The Charlotte News

Thursday, November 18, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Senator Edwin Johnson of Colorado, who had been vice-chairman of the six-Senator select committee which unanimously recommended censure of Senator McCarthy, this date asked the Senate to add to the censure resolution a new section condemning the Communist Party in the country and urging continued investigation of it. The effort was viewed as an attempt to counter the arguments by Senator McCarthy and his supporters that censure would be a victory for Communist propaganda. Meanwhile, there was a discussion ongoing as to whether to continue the debate on the resolution in the absence of Senator McCarthy, who had gone to the hospital. Senator William Knowland of California, the Majority Leader, told reporters that the debate would continue at least temporarily. Senator Johnson said that he would delay his statement on his proposal until after Senator McCarthy was able to return. Senator Styles Bridges of New Hampshire reported that Senator McCarthy was "quite ill". Everyone has known that for the previous nearly five years.

In Washington, French Premier Pierre Mendes-France was scheduled to meet with the President and Secretary of State Dulles this date, having arrived in the capital the previous night. One of the issues he was scheduled to discuss was the future of the rich industrial borderland between France and Germany, the Saar, and he reportedly wanted the U.S. to support at any future German peace conference the compromise arrangements made in Paris the previous month, under which the Saar would be "Europeanized" while still being tied economically to France. West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer was having trouble getting his countrymen, however, to accept that arrangement. Other topics of discussion would include U.S. plans for financial aid to the French expeditionary force in non-Communist Indo-China and for continuing purchase of military equipment in France for the foreign aid program.

HUAC postponed a decision on possibly calling Alger Hiss for questioning about alleged Communist activities while he was in the State Department, the Committee having failed to achieve a quorum during an executive session. Mr. Hiss was about to be released in nine days from prison, after good time credits had reduced his five-year sentence for perjury based on grand jury testimony in 1948 denying certain claims made by Whittaker Chambers alleging that Mr. Hiss had supplied Mr. Chambers classified documents from the State Department for transmission to the Soviets in 1938. A HUAC hearing regarding Communist activities in industrial areas of Ohio and Michigan had begun about a half hour later than scheduled this date.

Best not tell the Republicans on HUAC or Senator McCarthy about Red Dixon and his fellow highwayman, Gus Gotwals, or they might seek to summon them before their respective committees for grilling on present or past Communist sympathies or associations, perhaps connected to Latin American Commies plotting a coup from the hills against some unsuspecting Government friendly to the interests of the United States, perhaps the sugar and gambling interests, as well as why they adopted obvious pseudonyms which plainly, though certainly not plausibly, imply some connection with the Vice-President and the game of cubolo.

Senator Alton Lennon, speaking before the Senate this date, praised the late Governor William B. Umstead of North Carolina as a man of "the highest character and ability". The Governor had died almost two weeks earlier of congestive heart failure, following a period of heart difficulties since a heart attack two days after his inauguration as Governor in January, 1953. Mr. Umstead had been a former member of the Senate and the House, appointed to the Senate by Governor Gregg Cherry following the death at the end of 1946 of Senator Josiah W. Bailey, after which, in 1948, he was defeated in the Democratic primary by former Governor J. Melville Broughton, who died in March, 1949, two months after being sworn in as Senator.

The White House announced this date that the President would spend Thanksgiving Day in Augusta, Ga., with British Field Marshal Sir Bernard Montgomery, currently deputy commander of NATO, as his guest. The President and First Lady would remain for the Thanksgiving weekend and then return to Washington the following Sunday or Monday. The President planned to get in some golf during the weekend vacation, and the Eisenhowers would stay in "Mamie's Cabin", located off the 10th tee of the Augusta National Golf Club. Maj. John Eisenhower and his family would be absent from the Thanksgiving dinner because the major was presently stationed at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas and would be unable to get to Augusta, where they had all spent Thanksgiving together the previous year when the major had then been stationed at Fort Benning, Ga.

