The Charlotte News

Friday, January 29, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Berlin, French Foreign Minister Georges Bidault called this date for a U.N. disarmament conference, provided all hostilities, including the war in Indo-China, were first ended and aggression outlawed. He introduced a resolution to that effect to the fifth session of the Big Four foreign ministers conference, countering a proposal for a disarmament conference made the previous day by Soviet Foreign Minister V. M. Molotov, who had asked that the Big Four sponsor a worldwide disarmament meeting which would include Communist China and other states not presently U.N. members. Secretary of State Dulles had intended to bring up the question of German unity immediately after the session opened, but the disarmament question raised by Mr. Molotov had apparently delayed it for the present. The Bidault resolution was presumably designed to place pressure on the Communists to end the war in Indo-China.

Senate leaders hoped this date to unveil a bipartisan substitute for the Bricker amendment, which would amend the Constitution's treaty-making power. Senate Majority Leader William Knowland said that he expected to be able to announce details of the substitute, introduced by Senator Walter George of Georgia, during the day. But Senator George said that somebody always had other little ideas they wanted to insert and so it was questionable whether the compromise proposal would be finalized by this date. He said that he did not think any compromise was possible with Senator Bricker at this point. Some sponsors of the original Bricker amendment were conceding privately that it could not pass. Apparently the substitute version was acceptable to the Administration, as Senator Knowland and other Republican leaders had talked to the President the previous day and then began pushing forward with the substitute, the first section of which indicated that any treaty or international agreement in conflict with the Constitution would have no effect.

Congressional Democrats declared this date that the President's economic program, the report of which he had provided to Congress the previous day, fell short of effective action to meet the current business dip. Republicans, however, strongly supported the program. Senator John Sparkman of Alabama, the senior Democrat on the Senate-House Economic Committee, said that the President offered "noble generalities", and that he did not think the proposed measures held much hope of effecting greater prosperity, that the President had the tools at his disposal but was not using them. Senator Arthur Watkins of Utah, the second-ranking Republican Committee member, however, declared that the President was "dead right" in his appraisal that the present downturn in the economy was a moderate inventory adjustment and that it would take an upward move again within a few months. He believed the President's program was sound, that the effort to stop inflation had done so and that there was bound to be in be consequence a period of adjustment to stabilize the economy.

Former Assistant Attorney General Herbert Bergson was acquitted in Washington this date of violating the Federal conflict of interest law, when the judge granted a defense motion for directed verdict prior to the beginning of the defense case, on the basis that the Government had not presented sufficient evidence to support every element of the charged offense.

In Montréal, a series of razor-slashing incidents had been taking place, with two more women having been attacked the previous night, after 13 women had been injured during the prior week, one requiring 21 stitches, although most of the wounds having been minor, primarily consisting of cuts on the leg. The attacks the previous night had occurred at opposite ends of the city at about the same time, causing police to speculate that there might be two persons at work. Descriptions of the attacker also varied. Several schools had closed early so that children could be home before the dusk rush-hour. Police had received about 2,000 phone calls during a three-hour period the previous night from persons who thought they had seen the slasher. At least one suspect had been arrested, but police said that preliminary questioning had cleared him. They questioned dozens of persons, but so far had no real leads in the case. In one of the slashing incidents the previous night, the man had laughed in the face of the victim after he slashed her leg. In the other attack, the man had clasped his hand over the victim's mouth as she walked home from work, and then gashed her leg, running away without a word, leaving her with a wound which required ten stitches. Usually, the attacks took place during rush hour and the slasher was able to disappear in the crowds or in darkness.

In Detroit, a 79-year old business executive who had died the prior November 16 leaving a $150,000 estate, had provided in his will for 51 friends to sit down to dinner at a hotel and draw lots for his personal effects. The will was admitted to probate the previous day and on a date specified therein, the dinner and drawing of lots would take place.

In Richmond, Va., the United Daughters of the Confederacy complained that the Virginia Legislature wanted to destroy some "imperishable memories" of the Confederacy by making a parking lot of two strips of land presently part of a Confederate old ladies home, the parking lot to be used for visitors to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts adjacent to the home. The UDC said that visitors to Virginia came to see history, including Richmond as the capital of the Confederacy, even quoting from the Gettysburg Address of Abraham Lincoln: "The world will little note nor long remember what we say here; but it can never forget what they did here." They continued, "May we remind you—lest you forget … lest you forget…" The Virginia Legislature then went ahead with its consideration of the question of whether to establish the parking lot.

