The Charlotte News

Friday, February 26, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Bonn, the West German Bundestag this date approved, by a vote of 334 to 144, constitutional changes authorizing the armies of a half million German soldiers to join the proposed European Defense Community unified army of six European nations, Italy, France and the Benelux countries, plus West Germany. It represented an important victory for pro-Western Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, who had based his foreign policy on linking West Germany militarily and politically with the West. Both houses of the West German parliament had previously approved the treaty, itself, but the Adenauer coalition had maintained that the changes to the constitution approved this date were necessary to end a Socialist contention in the West German Supreme Court that the treaty was unconstitutional. The changes provided that the Federal Government was responsible for defense, authorized compulsory military service and declared specifically that the treaty and the peace contract with the Allies did not violate the Constitution. The upper house of the Bundestag would also be required to pass by a two-thirds majority the changes, which then would have to be ratified by the three occupying powers, the U.S., Britain and France, who had already given their tacit approval. Chancellor Adenauer had warned the Bundestag that the recent Berlin foreign ministers conference had demonstrated that free Europe had to pool its military resources to prevent the threat of Soviet aggression from its advanced position in Europe. Only Holland had otherwise completed ratification, with France, Italy, Belgium and Luxembourg yet to do so.

The U.S. formally invited this date 14 of its Korean War allies to meet with Russia, Communist China and North Korea at the Korean peace conference, scheduled to begin on April 26 in Geneva.

In Damascus, rebel army leaders sent into exile in neighboring Lebanon early this date the ousted dictator-President of Syria, General Adib Shishekly, and freed 12 political leaders he had arrested the previous month, including top leaders of the primary anti-Shishekly factions, the Nationalists, Populists, Socialists and splinter parties. The deposed President had accused the 12 leaders of "openly calling for mutiny and disturbance", the next day having declared martial law in the country. The rebel army had provided him 24 hours to leave the country, and he and his entourage had driven to Beirut and took refuge in the Saudi Arabian legation, with speculation being that he would continue on to Saudi Arabia. It appeared likely that former President Hachem Bey Attasi, who had been deposed by General Shishekly in December, 1951 in a bloodless coup and was presently the president of the National Assembly, would head Syria's new government. The rebel army leaders, in a broadcast from Aleppo the previous day, had demanded that he be elevated to the presidency. The deposed President, who had been Army chief of staff from 1949 until the coup, had survived 26 assassination attempts and plots on his life and told the Assembly speaker that he was resigning the office "to prevent bloodshed among the people and army I so much love."

Conciliation efforts between Army Secretary Robert Stevens and Senator Joseph McCarthy had not ended the dispute between the two, as Secretary Stevens the previous day issued a statement defining his position, backed by the President, designed to counter the universal impression that the Secretary had yielded to the Senator after a meeting Wednesday between the two, resulting in a statement that the Secretary would relent in his previous order that two generals not respond to summonses from Senator McCarthy's Investigations subcommittee because of previous "abuse" of Army officer witnesses, and that a list would be provided the Senator of those who had been responsible for the promotion of a dentist and his subsequent honorable discharge from the Army Reserve after he had refused, pursuant to the Fifth Amendment, to testify some 14 months earlier as to whether he had ever been involved in a subversive organization, and the responsible Army personnel made available for testimony. After the meeting, Secretary Stevens said that he was confident that there would be no such abusive treatment of Army officers in the future, based on assurances he had received from the members of the subcommittee, a statement which Senator McCarthy said was "completely false". Just moments before, the Senator had been addressing newsmen, describing the Secretary in complimentary terms, but then said that no concession had been made that any witness had been abused and that to promise no abuse in the future would have been to admit such abuse in the past. White House press secretary James Hagerty said that the President stood 100 percent behind the Secretary's remarks and that the President would "never accede to the abuse of Army personnel under any circumstances".

The Senate Republican policy committee this date ordered a study of possible changes in the rules under which investigations were conducted, primarily aimed at the investigations of Senator McCarthy and like investigations.

The Senate, after five weeks of controversy over the proposed Bricker amendment, appeared to be at the point of decision this date, with the required two-thirds majority for passage appearing uncertain one way or the other. A three-point package proposed by Senate Majority Leader William Knowland and approved by the President was one possibility. A second possibility was a substitute measure proposed by Senator Walter George of Georgia, opposed by the Administration. Failure of either of those two proposals would likely doom the entire amendment. Passage would have to be followed by similar action in the House and then ratification by three-fourths of the states.