In Augusta, an Army second lieutenant, facing a court-martial for alleged mistreatment of enlisted men, had been described by two senior officers at Camp Gordon as an outstanding officer who "shaped up" a previously shoddy company of trainees, one of whom said that the lieutenant was one of the two most outstanding officers under his command who were not already company commanders. That officer had been removed as commanding officer of the replacement training center at Camp Gordon based on the Army's claim that he had failed to act quickly on the charges against the second lieutenant. The testimony of the senior officers had occurred the previous day following the testimony by three privates who told of incidents which had occurred when the second lieutenant was assigned to their company following his graduation from officer candidate school at Fort Benning. One private said that the second lieutenant ordered him to shovel dirt onto a fellow private while the company was on bivouac, and the private said that he had complied, covering the other private with dirt, but that the lieutenant had complained that he had left the private's face uncovered except for pine needles, and ordered him to throw dirt over his face. The second lieutenant was also accused of having one trainee strung up by his ankles, another scrubbed with sand in a wet rag, and ordering two others to climb a tree and shout an obscene and self-abusive phrase.

In Weston, Conn., columnist and newsman Erich Brandeis, 65, had died in a hospital this date shortly after being admitted for treatment of a heart ailment. He had begun his career as a journalist on the San Francisco Examiner in 1913, and had also been a feature writer for the San Francisco Call. He was a native of Berlin and had graduated from the University of Berlin, was the author of books on Andrew Jackson and Franklin Roosevelt, as well as having been a member of the National Press Club.

In St. Paul, Minn., a 41-year old transient had died the previous night in a skid row scuffle over a dime. The man had died on arrival at a hospital after being knocked down during an altercation, and a seaman was being held without charge pending an autopsy. A mission desk clerk had described the altercation as being over a dime which one man owed to the other.

In Cleveland, O., the first-degree murder trial of Dr. Sam Sheppard, accused of killing his wife, Marilyn, on July 4, continued, with the coroner continuing to testify, this date denying on cross-examination that he had ever said that Mrs. Sheppard had been beaten to death because she was pregnant, while admitting that he had investigated a rumor that Dr. Sheppard was sterile. The possibility that he was sterile had surfaced briefly during the coroner's inquest the previous July, but no evidence had been introduced to support or refute the widespread rumor. The coroner had brought to court a number of articles which had been removed from the Sheppard home following the murder, including a shotgun which the coroner said was taken from the house by Dr. Richard Sheppard, the defendant's brother, and later turned over to authorities. Other items included a piece of iron pipe which the coroner said was from the defendant's sports car, a Jaguar, a riding crop and a tire tool. He had also brought two towels which he said contained no blood and a rust-stained, dirty T-shirt found near the Sheppard home, likewise having no blood evidence on it. The T-shirt had been picked up the day of the murder during a search by police for Dr. Sheppard's missing T-shirt, which a neighbor couple, who had visited the Sheppards on the night of the killing, said he was wearing. The defense attorney, in his questioning, implicitly criticized the coroner for failing to test carpeting in the home for bloodstains, and the coroner responded that he did not see anything he thought was blood, but that he did not get down on his hands and knees to go over the carpeting thoroughly. Defense counsel then inquired as to whether it was not a comparatively simple task to expose bloodstains in the dark by using sprayed luminol, to which the coroner responded that it was considerably more complicated, that luminol had to be used with "absolute care".

The Charlotte Post Office was urging residents to do their Christmas mailing early, especially packages which had to go a long way, that overseas packages should have already been sent unless going by air.

