The Charlotte News

Wednesday, November 3, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the midterm elections of the previous day had delivered control of the House, as expected, to the Democrats, and had resulted in Democrats claiming seven gubernatorial seats occupied by Republicans. The new Democratic House majority would be by 25 or more seats. The fate of the Senate remained in doubt, after Democrats had picked up four Republican seats and Republicans had picked up three Democratic seats, with races still being counted in New Jersey, Montana and Oregon, for the time being leaving the composition of the new Senate at 46 for each party, with 13 Republicans having been elected in the midterms and 22 Democrats, plus independent Senator Wayne Morse of Oregon as a holdover. (The Democrats would eventually capture narrow control of the Senate, as well.) Republican Congressman George Bender of Ohio had defeated interim Senator Thomas Burke, successor to the seat held by the late Senator Robert Taft. Former Democratic Senator Joseph O'Mahoney of Wyoming had defeated Congressman William Henry Harrison, to fill the seat of the late Democratic Senator Lester Hunt, who had committed suicide the prior June, the Republican-appointed successor having not run for the full term. In New Jersey, with all of the state's precincts counted, Republican Clifford Case led his opponent, Congressman Charles Howell, by 650 votes, with some clerks revising figures and some absentee ballots still outstanding. In Montana, with about 90 percent of the vote counted, Democratic Senator James Murray led Congressman Wesley D'Ewart by about 2,600 votes. In Oregon, Republican Senator Guy Cordon led his opponent, Richard Neuberger, by about 10,000 votes, but a county where Mr. Neuberger was running strongly still had about half of its vote outstanding. In Michigan, the first black Congressman in that state's history, Charles Diggs, was elected in central Detroit's 13th district, beating Landon Knight, the 30-year old son of newspaper publisher John Knight.

The President said at his press conference this date that he did not view the outcome of the elections as a repudiation or disapproval of his policies. Democrats were pleased with the outcome, but it had not reached the proportions some had expected, which some Republicans claimed was the result of the President having entered the race in the latter stages of the campaign and because of the vigorous effort on the hustings by Vice-President Nixon.

In gubernatorial races, Averell Harriman had narrowly defeated, by an 11,000-vote plurality, Senator Irving Ives in New York, while Republicans had won the gubernatorial race in Massachusetts and were leading in Nevada and Wyoming. Republican Governor Goodwin Knight had easily won re-election in California, having succeeded former Governor Earl Warren, appointed to the Supreme Court a year earlier. The Democrat appeared certain to win re-election in Minnesota. Democrat George Leader had upset Republican control in Pennsylvania by a 200,000 vote margin, the first time a Democrat had won there in 20 years. Democrats had also taken over from Republican governors in Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, New Mexico, and Maine, where the previous September, future Senator and 1968 vice-presidential nominee, Edmund Muskie, had won.

In the tenth district race in North Carolina, Republican Congressman Charles Jonas won re-election over his opponent, Recorder's Court Judge J. C. Sedberry, by a margin of 13,000 votes, after the largest off-year election turnout in the history of the district, with approximately 85,000 people having voted.

In South Carolina, former Governor Strom Thurmond easily won his Senate write-in campaign over the regular Democratic Party nominee, State Senator Edgar Brown, chosen by the party executive committee to replace deceased Senator Burnet Maybank, who had died the prior September. Mr. Thurmond, in his victory statement, repeated his promise to resign in two years so that a primary could be held at that time. He had objected to the process used to select Mr. Brown as the regular Democratic Party nominee. Mr. Brown had charged Mr. Thurmond with being a Republican "ally" because of his support of General Eisenhower in 1952. Mr. Thurmond said that he would enter the Senate as a Democrat, as that had always been his party affiliation. He had run as the Dixiecrat—or States' Rights Party—nominee for the presidency in 1948. In the gubernatorial race, Democratic Lt. Governor George Bell Timmerman, Jr., faced no opposition, succeeding Governor James Byrnes, limited to one term. All six Democratic House members were re-elected.

The President also said at his press conference this date that the U.S. had sent a new message to Russia regarding peaceful uses of atomic energy, which he said he hoped would start a new phase in negotiations between the two countries. He said that Moorehead Patterson, a New York businessman, had agreed to head U.S. negotiations regarding participation in a proposed international atomic energy agency. Mr. Patterson would serve under Secretary of State Dulles. The President said that the country was determined to get on with the international project of cooperation in development of peaceful uses of atomic energy, the atomic pooling arrangement proposed before the U.N. by the President the previous December, with or without the participation of the Soviets.

