The Charlotte News

Wednesday, February 24, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the telegraphic-typewriter operator at the Pentagon, accused by a witness who had been an FBI undercover informant of being a Communist, had appeared this date before Senator Joseph McCarthy's Senate Investigations subcommittee but had not testified after he told her that a witness who "broke with the party last night" had named her as "a member of the Communist conspiracy". She changed her mind about testifying, apparently on instructions from her attorney, after the Senator had instructed them to confer, warning that any suggestion of perjury in her testimony would be submitted to a grand jury. The Senator also noted that the woman had not been well. After the announcement that she would not testify, her attorney objected to the Senator's statement that it had been "clearly" established that the woman was a member of the Communist Party, the attorney indicating that the Senator had already condemned her before she appeared. The woman wept as she and her attorney walked from the hearing room. He had informed reporters the previous day that she wished to testify, as she had never been a Communist. The woman was a native of Durham, N.C. The Army had released a statement late the previous day saying that the woman, following an Army background investigation, had been transferred to a job in the Signal Corps supplies section, away from communications centers, on February 5, and that she no longer handled material of a sensitive nature. The Senator adjourned the hearings until the following day, at which time Secretary of the Army Robert Stevens was scheduled to testify. The Secretary had accused the Senator the previous weekend of "abusing" Army officers who had appeared before the subcommittee and had directed two generals not to testify further. Two Democratic members of the subcommittee, Senators John McClellan of Arkansas and Henry Jackson of Washington, plus Republican Senator Karl Mundt of South Dakota, said that they wanted to hear the Army's explanation as to why the woman had been transferred.

According to Associated Press correspondent Bem Price, Secretary Stevens had been called "the finest dupe I've ever met" by Senator McCarthy, but was a hero around the Pentagon, after he had ordered the two generals not to testify further before the subcommittee. Secretary Stevens had served in World War I. He had agreed to appear himself if the Senator wanted further questions answered regarding the Army role in the matters being investigated. One unnamed colonel, who was familiar with a low morale problem previously in the Army vis-à-vis the higher ranking officials in the Pentagon on the civilian side, said that when Secretary Stevens had stood up for the officers, morale had "zoomed" upward. The dispute had begun over the promotion to major of a New York dentist in the Army Reserve, and his subsequent honorable discharge, with the Army labeling as "sheer nonsense" Senator McCarthy's contention that the dentist was a Communist. The Senator also claimed that the Army was aware of the fact at the time of his promotion. The dentist had appeared before the subcommittee and refused under the Fifth Amendment to testify, in consequence of which, the Senator had demanded that the Army provide him with the names of those responsible for granting the honorable discharge and the names of those responsible for his promotion.

The Senate was considering this date new language offered by Senator John W. Bricker to his amendment to the treaty-making power of the Constitution, saying that the language would preserve the heart of his original amendment, although narrowing it. The language would indicate that neither a treaty nor other international executive agreement could become effective as domestic law of the nation unless Congress passed legislation to permit it, or unless the Senate, by a two-thirds vote, ratified the treaty. It changed the existing amendment, which would have required action by Congress to implement any treaty as domestic law, and in some cases action by state legislatures, a clause which had drawn the most strenuous opposition from the White House. But the new version also was expected to face an uphill fight, as Senate Republican leaders opposed it, as did Senator Walter George of Georgia, who had proposed his own substitute measure. Senator Bricker said he expected a vote on the changed wording during the afternoon, but that it was not definite. Independent Senator Wayne Morse, who opposed any amendment, the previous day had blocked a debate limitation agreement which effectively blocked the propsoal from being considered this date. Majority Leader Senator William Knowland of California said that night sessions might be held this night and the following night in an effort to reach a final decision during the week. The Senate had been considering the amendment for a month.

The Senate Judiciary Committee heard this date from a witness regarding the confirmation of Chief Justice Earl Warren, the witness having been arrested on an outstanding felony warrant out of San Francisco by police this date but then subsequently was released after an agreement was reached whereby he would testify during the afternoon. Committee chairman Senator William Langer of North Dakota announced that the Committee had recessed until the afternoon, when it was to resume consideration of the nomination. The witness in question, who had asked to testify, opposed the nomination.

