The Charlotte News

Monday, February 15, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Berlin, at the Big Four foreign ministers conference, U.S. officials said this date that Russia's determination to keep its forward military positions in Europe meant that the U.S. would have to maintain sizable forces in Europe also for a long time to come, with Secretary of State Dulles believing that one of the most important achievements of Western diplomacy at the conference had been the determination of Soviet military intentions in Germany and Austria, dispelling any confusion and uncertainty in the Pentagon regarding America's future military policy, in the wake of the death of Stalin the previous March 5 and the beginning of the Malenkov regime with its peace tenders, allowing for clarity in planning for maintenance of strong U.S. defense forces in Europe. There had been a tendency in some quarters in Washington to advocate leveling off of the military burden because of decreased danger, that forces in Europe could be reduced, coinciding with the efforts to balance the budget and effect tax cuts. The conference, according to Secretary Dulles and other U.S. diplomatic officials present, had proved the fallacy of that reasoning.

This date, the foreign ministers had engaged in a secret session, with the Big Three Western ministers pressing Soviet Foreign Minister V. M. Molotov for a similar showdown on Korea and Indo-China.

The Treasury Department, through its acting security officer, had informed the House Appropriations Committee in a report, that out of 130 "security" dismissals or forced resignations in 1953, four had been found to be the result of disloyalty, under standards since eliminated. The report indicated that a person might be given a "dangerous" rating if they were "a rugged individual" with a mother behind the Iron Curtain, that the person did not have to be disloyal to be considered a security risk. The Department employed 77,000 persons. A separate report on the 8,000 employees of the Customs Service, supervising imports to the U.S., stated that six persons had been dismissed in 1953 as security risks, all six for having "contact" with Communists.

Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson announced this date that the Government support price for butter, presently at about 66 cents per pound, would be reduced by about eight cents, effective April 1, with reductions to be made also at the same time on the support prices for cheese and dried skim milk, the Secretary indicating that dairy price supports would be set at 75 percent of parity beginning April 1, the minimum level allowed by law, whereas the present support price was at 90 percent of parity. The cuts would likely result in a commensurate drop in the retail price of butter. The Government had accumulated more than 350 million dollars worth of surplus butter, cheese and dried milk under current price supports, and some dairymen had been urging lower supports on the theory that it would bring about increased use of their products.

The President this date nominated Col. Charles Lindbergh, who in 1927 had achieved fame for the first trans-Atlantic solo crossing, for promotion to brigadier general in the Air Force reserve, and also nominated Brig. General Wallace Graham, the personal physician to former President Truman, for promotion to major general in the Air Force reserve.

After returning from his weekend quail hunt in Georgia, the President planned to leave on Wednesday for five days of sun, golf and work in Palm Springs, Calif., to return to Washington the following Monday, to be accompanied by Mrs. Eisenhower and a group of staff members. White House press secretary James Hagerty said that the President had been frequently invited to visit Palm Springs by Paul Hoffman, former Marshall Plan administrator, who was a neighbor of Paul Helms, a baking firm executive and personal friend of the President, on whose ranch the President and his party would be staying.

In Greensboro, N.C., doctors were considering whether to perform surgery on the eyes of a 12-year old girl, whose stepmother was charged with malicious maiming by putting out the right eye of the girl with her thumbs. No explanation had been given for the alleged act, for which the stepmother had been arrested the prior Saturday after two weeks of investigation by the juvenile division of the police department. The little girl had been a patient at Duke Hospital in Durham since late January, reportedly having lost sight in her right eye and being almost blind in her left eye, the latter not part of the charge against the stepmother. A teacher had noticed the girl having trouble with her eyesight and she was taken for an examination by a Greensboro doctor on January 5, then admitted to Duke Hospital on January 28. Detectives in Greensboro who questioned the stepmother, said that they left her cell while she was reading her Bible.

