The Charlotte News

Saturday, January 9, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Panmunjom, Communist China's Premier Chou En-Lai this date called for speedy convening of the Korean peace conference, and offered three proposals to get it started, the first of which was resumption of the preliminary negotiations aimed at setting up the conference, using as a starting point the Communist demands that Russia be allowed to attend the conference as a neutral nation, previously objected to by the U.N., though Russia was to be permitted to sit with the Communists if the Communist Chinese and North Koreans so assented. He also proposed that the U.N. General Assembly should consider the problem and that Communist China and North Korea should be entitled to send delegates to such a meeting. He also wanted the forthcoming Big Four foreign ministers conference in Berlin to develop into a conference inclusive of Communist China. He made the statements via a radio broadcast from Peiping, monitored in Tokyo. Much of the statement dealt with his repeated claims that the U.S. had wrecked the explanations program and was to blame for breaking off the preliminary talks to set up the peace conference, which had ended when the U.S. envoy had terminated the talks and returned home, complaining that the Communists had charged that the U.S. had conspired with South Korean President Syngman Rhee the prior June to release the 22,000 North Korean prisoners. Chou insisted that the non-repatriating prisoners could not be released on January 23, as demanded by the U.N. Command, according to the provisions of the Armistice, but instead had to be held until the peace conference would decide their fate. A North Korean broadcast also denied a Washington announcement that the U.S. was negotiating through intermediaries to resume the preliminary talks to start the peace conference.

In Belgrade, Yugoslav President Tito firmly denied and denounced this date claims that Yugoslavia had entered into a "secret agreement" with Russia, that the charges had been designed to split his country from the West, to cause cessation of aid from the U.S., Britain and France, and to settle the Trieste issue to Yugoslavia's disadvantage. The charge had been published in the current month's issue of the U.S. magazine Freeman, and Marshal Tito said that the charge had originated in Italy and then was spread into other countries.

The President faced possible defeat on about a third of his legislative program which he had outlined in his State of the Union address on Thursday, as few members who commented on the matter would predict that a substantial amount of the program would pass, but generally believed that the President had adopted a smart political approach by suggesting 36 topics for legislative action and saving the detail on others for later, more extensive reports to Congress. Senator Bourke Hickenlooper of Iowa said in an interview that he believed such an approach would help the Republicans retain control of Congress in the midterm elections, even if Congress ignored or defeated part of the program. But Senator Mike Monroney of Oklahoma said in a separate interview that he did not believe a negative record would recommend the Republicans to voters. White House press secretary James Hagerty said the popular reaction to the President's message, as measured by telegrams received at the White House through the previous afternoon, had been overwhelmingly favorable, with 300 having praised it and only four having criticized it. Senator Homer Capehart of Indiana, chair of the Banking Committee, suggested to the CIO Housing Conference the previous day a billion dollar Government program to help people buy homes with little or no down payment and 50 to 60-year mortgages. The President said that he would have recommendations on insurance of long-term loans with small down payments, in his program to be submitted in more detail on January 25, but did not forecast a sweeping program similar to Senator Capehart's.

Fred S. Hoffman of the Associated Press reports that the U.S. might be about to detonate the greatest man-made explosion in world history in the mid-Pacific, as an Atomic Energy Commission announcement the previous night had caused speculation that Government scientists might be planning to detonate a hydrogen bomb with a greater power than the combined force of all the conventional bombs dropped by the U.S. in World War II, the equivalent of more than two million tons of TNT, that is two megatons. By comparison, an atomic bomb detonated in the Nevada desert the previous June was believed to be the equivalent of 50,000 tons of TNT, 2.5 times more powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima in August, 1945. The AEC announcement said that the detonation would occur in the Marshall Islands and that there would be no observers other than U.S. officials.

Senator Charles Potter of Michigan said this date that he would ask State and Defense Department officials to explain why they had halted the release of an Army film of Communist atrocities in Korea, scheduled for television airing on this weekend. Senator Potter had lost both of his legs in combat during World War II. The State and Defense Departments had given no detailed reasons for their action, but the Senator said that apparently it had to do with forthcoming developments affecting U.S. foreign policy, including the opening of the preliminary talks with Russia the following Monday regarding the President's proposed atomic materials sharing pool for peaceful purposes, the scheduled release of the non-repatriating prisoners in Korea, and the Big Four conference, set to start on January 25 in Berlin. The Senator said that he would release on Sunday a report on Communist atrocities in Korea, based on Army files and public testimony during the previous month by 23 survivors or eyewitnesses of the atrocities. He said that he was getting "damn tired" of U.S. policies being determined by what the Communists might think of them.

