The Charlotte News

Wednesday, December 1, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that as part of the debate on the pending censure resolution against Senator McCarthy, Senator Carl Hayden of Arizona had said this date that a "cover" was placed on Senator McCarthy's mail during 1952 as part of the investigation to determine whether the Senator was speculating with funds contributed to him to fight Communism, the Senator having charged that such a cover had been placed on him and members of his staff by a Senate Elections subcommittee probing his finances during 1951-52. Senator Hayden's statement to the Senate was the first confirmation that the cover, which entailed a check of return addresses of incoming mail, had been placed on Senator McCarthy. Senator Hayden also said, however, that he had performed a diligent search of the postal laws and other statutes and could find no violation of the law by the mail check. He said that the check was made to determine the validity of the serious charge against the Senator and that it had disclosed the brokers with whom the Senator had been dealing in speculation on commodities and stocks. During the previous 82nd Congress, Senator Hayden had been chairman of the Senate Rules Committee, which was the parent committee for the Elections subcommittee which had been first chaired by Senator Guy Gillette of Iowa and later by Senator Thomas Hennings of Missouri. One of the charges in the pending censure resolution was that Senator McCarthy had been contemptuous of the Elections subcommittee by refusing to appear before it, the Senator having responded that he so refused because the subcommittee was engaged in "illegal" actions against him, that it had ventured beyond the scope of its permissible investigations and was not properly constituted. Senator William Jenner of Indiana, present chairman of the Rules Committee and opposed to the censure of Senator McCarthy, said that mail covers were ordinarily placed only on "criminals and murderers". The issue of the cover came up during debate after Senator Prescott Bush of Connecticut, who spoke in favor of censure, and Senator Milton Young of North Dakota, who was opposed to it, spoke of more familiar censure issues, Senator Bush saying that Senator McCarthy had caused "dangerous divisions" among the American people and that if other Senators followed the same methods, it would make "every man a dictator" in the Senate. Senator Young, however, defended Senator McCarthy on the basis of freedom of speech, which he said he believed was the basic issue at stake. He said he did not approve of all of Senator McCarthy's actions but that he had not been the only member to use "intemperate language".

Senator McCarthy stated this date in an interview that he was "in complete sympathy" with the proposal of Senate Majority Leader William Knowland to blockade the coast of Communist China, that he doubted a single U.S. warship would be needed for such a blockade as the U.S. could impose it by informing its allies that they would get no more aid as long as they continued shipping goods to Communist China. Senator John Sparkman of Alabama said that he was opposed to any such blockade but that the U.S. should instead "pursue Russia as much as we can to use her influence with the puppet" Communist Chinese regime to halt its aggressive acts. The speech on Monday night by Secretary of State Dulles had ruled out any immediate resort to a naval and air blockade, which the White House had said would amount to "war action". Senator Knowland said he did not perceive any significant break between him and the Administration on that score, but only a difference of opinion.

At the U.N. in New York, Russia formally proposed this date before the 60-nation Political Committee that Communist China and Communist North Korea be invited to participate in the U.N. debate on the Korean peace. Immediately following the proposal, the Foreign Minister of Thailand proposed that South Korea be invited to participate in the debate, a move which was backed by the U.S., which had indicated it would take a firm stand against any proposal for Communist China's or North Korea's participation.

The Pentagon planned soon to increase its spending for U.S. continental defense and guided missiles, as Secretary of Defense Charles E. Wilson had included those items among several others which he said would require heavier outlays in the 35 billion dollar budget he foresaw for the 1955-56 fiscal year, about a half billion less than budgeted for the current year. Secretary Wilson had provided no details, but it was anticipated that continental defense would include about 600 million dollars. The Pentagon would also seek authority to build a fifth 60,000-ton super carrier, with two such carriers already under construction and Congress having authorized construction of two others. Air Force Secretary Harold Talbott had recently discussed the difficulties of continental defense, including the use of anti-aircraft guided missiles, not specifically mentioning the Army's Nike missile, and when asked about whether the Nike project had been "oversold", Secretary Wilson said that while on a recent inspection tour in the West, he had seen the Nike fired and it looked like "quite a weapon" to him.

