The Charlotte News

Saturday, February 13, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Berlin at the Big Four foreign ministers conference, Austrian Foreign Minister Leopold Figl rejected Soviet Foreign Minister V. M. Molotov's proposal that the Big Four maintain troops in Austria even after conclusion of a treaty providing independence. Mr. Figl had objected to the proposal on the ground that it would mean no liberation for his country. The Western Big Three had already discarded the hope of concluding a peace treaty regarding Austria at the conference, although the debate would continue to run through an extraordinary session the following day. The Western Big Three were quite opposed to the Molotov proposal, finding it "brutal and cynical", according to Western sources.

Meanwhile, Mr. Molotov was believed to be communicating with Moscow and probably the Chinese Communist Government regarding the Western proposal for a Korean peace conference at Geneva to begin on April 15, without Communist China being one of the sponsoring powers, despite the insistence by Mr. Molotov that China be allowed to participate in a five-power conference on the Far East. The Western Big Three had insisted that there would be no compromise on the inclusion of China as an equal participant, though it was willing to allow it to sit in on the conference.

In Seoul, informed sources in Korea, who had negotiated with the Communists, said this date that Russia stood a good chance of achieving one of its major objectives, exposing the split in Western policy toward Communist China, should a major power conference on the Far East be held. The sources indicated that South Korea had long advised Washington that the Communists had no intention of concluding a political agreement on Korea, that what they really wanted was a Far Eastern conference in which those countries with ideas of neutralism, including India, Burma, and Indonesia, would be represented, with intent to bring into the open known differences among the Western democracies, especially with regard to the policy toward Communist China, to delay restoration of Japan's strength and to revive charges that the Western nations wanted to restore the colonial system in the Far East.

U.S. diplomats held out little hope that anything would come of South Korean President Syngman Rhee's offer the previous day to send South Korean troops in aid of the French Union effort in Indo-China against the Vietminh forces of Ho Chi Minh. The offer had not yet reached the French officially, but a French Embassy spokesman in Washington provided advance notice the previous day that it would be rejected out of fear that South Korean involvement would entice the Chinese Communists to intervene in the eight-year old war. French officials denied that Laos had sought help from South Korea, as claimed by President Rhee in his statement. It was also understood that State Department officials viewed the threat by President Rhee to have South Korean troops march against North Korea as a bluff, for without U.S. aid, there was no real possibility of sustaining such an effort for very long. The French commissioner general for Indo-China said in Bangkok, Thailand, this date that France remained ready to negotiate a settlement with the Vietminh, saying that military assistance from China was prolonging the war. He expressed confidence that the Vietminh would be repelled from the Laotian capital, Luang Prabang, which was being imminently threatened at present by Vietminh forces moving southward toward it, with advance troops within about 12.5 miles of the city. In Paris, National Assemblyman Pierre Mendes-France demanded that France negotiate a truce directly with Ho Chi Minh.

In Saigon, it was reported that for the fifth consecutive day, French fighters and bombers had attacked concentrations of Vietminh Division 308, moving southward toward Luang Prabang, finding the enemy troops in the Bac River valley, about 50 miles north of the capital, inflicting "certain losses". The forward elements of the division did not appear to have advanced, remaining about 30 miles north of the capital, with no contact being made by patrolling French troops with regional units of the Vietminh, reported about ten miles north and northeast of the capital for the previous five days.

In New York, Secretary of Defense Charles E. Wilson, at a Lincoln Day dinner at the National Republican Club the previous night, said that he had no patience with people who thought that blood-spilling and jobs were synonymous, and that there was no fear that the move from the Korean War to peace would lead to an economic depression.

It was reported from Honolulu that preparations for the coming hydrogen bomb tests in the Pacific were nearing a climax, and that despite a recent spate of Pacific area earthquakes having prompted speculation that an hydrogen bomb had already been exploded, seismologists denied the possibility of any such connection, that the largest bomb yet devised by man would be a peanut compared to the eruptions out of nature. It was likely, based on the weather forecast of prevailing winds through February blowing west to east across the Pacific, potentially carrying dangerous atomic dust to Hawaii and the U.S. mainland, that the test would not occur for 2 to 3 weeks hence, at the earliest.

