The Charlotte News

Thursday, February 11, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Saigon, it was reported that 10,000 Vietminh invaders of Laos had advanced this date to a point on the Hou River, 37 jungle miles northeast of the Laotian capital, Luang Prabang, which the ailing old King Sisavong Vong and the French had vowed to defend. A vanguard of 1,500 regional troops had advanced to within nine miles or less of the capital, screening the advance of the regular rebels of Vietminh Division 308, but had thus far not begun an actual attack. The main force of the division, diverted the previous week from the siege of the recently established French fortress at Dien Bien Phu, had further thrust into Laos from northern Vietnam, advancing 19 miles in 24 hours, making it a two-day march to the Laotian capital. French Union briefing officers said that the objective of the Vietminh forces had not been ascertained, that the withdrawn division still left others placing pressure on Dien Bien Phu from the surrounding mountains. The garrison at Luang Prabang had been reinforced in the previous few days, and military observers speculated that any attack would not take place before early the following week. The capital, aside from the palaces of the King and the Crown Prince, consisted of frail wooden buildings and huts lying along the Mekong River, at its confluence with the Hou, on which the Vietminh division was massed. A jungle path led 135 miles southward to the administrative capital of Laos, Vientiane. Luang Prabang had little strategic value, but the Communists could make propaganda use in Southeast Asia out of its capture and that of the aging King or his son. In southeast Vietnam, where French Union troops made a landing the previous month to regain a rich strip of coastal rice country from the Vietminh, a consolidation of gains had been reported, with Army headquarters announcing that 35,000 inhabitants had returned to their homes since the first action established the French beachhead at Tuy Hoa, after many had been ordered to withdraw from the area because of the retreating Communists.

In Berlin, at the Big Four foreign ministers conference, the French delegation was said to be considering ending the conference within a week, with the Big Three Western ministers stating that the subject of German unification and European security had been exhaustively discussed without resolution. It was believed that Soviet Foreign Minister V. M. Molotov's proposal of the previous day for a European mutual defense pact, to the exclusion of NATO and the six-nation unified army under the European Defense Community, would be the last major pronouncement on the issue, a plan which the Western Big Three had rejected. The four foreign ministers had met this date in secret session regarding the possibility of Asian settlements and setting up a disarmament conference, and the following day they would discuss an Austrian independence treaty with the Austrian Foreign Minister, Leopold Figl. The Western delegates estimated that three or four more days of discussion would be enough to end the conference and determine whether any action would be possible, probably concluding one week hence.

Senator Joseph McCarthy appeared to ignore the pleas of the President that members of his party refrain from attacks on Democrats because the times were too serious for it, by repeating to a Lincoln Day audience of 6,000 persons in San Mateo, Calif., his characterization of the Roosevelt and Truman Administrations as "20 years of treason", saying that he would not change his tactics to win Democratic support for parts of the Eisenhower program, that "the price was too high", that if they whitewashed the Democrats, they "would be guilty of a crime worse than theirs".

In Portland, Ore., DNC chairman Stephen Mitchell said that the President had not gone far enough in his advice to avoid extreme partisanship. Senator Mike Monroney of Oklahoma said that the President "failed to meet the issue", indicating that Democrats did not mind the extreme partisanship but that the "extreme treason" which some of the Republican speakers had been attributing to Democrats was not acceptable.

Representative Homer Angell of Oregon said this date that he would ask for early House action on a bill to impose Government controls over speculation and futures trading in coffee, the price of which had suddenly risen of late to above one dollar per pound. He said that the bill would control "skulduggery or price-fixing" of coffee. The FTC and a Senate Banking subcommittee were investigating the price increase.

At the President's suggestion, a group of governors would visit Korea around April 1 to appraise the situation there and report to the American people, as made public by the White House this date from a letter from the President to Governor Dan Thornton of Colorado, chairman of the Governors Conference. White House press secretary James Hagerty said that members of the Conference executive committee had agreed to make the trip, though the names of the particular governors had not yet been announced.

