The Charlotte News

Wednesday, October 27, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the President, in his first press conference since August 17, stated this date that he opposed any meeting of the Western powers with Russia at the present time but left open the possibility of holding a conference later, though not specifically addressing that possibility as being between the heads of state. He responded to a reporter's request for comment on Prime Minister Churchill's statement the previous day that he would be willing to meet with Soviet Premier Georgi Malenkov, but only after ratification of the recent Paris agreements regarding Western European defense, specifically the admission of West Germany to NATO and rearmament of West Germany, in addition to the end of the Allied occupation. The President was not specific on whether his response was contingent on ratification. He said that in his opinion there was better reason at present to hope for lasting world peace than there had been in the past, based on developments during the previous two years.

The President also indicated in response to questioning regarding the controversial Dixon-Yates private power contract with the Atomic Energy Commission that he remained strongly in favor of it, that the Federal Power Commission had declared the contract proper and fair and that the TVA had found it satisfactory. He stated he would have nothing further to say about the matter until after Congress had a chance to evaluate the contract. He stated also, in reply to a question regarding whether there would be further tax cuts, that he was not in a position to provide a detailed picture at the present time, but said that the present fiscal situation appeared to eliminate the prospect of any significant reductions.

The President also said that he was puzzled by the apparent apathy among voters and hoped to stir them up some personally if he could squeeze a one-day plane trip into his tight schedule, again reiterating his hope that the voters would elect a Republican Congress to enable him to finish his program. There had been reports that Republican leaders wanted him to visit Detroit, Louisville, Minneapolis, Boston, Wilmington, Del., and Waterloo, Ia. The President was not specific regarding where he had in mind to visit.

Samuel Lubell, in another in his series of reports on the midterm elections, indicates that behind the battling for individual Senate and House seats, a new balance of political power was taking shape in the country, a curiously close balance, with the strength of both parties more evenly divided than at any time since the late President Roosevelt had begun his first term in 1933. He finds that it foreshadowed a closely fought presidential election in 1956, and could mean that the country had entered a period in which elections would swing from side to side, with neither the Republicans nor the Democrats able to command a decisive majority for any length of time. He suggests that it might be seen as the receding of the tidal wave which had swept General Eisenhower into office two years earlier and elected narrow majorities in both houses of Congress for the Republicans. The most important single feature of that victory had been its complete sweep, with the President having won votes from rich and poor alike, in some states winning every county while in others carrying counties which never before had voted Republican for the presidency. But in 1954, the old political patterns and loyalties were returning, one basic reason for the trend toward Democrats, while it was equally significant that, if the Republican floodtide was ebbing, it was settling at a higher level of strength than in 1948. Particularly in the cities, the Republicans appeared to be consolidating their gains, as evidenced by the fact that in nearly a third of the urban precincts which Mr. Lubell had observed, he found some persons who had voted for Adlai Stevenson in 1952 but were for the President at this point. Typical among responses was that he had kept the country out of war and had generally handled things very well, that no one could have handled them any better.

Senator McCarthy this date disclosed to the press a letter to Secretary of the Army Robert Stevens, requesting information about the case of the former Army Reserve dentist he had accused of being a "Fifth Amendment Communist" for refusing to testify about his past associations with subversive organizations when appearing before Senator McCarthy's Investigations subcommittee, at the time investigating claimed subversive activity at Fort Monmouth and Camp Kilmer in New Jersey. The case had been the foundation for the Army-McCarthy dispute which led to the hearings in late April through mid-June. One of the grounds for his recommended censure, in the unanimous report issued by the six-Senator select committee, was his abuse during hearings in February before the subcommittee of Brig. General Ralph Zwicker when questioned about his knowledge of the promotion from captain to major and subsequent honorable discharge of the dentist, who was at Camp Kilmer while General Zwicker was commander. The rough questioning of the General had led Secretary Stevens to order his officers not to appear before Congressional committees again, though subsequently relenting on that order when Senator McCarthy agreed to engage in civil questioning of witnesses, though the Senator then stated he had never engaged in any rough questioning of General Zwicker or other officers in the first instance. The previous day, Senator McCarthy had accused the chairman of the select committee on censure, Senator Arthur Watkins of Utah, plus the vice-chairman, Senator Edwin Johnson of Colorado, and committee member Senator Sam Ervin of North Carolina, of "unfair concealment" of prejudice against him.

