The Charlotte News

Thursday, December 9, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that at the U.N. in New York, Russia had formally called upon the body to condemn the U.S. for alleged aggressive acts against Communist China, with the Soviet delegate telling the 60-nation Political Committee that the U.S. had turned Formosa into an American military base and was aiding the Chinese Nationalists in raids against the mainland. He denounced the new mutual assistance treaty between the U.S. and Nationalist China as "a new act of aggression," and that it was "preparation for new aggressions against China." He made the remarks at the start of debate on a Soviet complaint regarding "acts of aggression" against Communist China and responsibility of the U.S. Navy for the acts. Day and night sessions had been scheduled this date on a 16-nation resolution, presented by the U.N. allies during the Korean War, denouncing the jailing of the 11 U.S. Air Force crewmen who had been shot down over North Korea during the Korean War and were being held on the purported charge of espionage by the Communist Chinese. U.N. Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., had said the previous night at the beginning of the debate on the resolution that an overwhelming vote in favor of it would make it clear to Communist China that world opinion considered the detention of the 11 fliers a violation of the Korean Armistice. He also called upon the Communists to return home a total of 2,840 U.N. personnel, including 470 Americans, who had not been repatriated under the terms of the Armistice. He said earlier that the Chinese had admitted also holding four U.S. jet pilots, in addition to the 11 airmen charged with espionage.

Senator Karl Mundt of South Dakota, one of the closest friends of Senator McCarthy, disclosed this date that he had sought in vain to dissuade Senator McCarthy from making a statement two days earlier criticizing the President, saying that he had told Senator McCarthy that everyone knew the President was not for the Communists, but that Senator McCarthy had replied, "They're shooting at me down there and I've got to say something." He had apparently been triggered by the President's praise the previous Saturday of Senator Arthur Watkins of Utah for having chaired the select committee on censure, which had unanimously recommended the Senator's censure.

The Securities and Exchange Commission this date granted attorneys fighting the Dixon-Yates utility combine contract with the Atomic Energy Commission the right to cross-examine the combine's witnesses on private conversations which had led to the public negotiation of the contract, a major victory for foes of the contract who contended it had its beginnings in "interlocking relations" among private utilities, in violation of the Utility Holding Company Act. The Commission overruled objections by Dixon-Yates attorneys to questions about conversations between the president of Union Electric Co. of Missouri and the president of Middle South Utilities, Edgar Dixon, a sponsor of Dixon-Yates. The story relates of those conversations.

In New York, the chairman of the board of higher education said that nine municipal college teachers had resigned or been fired during the previous nine months as a result of an investigation into the subversive activities, with 27 other cases being probed, with no inference being drawn as to guilt or innocence of those being investigated.

In Taylorsville, N.C., the House Campaign Investigations Committee had continued its hearings this date into the complaints over the Ninth Congressional District midterm election, in which the incumbent, Representative Hugh Alexander, had defeated his Republican opponent, with the Republican executive committee thereafter charging vote-buying and other irregularities in the election. This date a store operator said that she had signed an affidavit saying that she had seen a county clerk of court give her invalid sister seven dollars for voting absentee in the midterm election, but also testified that she could not read the affidavit she had signed because of an eye injury, and stated this date to the Committee that she did not see the clerk provide her sister any money, but had seen her sister with money in her hand when she went back into the store, but did not know where she had obtained it, that people often gave her sister money because she was a lifelong cripple. The clerk testified that he had not given any money to the sister, but had gone to the store to prepare an absentee ballot for her. This date's hearing was the third and final hearing before the Committee.