In Federal District Court in Charlotte, defendant Dick Smith, accused by the Government of evasion of paying more than $200,000 in taxes between 1946 and 1950, provided a detailed account of his lottery operations in Charlotte between 1930 and 1946. He said that he had first come to Charlotte from Texas in 1920, with $21,000 in cash in a money belt, had dealt in the wholesale whiskey business until 1930, at which time he began his butter and eggs lottery operations in the city. He stated that by 1927, he had saved about $80,000 in cash, in addition to the money he had brought with him, and that when he closed the operation in Charlotte in 1946, he had about $240,000 in cash stored away, plus about $80,000 in Government bonds, then continued the numbers business in Belmont and Gastonia until 1951, when the Government had placed a heavy tax through stamps on gambling operations. He said that Charlotte police had arrested him in 1946, along with about 100 employees, in an effort to break up the local numbers racket, that he was fined $2,500 and received a five-year suspended sentence at that time. He also explained how the lottery operation worked.

In Chapel Hill, a commemorative plaque would be presented by the North Carolina Press Association to UNC the following morning, honoring the late W. Carey Dowd, Jr., former publisher of The News and prior president of the Press Association in 1929-30, who had died in 1949. A friend of Mr. Dowd indicated that the plaque would eventually be placed on the new home of the University's school of journalism when completed. The plaque would be presented to UNC Chancellor Robert B. House, who would accept it on behalf of the University. A photograph of the plaque is included. Mr. Dowd had retired as publisher in early 1947 at the time of the sale of the newspaper by the Dowd family to a group of investors, which included Mr. Dowd and his brother, former editor J. E. Dowd, who remained as general manager. Thomas L. Robinson had been publisher since that time.

Mrs. Dowd, who had been in Chapel Hill for the ceremony, accompanying Mr. Robinson and News editor Pete McKnight, had died suddenly at age 60 the previous night after suffering a heart attack. She had married Mr. Dowd in 1918 while he was in the Army. She was originally from Fort Worth, Texas, had come to Charlotte to attend Elizabeth College, and had lived in the city since that time.

On the editorial page, "Would VFW Sleuths Recognize a Red?" indicates that any citizen had not only the right but the duty to report to proper governmental authorities, such as the FBI, any activity which the citizen believed to be subversive. But, it indicates, there was not nearly so much subversive activity occurring in the country as Americans had been led to believe, that those who engaged in it were smart enough to fool virtually everyone except skilled investigators and that many people were unaware of what subversion was, reading dark motives into advocacy of worthwhile changes which Communists also happened to endorse, or regarding merely expressions of minority opinions. It indicates that in the South, a strong advocate of union organization or racial integration stood a good chance of being labeled a "Red".

It suggests that some persons and groups abused the right and duty to report subversive activity, thereby creating a danger which might become the worse than internal subversion. They set themselves up as arbiters of what constituted "Americanism" and then spied on their neighbors.

It cites the VFW as providing good examples of that sort of abuse. In a recent national memorandum, it had declared: "New fronts are hiding many old characters in cities across the nation. The VFW Americanism Department tries to keep tab on them." Following that national position, the VFW post in Norwalk, Conn., had disclosed during the week that it had sent the FBI the names and addresses of citizens of that community whose records and activities the post considered Communistic, the secret committee of the VFW having worked on the list for months before making a full report to the membership. It finds that the post had gone beyond what was required by good citizenship, becoming instead a dangerously divisive force in the community, that instead of merely reporting to the FBI its suspicions, it had undertaken its own amateur investigation, then evaluated and informed each other about neighbors who they deemed lacking in patriotism. It indicates that many of the VFW amateur sleuths would probably not recognize a Communist if they saw one, that the VFW circular had suggested watching for indications of Communist activity by the use of such words as "proletariat" and "bourgeois", as well as those who declared that "U.S. foreign policies are not designed for world peace", which the piece notes many Republicans had indicated during the 1952 election campaign. Also supposedly suspect were those who said Wall Street governed the U.S., which, it notes, many politicians had stated during re-election campaigns.

It concludes that the country would be better off if the veterans stuck to veterans' affairs.

"Parking Problem Must Be Faced" indicates that City traffic engineer Herman Hoose the previous day had made recommendations, at the request of the City Planning Board, regarding the continuing downtown parking problem, suggesting that the City purchase a number of existing lots in midtown areas so that they would not eventually be used for other purposes and to construct facilities for ramp or deck parking. It indicates that practically every other sizable city had tackled the offstreet parking problem long earlier and that continued failure of Charlotte to face the problem and act on it would mean less business for merchants and depreciation of downtown property values as business would move to the suburbs.

"Two Ways To Save on Coffee" indicates that some Canadian scientists had announced that they had developed a way to keep butter from spoiling without refrigeration, but no one had succeeded in making chicory taste like anything but chicory, or in converting the abundant surplus of butter into scarce coffee.

