The Charlotte News

Tuesday, February 2, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Berlin at the Big Four foreign ministers conference, Secretary of State Dulles had said this date that the Soviet bloc and its one-man rule was the real danger to world peace, not the Western defensive alliance in Europe, answering charges made by Soviet Foreign Minister V. M. Molotov that the Western powers were promoting war by trying to unify Germany within the European Defense Community or NATO. Mr. Dulles had quoted Mr. Molotov in 1939, at the time of the non-aggression pact between Germany and Russia, as saying that it was "not only senseless but criminal" for the Western nations to wage war against Hitler. Secretary Dulles said that he was just as wrong at present as he had been in 1939. (At that time, Mr. Dulles had been making speeches around the country, in which he stated that Nazi Germany was the "wave of the future", supplying the necessary bulwark against Communist Russia in Europe.) The previous day, Mr. Molotov had asserted that Russia would settle only for a neutral Germany, not linked with either the West or the Communists. Mr. Dulles indicated that the previous day, Mr. Molotov had accused the West of being "enemies of peace". He also said that the Communist regime had been imposed on 18 million East Germans, evidence of which was the fact that a million East Germans had fled to the West since the previous so-called elections in the Eastern zone in 1950. He indicated that there was an armed force of 250,000 to maintain order in the zone, one guard for every 80 persons, whereas in West Germany there was one police officer for every 330 persons.

The U.S. might call on the Communists in Korea this date to let bygones be bygones and to get on with the preliminary talks for the Korean peace conference, delayed for the prior two months after Special Ambassador Arthur Dean had returned home, breaking off the talks, after the Communists had charged that the U.S. had colluded with South Korean President Syngman Rhee the prior June in releasing 27,000 North Koreans who had been held prisoner by the allies. Mr. Dean had indicated in December that such a charge of perfidy would not be tolerated, and demanded a retraction and apology before the talks could be resumed. Now, a carefully worded communiqué was being prepared for the Communists so that they might return to the preliminary planning conference without losing face.

Republican leaders faced the possibility this date that their efforts to compromise on the Bricker constitutional amendment to limit treaty-making powers might collapse in a "welter of words". Senators William Knowland of California, Homer Ferguson of Michigan and Eugene Millikin of Colorado planned to continue to try to reach language acceptable to both the President and Senator John W. Bricker of Ohio, and Senator Knowland said that he remained hopeful that an acceptable compromise could be found. But Senator Bricker and Democrats who participated in a two-hour conference the previous day did not regard the possibility of compromise as likely.

A New York coffee dealer, president of the New York Coffee and Sugar Exchange, told members of the Senate Agriculture Committee this date that restrictions on coffee trading in the U.S. could divert shipments to other world areas of heavy demand. He said that consumption, for example, was increasing in West Germany, where the retail price of coffee was presently three dollars per pound. He indicated that Government regulation of coffee trading might cut down supplies and send prices even higher in the country. He said that the Exchange, however, would cooperate in every way if Congress decided that Government regulation could increase the world supply of coffee or aid in bringing prices down for American consumers. The Committee was considering legislation sponsored by Senator Guy Gillette of Iowa, which would authorize Government supervision of coffee trading, similar to that presently in operation regarding trade of wheat, cotton, corn and other commodities. The Agriculture Department endorsed the proposed supervision.

In Los Angeles, James Roosevelt, son of the late President, denied his wife's charges that he had committed adultery with 12 women, and said that he had been blackmailed when he signed a letter admitting nine infidelities in 1945, that he did so to spare his father problems in his Presidency, that he signed the letter to keep his wife from suing for divorce at the time, wishing to patch up his marriage. His wife was seeking separate maintenance and made the adultery charges, including the 1945 letter as an attachment to her complaint, despite having assured Mr. Roosevelt in 1945 that the letter would never be made public. He apologized to the nine women mentioned in the letter, saying that he had never intended to harm them, had signed it only for the reasons stated, thinking it would remain confidential. He said that he never had any adulterous relations with any of the nine women, made the statement to appease his wife, who regularly made threats of divorce or suicide on an almost daily basis. He said that at the time, he was entering his fifth year of service in the Marine Corps and was still recovering from a bout with malaria he had suffered in the South Pacific.