In Nice, France, it was reported that a search party which had climbed Mount Bego in the French Alps had determined this date that the wreckage of a plane spotted from the air was not that of the missing U.S. Air Force C-47 transport plane, which had gone missing on Sunday during a flight from Rome to Lyons, with 21 persons aboard. The party found that it was the wreckage of a bomber which had crashed in 1944. The search for the missing C-47 continued.

In Salerno, Italy, rescue workers dug through the mud-covered rubble of homes along the Gulf of Salerno this date, seeking additional victims of the violent cloudbursts, landslides and floods occurring the previous day. At least 217 persons were now listed as dead, and unofficial reports placed the death toll as high as 270. Flash floods triggered by cloudbursts had struck the ten-mile coastline between Salerno and Amalfi during the early morning darkness the previous day, destroying entire villages and crumbling hundreds of homes, with their occupants trapped without warning, rendering hundreds injured and thousands homeless.

In Colorado City, Tex., two bodies had been recovered and two other persons were believed dead this date in a hotel fire caused by lightning during a midnight thunderstorm. The owner and operator of the 54-room Colorado Hotel, formerly the Alamo Hotel, said that 13 other guests had been accounted for and were uninjured in the fire. All four of the men believed dead had lived near the rear of the 70-year old building and all except one of them had lived on the second floor of the three-story structure.

In Edinburg, Tex., a man carrying a box was blown to pieces this date in an explosion which wrecked the second floor of the Hidalgo County courthouse and shook the downtown business district. Unconfirmed reports indicated that two women had been cut by flying glass and that the several hundred persons normally in the building had escaped with minor cuts and bruises. The initial story was that an elevator operator had taken a man carrying a box to the second floor of the new five-story building, and a few moments later, after he had left the elevator and the elevator operator began descending to the first floor, the explosion occurred on the second floor. There was no indication of a fire resulting from the explosion.

On Whidbey Island, Wash., it was reported that Roy Bergo was planning to set sail again on a trip to Alaska in a pontoon-equipped bathtub in which he had traveled 12 miles the previous day, landing at Whidbey Island some five hours after leaving Edmonds, just north of Seattle. The disapproving Coast Guard had sent along an escort just in case he had trouble. Mr. Bergo took no charts, navigation instruments or experience, only minimum clothing and maximum confidence. The bathtub was propelled by a two-horsepower motor and an oar was aboard for emergencies. The closest point of Alaska was 700 miles to the north, in Anchorage, but Mr. Bergo indicated the previous night that he had set as a goal traveling 1,600 miles.

In New York, it was reported that the R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. had stated its net income this date for the first nine months of the year to be $34,467,000, equal to $3.22 per common share, compared with $25,656,000, or $2.35 per share, in the similar period of 1953. Net income was reported to be $13,084,000, or $1.23 per share, for the third quarter, against a $9,290,000, or 86 cents per share, in the same quarter in 1953.

Julian Scheer of The News tells of an important State Board of Conservation & Development meeting having ended this date in Charlotte after three days and study by its committees of a wide variety of interests to the state, noting development and improvement in all areas, with an underlying philosophy of well-being. Commerce and industry were on the upswing with increasing numbers of new firms coming into the state and companies presently located in the state expanding, with a bright outlook. Another meeting of the Board was set for Raleigh on November 15, which would bring together leaders of industry to discuss industrial problems, especially the state tax structure of businesses. The tourist bureau had reported large increases in tourist travel and spending within the state, and the advertising division reported increased interest in the state.

On the editorial page, "The Record of Charles Raper Jonas" provides a look at the record thus far of Congressman Jonas, being challenged by Democrat J. C. Sedberry, a Recorder's Court Judge in Charlotte.