Ann Sawyer of The News indicates that the County Commissioners in Mecklenburg County had abandoned all hope this date of testing public opinion on purchase of voting machines, following a letter from State Attorney General Harry McMullan, in which he indicated that he could find no authority which would authorize the commissioners to hold a plebiscite for such a purpose, that it would be void and that no public funds could be spent for it. The plebiscite was designed to determine the public's attitude toward voting machines before issuance of $500,000 in County bonds for the purpose of the purchase, with all of the County commissioners, save one, having been opposed to the purchase.

In Charlotte, plans for construction of "one of the finest restaurants and motels in the area", costing $350,000, to be located on Independence Boulevard adjoining the site of the new Coliseum-Auditorium complex, was disclosed this date with the filing of a request for a zoning adjustment. The name of the motel is not provided, but, if memory serves, it was called the "Coliseum"—though by modern motel standards, even as early as the early 1960's, it would be considered quite dated, a single-story affair, with its features being free tv, air conditioning, an ice machine, and a swimming pool.

Dick Young of The News indicates that Charlotte Police Chief Frank Littlejohn this date had been officially directed by the Civil Service Commission to submit any recommendations for amendment to the State Civil Service law which would aid him in the proper administration of the Police Department, and was also asked to confer with the Commission regarding any current conditions requiring immediate attention for improvement of police administration. The session had been called in response to an editorial appearing in The News, by Mr. Young, the previous week, calling attention to legal restrictions preventing the chief from conducting efficiently the administration of the Department.

Lucien Agniel of The News tells of trying to play the flute under the direction of Dr. William Kincaid, formerly of Charlotte, presently a flutist with the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra, in Charlotte to play two concerts with the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra this night and the following day at the Piedmont Junior High School auditorium. Dr. Kincaid had received Mr. Agniel in his room at the Hotel Barringer for his first lesson, although not to be played on Dr. Kincaid's beautiful platinum flute, but rather on a lesser instrument. He first explained, when Mr. Agniel had sought to hold the instrument backward because he was left-handed, that there were no left-handed flute players, explaining also that one had to have an embouchure, that is the proper muscles of the mouth, to produce a sound of any kind on the flute. Mr. Agniel then sought to blow a few notes, causing a noise to emanate akin to a "defective steam radiator". Dr. Kincaid said that it was enough for his first lesson, as he had no embouchure; just as there was no point in taking singing lessons if one had no voice, there was no point in taking flute lessons without any embouchure, that perhaps he had some other talent. Dr. Kincaid took the flute apart and explained each component, the head joint, the body, and the foot joint. He also instructed that while music was divided into classical, romantic and modern periods, the classicists had been modern in their day, that Aaron Copland, 100 years hence, might fit into the classical category, that what he was doing was positive. He regarded Benjamin Britten as also doing work of a high order. Mr. Agniel explains that Dr. Kincaid, who had flown in from Philadelphia after recording with the Symphony Orchestra the previous day, would depart early on Wednesday for Columbus, O., to rejoin the Orchestra on tour.

Two French naval officers rode a diving bell 13,228 feet below the surface of the Atlantic off Dakar on the west coast of Africa this date, establishing a new diving-depth record, surpassing the record set the previous September 30 by Professor Auguste Piccard and his son, Jacques, who had gone to a depth of 10,339 feet in the Tyrrhenian Sea off the island of Ponza, Italy, in a bathyscafe.

On the editorial page, "GOP Can't Add, and Won't Divide" indicates that Republicans continued to assert that the 2,200 dismissed "security risks" from the Government during the first year of the Administration involved subversives, when, in fact, Scott McLeod, State Department security officer, had recently testified to Congress that no Communists had been found in the State Department, though subsequently claiming that the matter had been misreported, while in an interview with U.S. News & World Report, from which it quotes, still not providing any breakdown of the supposed subversives within the "security risk" category.