On the editorial page, "Mr. Jonas and the Winds of Revolt" indicates that the re-election of Republican Congressman Charles Jonas in the tenth district had been a reflection of deep public trust in the individual rather than party label, the voters refusing to desert Mr. Jonas, who had been first elected in 1952, the only Republican member of the North Carolina Congressional delegation.

His opponent, Judge Sedberry, had failed to raise any issue which attracted the attention of citizens away from the personal appeal and reputation of Mr. Jonas, who did not offer up random targets, letting his voting record speak for itself.

Mr. Jonas made history by being the only Republican in the state ever to win re-election to the House, his father having served one term previously, between 1929 and 1931, capitalizing on the landslide in 1928 of Herbert Hoover over Governor Al Smith. The younger Mr. Jonas had overcome Democratic gerrymandering in his district to win the election. He also proved to political analysts that he had not merely ridden the coattails of General Eisenhower in 1952.

In the ninth district of North Carolina, where there was also a concerted effort by Republicans to defeat Representative Hugh Alexander, his opponent, William Stevens, had been unsuccessful, gambling almost entirely on the popularity of the President and the contention that a vote for Mr. Stevens would be a vote to support the Administration's program, failing to attract sufficient voter appeal. It indicates that Mr. Stevens, quite young, still had a political future ahead.

In both districts, the campaigns had been remarkably clean, though there had been some late unpleasantness, with vote fraud charged in the ninth district, and whisper campaigns started in the tenth. It was to be hoped, it indicates, that the bitterness would swiftly disappear in both districts.

"Thurmond Pulls Upset of the Year" indicates that former Governor of South Carolina, Strom Thurmond, had won his write-in campaign in the Senate race against the regular party nominee, Edgar Brown, who had been nominated by the state Democratic executive committee in September following the death of Senator Burnet Maybank, too late to hold a primary. No one had ever won a Senate seat by write-in vote. The victory of Mr. Thurmond was also a victory for Governor James Byrnes, who had thrown his support to Mr. Thurmond. It cautions that it would be incorrect, however, to read into the former Governor's victory a significant endorsement of the President and his policies. The party loyalty issue, independence of South Carolina voters, their resentment of Mr. Brown's selection by the executive committee which he controlled, when they believed there had been plenty of time to hold a primary, had all combined to put the national issues in the background in the race. Mr. Brown had accused Mr. Thurmond of Republicanism, a serious charge in South Carolina.

"An Affirmation of 'The Middle Way'" indicates that the "big normal majority", as Will Rogers had called it, had asserted itself the previous day in the midterm elections, not issuing any mandates and not producing substantial trends for or against either party. Instead, it had reaffirmed the "middle way", thus approving of the course of the President and his coalition of moderates.

It points out that there were significant exceptions, as liberal Republicans were defeated, including Senator Irving Ives of New York in the gubernatorial race, Senator John Sherman Cooper of Kentucky, running for re-election against former Vice-President Alben Barkley, and Governor John Lodge of Connecticut. By the same stroke, liberal Democrats were elected to key positions, including Averell Harriman as Governor of New York, and the re-election of Governor J. Mennen Williams in Michigan, potentially a presidential candidate in 1956.

Republicans had done surprisingly well, considering their lethargy since achieving victories in the South in the 1952 elections, retaining two of their three House seats in Virginia, their only seat in North Carolina, and picking up seats, for the first time since Reconstruction, in Florida and Texas, for a net gain of one House seat within the South.

It indicates that the inconsistent pattern of the election was demonstrated by the defeat of two Midwestern Senators who had been favored to win, Republican Senator Homer Ferguson of Michigan, who had lost to the relatively unknown Pat McNamara in a campaign based primarily on the pocketbook issue, while in Iowa, Democratic Senator Guy Gillette was defeated by an ardent advocate of flexible price supports, Thomas Martin.

It concludes that viewed as a whole, the election represented a victory for moderate government.

Drew Pearson indicates that the Secret Service should not be blamed for a beating given a heckler in San Mateo, Calif., who had asked Vice-President Nixon to tell them a "dog story, Dick", that the beating had been at the hands, not of the Secret Service, but from Mr. Nixon's own "goon squad" whom he kept with him everywhere he went and had for some time.

Governor Dewey had ghostwritten most of the speeches of Senator Irving Ives, running for governor against Averell Harriman, and Senator Ives hardly had made a move during the campaign without calling on Mr. Dewey.