In Cairo, Egypt, the 20-year old former Queen Narriman won a quick divorce in a Moslem religious court this date from former King Farouk, following a month of behind-the-scenes negotiations. The King had first met her in 1949 as she shopped for an engagement ring with another man. She renounced custody of their two-year old son, and also relinquished her demand that the former King personally pay her alimony of 5,000 Egyptian pounds and a dowry allowance of 10,000 pounds, agreeing to allow the Government to pay the money out of the King's properties in Egypt, which had been confiscated by the new regime after he had been dethroned and exiled in July, 1952.

In Terre Haute, Ind., an unemployed man fatally shot his wife and 18-year old daughter in their home the previous night and then died four hours later in a gun battle with police near a tulip greenhouse. A daughter-in-law had been wounded slightly in one shoulder, but feigned death until her father-in-law left the scene. A patrolman said that the man fired at him twice but missed during the gun battle across the street from the man's wife's home. Police said that he had made threats against workers at the tulip greenhouse, and was carrying a can of kerosene when he had gone to his wife's home. He may have looked through the glass onion a little too hard.

In Cleveland, fumes had overcome 22 clerks and a young girl the previous day in a department store in suburban Fairview Park, and 12 of the women were kept in a hospital overnight. The fire chief indicated that apparently carbon monoxide fumes from a heating plant had gotten into the store's air conditioning system.

In Seoul, Company F of the 19th Regiment of the U.S. 24th Division had received a letter from a former private, who was presently the director of information for the State of Maryland. While cleaning out old papers, he had found an old Christmas menu for 1916 when the company had been in the U.S., a menu which had been signed by the executive officer of the company, Lieutenant Dwight Eisenhower.

In Salem, Mass., the fire chief wanted to charge three dollars per call for the previously free service of getting people back into their homes after they had locked themselves out, requiring ladders and skeleton keys, often in the middle of the night. He told the Mayor the previous night that the firefighters had responded to 69 such calls during the previous year.

Dick Young of The News tells of nurses examining young students at a Charlotte elementary school for ringworm of the scalp, an infectious disease which had beset several of the students. A Woods Lamp was used to detect the infection, turning from purple to a green light when the disease was present. The treatment consisted mainly of use of ointment, after which a head wrap or a hat was applied. Some of the students wore sailor's hats, while at least one boy had a black sombrero over a tight-fitting length of white stockinet wrapped around his head. The disease only hit very young children, and tended to disappear in adolescence. The youngsters, he reports, did not seem to mind the headgear and the other students made no references to it. A bit troubling in his account is that one of the children had said that he was a G.I., and Mr. Young indicates that he had that "well-known look of World War II". Just what he is talking about, we could not tell you. The children were 8, and so that seems to preclude service in the war nine years earlier.

In Los Angeles, as pictured, a man driving a tank sought to avoid collision with a car coming out of a driveway, then lost control of the tank and proceeded to roll over and flatten five automobiles, a power pole, a steel sign, a mailbox and a house trailer. No one was injured. The caption does not indicate what the man was doing driving a tank on a city street, provides no rank suggestive of military service. Apparently, he was just out for a drive in his tank. A Studebaker got creamed, but the other vehicle makes are not readily discernible.

On the editorial page, "What Will the Council Say Now?" indicates that for 16 years, between 1930 and 1946, Dick Smith, by his own admission and testimony during his tax evasion case in Federal District Court, had run a numbers racket in Charlotte. During that time, he had been arrested only once. He ran the Friendly City Club and the Flamingo Club, and for many years, slot machines had been operated openly in a number of private clubs in Charlotte, while in rural Mecklenburg County, the County Police raided and smashed such machines whenever there was an attempt to set them up.