House Democrats reported internal disagreement this date over whether they would try to block the Republican-sponsored tax revision bill providing for two billion dollars in business benefits, with several Democrats on the House Ways & Means Committee indicating that the issue had developed in planning their strategy for a drive to increase all individual personal exemptions from $600 to $700. Meanwhile, several Republicans on the Committee were discussing whether to try to head off the Democratic move by proposing income tax cuts themselves. There was no indication from the White House of any change in its opposition to tax cuts at the present time.

The President returned from his six-day Palm Springs vacation, arriving at National Airport during the early morning after an 8 1/2 hour flight across country. He was scheduled to meet this date with Secretary of State Dulles to hear of his report on the 25-day Big Four foreign ministers conference completed the previous week in Berlin.

Before a Marine court of inquiry in Washington, investigating the conduct of a Marine officer, Col. Frank Schwable, who had made a false confession while a prisoner of war in Korea that he had taken part in germ warfare, a Marine major, recently decorated for courageously resisting pressure while a prisoner, testified to the court that the majority of American airmen who had been prisoners had been told by their superiors before capture to tell the Communists anything they wanted to know, but that the instructions did not mean that they should provide false information, such as participation in germ warfare. The major testified that he had been so instructed and that a captain, whose name he could not recall, told an indoctrination class that it was a new kind of war and that the old idea that a prisoner should only give his name, rank and serial number was no longer applicable. He found that 75 to 80 percent of all of the air personnel in the prisoner of war camps had been instructed likewise, as the enemy interrogators were going to find out the information anyway. He said that another 10 to 15 percent of the prisoners he had met had been told to use their own discretion on what to tell the Communists, and that the remainder had either been given no briefing or were told to give no information beyond the basic name, rank and serial number. He said that he had nothing but sympathy for Col. Schwable, that he had a small amount of mistreatment and mental torture but he did not believe he had as much as had the Colonel, and that he would rather be shot than go through it again. The court of inquiry was weighing whether or not to bring formal charges against the Colonel based on his signed confession and later repudiation of it.

Civil Defense director Val Peterson told a House Armed Services subcommittee the previous day that some military authorities had "overstated the ability of guided missiles … to shoot down attacking enemy aircraft." He said that his current information was that as many as five or six of every ten enemy aircraft could get through existing American defenses "even with wonder weapons".

In Pasadena, Calif., James Roosevelt was ordered this date to pay $1,435 per month in temporary support of his estranged wife and their three young children, pending trial of their separate maintenance suits filed against one another. He was also ordered to pay $3,500 for his wife's attorney's fees and $850 in court costs. Mrs. Roosevelt had accused Mr. Roosevelt of multiple acts of adultery with multiple women, claims which he had denied, and Mr. Roosevelt had charged Mrs. Roosevelt with mental cruelty.

In Copenhagen, Danish doctors had completed a series of hormone injections and operations during the previous year to enable Charlie McLeod to become Charlotte McLeod, now ready to return home to Louisiana. She said that she had endured a year of hell from bad publicity generated by a recent similar case, referring to that of Christine Jorgensen. She said she had made her decision to change her sex long before the Jorgensen case had developed. But when she had arrived in Copenhagen, still as a man, he found Danish doctors were subject to a 1953 law which permitted them to make the initial operation only on Scandinavian citizens. He was, however, able to obtain the initial operation "unofficially", on a kitchen table at midnight, the only comment she wanted to make about it, other than that the operation had almost killed her, taking her months to recover from it, during which hormonal injections and other operations followed, with famous professors and plastic surgeons working on her, mostly for free, as she could not afford to pay the bills. She said that she had been in the Army for three months in 1948 and received an honorable discharge for medical reasons, that everyone could see that he was "no soldier" and that "it was all a mistake".

Betty Boyer, in her weekly Grocery News column, as promised yesterday, tells of the yolk, as well, as promised on today's front page, informing of how to avoid tooth decay—although, plainly, in both instances, advice which was inevitably tainted by the fact that she had been paid off for her remarks by Duke's Mayonnaise as to the yolk and by Colgate as to the teeth, not to mention her other two sponsors of the day, Maxwell House and Lay's Potato Chips. Her description of the yolk content of the mayonnaise, incidentally, seems to run over into the Duke Queen of the March of Dimes beauty contest next door, to be crowned on Saturday night in Duke Indoor Stadium in Durham during halftime of the March of Dimes benefit basketball game between the Fort Belvoir team of former two-sport Duke star Dick Groat and the Blue Devils Service team, but that is another story.

