of the President, had editorialized about the concern that monopolization of public opinion was involved, with Palmer Hoyt, the publisher of the Post, having indirectly warned Senator Ed Johnson of Colorado that the nation faced the peril of one Senator having influence through the FCC on the shaping of public opinion. The Post had pointed out that Mr. Lee had no qualifications for regulating television or radio.

Mr. Pearson indicates that he would be confirmed partly because some Senators were afraid of Senator McCarthy and partly because the major networks had been pulling wires for Mr. Lee backstage. Senator Lester Hunt of Wyoming, a member of the Interstate Commerce Committee, which had approved the appointment of Mr. Lee, had said to friends that he feared that Senator McCarthy would campaign against him in Wyoming. Senator Warren Magnuson of Washington, also on the Committee, had a close political supporter interested in obtaining a television station in Seattle. The vice-president of CBS, Earl Gammons, had sought the ear of Senator George Smathers of Florida, also on the Committee, regarding the networks having asked the FCC for permission to own more television stations than the present limit allowed. CBS featured the Ed Murrow program and generally had done an outstanding job of combating McCarthyism, following a liberal news policy. Senator Smathers had reserved judgment on the confirmation of Mr. Lee, but no one on the Committee, with the exception of Senator Monroney, had voted against the confirmation.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop indicate that what appeared to be a routine story had significant implications for the world. A few days earlier, the Turkish Foreign Office had quietly informed the Pakistan Foreign Office and the State Department that Turkey was prepared to enter a military pact with Pakistan, and confirmation of it, with U.S. armed support for it, was expected shortly. Mr. Alsop indicates that the whole power relationship on the vital southern flank of the Soviet empire would be transformed by the pact.

Relations between the U.S. and India would take an immediate, violent turn for the worse and bitter official protests, accompanied by widespread anti-American rioting, were expected, with possibly even an open break between the two countries. The Soviets were likely to sponsor a major drive to capture political control of Afghanistan or Kashmir or both, in direct response to the pact. If Indian Prime Minister Nehru was correct, the world would take a long step toward world war.

The history of the development went back to the trip by Secretary of State Dulles to the Middle East the previous spring, during which he had decided that the then existing U.S. policy of building a Middle Eastern counterpart to NATO was nonsense, that it would not work because of the Arab countries being preoccupied with their disputes with Israel and Britain, less concerned about defending themselves against Soviet attack. Secretary Dulles had concluded that the feasible alternative was to create a defense organization on what he called "the northern tier", including Turkey, Iran and Pakistan. That group could ultimately be expanded. The new regime in Iran, however, in response to feelers regarding the pact, had refused to join, at least until after an oil settlement with Britain. Secretary Dulles, however, reasoned that a pact between Turkey and Pakistan was a base on which to build a strengthened southern border area with the Soviet Union. Iran, Iraq and perhaps ultimately the other Arab states could then join later.

But Prime Minister Nehru had openly indicated his resentment of any move which would strengthen Pakistan while breaking the neutral Asian bloc, of which Nehru considered himself the leader. When Nehru protested, he would be offered the same arms aid to which the U.S. would provide Pakistan under the pact, about 25 million dollars to start, but he would almost certainly reject it, creating a rift between the U.S. and India.

The Government of Kashmir was already heavily infiltrated and partly controlled by Communists and fellow-travelers, and as a response to arming of Pakistan, the Soviets might give the order to the Kashmir Communists to attempt the seizure of Kashmir, the gateway to the Indian subcontinent. Sparsely populated Afghanistan, strategically vital, would become another obvious Soviet target.

Secretary Dulles and his advisers were quite aware of the risks, but they believed that neither fear of Soviet reaction nor desire to appease Prime Minister Nehru could be permitted to paralyze U.S. policy, as the southern flank of the Soviet empire could not be allowed to remain indefinitely a total power vacuum. The Alsops indicate that despite the huge risks, it was hard to see a flaw in the argument.

Robert C. Ruark, at sea, bound for Australia aboard the ship Australia, admires the vessel on which he was sailing, indicates that during a long, slow sea voyage, one became familiar with the passengers aboard, made acquaintances and friends, and maybe an enemy. If one were single, the person might wind up married, and if married, divorced. "A ship at sea is very close to the world in space."

He indicates that people were greatly concerned about hurrying in modern times, that a man in his helter-skelter business could not live without the airplane, and he estimates that he averaged about 100,000 miles per year in the air. But while functional, the airplane was not romantic, as was a ship.

He tells of having Christmas and New Year's and a lot of birthdays while at sea, and he detected no homesickness among the passengers. There were nearly 300 children in the tourist class, from 18 different countries, all heading for a new life in Australia. Santa Claus had been good to them.

He recounts that one of the most moving sights he had seen was when the ship passed a sister ship on a full moonlit night at sea and the two ships fired rocket salutes at one another. He indicates that for a moment, one forgot that the next day's news would contain the usual accounts of "gloom and violence".

A letter writer from Davidson addresses the proposed Bricker amendment to the Constitution to make executive agreements subject to the same ratification requirements as treaties, thereby hamstringing the ability of the President to direct foreign policy. The writer indicates that the proponents of the amendment often cited the Yalta Agreement of February, 1945 as a prime example of how the treaty-making power had been abused, but the Yalta Agreement had been neither a treaty nor an executive agreement binding on the Government. He suggests that great agreements of that sort should all be formalized into a treaty subject to ratification per the Constitution. But FDR had never regarded the Yalta Agreement as binding on the Government. He had said in a press release at the time that he was aware that the proposed U.N. Charter had to be ratified by two-thirds of the Senate, as would some of the arrangements made at Yalta. The late Secretary of State Edward Stettinius, who had attended the Yalta conference, corroborated that interpretation in his book, Roosevelt and the Russians, saying at pages 270-71: "The President told the Conference (Yalta) that the amendments he was proposing were necessary for American constitutional reasons. He suggested, therefore, that instead of the first words, 'The three powers,' he would like to substitute, 'The three heads of Governments consider.' In the second sentence he proposed eliminating the words 'three powers,' and in the last sentence, the word 'feel' instead of 'agree' should be used. These changes transformed the statement on boundaries (of Poland) from a governmental commitment to an expression of views in which Roosevelt concurred." James Byrnes, who succeeded Secretary Stettinius as Secretary in mid-1945, had confirmed that take on the matter, saying that he had heard FDR say at Yalta that the matter of cession of territory had to be settled by peace treaties. The writer concludes that while the proponents of the Bricker amendment might not like some aspects of the Yalta Agreement, it could not be cited as a reason for their proposed amendment, as it was never intended as a treaty or executive agreement.

A letter writer commends the newspaper for its editorials on the Bricker amendment, which the writer opposes. He says that the supporters of the amendment were a group of "extremely narrow nationalists and isolationists". They hoped by its adoption to lay the groundwork for the ultimate destruction of the U.N. and NATO, and to annul the progress of the world away from "the law of the jungle in international relations". He indicates that their campaign had been subtle, through half-truths, and was endangering of liberties in the process.

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