The Charlotte News

Monday, October 11, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Paris, French Premier Pierre Mendes-France pushed ahead this date with his drive for quick preliminary approval by the National Assembly of the London agreement to rearm West Germany, claiming an "important majority" would back him the following day in the parliamentary vote of confidence for his Government. The National Council of the powerful Socialist Party, which held 105 seats of the 627-seat Assembly, had scheduled a meeting for this night to set the policy of the faction regarding the proposals from the nine-power conference. The National Committee of another major assembly group, the Popular Republican Movement, disapproved of the London agreement the previous day, but left their deputies' committee to make the final decision on how their 88 Assembly members would vote. The MRP had led the unsuccessful effort to have the Assembly ratify the European Defense Community unified army and contended that the London proposals did not contain enough international control of German rearmament, which EDC would have provided. The Socialist Council had also supported EDC and had expelled three top leaders from the party who had voted against ratification of that treaty, with a 50-50 split among the party's deputies in the Assembly being one of the reasons for the rejection of the treaty the prior August. Premier Mendes-France apparently expected a large backing from both the Socialists and the MRP, no matter what their party leadership decided, but was certain to have opposition from the Assembly's 100 Communist members and fellow travelers.

The Eisenhower Administration reported this date that it now listed 6,926 persons, of whom 1,743 had "subversive data" in their files, as being removed from the Government payroll as a result of its security program. Of the total, 2,611 were listed as having been fired outright and 4,315 as having resigned before a final determination of their cases. The program was aimed at drunks, loose-talkers and people with records as law violators, as well as at Communists, fellow travelers and persons of questionable loyalty. The 1,743 whom the Administration said had subversive data in their files compared to 383 in that category when the Administration had last released statistics on the loyalty program the prior March, at which time a total of 2,486 in all of the categories under the security program were listed. The data was reported by the Civil Service Commission as of the previous June 30 and covered the period since the President's new security program had gone into effect on May 28, 1953. Vice-President Nixon had said repeatedly in recent times that the Administration had removed "Communists, fellow travelers and security risks" from the Government payroll, "not by the hundreds but by the thousands." DNC chairman Stephen Mitchell had challenged the Vice-President to name one single Communist released under the program, contending that Mr. Nixon was lumping real security risks with such persons as loose talkers and drunks. The Eisenhower security program had substituted for one in effect under the Truman Administration, with the difference being that the Eisenhower version made no distinction between disloyalty to the Government and potential danger arising from the other factors, prompting Democrats to question what the separation figures based on "security" actually represented.

The Federal Trade Commission this date charged the New York Coffee and Sugar Exchange with having unlawfully restrained international trade in coffee and thereby "promoted substantial increases" in coffee prices, the complaint naming the Exchange, four of its officers and eight of its members, plus the New York Coffee and Sugar Clearing Association, Inc., as defendants. The FTC said that the complaint was in follow-up to an economic study of the coffee market made by the FTC the previous spring, with the FTC having reported in July that the sharp increases in coffee prices during 1953 and early 1954 could not be explained in terms of the competitive laws of supply and demand. The complaint was answerable before the Commission itself, with a hearing to be held, after which the Commission would render its decision whether the charges were sustained. If so, the Commission could order the defendant to cease the alleged illegal practices.

In Milford, Del., Bryant Bowles, head of the National Association for the Advancement of White People, was under arrest on charges of conspiring to break Delaware's education laws, saying that his organization would refuse to turn over its financial records to the State Attorney General, but would turn them over to any authorized court which requested them. He claimed that obtaining all of the records from the chartered organizations in the different states on such short notice was impossible. The State Attorney General, Albert Young, had issued subpoenas for the records the previous Friday, seeking data on the organization's finances and operations. Mr. Bowles had been arrested twice the previous day on charges of conspiring to violate the state education laws by leading a boycott of Milford's high school, where 11 black students had been admitted to classes the previous month for the first time. As a result of the boycott, the local Milford school board had ordered the black pupils transferred to an all-black high school in Dover, 18 miles to the north, but then black students had boycotted classes at that school. Mr. Bowles was free under a $6,000 bond, with a hearing set for November 3 in Dover. The misdemeanor charges carried penalties of up to $500 each or a jail term if the fine was not paid. Two news photographers covering an NAAWP mass meeting the previous day had been cornered for 20 minutes by a crowd, who took some of their film and hurled insults at them, demanding an explanation of their "position".