In Memphis, two veterans, both of whom were paralyzed from the waist down, had been ejected from a veterans hospital and had to provide for themselves for the ensuing 90 days. The hospital managers said that the veterans had been ejected the previous day because they left the veterans hospital in Cleveland earlier in the week without permission, and that the 90-day eviction was the stated punishment for such action by regulation, that they could still visit the hospital for treatment and would be readmitted in the event of an emergency. The veterans said that they had come to the Memphis facility because they were dissatisfied with the treatment they had received in Cleveland. One of the veterans had served for 14 months in Korea while in the Army, and both had been injured in automobile accidents in the U.S. while still in the service.

The Labor Department reported that more than two million Americans might be out of work, as state offices had received 413,300 initial claims for unemployment compensation during the week ended the previous Saturday, in addition to 1,589,125 reported to be jobless during the prior week.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the previous day that weekly factory pay in December had averaged $17.78, a slight increase over November, but because of fewer average working hours, was 26 cents below the December, 1952 rate. The average factory work week in December was 40.1 hours, whereas in December 1952, it had been 41.7 hours. Hourly earnings of factory workers across the country averaged $1.79 in December, equal to November's record high and six cents above that of December, 1952.

In New York, threats by rival unions this date threatened a complete shutdown of the Port of New York until one or the other of the unions was driven from the waterfront. Police details were strengthened along the docks. The previous day, the AFL International Longshoremen's Association had announced that it would close the port if its rival, the old ILA, which was presently independent, were to strike. The old ILA had made the threat contingent upon the NLRB acting against it in a bargaining election between it and the AFL-ILA. The old ILA had been kicked out of the AFL for failing to purge itself of racketeering elements. The old ILA had a lead of 1,492 votes in the election held just prior to Christmas, but 4,397 challenged ballots were still being examined and the outcome was still in doubt. The AFL-ILA had petitioned the NLRB to invalidate the election and hold a new one on the ground of coercion and intimidation by the old ILA. The latter had filed its own complaint with the NLRB the previous day, charging unfair labor practices against Governor Dewey and AFL president George Meany, accusing them of conspiring to interfere with the previous month's bargaining election, while Governor Dewey and Mr. Meany had made the same allegations against the old ILA. The Governor's office had responded that the Governor never responded to charges made by racketeers. Mr. Meany, interviewed the previous night by Edward R. Murrow on CBS, said that the ILA charge placed him in distinguished company.

In Detroit, the missing witness in the attempted killing of UAW and now-CIO president Walter Reuther five years earlier, was identified this date by a Detroit newspaper, indicating that the man had been released from jail in Windsor, Ontario, on December 6 after serving a 30-day sentence for the theft of a coat, and that Detroit authorities had questioned him regarding the Reuther case while he was still in jail. The newspaper said that he had disappeared from a Detroit hotel the previous night where he had been under police guard. He had pretended to be taking a shower, left the water running and slipped out through a reception room into which both his living room and bedroom had opened, while his guards were in the living room. His attorney had called to report that he had fled to Canada and the prosecutor asked Ontario police to begin searching for him. The prosecutor had said that he was the key witness in the solution of the attempted killing, and the sine qua non for the prosecution to succeed. He said that the man had seen the shooting and was one of three men assigned to do the job, although he had not fired the shotgun which maimed Mr. Reuther's right arm and had nearly killed him. It was on the strength of the man's statement that the prosecutor had issued a warrant earlier in the week, charging four men with assault with intent to commit murder and conspiracy to assault with intent to commit murder on April 20, 1948. He said he also had corroborating evidence not related to the scene of the shooting. Three of the men were in custody and one was still being sought. The prosecutor had confirmed to the newspaper the identity of the witness but said that if he were killed as a result of publication of his name, it would be the responsibility of the newspaper.

Also in Detroit, a young woman told a Recorder's Court judge that she was innocent of forgery because she had burned the money received from her admittedly forged and cashed $27 check. She could not understand why she was ordered to appear for a preliminary hearing later in the month.