It indicates that it did not mean that the illegal enterprises had received protection by bribes, gifts or other considerations bestowed on police officers, but it did show that law enforcement in the community had broken down over a long period of time, from negligence, laziness, callousness, or just indifference.

It finds that Judge Wilson Warlick, in pronouncing sentence of three years imprisonment plus a fine against Mr. Smith, he had made a point, wondering aloud how it had been possible for a man to operate rackets in Charlotte for 16 years and not get caught except one time, indicating that he must have had "a lot of protection from friends and others".

It finds that during the previous 20 years or so, the City Police Department had failed to enforce the laws against gambling and lotteries adequately, and the City Council members during that period bore some of the responsibility for it. It suggests that the present Council had the opportunity to provide Charlotte with a modern Police Department which would be aggressive, efficient and impersonal, that the people would be watching to see whether the Council met its obligations, especially after the recent grand jury investigation which had resulted in four presentments against Chief Frank Littlejohn, subsequently not held to answer in a preliminary hearing for want of adequate evidence to support the charges of receiving gifts to protect gambling in private clubs.

"Congress Digs Deep for Farmers" indicates that the previous afternoon, the Senate had voted 245 million dollars for the Commodity Credit Corporation to enable it to continue farm price supports. The House had previously voted 741 million dollars for the purpose, as had been requested by the President, and the two bills would now have to be reconciled in joint conference.

The CCC had thought it had enough money to last through the end of the fiscal year, until requests for loans started pouring in on wheat, butter, corn and cotton, resulting in the CCC experts figuring out that unless they got more money, they would be broke by Friday night. They thus rushed the House to pass the bill to allow the Treasury to cancel 741 million dollars worth of notes from the CCC, permitting it to borrow the same money twice. The Senate had refused to be rushed into the deal, with Senator John Williams of Delaware saying that the CCC could go bankrupt to show the voters where things stood on support loans. But had the Senate followed that course, the shortcomings of the present farm price support program would have been exposed, hurting many farmers in the process.

It indicates that the incident showed that a better answer than price supports had to be found for the farm problem, continuing to pile up huge quantities of surplus food in warehouses, food for which there was no market and from which the nation received no benefit.

"Umstead Follows Judicial Tradition" indicates that in his elevation of State Supreme Court Justice M. V. Barnhill to Chief Justice, and appointment of Superior Court Judge William Bobbitt as an Associate Justice to replace Justice Barnhill, Governor William B. Umstead had followed the finest traditions of judicial appointments, as both men had distinguished themselves on the bench. Justice Barnhill had been on the Court since July, 1937, and Judge Bobbitt had been the resident judge of Mecklenburg and Gaston Counties since the beginning of 1939. Bar associations all over the state had begun endorsing Judge Bobbitt for the pending vacancy, as soon as it became known that Chief Justice W. A. Devin planned to retire.

It finds that Judge Bobbitt was eminently qualified for the State Supreme Court, by both ability and temperament, that two years earlier, he had lost a runoff in the Democratic primary for an open seat on the Court to Judge R. Hunt Parker by only 2,288 votes out of nearly 200,000 cast, indicative of the high esteem in which he was held all over the state.

It finds that the Governor, rather than making a political appointment, had wisely chosen appointees for their experience and ability. It indicates also that Special Judge Francis Clarkson had been appointed to replace Judge Bobbitt.

"Shakespeare's Great Heritage" states that the previous year, over 400 books had been published throughout the world on William Shakespeare, and that hundreds of thousands of classroom papers had been written about him, with thousands of lecturers speaking on him. Movie adaptations had included Henry V, Hamlet, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Henry VIII and Julius Caesar, the latter film adaptation having been named by the National Board of Review as the best film of 1953.