In London, it was reported that a former finance minister in Communist Rumania had been sentenced to life in prison for counter-revolutionary and anti-state activities, after a former deputy finance minister and the former vice-chairman of the Rumanian cooperative movement had also been convicted on similar charges, the broadcast by Bucharest radio not providing the sentences of the latter two individuals.

In Norfolk, Va., eleven seamen, survivors of a capsized freighter, were safely in port this date, providing harrowing tales of two days floating helplessly in stormy, shark-infested waters. Thirty-seven of their shipmates had been lost, including the captain. Apparently the cause of the disaster the previous Thursday was shifting of the ship's iron ore cargo, causing the 6,000-ton vessel to capsize so quickly that there was no chance for it to send a distress signal, and crewmen were unable to deploy lifeboats into the water. The ship had sunk 150 miles east-southeast of Cape Henry, Va. The rescues had been effected by Coast Guard and Navy planes and vessels. The Coast Guard had called off the search for additional survivors the previous day.

In and around Chicago, the city and communities of northern Illinois and northern Indiana continued clean-up operations this date following a weekend of torrential rains, with a flood threat appearing in some parts of the region, prompting a state of emergency to be declared in Hammond, Ind., about 20 miles southeast of Chicago. Governor William Stratton of Illinois ordered a survey of the flood situation in the northern part of the state to determine the necessity of possible emergency action. Hundreds of families had been driven from their homes in Chicago, the southwestern suburban area, and in the Hammond-Gary area of Indiana, as thousands of homes were flooded, with Chicago receiving its heaviest rainfall in nearly 70 years, 5.57 inches in 24 hours starting in the late afternoon on Saturday, causing water to cover highways in many parts of the storm belt. Damage from the storm was estimated unofficially to be as high as ten million dollars, but some Chicago officials said that an accurate estimate could not immediately be made.

In Miami, Fla., it was reported that the approach of Hurricane Hazel, still packing winds of 115 mph, had caused storm warnings to be implemented for Haiti and the Dominican Republic this date, with Haiti also being warned of torrential rains potentially causing flooding, and abnormally high tides. The hurricane was expected to buffet eastern Cuba with winds and rain, but without its main force striking the island. The chief storm forecaster at the Miami Weather Bureau said that it appeared from present indications that the center of the storm would move through the Windward Passage, the body of water between Haiti and Cuba, or over the western portion of Haiti, and from there would pass into the southeastern Bahamas. At around 11:00 a.m. this date, the hurricane was 230 miles southwest of Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti, and 750 miles southeast of Miami, with the Miami chief forecaster saying that Florida was not presently threatened by it, but that they did not feel safe until storms at least reached their latitude or farther north.

Julian Scheer of The News reports that, according to the chairman of the National Drought Committee, speaking by telephone with the News from Washington, the handling of the state's drought relief had been nonpartisan and nonpolitical, indicating that drought for the area had been handled in a routine manner and that his committee was not run under pressure and not influenced by anyone, that if "they" did not like what he was doing, all they had to do was fire him. He said that a request for redesignation of drought areas of states and counties as acute had been handled along the same general standard developed under a law passed by the 81st Congress. Senator Sam Ervin had stated in Gastonia the previous Thursday that it was a 600-word telegram to the President from Senator Ervin and Congressman Woodrow Jones, after Republican Representative Charles Jonas of North Carolina and others had failed, which had brought about immediate action by the Administration in declaring drought areas as qualifying for emergency Federal relief.

A Charlotte resident, who was a graduate student at Northwestern University and was shot accidentally in Evanston, Ill., the previous Thursday night, was in satisfactory condition this date, expected to make a complete recovery. He had been shot by a policeman who reportedly mistook him for a fleeing bandit, resulting in suspension of the officer. He would resume his studies after his recovery, having high scholastic standing. He had graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Georgia in the class of 1953 and had been awarded a scholarship to Northwestern's speech school, where he was now seeking his master's degree.

