The Charlotte News

Thursday, January 28, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Berlin, Secretary of State Dulles stated before the Big Four conference this date that Soviet Foreign Minister V. M. Molotov was trying to supersede the U.N. with a council of five powers, including Communist China, with his suggestion that the conference be broadened to include the Communist Chinese. Mr. Dulles said that Mr. Molotov wanted that council of five to rule the world, demanded for the third straight day that the conference get on with the principal issue for which the conference had been called, the unification of Germany, and skip the issue of incorporating Communist China into the conference. Mr. Dulles asked rhetorically who was Chou En-lai, Communist Chinese Foreign Minister, that his addition to the conference would make possible the solution of all of their problems, describing Chou as a leader of a regime which had gained power through a bloody war, had become an open aggressor in Korea and now continued to promote aggression in Indo-China.

In Panmunjom, the 21 American prisoners of war of the Communists who had refused to repatriate to the U.S., along with the lone Briton and 325 South Koreans who had also refused repatriation to their homelands, moved northward in flag-bedecked trucks, singing and chanting as they went, while charging imperialism and germ warfare against the West. Five Western journalists were permitted to observe the departure from the from the compounds in the demilitarized zone where they had been maintained in custody by the Indian command since the previous September 24. The Americans told the journalists that they wanted to be "peace fighters" and could not do so within the U.S. One of the American prisoners, from Louisiana, said that he had seen planes drop germ bombs, that he was certain of it because he had seen the insects, though he could not specify the type they were. (Beetles, no doubt.) Another, from Minnesota, said that he had never been happier in his entire life. All of the Americans had been given dishonorable discharges by the Defense Department, at the direction of Secretary of Defense Charles E. Wilson, who had countermanded the Army's initial intention only to provide them with the lesser "undesirable" discharge. Communist journalists indicated that special camps had been prepared for the men at Kaesong and that a gala welcome awaited them.

The U.N. Command in Tokyo said officially that at least nine of the 21 Americans had been accused of being stool pigeons who had betrayed fellow prisoners to the Communists. Four, they said, had expected to be punished if they returned to the U.S. and were afraid, therefore, to repatriate. The Command said that five had been sent to China during their captivity for further schooling and that seven had either been selected for or were promised additional schooling in Communist China. Five others were considered weak and not sincere in their Communist beliefs, according to the Command, that they had fallen in love with Chinese women, hoped to get something for nothing, and were promised educations in China. Twelve, said the Command, were "progressives" from the early days of their captivity, active in all kinds of Communist activity within the prison camps. Twenty of the 21 had been regular Army men, and the other had been a draftee. Three were artillerymen, two, medical aidmen, two, engineers, and the remainder, infantrymen. Five were 21 and the eldest was 32, with the average age being 23 ½. Nineteen were single, two were married, and three were black. Ten had an average of two years of high school education, one had 3 1/2 years of college, and another was a college graduate. Two had only completed grammar school and two had not finished grammar school, while one had only completed the sixth grade. None of them had any recorded political activity prior to entry to the Army. Ten had come from low-income homes, and most of the others had been from middle-class families, one having been the son of an Army officer. One was an orphan who had been adopted at age 11, and two had come from broken homes. Prior to entry to the Army, five had been restaurant workers, four, truck drivers, three, mechanics' helpers, one, a bakery employee, service station attendant, sales clerk, machine operator and welder, while four had never been employed.

The President, in his economic report to the Congress this date, said that the nation was "marvelously prosperous" and predicted recovery during the year from a "brief and self-correcting" business dip, pledging to use the Government's powers to combat a depression should one develop. He said that in the latter event, he was prepared to cut taxes, liberalize credit and launch large-scale public works, even if it resulted in new deficit financing. He urged Congress to take "bold steps" requested in his 1954 legislative program to "protect and promote economic stability." That would include, he said, protection of millions of additional workers under unemployment and old-age insurance, plus larger benefit payments, Federal aid for public works planning, stimulus to housing, tax revision, highway improvement, a new farm program, and a tariff program to encourage foreign trade. He said that his economic program did not seek emergency measures, as the current situation did not require that step, but was instead a stimulus program for economic growth, which would minimize any chance of a serious economic difficulty in the future. His report said that national production was at a record level of 367 billion dollars, that employment was high, prices were steady, and wages and profits on the rise. The President surprisingly advised Congress to delay consideration of any increase in the minimum hourly wage of 75 cents until the economy was in better condition. He also questioned whether establishing a legal floor for wages was helpful in combating poverty. Secretary of Labor James Mitchell had told the CIO convention the previous fall that the Administration was "working hard" to achieve a higher minimum wage and to have it apply to more workers. That position, however, had reportedly been opposed by Secretary of Commerce Sinclair Weeks and chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, Dr. Arthur Burns. Former Secretary of Labor Martin Durkin, who had resigned the prior fall contending that the President had reneged on a pledge to submit to Congress 18 amendments to Taft-Hartley which would have been acceptable to labor, had advocated a minimum wage of one dollar, while the CIO had sought $1.25.