Labor leaders claimed that the President got his re-employment figure of 400,000 from the fact that students had returned to college.

Massachusetts politicos said that there was much more "knifing" of Democratic Senate candidate Foster Furcolo by Senator John F. Kennedy and his family than had met the eye, attributing the barrage against Mr. Furcolo by the New Bedford Standard-Times to former Ambassador to Great Britain Joseph Kennedy, the newspaper, attempting to discourage the Italian vote, having claimed that Mr. Furcolo was not born of immigrant parents.

Mr. Pearson next provides the inside story behind the Federal Trade Commission deciding to investigate business mergers and combines, the result of efforts of Senator William Langer, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, who had written a sharp letter to Attorney General Herbert Brownell, threatening to investigate mergers and indicating alarm over the fact that mergers always appeared to occur just prior to a depression, pointing out that in 1920, the number of mergers had jumped from 411 to 749, just before the depression following World War I, and that again in 1928 and 1929, mergers had increased to the highest point in history, at the rate of more than 1,000 per year, followed by the Great Depression. In more recent years, mergers had increased from 200 in 1950 to 822 in 1952, with 793 recorded in 1953. When Senator Langer had asked Mr. Brownell why so many mergers had been permitted, the Attorney General became worried and decided that if the Senator was going to probe mergers, he had better preempt the effort by having the FTC begin its investigation first.

The head of the antitrust division of the Justice Department, Stanley Barnes, had refused to waive the antitrust laws to allow manufacturers to exchange information on how to make guided missiles, making Secretary of Defense Charles E. Wilson quite angry, threatening to take up the matter at a Cabinet meeting.

The large aircraft companies were seeking special tax write offs for construction of their new plants in labor surplus areas.

A major speed-up had been ordered to produce an atomic-powered bombing plane, with five companies having been assigned to push the bomber. Meanwhile, Russia was seeking to put the first atomic-powered plane in the air.

According to youngsters, bachelor Joseph Alsop passed out the best "treats" on Halloween.

Harold Stagg, the editor of the Army Times, who had exposed the false war record of Republican Congressman Douglas Stringfellow of Utah, was in trouble with both political parties since breaking that story, as the Republicans were angry at him for breaking the story prior to the election, while Democrats were upset that he did not retain the expose for one additional week, when the political impact would have been greater. Mr. Stagg had failed to mention one important item in the story, that White House aides knew about the false war record of the Congressman six months before it was published by the Army Times, but had failed to do anything about it. It was not known whether the White House aides had advised the President on the matter.

Ambassador to Italy Clare Boothe Luce had sworn that she saw a flying saucer over Rome.

The Congressional Quarterly discusses the upcoming censure debate regarding Senator McCarthy, set to begin on the Senate floor on November 8, following the earlier recommendation of the six-Senator select committee unanimously recommending censure. Parliamentary experts had indicated that the Senate might also consider other simple resolutions, plus the SEATO treaty and the Paris agreements providing for rearmament of West Germany and its admission to NATO. They might also pass on Presidential nominations, including 164 recess appointments made between August 20 and October 19, prime among which would be the successor to deceased Justice Robert Jackson, who had not yet been appointed.

Custom, practice and rules of the Senate would bar legislative action on bills, joint resolutions or concurrent resolutions requiring approval by the House, not in session.

Senate Majority Leader William Knowland of California had said that he favored a relatively short session, confined to the censure resolution, but the Senate made its own rules and could do virtually what it wanted to do.

James Marlow indicates that starting the following day, the joint Atomic Energy Committee would begin hearings on the Dixon-Yates proposal to provide private power through the lines of the TVA, and that debate on the motion for censure of Senator McCarthy would begin the following Monday. Senator Robert Kerr of Oklahoma had predicted that the body would spend the remainder of the year on the latter issue. Senator William Langer of North Dakota, chairman of a subcommittee which had already held hearings on the Dixon-Yates matter, said that the censure resolution debate could be interrupted for debate on the power question, which he believed would be far more significant than the censure issue.

Most forecasts were predicting that Senator McCarthy would be censured, and whatever the outcome, the debate would serve to pull him out of the relative obscurity where he had resided during most of the election campaign. The last few weeks had been the Senator's strangest of his life since February, 1950, when he first made headlines charging that there were card-carrying Communists within the State Department. Until the fall, he had remained in the headlines, practically monopolizing them during the Army-McCarthy hearings the previous spring. Before those hearings had ended, Senator Ralph Flanders of Vermont had demanded punishment of the Senator, eventually joined by others to form the censure resolution. During the censure hearings before the special committee, the Senator had appeared subdued, and afterward had receded into the background.

