The Charlotte News

Saturday, February 20, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Secretary of State Dulles, having returned to Washington the previous night from the 25-day Berlin Big Four foreign ministers conference, was seeking to convince his critics, the Congress and the country that the U.S. had scored a diplomatic victory by arranging for a conference to discuss peace in Asia, even if the principal aims of the foreign ministers conference, treaties on Germany and Austria, had gotten nowhere. He told newsmen who met him at the airport that the U.S. had obtained all of what it wanted regarding such a conference, responding to some in Congress who had expressed that appeasement might result. He would provide a statement to the nation on the conference the following Wednesday night on radio and television. It was said that he would stress that his agreement to the conference did not cleanse Russia of guilt in promoting and supporting Chinese and North Korean aggression in Korea. He would also emphasize that the U.S. would continue to refuse recognition of Communist China and continue to oppose its admission to the U.N. The conference, set to begin April 26 in Geneva, would search for ways to bring final peace in Korea and to end the seven-year war in Indo-China.

Congressman James Richards of South Carolina, top-ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said that the Secretary had done a good job, but that if former Secretary of State Acheson had come home with such an agreement, it would have been called "a sellout to the Reds".

In Palm Springs, Calif., the President stated that Chief Justice Earl Warren, still subject to confirmation by the Senate, was "one of the finest public servants this country has ever produced." He defended the Chief Justice against unevaluated charges which had been made public the previous day by a Senate Judiciary subcommittee, which had voted this date to recommend to the full committee favorable action on the Chief Justice's appointment. The material made public by the subcommittee included accusations that Mr. Warren had once been "under domination and control of a notorious liquor lobbyist", and that as Governor of California, had knowingly appointed dishonest judges. Senator William Langer of North Dakota, chairman of the subcommittee, said that the vote was not unanimous, but declined to disclose the numbers. Senator Herman Welker of Idaho, a member of the full Committee who sat in on the closed session of the subcommittee, told a reporter that the vote was unanimous. A row had developed in the subcommittee over Senator Langer's order to place in the public record the unchecked charges. The four other members of the subcommittee claimed that they had no advance knowledge of that intention. Senator Langer said that the full committee would meet the following Wednesday to consider the nomination, made as a recess appointment by the President the prior October and formally submitted to the Senate on January 11. Senator James Eastland of Mississippi characterized the charges as "a lot of rubbish", and Senator Arthur Watkins of Utah denounced them as "a lot of tommyrot". Vice-President Nixon said in a statement to reporters that the charges against the Chief Justice were "completely fantastic and patently false." He said that the Judiciary Committee, rather than wasting its time investigating such charges, should spend it investigating those who had made them.

In Albany, N.Y., a man confessed to Senator Joseph McCarthy this date that he had been the photographer who photographed, beginning sometime in late 1937, the "pumpkin papers" for the Communist spy ring of Whittaker Chambers, and had photographed documents containing the names "Grew" and "Bullitt", apparently referring to former U.S. Ambassador to Japan Joseph Grew and former envoy to France William Bullitt. He said that he made the photographs for "Bob" and continued the activity into the late spring or summer of 1938, the same period of time during which Mr. Chambers had contended Alger Hiss had been supplying him State Department documents.

A man described as a Marine flyer with a brilliant record of combat experience, who had been a war prisoner in Korea for 14 months, and midway through that captivity, had signed a false confession that he had taken part in germ warfare activities which had never in fact transpired, but had been used for propaganda purposes by the Communists, faced a four-member court of inquiry at the Pentagon, trying to decide whether the Marine should face a court-martial. Four Marine enlisted men and one Army sergeant who had caught glimpses of the Marine during his captivity had testified the previous day, demonstrating that which brainwashing could do to a man, some telling of seeing him in September and October, 1952, emaciated, unshaven, jittery, yet defiant. He had been captured the preceding July, thrown into solitary confinement, harassed by constant questioning, and deprived of food, but had still told his tormentors to "go to hell". One Army sergeant told of his using even stronger language, a "short word" directed toward his interpreter.

Near Kinston, N.C., a predawn head-on collision of two automobiles this date killed three persons, including a mother and her three-month old daughter, after another car strayed into the path of the car carrying the mother and her daughter. The father who was driving the car, a Marine sergeant, was seriously injured. The driver of the other car, a Marine private of Camp Lejeune, was also killed.

State Representative David Clark of Lincolnton told the newspaper this date that a statement in the previous day's edition of the newspaper had not fully reflected his position as a potential candidate for the Democratic nomination for the district's Congressional seat, saying that he had meant to emphasize the need for a Democratic victory and his interest in achieving that victory, not necessarily as a candidate, and that he was not ready to run, as the story had suggested, that there were many personal factors which he would first have to consider before entering the race.

