The Charlotte News

Wednesday, January 27, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Berlin at the Big Four foreign ministers conference between Secretary of State Dulles, British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden, French Foreign Minister Georges Bidault, and Soviet Foreign Minister V. M. Molotov, Secretary Dulles had urged the conference to skip action on Russia's proposal for a meeting to include Communist China and immediately reach the second problem on the agenda, German unification and European security, the primary aim of the conference. Mr. Dulles said that the Soviet demand for a five-power conference, inclusive of Communist China, was "primarily a device to attempt to secure for that regime a position in the councils of the world which it has not earned or had accorded to it by the international community generally, including the United Nations." He regarded the four-power conference as an inappropriate place for decision on the matter. Both Mr. Eden and M. Bidault concurred. Mr. Molotov then replied with a long statement during the closed session, which Western authorities described as contending that a five-power conference was urgent and should consider military questions such as disarmament and reduction of forces, general relaxation of world tensions, including an examination of causes of those tensions, and specifically an improvement in relations with Communist China, plus economic questions, especially regarding trade between the West and China and Russia. The previous day, Mr. Molotov had submitted a formal resolution calling for the five-power meeting, which the U.S., while rejecting the principle, had agreed to have considered as the first order of business on the agenda beginning this date. When Mr. Molotov refused to open the debate on the question, Mr. Dulles had proceeded with his statement, asking that the first item be skipped and the primary question then be considered.

The President, at a press conference this date, said that the Federal Trade Commission would make a full-scale investigation of the rising coffee prices, that the FTC had started a preliminary inquiry on January 13 and had discovered enough to warrant a full investigation to determine whether any laws had been violated, especially with regard to domestic trade in coffee and allegations that it had been limited to certain types. Retail prices had jumped above a dollar per pound and wholesalers predicted further increase. The President also said that he was backing up the position of Secretary of State Dulles at the foreign ministers conference in Berlin with regard to objection to inclusion of Communist China. He stated also that his associates on Capitol Hill had informed him that they were hopeful of a compromise on the Bricker amendment to the Constitution. He discussed the distinction as he saw it between the policies of his Administration and the "New Deal" of the preceding Democratic Administrations, saying that his Administration was politically liberal in dealing with individuals but conservative on economic and monetary matters, that a major difference could be observed through the budget and his Administration's efforts to reduce spending, versus the budgets of the predecessor Administrations, which he said had gone increasingly more into deficit spending. He, of course, omitted mention of the fact that the bulk of that debt had been run up by World War II, which he had a principal role in fighting, and the postwar effort to rebuild Europe against Communist aggression, plus the Korean War, very little of it on so-called New Deal or Fair Deal programs. He also said that Representative Robert Condon of California had every right to clear his name of charges of subversion, regarding the Atomic Energy Commission's refusal to permit him to observe atomic tests in Nevada the previous May.

Freshman Representative Condon, appearing voluntarily before the joint Atomic Energy Committee, testified this date that he had been a member of two organizations, the American League for Peace and Democracy and the National Lawyers Guild, both cited as Communist fronts, the former by the Attorney General and the latter by HUAC, but denied particulars of 13 reports which had caused him to be barred by the A.E.C. from observation of the test, along with other members of Congress. He swore that he had never been a Communist. He had waived all of his legal immunity as a member of Congress in testifying and answering questions.

In Norwalk, Conn., a VFW post commander said this date that he had forwarded to the FBI the names and addresses of Norwalk residents whose records and activities the post considered Communistic, but would not disclose the number of names, though another source said that it was about ten. The commander said that the action was in line with VFW national policy to "fight for a strong America on a local, state and national level." The President, at his press conference this date, when asked about whether the VFW action threatened individual freedom said that he did not believe it was possible to stop anyone from taking down such a list of names, but emphasized that there were laws against libel and slander, responsibility for which would remain with the originators of such lists. The VFW national commander, Wayne Richards, endorsed the action by the Norwalk post, indicating that the organization's new committee on un-American activities would meet in Washington in mid-February to plan a detailed program of action. He said that VFW organizations in several states had set up committees to carry out that program, but as far as he knew, the Norwalk post had been the first to act. There was no immediate comment from the FBI. The Connecticut branch of the Americans for Democratic Action quickly protested the move in a paid advertisement in the Norwalk Hour, stating, "Secret smears are un-American." The ADA challenged the post to a debate on whether secret reports on people who failed to pass unannounced tests of strong Americanism were really patriotic. The local post commander said that ADA members who were also members of the VFW were free at any time to attend a VFW meeting and question its action. The Norwalk post was reported to have about 400 members, and one source, who said that the meetings were closed to the public, indicated that the meetings were normally attended by between 25 and 50 members.