Senator John W. Bricker of Ohio replied to the President's objections to his proposed Constitutional amendment regarding the treaty-making power, saying in a speech before the Senate this date that each objection was untrue or wrong, though stating that the President's motives had been sincere but that his advisers had "sold him a bad bill of goods". He said that he had hoped for a time to reach a compromise with the White House but that no reasonable compromise had appealed to Secretary of State Dulles and that the discussions had now concluded, unlikely to resume. He remained confident that the proposed amendment would pass the Senate. Republican Party leaders, according to Senate Majority Leader William Knowland, had met with the President this date and briefed him on the situation in the Senate regarding the amendment and proposed substitutes for it. Senator Knowland said he might have an announcement during the afternoon regarding the matter.

Sgt. James Pinkston, a North Carolinian who had been returned by the Communists from prisoner of war status the previous April, among the sick and wounded exchanged on both sides at that time, had died in the Veterans Administration Hospital in Durham this date. Family members said that he had suffered from a heart condition caused by malnutrition during his imprisonment, and had suffered a stroke the prior Monday night, unconscious afterward until his death. The sergeant had enlisted in the Army in 1948 and gone to Japan to serve with the 8th Cavalry Regiment, had been captured on November 4, 1950, when his unit had been surrounded.

Walter Johnson of Sparta, N.C., was named this date the North Carolina director of the Savings Bond Division of the U.S. Treasury, succeeding Allison James, who had served in the position since 1942 and was retiring. Mr. James had stated, however, that he was told to resign or that he would be fired and that he refused to resign. North Carolina Senators Clyde Hoey and Alton Lennon had asked Secretary of the Treasury George Humphrey to delay the dismissal until a study of the situation could be undertaken. The Treasury said that Mr. Johnson's appointment was in keeping with the nationwide policy of increasing purchase of Series E and H bonds by a billion more dollars in 1954, as North Carolina, it said, had failed to meet its quota in 1953, as had a number of other states.

In Raleigh, Governor William B. Umstead said this date that he would announce the following day a successor to Chief Justice Devin who would announce his retirement the following day, said that he would likely elevate a present member of the Court to the post. Speculation was that he would name Justice Barnhill as the successor.

In Federal District Court in Charlotte, the Government continued its case against Dick Smith, accused of tax evasion between 1946 and 1950 amounting to more than $123,000 in taxes based on his earnings from a lottery operation he allegedly ran. The Government's attorneys told the jury that Mr. Smith had paid only $3,600 on reported income of $22,500 during the time in question, and called two Internal Revenue agents as witnesses to tell of their investigation of his income and the taxes he had paid, one agent stating that Mr. Smith had deposited $116,500 to his bank accounts in 1946 and that his cash expenditures that year had amounted to $136,700, totaling $253,200. They had estimated that his net income would have been $68,000 for the year, whereas Mr. Smith had claimed a loss of $2,200 and paid no tax at all.

On the editorial page, "Public Projects Need To Be Planned" indicates that it was obvious from news stories that expenditures for public projects in Charlotte within the ensuing few years would run high into the millions of dollars, and that with a bonded indebtedness already approaching the legal limit, the City would have great difficulty financing even the most urgent of the new projects. It finds that the time had come when the Charlotte City Council ought consider adopting a capital expenditures budget which would provide a more businesslike procedure than in the past, based on the general rule that projects would be classified into three groups, those deemed essential for the ensuing year, projects slated for the ensuing five or six years, and then long-range projects.