Elizabeth Blair of The News indicates that C. C. Sharpe, until the previous day, a missing witness in the case against Police Chief Frank Littlejohn, would testify on Monday in the ongoing preliminary hearing to provide sufficient evidence for the Solicitor to move forward with indictments, after the grand jury in December had delivered four presentments against the Chief, which the Solicitor had said lacked sufficient specificity to seek indictments before the new grand jury. Mr. Sharpe said that he had been in Florida on business and had returned to Charlotte as soon as he found out that he was wanted on gambling charges. After the police had brought him in, he was met by his attorney and B. L. (Piccolo) Bryan, a Charlotte businessman who was named as having information about the matter—not to be confused with Brian Piccolo, the Wake Forest football player and later friend of fellow professional football teammate Gale Sayers. Mr. Sharpe was taken to the home of the Clerk of Court, J. Lester Wolfe, to post his $1,000 bond on each of the three gambling counts, the bonds having been signed by Piccolo Bryan.

Parenthetically, we still vividly recall watching from one end zone Wake Forest lose to UNC in Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem on October 5, 1963, 21-zip, and hearing, during the game, an individual, a rabid Demon Deacon fan who appeared half out of his cups, say more than once, "Piccolo, you cain't run, you son-of-a-bitch." That was one of three UNC games we attended that season, culminating in the Thanksgiving Day game with Duke, postponed from Saturday, November 23. Because of our stingy older brother's refusal to allow us to accompany him and his college friends to the Gator Bowl on December 28, we were deprived of their experience of seeing nearby sometimes seated actor Dan Blocker out of his cups completely.

In Lueneburg, Germany, cows, horses, dogs, foxes and badgers which lived in the area had set a record for 1953 by biting 85 persons, according to town officials.

In Tucson, Ariz., a jury of eight women and four men directed actor Clark Gable to pay a woman from Tucson $4,000 in damages for an injury sustained in an automobile accident. The woman had claimed that she suffered permanent injuries in the accident on December 7, 1951, and had sought $25,000 in damages. The collision had occurred while Mr. Gable was trying to pass a tractor-trailer, and he testified during the case that he had been blinded by heavy rain. You should not have been passing in the first instance in heavy rain, you dope. Whether an east wind was also blowing at the time is not indicated.

On the editorial page, "Citizens Set Law Enforcement Standards" indicates that the presiding judge in the preliminary hearing, regarding the charges against Chief Littlejohn that he had permitted illegal gambling in Charlotte, had heavily criticized the operation of slot machines and gambling devices in private clubs. The judge had interrupted the questioning of Alonzo Squires, former head of the Moose Lodge, voicing indignation about the law-abiding citizens of the Lodge having permitted the operation of the devices when they knew it was against the law, noting that police officers, to a degree, had to abide by the will of the people, suggesting that the standards of law enforcement in any community would be determined by the attitude of its citizens.

It indicates that Adlai Stevenson had made the same point when, as Governor of Illinois, he had waged a war on slot machines in private and public establishments, emphasizing that citizens who closed their eyes to violations of the law weakened their influence in other matters.

It says that although the Moose Club at been singled out in the Friday testimony, many other private clubs within the city limits also sanctioned the operation of slot machines over a long period of time as a means of raising revenue. When the slots had been removed after a warning from authorities, the clubs were put on a more solid financial basis and members were no longer placed in the embarrassing position of condoning violations of the law. It indicates that it was a good thing for the members and the whole community when the slot machines had been removed.

"What Happened to School Formula?" indicates that the act which had authorized a 72 million dollar school and mental institution bond issue the prior October had provided that 25 million dollars of the school funds would be allocated to the counties under a special formula to be worked out by the State Board of Education, and that the standards used would not only consider need, but also the effort which each county made to provide its own school facilities. The Board had six months after passage of the law prior to the election to work out the formula, but had failed to do so by the time of the vote on October 3, and so the people who had voted for the school bonds had done so blindly, under the assumption that the Board would produce a fair and equitable formula. Yet, three months later, the Board had still not produced the formula, and it had delayed so long that it was doubtful whether any projects could be planned, approved and built in time for the next school year. As the bond election law provided the Governor with the power to approve the formula, it finds that it would be appropriate for Governor William B. Umstead to ask the members of the Board to get busy.

"Industry Moves to Rural Areas" indicates that it would be months before accurate Department of Commerce figures would be available to show whether North Carolina had held its own with other Southern states in competition for new industry. The year-end report of the State Department of Conservation & Development, however, showed substantial progress toward an economy that was better diversified and more widely dispersed geographically. It provides details. It says that the state had long needed more industry and better distribution of it throughout the state, and that the new trend might prove to be more important in the long-run than establishment of a few extra industrial facilities in the already industrialized areas of the state.