The Baptist State Convention ended in Charlotte this date after being warned the previous night by Representative Tom Steed of Oklahoma of "a Fascist movement in Washington … going under the banner of McCarthyism," that many people were descending on Washington in an effort to "besmirch and degrade" the Senate. He also warned against eliminating the public school system, as being undertaken in several Deep South states in response to the desegregation decision of the prior May 17. He said that when people permitted themselves to turn away mentally or physically from the ways of free men, they had accepted partial slavery. The Congressman spoke to a record-breaking convention audience of 2,930. Before the convention ended, the Board of Trustees of Wake Forest College decided to postpone its move from the village of Wake Forest near Raleigh to Winston-Salem until mid-1956, pending completion of buildings on the new campus, postponing the move from the originally planned 1955 target date. The convention had also gone on record concerning appeals for better law enforcement against drunk drivers, and indicated that beverage alcohol remained public enemy number one, that the brewers were spending millions of dollars each year to deceive the people into accepting and consuming their "poisonous and ungodly products". In an approved report of the committee on social service and civic righteousness, the convention took a position of protest against "degrading and demoralizing picture publications", urging the persuasion of dealers to refuse to handle "degrading literature". The convention also adopted the committee's report endorsing the desegregation decision in Brown v. Board of Education, saying that the black and white races were involved in bringing about satisfactory relations, that the region was "compelled to a policy of restrained emotions" and should engage in reaffirming the belief and teaching that man has infinite worth in the eyes of God.

On the editorial page, "Microfilm: An Answer to a Problem" tells of space problems at the Mecklenburg County Courthouse soon needing resolution, as some governmental operations had already overflowed to other buildings. There were calls for a new courthouse or at least an annex, and if the county were free of other pressing financial requirements, such expansion would be warranted immediately, but with the pressing emergency of the need for more schools and other facilities, the expansion could not be undertaken at present.

In lieu of the expansion, it suggests that the County begin microfilming its official documents, that the expense in doing so would not be nearly so great as the cost of a new building, while providing much needed space. It also suggests purchase of more modern office machines and utilization of techniques to enable more space. Antique records of the tax department, the Court Clerk and the Register of Deeds took up a great deal of the courthouse area, and it suggests that instead of expanding the tax records division, as had been urged by an accountant recently, to incorporate basement space presently used by the County Police Jail, microfilming would provide a much better solution.

It explains the microfilming process and that it was already in wide use in libraries and newspapers throughout the nation, well suited to a number of government records. As it would take some time to accomplish, the time to begin the task was the present.

"Footnote" indicates that the Hoover Commission had discovered several years earlier that over 18 million square feet of floor space had been devoted to Federal records, costing the Government at least 20 million dollars annually. While the accumulation of records during the 1930's and the war years had been much greater than would be the case in the years to come, having grown in that period by the capacity of six Pentagon buildings, growth would continue to be fast enough to make the problem a major one during the ensuing decade.

It appears to us that the world won't even be around in another decade. So what are you worried about?

"The Principal Aim Is Orderly Growth" finds the City-County Planning Commission's proposal for zoning, building inspection and subdivision control in Charlotte's fast-growing fringe areas to be sound, as was the suggestion that the Board of County Commissioners seek subdivision control authority beyond the boundaries of metropolitan Charlotte.

It indicates that effective planning and zoning outside the city limits were needed to ensure the systematic and orderly growth of the entire community, and that the proposed legislation was an important step in that direction, that the new joint Commission was making excellent progress and it was hoped that the Legislature would be sympathetic when it would convene its biennial session in January.

"Hungry Mouths and Christian Hearts" tells of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County church congregations pausing at harvest time again to participate in the Christian Rural Overseas Program, a plan to feed the starving and clothe the destitute of foreign lands. A modest goal of $3,000 had been set for the County, with wheat to be distributed abroad by the Church World Service or through any recognized agency the donor would designate.

It tells of the CROP mission not promoting any particular theological viewpoint, but asking only that people participate, giving of their abundance to those less blessed. Under the Commodity Surplus Act of 1954, the Federal government was making available to CROP and other organized relief agencies surplus commodities at a cost which enabled one dollar to have the buying power of $20. By donating to the organization through cash or in-kind commodities, Americans would be working through their churches to relieve human misery and promote international good will in depressed areas of the world.