It indicates that Judge Sedberry's appeal rested largely on his personal reputation and integrity, and that of the Democratic Party, while the record of Mr. Jonas was clear, based on his voting in the House during the previous two years. It reviews 19 roll call votes chosen by the Congressional Quarterly as representing key issues of the 83rd Congress, most of the issues being controversial and thus tests of political attitudes.

It summarizes Mr. Jonas's positions shown in the first session of 1953 on tidelands oil, the national debt limitation, Hawaiian statehood, Niagara River power, the excess profits tax extension, the appropriations for fiscal 1954 for the executive and other independent offices, the foreign aid appropriation for 1954, the Agriculture Department appropriation for that fiscal year, and the Defense Department appropriations for 1954.

It next summarizes his positions on issues during the 1954 session, the St. Lawrence Seaway bill, the wiretapping bill, the foreign aid appropriations for fiscal 1955, the Reciprocal Trade Extension bill, the tax revision bill, the bill on farm price supports, the bill regarding public housing, the measures on unemployment compensation, health re-insurance, and revision of the Atomic Energy Act of 1946.

It indicates that it did not agree with Mr. Jonas on every single issue, for instance, indicating that it favored stronger advocacy for an effective program of technical and economic aid to friendly nations, President Truman's Point Four program, than he had provided, and had favored the Eisenhower health program, though Mr. Jonas had voted to recommit the bill to committee, indefinitely postponing action on it. It had also doubted the usefulness of the wiretapping bill, which Mr. Jonas had voted for, insofar as its permitting use of wiretap evidence gathered from wiretaps authorized by both a Federal court and the Attorney General. It opposed the tidelands oil bill to provide the offshore oil within the states' respective historical boundaries to the states, and had been sympathetic to proposals that both Hawaii and Alaska be granted statehood, Mr. Jonas having taken contrary positions on those bills.

It had been supportive of his positions on general reduction in Federal expenditures on domestic programs, conducting a major overhaul of the tax laws, institution of flexible farm price supports, approval of the St. Lawrence Seaway, and the decision to give private enterprise more opportunities in the development of atomic energy, with adequate safeguards against the possibility of forming monopolies. It finds that in those and other matters, Mr. Jonas had reflected a strong, consistent pattern of political thought and that his chief contribution had been an insistence on greater economy in government. As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, he had been able to attack the problem in Congress and his cost-cutting efforts had been largely successful.

It urges voters to scrutinize therefore the record of Mr. Jonas and to measure his views against the voters' own before going to the polls on November 2.

Drew Pearson indicates that since Vice-President Nixon had warned the President in Denver that the Republican Party candidates were way behind in the Congressional polls, the idea of the Republicans having cleaned Communists from the Government had been bandied about yet again, and Mr. Pearson thinks it would be interesting to see whether it would work this time, as the American people appeared to be tired of it. He provides examples of its use during the campaign.

In Montana, Senator James Murray, a staunch Irish Catholic who was no more pro-Russian or pro-Communist than the church at which he worshiped, had suddenly found 160,000 pieces of literature being sent out to Montana voters depicting him as being on the side of the Soviets, based on the fact that during the war, when the country was an ally of Russia, Senator Murray's name had appeared on a committee for Soviet-American friendship, along with many other distinguished Americans at that time. Vice-President Nixon had appeared in Butte the previous week, warning that the Democratic Party was in danger of being infiltrated with Communists, saying that the Republicans had never had the support of the Communists and welcomed their opposition during the campaign.