Representative Charles Jonas was ordered to bed by his physician early the previous night on the eve of the big Republican Lincoln Day dinner in Charlotte, as he had been warding off a bout with influenza for several days, but was warned by his physician to go to bed or risk contracting pneumonia. The plans for this date's Young Republican Convention and this night's party dinner-rally went ahead despite the planned absence of the lone Republican Congressman of North Carolina. The assistant to RNC chairman Leonard Hall, James McKillips, was in town making advance arrangements for the night's activities.

In Charlotte, a man was bound over to a Federal court during the morning on a charge of trying to extort $1,000 under threat of death from a female teller at a local bank. FBI agents said that the man admitted writing a letter to the teller, demanding the cash. The teller then reported the matter to the FBI. He had been arrested the previous night when he went to the place where the money was supposed to have been left by the teller. The man, a bus driver for the railway mail service, admitted during his arraignment that he had written the letter but had not said that he would murder the teller. The letter had said that she would be murdered, but had not said who would carry it out.

On the editorial page, "Dilemmas, GOP Variety, 1954 Model" indicates that there might be a useful lesson for U.S. minority political parties in the several dilemmas now facing the Republicans, largely based on their own actions and statements from the past. Indo-China was an example. From late 1950 through the 1952 election campaign, the isolationist wing of the Republicans had capitalized on the Korean war, calling it "Truman's war" and "Truman's folly", blaming it on former Secretary of State Acheson, forgetting the historical significance of the action while the public became entrenched in its attitude against any future such wars. Now, the Eisenhower Administration was facing the problem of Indo-China, which was just as dangerous to the free world as had been Korea. But the public attitude cultivated by the Republicans had made it difficult for the President and Congress to act in the crisis.

A similar dynamic was present in the farm problem, where it had been popular during the Truman Administration to denounce the Brannan Plan as "socialism" without taking a very close look at it, despite it being a new approach to try to solve the mounting farm surplus problem. But now the President, in his special message to Congress on the farm issue, had tentatively suggested that the Brannan approach be tried on wool, though leaving for other commodities only the alternative of high fixed supports, unpopular with consumers for causing artificially high prices, or flexible supports, unpopular with farmers.

John Foster Dulles, in April, 1952, had indicated in a speech that the treaty-making power was subject to abuse, that under current law, treaties could override the Constitution, a statement which he recanted after becoming Secretary of State, having studied the issue more closely. His statement in 1952, however, had been brought up repeatedly to embarrass Mr. Dulles and the President in their opposition to the Bricker amendment.

It suggests that there were other such issues, such as the Republican interest in "unleashing" Chiang Kai-shek, only to find, after they had come to power and the President had withdrawn the U.S. Seventh Fleet from the Formosa Straits, that Chiang was not ready to pounce on the mainland after all. Republicans had been complaining for years about "pouring money down rat holes" with foreign economic and political aid, but now faced a choice of either lowering tariffs, against Republican traditional policy, or of continuing some kind of foreign aid if allies were to acquire dollars to purchase U.S. agricultural and industrial products.

It concludes that there was a lesson in those dilemmas, that the minority party could criticize national policy but always had to bear in mind that one day it would become the majority party, and therefore ought engage in more temperate, logical and responsible criticism as insurance against the dilemmas presently facing the Republicans.

"Free USIS To Fight on Main Front" indicates that the U.S. Information Service was fighting a two-front war, one at home and the other abroad, that for several months, controversies had raged over the contents of some of the books in the libraries abroad, with the agency having been repeatedly investigated, resulting in high turnover of personnel and low morale. In the countries where the Information Service operated, there was also controversy. In Calcutta during the week, a Communist-led mob had stormed the Information Service library, pulling down books from the shelves and setting them on fire.

It indicates that the Information Service would succeed or fail in its objective in those foreign countries where it operated, and that the Calcutta incident ought underscore the recent recommendation of the Advisory Commission on Information, headed by the editor of the Christian Science Monitor, Erwin Canham, that the Information Service should be spared further special investigations by Congressional committees and given an opportunity to prove itself. The piece agrees and believes that a moratorium ought be declared on such investigations for at least a year or two if Congress was sincerely interested in combating Communism abroad.

"Bet You're As Blind As We Are" indicates that some years earlier the Louisville Courier-Journal had hired a man to dress up the paper typographically, and after looking over the paper, had casually inquired about one of the newspaper's overseas bureaus, which he was informed had been closed some years earlier, finding it problematic as it was still listed on the masthead of the newspaper, at which point it was struck. It indicates that it was reminded of the story when one of the young account executives at The News, late in January, had noted that the editorial page still celebrated the newspaper's "65th Anniversary—1953", when that should have been updated on January 1.