The Senate Interior Committee this date approved a bill to admit Hawaii to statehood, with chairman Hugh Butler of Nebraska stating that the vote had been 12 to 3, after the Committee had initially divided 8 to 7 on an earlier motion to separate the Hawaii bill from a bill to provide Alaska statehood. He said that the Committee agreed unanimously to vote on the Alaska bill no later than February 4.

Authoritative sources had reported that the President was now supportive of a new proposal that future treaties made pursuant to the Constitution would become the supreme law of the land, opening treaties and executive agreements to court review as to whether they infringed on traditional division of powers between the state and Federal governments. Senator John W. Bricker of Ohio, sponsor of the amendment to the Constitution to make executive agreements subject to the same ratification requirement as treaties, said that he wanted time to study further the proposal, for which Senator Homer Ferguson of Michigan said there was hope of acceptance. All previous efforts to compromise on the proposed amendment had met with rejection either by Senator Bricker or the White House. If all efforts at further compromise failed, it was likely that there would be a test vote in the Senate on some substitute for the proposed amendment, possibly by the following week.

Speaker of the House Joseph Martin of Massachusetts said this date that he hoped Congress could act during the year to cut all excise or sales taxes presently above ten percent down to that level, with the exception of liquor and tobacco. Congressional staff members had established that such a move would reduce revenue by about 940 million dollars per year. Mr. Martin, however, said that he believed increases in sales and employment impelled by tax reduction would probably offset actual revenue loss. He also said that he did not expect the Administration to propose any changes to the excise taxes, but expressed the hope that the Administration would not fight the move in Congress when economic conditions warranted. The proposed cuts would apply to furs, jewelry, cosmetics, luggage, women's handbags, movie and other admissions, photographic equipment, light bulbs and tubes, safe deposit boxes, and club dues, all taxed at 20 percent under current law.

Lynn Heinzerling of the Associated Press reports, in the first of a series of accounts from Jerusalem pursuant to assignment to report the facts as he saw them in the Holy Land, prompting him to travel 2,600 miles through Arab and Israeli territories and to talk with scores of persons, that there could be no doubt about who had lost the 1948 war between Israel and its Arab neighbors, that the losers were still sitting around the battlefield, "ragged, sullen and resentful", those being the Palestine refugees numbering officially at 868,350, enduring exile from their normal lives for nearly six years. Arab leaders said that they had to be returned to their former homes, which were now in Israeli territory, and Israel had said that they would never return. The refugees were grouped around the land frontiers of Israel, in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and the Egyptian-controlled Gaza Strip, brooding over their misfortune, while each year, 25,000 new refugees were born into the areas. They lived in tents, shacks, mud or straw huts, and in caves. Some had crowded in with friends or relatives, while others had taken over mosques, old military barracks and stables. Many who had fled from their homes in Palestine with money were now asking for aid from the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees, which had spent about 25 million dollars each year for the refugees' food, education and medical attention. But only 271,538 of the refugees lived in the 61 official UNRWA camps, stretching from Aleppo in Syria. The rest of the piece is on an inside page.

In Chicago, the Cook County coroner accused the Woodlawn Hospital of "too much bartering for money" in connection with the emergency treatment of a fatally scalded five-month old infant, who had died the day after admission and treatment at the Cook County Hospital. The coroner continued an inquest into the baby's death and ordered subpoenas for the president of the executive board of Woodlawn and its chief of staff. The baby's mother said that the child had been scalded when she had kicked over a vaporizer on January 17, spilling hot oil over her body, that she then took the infant to Woodlawn and pleaded with attendants there for treatment, promising to pay the hospital fees in weekly or monthly installments, but that the attendants had demanded a deposit of $100, that later, vaseline and bandages had been applied by a resident intern at the hospital, who wrote an admission for the baby to Cook County Hospital, but the infant had died the following day. The resident intern who applied the vaseline and bandages said that the baby had a good color and cried vigorously when he saw her, causing him to conclude that her life was not in jeopardy.