It indicates that Philip Green, Jr., assistant director of the North Carolina Institute of Government, in a recent issue of Popular Government, had written that the growing popularity of the capital expenditures budget "represents a significant step in the movement toward more businesslike procedures in municipal government." He had indicated that several major cities in the states had established committees charged with the creation of such a budget, but, it concludes, Charlotte was not yet among them.

"Cluttering up the Constitution" indicates that after exhausting every tactic of persuasion and diplomacy, Senate Majority Leader William Knowland had found that he could not reason with Senator John W. Bricker, sponsor of the Constitutional amendment regarding the treaty-making power, and so Senator Knowland was now proposing a new compromise which would provide that executive agreements other than treaties could become internal law only by act of Congress, and would declare void any future treaties and international agreements which conflicted with the Constitution.

It indicates that the Supreme Court could declare the latter whether or not the amendment was passed, but Senators appeared in recent times not to trust the Court or the Senate to pass on treaties. It suggests that while the President may have committed himself to support a reasonable compromise the previous July such that he felt committed now to support the advocates of the current compromise, and that such a compromise might be good politics, it hopes that the President would not compromise at all, as the Bricker amendment would endanger the independence of the President in conducting foreign policy.

The Senate Judiciary Committee the previous year had approved the amendment, and since that time it had become clear that it would upset the delicate balance between the three branches of the Government. A compromise which only asserted what was already the law of the land would uselessly clutter up the Constitution with superfluity.

It suggests that the President, with a very slender working majority of his party in Congress, wanted to save face and avoid intraparty controversy, and so had sought to compromise with Senator Bricker and those who were supporting the amendment. It finds, however, that he had shown thus far commendable firmness in defending the authority of his office from those who wanted to change radically the balance of power, and should continue to do so. Moreover, it suggests, that even if a compromise were finally worked out and the resulting amendment were passed by both houses and went to the states, it would likely never be ratified by the necessary three-fourths of the states, and so was a lost cause aborning.

"McCarthy Bows to His Colleagues" indicates that since the previous summer, Senator McCarthy's investigating subcommittee had functioned without any Democratic members, as Senators John McClellan, Stuart Symington and Henry Jackson had walked out of the subcommittee the prior July after the Republican majority had rammed through a rule giving Senator McCarthy, as chairman, full authority to hire and fire subcommittee employees and to choose and direct the staff member assigned to the Democrats. During the week, Senator McCarthy had made peace with the Democrats on their terms, surrendering his exclusive authority to hire and fire staff members, agreeing that minority subcommittee members would have the right to select their own counsel and clerk, and that no investigation would be initiated over the unanimous objection of the three Democrats until it had first been approved by a majority vote of the parent Committee on Government Operations.

Senator McCarthy was now indicating that it was "a dangerous precedent" for an investigating arm of the Senate to consist only of Republicans, though, it indicates, he was not terribly bothered by it during the last six months of the prior year when he operated virtually as a one-man subcommittee most of the time. It finds that with return of the Democrats, there was reason to believe that future investigations would be conducted with more bipartisanship and impartiality, both essential to responsible investigation by Congress.

A piece from the Richmond Times-Dispatch, titled "Alien Corn on the Cob", indicates considerable consternation at a report out of the North that someone had suggested sprinkling paprika on corn on the cob, while another had gone so far as to recommend spreading on it either melted cheese, maple sugar or exotic spices before the corn was roasted. It finds it to be sacrilege, equal to placing sugar in cornbread, which the famous Louisville editor, Henry Watterson, had once declared to be a practice "born of the devil, planted in New England and sent South by our enemies." He said that it made men "trifling and women frivolous, causes the servants to be insolent and obstreperous, creates an appetite for moonshine, emboldens a man to refuse his wife's requests for money."

The piece finds the treatment of corn on the cob equally bad, practically subversive, says that it should be either roasted or broiled, and when ready for eating, doused liberally with butter and salt and "gobbled up without inhibitions." It further indicates that if anyone came across the Potomac, traveling southward with corn on the cob liberally bedaubed with maple sugar or exotic spices, they should be treated with the same "warm reception that greeted McDowell's army at First Manassas."

Only a Richmond newspaper could conjure up Civil War allusions in response to suggested treatment of produce which the original colonists got from the native population. In any event, we recommend not eating it at all after one has attempted to catch a baseball with one's mouth, rendering a fat, sore lip. It stings.