The Foreign Operations Administration, responsible for foreign aid, announced this date that Finland would be permitted to purchase three million dollars worth of surplus U.S. tobacco and two million dollars worth of surplus cotton with its own currency. Congress had earmarked between 100 and 250 million dollars of the foreign aid funds allocated for the year to finance disposal of surplus farm products abroad, the total thus far allotted having reached 94.35 million dollars worth. The Finnish currency would be used for U.S. purchase of Finnish products.

The Washington Post said this date that Henry Grunewald, once a Washington influence peddler, had been questioned before a Federal grand jury in Washington regarding his contacts with Truman Administration officials. Mr. Grunewald had served a jail sentence the previous year for contempt of Congress for refusing to answer questions about his activities, and had been before the grand jury several times, as the Justice Department had been investigating influence peddling within the Government for the previous several months.

In New York, the board of directors of the New York Central Railroad rejected the bid of Robert Young to become a director and chairman of the board. Mr. Young, who owned the largest individual stock-holding in the railroad, said that he believed that in late May, when the shareholders would meet to vote for a new board of directors, they would elect those who cared for the shareholders and the public rather than submit "to a Morgan ownership board with countless conflicting interests".

In Des Moines, an irate taxpayer, who had paid part of a $13,542 Federal tax claim against him with a tubful of silver dollars over which he had poured two buckets of blood, had caused a furor at the U.S. tax office the previous day, saying that he wanted to "raise hell" with tax collectors because they had harassed his parents during the investigation of his finances, causing his father to suffer three strokes, and so obtained the blood from a packing house. The Iowa Internal Revenue director accused him of defacing U.S. currency, but the Secret Service ruled that the silver dollars had not been defaced as they had not been permanently damaged, and the director finally accepted the payment, albeit only if the taxpayer would count it, which he obliged during a two-hour period, counting out $4,997. A picture is included.

In Raleigh, Governor William B. Umstead said this date that he did not believe in promising to build roads to get votes. He repeated his hope that State officials whom he had appointed would support the re-election effort of interim Senator Alton Lennon in the May Democratic primary against former Governor Kerr Scott, but said that he did not intend to threaten anyone into doing so, that any question by the press regarding the role to be played in the campaign by the Highway Commission would have to be directed to the chairman of the Commission, A. H. Graham, saying only that roads should be built where they were needed, as the people paid for the roads. He was working on the appointment of an advisory committee to help develop a water resources plan for the state, saying that he hoped that other agencies, such as the Neuse River Watershed Authority, would work with the other two groups, including the Water Resources Committee of the State Board of Conservation and Development.

In Los Angeles, the body of a young movie talent scout, bound hand and foot, had been discovered the previous night in the bedroom of his suburban Sherman Oaks home where he lived alone. Police said that he had been bludgeoned with a piece of firewood and that the house was a shambles, with trails of blood indicating that the victim had put up a struggle before he was killed. His expensive 1953 automobile was missing and a bulletin had been issued by the police to be on the lookout for it. The man's body had been discovered by his girlfriend when she went to the house the previous night and saw a pool of blood through a window when she received no answer. The police said that the presence of bottles and glasses indicated that a drinking party may have preceded the killing.

Also in Los Angeles, an attorney for the former wife of Errol Flynn had reported that he would ask that the film star be fined and sent to jail for 60 days for contempt of court for violating an existing order of support for his two daughters, on which the attorney said he was behind by a total of $6,000 on the $550 monthly payments, which, said the attorney, he had neglected deliberately. Mr. Flynn was believed to be in Rome. His former wife had subsequently married singer Dick Haymes, then divorced him, and he was now married to Rita Hayworth.