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 the testimony of Leo Stawicki, a steelworker who had been returning from a fishing trip with his two brothers at between 2:15 and 2:30 a.m. on the morning of July 4 and said that he had seen a man with bushy hair near the Sheppard home, his headlights having picked him up in the driveway standing against a tree about 100 to 150 feet away, and was only 10 to 12 feet away from him as he passed in his car, describing him as having a long face and bushy hair, the hair standing up on his head, making his face look long. He had not known until nearly a week later that the spot where he had seen the man had been the driveway of the Sheppard home and that the doctor had claimed he had encountered a bushy-haired intruder in the upstairs bedroom after being awakened in the middle of the night by his wife's screams, as he was taking a prolonged nap on the downstairs living room couch. The witness said that he had related the incident to the chief of police of the village after reading about the murder in the newspapers several days afterward, and that the chief had driven him past the spot traveling in the opposite direction from which he had been traveling that night, and he had picked out the spot where he had seen the man, and had done so again upon the chief switching directions. He said that when he selected the spot where he had seen the man, he still did not know it was on the Sheppard property, that he had ascertained that fact from the newspaper only the day after showing the location to the police chief on July 10.

In Philadelphia, a Navy petty officer arrived home during the week after four years in the service, ready to resume his life as a civilian, and his wife had greeted him at the door by informing him that she had won first prize in a national contest sponsored by Proctor Electric Co. and so they could have the honeymoon postponed by her husband's induction, the prize being a 12-day Caribbean cruise. His wife said it was one cruise her husband would not mind, but the sailor had no comment.

In Kolding, Denmark, a farmer in South Jutland was to be compensated because his hens were suffering from shell shock incurred during recent war games, causing, according to the farmer, their egg production to be cut in half.

On the editorial page, "First Leg on Better Bus Service" indicates that City Coach Lines officials had appeared before the City Council the previous day with great confidence and had left 20 minutes later smiling, after approval by the Council of the transfer of Duke Power Company's bus franchise in Charlotte to CCL. While it occurred very quickly, the Council had studied the matter for several weeks and had found nothing to suggest it was unwise.

The piece finds the decision sound, as CCL was efficiently managed and was an experienced operator of buses in several cities across the country. Its primary business was transportation, while Duke viewed the bus business as an unwanted sideline. It indicates that the action by the City Council was only regarding a first reading of the proposed transfer, and the second and final reading would not occur until December 15, after which there would also have to be approval by the State Utilities Commission. Barring some unusual development, however, CCL would take over the city's bus routes.

"Home Rule: What Exactly Is It?" discusses the effort in the upcoming General Assembly to permit greater home rule in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, but finds that the phrase had no clear meaning.

It appeared ridiculous that the General Assembly had to be called upon to deliberate and act on such a minor local matter as providing specific authority to Charlotte for the disposal of stolen bicycles in the hands of the police when owners could not be found or identified. It represented a waste of legislative time and tax money, and yet during the previous 30 years or so, nearly 70 percent of the laws passed by the Legislature had been of that type, regarding purely local, private or special acts.

It suggests that the City Council would be rendering a service to the community and the state by urging Mecklenburg County's legislative delegation to press for greater home rule in 1955.

"Slip a Muzzle on Hall and Butler" finds the remarks of the new DNC chairman, Paul Butler, in New Orleans, regarding the President's "lack of capacity to govern and to unite the people", and the response by RNC chairman Leonard Hall, that the pledge of Democratic leaders to cooperate with the President in the best interests of the nation had been "thrown into the ashcan", with Democratic leaders determined to undercut the President in every possible way, to be harsh comments even during a campaign, and coming at a time when election wounds ought be healed and the sober business of governance undertaken, were damaging and dangerous. It finds that it appeared the talk of unity and bipartisanship would not amount to a hill of beans unless each party muzzled its respective chairman.

"Some Observations on Independence" indicates that it appeared that independents, Communists and capitalists were competing for the favor of Marshal Tito, while Republicans and Democrats were competing for the favor of independent Senator Wayne Morse of Oregon, and Democratic Senate leaders were thinking of providing a subcommittee chairmanship to independent Republican Senator William Langer, in the hope that he might depart the Republican Party. Both parties were also seeking the favor of independent Senator-elect Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, with Republicans hoping that he might vote with them on organization of the Senate, and the Democrats being fearful that he might comply.

It finds that there was also the other side of the coin, with the AFL and CIO contemplating merger, leaving independent UMW leader John L. Lewis out in the cold, with the exception of the warmth he could obtain from oil heaters replacing his coal.