"Beasts, Monsters, Saucers and Snowmen" indicates that with its three sports reporters, whose findings had been carried on the front page two days earlier, having been sent on the trail of the Beast of Bladenboro, along with other reporters, police officers, a posse and hundreds of curious onlookers, the vampire's days had to be numbered, that soon someone would place a silver bullet between its eyes, rendering dogs and rabbits safer and newsrooms duller.

It wonders, however, what had happened to other phenomena, natural and otherwise, such as the Loch Ness monster, which had not been sighted since before the coronation the prior June, the wolf-children of the Middle East, and flying saucers, with the Air Force reporting recently that 90 percent of the 250 sightings during the previous six months had been explainable and that such sightings increased in proportion to the publicity given them.

There were recent developments in the abominable snowmen of the Himalayas, who were reported to be about eight feet tall when full-grown, possessed of dark skins and covered with half-inch hair. A Tibetan lama had told a Calcutta newspaper that around New Year's Eve, he had spent quite a bit of time communing with one of the abominable snowmen atop a Himalayan peak, reporting that while the snowman did not speak, he had been very understanding and had positively helped him in his meditation. The London Daily Mail was forming an expedition to try to search for abominable snowmen and an advanced group was already in India.

It asks as a coda what had ever happened to Mecklenburg County's ocelot.

"Tit for Tat" indicates that when the Republicans had taken over, they counted all the gold in Fort Knox and found that it tallied out to the last ounce, and so as someone had just made off with $160,000 in $20 bills from the Bureau of Engraving, it might be proper for the Democrats to ask permission to count the money in the Bureau.

A piece from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, titled "The Punch You Roll With", indicates that it was hypnotized by an economic analyst's description of that which was presently occurring in business as a "rolling readjustment", that it did not know what it was, unless it was akin to the rolling stop which St. Louis motorists habitually practiced, with a former mayor having once said that the rolling stop was actually the rolling roll, which, it suggests, might also be an apt description of a rolling readjustment. It indicates that the attitude toward it would likely depend upon who would get rolled.

Drew Pearson indicates that the Speaker of the House had a decorous though not ornate office just off the floor, but that Speaker Joseph Martin rarely used the office, instead utilizing a couple of rooms behind the Speaker's rostrum, which looked down Pennsylvania Avenue toward the White House. When Mr. Pearson went to interview him, he apologized for the stack of papers on his desk, saying that a newspaperman could not avoid it, Mr. Pearson noting that most people did not realize that he was a newspaper publisher by profession and a politician by choice, still owning the North Attleboro Chronicle in Massachusetts. His predecessor, Congressman Sam Rayburn, had a nearby office and the Speaker said that he liked to be able to drop in on him, which was why he used the rooms behind the Speaker's rostrum rather than his assigned office. He described Mr. Rayburn as a good friend and a square-shooter, though they differed on policy. He said that Mr. Rayburn's word was his bond and that he had never violated his word with Mr. Martin, that he knew he could count on him to help pass the President's program. He said that healthy opposition was a good thing, that it would keep the Republicans on their toes, that he believed it would have been helpful to the Democrats to have had more opposition in the early days of the Roosevelt Administration, when there were only around 80 Republicans in the House. He said that it would likely be a tough session ahead but that when the legislation was for the good of the country, the two parties would pull together.

Attorney General Herbert Brownell had recently called all of the Government's top security officers to a meeting at the National Archives building, warning them that the meeting was highly secret, which Mr. Pearson suggests was so because the Attorney General had stated that in the future anyone who quit the Government before being cleared for security was to be listed as having quit while under investigation, even if the worker quit to take a better job and even if the investigation showed that he had a perfect record. Mr. Pearson notes that under that system, Mr. Brownell would be able to build up a larger number of so-called "security" cases which the Administration had supposedly purged, thereby substantiating the Attorney General's charges that there were Communists in the Government.

Governor Dewey still appeared to have his sights on bigger political prizes, as he had recently been wooing the labor bosses, reminding them that Secretary of Labor James Mitchell was running the Labor Department and that Senator Irving Ives of New York, a Dewey Republican, was a key man on the Senate Labor Committee.