The President planned to send to Congress a special message the following week on peacetime use of atomic energy by private industry in the country and regarding the sharing of some atomic information with the country's allies. The President had already said that he had no intention of asking Congress to amend the existing laws to permit providing allies with data on how to build an atomic bomb but only regarding the effects of atomic weaponry. The plan was announced in Thomasville, Ga., where the President had gone to engage in quail hunting with Secretary of the Treasury George Humphrey. The President had downed ten quail—which is better than quailing 10 Downing—, two short of the daily limit, within three hours after his arrival the previous afternoon. He wore a tan corduroy cap, a bright green jacket and light gray whipcord hunting trousers, with an extra thickness of sturdy suede leather down the front, plus leather hunting boots to protect against poisonous snakes in the area, as the night before the arrival of the President, a bird dog had been killed near the plantation by a snake. It was probably some Commie plant.

In Vatican City, Pope Pius XII, who was still recovering from his January 25 attack of gastritis, planned to speak on the radio the following day to the world's sick. The announcement indicated that he would speak the first words of the ten-minute address, which would then be completed by a Vatican speaker. A day of prayer for the sick was one of the major events of the current Marian year observance.

In New York, a man was discovered two days earlier in Harlem dying of stab wounds in a doorway, was taken to the hospital where he died later in the day. He had been identified the previous night as a former Communist who was trained in methods of sabotage in 1931 for a year in Moscow before turning against the party in 1935, appearing in 1948 as a witness in deportation hearings against Communists, including the mysterious J. Peters, reputed to be the top Communist agent in the country, and had been scheduled for other such testimony.

In London, it was reported that the tiny Communist Party in Britain had dropped in membership during the previous year from 35,124 in 1952 down to 35,054 the previous March, and was calling for a membership drive.

In the Adirondack Mountains north of Utica, N.Y., the temperature had dropped to 46 below zero early this date, with similar temperatures recorded in nearby villages. The U.S. Weather Bureau in Albany said that the lowest temperature on its records for the state had been 52 below zero in February, 1934, at Stillwater reservoir, also in the Adirondacks. The temperature was 39 below early this date at the summit of mile-high Mount Washington in New Hampshire, although not a record for that location. A wind of 72 mph with gusts up to 85 had accompanied the temperature, and the Bureau said that it would have been a lot colder but for the wind not allowing the cold air to settle. Strong southerly winds caused warmer temperatures to prevail over the mid-continent, with a forecast of mild winter weather for the weekend. Congressman Gerald Ford could head out to Vail for skiing, perhaps. Or, maybe he could join the President in his hunt for quail down in Georgia. But, given his proneness to be prone, they might not want him carrying around a shotgun.

Dick Young of The News tells of the opening of a cornerstone of the D. H. Hill School on South Boulevard and East Morehead Street in Charlotte, laid in 1858, revealing a one cent piece from 1857 and a blackened scroll which was waterlogged and falling apart at the touch. The inscription on the cornerstone was so weathered that it was impossible to read, but another slab had been inserted next to it, which read that it had been erected on July 29, 1858. The school had initially been a military academy for Southern boys, who, starting in 1861, had eventually marched away to the Civil War, during which the building had been used as a Confederate hospital. The property had been acquired in the 1880's for a city school and at the turn of the century, was one of two white schools in the City's school system, eventually condemned many years earlier by State authorities as a school, more recently being used as maintenance headquarters and for storage of supplies for the schools. The structure was slated to be razed for an approach to the underpass where the extended Independence Boulevard flowed under Morehead Street, and wrecking crews were set to begin their work as soon as all valuable artifacts from the site were recovered.

Lucien Agniel of The News reports that a 15-year old Charlotte boy had read everything on rockets, was building one, and was planning a mile-high experimental flight within two weeks, while his schoolmates still sat placidly watching "Captain Video" and "Captain Midnight" on television. He said that he had become interested in rockets a few months earlier as a sideline to his chemistry course in junior high school, and had been aided in his effort by a science teacher in the City schools, a well-known horticulturalist, who agreed with the boy that his rocket would work, supplying his farm as a proving ground. He had also been supplied by Alcoa with a free aluminum block out of which to construct the fuel chamber for the rocket, plus a ten-foot sheet of aluminum to fashion its body. He said it would be built along the lines of the old German V-2 and would likely be powered by alcohol and nitric acid. You probably want to point it away from England, lest you alarm MI6 and perhaps get kidnaped by men dressed in black who still recall the Baedeker raids, and might spirit you away to some secret bunker for extensive interrogation regarding your knowledge also of the German language.