Harry Shuford of The News reports that an internal revenue agent had testified during the morning in Federal District Court in Charlotte that Dick Smith had a net taxable income of just short of $500,000 during 1928 through 1945, as part of the groundwork at the start of the Government's case that Mr. Smith had evaded $100,000 worth of taxes during the years 1946 through 1950. Judge Wilson Warlick had admitted the testimony over defense objections, presumably for irrelevance given the remoteness in time of the period over which the report extended. The Government had responded that they were attempting to establish how much money the defendant had on hand prior to 1946. Jury selection had taken place also during the morning, lasting only 45 minutes, with defense attorneys accepting the jury as it sat, after the Government had excused one member of the initial panel. Both sides agreed that, rather than selecting an alternate, the remaining 11 jurors could decide the case should one juror have to quit. With two out, you get eggroll.

Also in Charlotte, as reported by Lucien Agniel of The News, local housewives agreed that nothing contributed more to "coffee nerves" than dollar per pound coffee prices, quoting several local women on the subject. More than one woman said that she had limited herself to one cup per day and that their households would be buying a lot less coffee henceforth, while another woman said that her husband was so addicted to caffeine that she would buy coffee if it went to $20 per pound. Some said there would be no change in their purchasing habits, while others reported use of tea at least once per day rather than coffee. A restaurateur telephoned the newspaper to report that he was still selling coffee for a nickel per cup, saying that there were only a few such places left, and he intended to keep it at that price.

In New York, the Union News Co., which operated several hundred restaurants across the country, had placed a sign in many of its outlets this date, which read: "We feel the increases of the raw coffee market are unjustified. We urge our patrons to drink tea." The story indicates that the company's restaurants ranged from railway station lunch counters to places such as the Rainbow Room in New York City.

On the editorial page, "Showdown on Trade Policy Nears" indicates that a considerable number of Republican members of Congress were now opposed to the President's opposition to the proposed Bricker amendment to the Constitution, weakening the President's authority to carry out foreign policy by making executive agreements subject to the same ratification requirements as treaties. It finds that before the debate on the amendment was done, the battle lines might be drawn in a similar way to that regarding trade and tariff policies. A report by the Randall Commission, and the vigorous dissents to it by members of the Commission who were also influential Republican members of Congress, underscored the seriousness of the division.

The Commission had done exactly the opposite of what such commissions were generally expected to do, that is minimize the differences on trade and tariff views, instead making the various partisan viewpoints more adamant in this instance. The majority of the 17-member Commission, including Democratic Senators Harry F. Byrd and Walter George, Representatives Battle and Cooper, endorsed a liberal outlook on trade, calling for a three-year extension of the Reciprocal Trade Act rather than the usual one-year renewal. That group wanted the President to be authorized to cut tariff rates more drastically, to have more authority to disregard pleas for higher tariffs by the Tariff Commission and industries which protested rates, and to waive the "Buy American" statutes, which sometimes had required the Government to purchase items at home which could be bought more cheaply abroad. The majority asked Congress also to repeal legislation which required half the Government-financed seagoing freight to be sent abroad in American ships, that repeal to permit foreign shippers to earn more money with which to purchase American goods.

It observes that some of those recommendations corresponded to views expressed by the President. Various members of the Commission had dissented from parts of the report, but, most importantly, two members, the chairman and a member of the powerful House Ways & Means Committee, Congressmen Daniel Reed and Richard Simpson of Pennsylvania, respectively, had objected to the entire report, while Senate Finance Committee chairman Eugene Millikin of Colorado, who would chair a Congressional committee to make trade policy, had registered numerous reservations and dissents.

It finds great similarity between the basic reasoning of the dissenters to the Commission report and the advocates of the Bricker amendment, as both groups, overlapping in membership, after 20 years in the opposition party, had not adjusted to a member of their own party controlling the executive branch of Government, and were angered by any strong advocacy for internationalism, which they had hoped would end when the Democrats had left power. The group was not in the mood for substantial compromise, and because of the key positions of the opponents of liberal trade, it would be unlikely that a major overhaul of trade and tariff legislation would occur in 1954.