The President had ordered the Dixon-Yates contract with the Atomic Energy Commission, under which the latter would purchase power from the private Arkansas utility combine for delivery to TVA lines at West Memphis, Ark. The 107 million dollar power plant built there would be used by TVA to replace a similar amount of power which TVA supplied to two atomic plants. Critics had contended that the private power would cost the Government more than the same power supplied by TVA and argued that it might be an entering wedge to destroy TVA. The Administration argued that the proposal was a reasonable way of supplying power to the West Memphis area.

Robert C. Ruark indicates that he was raised in the South, in Wilmington, N.C., and growing up had black playmates who fished and hunted with him. He had spent much time in Africa and New York, both with large black populations. He indicates that he was ashamed of the South at present, which he considered to extend as far north as Baltimore and Delaware. After reading about segregation demonstrations, he could not believe he was ever a Southerner. He had never been a do-gooder or a one-worlder, but it seemed to him that the laws of the land were intended to be obeyed, when they had been promulgated by the President and sealed by the Supreme Court, especially laws that dealt with the education of children. No matter what his general views were on segregation, if the Supreme Court said that it was unconstitutional, he was against it. He indicates that segregation had been a "bugaboo" as long as he could remember and that when it was broken down, it suddenly lost importance.

The previous year, he had written from Morocco and Germany some pieces about the breakdown of racial differences in the armed forces since the more or less official and practical end of segregation. He had found it hard to believe that when he had entered the service during World War II, black soldiers were serving primarily as mess attendants and in labor battalions, with the exception of a few all-black special units. He did not believe the armed forces had suffered from that elimination of segregation.

When he recalled the old days of anti-Catholicism, anti-Semitism and anti-Protestantism, he could not recall, likewise, anyone being hurt by the breakdown of that discrimination. He could not think of any problem which could develop from going to school with persons of different creeds or colors, only that new friendships and better understanding of more people might transpire. He relates that for many years, it had not occurred to him to classify the people he knew by race, color or religion, or he would have few friends.

He shot quail with a black man, counted among his friends a Chinese man, Lena Horne, and the Irish-Catholic wife of Toots Shor, who was Jewish. He also got along well with some of the people in the Wakamba tribe of Central Africa and was the godfather of an Arab boy. He could not recall learning anything detrimental to his dubious character from anyone of a different color or culture or faith, and certainly not from any contact in a schoolroom or place of public assembly.

He finds that "tolerance" was a lousy word, suggestive of putting up with something, whereas America was one of the last practicing democracies, made up of people of all creeds, who were all technically and legally equal and free. "This being so, no pimply picket can tell me that he is bigger than the laws of this land, and the highest court of the land, and the President of the country. I suggest private schools as an antidote for the people who are too squeamish to sit in public education with a race that produced George Washington Carver, Joe Louis, Marian Anderson and Dr. Ralph Bunche. Not to mention Willie Mays."

Perhaps, if Mr. Ruark had published this piece a week earlier, the Daily Tar Heel would not have been quite so critical of him for his taking to task as bores the present younger generation. But, perhaps Mr. Ruark was responding sub silentio in this piece to that very criticism by future alumni of his alma mater, seeking to win some of them over by exhibiting a side which he ordinarily maintained hidden away, down at the bar in New York with the workmen he often gathered around himself, in the fashion of Prince Hal, by which process he claimed to maintain his hand on the pulse of the "real people", until, through excessive drink, he had imbued their views in supersession of his own better education, flunking his last Quiz, as it were.

A letter writer expresses appreciation on behalf of the Mecklenburg Historical Association for the cooperation shown by the newspaper in publicizing the new organization.

A letter writer states that National Cat Week was beginning on November 7 and that there were already the "usual sickening statements by fuzzy-minded people who dote on these creatures who destroy birds, claw small children and contribute not one whit to anything." He wonders why people who owned cats were allowed to do so without paying any license fees, as required of those, including the writer, who maintained watchdogs. He feels strongly that cats should be licensed, with the revenue applied to bird sanctuaries and perhaps the injuries suffered by the children who were clawed by them, while the unlicensed ought be exterminated.

Cats, last we heard, do not ordinarily carry any deadly diseases, such as rabies, at least in a way likely to be transmissible to humans.

A letter from the chairman of the Committee "for the tour of Charlotte homes" expresses its appreciation for the generous support of the newspaper, making the tour a success.

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