In Pensacola, Fla., a woman clad in a strapless evening gown was charged with vagrancy and loitering the previous night after detectives found her on a suburban street hitchhiking, telling the detectives that she was from Alabama—possibly with a banjo on her knee—and thumbing her way to a town in Florida to visit her husband, that the evening gown was the only decent thing she had to wear. That was not a very nice way to treat a nice lady.

On the editorial page, "Police Chief Needs More Authority" indicates that for the previous 10 or 12 years, it had been generally stated in public that the administration of the Charlotte Police Department had been bad, but it says that it was not prepared to argue who was responsible for that fact, though it was clear that the chief did not have the authority needed to carry out the responsibility provided him by the City Charter, to achieve "discipline and efficiency" in the Department.

It indicates that Dick Young, in a piece on the page, described this date the limitations on the chief's authority pursuant to the Civil Service Act, that he could not promote any officer without the approval of the Civil Service Commission, could not demote an officer until he had submitted written charges to the Commission and a hearing thereon held, and that the Commission had the final power to suspend or discharge an officer, who then had the right of appeal to the Superior Court. It finds that it could be argued convincingly that officers needed protection against the whim, caprice or vindictiveness of a chief, but that it could also be argued convincingly that civil service ought never be a protection for lazy, inefficient or careless public servants.

It indicates that Chief Frank Littlejohn had told the editors of the newspaper on many occasions that there were men in his department who were sitting on their hands, but that he was helpless to do anything about it, could not demote them in rank or shift them to jobs of less importance until they did something so flagrant that he could bring them before the Commission for a hearing. It believes that the situation would be worse should the Chief retire or be fired, as the new chief would lack the prestige which came from long tenure. It believes that were J. Edgar Hoover to become the chief, he could do little to improve matters under the present Civil Service Act. It thus hopes that the General Assembly in 1955 would remedy that problem, and advises the City Council to begin studying the matter to make recommendations along those lines, to provide for reorganization of the Police Department.

"Heed the Lesson of China and Korea" indicates that there was substantial opposition building in Washington to increasing aid to the French in Indo-China and specifically to dispatching American civilian technicians, as ordered by Joint Chiefs chairman, Admiral Arthur Radford—though at last report, they were military technicians. Influential Senators of both parties, including Senators Harry F. Byrd, John Stennis and Walter George, plus Republican Leverett Saltonstall of Massachusetts, were doubting the wisdom of that move. Senate Majority Leader William Knowland had assured his colleagues that the Administration had no intention of sending combat forces to Indo-China, a position confirmed by Secretary of Defense Charles E. Wilson, who added that victory for the French and the native forces was probable unless Communist China increased its aid to the Vietminh rebels. Secretary Wilson, as had the President at his press conference the previous day, had assured that the technicians would be home by summer and that the war there would not become another Korea.

It finds a parallel between the optimism being expressed and that which had been stated during the Truman Administration in 1949 before the Chinese Communists had taken over in the civil war with the Nationalist Government, as well prior to the incursion of South Korea by North Korea in mid-1950, when then-Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson had been engaging in serious cutbacks to defense since the beginning of his tenure in March, 1949, following the resignation and then death of Secretary James Forrestal.

It believes that responsible Americans were again considering yielding to popular demand for tax reduction and decrease in the commitment of the U.S. abroad at a time when facts militated in favor of stopping the Communists in Indo-China at once, using such U.S. and allied personnel and materials as necessary to do the job. Though such a policy would be unpopular, it would be better and cheaper in the long-run, it suggests, than a repetition of past policy in China and Korea, which had amounted to too little, too late.

It suggests that the new Dulles "instant retaliation" formula for defense was designed to deter big wars, but observes that the Communists now did not appear to want to start a big war, only stressing smaller wars, as the one in Indo-China, thus not allowing the U.S. the opportunity to consider whether to wage atomic warfare in retaliation. It concludes that men and materials were immediately needed in Indo-China and to deny that fact was to delay "a costlier final effort."