Mr. Pearson points out that just three days earlier, Earl Browder, who had once been the head of the American Communist Party and was now banished from it, had made a statement in writing to I. F. Stone's weekly news sheet on October 18, in which he stated that in 1937, Thomas Dewey had first run as district attorney of Manhattan, with his organization needing to gather votes wherever they could find them and had then solicited Communist support, which Mr. Browder said that he had approved, accomplished through a trade union committee headed by a well-known Communist at the time, Louis Weinstock. After Mr. Dewey had won the election, said Mr. Browder, he was provided a victory banquet by that committee, where he was photographed with the toastmaster, Mr. Weinstock. Mr. Browder described it as an innocent association, however, as had been that of Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer, "a political marriage without love on either side." He also told of Senator Robert Taft's campaign manager, his brother Charles, in 1938, when the Senator was running the first time for the Senate, having approached the American Youth Congress, a Communist organization, and asked that Mr. Taft be invited to address its mass meeting being held in Cleveland, and the response was that he would be invited if he did not object to being on the same platform with Mr. Browder. The result was that both Mr. Taft and Mr. Browder had spoken to the group and were photographed grinning at each other "in a most brotherly fashion". Mr. Browder had then contrasted that situation with the 1950 manufactured photograph showing supposedly him with Senator Millard Tydings, when the photograph was a composite developed by the staff of Senator McCarthy, nevertheless attributed as a principal cause for the Senator's defeat in that election. Mr. Browder had concluded that any scientist who was so unfortunate to have been a youth in 1938 and caught in the photo with Robert Taft speaking to the Youth Congress would have a long and rough path to obtaining a security clearance.

Mr. Pearson indicates that Mr. Browder had written his statement without any intent to embarrass Mr. Nixon, as he did not know at the time that the Vice-President would start criticizing Senator Murray as being friendly with the Soviets. His object had been to illustrate the unfairness of accusing Dr. Oppenheimer and other scientists of affinity with Communism based on friendships and associations of 15 years earlier.

Doris Fleeson indicates that many people were dismissing the present boring campaign for control of Congress as "just politics" because the voters were so apathetic, but, she posits, the actual trouble was lack of politics. Neither party had produced any new creative idea and so parroted the old ones, having the effect of a broken record.

The Republicans were not sufficiently united and determined to build a party organization which could take command of the Government. The President did not lead them in that effort because of his inexperience as a politician and because he had a "Chief of State complex" about the Presidency. He had hindered party leaders further by over-balancing his Cabinet and staff with people from business, with only errand boys from practical politics.

Both parties were responsive to special interests, but a party whose President and principal politicians were in control of the situation could balance the demands made upon them with the people's desires and come up with a reasonable solution, while protecting their political flanks. The Democrats under FDR, with such men as Jim Farley and Ed Flynn as national chairmen and Congress dominated by former Speakers of the House John Nance Garner and Sam Rayburn, and Senators James Byrnes and Alben Barkley, the latter as Majority Leader, had consistently achieved balance, with the party having slipped under President Truman, "whose choice of lieutenants was often so excruciating it raised the corruption issue in its simplest, best understood form—the deep-freeze and the mink coat." Despite those problems, the former President's personal political astuteness was such that he had kept the New Deal framework intact and had won re-election with its "dying momentum".

Ms. Fleeson indicates that the politicians she had cited above did not hate businessmen but considered them irrelevant, while making more people rich than comparable Republican Administrations. But the politicians and not the fatcats had fixed Government policies.

She indicates that the imbalance of the Republican record was the biggest issue for the Democrats during the midterm election campaign, indicating that the special interests did not have to come to a strong party organization for favors, as they sat in on the decisions as they were made, and in many instances made the decisions. But since they did not understand politics, they could not see the forest for the trees. Business influence had accomplished tax cuts and tax favors before the budget was balanced, which had been a stated aim of the Republicans in 1952 and a principal criticism of the Democrats for spending too much. But in the Republican Administration, defense needs, reclamation, public power and the farmers had all yielded to budget economies and inflation had been stopped. Yet, when workers and farmers saw huge corporate profits, the perception was that the burden had been placed on them.

The resulting anger had caused panic among Republicans, verging on the pathetic, such that Vice-President Nixon was going around trying to scare people about Communists in government and a possible "radical" Democratic Congress in which the principal Senate committees would be headed, in the event the Democrats would regain control, by Senator Harry F. Byrd of Virginia on the Finance Committee, Senator Walter George of Georgia on the Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Carl Hayden of Arizona on the Appropriations Committee, Senator Richard Russell of Georgia on the Armed Services Committee, Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas on the Banking and Currency Committee, and Senator John McClellan of Arkansas on the Government Operations Committee.