Drew Pearson tells of what had occurred at the Cabinet meeting recently when discussing the offer of the Russians to purchase 44 million pounds of surplus U.S. butter, albeit at the world market price of about 46 cents per pound, 21 cents below the support price of 67 cents being paid to dairy farmers by the Department of Agriculture. Therein lay the controversy, as there was great perturbation about accepting a price from the Russians below that which American housewives were having to pay at the market for butter, despite the fact, as Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson had stated at the Cabinet meeting, that refusal of the deal would probably mean that the butter, accumulating in the warehouses at the rate of a million pounds per day, would eventually go rancid and thus yield no return to the U.S. taxpayers. He also pointed out that the U.S. was already selling tallow to the Russians, and that butter was no more strategic than tallow. He further indicated that the Russians could purchase butter elsewhere. No one at the meeting disagreed with Mr. Benson on those points, only raising the issue of appearances. The sale, however, was not entirely nixed, as foreign aid director Harold Stassen later indicated.

It appeared that Secretary Benson would, by April 1, when he had to make up his mind whether to support dairy prices during the coming year, reduce support in accordance with the Administration policy to reduce farm prices somewhat, bringing the price of butter down closer to the Russian offer, making the sale more palatable to the public. Mr. Pearson points out that the accumulated butter would still be at the old support price of 67 cents, however, as the lower price would only apply to the newly purchased surplus.

U.S. officials had breathed a sigh of relief the previous day as the deadline, assigned by South Korean President Syngman Rhee for sending his troops north should the Korean peace conference not be commenced by January 27, had passed without action. U.S. officials knew in advance that he would not carry out the threat, but also were aware that his next deadline, three months hence, if in the meantime the Korean peace conference did not make substantial progress toward a unified Korea, would likely be kept, in which case he would send his troops north of the 38th parallel, halting them, however, at the edge of the demilitarized zone established by the truce. Mr. Pearson indicates that there was one primary reason why President Rhee was willing to pull his punches, the same reason why the U.N. was not likely to resume ground fighting in Korea ever again, that if war were resumed, it would have to be fought via the air and atomic bombs, as the steel and concrete line established by the Chinese across the Korean Peninsula was impenetrable to any land army without devastating loss of life. It was no secret that the U.S. Army had given up any thought of wasting lives within the labyrinth of underground defenses established in North Korea. If it ever became necessary to attack, the U.S. would circumvent those defenses, just as the Germans had done with the French Maginot Line in 1940.

Mr. Pearson notes that as far as the U.N. was concerned, allied intelligence did not expect any resumption of Korean fighting save possibly intermittent local flareups along the North Korean battle line.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop indicate that for the first time, the French Government had asked the U.S. to send American troops to the war in Indo-China. The number was small, 400 air mechanics and maintenance men from the Far East Air Force, for an emergency which had recently arisen. The French had indicated that civilian mechanics would suffice, provided the necessary number could be found in time. If the troops were to be sent, they would not be in uniform and would meet an American air maintenance training mission already at work at the Hanoi and Haiphong airfields. But the French request marked a grave turning point in the Indochinese war. The French had not asked for the American air training mission, had even been reluctant to accept it because of fear of provoking Chinese Communist intervention. Previously, they had not wanted U.S. troops in the war for that reason. But that was now changing, based on a threat to the newly established fortified French outpost in the valley of Dien Bien Phu.

French General Navarre had ordered the establishment of the outpost, commanding the approach to Laos. It was taken by parachutists, with some of the best 13 French battalions flown in to begin work on the fortification and supply build-up. At the outset, the French High Command believed that the Communists armies of the Vietminh would never again attack a fortified French position. The Vietminh commander-in-chief, General Vo Nguyen Giap, had never previously used more than about a division and a half in active combat at any one time, as the supply shortage had forbidden larger operations. Thus, the occupation of Dien Bien Phu was believed by the French to involve little or no risk, as the 13 battalions were thought to be too large a force for the Vietminh to risk an attack. It was believed that a small number of the battalions could hold the outpost while the remainder attacked the main Vietminh lines.

But all of those assumptions and expectations had begun to collapse soon after the French had fully committed to the outpost, as the enemy dragged a considerable number of 37 and 40-millimeter anti-aircraft guns over the mountains into position around the perimeter of Dien Bien Phu.