In Cleveland, O., in the continuing first-degree murder trial of Dr. Samuel Sheppard, regarding the killing of his wife, Marilyn, on July 4, Susan Hayes testified this date that the doctor had told her during the latter part of 1953 and in January, 1954 that he loved her and had given her a ring, saying that he was thinking of divorcing his wife, and that further, she and the doctor had shared the same bed at the home of friends in southern California the prior March. She said that her recollection of the first mention by the doctor of potential divorce had been in the early part of 1953, that he had said he loved his wife very much, but not so much as a wife, and was thinking of divorce, but was not sure whether his father would approve. She recalled that those types of conversation occurred several times in 1953. She said that the two had exchanged about four letters after she had left the employ of the hospital owned by the Sheppard family and moved to Los Angeles the previous year, before the doctor had gone to Los Angeles the previous March for post-graduate work in osteopathy, the doctor having initiated the correspondence. The prosecution was seeking to establish that immediately preceding the murder there was an argument between the doctor and his wife over this extramarital affair, that complicating a potential divorce was the fact that Mrs. Sheppard was pregnant at the time of her death, all part of the complex supposed motive for the murder.

In Scranton, Pa., a Federal grand jury was called this date to investigate the killing of William Remington, the former Government economist who had been convicted of perjury and sentenced to three years in prison for denial that he had transmitted secret documents taken via his job to admitted former Communist courier Elizabeth Bentley during World War II. Mr. Remington had died on November 24 from being hit in the head on November 22 with a brick wrapped in a sock. One of three charged inmates in the murder had admitted participation in the assault during the course of an attempt to steal from Mr. Remington's room at the prison. There had been speculation that the attack might have been either a protest generally against Communism or protest against the release the prior Saturday of Alger Hiss, who had been convicted in a completely separate case of perjury before a 1948 grand jury when he denied providing secret documents in 1938 from his position in the State Department to Whittaker Chambers. Prison officials, however, denied both theories, indicating that the sole motive for the killing of Mr. Remington had been robbery, though there was also a statement that generally prisoners did not have much of value in their possession as they were restricted in their purchases from the commissary.

In Sylacauga, Ala., a woman was injured the previous day when an exploding meteor hurled a nine-pound fragment through the roof of her home, injuring her on her arm and hip as she lay on a couch in the living room. The object was identified as a sulphide meteorite by a field representative of the U.S. Geological Survey. It was probably some of them prisoners up 'ere in Mars.

On the editorial page, "N.C. Coroner Set-Up, Which Invites Foul Play, Should Be Revamped" indicates that a case involving a grandmother who had confessed to poisoning four of her five husbands had prompted another look at the North Carolina coroner system. One of the men whom she claimed to have poisoned had been a North Carolinian, and when he died, the coroner, who was a doctor, noted symptoms of arsenic poisoning, and not long thereafter, the relatives of the deceased had said they suspected foul play, but, nevertheless, the coroner had not performed an autopsy.

It finds it an ostensible case of a professional man being remiss in his duty, but also recognizes that in the majority of counties, the coroner would not be able to detect symptoms of arsenic poisoning at all or other irregular deaths because most coroners had no medical training. A year earlier, 19 of the 100 county coroners were doctors, and many of the other 81 could not detect causes of death, as some had proved when it should have been obvious.

There had been a recent case of a Goldsboro boy who had told Wilmington police that he had shot a woman, but the coroner, viewing the body, ruled that she died of a heart attack, until her body was exhumed and a bullet hole was found in her back. Other such less obvious cases had also been recorded.

Mecklenburg County was an exception to the rule, with a well-qualified pathologist as coroner. Out of 1,725 deaths within the county in a recent period, none had been ruled of undetermined cause, as was also the case in Guilford and Wake Counties, each with more than 1,000 deaths during the same recent period. It provides a table, however, of other counties, including Cumberland, Robeson, New Hanover and Columbus, where there were numerous cases of undetermined causes of death among a much smaller number of deaths within those counties, presumably the result of not having a medically trained and qualified coroner. It concludes that in those counties, foul play was invited by the system. It was also true that professionally competent coroners could be slack.

Former News editor and associate editor Burke Davis had produced figures for the Greensboro Daily News the previous year, finding that non-medical coroners failed to determine cause of death about 10 percent of the time while medically trained coroners did so about 7.7 percent of the time, and private physicians investigating deaths, only about one percent of the time.

It indicates that the main problem was the coroner system under the law, which required that a coroner or coroner's jury establish suspicion before calling for an autopsy, that the coroner could choose anyone he wanted to perform an autopsy, that the North Carolina Institute of Government in Chapel Hill had recently interviewed a number of coroners, the first of whom had not known anything about North Carolina laws concerning coroners, that there was no law requiring that coroners be summoned in case of a death, that the pay for the job was frequently poor, in one county only $20 per year, and that there was no law requiring the training of coroners to any degree of professional competence. The Institute of Government had held a course for coroners in 1952, but only nine of the 100 had participated. The 1953 General Assembly would not accept legislation to change the system, but there was an effort now afoot to renew such proposed legislation in the 1955 Assembly.