In St. Louis, U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge John J. Parker of Charlotte gave an address at Washington University in which he stated that the proposed Bricker amendment was a product of "unfounded fears" that the constitutional liberties of the people might be surrendered through treaties and that the nation might be committed to unwise undertakings through executive agreements, of which he found no justification in the history of the country. He said that the Constitution should not be amended on the basis of "groundless fears of the timid or uninformed", that the proposed amendment was ridiculous and that it was only seeking to restate what the Supreme Court had already declared, on the ground of the uninformed believing that the Court might at some point in the future decide matters differently. He said that if you could not trust the President, the Senate, the Congress or the courts, "who, in Heaven's name, can you trust?" He said that the amendment would give the country the most cumbersome treaty-making procedure in the world, that every treaty and executive agreement made by the President would, despite ratification of treaties by two-thirds of the Senate, then have to be passed by laws of both houses of Congress and again signed by the President before becoming internal law. He said that in the previous session of Congress, 23 treaties had been ratified, 12 of which would have been unconstitutional under the proposed Bricker amendment.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics announced this date that the cost of living had risen in January to a point just under the record, with the index hitting 115.2, the same figure recorded the prior September and just below the record 115.4 percent of the 1947-49 average the prior October. Rising food prices in January appeared likely the cause of a reversal of a slight downward trend in November and December. Food prices had increased by .7 percent and transportation costs by 1.2 percent, the latter mainly because of higher prices on 1954 automobiles.

In London, the leader of the British Labor Party's Christian Socialist group in Parliament, Geoffrey de Freitas, said this date that he was impressed with the "sincere Christianity" of American evangelist Billy Graham, after a visit by Rev. Graham to the House of Commons. Mr. De Freitas had demanded an apology from the Reverend for his anti-Socialist remark in a Graham organization calendar advertising the three-month British tour—presumably a calendar without pictures of Marilyn Monroe. Rev. Graham apologized for the text, which had stated that the British churches had been emptied by "socialism", having previously explained that the word should have been substituted in the final presentation by "secularism". He said that he appreciated that many British Socialists were dedicated Christians. Mr. De Freitas said that it was clear from the Reverend's knowledge of British life and politics that the calendar text "did not represent his present attitude toward British socialism."

In Frankfurt, Germany, a newspaper carried two classified advertisements this date, one asking, "What Marilyn Monroe type seeks the company of a cultivated gentleman?" and the other stating: "Construction engineer with car seeks the acquaintanceship of an elegant, pretty, young woman (Silvana Mangano type)."

In Norwich, England, a 75-year old woman announced this date that she was retiring from her job as a shoemaker because she had to look after her mother, 99. Presumably, her mother did not reside in a shoe.

In Miami, four members of the General Federation of Women's Clubs, who had just returned from Brazil after checking on the coffee supply on the farms and the empty warehouses, indicated that the Brazilian coffee growers had endured a difficult time, that there were millions of trees dead from a frost which had struck the previous July 4 and new trees were just beginning to bear coffee beans. They blamed the frost for the supply problem and consequent higher prices on coffee in the U.S. One of the women, from Grosse Pointe, Mich., a practicing attorney and research specialist for the Federation, said that in Brazil they served coffee thick, strong and black and that she preferred coffee served as in the U.S.

In Charlotte, a man, about 27, had returned to the Dollar Finance Corp. this date and stolen $842 at gunpoint, after having been informed earlier in the day that his credit was not acceptable because he could not produce references to obtain a loan of $100. There had been a series of recent holdups of businesses in Charlotte and the arrests of two individuals within recent weeks had cleared up four of the holdups, with three remaining unsolved.

On the editorial page, "Keep the Community Colleges Going" indicates that early the following month, the City School Board was scheduled to consider the financial plight of two community colleges, Charlotte and Carver, that the issue needed attention as both institutions were reliant solely on tuition to cover their cost of operation, and were finding it tough going.

There was also a dearth of state-supported higher educational institutions within the central and lower Piedmont region of the state, the piece supplying a map showing the locations of the state-supported schools, concentrated in the eastern and central portions. The only schools in the western part of the state were Appalachian State Teachers College at Boone and Western Carolina Teachers College at Cullowhee.

The 14-county Piedmont area around Charlotte, which contained 871,805 residents as of the 1950 census, with probably a million by the present, about a fourth of the state's population, did not have within it any of the dozen state higher educational institutions.

