The Charlotte News

Wednesday, October 13, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the President and his political lieutenants this date were maintaining an eye on the repercussions arising from Secretary of Defense Charles E. Wilson's "dog" story regarding unemployment and the draft, which had surfaced the previous day, prompting demands from UAW and CIO president Walter Reuther that he publicly apologize for the statement or be forced to resign. AFL president George Meany had also joined in the criticism. The White House was plainly worried about the effect the remarks of the Secretary would have on the midterm elections. The Secretary claimed that his remarks had been distorted for political advantage by the Democrats, and denied that he was making any kind of invidious comparison, likening people to dogs. The President the previous day had come to Secretary Wilson's defense and sought to soften the impact of the remarks on the campaign. The President effectively rejected the labor leaders' demands for a retraction or resignation. On Monday, Secretary Wilson, speaking at a tape-recorded Detroit press conference, had said that he had "a lot of sympathy" for the unemployed, but always had "liked bird dogs better than kennel-fed dogs, you know, one who'll get out and hunt for food rather than sit on his fanny and yell." (The story the previous day had reported, based on a transcription of the statement, that the last three words were instead "haunches and yelp".) He made the remarks in regard to targeted high surplus employment areas of the country with the return of Korean War veterans, and the statements were interpreted by labor leaders as being insensitive to the plight of the unemployed. Mr. Wilson claimed that he only intended the remark to refer to the situation where the draft had been ended by the Korean War armistice and the young person who was thus relieved from having to fight there not being willing to travel 100 miles to get a job. Following the Secretary's clarification, Mr. Reuther had said that the Secretary had given the Communists "a great psychological weapon", which they would use most effectively. He said that the Secretary was "either stupid or callously indifferent", and that he did not believe he was stupid.

In Chicago, sponsors of a Republican fundraising dinner this date stood firm on their invitation to Secretary Wilson to address the meeting this night, despite the threat that Governor William Stratton, the top Republican leader in the state, would boycott the rally because of the Secretary's controversial remarks.

In Philadelphia, Secretary of the Navy Charles Thomas said this date that Russia had atom bomb carrying airplanes which flew faster than the speed of sound, apparently the first such statement from a qualified U.S. official, with the Air Force having said only that Russian jet bombers which had been unveiled the previous spring had given the Soviets the ability to wage intercontinental air warfare with fast planes, comparable to the B-47 jet bomber and the larger and more powerful B-52. Secretary Thomas did not elaborate on the statement.

In Washington, U.S. Attorney Leo Rover in the District of Columbia accused Federal District Judge Luther Youngdahl of "a fixed, personal bias and prejudice" in favor of indicted former State Department Far Eastern adviser Owen Lattimore, and asked the judge to disqualify himself from the pending perjury trial against Mr. Lattimore. The trial was tentatively set to begin on January 10, with Mr. Lattimore having been indicted a second time after some of the counts of an earlier indictment had been dismissed by Judge Youngdahl as vague, the charges of perjury having derived from his testimony before a Senate committee, contending that he was never a follower of the Communist Party line or a promoter of Communist causes. Judge Youngdahl was a former three-term Republican Governor of Minnesota and former member of the Minnesota Supreme Court, appointed to the Federal bench by former President Truman. The U.S. Attorney based his affidavit on the previous rulings and comments by the judge several months earlier regarding a defense motion to dismiss the original indictment, resulting in dismissal of four of the seven counts of the 1952 indictment, two of which counts had been reinstated by the Circuit Court of Appeals, leading to the second indictment the previous week adding to the two reinstated counts. Mr. Rover contended that, while he had the greatest respect for the honor and integrity of the judge, he had demonstrated that he held a "fixed opinion" that Mr. Lattimore was innocent of the charges. In his decision dismissing the counts, Judge Youngdahl had also stated that he doubted the materiality of the three remaining counts which he sustained, a statement which Mr. Rover deemed biased.

In Gary, Ind., an outbreak of diarrhea had caused the deaths of seven infants and critical illness of 24 others since September 23, and was presently under an official investigation. Five of the deaths had occurred at one hospital and two others at another, the latter two infants having been born in the first hospital.