Because of the drought and bugs which had hit the Brazilian coffee plantations the previous year, supply of coffee was reduced, producing the shortage and higher prices in relation to increased American demand, presently up to about 14 pounds per year for each of the 160 million Americans, whereas at the turn-of-the-century, per capita consumption had only been about nine pounds.

It indicates that the prospects for an increase in supply was not too good, because a cold snap in Brazil had damaged the present year's crop, leaving housewives with the unsavory choice of keeping the old grounds and adding a spoonful of coffee for each new pot or simply doing without. It suggests that if a million housewives chose the latter course, the price would probably stop climbing.

A piece from the Wall Street Journal, titled "Suggestions for Inventors", indicates that recently, the newspaper had recorded news of an exhibition of articles which had been invented to serve multiple purposes, such as a bed blanket which could also be used as a beach robe or housecoat, a necktie which had a zip-open pocket, and a gravy ladle which could select thin or thick gravy and also be used as a flower holder. It expresses gladness that it had come to light after Christmas, as otherwise someone might have given the writer one of those articles as a gift. It indicates that the writer, having once been presented an adjustable golf club, which could be used as a long distance iron and then tuned as a sand wedge, had made the mistake of taking it to the golf course as an experiment, causing the caddies to treat the writer coldly for weeks afterward.

It suggests to the inventors of such multipurpose gadgets that they ought develop an alarm clock which, after ringing, would denounce itself in terms scathing and unsparing, saving those awakened by it from growling at it, or a desk which would also shine shoes, or a typewriter which would automatically correct grammar, saving the writer the embarrassment of having the erudite copy editor of the newspaper point out grammatical errors.

Drew Pearson, "somewhere in Canada", tells of having interviewed the previous week Igor Gouzenko, who, in September, 1945, had entered the Soviet Embassy at Ottawa, walked past the NKVD guards, entered the secret code room and surreptitiously taken 109 documents revealing the top postwar development that Russia had stolen the secret of the atomic bomb. He had then sought to turn them over to the Ottawa Journal, the Minister of Justice and the Naturalization Office and then returned for more documents. The newspaper and Canadian officials, however, had initially turned him down, unwilling to believe that the Soviets had a spy ring in Canada and finding the documents too hot to handle, that they could not criticize Stalin. Eventually, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police came to Mr. Gouzenko's rescue, and had protected him ever since, assigning an undercover guard to his home at all times.

He granted the tv interview despite his reluctance to testify before the Senate Internal Security Committee even while wearing a mask, only conferring in private with the Senators. He wore a mask for the interview and was constantly peering over his shoulder, as he knew the Kremlin wanted to make an example of him to deter others within Soviet military circles from similar espionage. He told Mr. Pearson that the top Russian spy in Canada, his former handler, Colonel Zabotin, had once said in a toast, "Today our allies, tomorrow our enemies!" But he clarified that the Colonel would have followed him in bolting to the free world if provided sufficient inducement. He took most seriously his obligations as a Canadian citizen and cherished his citizenship. He stressed that America had to maintain a strong military as the Soviets respected only force.

Mr. Pearson adds that he had written a novel about Maxim Gorky, titled The Fall of a Titan, and according to those who had read the manuscript, he had promise as a novelist.

Marquis Childs indicates that the Civil Aeronautics Board had recently, contrary to every precedent, provided American Airlines an exemption to begin a non-stop service from New York to Mexico City on the basis that it was necessary to protect the national interest because a foreign airline, Air France, was starting such a service. Pan American Airways had long sought a Mexico City route, in collaboration with Chicago & Southern, which would compete with American's exclusive service. Pan American officials, therefore, were particularly disturbed by the unprecedented action of the three-man majority of C.A.B. in awarding the new route. The majority consisted of the chairman, Chan Gurney, longtime member Oswald Ryan, and the new member, Harmar Denny.

The minority filed two dissents, from Josh Lee and Joseph Adams, the latter saying that he could not agree with "such precipitant action cutting across all procedural rules" of the Board, while giving no consideration to the existing rights of other U.S. carriers for the same route. Mr. Lee, a former Senator from Oklahoma, had gone much further in his dissent, saying that the request for the new route had first been presented on January 20 via letter from American seeking "confidential treatment", and that, thereafter, events had moved with amazing speed, considering the usual processes of bureaucracy. Mr. Childs provides other details of the process, indicating that on January 21, the Board had convened and within about 40 minutes had approved the action. Mr. Lee pointed out that the Supreme Court had held that decisions of the Board involving authorization of overseas and foreign air transportation were no more than recommendations subject to final approval by the President. He also said that the Board had been encouraged by airlines previously to shortcut the requirement of notice and hearings provided by the Civil Aeronautics Act and each time had refused. He said that in his opinion, the majority action violated the rights of notice and hearing, and that there was no national interest or emergency at stake, thus violating his sense of fair play and abusing the exemption power of the Board. He went on to say that it was another in a series of decisions by the majority against competition, protecting American's monopoly route between such cities as Boston, New York, Washington, Chicago and St. Louis on the one hand, and Mexico on the other.