On the editorial page,"Le Mot Juste for District Democrats" finds that the dilemma among the Democrats within the local Congressional District was either a sad commentary on the lassitude of the party organization or a tribute to the prowess at the polls of Republican Representative Charles Jonas, or both.

It indicates that when young David Clark, a lawyer from Lincolnton, had decided not to run the prior week for the Democratic nomination, the Democrats had been left without a candidate to oppose Mr. Jonas in the fall election. Mr. Clark had apparently not received the financial backing and organization which he believed would be necessary to be a formidable opponent in the race.

When the 10th District had been gerrymandered some years earlier, populous and normally-Democratic Mecklenburg County was placed at its southeastern end, left to outvote normally-Republican Avery and Mitchell Counties in the northwest. Strategists had reasoned that a resident of Mecklenburg County would have the best chance of winning the race in November, but thus far, the biggest and wealthiest county in the state had not produced a Democratic opponent. The deadline for filing was April 17 and, it suggests, the longer the Democrats waited, the more difficult it would be to overcome the lead established by Mr. Jonas.

It observes that for many years, the Republicans had been a miserable minority in the district and in the state, and the newspaper had consistently editorialized regarding the need for a strong two-party system in the district, reiterates that need at present and urges that the people had a right to choose between candidates and issues, and that it was up to the Democrats to give them that opportunity.

"Europe's Big Break with the Past" indicates that the French National Assembly was expected to vote approval or disapproval of the European Defense Community treaty the following month, and that if it approved, there would be a unified European Army among the six participating nations, France, West Germany, Italy and the Benelux countries. Upon ratification, U.S. aid would likely continue to Europe, whereas if France disapproved, the attempt to unite Europe would likely fail or be considerably delayed and the U.S., per the warning of Secretary of State Dulles the prior December, would undertake a reappraisal of policy toward Western Europe.

The Netherlands had been the first to ratify the EDC, though the Dutch had not been enthusiastic about it, yet determined on practical grounds that it was a necessary aspect of their survival in modern times. France had been plagued by its traditional fear of Germany, in addition to its own unstable form of government and temperamental legislature, plus a menacing Communist problem internally. The war in Indo-China had combined with those other problems to frustrate ratification thus far of EDC. Anne O'Hare McCormick, writing in the New York Times, had stated recently that there were also other reasons for objecting to EDC, that there were infinite difficulties needed to be overcome in organizing a multi-national army marching under a unified flag and under a single command, requiring a merger, politically and militarily, and a loss in the process of national pride attendant with a nation's own armed forces, especially true in France.

The piece indicates that reaction would be similar in the U.S. were there to be a move for its armed forces to be subsumed under a supranational authority. It finds therefore that it was not surprising that Europeans were hesitant, finding justification in their attitude, even if, for practical reasons, yielding national pride to creation of such an army was a necessity which most Europeans had already accepted. It finds that Europeans therefore perhaps had adopted to the realities of the atomic age better than had Americans.

"A Daily Glimpse of the Passing Parade" finds a pastime in reading the classified advertising and trying to figure out the various abbreviations, some of which it lists, plus some of the unabbreviated words, which it also lists, finding it all a vicarious adventure abroad, as one mused about some outfit wanting to hire a person for $14,000 in Alaska or South America. Another person was seeking someone to ride with him to Peoria, as long as the person would share expenses and take a turn at the wheel.

It finds from its perusal that a favorite word in the real estate business was "sacrifice", commenting that the records of Eddie Collins and Ty Cobb for sacrifices were nothing as compared with those of homeowners.

It indicates that a renowned minister had once said that he could read the classifieds and tell exactly whether times were good or bad, finding it "the pulse of the public". The piece concludes that it was also a "delightful and ever-changing vignette of life's passing parade", better than crossword puzzles and vacations.