"The Wrong Way To Build Up NATO" indicates that former State Department chief planner during the Truman Administration, George Kennan, had warned in his book, American Foreign Policy, 1900-1950, about the danger of building grand but shaky alliances, that the "theoretical total of available military strength" might increase, but only "at the cost of compactness and ease of control", that the wider a coalition became, the more difficult it was to retain political unity and general agreement on the purposes and effects of what was being done.

It observes that the U.S. Government appeared determined to make NATO into such an unwieldy grand alliance, the type which Mr. Kennan had warned against. NATO originally had been sponsored by only seven nations, Britain, France, the Benelux countries, Canada and the U.S., but by the time the treaty had been signed, Norway, Denmark, Italy, Iceland and Portugal had also joined, after which Greece and Turkey also became members. The previous week, the Christian Science Monitor's U.N. correspondent reported that the U.S. was determined to link Pakistan and Iraq to NATO. It had thus become a heterogeneous alliance, with admission open to virtually any country which would take a non-Communist oath and promise a few divisions of troops in support. That increase in growth would be desirable, it observes, if some progress were being made to strengthen the organization internally while diminishing economic, political and cultural barriers among its various members. It finds that only by that kind of integration could a lasting international organization be built, but that instead, more diverse ethnic and political groups, more military divisions only on paper, were being added to NATO, when including the most recently proposed additions.

It concludes that, as Mr. Kennan had warned, the effectiveness of the organization might be seriously impaired by that type of expansion.

"No Hero, Perhaps, but an Humble Man" indicates that when Maj. General William Dean had been awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, it had wondered whether he really merited that award by the fact of his capture by the enemy at the start of the Korean War while leading a patrol. He had knocked out a tank and organized some disorganized troops, but both were commonplace chores among non-commissioned officers and company grade officers. It regarded his selection as being in the same category with the award provided Capt. Colin Kelly, the B-17 pilot who had crashed and died after his crew had bailed out during World War II.

It recounts that since his return from captivity, General Dean had repeatedly made the point that he did not deserve the honor. A story in the Saturday Evening Post had quoted him as saying that he had made some mistakes during the fighting and had kicked himself a thousand times for them, that he had lost ground he should not have, and was not proud of his record, was not under any delusion that it was a masterful campaign. He further said that other men had resisted torture, but that he was not tortured, that others had bluffed the Communists steadily, but that he had been lucky enough to do so only once in awhile, that others had starved while he was fed, that others had died for principle, but that he had failed in his suicide attempt. He concluded by saying that he would not have awarded himself a "wooden star" for what he had done.

The piece concludes that perhaps he protested too much, but that his remarks, as those he had made previously, rang true, that he was a man determined to set the record straight and not reap undeserved glories, that medals and honors were not awarded for such rare degrees of frankness and humility, but deserved to be noted.

A piece from the Sanford Herald, titled "The H. L. Mencken Shell", indicates that whenever Mr. Mencken's name appeared in print, it thought of that which George Bernard Shaw had once said: "I simply can not die." It suggests that Mr. Mencken deserved to quit the world, having lost his ability to read and write, appearing miserable most of the time. He had even reached the point where he could tolerate a President, as in a news story appearing recently, William Manchester had quoted him as saying that President Eisenhower was doing a better than average job. The piece describes the approval to the fact that the President had a German name, but suggests that the critical Mencken of old would have gotten around even that somehow.

It says that its favorite story about Mr. Mencken concerned the presidency, originating around 1926, when someone had persuaded him, when he had been editor of the American Mercury, to tour the South, which he had dubbed "the Bible Belt", and his last act before departing Baltimore had been to endorse Governor Albert Ritchie of Maryland for the presidency. When he reached Richmond, he expressed support for Virginia's Governor Harry F. Byrd. When he got to Raleigh, he told the North Carolina press that he supported Governor Angus McLean for the presidency. In Georgia, he suggested that Maj. John Cohen, the state's Democratic national committeeman, was the country's best hope.

Demonstrating Mr. Mencken's impact at the time, in the wake of his visit to North Carolina, the Charlotte Observer and the Twin City Sentinel of Winston-Salem had printed editorials exploring, with all seriousness, the chances of Governor McLean to become President, as had the Danville Register, with regard to the chances of Governor Byrd, the latter suggesting Mr. Mencken as "a shrewd analyst of people and an even keener judge of existing conditions."

