The Charlotte News

Tuesday, January 26, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Peiping radio had said this date that the Communists had agreed to accept back the 21 Americans, one Briton and 325 South Korean prisoners of war who had refused repatriation to their homelands. Previously, the Communists had refused acceptance of the released prisoners from the Indian custodial command on the ground that the non-repatriating prisoners on both sides should be retained in custody until the not yet scheduled Korean peace conference would determine their fate. The broadcast also indicated that to avoid confusion at the prison compound, the North Korean forces and Chinese "volunteer forces" had agreed that the Korean and Chinese Red Cross societies could take over the stranded prisoners and transport them north. The Indian custodial command had unlocked the prison compound gates and walked away on January 20.

Meanwhile, the non-repatriating prisoners held a news conference the previous day, with a spokesman for the American prisoners indicating that they had asked the Communists to take them back "as free men", that they expected to return to the U.S. at a time in the future when they could "fight for world peace without being persecuted", and that they were not Communists, though some of them hoped to be. In subsequent individual interviews, the Americans indicated Communist propaganda catch-phrases and praise for the Communist command, one sergeant saying that the American people knew how blacks were treated in the United States, one reason for his refusal to repatriate, the primary one, however, being his desire to work for world peace, that he believed he could not speak out for peace in America without being persecuted. Another made a similar statement, also indicating that there was no democratic government in the U.S. as long as McCarthyism and McCarranism, a reference to Senator Pat McCarran of Nevada, were allowed to exist. He said that there was no freedom of speech in the U.S. and that people in office were put there by those "who hold monopolies and control money". The 21 Americans appeared healthy and cheerful, posed readily for photographers.

Meanwhile, Secretary of Defense Charles E. Wilson had countermanded the proposal by the Army that the non-repatriating American prisoners would only be given "undesirable" discharges and instead directed that they be given "dishonorable" discharges. Army lawyers had initially indicated that a dishonorable discharge could only be provided under Army regulations by an approved sentence of a general court-martial at which the accused would be present to defend himself. The Secretary indicated that all veterans benefits and pay of the former prisoners were canceled. He said that they would be given an opportunity, however, should they decide subsequently to repatriate, to explain their initial decision and defend themselves.

In Panmunjom, the Communists, in a sealed letter to U.S. envoy Arthur Dean this date, proposed that the stalled talks preliminary to scheduling the Korean peace conference be resumed the following Monday, however making no mention of any forthcoming apology and withdrawal of the prior statement in December that the U.S. had committed perfidy by collaborating with South Korean President Syngman Rhee in his release in mid-June of 27,000 North Korean prisoners of war. The Communists recessed indefinitely the efforts of liaison officers to get the talks started again. The allied officers had sought and failed to obtain retraction of the charged perfidy.

The U.N. Command again accused the Communists of holding back some prisoners of war and called for an investigation.

In Berlin, at the Big Four foreign ministers conference, Secretary of State Dulles this date criticized Soviet Foreign Minister V. M. Molotov for his statement the previous day attacking the U.S., and rejected the proposal for a five-power conference, including Communist China, on world peace problems. He announced acceptance of Mr. Molotov's proposed procedure for the conference, so as to avoid weeks of "futile argument" regarding an agenda. The agenda would thus initially consider the convening of a five-power conference, then consider the German question and European security in general, the primary concerns of the conference according to Secretary Dulles, and finally the Austrian treaty, which Mr. Dulles regarded as the easiest of the issues to deal with, but that if the Russians wanted to leave it until last, the Western Big Three would agree to that order. He said that it was incredible that Soviet leaders wanted to devote themselves to revival of the Franco-German hostility and obstruction of unification which could lead to peace. Mr. Molotov the previous day had denounced the proposed European Defense Community which would link France and West Germany militarily, but Mr. Dulles had countered that there was no known substitute for EDC, that the Soviets had proposed none except returning to the "obsolete, bankrupt system of Versailles and other so-called 'peace' treaties which have bred war." He supported the speeches made the previous day by British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden and French Foreign Minister Georges Bidault.