Whatever winds your clock…

A piece from the New Orleans State, titled "Hemline Treaty", indicates that its fashion reporter had disclosed that the battle of the hemline was at an end for the present, with the American woman the victor. Designer Christian Dior had said hemlines had to rise, receiving the response from American women that it would be over their dead bodies, at which point they would not care who saw their knees. Mr. Dior had responded that the dress could not be sold to a dead body.

It had been decided by women that perhaps they could get along without a new wardrobe in the current year, and Mr. Dior had learned the lesson never to underestimate the power of a woman, "or her sensitivity concerning bony knees."

Drew Pearson indicates that to understand the battle of Senator William Langer against the confirmation of Earl Warren as Chief Justice, one had to know something about his "independent, unpredictable, colorful, and cantankerous" nature. He also had a motive of revenge. Mr. Pearson begins by pointing out that he had predicted in May, 1953 that Governor Warren would be appointed Chief Justice—which was more than three months before the sudden death of Chief Justice Fred Vinson on September 8, and so a bit of a reach in terms of an actual "prediction". Mr. Pearson indicates that he believed Mr. Warren should have been confirmed long earlier and that he disagreed with Senator Langer and columnist Westbrook Pegler, the latter claiming that Mr. Warren was not fit to sit on the Supreme Court because he had once written a letter to James Petrillo, head of the Musicians Union. He indicates that Chief Justice Warren had one of the finest records of any person in public life, as Mr. Pearson had noted repeatedly in his column, and the Republicans, he ventures, would have won the 1948 election over President Truman had they nominated Governor Warren as head of the ticket, rather than as the vice-presidential nominee to Governor Thomas Dewey.

He suggests that the motives of Senator Langer were twofold, first, to demonstrate to some of his colleagues what it was like to put unsubstantiated charges in the Congressional Record, as Senator McCarthy had been doing with few outcries of protest from his Republican colleagues, having called General George Marshall a traitor, and made similar charges against former Secretary of State Acheson and scores of other dedicated public servants and good citizens. Senator Langer had never gone along with Senator McCarthy on those charges. His second motive was to retaliate against fellow Republicans for what they had done to him, being the only Republican a year earlier, when the Republicans took control of the Senate, not permitted to take his seat except conditionally. By contrast, Senator McCarthy had been permitted to take his seat, despite a devastating report regarding his finances, one of the worst ever submitted on a U.S. Senator. A group of Republicans from North Dakota had come to Washington to protest Senator Langer's election, and various Republican Senators had done their best in the background to try to unseat him. He was eventually allowed to assume a position as chairman of the Judiciary Committee, albeit while undergoing an investigation by its staff, with the consequence that Republicans on the Committee for nearly a year had viewed the ranking minority member, Senator Pat McCarran of Nevada, as the de facto chairman.

In the meantime, the Administration had appointed as Assistant Secretary of the Interior Fred Aandahl, who had just run against Senator Langer for his seat and during the campaign had called him a Communist, Mr. Aandahl receiving during the campaign a $1,000 contribution from Texas oil millionaire Roy Cullen. Thus, the appointment to the Administration appeared as a slap to Senator Langer.

Mr. Pearson indicates that those were some of the reasons why the Senator had dragged his heels on the confirmation, until he was firmly entrenched as chairman of the Judiciary Committee, which had not occurred until the prior January. He then decided to take out his revenge on Republicans regarding the confirmation of Chief Justice Warren.