It comments that a series of lectures on Shakespeare had begun the previous night at Charlotte College. It recalls that Margaret Webster had come to the city a few years earlier to provide a single performance of a Shakespeare play, with the result that the Armory was filled, the audience including hundreds of high school students from within a 20-mile radius of the city.

It suggests that next to the Bible, no other writing than Shakespeare's had so completely absorbed the mind of man, finds it a good sign, that regardless of world tensions, man liked to grasp the sense of timelessness and permanency supplied by Shakespeare's words. It finds that those who occasionally claimed that the cultural standards of Western civilization were not on par with those of other world cultures were hard put when confronted with the record of Shakespeare. The work reminded that no matter what occurred in the world, it was "no more than a part of the passing parade", and that when all was done, there would remain the basic things, home, family, church, synagogue, Bible and Shakespeare.

It concludes that no matter how many ages might pass, he would still be there, with a wink of his eye, saying to Cassius: "How many ages hence shall this our lofty scene be acted over in states unborn and accents yet unknown?"

How many, indeed?

Drew Pearson indicates that the "Vigilant Women for the Bricker Amendment" had been swarming Capitol Hill corridors, button-holing members of Congress and planting news bulletins on automobiles. One of them had accosted Senator Alexander Wiley of Wisconsin, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, and sought to garner his support, to which he responded by indicating that he had already made public his position opposing the amendment, could not back away from it. The woman said that she wished he were her husband for a few days, that she would soon change his mind, to which he responded, "If that situation should ever develop, I'd show you that I'm a real caveman at heart."

Department of Treasury officials were mad at House Speaker Joseph Martin because of his compromise plan for dropping excise taxes which would cost the Treasury a billion dollars in revenue. They had communicated their views to the President, who was having a session with the Speaker. The controversy indicated how closely the deficit had been calculated, and how carefully the Treasury would have to tax to avoid a larger deficit. House Ways & Means Committee chairman Daniel Reed proposed ending excise taxes. They were set to expire in April and Mr. Reed would not renew them, cutting off the 3.5 billion dollars derived therefrom in revenue each year. The Treasury believed that the money was desperately needed to avoid further deficit, and so Treasury Secretary George Humphrey proposed extension of the taxes beyond April. Speaker Martin had proposed a compromise, suggesting splitting the difference and dropping a billion dollars worth of excise taxes. Even that compromise, however, had upset Secretary Humphrey and Undersecretary Randolph Burgess.

HEW Secretary Oveta Culp Hobby had paid a visit recently to the Senate, stepping into a private elevator, marked "For Senators Only", but used also by members of the Cabinet, House members and other dignitaries. The elevator operator refused, however, to move, saying that the car was reserved for Senators. Mrs. Hobby icily identified herself as HEW Secretary, but the operator perused the list of Senators and indicated that she was not on it. She persisted, saying that she was a member of the Cabinet, and the operator then took her to her destination.

Harold Russell, the armless World War II veteran who had played a sailor in the movie "The Best Years of Our Lives" in 1946, had recently told the President about problems encountered as rehabilitation director of the World Veterans Federation, embracing all nations not dominated by the Soviets. He said that at their conventions, they had delegates from such mutually unfriendly nations as Israel and Egypt, West Germany and France, and Italy and Yugoslavia. The President commented that he supposed the competing delegates sat on opposite sides, to which Mr. Russell responded that they tried to seat them together after trying to arrange luncheons where the delegations from the antagonistic nations could hear each other's views on a subject of mutual interest, arranging one luncheon, for instance, between the delegates from Egypt and Israel, at which their mutual problem of rehabilitation was discussed, proving a highly successful strategy. The President said that he had used a similar technique at a meeting while president of Columbia University, introducing a neutral subject into a tension-packed meeting, getting the confreres to discuss babies, causing them to relax, at which point they moved to the important agenda of the meeting.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop discuss the falsified "security firings" within the Government by the Administration, which had first been announced as involving 1,456 employees, of whom 306 had supposedly come from the State Department. But it had turned out that, in the end, only 29 of the latter number had been "dismissed for cause", most of those for such things as excessive drinking, money troubles, or being blabber-mouths. None had been dismissed because of subversion, despite the implications.