Mr. Childs points out that during the Truman Administration, as the large airlines contested for exclusive rights to profitable overseas routes, there were charges of favoritism and political influence, with Pan Am having been subjected to at least one Congressional investigation. Several Pan Am officials had been prominent in Republican politics, suggesting that the recent acts by the Eisenhower Administration were ironic, as exampled also by the Justice Department having recently filed an antitrust lawsuit charging Pan Am with conspiring to restrain air travel to South America. He concludes that the "political winds these days are strong and variable."

James Marlow indicates that Secretary of State Dulles long ago had paid a high professional compliment to Russian Foreign Minister V. M. Molotov, saying that he was quite a diplomat, one of the best. Mr. Molotov, suggests Mr. Marlow, was not letting down the Secretary as they met in Berlin at the four-power foreign ministers conference to discuss the future of Germany and Austria. At the start of the conference the prior Monday, Mr. Molotov had begun hitting at the West and had not relented since. The Western Big Three had sought for six months to pin him to an agenda for the conference, but Mr. Molotov had not accepted, instead indicating that the rules would be set once the conference convened. The Big Three agreed because they wanted the inclusion of Russia to accomplish the primary aims of the conference. Secretary Dulles had indicated that the U.S. was interested in talking about unification of Germany and an Austrian peace treaty, did not want to afford Mr. Molotov the opportunity of softening up the French on the European Defense Community unified army concept, on which the U.S. was relying for the defense of Europe.

On the first day, French Foreign Minister Georges Bidault and British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden began the conference in polite fashion, followed by Mr. Molotov, who attacked the U.S. for its defense plans, saying that West Germany could not be trusted to be re-armed as urged by the U.S., and also discussed reduction of arms. He then set forth an agenda of his own and asked the Big Three to accept it, to discuss, in order, measures for reducing tensions in international relations in a meeting to include Communist China in the spring, then the German question, and finally the peace treaty with Austria. To get things going, the Western Allies accepted the agenda, but Secretary Dulles postponed the speech he had prepared for that day, rewrote it, and the next day, countered Mr. Molotov by indicating that the Big Three would not entertain inclusion of Communist China in the discussion and that the conference should move on to the main issues at hand. Mr. Marlow indicates that the rejoinder did not much bother Mr. Molotov.

A letter writer comments on the piece regarding the smoke problem of Charlotte by News associate editor Vic Reinemer, appearing three days earlier, suggesting that when city officials became interested in eliminating the menace, they would do well to take the advice of St. Louis, which, despite being the second largest rail center in the nation and having many industries, had no smoke problem because, according to one resident of that city, inhabitants were required to use a certain type of coal which was chemically treated, and while some contended that the sale of that coal was a racket, smoke abatement had been accomplished.

A letter writer from Cheraw, S.C., indicates that he was in sympathy with all people regardless of who they were, but believed that integration of the schools should not be forced on anyone by law, just as association with anyone or welcome in homes or churches of anyone ought not be forced. He suggests that it would take time to improve standards of education, school buildings and living conditions and that blacks had to realize that fact. He concludes that Southerners could be led, but not forced to give up states' rights.

A letter writer from Great Falls, S.C., finds that it would be poor judgment to assume that young people who were fit to fight wars would also be able to exercise the franchise responsibly, that when young people were selected for the armed forces, it was not based on intelligence but only on physical fitness, and that the greatest number of them had not graduated from public school or reached maturity, and knew too little or nothing about politics or even current events. He says that he would propose to change the voting age to 25 instead of 21, as very few people reached maturity prior to age 25. He would create an exception, however, for those who served in the armed forces for about two years and were honorably discharged—causing, of course, a problem under the 14th Amendment Equal Protection Clause through discrimination by the state against the exercise of a fundamental right under the Fifteenth Amendment, without any compelling state interest, or even a rational interest, in so discriminating.

Everyone has to be treated the same insofar as age and other restrictions on voting. Moreover, the writer undermines his own argument by suggesting, however absent he is in citation of any statistical basis to support his claimed facts, that those drafted into the military lacked the basic understanding to vote at age 18. Why, pray tell, would they necessarily acquire that understanding after two years in military service, the bulk of which could be spent, perhaps, working in the Army auto pool as a mechanic in some remote location in the Nevada desert? Might as well create the same exception then for service station attendants. In addition, those who are so lacking in knowledge of current events, domestic and foreign affairs, at age 18 that they have not the maturity of understanding to vote usually don't bother to do so anyway, even at 50. So...

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