Mr. Pearson relates that Senator Langer had once collected $25,000 from Boston columnist Bill Cunningham, following a libel suit, and the lawyer who had collected the money for him had been an Assistant Attorney General who had convicted Senator Langer for conspiring to solicit political contributions from Federal employees, with the Senator eventually sentenced to 18 months in jail, a conviction ultimately reversed on appeal and after two more trials, resulting in acquittal. He nevertheless became close friends with the prosecutor and, speculates Mr. Pearson, after the confirmation of Chief Justice Warren, the latter would likely have no better friend than Senator Langer. He notes that Mr. Langer had been elected Governor of North Dakota immediately after his conviction and was the only Senator whose Senate biography, written by himself, indicated that he had been arrested. The fact of his prosecution had caused the Senate to scrutinize him carefully the first time he was elected in 1940, but thanks to the votes of friendly Democrats, he was seated. He had voted as much with the Democrats as with the Republicans, and in 1950 had seriously considered leaving the Republican Party. It had been his key vote on the Judiciary Committee in 1947 which had defeated an effort to probe the Kansas City vote fraud case.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop again discuss the "new look" of the U.S. defense policy, centered on air-atomic capability, asking whether it was honest. Such an inquiry, they suggest, was natural given the fact that only 13 months earlier, the Administration had taken office, with Secretary of Defense Charles E. Wilson and Undersecretary Roger Kyes both holding the apparent belief that the national defense was a dubious leftist hobby. The Alsops wonder therefore whether the new look was merely a political façade, to avoid the concept of budget-cutting resulting in unpreparedness, as under former Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson, serving under President Truman between March, 1949 and September, 1950. Under the current Department of Defense budget-cutting of the previous year, the Air Force had received the bulk of the 40 billion dollars allocated to defense, with Secretary Wilson maintaining that a 120-wing Air Force was big enough, if not too big, though the Air Force continued to argue that the Truman Administration target of 143 air groups remained too low. That was the difficult situation when Air Force chief of staff, General Nathan Twining, took over the previous August, telling his staff to re-examine Air Force requirements from the ground up, with a completely open mind.

General Twining wanted careful reconsideration of the effect of recent development of new weaponry, starting with the hydrogen bomb, which required, because of its tremendous destructive force, fewer sorties to knock out an enemy and a smaller Strategic Air Force to accomplish the task. Tactical atomic bombs had also been developed which could increase the effectiveness of airpower over the battlefield. Of greatest importance, U.S. atomic production had reached the stage where atomic bombs were no longer in short supply and so it was no longer necessary for the Joint Chiefs to allocate the new weapons, target by target, enabling use of them freely for any significant military purpose.

After the re-examination by the Air Force staff, it produced a revised overall requirement of a 137-group Air Force.

In the meantime, Secretary Wilson and Undersecretary Kyes had gradually become aware that the Air Force was not so willfully wasteful as they had originally supposed. General Twining and Joint Chiefs chairman Admiral Arthur Radford had also developed a somewhat unexpected alliance around the 137-group target for the Air Force, which would become the backbone of the "new look", placed into operation the previous October.

The Alsops conclude that there was no reasonable suspicion of politically motivated budget-cutting at work and the real criticism of the new look was not that it was dishonest, in the manner of former Secretary Johnson, but rather that it had not been carried to its logical conclusion, as a national strategy built around air-atomic power was not worth much if it did not adequately allow for the fact that the enemy had air-atomic power also. Gaps in the new defense policy were being studied by the Pentagon and great progress had been made in reducing the significant waste in military manpower. Overall, the new look had a "sober, sensible, businesslike character" which was "remarkably reassuring".

James Marlow indicates that Washington was a plumber's paradise as it was full of leaks. Someone inside or outside the Army appeared to be leaking information to Senator McCarthy about what was happening in one of the Army's most secret operations, its hunt for Communists within its ranks. Army officials had told him that the information he had made public thus far was nothing they did not already know. The question was how the Senator had come to know the information, about which he refused comment. In consequence, the Pentagon might be seeking to catch whoever it was leaking the information. Twice during the previous month, the Senator had held hearings on cases in which the Army apparently had made decisions only a few days earlier, the first having been the case of the New York dentist, a member of the Army Reserve, who had refused to answer the Senator's questions about subversive organizations to which he might have belonged, the second having been the telegraphic-typewriter operator in the Pentagon, who, according to a former FBI informant who had infiltrated the Communist Party, had been a card-carrying member, and whom Senator McCarthy claimed handled secret messages as part of her job.