It offers no conclusions, saying it was only making observations. The success of independence, it offers, would not be determined in North Carolina until it was shown how well independent Governor Luther Hodges would be able to get along with the power-conscious General Assembly in 1955.

A piece from the Christian Science Monitor, titled "Of Ponds and Pebbles", indicates that a couple of weeks earlier, a couple had been dining in a great New York hotel where a state teachers' convention was taking place, and one of them had noticed two teachers sitting at a nearby table and "felt impelled to drop a pebble of gratitude into a great pond of need." The two teachers had finished their luncheon and asked for the check, to which the waiter said there was no charge, passing them a note which said that the writer had two boys in school and owed so much to teachers that they would pick up the bill. The waiter also indicated that he did not want a tip.

The story had then been spread from the convention platform and likely from the delegates to thousands of teachers back home, and perhaps by some newspapers to thousands more. It finds that the moral, in modern terms, was: "Never sell your pebble short if it's a good one. The pond you drop it in may be bigger than you think."

Drew Pearson indicates that U.S. Ambassador to Italy Clare Boothe Luce was urging the President to invite Italy's Prime Minister Scelba to visit the U.S., stating that she believed such a trip would increase his prestige and help him battle against the Communists. She also asserted that it would be disastrous for Marshal Tito to visit the White House during the spring while Prime Minister Scelba remained at home. But the President's reaction had been that he was tired of entertaining foreign visitors and had the previous week asked Secretary of State Dulles to discourage any more state visits until the following summer. Yet the Shah of Iran and his queen were already on their way.

British diplomats had reported that the Chinese Communists might be willing to release the 13 Americans accused of spying as part of a deal, provided the U.S. would release all Chinese assets frozen in the U.S., belonging to Chinese living on the mainland.

Despite Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery's blast against aircraft carriers, the new defense budget would authorize another supercarrier for the Navy. Such carriers were so large that they could not sail through the Panama Canal but instead had to steam around South America to get from one ocean to the other. The Air Force warned that three Russian jets, equipped with radar, could spot every carrier in the Mediterranean within two hours. Despite that warning and budget-balancing, the admirals were insisting on more carriers.

The Russians intended to make another sensational move to try to frighten the West Germans into forgetting about an alliance with the West. According to U.S. intelligence, the Soviets would soon announce not only that a large army was to be raised in East Germany, but that it would be equipped with atomic weapons. The Soviets were hoping that the thought of atomic bombs close to West Germany would so alarm Chancellor Konrad Adenauer's Government that it would refuse to ratify the London and Paris accords for rearmament of West Germany and joinder of NATO.

Secretary of Commerce Sinclair Weeks was pulling wires to abolish, or at least supervise, the Small Business Administration. He wanted small business put under his domination, and had been privately seeking approval for it from other Cabinet officers and Congressional leaders.

The previous week, the National Association of Manufacturers had singled out Secretary Weeks as their man of the year. He had sought to resolve intra-Cabinet feuds while other members were away. While Attorney General Herbert Brownell was at the Rio de Janeiro economic conference and Assistant Attorney General Stanley Barnes was in California, he had tried to pull some fast footwork on the Justice Department, seeking to change the Sherman Antitrust Act to apply to labor unions, which the Supreme Court had already ruled were not covered by the Act, but which Mr. Weeks continued to support, using his influence repeatedly to get the antitrust laws revised to include labor unions. Secretary of Labor James Mitchell was vigorously opposed to the move, as was the Attorney General. But Mr. Weeks had recently used his rank to push into submission a mild-mannered professor, F. Chesterfield Oppenheim, chairman of the antitrust study group, wearing him down with his arguments about antitrust laws being applicable to unions, a position already rejected by the study group. Mr. Pearson finds it no wonder, therefore, that NAM had made him their man of the year.