It urges that one obvious improvement would be to set standards of professional competence for coroners, noting that at the last election for the post in Mecklenburg, a cab driver, truck farmer and restaurateur had run for the office against the pathologist candidate. But an amendment to the State Constitution would be ultimately required, because it provided for election of coroners. It had been suggested that each county should have a medical examiner who would conduct the medical investigations surrounding a death, leaving the routine work to the elected coroner. Such a system was working well in other states, such as Maryland and Virginia, permitting the limited number of pathologists to work in different counties after the state was divided into medical districts.

"Prospects for Redevelopment Brighten" indicates that the General Assembly had refused to liberalize the urban redevelopment law in the 1953 session, thus preventing one of the greatest improvement programs for Charlotte, which it proceeds to explain.

The Supreme Court had unanimously declared recently that organizations such as urban redevelopment commissions could condemn property, and during the week, a member of the Planning Board had said that he would urge other Board members and the county's legislative delegation to try to revive the redevelopment program. It urges that it be done, as urban redevelopment offered the tools for the necessary surgery on the community to enable it to grow with modern times.

A piece from the Richmond News Leader, titled "Old Faces Befuddle", indicates that as the years passed, the editor's recollection of people's names suffered. Mark Twain thought he had the problem licked, that when he ran across somebody he believed he should know, he would ask, "And how's the old complaint?"

It says that it had never had quite the embarrassing experience as the wife of a foreign correspondent whose memory for names and faces must have been infinitely microscopic, as when she was riding a Long Island train one day, encountering an impressive looking woman who had taken her seat across the aisle from her, nodding to her, she remembered that somewhere she had met the woman but was unable to recall the situation or her name, at which point the woman asked her to come and sit with her, referring to her by name. During the ensuing small talk, still trying to remember her name, the woman finally grasped at a straw when the other woman mentioned her brother, asking her what he was doing at present, to which the other woman responded that he was still President, the woman being Mrs. Douglas Robinson, sister of Theodore Roosevelt.

Drew Pearson indicates that U.S. bankers had a lot more at stake in the Economic Conference at Rio de Janeiro than most of them realized, as did also the American public. It was one reason why Congressman Jim Fulton of Pittsburgh had tangled with Secretary of the Treasury George Humphrey for coming to the conference with "an empty briefcase". Congressman Fulton not only knew of Latin American temperament regarding the Administration's loan policy but also that both the President's brother Milton and U.S. Ambassador Merwin Bohan had refused to be a part of the U.S. delegation because they opposed Mr. Humphrey's view on restriction of U.S. loans to Latin America. The President of the Central Bank of Chile had proposed establishment of an Inter-American Bank, comprised only of Latin American nations, from which Latin America could obtain all of its loans. The capital for that bank would be drawn from Latin American deposits presently within the U.S. banks, totaling 1.8 billion dollars. If such a huge withdrawal were made suddenly after the Rio conference, the entire American banking system might be thrown into turmoil. Meanwhile, the American public did not realize that German businessmen were descending on Latin America in increasing numbers, offering long-term credit and cheap prices at a time when the U.S. was spending money to build up Germany, which was then using it in part to undermine U.S. trade in Latin America. Presently, Latin America bought more from the U.S. than all of Europe and Asia combined, with Brazil, Cuba, Mexico, and Venezuela all buying more than England, France and Germany, forming the largest trading partner with the U.S. outside of Canada. While the delegates to the conference were learning that the U.S. was considering a two to three billion dollar development fund for Asia, Secretary Humphrey was discussing a prospective bank, which would take a year to organize, to loan Latin America but 100 million dollars sometime in the future. Thus, Congressman Fulton had been critical of Mr. Humphrey's plan.