On the editorial page, "Charlotte Needs Better Air Routes" indicates that when the City of Charlotte had intervened in the Boston-New York-Atlanta-New Orleans case before the Civil Aeronautics Board in 1946, there had been widespread dissatisfaction with the service provided by Eastern Air Lines for the community. Five airlines had applied to CAB for permission to fly between Atlanta and Washington without any of them seeking a stop in Charlotte, prompting the City to intervene, seeking an end to Eastern's monopoly, eventually winding up in defeat.

Another major hearing was set before CAB regarding the Northeast-Southwest Service case, in which several major airlines were seeking to compete with Eastern along the route through the Southeast, from Maine to Texas, with Charlotte again deciding to intervene.

It finds that the City Council had demonstrated foresight in the decision, as aviation played a vital role in the life of the city, to become larger and more important into the future, with the city having invested heavily in the Municipal Airport and its new administration building. Eastern was providing good service on its north-south route, but there was also the necessity for competition from other carriers, and the city needed better east-west service.

"On Practicing What We Teach" indicates that in a recent editorial on State Representative J. A. Speight's proposal for a special committee to try to settle the dispute on the State secrecy law passed by the 1953 General Assembly, amending previous law which had required that all budgetary matters be heard in a public session, with the newspaper adding the proposal that the group include public members, as well as press and legislative representatives, the latter two groups having been the limit of participation under Mr. Speight's proposal.

It indicates that the point had been better made in an editorial in the current issue of North Carolina Education, after the editor had attended the recent "Freedom of Information" seminar in Raleigh, hearing J. Russell Wiggins, managing editor of the Washington Post, say that he hoped the Legislature would not long continue to punish the people for what some members looked on as impatience by the press. It pointed out that in books used in the schools, such as in Calling All Citizens, a statement had been made that when the right of citizens to read and hear was denied, there was no way to find out what the majority wanted and no democracy. In Challenges to American Youth, it was said that the truth would make the people free, but wondered how the truth could be discovered without hearing all sides of an issue before passing judgment. The editorial in North Carolina Education had concluded that the tenets thus being taught in schools would likely not continue to have vitality should North Carolina's secrecy law be maintained.

"Why Men Ask Scouts To Come Along" indicates that Justice William O. Douglas had proposed a trip along the canal near Washington to include Washington Post editors, that they might see for themselves that the road they wanted to construct along the canal would mar the beauty of one of the few pieces of virgin real estate in the region. He had also invited two Explorer Scouts to accompany him.

The piece posits that the reason for inviting the Scouts was so that they could be prepared, per their motto, to aid the limping editors when they wore out during the hike, and because they would appreciate natural woodlands and be able to communicate reasonably with the editors on why the roadway would be a bad idea.

It indicates that Admiral Richard Byrd had requested that an Eagle Scout accompany him on one of his expeditions to the Antarctic, understandable, as scouting prepared boys for positions of resourcefulness, self-reliance and leadership. It notes the rapid growth of the Scouts in Mecklenburg County, with 3,729 Cub, Boy and Explorer Scouts enrolled the previous year, an increase of more than 70 percent during the previous decade. Two troops in the community had jointly won the President's Cup the previous year.

It concludes that while there was no canal to explore with a Supreme Court Justice in Mecklenburg County or penguin polar region to visit, scouting, nevertheless, was always an adventure and education, and that when Scouts got older, some of their fondest memories would be of their Scouting days, even the "seemingly grueling sessions before the examiners and that first 'snipe hunt'."

We would have to draw the line at sniping.

"Yes, It Pays To Advertise" indicates that despite D.C. voters not having the right to vote and being ruled by sometimes obtuse commissioners, a few months earlier, District officials had sought unsuccessfully to restrain a young Marine from labeling his car a lemon, and more recently had beat a hasty retreat from an irate grocer who had advertised in his display window that his store would trade a customer's car for a pound of coffee if the customer would trade the present Administration for something better, plus another poster which said that coffee was being delivered by protection of Brink's. Though there had been a protest about the signs, the District officials eventually backed off an initial order to have the signs removed on penalty of prosecution.

