The Charlotte News

Saturday, February 27, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Cairo, an Egyptian Army spokesman said this date that General Mohamed Naguib, who had been forced out of the Premiership and Presidency of Egypt by the ruling Army Executive Council comprised of 12 young Army officers, would return as President, and Lt. Col. Gamal Abdel Nasser would become the new Prime Minister, the result of a compromise agreement to settle the country's internal political struggle.

A report from Beirut in Lebanon indicated that Syrian army rebels who had forced President General Adib Shishekly into exile had sent planes and demonstrators through Damascus this date to demand the complete ouster of pro-Shishekly elements still entrenched in the capital. The planes dropped leaflets demanding the resignation of the interim President, and thousands of demonstrators swarmed through the city and seized the House of Parliament, according to sources reporting to Beirut. Those sources indicated that the Army chief of staff who had issued a statement in support of the President had resigned. The Damascus Army garrison was reported to have withdrawn to its barracks in the face of the demonstration. The rebels appeared to be trying to install someone of their own choosing in the presidency. The interim President had taken over as the automatic successor to General Shishekly until a new president could be chosen in a constitutional election during the ensuing two months.

In Mexico City, the Government outlawed the previous night the Federated People's Party, chief opposition to the dominant Revolutionary Institutional Party of President Adolfo Ruiz Cortines, on the ground that the opposition party had engaged in "subversive agitation". The opposition party supported General Miguel Henriquez Guzman, a retired Army officer who had run a distant second to the President in the 1952 election. It was the first time a party had been ordered officially banned from the political arena since the rightist Sinarquist Union had been outlawed during the regime of President Manuel Avila Camacho during World War II.

In London, American and British policy had suffered a setback because of a split within the Labor Party regarding rearmament of West Germany, raising the threat, if only temporarily, that the West might suffer a setback in public opinion gained from the adamant position taken by the Russians at the recent Berlin Big Four foreign ministers conference. Generally, West European Socialists had opposed West Germany having a part in the European Defense Community unified army of six nations, and their opposition, especially in France, had delayed the ratification of EDC, considered a cornerstone of Western European defense. Had British Labor supported a West German military contribution to EDC, their example might have influenced their Socialist counterparts in France, Italy, the Low Countries and West Germany. But because of the split, it was now questionable whether the Socialists in the other countries would support or oppose EDC. A meeting in Brussels of the continental Socialists was expected to broach the issue.

The President won a major victory in the Senate the previous night, as it voted 60 to 31, one fewer than the two-thirds necessary, for the proposal of Senator Walter George of Georgia, substituting for the Bricker amendment on the treaty-making power, an amendment opposed consistently by the President.

A source high in the Administration said this date that Secretary of the Army Robert Stevens would continue in his position despite criticism for his conduct during the dispute with Senator McCarthy, many perceiving him to have caved in to the Senator after initially standing up to him by refusing to have two generals appear further before the Senate Investigations subcommittee because of alleged abuse of them during prior questioning, but relenting on that order and allowing them to testify and agreeing to provide the names of those responsible for the promotion and subsequent honorable discharge of an Army Reserve dentist who had refused to answer a question about whether he had ever been a member of a subversive organization. The source of the information indicated that it was decided that if the hearing had taken place without the agreement and the Secretary had testified, it would have looked worse. Senator McCarthy had said the previous day that he did not believe he had any issues with the White House and that his differences with the Secretary were over, provided the latter lived up to his agreement. The Secretary insisted that the subcommittee should guarantee in writing that to which he said the members had orally agreed, that there would be no further abuse of Army witnesses. But Senator McCarthy had refused to do so, claiming that the contention of the Secretary that there had been such an informal agreement was false, as to agree not to abuse witnesses was an admission of prior abuse. The President had backed up the Secretary's statement.

The President had told a press conference over two weeks earlier that his Administration would go into action should March fail to bring an anticipated upturn in the nation's economic activity, with Administration spokesmen insisting that the country was only going through a readjustment in the wake of the end of the Korean fighting, while some Democrats contended that there was already an ongoing recession. The joint Congressional Economic Committee said, in an unprecedented unanimous report, that it was sure that "any serious further recession can be avoided" but advised "timely and courageous" steps to stir business investment and consumer spending, suggesting that the Administration delay plans to replace the present farm program and its rigid, high-level price supports, with a new flexible support system. According to Government reports, unemployment had risen during the week ending February 13 to 2.18 million, the largest number of unemployed since February, 1950, when 2.3 million had been unemployed, and farm prices were down four-tenths of a percent between mid-January and mid-February. Meanwhile, the cost of living had risen the previous month to its second highest level in history, at 115.2 percent of the 1947-49 average.