Former President Truman was sending his friend, William Boyle, to New Orleans to provide the ex-President's disapproval of Paul Butler of Indiana as the new DNC chairman, because the former President's friend and former DNC chairman, Frank McKinney, was opposed to Mr. Butler. Outgoing DNC chairman Stephen Mitchell was remaining neutral on his successor, but had approached the District of Columbia central committee chairman, urging him to vote for Mr. Butler. The friends of Senator Estes Kefauver of Tennessee would vote for Mike Di Salle, the former price administrator, or Jiggs Donahue, the former D.C. commissioner, for the post. Many Southerners favored Congressman Hale Boggs of Louisiana, who was a good man. There was general disapproval, however, against any part-time chairman. Mr. Boggs was Catholic and there was strong sentiment for continuing the tradition of having a Catholic DNC chairman. The only exception might be for former Secretary of Interior Oscar Chapman, who was unfortunately in poor health. Since 1932, when Jim Farley had become DNC chairman, there had been an unbroken chain of Irish men in the position, including Ed Flynn of the Bronx, Robert Hannegan of St. Louis, Howard McGrath of Rhode Island, Mr. Boyle of Kansas City, Mr. McKinney of Indianapolis, and Mr. Mitchell of Chicago. The Democrats believed that the Irish were the world's best politicians, and, indicates Mr. Pearson, many of the above had been.

As indicated, Mr. Butler would eventually be approved for the post, which he would hold through 1960, succeeded by Senator Henry Jackson.

Stewart Alsop, in the second of two columns on the cleavage within the Administration in the approach to Far Eastern policy, with one group, represented by a majority of the Joint Chiefs and Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs, Walter Robertson, favoring the view expressed once by Winston Churchill with regard to Russia, during the period right after the 1917 Communist Revolution, that he wanted to "strangle the baby in its cradle," while the other group, led by Army chief of staff, General Matthew Ridgway, opposed any effort at stimulating a showdown with the Communists, such as by blockade of mainland China or permitting Nationalist Chinese attacks on the mainland, as inevitably involving U.S. ground troops facing superior forces, the latter position having been supported thus far by the President, favoring instead a policy of searching out all peaceful means to resolve differences. The majority of the Joint Chiefs believed that the consequences would be ultimately fatal to the U.S. should the Chinese Communist regime be allowed to consolidate its military and industrial power on the mainland, eventually leading to all of Asia falling to the Communists, eventuating in the U.S. being left alone in the world.

The President had vetoed the majority view within the Joint Chiefs to commit air and sea power to the French in Indo-China prior to the armistice reached by the French the previous July, and again the prior September when the majority wanted to commit U.S. air power to the Chinese mainland, if necessary, to hold the Nationalist offshore islands, including Quemoy which had been attacked by the Chinese Communists at that time. General Ridgway believed that U.S. ground forces were inadequate to support any such air and naval commitment, which would inevitably be required. He believed that at least six additional divisions would be necessary, the training of which would take money and time. Secretary of State Dulles also was aware of the adverse reaction by European allies were the U.S. to blockade mainland China or intervene to hold the Nationalist offshore islands. But he was also aware of the reaction in Congress should Mr. Robertson resign as Assistant Secretary of State in protest of the Administration's Asia policies, contrary to his own. Secretary Dulles had, in the past, been sympathetic with the views of the majority of the Joint Chiefs and so was somewhere in the middle, despite his strong sounding statements regarding the search for peaceful means to resolve differences, as stated in his broadcast speech of Monday.

Secretary of the Treasury George Humphrey was probably a more influential figure in the conflict than Secretary Dulles, for Secretary Humphrey knew that military intervention would cost a great deal of money and believed that "loose spending" at home represented as much of a threat to the U.S. as Communist aggression abroad, thus was opposed to taking any "unnecessary" military risks, a view with which Secretary of Defense Charles E. Wilson was in agreement.

Doris Fleeson indicates that the President could achieve some type of competitive coexistence with Communism if he were to want it enough, but that it could not be achieved "on the golf course with such intellectually relaxing companions as Tom Belshie and George Allen." She finds that the President's aim was to avoid a military solution of the problem of living in the world with Communism, that the free world would win through wise actions taken through time.

She indicates that it was all commendable and noble but still was not a policy, only an aim, and that once a policy was created, it had to be accepted by the American people so that Congress could then pass the legislation necessary to bring it into effect. The President could not set the tone for the world, despite the fact that he was essentially seeking to do so through press conference statements and a few formal speeches. Nor could he delegate the hard work and political maneuvering which would be necessary to counter those wishing a harder policy toward Communism, the exponent of which was Senator Knowland, who was not possessed of the old isolationist liabilities.

She points out that a determined group of men within the Senate had once brought President Wilson to his knees, regarding the issue of ratification of the Versailles Treaty and membership by the U.S. in the League of Nations. And the new Democratic Senate would also not be under the spell of the President, as the Democrats, in large part the result of the campaign waged against him during the fall by Vice-President Nixon, believed they could not simply sign off on Eisenhower policy. They also would be working toward taking back the White House in 1956.