But having run a campaign in 1952 as a military man turned civilian who favored peace, not war, and had promised an end to the fighting in Korea, which he had fulfilled, however unsatisfactorily insofar as reuniting Korea and satisfying the South Koreans, the President's hands were bound, lest he be seen by those Eisenhower Democrats who had voted for him in large numbers, ensuring his election, as just another Truman in Republican clothing. He could not very well turn around now and commit men and large amounts of military aid to the French effort in Indo-China—which, as we know, was not, in actuality, at this point, going very well, within a jungle terrain very different from the mountainous, open terrain of Korea, and where the enemy tended to blend in with the civilian population, thus a very different war from those fought previously by the U.S in the Pacific, where, for the most part, the lines were neatly drawn and an enemy could be discerned from an ally. But, of course, we have the great benefit of 20-20 hindsight with respect to the war in Indo-China, of which not so much was known at the time by most Americans.

"Truth about the State Department" indicates that one of the most cultivated McCarthy myths had been that the State Department under the Truman Administration had been full of Communists, a claim begun by Senator McCarthy at his Wheeling, W.Va., Lincoln Day speech in February, 1950, that there were 205 "card-carrying" Communists in the State Department, within days altered to varying figures, down to 57 in Ketchum, Idaho, or somewhere along his bourbon-burdened trail. During the ensuing four years, it suggests, the Senator had made accusations against other targets, but always returned to the State Department, continuing the charges even after the beginning of the Eisenhower Administration a year earlier.

It indicates that the Alsops had provided the facts on the front page of The News the previous day, that the State Department security officer Scott McLeod, a McCarthy man, had confessed to a Congressional subcommittee that he had found no Communists in the Department, that only 11 persons had been dismissed for "loyalty reasons", none of them for being Communists or subversives, and that seven of those cases had been initiated under the Truman Administration. Undersecretary Walter Bedell Smith had also testified, saying that there had never been any Communists in the Department, as far as he knew, except for Alger Hiss and one other minor official who had been fired long earlier.

It concludes that the truth will out, but wonders whether the McCarthy myth had been shattered or would linger on, "an evil and diabolical thing, fed by the fuel of human suspicion and fanned by the gusts from the Wisconsin blatherskite."

A piece from the Milwaukee Journal, titled "Top News", assesses what made news, finding an item in an Hungarian newspaper offering a good example, wherein a story appeared of a woman who bought some coal at a fuel depot in Budapest, where a depot employee informed the woman that the stock of coal had run out, that if she would leave her phone number, the employee would call her as soon as coal became available, whereupon the next day, the employee telephoned the woman and told her that the coal had arrived.

It concludes that in Communist-controlled Hungary, that was considered news.

That is a bit unfair, as you could pick up any front page of any American newspaper and find it equally possessed of unnewsworthy items scrunched in as filler, so that blank spaces would not appear. Sometimes, the editors cannot make it all just perfectly fit, with the consequence that absurdities often appear on front pages, or elsewhere in the newspaper. Some of it is plain garbage, of doubtful validity, produced by press agents and the like.

One such example, which we skipped, appears this date on the front page from Lee, Maine, stating that a man, 83, had gone skating with the "rest of the kids". That is simply filler.

Again, for that very reason of the necessity of composition and editing of a newspaper, as well the deadlines under which the hasty pudding is usually prepared, we advise strongly that one should never necessarily believe everything one reads in any newspaper, though by the same stroke, one should not take the Trumpian view and believe nothing one reads in generally credible newspapers or which one hears or views on generally credible broadcast news organs, lest you wind up a Q-a-nut or Info-warrior, one and the same.

Dick Young of The News, as indicated in the above editorial, discusses the limitations of authority possessed by the police chief under the Civil Service Act, which he quotes and explains, in accordance with the above piece. He indicates that the same limitations applied to the Fire Department and its chief.