Dick Young of The News tells of completion of a map of the proposed 260-foot right-of-way for the Highway 29 bypass, being anticipated within 10 days, at which time it would be posted at the courthouse, according to State Highway Commission chairman A. H. Graham, following a conference with Charlotte City Manager Henry Yancey at City Hall. He tells all about it, in case you have an abiding need to know.

On the editorial page, "United Appeal Deserves Your Support" urges contribution to the United Fund, under the umbrella of which all of the screened and qualified charities were now soliciting in the community at once. The current year's goal for the Appeal was $951,686, the largest ever, because the community's problems were larger than ever and it took a great amount of money to make Charlotte and Mecklenburg County better places in which to live and do business. It urges that the United Appeal was especially important because, for the first time, citizens would have an opportunity to give once through its auspices, including a Dreaded Disease Fund which would cover polio, cancer and other such diseases.

"Art and Artifice: Which Is Which?" indicates that the State Art Commission did not need to hide its head in the corner just because it had a "Murillo" of questionable authenticity, as forged masterpieces passing for originals among art connoisseurs was as old as the first cave drawings. The State would not admit being fooled, however, as the director of the State Art Gallery claimed that it was known that the painting might be a forgery when it was purchased several years earlier at a cost of $6,500, the price, suggests the piece, tending to belie the statement.

It indicates that the most convincing exhibit of human gullibility and ingenuity ever assembled was probably on display in Paris by the Surete Nationale recently, showing a gallery of "priceless art objects", every one of which was a forgery acquired by police from sheepish dupes, including supposed originals by Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt, Rubens, Gauguin, Goya and Van Gogh, as well as supposed first editions by Balzac, and rare stamps and letters from Plato, Cleopatra, and Sir Isaac Newton.

It posits that the easiest mark in the world for the skillful forger was the collector of paintings with a large bankroll and the victims included famous names, with Nazi air chief Hermann Goering probably having been the biggest dupe of all, having spent the equivalent of $100,000 for a supposed Cézanne original, which turned out quite fake. A few years earlier, a supposed original Cranach, signed by the medieval master's authentic device, a winged serpent, had been sold to a trusting collector for the equivalent of $8,571, after which it was discovered that a talented swindler, who had plied his trade in Berlin between 1787 and 1843, had in fact painted it. The Netherlands had produced some of the world's finest painters and also some of the finest forgers, with Hans van Meegeren being the champion, painting seven supposed Vermeers so expertly that world-famous authorities had certified them as genuine, enabling him to earn 2.8 million dollars before being discovered as a forger.

It indicates that the story continued in that manner and that man would always fall for phonies. As Plato had said, "Everything that deceives may be said to enchant." It indicates that if that were so, the current time had to be "a bewitching age—half art, half artifice. Which is which?"

"Oiling the Wheels of Business" indicates that it was Oil Progress Week, that in the 1850's, only a little more than six percent of all U.S. work was performed by machines, with the remainder done manually or by draft animals, and the few machines which were around broke down on a regular basis because of the absence of proper lubricants.

Then came the first petroleum from the wells of Titusville, Pa., in 1859, based on the industry of Colonel Edwin Drake, a dreamer who believed he could light the lamps of the nation with oil. From that came more efficient steam engines, internal combustion engines and other machinery, which changed the nation into a technological giant during the previous 90 years.

During the height of World War II, the U.S. oil industry as a whole represented an investment of around 13 billion dollars in plant and equipment and since that time, capital expenditures had been made of more than 28 billion dollars in expansion and development to keep pace with much higher demand, with another 4.5 billion dollars to be spent just in 1954. The money went into new oil fields, new refineries, new pipelines, new tankers and other new facilities, the bulk of it coming from industry earnings.

It asserts that rugged competition was the reason for that expansion and development and that big petroleum had helped make the nation great, with the industry and its employees deserving therefore a salute during the current week honoring it.