Drew Pearson indicates that Senate Interior Committee members had been pounding on the table and roaring at each other the previous week regarding admission to statehood of the Territories of Hawaii and Alaska. While it was against Senate rules for one Senator to question a colleague's motives, chairman Hugh Butler of Nebraska had accused those who opposed him on admission only of Hawaii of "some ulterior purpose". Senator Frank Barrett of Wyoming, normally sanguine, turned red in the face and shouted: "I may be against the whole works before we get through with it—Alaska, Hawaii, and the whole damned mess!" Causing the row had been the parliamentary move made by Senator Clinton Anderson of New Mexico, tying entry to statehood of the two territories together, upsetting Republican strategy to push for normally Republican Hawaii to the exclusion of normally Democratic Alaska, an effort to acquire two new Republican Senators to bolster the working majority barely held by the Republicans in the Senate at present, dependent entirely on the independent vote of Senator Wayne Morse to establish a tie and permit Vice-President Nixon to break it. The Republicans believed that they had the votes on the Committee to push through a bill admitting only Hawaii, but Republican Senator Henry Dworshak of Idaho had bolted and voted with the Democrats to keep the two territories together in the same bill.

Mr. Pearson proceeds to report in detail what had happened behind closed doors, leading to the final vote, including verbatim exchanges between chairman Butler, Senator Russell Long of Louisiana, who suggested that there would be a filibuster of a bill which tied the two territories' admission together, Senator Dworshak, Senator Guy Cordon of Oregon, who contended that the bill would prejudice Alaskan statehood, Senator George Malone, who objected to remarks impugning motives of anyone on the Committee, and Senator Barrett of Wyoming, who objected to Senator Anderson's judgment being placed above the rest of the Committee.

Marquis Childs indicates that the stakes could not be higher at the current foreign ministers conference in Berlin, with a bad outcome for the Western Big Three potentially threatening the end of the Western alliance, especially vis-à-vis France. The Russians had the ability to extend to France two offers, with considerable propaganda allure.

The first was a proposal to end the war in Indo-China by negotiation, something which for weeks the Communists had been hinting was possible. The French were quite sick of the eight years of jungle warfare in Indo-China, with no sign on the horizon of a clear-cut decision. French popular opinion was strongly backing an end to that war. The insistent demand by the Indochinese Associated States, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos, for complete independence was one factor involved in a potential peace which could cause many French to ask what the point had been of the heavy casualties and a billion dollar per year expenditure, only to wind up turning everything over to the Associated States. But to U.S. policymakers, that attitude appeared shortsighted, as Southeast Asia would likely fall were Indo-China to become Communist, a likely result in the event of a withdrawal by the French. Yet, one could understand the attractiveness of such an offer by the Russians to many in France, where neutralism was the equivalent of isolationism for many Americans who wanted to adopt the Bricker amendment and create again "fortress America".

The second attractive proposal which the Russians could communicate was the demilitarization of Germany, yet a more phony offer than that involving Indo-China. Mr. Childs observes that if a Draconian peace had been enforced on Germany, such as that desired at the end of the war by the Soviets and which had been envisioned by the Morgenthau plan to render Germany an agricultural state, then permanent demilitarization might have been possible, albeit requiring a continuing large-scale military occupation of foreign troops to enforce it. Given the vitality of the Germans and their will to power, it was inevitable that eventually they would acquire new instruments of military force after the war, and in the American view, that force had to be contained within the framework of either NATO or the European Defense Community and its unified army between France, West Germany, Italy and the Benelux countries. The French, however, with their historical lessons in play, were quite distrustful of the Germans and German rearmament in any framework, but the U.S. made the case that there would either be an independent German military capability or one which could be subsumed under EDC and thereby kept in check.