A telephone man who had addressed a letter to the newspaper, appearing on this date's page, had called attention to the little box on the second front page which advertised the good results obtainable through the classified ads, observing that the telephone dial depicted therein had eleven holes, not just ten. (If he had discovered that it had 18, he could have maybe joined the President in Palm Springs.)

It finds that it all suggested that newspaper people did not read their own product closely enough, and decides to inquire of the telephone people what letter of the alphabet had been omitted from the new telephone dials, indicating that it proved that newsmen were not the only persons who looked but did not see.

A piece from the Asheville Citizen, titled "To Quote", after considering the misattribution by The News of the quote to Thomas Jefferson, "that country is governed best which is governed least" and some other misattributions of quotes by the Greensboro Daily News, tells of quotable quotations ascribed to Abraham Lincoln appearing recently in a 392-page encyclopedia, with the author apologizing for supposed omissions of scores or even hundreds of "so-called Lincoln quotations", some of which had long been popular but lacked authentication as those of the former President.

It indicates that Parson Weems, "who had a weakness for fiction in the guise of history", attributed to George Washington the quote regarding the cherry tree: "I can't tell a lie. I did cut it with my hatchet." But that had been the only record regarding the supposed incident. President Grover Cleveland was supposed to have coined the maxim, "Public office is a public trust," but the nearest he ever had come to saying as much was: "Your every voter, as surely as your chief magistrate, under the same high sanction, though in a different sphere, exercises a public trust." Nor had Mark Twain mused in print about the fact that despite everyone talking about it, nobody ever did anything about the weather. Rather, it had been the product of an editorial writer of the Hartford Courant. "War is Hell", ascribed to General William Tecumseh Sherman, was actually spoken 15 years after the Civil War. Elbert Hubbard and Frank Ward O'Malley were given credit for, "Life is one damn thing after another," but the aphorism had actually come from a folk tale—about a little known person from 15th Century Mediterranean history, named Romulus Remus Riccardo Nixoni de Castillo.

It indicates that the authors to whom the quotes were ascribed might have wished they had said some of those things, but the evidence was against it, indicating that perhaps a story about Oscar Wilde was elucidative, when he supposedly said, regarding a witticism he had heard, "I wish I said that," to which the friend to whom he said it replied, "You will, Oscar, you will."

Drew Pearson indicates that he had talked at length recently with Robert Young, the railroad tycoon from Texas who had taken on the second largest railroad in the country and the largest big-business battle of the century, seeking to acquire the New York Central in a stockholders' vote set to take place in late May. Mr. Pearson asked him what he would do if he failed to prevail and he replied that there would be other opportunities, that he was only 57 years old and thus had eight years left before he reached the retirement age for the New York Central, that he would therefore continue to fight. He had made a fortune prior to turning 35, then retired from business and then returned to it again, saying in the interview that retirement had been too "humdrum", that he had gotten tired of doing nothing.

He asked Mr. Young why he had gone into the railroad business after becoming one of the early sparkplugs inside General Motors and after his retirement, and he answered that it was the most run-down business in the country, that a businessman had the best opportunity in such a business. He said that if the automobile business had the same lack of imagination, it would have gone nowhere. He said that one of the chief improvements he would make to the Central Railroad was roller bearings, which would save millions of dollars. He explained his streamliner train, which he had built for his Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad, patterned after a Spanish train, lighter in construction, lower on the rails and costing one-third less to build than the modern American passenger car, a car which the Railroad had not yet been able to use as they had to link with other lines and the other railroads had not followed suit. He said that a major problem with the railroad business was its refusal to change, that, for example, the freight car had obtained its height from the old plantation wagon drawn by a team of mules which once loaded cotton bales into freight cars, and the height had never been altered. He wanted to place a woman on the board of directors of the New York Central, put movies on overnight passenger trains, modernize equipment and let railroad personnel purchase stock in the railroad so that they could become its owners as well as its operators.

The working majority for the Republicans in the House had been reduced to only one vote because of a serious illness of one member and the conviction of Congressman Ernest Bramblett of California for taking kickbacks from the salaries of assistants, the latter to retain his seat during his appeal, which would take about 90 days. The ill Congressman, Alvin Weichel, had been hospitalized for a nervous breakdown after having diabetes for some time, the suffering from which had caused a mental lapse and his doctors had advised that he not return to Congress.