The piece indicates that if there had been subversives, the Administration would be pursuing them under the Smith Act, subjecting to criminal prosecution anyone advocating the overthrow of the Government by force and violence. Furthermore, the breakdown of the numbers would not compromise individuals, as Mr. McLeod had claimed as an excuse for not providing the breakdown. In 1950, Senator Clyde Hoey of North Carolina, while chairman of the Investigating subcommittee presently headed by Senator McCarthy, had conducted a hearing on perversion among Government employees, disclosing in a report that from January, 1947, when records on homosexuality were first maintained, through October, 1950, 574 cases were reported of such conduct in civilian agencies, with the committee report breaking down the cases by department, showing 143 in the State Department, and also stating how many such cases resulted in dismissal, resignation, or clearance, or those still pending. Yet, the Eisenhower Administration continued to refuse to provide a similar breakdown regarding the "security risk" firings, probably, it posits, because of shame in doing so following the careless misrepresentations of the issue by leading Administration spokesmen, such as Postmaster General Arthur Summerfield, former RNC chairman.

It concludes that it was a "gloomy chapter" in the history of the Administration, which could not be glossed over.

"Your Year-Round Valentine Gift" tells of the earliest physician of record, an Egyptian named Imhotep, having recognized 5,000 years earlier that the heart was the center of the distribution system for blood, with the Chinese having also achieved some understanding of the heart and blood vessels prior to 1000 B.C., followed by the Greeks adding more knowledge regarding the heart and circulatory system, the Romans becoming first aware of heart disease through the writings of Seneca, describing heart attacks, which eventually led to his death. The ancient Israelites wrote about the heart in the Old Testament, with Proverbs stating: "Above all, guard thy heart; for out of it are the well springs of life."

The leading cause of disability and death in the country at present was heart disease, as it had been for several decades. Medical science in recent years had learned a great deal of new knowledge about the heart and circulation, as well as diagnosis, treatment, care, prevention, surgery and rehabilitation regarding heart disease. But medical science had not yet determined the causes of three diseases which accounted for about 90 percent of all heart disease, high blood pressure, rheumatic heart disease, and coronary heart disease. Continued research in those areas was needed, along with continued educational programs and community services for heart disease sufferers.

It urges, therefore, contribution to the United Appeal for the Heart Association of Mecklenburg, with it constituting a year-round Valentine's gift to the millions of persons suffering from heart disease.

"On Sassafras and Sweet Gum" indicates that an editorial writer for the Greensboro Daily News, recalling his childhood, had caused memories of same to be aroused regarding sassafras, the Greensboro editorialist having his memories rekindled by an item from Van Buren, Mo., in the Ozarks, where sassafras trees grew in profusion, with a town leader having suggested that sassafras tea would make a good substitute for the recently high-priced coffee. The Greensboro editorial writer had recalled that sassafras tea was not so good, classed as more of a medicine, along with sulphur and molasses, rather than as an enjoyable beverage, something with which the present editorial concurs, saying that the youngsters in the writer's town had chewed the roots as an idle diversion.

The editorial writer in Greensboro had compared sassafras to chewing gum, which was not so cheap or plentiful as it was in present times, being available only in nickel packages and not for a penny per stick, with nickels hard to come by in those earlier days. This writer finds sassafras, however, no substitute for chewing gum, that purpose having been served by the "resin-like sap of the big sweet gum tree just below the spring in Hopper's woods".

It indicates having dug sassafras from the soft red clay bank below the schoolhouse, pocked with holes scooped out by sticks and fingernails, a handy place for a young boy to obtain the sassafras plant and then munch on it while "looking out on the bright sunny world as he ruminated and reflected over the grave thoughts running around in his head."

A piece from the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, titled "Voice of the High-Rails", finds it a step backward for the New York Central and Baltimore & Ohio Railroads to dispense with diesel engine horns in favor of steam whistles, though ostensibly a step in the right direction, even if the the railroads claimed that the new steam whistle would sound like chimes. Though that was not an ideal sound emanating from a train, making it sound as a church, anything would be better than the contemporary diesel horns which emulated "a laryngitic cow past milking time".