In Sylva, N.C., the trial of a man for first degree murder began this date, the defendant being accused of instructing his nine-year old son to shoot a 15-year old neighbor the previous May 30 because the defendant did not like the neighbor's guitar playing and singing. A 19-year old witness had testified in May that he and the victim had been sitting on a truck playing the guitar and singing, when the defendant arrived, handing the gun to the boy and instructing him to shoot. The defendant had been previously convicted of killing two men during a gun battle. Jury selection began this date.

In Durham, N.C., a seven-year old boy from the vicinity of Buies Creek had died during the morning at Duke Hospital, an apparent victim of a bite from a mad dog, with doctors indicating that an autopsy would be performed to determine whether rabies had been the cause of death. He had been bitten on August 26 by a dog which had never been found but had exhibited all of the symptoms of rabies.

In Indianapolis, the American Legion Auxiliary announced a nationwide "Operation Book Swap" to provide children an opportunity to trade crime and horror comic books for good books.

In Hammond, Ind., flood patrols concentrated their fight on weakened dikes and home-looting, as flooding rivers receded in both Hammond and Plymouth this date, having rendered 400 families homeless, taking refuge with friends or in hotels, with 50 going to emergency shelters.

From Port-au-Prince, Haiti, it was reported that Hurricane Hazel had swept almost all of the town of Jeremie into the sea and caused the death or injury of more than 200 persons, as it struck the southwest peninsula of the island. It was unknown how high the casualty figures might go and there was no official estimate of the number of dead or injured, or property damage. Jeremie was located about 16 hours from Port-au-Prince, accessible over a narrow mountain road which was dangerous in good weather. During the early morning, the Miami Weather Bureau reported that the hurricane was centered near the eastern end of Great Inagua Island in the Bahamas, about 100 miles from Mayaguana, the site of a U.S. guided missile tracking station. Eastern Cuba had apparently escaped any major damage. Florida appeared safe from the hurricane, but the chief storm forecaster in the Miami Weather Bureau said that they could not yet be certain of the hurricane's track.

On the editorial page, "'Security Risks'—Facts vs. Phantoms" indicates that it had become clear during the week that the numbers game regarding "security risks" would play a role in the midterm elections. The Civil Service Commission had announced the prior Monday that 6,926 persons had been removed from Federal payrolls under the security program implemented during the Eisenhower Administration in May, 1953.

It points out that there were approximately 2.3 million Federal employees, and thus only three out of every thousand had been removed under the program, with grounds for dismissal including drunkenness, perversion, loquaciousness, membership in the Communist Party or an organization deemed sympathetic to it, or a record of criminality. There had been no breakdown of dismissals by those several categories. About two-thirds of the dismissals, 4,314, or two out of every thousand Federal employees, had come from resignations before a determination of the pending cases had been made. About a third of the dismissals, 2,611, had resulted from firings after the employees in question were determined to be in one of the security risk categories.

The Civil Service Commission said that 1,743 of those who had resigned or were fired were suspected of subversive activities or associations, meaning that such was reported and noted within their personnel file. The piece finds that such could mean that they were so sympathetic to Communism that they would be susceptible to being spies and Communists, or it could mean that some of them actually were spies or Communists. But the fact that the Administration had not prosecuted any spies or Communists within the Government, and that its spokesmen, under questioning, had admitted that they had found no Communists and only two former Communists within the Government, suggested that no spies and Communists had been found.

That set of facts presented a very different picture from the one put forth by Vice-President Nixon during his campaign speeches around the country for midterm election candidates, repeatedly proclaiming that the Administration had removed Communists, fellow travelers and security risks, "not by the hundreds, but by the thousands" from the Government.

It indicates that its conclusion was that the Truman Administration had done an effective job of removing from the Government subversive employees and that the present Administration had wisely expanded the scope of the standards by which Government employees were judged, but unwisely had attempted once again to create a false impression that it had kicked out a number of Communists, an insult to the intelligence of voters who preferred to deal with "facts instead of phantoms".