The dentist had been commissioned as a captain in October, 1952 and the same month had refused to answer the Army's questions about his membership in Communist organizations, but, nevertheless, was, the following January, called to active duty, and during the previous October, had been promoted to a major, until at the end of 1953, the Army decided to discharge him after an investigation. Then, at the end of January, Senator McCarthy had called him before the Investigations subcommittee, at which time the Senator claimed he refused under the Fifth Amendment to answer questions. Three days afterward, he sought an honorable discharge from the Army and received it. On the same day, Senator McCarthy announced that he had sent a letter to Secretary of the Army Robert Stevens, demanding the court-martial of the dentist, apparently not realizing that he was being discharged. On February 16, Secretary Stevens replied, telling the Senator that the dentist had already left the Army, and two days afterward, the Senator called the dentist back before the subcommittee and again received no answers. On the same date, the Senator inquired of Brig. General Ralph Zwicker, who had been the dentist's commander in the Reserves at Camp Kilmer in New Jersey. The General cited orders against giving out security information and refused to answer most of the Senator's questions, but informed that the Senator had not produced anything which the Army did not already know.

On February 5, according to the Army, it had shifted the telegraphic-typewriter operator in question from one type of job in the Pentagon to another as a result of an earlier investigation. The previous day, Senator McCarthy had held a hearing on that case and only afterward had the Army provided the information on the investigation of the woman. The former FBI informant who had testified before the Investigations subcommittee said that she had known the woman in question since the early 1940's as a Communist. The woman's lawyer stated that she took the position that she was "not now and never has been a member of the Communist Party."

Senator McCarthy could ask a trick question of that dentist, asking him whether he had ever had occasion to work on the bad teeth of Whittaker Chambers, the object of great scrutiny in August, 1948 before HUAC, when Alger Hiss asked and was permitted to examine Mr. Chambers's teeth because the man he recalled knowing for awhile in the mid-Thirties under another name had bad teeth, which Mr. Chambers admitted he had until he got them fixed. Who fixed them?

It would be a perfectly appropriate question: Have you recently or have you ever worked on the teeth of Whittaker Chambers? Inquiring minds want and need to know.

A letter writer finds that the increase in coffee prices was nothing compared to the cost of mechanics, and lists the costs of some minor repairs to his automobile which he had incurred the previous Saturday, amounting to $5.15 for a half hour of labor, including parts. He finds that in the old days, Jesse James had to carry a gun—but not to get $5.15.

A letter writer from Myrtle Beach, S.C., comments on the editorial regarding the Bricker amendment which had stated that it was a "dead cat" and ought remain so. He indicates that he had little use for Senator Bricker because of his suppression of certain things with regard to a cancer investigation, but believed the editorial was "all wet". He suggests that former Presidents Roosevelt and Truman had exercised executive powers as few of their predecessors had and believes that the present troubles of the nation stemmed from their "efforts backed up by traitorous conduct in official places". He thinks the situation in Korea was the "most disgraceful business our nation has ever been forced to swallow." He thus favors regulating the powers of the executive branch with regard to treaty-making. He thinks the foreign ministers conference just concluded in Berlin was a case in point, demonstrating the futility of such conferences.

A letter writer from Great Falls, S.C., finds that Republican speeches of late had been constantly engaging in a refrain of trying to tie Democrats with Communism, and had they any accomplishments on which to brag, they would be touting those rather than trying to drag down the Democrats. He finds that the Republicans had failed thus far to make good on their 1952 campaign promises, including the Armistice in Korea, which had not resulted in peace for the foreseeable future with the Communist world. There were two million unemployed persons and the cost of food was rising. They had not balanced the budget and would not anytime soon. Nor had they eliminated corruption in government, as promised, or cleaned out Communists, unable to prove that any significant number were there in the first place.

A letter writer comments on the Sunday movie ban, which recently the movie theater operators had sought to amend to allow Sunday evening movies, to which objection was made by local ministers before the City Council. She says that America was a "Christian" nation, that Russia allowed movies seven days per week and that the U.S. should refuse to be like atheist Russia, that the U.S. was a free nation and that there was no need to prove it, that people who saw a sign indicating sickness on the block would not think of blowing their car horns loudly.

No, but there are sure as hell idiots in the midst of a global and nationwide pandemic during the past year who insist on going to church to spread the coronavirus not only among their fellow Christians but also abroad the land, hardly anything resembling "Christian" conduct, more the product of a rather narrow-minded view of Christianity, not involving the Golden Rule, but rather stubbornly prideful conduct coming before the fall, not dissimilar to your contentions that it is somehow un-Christian to watch or attend movies on Sundays. Let him who is without sin cast the first stone...

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