It was difficult, she finds, to see where the President would obtain creative counsel from the men around him, who were more conservative than those surrounding former President Truman, while intellectually representing no advance, with some Senate veterans saying that the President had, on the whole, the poorest staff of any President they had known.

During 1953, the President had been away from Washington for 114 days, and in 1954, there was a nine-week summer vacation in Colorado, which would produce about the same result. He had been duck hunting, had spent Thanksgiving in Augusta, Ga., and planned an early winter vacation in Palm Springs.

Robert C. Ruark indicates that he had not been eager to assail either television or the comic books as a perverter of youth, as they appeared easily enough perverted with little assistance, that there were bad boys and girls prior to television and the comic books, as well as before the movies and radio. He finds that the comic books were no more horrifying than the classic fairy tales of Hans Christian Andersen and the Brothers Grimm, which had included tales of head-cuttings, cannibalism, torture and sadism. That for which he did blame television and the comic books was the impoverishment of the youthful imagination and the atrophy of certain brain cells, because one did not have to think or even comprehend to watch television. "An idiot can spend as profitable an afternoon before a TV set as a man with an IQ of 150—more profitable, as a matter of fact, since a great deal of TV entertainment seems specially tailored for the idiot's delight."

He was unable to discern that modern youth had discovered the treasures within good books, largely the result of the absence of enough hours in the day to investigate them, instead spending six or seven hours watching television. He says that he had been led to the library early in his youth and had developed an endless fascination with what he had found there, and so made a bad witness for the case against tv and comic books.

He proposes, in the horror genre, reading Edgar Allan Poe, and for youthful adventure, Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. For more adult adventure, he had been fascinated for the previous two years by heavy research reading pertinent to the settlement of East Africa, including the historical documents of Speke and Bell, Selous and Thornson, Elspeth Huxley and L. S. B. Leakey, Livingstone and Stanley. He found there "more blood, more thunder, more slave raids, more gun-running, more wild animals, more privation, more excitement" than in a year's worth of bad television programming. He finds that a recent volume by Dan Mannix and J. A. Hunter, titled Tales of the African Frontier, all factual, contained far more adventure than "Captain Video" on the tv. He had found Ernest Hemingway's "Big Two-Hearted River" the best fishing story ever written.

Re-reading Mister Jellyroll by Alan Lomax, he had found out more about the history of the evolution of jazz, from New Orleans bordellos until the present, "than any zoot-suiter who talks jive" and would consider him a square could impart.

Such things were not to be found in quantity on television or in the comics and he offers pity to the child whose idea of a big day was to "twiddle a knob and steep himself in shadowy make-believe when there is so much richer adventure to be found in the pages of a book."

But what if you hain't learned to read, yet, Mr. Ruark? What's the poor soul to do? You just have to twiddle, watching Woody Woodpecker when you can sneak a peek in between the adult drama posed by "Sky King" and other such stimulating fare, "Two-Bolt Smith" with Dan Duryea, for example, and the rattlesnake dinner. Mister Jellyroll? What's that about, something like Bosco chocolate? Pour that in your milk and you'll like it. Have a jellyroll on the side.

A letter writer indicates that he had opposed capital punishment in the Rosenberg case of 1953 solely because he had ethical scruples against infliction of the death penalty, but that later, when an awful offense had been committed in Kansas City, the kidnaping and murder of six-year old Bobby Greenlease by a couple who were caught and sentenced to death, subsequently executed, in the space of less than three months at the same time a year earlier, he believed that the couple had forfeited their right to freedom and should have been imprisoned for life. He believes that confinement of them at hard labor for life would be a more severe penalty than "the mercy of quick, painless extinction" and was satisfied that the death penalty was never justified. He believes that democracy, though imperfect, was better than Communism at its best, but that there was danger in opposing evil with unjust methods, that those who did so became evil, as hatred caused people to become callous, brutal, irresponsible and false to their best ideals. He believes that democracy could be improved by militant and honorable use of constitutional means, that an example was the Supreme Court decision of the prior May 17 in Brown v. Board of Education with respect to the public schools, that good citizens could be guided by conscience and the use of democratic principles to create a better world. He condemns any attempt of communism, fascism or any other type of political degeneracy to subvert the democratic way of life.

A letter from the two chairmen of the Tuberculosis Sanitarium Project of the Charlotte Jaycees, thanks the funeral homes of the county for participation in the Carrousel Parade on Thanksgiving Day, by their generous contribution of time and facilities to transport patients from the TB Sanatorium at Huntersville to view the parade.

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