If the announcement was correct, it would mean that the diesel engines would have some source of steam to operate the whistle, the source of the energy for the locomotive engines in the past, which made the old trains go "woo-woo" and "choo-choo", the latter causing little boys to scurry from the train tracks when the whistle failed to work. The same noise had enabled the listener to gauge the speed of the train and thus to get out of the way in time for it to pass without mishap, whereas the diesels could sneak up on a person.

The piece endorses anything which smacked of a return to the "steam-puff" days, and if the new diesel steam whistle could do that, it was a good thing, suggesting that it would be even better if they brought back the steam engines.

Drew Pearson discusses the preferential treatment being accorded Private David Schine by the Army, at the behest of Senator McCarthy and his Investigating subcommittee counsel, Roy Cohn—shortly to boil over in the Army-McCarthy hearings, which would begin in the Senate in a month and would begin being televised daily five weeks later, continuing through mid-June, eventually resulting in the censure of Senator McCarthy by the Senate and the demise of his power, culminating in his death at a relatively young age in 1957.

Mr. Schine had been admitted to the provost marshal school at Camp Gordon, Ga., after only four months in the Army, through pulling of strings by Senator McCarthy and Mr. Cohn as his intermediary, when normally such admission only occurred for someone of the rank of corporal or higher, and after two years of military service. Furthermore, Private Schine was ranked in Class 3 physical condition, when normally candidates for the school were required to be in Class 1 or 2. They were also required normally to be free from any pathological or personality disorders, whereas Mr. Schine had previously been deferred from the draft based on his physical condition and for a "schizoid personality".

At Camp Gordon, Private Schine was supposed to take an advanced criminal investigation course, with the transfer having been approved by Secretary of the Army, Robert Stevens, with one protesting colonel transferred to Tokyo from his position as supervising officer at Camp Gordon.

During the postwar period, Mr. Schine had been exempted from the draft because, at age 23, he was vice-president of one of six hotels owned by his wealthy father, the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles—the locus on June 5, 1968 of the fatal shooting of Senator Robert F. Kennedy just after having won the California Democratic presidential primary. Parenthetically, Mr. Kennedy had been assistant counsel, under Mr. Cohn, to Senator McCarthy's Investigating subcommittee for a few months in 1953, resigning in late July to become counsel for the second Hoover government reorganization commission. Subsequently, Mr. Schine was classified 4-F physically and thus not subject to the draft, while he galivanted around Washington and Europe with Mr. Cohn on behalf of the McCarthy subcommittee. In July, 1953, Mr. Schine had been reclassified 1-A, at which point Senator McCarthy asked General Miles Reber, then Army liaison to Congress, to obtain a commission for Mr. Schine, whereupon his papers were sent to three different branches of the Army, each branch returning them indicating that he lacked the qualifications for a commission. He was then drafted the previous October, at which point Senator McCarthy had requested that the Army assign him to examine West Point textbooks for potential left-wing bias. The Army did not appreciate the implication and Private Schine was ordered to report on November 3, delayed by Senator McCarthy for 10 days to enable him to perform temporary duty in New York, finally assigned to Fort Dix for boot training on November 13, though he escaped normal K.P.-kitchen duty so that he could have weekends and weekday evenings off to come to Washington, allegedly to perform investigative work. His special privileges had been so abused that General Cornelius Ryan had protested directly to Secretary Stevens, causing the weeknights off to be canceled, though he still received weekend furloughs.

Presently, Private Schine was in an eight-week basic training program as a military policeman at the provost marshal's school, initially assigned, as with all such candidates, to direct traffic while engaging in basic police training, causing Mr. Cohn to become upset about such menial duties, telephoning Secretary Stevens to demand that Private Schine be exempted from the basic training on threat that Secretary Stevens would otherwise be fired.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop tell of the new bright young symbol of conservatism in the Administration, Roswell Burchard Perkins, 27, nominated to be Assistant Secretary of HEW to Secretary Oveta Culp Hobby and Undersecretary Nelson Rockefeller—future Governor of New York and Vice-President from 1974-77 under President Ford, the only President and Vice-President thus far in U.S. history never elected, even by dint of the electoral college, to their respective offices. The position of Mr. Perkins had begun inauspiciously, assigned to a small office without any support staff, with the assignment to research the area of social legislation from the previous 20 years of the New Deal and Fair Deal. He promptly ordered all of the books on the subject he could find and dove into the reasearch, emerging eventually bleary-eyed and fully adept in the field, making him rapidly HEW's indispensable man, though he vehemently denied having been the chief architect of the President's social program, stating that he only reported objectively the pros and cons of each piece of legislation to Mrs. Hobby and Mr. Rockefeller.