Thus, preservation of the two community colleges in question, Carver being for black students, was crucial. Carver had about 150 students enrolled in its freshman and sophomore classes, and Charlotte College, for whites—subsequently to expand considerably and become part of the University system as a full four-year university with a complete curriculum of undergraduate and graduate studies, UNC-Charlotte—had about 200 students in those two classes, with about 350 adults also enrolled in non-credit courses. The latter had opened in 1946 as an overflow facility for the University for veterans returning from the war, and had taught about 1,800 students in the freshman and sophomore courses, and an equal number of adults in the non-credit courses. It urges that the community needed to recognize the need for the colleges and support them. The community college in Asheville was helped by a city-county grant, and the Wilmington community college was aided by a local tax supplement. It indicates that the means by which the two colleges were aided was not so important as assuring that they continued in operation and expanded if possible, as they were doing an important educational job in a region where the type of training they offered was inadequate.

"But Congress Won't Police Itself" indicates that General Ralph Zwicker's testimony before Senator McCarthy's Investigations subcommittee had raised a point which at first glance seemed unrelated to the whole matter of Congressional investigating techniques, but, upon reflection, appeared to be quite pertinent. The General and the Senator had spent a good amount of time discussing a hypothetical soldier who stole, or was alleged to have stolen, $50, with Senator McCarthy attempting to establish that if a soldier thus charged would not be discharged from the Army, then an Army officer against whom more serious charges had been made ought not be discharged and thus would be immunized from military prosecution, with both agreeing that such a hypothetical charge of theft ought be investigated and acted upon by the Army.

The piece indicates, however, that with respect to Congress, charges of thievery against members had been investigated, some having been found guilty and sentenced to prison, while some still served in Congress, but that none had been rebuked by their colleagues. Former Representative Andrew May of Kentucky, for instance, who had taken more than $50,000 in bribes, had been cheered and applauded in Congress while he still served his prison term. Representative Parnell Thomas of New Jersey, former HUAC chairman, had taken kickbacks from employees and was charged and convicted of defrauding the Government and sentenced to prison, but was now running for re-election. Former Representative Walter Brehm of Ohio had been found guilty of obtaining illegal campaign contributions, and Representative Ernest Bramblett of California had recently been found guilty of accepting $4,700 in salary kickbacks. It indicates that were the latter to be in the executive branch, members of Congress would have been howling for his scalp as soon as the charges became known and certainly after he had been found guilty, but Representative Bramblett, with his case presently on appeal, continued to serve.

It says that the Constitution empowered each house to be the judge of the "qualifications of its own members" and to "punish its members for disorderly behavior", but that Congress did not do so.

"Here, then, in Congress' refusal to set and live by high standards of decency, honesty and fair play, is one of the main reasons for the lack of ethics in government, and for such undignified episodes as the hassle between the general and the senator."

A piece from the Winston-Salem Journal, titled "Weak Opposition, Senators", indicates that both of North Carolina's Senators, Clyde Hoey and Alton Lennon, had stated in a television interview recently that they opposed admission of Hawaii as a state because it was a non-contiguous territory and the trip to it and back took a long time. It suggests that perhaps they had other reasons, but that those were the primary ones and were not adequate in its view.

Hawaii could be reached within a few hours by plane and within a few days by ship, and radio communication was instantaneous, with air travel likely to improve, as Pan American was experimenting with the "jet stream", completing a trip from Tokyo to Honolulu in nine hours and 18 minutes. Furthermore, when California had been admitted to the Union in 1850, the nearest state was Texas, and so the non-contiguity argument did not fly either. In 1850, it would have taken days or weeks to travel from Texas to California at their closest points.

Drew Pearson indicates that before the President had sent his economic message to Congress, an important debate had taken place among White House advisers as to whether it should include two remedies for recession, tax relief to stimulate retail trade and business expansion, and a public works program to take up the slack resulting from reduced defense orders after the end of the Korean War. The public relations advisers at the White House, whom the Democrats called "hucksters", however, had been opposed to inclusion of the two remedies, arguing that too much emphasis on the recession would create a bad psychological reaction and only increase the recession. Some also suggested that if the Democrats were going to be accused of talking the country into a recession, as White House chief of staff Sherman Adams had shortly thereafter accused them of doing, it would be poor strategy for the President to give them any ammunition. Thus, in the end, the message went to Congress without the two recession remedies included.

Since that time, the President had disclosed one of the remedies, tax reduction, at his press conference. It remained a considerable concern among advisers at the White House as to how long they should allow business to drift downward without taking definite action, with some of the President's supporters in Congress recalling the mistake President Hoover had made in talking about "prosperity just around the corner" at a time when he was being urged to act rather than talk about the deepening depression during 1930-32. Among President Hoover's advisers at that time had been Walter Gifford, head of American Telephone & Telegraph, placed in charge of unemployment relief; Col. Arthur Woods, former police commissioner of New York City; and Eugene Meyer, former governor of the Federal Reserve Board and head of the RFC, all having urged President Hoover to act vigorously, Mr. Meyer advising constructive financial steps in Europe long before the depression became serious. President Hoover had not acted, however, and the depression became increasingly worse. Mr. Pearson notes that former President Hoover had stated during the week that he expected no great depression at present, considering himself an expert on such things.