Senator John W. Bricker of Ohio said this date that a desire to keep the Republican Party from being "torn apart" would lead him to accept a reasonable compromise on his proposed Constitutional amendment to include in the treaty ratification requirement executive agreements. He disputed President Eisenhower's newly stated contentions that the proposed amendment would make it impossible for the U.S. to deal with friendly countries on defense matters, strip the President of his historical role as the nation's spokesman, and force American withdrawal from leadership in world affairs. In a letter the previous day to Senate Majority Leader William Knowland of California, the President had said that he subscribed to the proposition that no treaty or international agreement could contravene the Constitution, and that he would support any amendment which made that clear, but was opposed to the Bricker amendment, presently being debated by the Senate, on the ground that it would impair "hopes and plans for peace and the successful achievement of the important matters now under discussion", including the diversion of atomic energy from warlike to peaceful purposes. Senator Bricker again repeated that the purpose of his amendment was to prevent the President and two-thirds of the Senate from making laws for the states.

Senate Democrats claimed "complete vindication" this date in their boycott for six months of Senator McCarthy's Investigations subcommittee, after Senator McCarthy had announced the previous day that he was making major "concessions" to the Democrats to woo them back to participation in the subcommittee, which since the prior July had been comprised only of Republicans. The Democrats had objected to Senator McCarthy's claim to have sole authority to hire and fire staff members. Senator John McClellan of Arkansas, a member of the subcommittee, told newsmen in the presence of Senator McCarthy that he saw no reason why Democrats could not now agree to serve on the subcommittee as the barrier had been removed, a statement with which Senators Stuart Symington of Missouri and Henry Jackson of Washington, the other two members who had joined in the boycott, agreed. Senator Karl Mundt of South Dakota, one of the Republicans on the subcommittee, said that one reason the Republicans wanted Democrats on the subcommittee was that it planned to explore alleged wrongdoing during the Truman Administration, and that to do so with an all-Republican group would give the country the erroneous impression that it was a Republican attack.

The Senate Labor Committee this date approved Albert Beeson as a member of the NLRB, by a partisan vote of 7 to 6. UMW president John L. Lewis had denounced the appointee as a "self-styled union-buster", having "an astonishing bias" against union labor. Senator Herbert Lehman of New York accused Republicans of "an attempt to steam-roller the nomination through the Committee without hearing sufficient to disclose all the facts". Three Republican members accused the Democrats of "delaying tactics" and a "steam-roller in reverse". Senator Alexander Smith of New Jersey said that the statements by Mr. Lewis were "a wonderful display of rhetoric".

In Liberal, Kans., a café operator had taken action against the widespread increase in coffee prices from a nickel to a dime per cup, indicating that he would not raise the price because he made $90 per week profit on coffee in his restaurant at the nickel level. Instead, he cut the price to four cents, saying he could break even at that price and that coffee was just an accommodation for their customers anyway.

In Grass Lake, Mich., the Extension Club voted to eliminate coffee from its weekly meetings in protest of present prices.

In Indianapolis, a woman, 65, who said she had left her husband a day after they were married the prior June, won a divorce the previous day, her former husband, 91, saying that he guessed she believed she was too young for him. The judge advised him not to marry again, and he agreed.

In Memphis, a man said that a rabbit had leaped in front of his car and gnawed his radiator, necessitating a repair which was covered under his expense account, and so he got the mechanic to provide a written statement saying: "Cause of radiator damage—by rabbit leaping in front of car and teeth entering tubing. Rabbit was removed here." The man said that he had been driving through rainy gloom in western Tennessee when he felt a bump, but thought no more of it until he reached the outskirts of Nashville, at which point he noticed steam pouring from his radiator, prompting him to pull into a service station, where the attendant pulled out a dead rabbit from the grille of his car, finding part of one of the rabbit's teeth embedded in the copper tubing. The man said that along with the expense account, he would send to his company offices in Houston a note which would read: "Tell me no more tall tales of Texas jackrabbits. In West Tennessee, rabbits have begun attacking moving cars."

