The Charlotte News

Saturday, December 11, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that at the U.N. in New York, Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold was reliably reported this date to have made a bid to Communist China to conduct direct talks to seek the release of the 11 held American airmen, accused of having participated in espionage activities for the CIA during the Korean War, during which they had been shot down over North Korea, with the Chinese contending they had entered Chinese territory. A diplomatic source reported that the Secretary-General had sent a communication to the Communist Chinese Government seeking such a discussion and indicating that he would make himself available for such talks, including the possibility of a trip to Peiping, if necessary. U.N. officials declined comment on the story. The action was consistent with the resolution passed by the General Assembly the previous day, by a vote of 47 to 5, condemning the action by the Communist Chinese as a violation of the Korean Armistice of July, 1953, demanding the release of the airmen, and calling upon the Secretary-General to make "continuing and unremitting efforts" to obtain the release of the airmen. The five opposition votes were cast by the Soviet bloc, while Yugoslavia and six Arab-Asian nations abstained. It was known that that the Secretary-General considered the task entrusted to him as one of the greatest challenges ever to face a Secretary-General since the formation of the U.N. ten years earlier.

In Auburndale, Fla., General James Van Fleet, former commander of the Eighth Army during the Korean War, was reported to have broken with Senator McCarthy over the latter's statement criticizing President Eisenhower. The General had been a member of the committee which had sought ten million signatures on a petition against the censure of the Senator, for which the Senate had overwhelmingly voted, 67 to 22, a week earlier. A telegram sent to the Senator by the General read: "I am shocked by your bitter attack against the President of the United States, a full copy of which I have read today on arrival home. In the past, I have supported you in your fight against international communism but never have agreed with your methods. This last attack on our great President causes me to withdraw all support." He said in an interview that he considered the Senator's statements during the censure hearing to be "insulting and blistering", but that he thought, overall, the Senator had done some good by fighting against Communism. He emphasized, however, that he could not tolerate his attack on the President.

Senator Albert Gore of Tennessee said this date that he was "tired of excusing" some of the President's actions on the grounds that he was receiving "bad advice". He said that the President must be held responsible for what his Administration had done. He said that most who criticized the President's actions and record did so with reluctance, but that the system of government would fail unless those holding office were held responsible for the actions of their Administration. He endorsed a call by new DNC chairman, Paul Butler, for "legitimate criticism" of the President, but without "vilification". Mr. Butler had held his first press conference the previous day, saying that he would never vilify the President, as had Senator McCarthy after his censure, but that all of the protestations of RNC chairman Leonard Hall and other Republicans would not deter him from calling attention to the failures of the President. Mr. Hall had criticized Mr. Butler's statement in New Orleans the previous week that the President had demonstrated "a lack of capacity to lead and unite the country", having said that the Democrats had thereby "thrown in the ashcan" their pledge to cooperate with the President and the new Congress.

In Cleveland, O., the first-degree murder trial of Dr. Samuel Sheppard for the killing of his wife the prior July 4, had continued the previous afternoon, with direct examination of the doctor almost concluded after a day and a half on the witness stand, and cross-examination by the prosecution to start on Monday. Dr. Sheppard contended during direct examination that there was no truth in the charges against him, describing the encounter in the upstairs bedroom of his home in the middle of the night with a bushy-haired intruder who knocked him unconscious and then fled the premises, after which the doctor, regaining consciousness, gave chase and encountered the intruder again on the adjacent lake shore, and was again knocked unconscious, the doctor having been awakened in the middle of the night while taking a prolonged nap on the living room couch downstairs, hearing his wife's cries and calling for his name amid "some other noises", going upstairs to the bedroom, thinking initially that his wife, who was pregnant, was suffering a convulsion as she had earlier in the pregnancy, at which point the intruder emerged from the darkness and struck him on the back of the neck. The prosecution was claiming that the crime scene had been staged to make it appear as a botched burglary and that the couple had argued about an extramarital affair of the doctor with a medical technician, who had moved to California, and who had testified for the prosecution that she had physical relations with the doctor during a trip to California the prior spring. Dr. Sheppard testified that his wife was not disturbed when he had informed her that he had given the young woman a watch to replace one she had lost while they had been attending a wedding with mutual friends in Southern California the prior spring. Otherwise, he made only brief references to the young woman. He also said that the police had grilled him on one occasion continuously for nearly 11 hours, with four pairs of officers participating at various times, trying to break down his story and confuse him, while cursing at him and insulting his family, mentioning at one point possible accomplices and even expressing doubt that he was the father of the unborn child. To try to talk him into confessing, they had discussed the possibility of a light prison sentence sometimes given for a plea of guilty to manslaughter. He testified that he told them he could not confess to something he did not do. During the interviews, one of the officers had simulated the way the blows were struck against his wife, saying "down, down, down, down, down!" Defense counsel had the doctor simulate for the jury the manner in which the detective had made the motions. The doctor said that when asked by an officer how he could endure the ordeal, he said that he still had faith in the truth and in God and that Marilyn was with him, in his corner. The defense was contending that the police never conducted any investigation to try to find another killer but instead set out to prove that the doctor was guilty. The doctor testified that there had been no "meticulous" examination of his home during an occasion when police had taken him there and that he was not allowed to look through the home to see what objects might be missing. He had discovered, however, that a box of morphine ampules was missing from his doctor's kit, which had been found emptied out onto the floor of the home.

In Nogales, Mexico, it was reported that Santa Claus was moving south of the border and that the older people did not like it, though the kids seemed to find it enjoyable. Daily truckloads of Christmas trees, more than ever before, according to the U.S. Customs Service, had crossed the border from Arizona into Nogales. Older residents saw them as symbols of the "Gringo's" Christmas, fearing that the children's fondness for Santa might harm their own symbol of Christmas, the Nacimiento, a miniature portrayal of the manger at Bethlehem. Twinkling lights were spreading into drab Mexican homes, appearing through more windows than ever previously and Mexican children had sent letters to the Nogales (Arizona) Herald, addressed to Santa Claus, listing their Christmas wishes, while other Mexican children crowded around Spanish-speaking Santa Clauses in the department stores. The traditionalist adults, however, believed that Santa was strictly a Northern institution and wanted him to depart, viewing him as an intrusive influence on their nightly Christmas Posadas, processions starting on December 16 to commemorate the journey of Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem.

In keeping with our attempt to catch up by Christmas weekend 2021, we are eliminating most of the summary for this Saturday edition, as we shall repeat also for the December 18 Saturday edition.

The editorial page is here.

Framed Edition
[Return to Links
Page by Subject] [Return to Links-Page by Date] [Return to News<i><i><i>—</i></i></i>Framed Edition]
Links-Date Links-Subj.