He indicates that there were interesting backstage reasons behind some of the Republican votes against censure of Senator McCarthy. Senator William Langer of North Dakota had always voted against every move to censure or discipline another Senator, after, many years earlier, there had been an attempt to deprive him of his seat. Senator Milton Young of North Dakota had been close to Senator McCarthy through the grain operators and rye speculators whom both Senators had defended. Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona had been a pal to Senator McCarthy at La Jolla, California, where Mr. Goldwater spent about as much time as in Arizona. He had received various campaign contributions from the Texas oil supporters of Senator McCarthy, including $3,000 from H. L. Hunt, $2,500 from Corbin J. Robertson of Houston, and $1,500 from various California oilmen, including Patrick Doheny. Senate colleagues did not understand why Senator Bourke Hickenlooper of Iowa had voted against the censure, resulting in the Des Moines Register, which had always supported him, taking him to task for his vote.

Joseph Alsop, in Saigon, tells of there being a few months at most in southern Indo-China to put something together which would withstand the strong pressure against the southward advance in Asia of Communism, but that the attempt was being made with an amiable desperation, based on a model Franco-American partnership, the partners being French commander, General Paul Ely, and his old friend, the President's special envoy, General Lawton Collins. Both worked together very closely, a good thing since the odds against them were about 10 to 1.

Mr. Alsop cites two small incidents which would help convey the difficulties of their task, the first concerning a very high French official who had given a grand official dinner, with the desert being a rich cake, topped by the pastry cook's curlicues spelling out the word "peace", a word which the Communists had inscribed on their propaganda banners, thus raising eyebrows. The French official, not wanting to be against peace, said nothing until the same specialized decoration was used to adorn cold fish with mayonnaise and in cut out truffles to a cold chicken. After the third dinner party with "peace" proclaimed from the platter, the official told his cook to stick to cooking and leave the conversation to those at the table. The incident formed the basis for one of the current jokes in Saigon, but what it indicated was not comic. Mr. Alsop suggests that the cook had probably been one of the millions of Vietnamese in the South who had gone over or were inclined to go over to the Communists.

Large areas of the countryside were already in the hands of the Communists, with all real authority lodged in the underground committees and courts of the Vietminh, led by Ho Chi Minh. If such deep Communist penetration were not quickly halted and reversed, the non-Communist Government in Saigon would soon be nothing more than a shadow.

Another incident involved a visit by Mr. Alsop to Mr. Nhu, as he was called, the brother and chief personal adviser of the head of the Vietnamese Government, President Ngo Dinh Diem. Mr. Nhu was an immensely polite man who looked as if he came from an ancient family of high mandarins, as he in fact did. He lived in an humble dwelling, unlike most Asian heads of government, but he was not an humble man. The subject of their conversation was the problem of the Army, that since the Geneva accords had been signed, the country had been divided in two and brought close to anarchy by the bitter, open, personal quarrel between President Diem and the vain, clever, ambitious Army chief of staff, General Hinh. The President had been virtually besieged in his palace and had only survived because he was given unqualified U.S. support. Since the Army was the sole effective instrument of authority in Vietnam, the Army-Government quarrel had opened the way for enormous Communist inroads. (The notion suggests that passive withdrawal of U.S. support in the eventual November 1-2, 1963 military coup, resulting in the assassinations of President Diem and his brother, was all which was necessary to effect the coup, not so much direct participation, merely an extension of the conflict in parts of the military with the Government on which Mr. Alsop reported in 1954, exacerbated through time after free elections in Vietnam, supposed to occur between mid-1955 and mid-1956 under the 1954 armistice, had been nixed for concern by the West that Ho Chi Minh would win.)

Largely from the efforts of Generals Ely and Collins, General Hinh had now been gotten out of Saigon and removed from the Army command. The opportunity therefore now existed for binding old wounds and beginning in earnest the task of restoring order and halting the Communist penetration. But Mr. Nhu did not see things that way, believed that a purge needed to occur of the Army and command handed to the favorites of his brother, and that a new civilian system of administration created, about which there was no great hurry because he believed "the people of Vietnam are for us." That policy was certain to renew the old feud with the Army and thus give the Communists unchallengeable control of South Vietnam within a few months. But Mr. Nhu had continued to insist that his brother really had "a duty to cut off his nose to spite his face."