The two primary interests of Mr. Perkins was Harvard football, on whose team he had played just a few years earlier, and the Republican Party, was proud of the fact that he descended from Dr. Samuel Burchard, the Republican who had unwisely described the Democratic Party in 1884—when Democratic candidate Grover Cleveland, charged with illicit paternity, contested Republican James G. Blaine—, as the party of "rum, Romanism and rebellion", thus losing the New York Catholic vote and the election for the Republicans. Unlike his progenitor, however, Roswell Perkins was coolly practical in his conservatism, as was the thinking behind the Eisenhower social program.

Some Republicans believed that the program was not conservative at all but rather a New Deal plot, proposing a sharp increase in Social Security payments and the inclusion of six million additional people in the Social Security program. But as a practical matter, the aged and disabled would be helped by the Government regardless of which party was in power, and the new Republican program had resolved to expand Social Security at the Federal level to ease the necessity of direct relief at the state and local level, with the Federal program based on the concept of insurance and so, at this juncture, paying for itself rather than burdening the taxpayers, as did state and local relief programs. The idea of social insurance had been conceived by Germany's Bismarck and the British Conservative Party. But notwithstanding the fact, Republican conservatives of the old school continued to attack it as socialism and a giveaway.

The Alsops suggest that it showed that American conservatives had been almost as blindly induced to follow doctrine as the Marxists, making it appear that the U.S. was incapable of producing a "sensible, rational conservatism". They suggest that it was why the practical conservative thinking within the Eisenhower social program was so refreshing, and why Mr. Perkins, who had contributed a lot to that thinking, was so encouraging, giving hope that the more brash Cohns and Schines would not characterize the young Republican conservative into the future—a hope which, with the exception of an individual here and there, was never broadly realized.

They remain, for the most part, locked, loaded and lost in their doctrinaire issues du jour, pro-life, pro-death penalty, pro-gun, anti-immigration, "law and order" based on Draconian notions of punishment, "America first" neoisolationism in foreign policy, and whatever other handy-dandy issue arises lending itself easily to demagogic whipping up of the voters' emotions, those who never stopped while in school to contemplate the integral nature of integers.

Marquis Childs tells of Secretary of State Dulles being in Berlin at the Big Four foreign ministers conference, confronting Russia's V. M. Molotov, whom Secretary Dulles considered one of the ablest diplomats of the century, engaged in a "life and death struggle for Western Europe", while back at home, the State Department was in a struggle with the Republican Party regarding the issue of patronage appointments to the Department. RNC chairman Leonard Hall had repeatedly demanded that the Department open up more jobs, responding to pressure from local and state committeemen and other party workers, who, after 20 years being on the outside, were eager to get on the Government payroll.

In response to those demands, Secretary Dulles had his assistants prepare a tabulation of past and present changes in State Department personnel, finding that the Eisenhower Administration had put more new faces in a larger proportion of positions in the Department than had any Administration since that of Woodrow Wilson, beginning in 1913. Veteran diplomats feared that career service which had developed on a bipartisan basis through the years would be so decimated in the present struggle that the essential instrumentality for carrying on foreign policy would be permanently damaged. Five former career ambassadors, all inclined to be Republican in their politics, had so stated in a letter of warning to the New York Times.