Nevertheless, the U.S. appeals to the French were being perceived as threats since Secretary of State Dulles had warned in December that if the French soon did not ratify EDC, the U.S. foreign policy with regard to Europe would have to be re-evaluated, interpreted to mean a cessation of aid and withdrawal of U.S. troops. Thus, neither Mr. Dulles nor Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden of Britain could take the lead in venturing such views, that being left to French Foreign Minister Georges Bidault. Secretary Dulles would perforce have to adopt a passive role. It remained to be seen whether M. Bidault would take such initiative, running counter to French popular opinion, but if he did not, the conference would likely end in defeat for the West. Thus, concludes Mr. Childs, Mr. Dulles would have to wait in the background and hope that the frail, slight Bidault would carry the burden "in this time of testing."

James Marlow also addresses the Berlin conference, first of its kind in five years, indicating that before the talks had begun, there was little hope that the East and West would reach agreements, and judging by the initial rhetoric at the conference, it would appear that it would be another "propaganda war across the table". Russia would find it a success if it could weaken the links between the U.S. and France, and the U.S. would likely regard it as a success if it could make France a closer ally.

But in the first two days of the conference, each side had only restated its previous positions, the West asserting that there had to be an EDC army, of which both France and West Germany had to be part, the best way, according to Secretary Dulles, to prevent Germany from becoming a renewed military threat against its neighbors. M. Bidault had made a strong pitch for EDC, but the French National Assembly had thus far failed to ratify it and would not vote on it for several weeks. That irony could not be lost, suggests Mr. Marlow, on Foreign Minister V. M. Molotov of Russia, which feared an EDC containing both France and West Germany, knowing that without EDC, Europe's defenses would be weaker, and so was wooing France away from it, Mr. Molotov following that line at the Berlin conference, warning that once Germany was allowed to rearm even within the confines of EDC, it could not be trusted.

Mr. Marlow also indicates French public opinion was growing against continuation of the war in Indo-China, on which Mr. Molotov had made a veiled suggestion that perhaps Russia could bring an end to the fighting through a negotiated peace, potentially resulting in a Communist takeover after France would withdraw, making the remainder of Southeast Asia an undefended target for the Soviets and Communist Chinese, the latter still dependent on Russian aid and support in terms of ammunition, airplanes and other military supplies requiring a strong industrial base absent at present from mainland China. Mr. Molotov tried to place the U.S. in a compromising position by suggesting that the major powers agree to outlaw the atomic bomb, which could only happen, in the U.S. view, with international inspections to ensure compliance, which the Russians had consistently refused to allow. Thus by talking about it, Mr. Molotov had created more Russian propaganda.

Robert C. Ruark, still at sea aboard the M.V. Australia, on his way to Australia, again discusses life aboard ship, indicating that he had met a bright, older woman, 67, who had enrolled in an American university when her husband had died when she was 50, and was now roaming the world for fun, smoked cigarettes and drank martinis, shook a "wicked hip in the rumba and looks as trim as a filly in her bathing suit."

He had also met a German family from China, traveling to Australia to meet the head of the household. There was a redheaded Russian woman who had a stomach ache from acute seasickness of the soul, and she and the bartender had been friends years earlier in Shanghai, prompting some of the passengers to call her "Shanghai Lil" without her knowledge. Whether her real name was McGillovich, he does not recount, but does describe several other first class passengers aboard, of whom we are certain you will wish to read thoroughly. He concludes by saying that the second class, accommodating some 800 people, was where the real action took place. Presumably, he will tell us of that in his next action-packed column.

When he gets to Australia, perhaps he will take us on a Ruark surfin' safari.

A letter writer responds to a previous letter expressing the need for the city engineer, Herman Hoose, to adjust the signals on Independence Boulevard to permit smoother flow of traffic. The writer agrees, but disagrees with the method suggested by the previous writer for making the change. She indicates that many students from a nearby elementary school and junior high school had to cross Independence and thus needed adequate time for the crossing to take place, suggests therefore that whoever had lengthened the time of the green lights on the nearby intersecting streets during the summer deserved thanks.

A letter writer thanks News associate editor Vic Reinemer for his piece the previous day on Charlotte's smoke problem, says that she was especially concerned about it as she was an asthmatic, that it was bad enough to have to cope with soot and smoke from one's car without having to breathe it in "slow death" in the air generally, that the Queen City should not be known as Queen of smog and smoke—not to mention smelly old Sugaw Creek, the smellier on rainy days, when, presumably, the smoke was dissipated, while in Winston, you could smell the downtown tobacco factories for miles and miles in those days, even if you couldn't see spit.

But they needed industry...

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