No comment…

As pictured, the Buick done up and tried to climb the house up 'ere in Grand Rapids.

On the editorial page, "The Direct Approach Is Better" indicates that County Commission member Frank McNinch had proposed to ask for a plebiscite on purchase by the County of voting machines. While a fair approach, he unfortunately had coupled it with a half-million dollar bond issue for a new county home, it being traditionally the case that people did not turn out in great numbers for bond elections. Thus, it appeared to be passing the buck from the County Commissioners to a relative handful of voters, and it would be better, it ventures, just to go ahead and purchase the machines, which would greatly streamline the voting process and eliminate long lines on election day.

It indicates that the Board of Elections had done much in the previous two years to modernize the election machinery in Mecklenburg County, that purchase of the voting machines would complete the job. It suggests that voters vote for candidates for the Commission who would favor purchase of the machines.

"A Break for the Taxpayers" indicates that the House Ways & Means Committee had made a start in the right direction by proposing more generous treatment of taxpayers with heavy medical expenses. The present law allowed deduction for medical expenses exceeding five percent of the taxpayer's gross income in a single year, but with a top limit of $1,250 for a single person, $2,500 for a taxpayer with a single dependent, $3,750 for a married couple with one dependent, and $5,000 for a married couple with two or more dependents.

The new proposal would lower the limit to three percent of gross income and would double the maximum deduction limits presently allowed.

It indicates that the recommendations made sense. The growing burden of medical bills had prompted President Truman to advocate national compulsory health insurance, and Senator Paul Douglas to advocate a more moderate plan, covering only catastrophic illness. But while those plans were being debated, the income tax law had placed heavy penalties on the taxpayer with large medical costs. It finds that while the proposed change would be better, it did not go far enough, and advocates that all medical costs be deductible.

"A Lesson" refers to the Vic Reinemer piece on the page about smoke abatement in Charlotte, indicates that from the first efforts at the program 13 years earlier, there had only been limited public support, and that until the public got behind it, they would continue to suffer during winter mornings with clogged throats, burning eyes, dirty clothes, buildings and furnishings. It urges the people to speak out in favor of smoke abatement to try to get the air clean and thereby also conserve energy.

"Something To Think About" indicates that the President's advisers had advised him to leave 30 minutes or so in the morning, and the same amount of time again in the afternoon, without appointments so that he could just think. It finds it a good idea and suggests that others should do likewise, as thinking was part of a four-step process, starting with relaxation, then thinking, then argument to test the thoughts, and finally decision-making. It posits that there should be more thinking, and if need be, at the expense of a television program or civic project.

A piece from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, titled "From the High Horse's Mouth", indicates that a newscaster who had announced, "At Panmunjom, in Korea, a high horse said…", quickly correcting it to "high source", had not made a typographical error but rather an acoustical error. It indicates that if he had instead chosen the word "unimpeachable" to modify "source", he would have served the dual purpose of assuring the reliability of the source and also avoiding the error, as no one had ever heard of "an unimpeachable horse".

That assumes that the horse cannot speak.

Drew Pearson indicates that the President had become angry when he had picked up the morning papers and saw that the Nautilus, the first atomic submarine, which had been launched the previous week, was not battleworthy and not an important naval vessel. He considered the story false, believed that the Navy had inspired a news leak out of concern that the submarine would displace the need for other Navy ships. The Atomic Energy Commission chairman, Admiral Lewis Strauss, had not approved the story, which was supposed to occur with anything released regarding atomic energy, and when he saw it, he also became quite upset. Both the President and Admiral Strauss telephoned Secretary of Defense Charles E. Wilson to complain. The latter then called a meeting of Pentagon Navy brass to try to get to the bottom of the news story. It had originated with a Navy commander, and was later put into a memorandum signed by an admiral. The memorandum was supposed to remain confidential, but Mr. Wilson suspected that it had been shown to the press, as press accounts used the same wording as the memorandum.

