The Charlotte News

Wednesday, December 8, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the President at his press conference this date had declared emphatically, in response to questions, that he had no intention of indulging in personal vituperation or quarrels with Senator McCarthy, in the wake of the Senator's attack of the President the previous day, indicating that he had no comment on it. The Senator had stated that the President was presenting a "shrinking show of weakness" toward Communism, while tolerating the Communists who tortured imprisoned Americans. The President said that he had always upheld the right of Congress to conduct investigations, and would continue to do so. With regard to Senator McCarthy presenting any danger to the Republican Party, he referred the press to RNC chairman Leonard Hall for any comment. When confronted with a statement by new DNC chairman Paul Butler that the President lacked the "capacity to lead and unite the American people", he also said he would not respond directly to any individual attack, but said that he had heard such charges before and that too often politicians looked into a looking glass instead of through a window.

Additionally, the President said that he believed the fear of a global war was at a lower level at present than at any time in the previous few years. He said he wanted to differentiate between peace and an armistice, but believed that fear of a global war was less.

In London, it was reported, via a monitored Peiping radio broadcast, that Chinese Communist Premier Chou En-lai had said this date that the U.S. Government had committed "a warlike provocation" by entering into a recent mutual security pact with the Chinese Nationalists. He said that if the U.S. did not withdraw all of its forces from Formosa, the Formosa Strait and the Penghu Islands, and persisted in interfering in Communist China's internal affairs, it would "take upon itself all the grave consequences." Chou described Nationalist Chinese leader Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek as "the public enemy of the Chinese people".

The Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported this date that unemployment was slightly increased for the month, as anticipated in official employment statistics for November, but had been smaller than usual for the month. Privately, officials said that the statistics reflected rising activity in the industrial segment of the economy. Normally, unemployment rose in November because of winter curtailment of farming, building and lumbering activities, offset only in part by the hiring of temporary holiday help.

The Agriculture Department, in its final report of the year, estimated that the year's Government-restricted cotton crop would be 13,569,000 bales of 500 pounds gross weight each, 363,000 bales more than the previous month's forecast of 13.2 million bales, lower than the previous year's crop of 16,465,000 bales and higher than the ten-year average, between 1943 and 1952, of 12,448,000 bales. The planting and marketing quotas set by the Government for 1954 were designed to prevent the addition of more supplies to a top-heavy surplus during the year. The goal of the program had been to limit production to about 12 million bales. Similar controls would be in effect for the following year's crop. Supplementing the current year's production was a carryover surplus of 9.6 million bales from past large crops.

In Cleveland, O., the first-degree murder trial of Dr. Samuel Sheppard, accused of killing his wife, Marilyn, the prior July 4, continued this date with testimony from the doctor's dentist, Dr. Richard Koch, that two of the doctor's teeth had been chipped and were slightly loose when the dentist had examined them 11 days after the murder of Mrs. Sheppard. He also found lacerations within the doctor's mouth. The prosecution, during cross-examination, had asked the dentist to examine the doctor's mouth in the courtroom, and upon doing so, he said that the defendant's teeth were not presently loose. A piece of a tooth, thus far unidentified, had been found beneath the bed where Mrs. Sheppard had been found beaten to death. The doctor had claimed that he had struggled with a bushy-haired intruder within the bedroom, whom he encountered after awakening from a nap on the living room couch downstairs upon hearing his wife's screams from the upstairs bedroom, and that he had been momentarily knocked unconscious within the bedroom.

In Colmar, France, it was reported that Dr. Albert Schweitzer, 79, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, had left his hometown of Gunsback the previous day to return to his hospital in French Equatorial Africa.