The piece finds that it showed how enterprising advertising paid off, as the grocer had received a great deal of new business since the confrontation with the District officials, and would likely soon change his party affiliation.

Drew Pearson indicates that Chief Justice Earl Warren, appointed while Congress had been out of session in October, and thus still subject to confirmation by the Senate, was being investigated by the FBI because of complaints inspired by former California Attorney General Fred Howser and by opposing Senator James Eastland of Mississippi, the latter concerned that Chief Justice Warren would vote to end segregation in the public schools. As a result, Senator William Langer of North Dakota, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, had notified the Justice Department that the Committee would hold up the confirmation until it received the full FBI report on Chief Justice Warren. Meanwhile, Senator Langer had sent out his own investigators to the West Coast to check on 97 complaints which the Judiciary Committee had received against the former Governor, although many of the complaints appeared to be of the crank variety.

Senator Langer had phoned Deputy Attorney General William Rogers after several weeks had passed without the FBI report being produced, prompting Mr. Rogers to indicate that Earl Warren was one of the most distinguished men in the country, having been elected Governor three times, to which Senator Langer responded that notwithstanding those facts, he would be treated like anyone else who came before the Committee, making it clear that he would not be confirmed until the FBI investigation was complete.

Mr. Howser, who had been overwhelmingly defeated for re-election in California after Mr. Pearson's column had exposed his friendship with California gamblers, prompting him to sue Mr. Pearson for libel, with the jury ultimately determining that the charges were true, was the chief opponent to the confirmation of Mr. Warren, who had ordered formation of a special crime commission in California which had maintained an eye on Mr. Howser while in office.

Mr. Pearson finds noteworthy a Lincoln Day speech by Democratic Senator Thomas Burke of Ohio, the long-time Mayor of Cleveland who had been appointed the prior fall by Governor Frank Lausche to replace deceased Senator Robert Taft, the Senator saying of President Lincoln that he had been deeply preoccupied with the rights of the people, not just the high and mighty, but all of the people, had been opposed to sacrificing principle or people for political gain. He quoted Mr. Lincoln as having said that he believed it an established maxim in morals that one who made an assertion without knowing of its truth or falsity was guilty of falsehood and that the accidental truth of the assertion did not justify or excuse the unknowing nature of the assertion. Senator Burke had then said that Postmaster General Arthur Summerfield had indicated that the Government had rid itself of 2,200 security risks and that he did not feel "amiably inclined toward people who make treason a preoccupation". The Senator contrasted that with Mr. Lincoln's statement of his belief that it was necessary "to get rid of unjust suspicion of one another". He went on to say that the President's legal counsel, Bernard Shanley, had asserted recently that 1,456 subversives had been kicked out of the Government since the President had taken office, whereas Mr. Lincoln had said that "persisting in a charge which one does not know to be true is simply malicious slander." While the Administration had said that it was not feasible to break down the categories of the security-risk cases to show how many were actually suspects in treason and how many were guilty or suspected of actual misconduct, Mr. Lincoln had said, "A man cannot prove a negative, but he has the right to claim that when one makes an affirmative charge he must offer some proof to show the truth of what he says."

Joseph & Stewart Alsop find that the President's legislative program appeared on the road to success, with an extraordinarily high proportion of the proposals to be approved by Congress, and, if the President fought for the rest, likely to obtain almost everything he sought. The proof of the success was in the chastened compliance of anti-Eisenhower Republicans and the "mournful, surprised faces" of the Democrats. The hardened politicians of both parties were caught off guard, not anticipating the reaction of the country to the program, largely positive. It had been awhile since a President had seriously sought from Congress a comprehensive program of legislation. President Truman's proposals had largely been designed to put Congress on the spot, with no intent of actually achieving passage of large parts of it. They venture that President Truman, himself, might have been horrified had the Congress actually voted for some of the more extreme proposals, such as the health and social security plans proposed by Oscar Ewing. And in the five years prior to President Truman, FDR's programs had dealt primarily with war problems.

The Democrats had planned to make the "do-nothing" 83rd Republican Congress an issue in the midterm election campaigns, but now had to shift strategy, causing them to have to adopt a "me too" approach on many of the major domestic policy issues dealt with by the President's proposals.