Stewart Alsop indicates that Senate Minority Leader Lyndon Johnson had been quietly circulating among fellow Democrats a memorandum outlining his ideas on party strategy during the current session of Congress. It provided that the Democrats had to realize that the President's personal popularity was still strong, though less fanatical than it had been, that his personal popularity was less transferable to other Republicans or even to his Administration, that a lot of people were beginning to suspect that they had been sold a lemon, but that it was unwise to rub that notion in as it reflected on the lemon-buyer, who was stuck with the lemon. Senator Johnson therefore advised not attacking the Administration or its program head-on but rather choosing the battleground and waiting for Republicans to begin fighting with one another, enabling the Democrats then to rush in to save the popular President. Most Democrats, from Senator Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota to former House Speaker Rayburn, agreed with the strategy, though a few, such as Senator Estes Kefauver of Tennessee, preferred a frontal attack immediately.

Senator Humphrey had remarked that if Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson and the Administration were to proceed with the proposed flexible farm support program, the Republicans would lose the entire Midwest the following November. Senator Milton Young of North Dakota agreed with that premise. But if Secretary Benson proposed rigid high parity supports, he would touch off a major controversy within the Republican Party. The Democrats could then step in, as Senator Johnson had suggested. That strategy would work on a series of issues, such as housing, Social Security, tariffs, taxes and others, on which the Democrats expected the Republicans to battle among themselves.

It had been reported that on one issue, there was a plan for the Democrats to take the offensive, that being to cut off funding for Senator McCarthy's Government Operations Committee and its investigations of Communists in the Government, but even there, the waiting game would likely occur, as the Democratic leaders expected Senator McCarthy soon to go after the Administration in general and Secretary of State Dulles in particular, and saw no reason therefore to take the Senator off the Administration's back.

The Democrats were eager to take on the Republicans, especially after the attacks made by Governor Dewey and Attorney General Herbert Brownell on the Truman Administration and its supposed softness toward Communists, but the Johnson strategy would mean that the Democratic leaders would sit back and remain patient, though it remained to be seen how the theory would work out in practice and whether the Republicans would oblige the strategy by quarreling with each other.

The Congressional Quarterly indicates that the Citizens for Eisenhower, which had been credited with winning some independent and Democratic votes for the ticket in 1952, was organizing to give the President the boost they thought he would need in 1955 and 1956, to get elected pro-Eisenhower Republican Congressmen. There were certain districts, based on narrow margins of victory in the past, which would be battleground races in the midterm elections later in the year and Republican nominees outside those crucial 88 districts would also receive help from the organization when they asked for it. The organization would not enter primary fights or support dissenters from Republican organizations, and no pro-Eisenhower Democrats would be supported by it. It would likely concentrate on House races, although Republicans who fit the committee's qualifications would also obtain help in Senate races.

The committee would supply local groups with speakers, campaign material and plans of action to help them channel their efforts effectively. The organizers of the group endorsed the "progressive, dynamic program" which the President had promised for the midterm elections period.

Robert C. Ruark suggests that Vern Sneider, author of The Teahouse of the August Moon, developed into a successful New York play, deserved the gratitude of the Government. He recaps the simple story and says he had the same kind of warm reaction from it that he had from Mister Roberts, believed that Mr. Sneider's story should be propagandized as the true story of what America and Americans had been trying to do since the end of World War II. By the simple expedient of trying to get the teahouse built for two geisha girls, the captain in the story was eventually able to give the little town a stable economy, a firm trade balance, a sound currency system, good government and pride in achievement, all accomplished through sound American small-town know-how.

Mr. Ruark indicates that it was what the Government had been attempting to do all over the world and had wound up becoming loathed in the process. The country had not attempted to tailor the needs of the people sought to be benefited to what the country could give them. If they wanted mules, the U.S. gave them bulldozers; if they wanted pigs, the U.S. gave them high sentiments, scattering money among the politicians, raising the cost of living and never getting to the problem of "keeping the pig out of the bed".

A piece from the Mattoon (Ill.) Journal-Gazette recalls the horse laughs occasioned by the advent of the ponytail and indicates that a group of Miami, Fla., clothes designers were planning to use the horse as a theme in their designs, with such items as horse tails hanging from the belts of females, jockey caps and tapered pants in gaudy racing colors, aimed at the winter market. One designer fashioned a horse blanket to be thrown over the shoulder and strapped at the waist with a saddle cinch. It warns men that if they were to see something which looked like a fugitive from a racing stable pacing down the streets, they should not laugh as it might be their wives.

A letter writer responds to a previous letter in which the author had said that she and her young son had almost been killed at a particular railroad crossing in Charlotte, advising that something be done about it, this writer saying that she was the neighbor of the mother who had lost her only son at the same crossing just prior to Christmas, advises that had there been a signal or even a flagman at the crossing, the boy would still be living. She implores that the Southern Railroad place some kind of warning at the crossing.

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