In Boone, N.C., Congressional hearings continued on the challenged Ninth Congressional District election, with the Republican executive committee of the state having contended to Congress that vote buying and other illicit practices had gone on during the recent midterm election, won by incumbent Democratic Congressman Hugh Alexander. A former Watauga County sheriff and Republican county chairman told the five-member House Investigating subcommittee that the purpose for a Democratic election judge having arranged to provide him with a supply of 500 blank ballots prior to the election was so that they could be used for double voting, but that he had not used them, had instead locked them securely in a hardware store safe, where they were still located. Those ballots, however, had been for county offices and the subcommittee ruled that they had nothing to do with their inquiry into the Congressional election, and so the sheriff's testimony was stricken from the record. Representative Hale Boggs of Louisiana, a member of the subcommittee, had asked the sheriff how he could have used the ballots, and he had replied that one could not without getting caught, that it was not the thing to do "nohow". But was that a cryptic remark, in which he actually meant "know-how"?

In Newland, N.C., in Avery County, a crippled watchmaker had shot and killed his wife and three small children, ages five months, 18 months and 42 months, early this date and then critically wounded himself in the head, with the sheriff indicating that preliminary investigation had failed to disclose a motive. The bodies had been discovered by the father of the 21-year old wife.

On the editorial page, "The Leader and the Demagogue" indicates that the previous Thursday, before submitting to questioning at his press conference, the President had spoken his mind about the conduct of U.S. foreign policy, as excerpted verbatim on the page. It finds that it was a moving and needed expression of the President's role and of his "manful fulfillment of his responsibility".

The previous day, Senator McCarthy had delivered a vituperative attack on the President, making his most serious charges yet against him. But the President had clearly stated his reasons for opposing both a blockade of mainland China and severance of diplomatic relations with Russia, as advocated by his critics. He had said that a blockade was historically not conceivable without war, that it was intended to bring one's adversary over to the blockading nation's point of view, and constituted an act of war. He had said that if, in his opinion, war ever became necessary, he would go before Congress "in the constitutional method." Regarding Russia, the President had said that rather than breaking off diplomatic relations, the U.S. had to give its attention to the positive business of building up strength among the free nations, and that as long as those nations were strong, maintaining readiness and mobilization capacity, then they could afford to be more patient than could weaker nations.

It finds the President's remarks in that regard to bespeak his stature. Nevertheless, the demagogic Senator McCarthy had said the previous day that "the President sees fit to congratulate those who hold up the exposure of Communists in one breath and in the next breath urges patience, tolerance and niceties to those who are torturing American uniformed men." It finds those words to come from the Senator who cried "Wolf, Wolf" but had never found a wolf, who had said earlier in the year that he knew of over 100 Communists working in defense plants but had not yet turned that list over to authorities, believing that if the past was a guide, such would turn out to be nonexistent.

It further finds that by their statements the "sober leader and the reckless rabble-rouser" showed the cleavage within the Republican Party, indicating that Republican Senate leader William Knowland and other Republicans could not straddle the widening abyss. It believes that the reaction of most of the Senators to the criticism by Senator McCarthy indicated that they would wisely support the President, which it finds to be a good course, allowing Senator McCarthy to "scream in solitude".

"Spreading the Cloak of Politics" regards proposed legislation extending the appointive powers of the City Council to include all municipal department heads, finding it unwise and unnecessary, explaining its position, indicating that the city manager, as the top administrative officer of the city, was best equipped to supervise such a system and see that it was an effective, continuing program, though a measure of authority would always reside with the Council, as it hired and fired the city manager.

"American Life: 'A Seamless Web'" indicates that five years earlier, the American Association of State and Local History had begun publishing on a modest basis the American Heritage, a quarterly magazine designed to bring the romance and meaning of U.S. history to a wide readership. It had been so popular that its sponsors began searching for ways to expand its service and present it in a more permanent form, with the Society of American Historians considering also the publication of a magazine of history under hard-cover.

The two organizations had pooled their resources to produce the new American Heritage, a unique experiment in publishing, a magazine in book form, lavishly illustrated, with six editions to be produced each year. It finds it to have succeeded in bringing living history to the reader in its first issue just published, which it summarizes, listing some of the authors, historians, painters and photographers represented.