"Adding Up the Score on Segregation" discusses the previous six weeks during the start of the school year, triggering in some few places the most severe reactions yet to the Supreme Court decision of May 17 in Brown v. Board of Education. In most areas of the South, children had gone back to segregated classrooms, just as before, while some students in segregated school systems were assigned to schools on the basis of residence and convenience rather than race, while in others plans to circumvent Brown were being developed.

To a great extent, however, the attention of the country had been focused on the dramatic boycotts in the border states of West Virginia and Delaware, where school officials had initially ordered the schools integrated and then reversed their decisions after parents and students protested by refusing to attend school.

It posits that overemphasis of those and a few other isolated trouble spots distorted the general picture, which was clarified by the second issue of the Southern School News, published by the Southern Education Reporting Service, edited by News editor on leave, Pete McKnight.

It had pointed out that in Delaware and West Virginia, it was too easy to overlook the fact that aside from the localities highlighted, in Milford, Del., and West Virginia's Greenbrier and Boone Counties, integration was actually operating smoothly in several other places in those states. In West Virginia, a dozen of the state's 55 counties were completely integrated, 13 more partially integrated, and 18 awaiting the implementing decision in Brown, with the remainder having no black students.

In 19 other states impacted by Brown, the pattern of reaction to the decision was variable and could not be summed up by neat generalizations, the situation in Milford representing by no means a pattern for the whole region. For instance, Arkansas was the first Deep South state to report examples of public school integration, in Charleston and Fayetteville, where there were few black students. Outside the South, Arizona, with a partially segregated school system in the past, was entering the final phase of an integration program begun in 1953. Integration had been underway prior to the May 17 decision in Kansas, wherein the Brown case had originated out of Topeka, but now was being accelerated in the wake of the decision. Integration in St. Louis and Kansas City, where most of Missouri's 63,000 black students lived, had been scheduled for high school classes in January and elementary school grades the following September.

Violence predicted by a clergyman when New Mexico communities had terminated segregation had not materialized.

Baltimore's "voluntary integration" plan had resulted in only about 2.5 percent of black students choosing to attend formerly all-white schools.

In Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia and South Carolina, ways were being studied to preserve segregation and circumvent Brown.

Integration had begun, with some difficulty, in the District of Columbia.

In other states, including North Carolina, Florida, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Texas, Tennessee and Virginia, decisions had been made to await the implementing decision in Brown, expected the following spring, before taking action toward desegregation. Some of those states, including North Carolina, would participate in the oral arguments in the implementing decision, which would begin on December 6.

It concludes, therefore, that there was not one segregation problem within the South but rather many problems, varying from state to state and community to community, with each area facing the problems squarely and devising appropriate solutions. "To meet the tasks of this era of decision and social crisis, the average citizen need only keep his head—and his perspective."

A piece from the Wall Street Journal, titled "The Bathtub Tenors", indicates that the London Daily Telegraph had reported that science had determined that men sang in the bathtub for the same reason people sang just before it rained, as humidity did something to the vocal cords, according to a geography lecturer informing the British Association at Oxford of his findings. Steam rising from hot baths had the same effect as humid weather. The scientist had been puzzled by the fact that the singers in the bathtub were usually the least gifted with voice.

The piece finds that not so puzzling, as many people could not carry a tune even in a large bathtub, but they knew it was the best place to try, as a locked bathroom provided a haven against assault, and with the water tap turned on full blast, critical comments from the other side of the door tended to go unheard.

The scientist had made one other observation about humidity, reasoning that if the weather could affect the vocal cords, it probably could affect people in many other ways, suggesting that it might be possible eventually to translate the weather forecast into a patient-behavior forecast.

The piece finds that not at all puzzling, as grandfather's aches for 30 years had been quite as accurate in forecasting the weather as had been the weatherman, and he also sang quite loudly when his rheumatism started predicting.