The part of the program which would have the least trouble of passage was that which the President defined as "liberalism about human problems", despite opposition from right-wing Republicans, who, nevertheless, would go along for the most part. Senate Minority Leader Lyndon Johnson had indicated that he would go along with the President on Social Security and "raise you 10 millions". On housing, it was more of the same.

Regarding "conservatism about economic problems", three principal rows would likely occur, with conservative Republicans being set on providing tax relief to the larger taxpayers, more so than the President had proposed, while Democrats wanted to benefit the individual taxpayers at the lower end of the brackets. But with the President on a moderate course, he had a good chance to get most of what he proposed. Regarding reciprocal trade, House Ways & Means Committee chairman Daniel Reed had the President in a bind, with his Committee having to deal first with taxes and Social Security extensions, enabling him to contend that there was no time for trade issues, making the prospect low for trade legislation during the year, although the President would likely obtain another extension of the Reciprocal Trade Act to enable the possibility of trade legislation in 1955.

Without going through the other parts of the President's program, they indicate generally that it had great political appeal across the country and thus promised legislative success, nurturing further the campaign appeal which the President had in 1952 and encouraging confidence in his leadership ability.

Marquis Childs, still in Chattanooga, Tenn., indicates that two years earlier, Senator Estes Kefauver, in his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, had adopted a coonskin cap as a political symbol of his common origins, positing himself as the fearless young pioneer. He had defeated the machine of Boss Ed Crump in Memphis in his Senate primary race in 1950, and demonstrated amazing stamina as he battled the bosses and the party leaders for delegates at the 1952 nominating convention, receiving 362½ votes out of 615½ votes necessary for nomination on the second ballot, with many of his followers believing that eventually he would be nominated.

Now, he was up for re-election to the Senate and the likelihood was that the primary fight would tax his resources, as enemies from the past had combined with new enemies who wanted to force him out of politics. The only announced rival thus far was Congressman Pat Sutton, representing the state's largely rural Sixth Congressional District, an effective speaker with a booming voice, but not likely to pose any serious competition for the nomination. Former Governor Prentice Cooper would also likely enter the race, was rated a wily politician who had built up a personal organization during his three terms as Governor. With the vote split three ways, Senator Kefauver might be in for a rough time. His enemies wanted to capitalize on a mood of reaction in the state by trying to label him a "left-winger" and "pink", the technique of Boss Crump and others of the "patronage and pap school of politics", the approach adopted by Mr. Sutton.

Senator Kefauver, during his time in the Senate and in his previous decade in the House, had voted for things in which he believed and for which his party professed to stand, actively supporting the measures to strengthen the free world against Communism just as he had supported the U.N., resisting the extremists who, he believed, would sacrifice ancient American freedoms because of their fear of Communism.

A letter writer comments on the question of the blue law banning Sunday movies, says that he did not attend them on Sundays or any other day but believed in religious liberty and maintaining the separation between church and state, which he perceives as being transgressed by the City ordinance closing certain types of entertainment on Sundays to aid in church attendance. He regards all blue laws as unfair to one group or another, "un-American and totalitarian", without place in the American form of government. He indicates that a person ought be free to believe and worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience without the pressure of laws, a subject regarding which the majority had no right to determine, the conscience being an individual matter.

A letter writer indicates that the newspaper had been brave in expressing opinions about liberty in distant places such as Washington, but not about local controversies such as the ban on Sunday movies. He believes that the clergy and the community were trying to use force to prevent people from attending movies on Sundays.

The editors respond that the writer had apparently missed the editorial of February 8 which had indicated disagreement with the Charlotte ministers regarding their opposition to Sunday evening movies as an exception to the blue law ban, and its statement that the newspaper believed that laws should not be used to enforce religious practices.

A letter writer from Cheraw, S.C., indicates that he had noticed in the newspapers and reports the previous few days statements of some people calling the Democrats traitors to the country, resented it very much as a Democrat, was aware that many good Republicans would not stoop so low. He indicates that while the Democratic Party was not perfect and had made some mistakes, the same was true of the Republicans, especially those now trying to claim that Democrats were traitors. He urges Republicans to listen to the President, whom many Democrats admired for his honest efforts to carry out his program, whether they agreed with all of it or not, and to move forward, rather than chastening Democrats for the past.

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