Robert C. Ruark indicates that he had always thought that party politics was a dirty business and that the party hacks who clung together, right or wrong, were "short-sighted self-gratifiers". He had found the Democrats particularly good at that practice under former President Truman, indicates he had never heard so many lies and half-truths in his life as had been scattered around by prominent Democrats during the 1952 campaign. He expected to hear more as long as there were free elections.

He believed that each incoming President should be assured of a majority in both houses of Congress for the duration of the term, that he should not be hamstrung by the opposition, such as by the Democrats regaining control in the midterm elections at hand.

He hopes that the predictions were wrong that the Democrats would capture control of at least one or possibly both houses. He finds that the President had been a sincere, sober, honest executive and was just coming to be what was regarded as an acceptable politician after having dealt with the diehards of his own party for the previous two years plus being saddled with the controversy surrounding Senator McCarthy. While the accomplishments had not "touched a torch to the world", at least there had been a "pretty honest run from a guy in a rough racket."

He asserts that if the "fall-short" brand of Democrat returned to power, one could write off President Eisenhower's time in office as largely lost. He finds that even a so-so Republican majority was more desirable for the country's good than a couple of houses "popping with Democratic firecrackers". He hopes Democrats would bear that in mind when they approached the polls.

Incidentally, Mr. Ruark uses the abbreviation "Dems" throughout this little piece, an abbreviation which had never been used previously by any of the columnists or editorial writers for The News during the previous 17 years. But nowadays and for the past several years, it has become all too commonplace, typically used by overtly conservative Republicans or by closet Republicans pretending to be "objective", when, in fact, it is meant as a dig at Democrats, supposedly being "dim" of mind regarding their own best interests, lying, naturally, with the Republican association with big business and large corporate profits, "trickle-down" economics. We don't say "Repubs", though "Republican'ts" does become meaningful at times, but does not lend itself to headline writers as a shortened form for the party. No, the Republicans long ago came up with that "GOP" nonsense, the "Grand Ole Party", even though there never has been anything particularly grand about it since the days of President Lincoln, save perhaps their lavish lifestyles when compared to Democrats, and it is far younger than the Democratic Party, which has been around since the Founding, while the Republicans came about only in 1856, formed out of the old Whig Party.

Perhaps to give the proper balance to things, every time someone uses "Dems", we should respond by calling the Republicans the "BOP", the "B" being left to interpretation within the particular context where it appears. "Dems" is objectionable in print without any counterbalancing, equally disturbing abbreviated appellation applied to the nation's exponents of greed, typically, the Republicans. Maybe we should call them the "EOG", or if trying to make an acronym with meaning, "FOG".

We try to refrain from calling reporters "stupid", when many of them daily exhibit little else but stupidity. Persistent use by some of dem dimmer ones of "Dems", however, makes restraint more difficult.

A letter writer from Morganton indicates that a news item from Lenoir had indicated some weeks earlier that the Republican state committee had refused to nominate a candidate against Senator Sam Ervin for the general election, says that the writer had been present at the time and had sought to lead a debate to nominate a candidate, finds that their ultimate determination was a repudiation of the party and its fighting morale in the state.

A letter from P. C. Burkholder, former unsuccessful candidate for Congress as both a Republican and Democrat at different times, reminds of the 1930 election when the electorate voted a Democratic House for the last two years of the term of President Hoover, finding that it had crippled the Government and that the result was the Depression—which by that point was a year in being, the Crash having occurred in October, 1929. He urges voting for Mr. Jonas to avoid a repeat of history.

You need to stick to the politics of buttermilk.

A letter writer thanks the newspaper for its editorial and news coverage of the Mecklenburg Historical Association.

A letter writer from Quincy, Mass., urges voters not to be apathetic and to get out and vote in the midterm elections the following Tuesday.

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