The Nautilus was so fast that it would likely put surface vessels out of commission, was able to cruise around the world underwater without coming up for air, and could surpass the speed of many destroyers, enabling it to catch the vessels designed to sink it and then sink them. The admirals, confronted with the possibility of rendering obsolete all non-atomic-powered surface ships in the future, had likely created the leak to make the Nautilus appear not so formidable.

A proposed aircraft carrier which would be powered by atomic energy would have been so fast that it would have left its accompanying convoy of destroyers and cruisers behind, and so had been temporarily canceled.

Secretary Wilson and Undersecretary Roger Kyes had switched their emphasis to push-button warfare, with emphasis on long-range rockets, atomic bombs and bombers, plus atomic-powered submarines. But some men in the Navy and Army were opposed to the concept.

Mr. Pearson relates that the new slogan of the Democrats for the midterm election year, especially in farm areas was: "Vote Democratic in '54—the farm you save—may be your own." That does not rhyme. How about, instead, "the farm you save may prevent a house of horror"?

Vic Reinemer, associate editor of the News, addresses the smoke problem which had beset Charlotte for many years. A smoke abatement ordinance had been adopted by the City Council, at the request of the Chamber of Commerce, in late 1940. A smoke abatement engineer was thereafter appointed, and some attempts were made to teach improved firing techniques, but his tenure was short, and a few months later, in late 1941, another engineer was hired, eventually dismissed, and the smoke abatement program languished until March, 1948, when an experienced engineer was hired, calling for education, equipment and enforcement. He maintained that 75 percent of the city's smoke from all sources could be easily eliminated if plant operators, building owners and householders took a personal interest in their furnace operations. Free booklets were disseminated regarding proper practices and the best equipment for eliminating smoke while producing the most energy.

Mr. Reinemer points out that across the country, industry wasted substantial amounts of energy in the form of smoke through improper firing techniques.

While health experts differed on the hazards of the smoky environment, they generally agreed that it was irritating to asthmatics and others with respiratory conditions. It also dirtied buildings, cars, and even clothes, and generally made people angry.

One member of the City Council, Basil Boyd, had written a poem in 1951 regarding a proposed smoke ordinance provision which would have banned leaf burning, bemoaning the fact that he could no longer burn his leaves. The Council then deleted the ban of leaf-burning.

He indicates that other cities, such as Spartanburg, S.C., and Winston-Salem had undertaken efforts to deal with their smoke problems, the latter having a smoke abatement ordinance and engineer, making progress, though the ordinance was not rigorously enforced.

A smoke abatement program on a modest scale such as that in Charlotte only cost about $17,000 per year, and, if successful, the savings in fuel consumption and other costs of cleanup from the smoke would be several times more than the investment. Without a program of education and enforcement, those contributing to the problem did not realize how much money they were burning up the chimney. He indicates that Charlotte would be "The Smoky City" until the residents demanded an effective smoke abatement program, and elected members to the City Council who would fulfill the demand.

A letter from an art teacher at Central High School in Charlotte, responds to the letter writer who had complained about the purchase by the City schools of 40 kilns for firing pottery, concerned that the schools were abandoning traditional academic subjects. She indicates that her art students used a kiln to produce ceramics, an important part of the curriculum. She indicates that art was important because of it being a medium for creative thinking and creative activity, affording the opportunity for individual initiative, imagination and feeling to be made manifest. She says that through art, there was the quest to know reality beyond the vision of the eye, through the heart and mind. She posits that scholarship in its finest sense was a similar pursuit, not a contradictory one, and that minds were not disciplined by scholarship, but rather deadened by rote and the mere learning of facts, without accompanying understanding. She says that true mental discipline was achieved only when an individual was capable of distinguishing the true from the untrue, when the person could see all things in relation to a basic reality. She concludes that a kiln therefore was no less important to education than a book, microscope, piano, stage, football or a test tube.

You need to be able to read first, though, before you can fully appreciate the art.

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