"The Curtain Drops on a Great Career" tells of the death three days earlier of Lionel Barrymore, indicating that when he first took the stage as a child, he had cried and did not return for nine years, until his grandmother, Louisa Drew, took him on stage with her, where he played for a few years before leaving to follow his first love, painting, then going to Paris, where he stayed for three years. He then returned to tour with his uncle, John Drew, and became a stage star, making enough money to return to Paris with his wife so that he could paint again. He returned to New York and acting to make a good living, and soon everyone was talking about his portrayal of Col. Ibbetson on stage.

Shortly afterward, he was making appearances in films and millions of Americans were able to see some of the world's greatest acting.

He had experienced tragedy, with two of his daughters dying at an early age. His arthritis and accidents had confined him to a wheelchair for nearly 20 years. Few who loved his portrayal of Scrooge during the Christmas season knew of his own bitter recollection of Christmas Eve, 1936, when his beloved wife had died.

"The rough exterior concealed a great and compassionate heart. The curtain drops, but the name lives on in the marquee of immortals of the dramatic arts."

A piece from the Greenville Piedmont, titled "Nobody Escapes", indicates that the Administration's tax bill which the Congress had passed was called an "omnibus" bill, suggesting that it had revised the entire Federal tax structure.

It posits that it had another meaning for the taxpayer, that it would be applied to everybody, and warns that when the taxpayer received their next tax return, they would understand that such a meaning was to be liberally construed.

Drew Pearson tells of Congressman Chet Holifield of California having run across some interesting connections between the Army, the public utility lobby and the Atomic Energy Commission, that the Army Corps of Engineers were linked closely to the Electric Bond and Share holding company which was behind the Dixon-Yates contract with the AEC to provide electricity via TVA lines to West Memphis, Ark. Mr. Holifield had indicated that the AEC was presently dominated by military men, though Congress had carefully passed a law providing for civilian control of that agency. He had discovered a letter from a general of the Army Engineers to General Kenneth Nichols, the manager of the AEC, providing a copy of a letter from General John Harding, also of the Corps of Engineers, stating his position regarding the location of the Dixon-Yates steam plant, and another letter in which General Harding had written regarding a meeting with representatives of Electric Bond and Share on the proposed site for the plant. The general writing the letter had indicated that the latter representatives appeared pleased with the conference, regarding which the Army Engineers representatives, according to the letter, had tried to be helpful rather than obstructive.

Congressman Holifield had pressed General Nichols for an explanation of the latter language, maintaining that the Army Engineers should have been neutral rather than being either helpful or obstructive. The Congressman said that as he looked at the letters and the contract with Dixon-Yates, it appeared that the AEC was now a military operation and wondered whether the cooperation with the Dixon-Yates holding company had anything to do with the conception of the line of command. By that point in the colloquy, even the Republican committee members were laughing, but General Nichols did not seem to think there was anything funny about it.

Mr. Pearson notes that Electric Bond and Share had been investigated by Senator Hugo Black before he became a Justice of the Supreme Court in 1937, and was one reason for the passage of the Holding Company Act, to disband the big holding companies and their grip on local utilities. The Dixon-Yates investigation had demonstrated that Electric Bond and Share still dominated local utilities in the South, despite the Act.