The White House had fixed two warning signals to indicate the approach of a depression, a point at which the advisers would tell the President to begin tax-cutting and pump-priming, those two signals being when unemployment reached the four million mark, perhaps not far away, as some current estimates had it at 3.5 million, and, second, when the production index dropped to 14 percent, at present having dropped only to nine percent. Meanwhile, Secretary of the Treasury George Humphrey and Secretary of Defense Charles E. Wilson, plus other big business members of the Cabinet, were urging their friends in private industry that it was time to inject private capital into the economy and thereby show that they had confidence in the capitalist system, prompting G.M., of which Mr. Wilson had been president before becoming Secretary, to announce a billion-dollar expansion program, and it was hoped that others would follow suit.

Members of Congress who had taken a close look at Postmaster General Arthur Summerfield's proposals for boosting postal salaries did not like it. His proposal would give a grade 3 clerk a total increase of only $10 per year while giving city postmasters in New York and Chicago an increase of $5,150 per year. He secretly hoped to tie the postage-stamp increase to the wage boost for postal employees so that he would obtain the powerful Postal Workers' Union to lobby for him, but the union would not go along.

Though the U.S. had made great strides in perfecting an atomic submarine, the Russians were presently building 12 ordinary submarines for every one constructed by both the British and the U.S. The U.S.S. Nautilus, the first atomic-powered submarine, would be equipped with a secret television-like eye to avoid striking underwater obstacles. That is comforting. Don't want it hitting any unexploded World War II mines.

Ralph McGill, editor of the Atlanta Constitution, indicates that Senator McCarthy, whose military record was suspect, had been insulting and intimidating better men than himself, those who had actually been decorated for devotion to country beyond the call of duty. Of late, he had attempted to dominate the Army and degrade its officers and men, who had no recourse because of the position of the Senator. Mr. McGill indicates that one day, the nation would have to face the real meaning of McCarthy and those who followed him.

He informs that the previous week, he had a Turkish newspaper editor, Ahmet Yalman, whom he had known a long time, visit him. The editor had been in jail for fighting Communists and some months earlier, a Communist terrorist, acting on orders, had shot him five times at close range, nearly killing him. He had said that he could not think of any greater asset which the Communist world had than Senator McCarthy, that many people in Europe who risked their lives to fight Communists believed the Senator to be a Communist, himself. The charge that he and those who followed his line were making, that the Democratic Party was a party of treason, was, according to Mr. Yalman, the most damaging blow struck to the country, as people abroad who sided with America were asking themselves what had happened in the country to cause Senators and members of the Cabinet to charge fellow Americans with being traitors and treasoners.

Elmer Davis, in his new book, But We Were Born Free, had what Mr. McGill regards as a "brilliant chapter" on Senator McCarthy, saying that those who justified the Senator's investigations as focusing attention on Communism were really only bringing "the danger of fire more to the attention of the public" by turning in false alarms all over town. E. B. White said, in reviewing Mr. Davis's book for the New Yorker, that it left no doubt that the Senator's purpose, as well as that of his fellow conspirators, was to transfer the name and reputation of the Communist to a group that is far more numerous, "the wrong thinkers", the people who did not agree with the Senator. He quotes at length from Mr. White, indicating that the Senator had spread suspicion regarding the Army, the State Department, the schools, the colleges, especially Harvard, the clergy, especially Protestants, industry, the press, especially the liberal press, President Eisenhower, the Government Printing Office, the International Information Administration, the Constitution, especially the Fifth Amendment, former President Truman, intellectuals, writers and artists, especially the bleeding heart variety, U.S. foreign policy, and presently about 30 million Democrats. Mr. White had said that with the Senator's "20 Years of Treason" tour, he was gaining the distinction of being the first man who had tried to split the Union under the auspices of Abraham Lincoln, by way of Republican Lincoln Day speeches.