With 20-20 foresight, it might have suggested restraint in that oily progress, lest humanity finally suffer castastrophic and irremediable damage from excessive use of fossil fuels, leading to climate change and potential extinction of the human animal for using up the fossils of the ancient ancestors at an arithmetic clip gone mad.

Drew Pearson indicates that during the winter of 1953 while he had been in Paris, he had suggested to friends that the Mayor of Paris invite Mayor Ernst Reuter of West Berlin, a great champion of democratic freedoms, to visit Paris as a guest of France and as a gesture of friendship between the French and German people, as it seemed to Mr. Pearson that the European Defense Community united army needed to be based on something firmer than a pact between politicians, that if the French people had a chance to get to know Mayor Reuter for the rugged fighter for a peaceful Europe that he was, a start could be made toward better understanding between two ancient and bitter rivals. The French had appeared to embrace the idea but suggested that it might be easier for them to overcome local French prejudices were Mayor Reuter to invite the Mayor of Paris to visit Berlin first, with the invitation then reciprocated in Paris. Mr. Pearson had posed the idea to Mayor Reuter, whom he had gotten to know during several visits to Germany, the Mayor making no promises but appearing open to persuasion. He suggests that perhaps he did not press the matter hard enough, as the idea drifted away until Mr. Pearson was shocked one morning to read that Mayor Reuter had died. He believes he had been one of the few Germans who could have helped break down the suspicions between France and Germany which had disrupted relations between the two countries and the peace of Europe for 80 years.

Mr. Pearson indicates that being a perennial optimist, he still did not think relations between France and Germany were beyond repair, despite deterioration of late, as the efforts of Secretary of State Dulles and British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden recently had provided new hope at the nine-nation London conference, providing for admission of West Germany to NATO and rearming of West Germany within that context and under the expanded Brussels Pact to include West Germany, which would also have sovereignty soon. He indicates that Messrs. Dulles and Eden, however, could not, alone, achieve peace, that treaties were no stronger than the public opinion behind them and that a European defense pact was flimsy unless the people who had to shoulder arms were willing to do so in each other's defense. He believes it was an axiom which the diplomats did not always understand.

He had determined that the American people were getting somewhat fed up with old allies and former allies and he does not especially blame them, as the U.S. had taken a lot of undeserved criticism. But world peace was far more important than being called a few names or returning to an isolationist stance, and so he had a suggestion that a couple of million Americans write letters to their friends and relatives in Europe, especially in France and Germany, urging them to forget old bitterness and pull together for the peace of the world, that it would underscore the official position of the Administration, lending a personal touch which counted more than a pronouncement by any government.

John Allan May, writing in the Christian Science Monitor, tells of Czechoslovakia's Communist Party having decided that good manners needed to receive more attention in a "people's democracy", and so the press had advised all men in the future to wear collars and ties at social functions and to give up singing loudly in the streets, etc.

Mr. May views it as good news and hopes the movement would spread throughout the Communist world, as everyone wanted the Communists to demonstrate good manners. He wishes to do his part to suggest some "rediquette", starting with the idea that it was considered bad form to send one's neighbor to Siberia, even if the person was in disagreement. Extracting a confession from him was rather rude and did not make for gracious living. It was also rude to point, and that one should not, on the way to jail, tell the driver to wait. In the past, there was an expression which went, "In a Soviet winter, a gentleman always gives his shovel to a lady," an outmoded expression, as the ladies were now well equipped. It was also rude to contradict one's elders, one's betters, or one's juniors, and unwise to contradict women, thus, it was better not to contradict anyone.

After going on further in that vein, Mr. May suggests to the Soviets that they try thinking of other people, that Communists would find that such took much practice but would be essential to gracious living and well worth the trouble.

Robert C. Ruark indicates that he was somewhat offended by the Japanese seeking ten million dollars for the exposure to radioactivity of the 23 Japanese fishermen aboard their vessel at the time of the U.S. detonation of the hydrogen bomb the previous spring in the Pacific, the vessel having been about 80 miles from ground zero, outside the perimeter of safety established by the Atomic Energy Commission, with one of the victims having allegedly died recently from the contamination—although Drew Pearson had indicated the prior Saturday that he had in fact not died from radiation exposure but rather from yellow jaundice contracted from a contaminated blood transfusion while in the hospital. Mr. Ruark believes that even the U.S.-offered million dollars in compensation was "downright generous" and more than ample for an accident.