For four years, extremists had been charging the State Department with harboring those who were disloyal and treasonous to the Government, with a succession of loyalty investigations having publicly involved responsible career officers, with the demonstrable consequence that frankness and objectivity in reporting from foreign lands had been seriously impaired out of fear that the reports might subsequently be used against them to show disloyalty, as had been the case with several such diplomats regarding the issue of the fall of China to the Communists.

Mr. Childs suggests that the Republican drive for patronage was overlooking an important fact, that the economy drive of the Administration had greatly reduced the total number of jobs available, with the Civil Service Commission reporting a payroll reduction of 192,700 during 1953. The number of jobs in the State Department had been reduced by 20 percent and staffs of some of the larger embassies had been drastically cut, for instance the Embassy in London having been reduced by 46 percent. The economy program was cutting deeply into services which top policymakers considered vital. A decision to cut 100 foreign service officers by the Bureau of the Budget had been withdrawn after complaints to Budget director Joseph Dodge resulted in rescinding of the order and reinstating 200 foreign service officers who were eligible for assignment but had been held up for economy reasons.

He concludes that the patronage hunters apparently did not take account of the economy drive and believed that it was possible to fire people hired by the Democratic Administrations, while at the same time finding good jobs for deserving Republicans, a misapprehension which Secretary Dulles had sought to impart to Mr. Hall as an impossibility without doing grave damage to the Department.

James Marlow indicates that State Department security director Scott McLeod, hired by Secretary Dulles to look for subversives and security risks in the State Department, of late had been making speeches at Republican rallies.

Five former diplomats, in a letter to the New York Times, as referenced also by Mr. Childs, had stated that the security program was wrecking the morale of foreign service officers. In response, Mr. McLeod answered questions for a group of reporters at an off-the-record dinner and gave a lengthy interview to U.S. News & World Report. The previous week, he made five speeches at Republican gatherings in Wyoming and South Dakota. As he was returning to Washington, the Washington Star quoted Civil Service officials as saying that Mr. McLeod wanted his investigators taken out from under the civil service system so that he could have "another FBI", also quoting some Department employees as saying that he had told them at a meeting that he wanted to be able to hire and fire personnel in the Department as he pleased. The Star also said that since the latter meeting, at least 15 or 20 veteran investigators had quit, and that employees within the division said morale was low.

A dispute had also arisen as to whether Mr. McLeod was violating the Hatch Act by making political speeches, with a Civil Service official saying that he was covered by the Act, while State Department counsel said that he was not, as his superiors stuck by him, despite heavy Democratic criticism for the action.

He had also become controversial shortly after his appointment the previous March from his position as administrative assistant to Senator Styles Bridges of New Hampshire. Senator Bridges attacked President Eisenhower's appointment of Charles Bohlen to become Ambassador to the Soviet Union, prompting Senators McCarthy and Pat McCarran to criticize Secretary Dulles for having told the Senate that an FBI report had provided a clean bill of health to Mr. Bohlen, claiming that the Secretary had misrepresented the matter and that Mr. McLeod had objected to the appointment but had been overruled by Mr. Dulles, a claim which Mr. Dulles denied.

Another controversy had arisen recently over the claimed 2,200 security risk firings during the course of the first year of the Administration, with some Republicans going about claiming that all of the claimed firings involved subversives, when most of the cases involved only resignations or transfers to other departments, with the few which could be identified as "security risks" actually involving such issues as excessive drinking, lying, homosexuality or other such conduct, not having anything to do with Communism or subversive activity.

A letter from the president of the Class Room Teachers Association of Mecklenburg County praises the newspaper for its support in furthering the interests of education, especially the editorials concerning the supplement voted for County teachers, not yet implemented.

A letter writer comments on the February 2 editorial, "What Will the Council Say Now?" saying that the piece had kept him awake for two extra hours. He also applauds the February 10 editorial, "Progress on Another Segregation Front". He suggests that the newspaper would soon likely take its place alongside the Kansas City Star and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch for championing the cause of freedom, and finds it no wonder that it had been cited for awards by the North Carolina Press Association.

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