Generals Ely and Collins, in addition to such ardent nationalist interests resistant to political reality, had to struggle also with a remarkable collection of special interests, several of whom possessed private armed forces. The religious sects of Cao Dai and Hoa Hao each had armies of 20,000 or so and exercised feudal power over about seven provinces. The so-called Binh Xuyen had an army of 5,000 and owned gambling and other rackets in Saigon, and also ran the police. Such special interests promoted unity at the top of their voices, but also hinted loudly that they would fight if their preserves were encroached.

Out of that morass had to be formed a forward-looking government and administration to prevent the Communist advance into that key position in South Asia.

John Bartlow Martin, in Break Down the Walls, suggests that society had to give up the idea that prisons could rehabilitate anyone, that rehabilitation could not take place until there was understanding of what made a criminal, and to do so required establishment of a privately endowed institution for research into the roots of criminality. When the roots of crime were understood, prisons could be abolished, which he advocates should be the aim of society. Meanwhile, to make sure that society did not make men worse in prison, a program of prison improvement, some of it legislative, some of it administrative, had to be undertaken, overseen preferably by some civic group, such as the League of Women Voters.

He indicates that among the measures requiring legislative action were money for more and better paid parole and probation supervisors, money to build numerous prison farms and camps, a few medium-security institutions, and facilities for the criminally insane, but none for another maximum-security institution. There was also need for more money for part-time psychiatric advice to parole and classification boards and for raising the pay of guards. He recommends civil service for prison guards and for parole and probation officers. There was also more money needed for improved educational and vocational programs in the prisons; laws requiring all tax-supported institutions to purchase their supplies from prison industries; establishment of a separate department of state government to administer prisons; revision of the inequitable criminal codes; abolition of the death penalty; laws establishing a board of impartial medical experts to advise courts on the sanity of defendants, and a new legal rule for determining sanity.

Among the things to be done administratively were to allow half the inmates out of prison, some going to prison farms and camps, while others would be on parole, including parole to the armed forces; integration of parole with community agencies; pre-release preparation of inmates for parole; education of inmates, wardens, guards and the public regarding parole; relaxation of the Army regulation which virtually excluded former convicts from entering the service; keeping politics out of prisons, probation and parole; establishment of classification by institutions; provision of part-time psychiatric guidance for classification boards and parole boards; establishment of high hiring standards and good training programs for guards; indictment of brutal guards and wardens; improvement of educational, recreational and vocational programs to the level of those of the Federal system; enforcement of ironclad security measures at maximum-security institutions, similar to those of Stateville Prison in Illinois; and permitting furloughs or conjugal visits or both for inmates.

He concludes that everyone knew that the prison systems had failed, including custody-minded wardens, one of whom had said that not another prison should be built. And everyone also knew that the reformatory did not reform. Everyone wanted to improve matters and it could be done, progress being possible with the tools at hand. But there was public indifference with which to deal, as people did not want to appropriate money for prisons, believed that the inmate, once caught and convicted, should be forgotten. The problem, however, was that 95 percent of the time, the inmates would re-enter society.

The American Prison Association had said that the 1952 prison riots had raised the question of the expectations of the public of its prisons, answering their question by saying: "Nothing. Nobody cares about prisons until a relative of his gets into one."

A chaplain at Jackson, Mich., said after the riot there that every man in that prison represented a failure of society, but that people did not want to hear that and when they sought to get the people interested in it, something like the riot happened and they were right back where they had started. Mr. Martin concludes that in the long run, the public was the loser.

A letter writer objects to State Representative Arthur Goodman's proposal of an 11-month school year as a solution to teacher pay, finding it would be a grave injustice to children and parents, as the children needed three months of summer vacation. He also disagrees with the suggestion of double shifts to relieve overcrowding in the schools.

A letter writer finds safety good but a Safe Driving Day sheer nonsense, that if he were to drive safely on December 15, that did not mean he would necessarily do so the following day or the day afterward, finding generally that the special days, weeks or months were becoming ridiculous, that what was needed was a "Day To End All Days", but that perhaps that would have to await Judgment Day.

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