Drew Pearson tells of a paradox in the Administration whereby it had sought to win votes in the midterm election on one hand and lose them with the other, suggesting as an illustration Vice-President Nixon having admitted to newsmen in Denver the previous week that the election was going to be touch and go, while House Majority Leader Charles Halleck suggested it was as good as lost, all while simultaneously in Washington, the Atomic Energy Commission, dominated by its chairman, Admiral Lewis Strauss, former partner of the Wall Street banking firm of Kuhn, Loeb, was demanding that the controversial Dixon-Yates combine contract with the AEC be signed right away, without the 30-day scrutiny of Congress required by law. The rush to sign the contract, which Congress had debated for weeks and which the Democrats had sought to block with a filibuster during the summer, had the effect of losing votes for the very same Senators whom the President, Vice-President and Mr. Halleck wanted to elect. It hurt, for instance, Senator Guy Cordon of Oregon, who was facing a tough re-election campaign, while helping Democratic Senator James Murray of Montana, whom the White House hoped to defeat. It would also harm Senator Karl Mundt of South Dakota, a state where rural electrification was strong, and would also hurt Senator Henry Dworshak of Idaho and help his Democratic opponent, former Senator Glen Taylor, as public power had lots of allies in Idaho.

Mr. Pearson suggests that perhaps Admiral Strauss and the military men who now ran the AEC did not know those facts, but had insisted on pushing the Dixon-Yates contract for immediate signature, until Senator Bourke Hickenlooper of Iowa returned from his trip to South America and postponed Congressional hearings, realizing that it was problematic politically to move forward with the contract when the public had become very suspicious of it and the President's approval of it, despite disapproval by the TVA and a majority vote against it within the AEC, and despite the fact that Dixon-Yates obtained the contract without any competitive bidding of consequence. People were curious as to what was behind the agreement and the urge to push it so quickly.

Senators William Langer of North Dakota and Estes Kefauver of Tennessee had been investigating the contract recently and had determined that Eugene Yates, chairman of the Southern Company and a partner in Dixon-Yates, had come to the deal late, two months after Mr. Dixon of Middle South Utilities had begun talking to the AEC about it, Mr. Yates making great progress once he became involved, appearing to have pull in high places. The two Senators had also determined that the Budget Bureau, when it was ordered to make public the correspondence with Dixon-Yates, had waited two days, trying to determine some reason to explain why Mr. Yates was belatedly brought into the negotiations. A friend of Mr. Yates with high connections, and a top director of the Southern Company, was a cousin to General Wilton Persons of the White House staff, close to the President for many years. Another director of the power combine was Bobby Jones, the President's golfing friend. A third friend of Mr. Yates was a shrewd Washington power lobbyist, who had taken Mr. Yates to the Atomic Energy Commission and initially introduced him to officials for a discussion of the AEC private power contract with Dixon-Yates. That lobbyist had once worked at the AEC and at the War Mobilization Board, and was a close friend of some Federal Power Commission members, had entertained the FPC chairman, and was friendly with two other members.

Mr. Pearson indicates that those were some of the backstage influences behind the Dixon-Yates contract which would have been revealed in any pre-election hearings on the subject, one reason why Senator Hickenlooper had intervened and postponed the hearings until right after the elections.

Doris Fleeson, in Portland, Ore., regards the next Supreme Court appointment by the President, suggests that by all the rules of politics, Governor Thomas Dewey had first call on the vacancy left by the death of Justice Robert Jackson the prior Saturday. Governor Dewey had supplied the political know-how and the trained people which transformed the Eisenhower drift at the Chicago Republican convention in 1952 into an irresistible force, and supplied the nerve required to take on at the convention the party idol, the late Senator Robert Taft. General Eisenhower, she indicates, could not have accomplished the nomination and election for himself.

After the election, Senator Taft, until his death in July, 1953, had run the legislative program and was the most powerful influence on the White House, while Governor Dewey had returned to his gubernatorial responsibilities in New York. The debt to the Governor had not been collected and he was retiring from his position this year, becoming now eligible to collect. Those who knew the Governor best indicated that he preferred power to money, and yet had voluntarily relinquished control of the governorship, when he could have likely won a fourth term. A position on the Supreme Court would enable him to provide public service until the 1960 presidential campaign, when the party again might turn to him for a third time to become the nominee.

Ms. Fleeson reminds that in 1916—not 1912, as she indicates—, the Republicans had nominated Justice Charles Evans Hughes to contest incumbent President Woodrow Wilson, in what turned out to be a close race. The late Chief Justice Fred Vinson, the late Justices Jackson and Frank Murphy, as well as Justice William O. Douglas, had all been considered as potential nominees of the Democratic Party.