The editor of the publication, 1953 Pulitzer Prize winner Bruce Catton, author of A Stillness at Appomattox, had set the mood for the publication in his introduction by saying that the "fabric of American life is a seamless web. Everything fits in somewhere. History is a continuous process; it extends far back into the past, and it will go on—in spite of today's uneasy qualms—far into the future... Our American heritage is greater than any one of us. It can express itself in very homely truths; in the end, it can lift up our eyes beyond the glow in the sunset skies."

A piece from the Asheville Citizen, titled "Cycle", indicates that a New York department store was advertising "sports car coats". It recalls that when father had been a lad, he had donned a suit similar to that of the asbestos suit of the man who put out fires on crash-landed airplanes, before taking off in the Locomobile and tooling down the dusty road. But, apparently, that habit had come back into fashion.

"Even with air-conditioning, tinted glass, power steering and stream-lined ashtrays, we despair of automotive progress. The cycle is over on the other side. The wire wheel is back, and one of these days an enterprising engineer will introduce the crank—with heavy chrome trim, of course."

Drew Pearson indicates that since the midterm elections when it had become apparent that Senator Wayne Morse, as an independent, could cast the deciding vote on legislation and organization of the Senate, both Republican and Democratic leaders had been extra nice to him, whereas they had previously given him the cold shoulder. For example, Vice-President Nixon had recently grabbed the hand of Senator Morse and congratulated him on the "high caliber campaign" he had conducted, to which the Senator said mildly, "Dick, I wish I could say the same for you."

Secretary of the Treasury George Humphrey, closest Cabinet member to the President, was engaged in three backstage battles with Cabinet colleagues, one with Secretary of State Dulles regarding the proposed Marshall Plan for Asia, a second with Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson regarding the disposal of crop surpluses, Secretary Humphrey not wanting them dumped abroad in any quantity because it would become an indirect crop support, and the third being a battle over loans to Latin America, on the other side of that dispute being Milton Eisenhower, the President's brother. Senators Homer Capehart of Indiana, Bourke Hickenlooper of Iowa, and Congressman James Fulton of Pennsylvania, all Republicans, believed that Secretary Humphrey was too tightfisted in loaning money to Latin America, arguing that the best way to prevent Communism was to help develop good neighbors.

While Secretary Humphrey had been at the Rio de Janeiro economic conference recently, Secretary Dulles had been busy working out the Asiatic Marshall Plan, gathering support within the Cabinet for it and obtaining the approval of the President plus that of Secretary of Defense Charles E. Wilson, the latter giving his approval conditioned on a larger armed forces, with which the President agreed. Secretary Dulles then called a secret meeting of journalists at a downtown hotel and leaked the idea that current American economic policies with Asia were not good and that to remedy it, the President had agreed to back his aid plan, even if it meant an unbalanced budget. Thus, when Secretary Humphrey had returned from Rio, it was too late for him to oppose the plan. It meant that the Defense Department, instead of reducing expenditures, would seek from Congress an additional outlay of two billion dollars, and that the State Department would start a large development program in Asia which could last up to 20 years. As a result, business in the U.S. ought be good, though inflationary with an unbalanced budget, just as it had been under the Democrats, the reason why Secretary Humphrey had opposed it.

Mr. Pearson notes that in his difference with Secretary Benson, Secretary Humphrey had argued that Mr. Benson ought limit the amount of surplus food the U.S. dumped abroad to 400 million dollars worth, while Secretary Benson wanted to send all he could. Secretary Humphrey claimed that surplus food disposal might turn into price supports under another rubric, and that the stimulation of the market would encourage overproduction.

Neal Stanford, writing in the Christian Science Monitor, suggests that there were bound to be important and surprising results from the new normalcy of "coexistence" with the Communist nations, being ardently embraced by both East and West, one obvious such result being that Marshal Tito in Yugoslavia had become the most popular man in Europe, having eschewed, risking his own personal safety, the Moscow line after the war and aligned more closely with the West. He obviously liked being the man in the middle, with both East and West now bidding for his friendship. The position, however, had dangers, as well as rewards.