Drew Pearson indicates that the RNC planned a campaign chest of 3.8 million dollars for the midterm Congressional elections and would not have much trouble raising it, though they were having trouble attracting candidates. In Montana, the Republicans had allocated $300,000 as the campaign warchest to defeat elder statesman Senator James Murray, but so far had found no Republicans willing to run against him. In Wyoming, the Republicans had not found a good candidate to run against Senator Lester Hunt—who would decide in June, after a medical examination, not to seek re-election, and shortly thereafter would commit suicide. In Minnesota, where the RNC had long wanted to defeat Senator Hubert Humphrey, the candidates thus far were not to be found, after Congressman Walter Judd considered the matter and then decided not to run, and Dr. Charles Mayo of the Mayo Clinic had refused the invitation from the President to run for the position, with some Republicans wanting former Governor of Minnesota Harold Stassen to run. In West Virginia, no prominent Republican with potential had been attracted to run against Senator Matt Neely, who had been in politics since 1917. In Illinois, eleven candidates were lining up to run against Senator Paul Douglas, but only two had a national reputation, one, a former commander of the American Legion and national chairman of Americans for America, and the other, a general who was a public relations expert, making it likely that Senator Douglas would be re-elected. Mr. Pearson notes that in California, Democrats were having a hard time attracting candidates to run against Governor Goodwin Knight, successor, as Lt. Governor, the prior fall to Governor Earl Warren after he was appointed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Governor Knight appeared likely to win, possibly with Teamsters support.

Chip Robert, former treasurer of the DNC, from Atlanta, had been dining with a group of Republicans when some supporters of the President paid tribute to the cooperation they were getting from Democrats. Secretary of the Air Force Harold Talbott praised Georgia Congressman Carl Vinson, former chairman of the Armed Services Committee, for his support, which Secretary Talbott viewed as being stronger than that of many Republicans. The praise prompted Mr. Robert to recall a Georgia black man who had been provided ether when it was not used much in country hospitals, advised by the nurse that within an hour or two he would be "betwixt and between heaven and earth", neither dead nor alive, and that when the man came out from under the ether, was asked by some of his family members how he felt, whether he had gone to hell when he was half-dead, to which he had responded that he did go to hell, looked all around and then came back because every place he saw a white man down there, he saw a black person standing between him and the fire, just like on earth. Mr. Robert suggested that it was the way with Republicans, having a Democrat standing between them and the fire.

Marquis Childs indicates that if the Democratic opposition was preparing a comprehensive program to put before the voters as an alternative in the coming fall midterm election campaign, the signs of it were few and far between. He finds that when they were candid, many Democrats would say that they did not need a program, that they would capitalize on the discontent of the farmers regarding decreasing farm prices, and that if unemployment were still rising in the fall, the resentment also of urban voters. Mr. Childs observes that such expediency had worked in the past for Republicans when they were out of power, but that there was a difference at present in that American free enterprise was on trial as never before and the issues confronting the Republicans in power were the same as those which would be confronting Democrats were they in power.

Neither party had come to an agreement within its own ranks regarding how to solve the problem of the increasing, unprecedented farm surpluses. The Republicans were predicting that unemployment would correct itself by mid-year, and while they might be correct in that prediction, he reminds that the New Deal had sought between 1933 and 1940 to cure unemployment, but had never come up with any satisfactory, lasting solution until the war came along. He suggests that whether the Democrats could provide any solutions to these issues remained to be seen, and one heard many prominent Democrats, including the followers of Adlai Stevenson, indicate that they were thankful they were not occupying the White House.

James Morgan, writing in the Boston Globe, had observed that if the U.S. had a parliamentary system, the Eisenhower Government would have already been given a no-confidence vote, as it lacked a majority in the Senate and had only a nominal Republican majority of two or three members in the House, the latter not reliable for a vote with the President on major pieces of Administration-proposed legislation. He suggests, in consequence, that the country could not be smug about the dilemma of Italy and France, unable to form coalition-majority governments, as in the U.S., the executive was elected for four years. But he cautions that if the Republicans were to lose the House and their slender tie-breaking working majority in the Senate, then a divided government would be the result.