He recounts some of the atrocities committed by the Japanese during World War II, starting with the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, the 1942 death march of prisoners of war from Bataan, indicating he had seen personally quite a number of survivors of the Japanese prison camps returning to early death at the end of the war. He suggests that the Japanese were a "curious race", that the Kamikaze raids and banzai charges had been downright silly in their conception, as were their attempts to cover up B-29's with banana-plant leaves on the airstrip at Guam when they might as easily have set them on fire, and their tendency to shoot up the movie screens at Pelelieu, loving Deanna Durbin, but filling the screen full of holes when a Shirley Temple movie was showing.

After going on a bit in that vein, he says:

"This is the record. The Japs DID attack Pearl Harbor. They did force the death march from Bataan. The Germans killed more people in one afternoon in Rotterdam than we killed with the A-bomb attacks on Japan. More English civilians died of German raids than we lost from military troops during the war. The Germans did it, and the Japs did it. It was the Germans that made soap out of people and who had the ovens at Buchenwald and Dachau. It wasn't us, and it wasn't our allies.

"One recognizes that you cannot nourish an old hatred forever, but at the same time one can recognize what is seemly and what is not seemly. I think that Western Germany is practicing up for another Nazi superman regime, and I think the Japs are working up to the same idea.

"What the Japs and Germans need is not so much sovereignty on the one hand and ten million dollars on the other, as a sound kick in the pants and a sharp admonition that they didn't win it. We won it, but durned if it ain't hard to remember, sometimes, when the prisoners start pushing the jailers around."

A. T. Barkley of Charlotte, without any editorial note as to who he was or what he represented, offers up an opinion piece on the blessed land of America, with super-abundance for all, suggesting that there was every reason to believe that it would continue, with the "outpourings of these blessings by a Beneficent Providence." He looks back at his own, older generation and recounts some of the hardships they had endured, says he had lived through several recessions and depressions, that the one ascribed to and stigmatizing of Herbert Hoover "wasn't the worst by any means." It had only carried on longer than some of the others, but "if it had been let alone as the others were, the economy of the country would have gotten back on the right track sooner.

"But no, the New Deal had to call in a lot of starry eyed fan-tailed theorists, and by the injection of their socialistic and unconstitutional nostrums in the economy, recovery was retarded needlessly, and sometimes I think purposely. This depression carried three years under Hoover, and four years under Roosevelt and was still going strong when World War II began in Europe, and this of course put a stop to it."

He says that he was born in the middle 1880's on a farm in Iredell County, with there having been eight members of his family, living eight miles from a railroad, three miles from a one-room schoolhouse, four miles from a church, a half-mile from the Catawba River, with corn and cotton fields all around them. He says that the only books in their house were a Bible and mail-order catalog. His father subscribed to the weekly edition of the Statesville Landmark, which they received by calling at a country store post office two miles from their home.

He also indicates: "Race prejudice and segregation weren't thought about perplexities precipitated by the U.S. Supreme Court decision pose no problems for me." (We haven't yet figured out precisely what that sentence is supposed to mean.) Preceding that sentence, he indicates that his family's nearest neighbors had been a black family who lived so far away that they could barely see the smoke from their chimney on a clear day, that none of them could read or write, but were God-fearing, upright, dependable people, and in summers, he had enjoyed swimming with the boys of the family in the raw, and had a good time going hunting with them in the winters.

He goes on quite at length in that regard, concluding:

"These are just some of the reasons why if mercenary politicians' gloomy pictures should come to life, and hard times come and stalk our land again—well they just wouldn't mean a dad-blamed thing to me.

"Anyhow pray tell me 'Who is afraid of the big bad wolf?'"

Whether this was simply an extended letter to the editor, we do not know, but it does not appear under the typical letters column and starts with a by-line.

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