The chief of security for personnel divisions, W. Scott McLeod, had combed the files of employees who were resigning from the State Department and labeled those a "security risk" who had any derogatory information within their files, only 3,000 of the 15,000 Department employees not having such information in their files. The information was then used as a pretext to label them a security risk. A large percentage of the employees thus labeled were not fired at all but were simply transferring from the State Department to other departments. The purpose of the scheme was to convey the impression of a large housecleaning within the Administration, targeting the State Department which had been a favorite of Senator McCarthy and others for attack as harboring subversives. One of the chief designers of the scheme had been Attorney General Herbert Brownell.

Now that the secret was out, it was being debated within the Administration as to what approach to take, with Presidential adviser Sherman Adams favoring publication of an honest breakdown, however temporarily embarrassing it might be. But another group, reportedly including the Attorney General, favored riding it out and claiming in the meantime that no one had ever said that the "security risks" were fired for subversion. That claim, however, was not credible, as Postmaster General Arthur Summerfield had recently spoken in New York of 2,200 people "who were security risks", indicating that he did not feel "too amiably inclined towards people who make treason a preoccupation". A few weeks earlier, Presidential counsel Bernard Shanley claimed in a speech in New Jersey that "1,456 subversives" had been kicked out of the Government since the President had taken office. The Alsops indicate that both men, undoubtedly, had been sincerely mistaken, but the fact that they could so easily be misled by such fakery suggested how inexcusable the scheme had been.

The Alsops conclude that the central asset of the Administration was the atmosphere of integrity surrounding the President, and that some of the "backroom people" seemed determined to squander that asset in the name of "smart" politics, which turned out to be dumb.

James Marlow discusses the Bricker amendment and the several compromises which were being attempted. The President's opposition to it had caused many Senate backers to pull away. Meanwhile, Senator Walter George of Georgia had proposed an amendment, which had garnered the support of several Senate Democrats. Senator Estes Kefauver of Tennessee and other Democrats had made another proposal which they believed fit the problem, receiving the President's approval. The Senate was split at least four ways at this point, between the supporters of the amendment, the supporters of the George compromise, those who would agree to an amendment supported by the President, and those, such as Senator Kefauver, who did not want any sort of amendment but believed a simple bill by Congress would suffice.

A letter writer from Pinehurst congratulates a letter writer for his January 25 letter regarding the Yalta conference of February, 1945, in which he had said that the Yalta agreement had not been binding on the U.S., Britain and Russia because it had never been incorporated into a treaty ratified by the Senate. He adds that the Bricker amendment should be soundly defeated.

A letter writer indicates that time would reveal that Senator McCarthy was "the greatest political tyrant of all ages". He indicates that many young Americans had given their lives on the Anzio beachhead and elsewhere in Italy to destroy the Fascist dictator, Benito Mussolini, only to have his counterpart, Senator McCarthy, spring up at home. He points out that "fascism" was derived from "fasces", meaning a bundle of sticks strapped around an ax carried by the higher Roman magistrates as symbol of authority by which they could order flogging or death. He concludes that Communism, Fascism and McCarthyism were of a piece.

A letter writer finds that a picture on page 5 E in the January 29 edition of the newspaper, taken at Independence Square, as reprinted beneath the letter, depicted an incident between vehicles and pedestrians which was worthy of comment. A motorist on Tryon Street had apparently been caught by changing traffic lights and had properly yielded the right-of-way to the pedestrians crossing the street in front of his car. He indicates that the pedestrians would not have had more than 20 seconds of delay in permitting the car to pass through the intersection, and suggests that the incident underscored the need for adoption in Charlotte of the Denver system of pedestrian traffic lights alternating with the traffic signals.

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