The Republican leadership was bypassing Congressman Clare Hoffman, chairman of the Government Operations Committee, for becoming so crusty and difficult that the Committee voted 22 to 1 to bypass him. Meanwhile, the White House had decided to use the Senate Finance Committee to rewrite the tax bill being jammed through by Representative Dan Reed, chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee, 78, as they saw no use in trying to argue with the intransigent Mr. Reed.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop tell of Attorney General Herbert Brownell having rearranged facts to suit his own purposes in a recent statement, which had shaken the country, in which he said that "20,000 lost documents … some of them of extreme importance" had been found in the Justice Department stuffed into a desk drawer and never properly evaluated by officials of the Department, containing many names whose cases should have been evaluated. He had said that he was "terribly shocked" when he made the discoveries. The Alsops indicate that a good deal of detective work was necessary to establish the facts behind those allegations, which they proceed to elaborate.

The FBI report allegedly tossed in a desk drawer had been based on statements volunteered by Elizabeth Bentley to the FBI, as there was an attempt to reestablish her as a Communist and so permit her to act as a double agent, requiring absolute secrecy. Those facts tended to corroborate former President Truman's explanation for his failure to fire Harry Dexter White from the Treasury Department, one of those whom Mr. Brownell had indicated was named in that FBI report as being responsible for internal espionage. The attempted reestablishment of Ms. Bentley was continued for several months after Mr. White was confirmed, and in the meantime, 100 FBI agents were assigned to the New York area and a similar number to Washington, attempting to verify Ms. Bentley's story from independent sources. In October, 1946, the attempt to have Ms. Bentley act as a double agent had been abandoned, based apparently on suspicions aroused among Communists and their Soviet masters. At about that time, the FBI prepared a 26-page summary of that which had been learned since Ms. Bentley had made her original charges, a summary then delivered to Attorney General Tom Clark in December, 1946. Until the attempt to reestablish her had been abandoned, no legal action could be undertaken against the people she had named, as it would have alerted them, and after the attempt was abandoned, the appropriate legal action was considered in the criminal division of the Justice Department, where it was decided to present her charges to a grand jury. The case was then given very special treatment, assigning a knowledgeable and experienced FBI agent and an experienced assistant U.S. Attorney to it. That probably explained why the report had never gone through regular channels in the Department, but did not suggest that the report had never been followed up, as Mr. Brownell had claimed. Actually, the charges of Ms. Bentley were considered in great detail by two successive grand juries sitting for 36 months, starting in the summer of 1947. There was a determined attempt to obtain indictments on the charges she brought of espionage, but the attempt had failed for lack of corroborative evidence. That latter type of evidence against Mr. White had eventually appeared in the so-called "pumpkin papers" disclosed in November, 1948 to HUAC investigators by Whittaker Chambers, but by that point, Mr. White had died, shortly after appearing before HUAC the prior August.

Alger Hiss and William Remington were indicted, but for perjury rather than espionage, based on lapse of the statute of limitations. The top 12 American Communist leaders were also indicted, but under the Smith Act for advocating the overthrow of the Government by force and violence rather than for espionage. The Alsops conclude therefore that the only reasonable explanation for Mr. Brownell's sense of shock was the failure to obtain indictments for espionage.

The assistant U.S. Attorney who had been principally responsible for presentation of the case to the grand jury was still in the Department, as a special assistant to the Attorney General, and also served as the representative of the Department, chosen by Mr. Brownell, on the interdepartmental Committee on Internal Security, directly responsible to the National Security Council for the internal security of the country.

They conclude that nothing which Mr. Brownell had said was untrue, as at one time or another, the FBI report had been tossed into a desk drawer, but that the claims otherwise by Mr. Brownell did seem shocking, though not in the way he had intended.

A letter writer indicates that since Charlotte was considering establishment of a zoo, it could acquire some ideas from Roanoke, Va., on the subject, as that city had built a quite successful zoo since being established in 1952, attracting more than 84,000 visitors in its first year, in a city of 91,000 population. She explains how it came to be, at some length. If your city is planning to establish a zoo, perhaps you might wish to read it.

A letter writer from Nashville, Tenn., thanks the newspaper for its piece in the edition of February 4 regarding the invention related to the telephone which the writer's company had developed to speed long distance calls. He then points out, as the above editorial notes, that the advertising box in the paper showed a telephone dial with eleven holes in it instead of ten.

It should be pointed out that the reason for the ten holes was so that people could dial, if desired, all ten digits of the phone number at once, utilizing all fingers—dubbed "instant dialing".

A letter writer comments on the editorial which had appeared regarding sassafras and indicates that it suggested a harbinger of spring.

A letter writer from Atlanta thanks the newspaper for its editorial reprinted in the Atlanta Constitution on February 15, containing excerpts of the Georgia Agriculture commissioner's "filth" printed in the Georgia Market Bulletin, which the writer says he did not read. He believes that the commissioner and others like him were doing more damage than had ever been done by the Civil War, urges forgetting the past and living for what was ahead, to try to make it better. He indicates that he had a friend who received the Bulletin, but then cast it into the wastebasket after cutting his name off the label so that people would not see it had been sent to him.

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