Republicans who were wondering what the party might do if President Eisenhower decided not to run in 1956, had begun to talk about nominating Chief Justice Earl Warren, especially as the desegregation decision in Brown v. Board of Education, which he had delivered, would have a powerful pull in the pivotal states.

The current attorney general was always an obvious possibility for an appointment to the Supreme Court, FDR having nominated two Attorneys General, Justices Murphy and Jackson, and President Truman having nominated Attorney General Tom Clark to the Court, with Justice Stanley Reed, appointed by FDR, having been Solicitor General. In addition, the late Chief Justice Harlan Stone, appointed by President Coolidge as Justice and elevated by FDR in 1941 to Chief upon the retirement of Chief Justice Hughes, had been Attorney General for a year under President Coolidge. Attorney General Herbert Brownell had managed Governor Dewey's presidential and gubernatorial campaigns, and the President had high regard for him which did not appear in any way diminished. But key Senators, including elder statesmen, had taken a dim view of Attorney General Brownell's legal qualifications, and he had made enemies among Democrats by resurrecting the Harry Dexter White case from the Truman Administration, accusing the former President of keeping him in the Treasury Department while having facts which should have led him to know that he was guilty of espionage for the Communists, as brought forth in hearings before HUAC shortly before his death in 1948. While Senator Walter George of Georgia had said publicly that Mr. Brownell had been an "extraordinary choice" for Attorney General, privately such Democratic conservatives would likely resist a nomination of Mr. Brownell to the Court.

There would be pressure on the President, as with past presidents, to promote lower Federal court judges to the high court, and many sincere people in both parties had been quite critical of Presidents Roosevelt and Truman for making political appointments to the Court.

The Civil Aeronautics Authority reports that for 50 years, man had been flying airplanes and still the animals and birds would not leave the airplanes alone, causing man trouble on the ground or in the air, that when man declared that he had "conquered" the air, the animals laughed. Birds flew right into airplanes at the rate of one per week, causing the Civil Aeronautics Administration to spend a great deal of money developing a windshield strong enough to protect the pilot from bird carcasses. And gophers made holes into which airplane wheels rolled on the ground.

Animals had caused trouble initially for barnstorming pilots who parked their planes in cow pastures, discovering that cows, horses and mules enjoyed the tanning dope, made from banana oil, used on the cloth covering the airplanes of the time, such that pilots often found their cloth licked clean of the dope.

It goes on explaining of the problems which pilots encountered with birds and other animals, including a tale of a pilot in Oklahoma who claimed to have found in the cockpit of his airplane a rattlesnake after taking off, and an air attaché of the British Embassy in Washington who reported that a king cobra had stared at him in a plane cockpit in India.

A letter from a local dentist who was a member of the Mecklenburg County Board of Health, comments on the water fluoridation issue, finding that opposition was usually for political, social or business reasons, with some hoping to attract attention and distort public opinion on the matter, with false, unscientific or untruthful statements having been made regarding fluoridation's supposed contribution to cancer or other serious conditions. He assures that fluoridation was safe and had a been endorsed by numerous state and national health organizations, and that it was a proper preventive measure against tooth decay, indicates that he would be negligent professionally if he did not endorse the program. While fluoridation was not a panacea for all dental ills and problems, there was unquestionable scientific evidence that a reduction by 50 to 60 percent of dental decay in growing children could be anticipated on a community level when the water supply was fluoridated.

A letter writer indicates that a woman who was employed at the snack bar of the Colonial Store on College Street had been stricken with an incurable malady, but retained her faith in the face of it, remained friendly, cheerful and exhibited a smile. She says that she was writing to call attention to all who remembered her and missed her, assures that she remained cheerful and smiling after seven months of her illness, and encourages those who remembered her to visit her or send a letter or card.

A letter writer from Pineville urges the newspaper to support a project to build a new highway from Pineville to Charlotte, as it was greatly needed, with the existing road being narrow and unsafe, especially when a motorist had to stop for a flat tire or other roadside trouble.

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