He lists the hardcore Republican Senators whom Senator McCarthy expected to vote for him in the censure matter, including Senators John W. Bricker of Ohio, Styles Bridges of New Hampshire, John Butler of Maryland, Everett Dirksen of Illinois, Barry Goldwater of Arizona, William Jenner of Indiana, George Malone of Nevada, Karl Mundt of South Dakota and Herman Welker of Idaho. He lists also other Republicans who might vote either in favor of Senator McCarthy or at least in favor of a compromise resolution, including Senators Knowland, Homer Capehart of Indiana, Bourke Hickenlooper of Iowa, William Langer of North Dakota, Edward Martin of Pennsylvania, Andrew Schoeppel of Kansas, and Alexander Wiley of Wisconsin. Others who were wavering included Senators Frank Barrett of Wyoming, James Beall of Maryland and Henry Dworshak of Idaho. Privately, Senator McCarthy contended that he would obtain two Democratic votes in his favor, which, if true, would probably be those of Senators James Eastland of Mississippi and Price Daniel of Texas. Mr. Pearson further ventures that Senator Alton Lennon of North Carolina, who had made some pro-McCarthy cracks when he had arrived in Washington in the summer of 1953 but had been burned by them, might wind up supporting Senator McCarthy, potentially along with Senator Spessard Holland of Florida. (Senator Lennon had said within the previous couple of months, after the release of the select committee's report unanimously recommending censure, that he would keep an open mind pending the debate, but based on what he had seen thus far, would have to vote for censure.)

Joseph & Stewart Alsop regard the U.S. crisis vis-à-vis the Chinese Communists, in the wake of the sinking of a Chinese Nationalist destroyer-escort, which the Alsops deem probably the most serious crisis yet to confront the Administration since it had taken office in 1953. The decision boiled down to whether or not intervention was required to save the islands of Quemoy and Matsu off the mainland coast, territory belonging to Nationalist China.

The crisis had begun to reach a head in early September when the Chinese Communists had first heavily shelled Quemoy. As first revealed by Washington Post and Times-Herald reporter Chalmers Roberts, the Joint Chiefs had proposed by a three-to-one majority, that Chiang Kai-shek's air forces should bomb communication lines in China, to forestall an attack on Quemoy, and further, that U.S. planes should also bomb inland China should such an attack occur, including one on the other Nationalist islands.

Joint Chiefs chairman Admiral Arthur Radford, chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Robert Carney, and Air Force chief of staff, General Nathan Twining, had all agreed that the offshore islands could not be held without bombing the mainland, that they might not be held even with the intervention of U.S. air and naval forces, but that without a showing by the U.S. of a determination to intervene if necessary, there could be no deterrence to the Chinese Communists from making an attack. General Matthew Ridgway, chief of staff of the Army, dissented from that viewpoint, asserting that there was no such thing as an "immaculate war", and that U.S. ground forces were inadequate for any such commitment. The issue had gone before the National Security Council on September 12, at which time the President vetoed the majority proposal by the Joint Chiefs, though that veto appeared not to be final, at least in theory, though probably so in practice. For the President not only agreed with General Ridgway but also believed that the proposal by the other three Joint Chiefs involved a clear risk of world war.

Thus, the Administration's intention at present was to avoid becoming involved directly in a battle for the offshore islands. Secretary of State Dulles, during his recent trip to Formosa, had suggested to Chiang that it would be wise to depart voluntarily from the islands before the Communist Chinese had an opportunity to force his troops to leave. Chiang reacted in anger, saying, in effect, that it would be better for his forces to die fighting for those islands than to give up without a fight. The reason for Secretary Dulles having made his proposal to Chiang was that if the islands could not be held under any circumstances, there were advantages to a Nationalist withdrawal under U.S. pressure, as at least the claim by the Communists and the neutralists across Europe and Asia, that the U.S. wanted war, would be dispelled.

In addition, a firm U.S. guarantee to Chiang to fight to hold Formosa and the Pescadores had been in the works for weeks, a guarantee which the State Department had suggested could be appended to any agreement by Chiang to withdraw from the outlying islands off the mainland. Chiang could save face in that manner by blaming the withdrawal on the U.S. Such would not hurt morale on Formosa as much as an inevitable defeat fighting the Communist Chinese to save the islands. The worst possible outcome would be for the latter to occur while the U.S. stood by doing nothing to prevent the bloodbath. That would likely convince all of Asia that the U.S. would not be supportive in the event of a Communist threat. Thus, there was serious consideration being given to pressure Chiang to withdraw from the outlying islands.