James Marlow discusses the dispute between Secretary of the Army Robert Stevens and Senator McCarthy, quoting the Secretary as saying that he guessed he had not handled it too well. The Senator had demanded the names of the Army personnel who had investigated the Army Reserve dentist who had been given an honorable discharge after being promoted from captain to major, despite having asserted the Fifth Amendment when Senator McCarthy had asked him whether he had ever been a Communist. The dentist had said that the charge that he had been a Communist was "utter nonsense". The Senator had also asked that two generals appear before the Investigations subcommittee regarding the dentist's case, but Secretary Stevens had ordered them to disregard the subpoenas because the Senator had abused one of the two generals, Ralph Zwicker, the commander of Camp Kilmer in New Jersey where the dentist had been stationed in the Reserve. The Secretary said that he would appear before the subcommittee and answer any questions the Senator had.

After a closed-door meeting the previous day between Secretary Stevens, Senator McCarthy and the other three Republican members of the subcommittee, Senators Karl Mundt of South Dakota, Everett Dirksen of Illinois, and Charles Potter of Michigan, Senator Mundt read to the press a one-sided "memorandum of understanding", which indicated that the Army would provide the names of those who had investigated the dentist, and that the subcommittee could then question those persons, as well as the two generals, providing Secretary Stevens nothing, though he said later that the Senators had given him assurances that such conditions of abuse of Army personnel would not develop in the future. But there had been no such agreement in writing, whereas Senator McCarthy had gotten in writing the conditions he desired.

The impression inside and outside the Pentagon had been that Secretary Stevens had surrendered to Senator McCarthy, that after talking tough from the Pentagon, had surrendered to him face-to-face, an impression about which Secretary Stevens was reportedly upset. The front page of the Washington Star had reported that Army morale had been shot to pieces by the performance. By late the previous day, the Secretary wanted to obtain an addendum to the memorandum which would explicitly state that in the future the subcommittee would not abuse Army personnel, but he got no such writing, with Senator McCarthy later saying that any such agreement would be an admission that witnesses had already been abused, a claim which he denied had occurred.

A letter from J. R. Dean indicates that many of his friends in Charlotte, Monroe and Lincolnton had urged him to run for the U.S. Senate seat presently occupied by Senator Lennon, and that he wanted to inform them that he was not a candidate for any office in 1954, but wished to thank them for offering their support, saying that he was waiting until the 1956 campaign to run for political office, would let former Governor Kerr Scott and Senator Lennon fight it out in the spring primary.

But the pro-dog platform was so promising. What will the dogs do now? They cannot wait until 1956, turncoat. The leaks have to be stopped, and now.

A letter writer indicates that in his opinion, Thomas Jefferson had prevented European feudalism from taking root in America, through his work in the Virginia Legislature as well as in the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights. He believes that if the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination were limited or essentially written out of the Constitution, feudalism would come to America, and that if freedom of the press under the First Amendment were weakened, the dark ages would come to the country. He urges close watch of those "self-servers" in Washington, whether elected or appointed, who were trying to portray Democrats as traitors, saying that George Washington, James Madison and Thomas Jefferson, and scores of others who had been responsible for the founding, were "still alive and will never die".

A letter writer finds it no wonder that the British people were insulted by the proposed visit of Rev. Billy Graham and his organization. He indicates that he had understood that Roy Rogers, Dale Evans and other cowboys were accompanying him on his tour, wondering whether Trigger would also be along. He suggests that the tour was communicating the idea that Britons' religion was not strong enough or good enough and that the entourage was coming to their country to shore up their religious foundations, so weak that they would be "saved after one circus-like revival meeting". He suggests that Rev. Graham ought go to Russia and set up his tents outside one of their salt mines, that he could achieve wonderful work there.

A letter writer from Spindale, N.C., indicates that two high-ranking Marine officers might go on trial for broadcasting, while they had been prisoners of the Communists during the Korean War, that they had participated in germ warfare. He says that they had endured tortures at the hands of their captors and that the U.S. should not sit down at the conference table with Communist China until the former prisoners were permitted to confront their tormentors. He objects to meeting at all with the Communist Chinese, who had claimed never to be at war with the allies in Korea, that their troops had been strictly "volunteers", even though they had done the bulk of the fighting after the North Korean Army had been practically destroyed in the early stages of the war. He says that U.S. diplomats would come away from the conference in Geneva just as empty-handed as they had from the foreign ministers conference recently concluded in Berlin, that it should be obvious that one could not negotiate with Communists except on their terms, that eight years of fruitless efforts were undeniable proof of the fact. He indicates that Edward R. Murrow of CBS, in his broadcast the previous night, had predicted that a European army would be a dead issue by the end of 1954, as the French would refuse to ratify the European Defense Community treaty providing for the six-nation army. The writer suggests that without French and German troops, Europe would be ripe for taking by the Communists, and that it was a very sad picture for the rest of the world.

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