A letter writer suggests that a newspaper could be judged by the columnists and staff writers it presented, and objects to the "low standard of moral ethics" of New York columnist Earl Wilson, who, he finds, made "a habit of sneaking into women's dressing rooms and making capital of his observations", an example of which he cites from The News of February 6.

A letter writer from Pittsboro finds that, while the Bricker amendment might not be the best solution to the problem, if something were not done to check the trend of government by executive orders at home and executive agreements abroad, the country would find it necessary to establish a new "declaration of independence" to repudiate both executive orders and executive agreements, "or kiss the last vestige of freedom we have goodby." He goes on…

Goodbye. We have heard quite enough oblique and direct references to "1776" in the last 45 days in 2021 probably to last a lifetime, unfortunately likely to have cheapened for the next several years any suggestion of rekindling that spirit, the true spirit, of our Founders, depreciated in name and purpose by a bunch of ignorant scoundrels who arrogated themselves to the will of the American people, convinced of a "stolen" election which no one in their right mind could have conceived was actually the case, but given that they were out of their minds and apparently still are, there is little which can be said further about them and their activities, except to throw them in the pokey for awhile and allow them to contemplate fully their actions and hopefully come to appreciate their misperceptions of reality and what led them there.

Whether they will be amenable to an education program in basic civics, how our government functions and why, is beside the point. It ought immediately be made a mandatory part of every high school curriculum in each and every school system in the United States, public and private, and also, in more advanced form, as a mandatory freshman college course, though we shudder at that thought, being believers in maximal freedom of choice in selection of college curricula, even at the freshman level, albeit within limits on the number of courses from each area of the curriculum, as college students need badly a breath of fresh air after 12 years of largely regimented subject requirements.

In any event, that is the true spirit of 1776, education, understanding and application, not a bunch of cheap, immature vandals wreaking havoc for the sake of their immature, unweaned need for instant gratification from mommy's teat, transformed into demands for satisfaction of their subjective view on whatever issue du jour they might conjure in their wild imaginations, now and now, not tomorra, now, not through debate and compromise, but through uncompromising dictatorial will as pronounced by his or her holiness Q, that it is written and so, 'cause Nostradamus knows.

No. Go home to mommy, unweaned teat-sucker, with your little penile extender or substitute, as the case may be, stuck out there with some Trumpian flag on the end of it, using it as a literal weapon because you have no natural instrument of potency in fact.

To return briefly to the concern of the letter writer, a timely topic for our times, the Federal courts are the final arbiter of the limits of power of Congress and the President, as to whether executive orders or executive agreements have exceeded the powers allotted to the President either by the Constitution directly or by Congress through duly passed and signed law or by vote overriding a veto, pursuant to Constitutional powers of Congress and not ceded in that instance improperly to the President, as, for instance, had been held was improper in the Schechter Poultry case, striking down the National Industrial Recovery Act as unconstitutional in 1935. In the times of 1954, the response of the Bricker amendment advocate would likely have been that the Federal courts, filled by two Presidents of one party for the prior 20 years, could not be expected to delimit the powers of the President within the confines of the Constitution. But such an argument, when brought down to cases, generally failed, as exampled by the Youngstown Steel seizure case of 1952, in which the Supreme Court, with four of its members appointed by President Truman and the other five by President Roosevelt, held that President Truman had no "inherent executive power", as he contended, to seize private property, even in a national emergency such as the Korean War, absent valid authorization to do so by Congress.

A letter from Carlisle Bargeron, in Washington, executive vice-chairman of the National St. Lawrence Project Conference, responds to an editorial of January 25, "Progress along the St. Lawrence", indicates that building the Seaway for less than four percent of American flag vessels would only wind up turning over to the smaller, cheaper operated foreign vessels the ability to get through to Midwestern ports, and would compromise East Coast ports.

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.