Chiang would not easily be persuaded to take the latter course, however, and it would take strong measures to convince him, which would in turn arouse such powerful Senators as current Majority Leader William Knowland. The Alsops therefore conclude that once again, as in the period prior to the start of the Korean War, U.S. policy was in danger of being stuck between the fear of Congress and the fear of general war.

Robert C. Ruark indicates that he was unaware as to whether anybody had written an obituary of Jay Hormel, who had died sometime earlier, but he had remembered him for his product, Spam, which he and millions of G.I.'s had learned to enjoy as a luxury during their time in World War II.

He describes it as pig in a can, says that he still ate it and liked it very much, especially with vinegar or mustard, that when he was young, he begged and pleaded for it, little knowing that there would be a day when he would regard his young self with distinct loathing, because he would finally get his glut of the cold pig in a can.

He goes on quite a way about Spam, concluding: "It is a noble vittle, Spam, and I hope, like any nice girl, it has lived down its unsought reputation. But there was a time in my life when, confronted by Spam or starvation, I would have turned the old face to the wall."

A letter writer from Fairmont indicates disappointment at the brief filed by State Attorney General Harry McMullan with the Supreme Court regarding the implementing decision of Brown v. Board of Education, set for oral argument on December 6. This writer believes that the Attorney General's office had been misinformed as to what would occur if integration took place immediately, that all of the religious bodies of the Carolinas, with the exception of one, had praised the decision and pledged their support. He wonders why Mr. McMullan had not sent out questionnaires to teachers, ministers, veterans, parents, Catholics, Jews and Christians who believed in equality and justice for all. He asserts that any person who said that they preferred ignorance over integration was supplying "good propaganda for the Communists." He also indicates that the Legislature would never suggest abolishing public schools in the state as long as it was aware that the citizens would not support such a move.

A letter writer compliments a previous letter written about the Filter Center workers, soliciting volunteers to keep watch for potential enemy planes attacking U.S. cities. She says that they had never had to beg in the South for Minute Men or for men to fill the ranks in the Civil War or the two world wars. She tells of having returned from a trip in the North, where she had visited some filter centers which were really buzzing with thousands of volunteers. She comments to the previous writer that she would probably never find the needed volunteers in Charlotte, that she would probably have to import some from the North.

A letter writer from Chester, S.C., indicates that the Little Church on the Lane, Moravian Episcopal, was observing dedication of its new structure on Moravian Lane in Charlotte during the week, explains that the pastorate had begun on November 7, 1920 with a membership of 11 people, and that Dr. Herbert Spaugh had become its first resident pastor in 1924, when the church also began construction of its first permanent building. He goes on to provide considerable detail about the development of the church, all of which had been led by Dr. Spaugh, who had displayed perhaps his greatest talent in his ability to give and inspire friendship, that to know him was to call him a friend. He prays that God would grant Dr. Spaugh many years of useful and inspiring service ahead in which he continued to bless and enrich his fellow man.

A letter writer from Chapel Hill registers objection to the editorial of November 1, "No Political Commissars, Please", specifically taking exception to its statement that fears had first arisen about troop information and education programs when 23 U.S. prisoners of war in Korea had shown so little faith in democracy that they chose initially to cast their lot with their captors. This writer says that he had spent 31 months in the Army, including ten months in Korea, and had seen the troop information program first-hand, had sat in the classes as an enlisted man, and had taught them as an officer, had grown to have great respect for the program and what it was accomplishing. When he had read that out of the thousands of American war prisoners captured by the Communists, only 23 had fallen for the Communist line enough to refuse to return, his respect for the troop information program had risen 100 percent, and he was proud to have participated in it. He says that the facts of the editorial had been correct but suggests that the editorial writer re-examine the interpretation of those facts.

The editors note that the fears they had expressed were those of the Army, not those of the newspaper, and that the newspaper and the writer agreed: "The system is fundamentally sound."

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