A victory at the fortress and smashing of the Vietminh attack that was presently in its early phase would bring enormous returns, dramatically altering the balance of the fighting in Indo-China in favor of the French, and probably improving the climate in Paris, much in favor of ending French involvement in the war. But a defeat at Dien Bien Phu, the Alsops prophetically suggest, or even a mild French reversal, would provoke the same kind of response in Paris which Yorktown had caused 171 years earlier during the American Revolution. The French would begin to pull out of Indo-China, as the State Department had officially warned, causing anxious debate within the National Security Council during the previous few days regarding the precarious nature of the situation. The Alsops conclude that the future of Asia might well be at stake in the "remote and obscure engagement".

Robert C. Ruark, still aboard the M.V. Australia, bound for Australia, indicates that the ship, carrying 849 passengers, was a modernized version of the Mayflower, with all aboard among the 18 nationalities represented, plus 140 stateless people, heading to Australia for a new life, unlikely to see their homelands ever again. Among them were Russians, Poles, Slavs and Germans, and the "flotsam" of World War II. Included were 286 children and 354 women, of whom many were pregnant. Among the women were brides who had never seen their husbands, as they had been married by proxy through the mail and were headed for a mysterious land to live with strange men. A Greek family aboard had lost the husband to malaria, and his body had to be left in Djakarta, as his widow and twin children carried on to Australia, where they had never been before. The surgeon aboard the ship was hoping that a woman 8 1/2 months pregnant would give birth before the end of the voyage, so that the list of passengers would come out even in the end.

Mr. Ruark indicates that to the best of his knowledge there had been no fistfights among the men and nothing more than a few sharp words among the women. There had also been no epidemic, which was amazing with so many children aboard.

He concludes that the aim of those aboard was common, to reach a new life in a new land with fresh opportunity for their children. He says it had been an exciting trip, and it was rare that a contemporary man could see the future in the making and know that he was seeing it. He notes that there had never been a more poignant memory for him than a thousand relatives on the docks of Naples and Genoa waving goodbye handkerchiefs at their dear ones whom they would never see again.

A letter writer addresses the piece by News associate editor Vic Reinemer two days earlier on the smoke problem of Charlotte, and she indicates that she wishes to place as much pressure as she could on the City Council to bring the smoke menace under control, that every time she drove toward Charlotte from the suburbs, she saw a "curtain of black" hanging over her house and became furious. She says she had lived in the city all of her life and loved it, but was tired of being ashamed of the dirty smoke cloud which perpetually hid it. She thanks the newspaper for its stand on the issue.

A letter writer from Pinehurst comments on the editorial of January 25, "Why the FCC Is No Place for Lee", finds that had the editorial stuck to the issue of the qualifications of Mr. Lee for the job of commissioner on the FCC, it would have been a strong piece, but parts company with it when it found irrelevant to his qualifications the fact that Mr. Lee had helped Senator Joseph McCarthy in his unethical campaign in Maryland against incumbent Senator Millard Tydings in 1950. While he agrees that the editorial was correct in asserting that there should be no stigma attached to Mr. Lee for his mere association with Senator McCarthy, as that would be condoning the tactics of the Senator, himself, he believe that it was not merely incidental for Mr. Lee to have participated in that campaign, that it did reflect on his qualifications. He informs that Mr. Lee had been confirmed by the Senate by a vote of 58 to 25, with both Senators Clyde Hoey and Alton Lennon of North Carolina voting in favor of confirmation. He hopes that a year hence, North Carolina would have one Senator not afraid to vote for the good of the entire country, regardless of any possible retributive attack against him by Senator McCarthy.

A letter writer thanks the previous letter writer of January 20 who had expressed concern over too much emphasis in the schools on non-academic subjects, such as pottery-making. This writer also thinks there was too much emphasis in that regard, finding the curriculum of local schools littered with such subjects as "psychology, wood-working, metal-craft, finger-painting, religion and other subjects" which he regards as being extracurricular and cheating the students out of a useful education. He congratulates the previous letter writer on his "Roentgenoid vision in this age of blindness and myopia."

A letter writer also compliments the same previous writer and says that more such comment was needed.

A letter from the assistant freight traffic manager of the Southern Railway System indicates that recently an officer of a large airline had addressed one of Charlotte's civic clubs regarding "50 Years' Development of Aviation", from the Wright brothers to the present, and that when he was asked when his company would serve Charlotte with the super planes, he had replied, "When you build an airport for us."

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