If Tito listened to the current Moscow line, complimenting him, after having called him for six years such names as "fascist beast", "renegade", and "traitor to communism", he would have no more realistic chance of maintaining his independence or his head, should he return to the Soviet camp, than he had just before dramatically escaping the Soviet grip six years earlier. While Yugoslavia would not become a Soviet satellite overnight, it would only be a matter of time before Tito and his country would be reduced to the slavery of Rumania, Bulgaria, Hungary, and Poland. Assuming he had the good sense with which he was credited, he would not withdraw from his fence-straddling position, even if somewhat unstable.

Tito was grateful for the aid and support he had received from the West in recent years, aware that without it he likely would have been liquidated by Moscow long earlier. He had a knack for surviving, and anyone who had outwitted and out-stayed Stalin should not be underrated.

The U.S. had received full value for the aid it had extended to Tito, as his mind was now governed by the U.S., even if his heart remained with Communism, with common sense telling him that the U.S. was his best life insurance policy.

Tito recently had taken a trip to India and Burma, the result of which was anyone's guess, some observers indicating that he was sure to go to Peking either on the current trip or later, if only to see how the other independent Communist leader, Mao Tse-tung, had learned to live with Moscow. Others were predicting that Messrs. Georgi Malenkov, V. M. Molotov and Nikita Khrushchev, the current triumvirate at the Kremlin, would roll out the welcome mat for Tito any time in a reconciliation scene outdoing any Hollywood press agent's dream. Some small few hoped that Tito and his wife would receive an invitation to the White House, and such a prospect should not be discarded arbitrarily, as the U.S. might still have to pay the price for Tito's continued loyalty, especially if he were to visit Moscow. But a U.S. visit by Tito raised certain problems, extending an invitation to an avowed Communist to the White House potentially inviting pickets by those charging him with religious persecutions. And questions would also inevitably arise as to whether Congress would invite him to address a joint session, and if not, whether it would not be a diplomatic slight nullifying the visit.

The President's remarks at his prior Thursday press conference regarding the 13 American prisoners held by the Communist Chinese on purported charges of having been involved in CIA-sponsored espionage, are quoted verbatim, with the President having counseled initially that the incident had to be regarded within the global picture of the struggle between the free nations and the Communist nations, that there was not necessarily coordination between Russia and Communist China but that each government carefully planned each move it made. The U.S. should therefore not be goaded into impulsive action by such planned moves, thereby breaking down the progress made in international relations, at the risk of Western Europe and free Asia.

He said the U.S. had two courses open, the one, a bold course of action, being the easier, but that the President, once assuming the office, had to rein in personal feelings of anger and consider the potential results of such action, that it could lead to war, with which the country could become too inured for its own good, that if the country were to take the course leading to war, it should not be done impulsively based on emotion of the moment but rather, as President Woodrow Wilson had expressed it, when there was "no other means of protecting our rights."

The excerpt concludes: "Let us recognize that we owe it to ourselves and to the world to explore every possible peaceable means of settling differences before we even think of such a thing as war."

A letter writer from Matthews replies to a proposal for an 11-month school year, pointing out that any money saved by maintaining the schools in operation year-round would most likely go to additional rest homes and mental institutions for harassed mothers like the letter writer. She finds that maintaining her young sons on the school schedule for 11 months would wreck any good they were presently obtaining from school, that during the school year parents hardly had time to talk to their children, and that during the summer, their play activities were carefully supervised, not possible when they were in school. She also believes that transportation for the county school children would be difficult in the event of double shifts to compensate for overcrowding, believes that afternoon school sessions were foolish for first or second graders as by lunch time, they were too tired to undertake much learning. She urges giving them a chance for family living and learning the joys of loving pets and gardens during the summer months, things which were just as important as reading and art work which they got in school.

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