In Savannah, Ga., Clarence Mitchell, director of the NAACP's Washington bureau, speaking before the Southeastern regional meeting of the organization the previous day, said that the South would become one of "the most liberal, prosperous and progressive" areas of the world, but that there would always be forces seeking to drag it "back to the mint julep and magnolia days of fear and exploitation" when the section was a "land of trigger-happy sheriffs and incipient lynch mobs." He said that such groups usually operated by capturing the local sheriff's office, the governor's mansion and the state's congressional delegation, that in 1952, they had made an ambitious but unsuccessful bid to capture the White House. He praised the movement toward abolition of segregation at the national level, particularly the role of the Eisenhower Administration and the Supreme Court. He said that the President had "carried on this type of program with results even more dramatic than some achieved by his predecessors", and that his attacks on segregation in Washington and in many other Federal activities were actions meriting great praise. He found that the Administration had gone on record as firmly opposed to segregation in the public schools and was putting the finishing touches on ending segregation in the armed forces. He also believed that the NAACP's campaign against mob violence had made it safer for white labor leaders to organize workers in the South, and for white people in general to speak and act in accord with their consciences without fear of reprisal.

In Huntingdon, Tenn., an Air Force C-119 "Flying Boxcar" exploded the previous day while its pilot was carrying out a hometown tradition of buzzing the courthouse, the crew of four all dying in the crash. Residents said that it had been a tradition since World War II for pilots from the town to buzz the courthouse if they ever got within 100 miles of the town. The mayor said that they were lucky that the whole town was not ripped wide open by the crash. One resident on the ground had suffered serious injuries, while another was burned slightly, both of whom having been plowing a garden at the time of the crash.

In Spokane, Wash., a 3.5 million dollar B-36 bomber, the world's largest bomber, caught fire on the Fairchild Air Force Base runway and was destroyed this date, but all 20 men aboard managed to escape unharmed.

In Casper, Wyo., a search was ongoing this date for a Los Angeles to Minneapolis Western Air Lines plane which had gone missing in either Wyoming or South Dakota with nine persons aboard, six of whom were passengers.

In Miami, William O'Dwyer, former Mayor of New York, arrived from Mexico City in the morning and left at once for a vacation in the Florida Keys.

There was a mixture of winter, spring and summer weather across the country this date. In southern Texas and in the far Southwest, temperatures hit the 70's during the night, with the mercury having risen to 96 in Laredo the previous day, a record for the date, with other 90-degree temperatures registered in San Antonio, Austin and other Texas towns.

In Rensselaer, N.Y., residents who saw a blue rain falling the previous day figured that it was from the same place the pink snow had originated the previous month, the General Aniline Corp. The plant's personnel relations manager explained that vapor from a 500-gallon pressure kettle cooking neptune blue dye had infiltrated the rain over an area of about a square mile. The pink snow had resulted from a large vat of red dye having boiled over, sending fumes into the air.

On the editorial page, "The Fight, and the Man Who Led It" indicates that the battle over the Bricker amendment, regarding the treaty-making power, appeared to be over as of the previous afternoon when the Senate failed to vote the required two-thirds majority for Senator Walter George's watered-down version of it, a key section of which had been voted down two days earlier. It finds it a welcome setback for the isolationists who had seen in the amendment an opportunity to hamper the conduct of U.S. foreign policy to the point that it would have compromised U.S. world leadership.

It indicates that U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge John J. Parker, along with the late attorney Charles Tillett, both of Charlotte, had been two of the primary opponents to the amendment, with Judge Parker having delivered a series of speeches which had pointed up the amendment's dangers, criticism to which people listened, as he was recognized as one of the greatest authorities on the Constitution, and, were it not for the vagaries of politics, would probably have become the chief justice at present, as his nomination to the Supreme Court in 1930 by President Hoover had failed by only one vote. It finds that he had stated his convictions on the Bricker amendment with "eloquent simplicity" before a Washington University audience in St. Louis the previous day, stating that the amendment was the product of "unfounded fears" which were unjustified by anything in the country's history.

It concludes that the nation and Charlotte could be thankful that the Judge had led the fight against the "grave assault on the Constitution".

"By-Pass Can Serve Two Purposes" indicates that a bypass for Highway 29 would be enthusiastically welcomed by officials and residents of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, though the exact route of the bypass might be subject to some dispute. It proposes setting up objections should the State Highway Commission plan to route the bypass far from the business district. It goes on to provide some of the problems and indicates that while it had no particular route in mind, the commission should undertake a feasible one and hopes that the district commissioner would turn a sympathetic ear to the request of city officials for a thoroughfare, similar to Independence Boulevard, on the western side of the city.

"U.S. Foreign Service in Disrepute" indicates that the foreign service had been harmed by irresponsible politicians and investigators, as indicated by advice given to Princeton University graduates during the week by former U.S. Ambassador to Russia and State Department planner, author of the Truman foreign policy of containment of Communism, George Kennan. In an interview with the Daily Princetonian, he had said that with things as they were, he could not in good conscience encourage young men to attempt to enter the Foreign Service at the bottom and make it a career, stating as grounds the over-elaborate and cumbersome security precautions with which the service was now burdened, the irregularity of entrance arrangements and long delays in commissioning and appointing of officers, the constant admission at higher levels of officers who had not climbed the ladder, and the failure of the Government to regularize the status of the service in relation to the draft and obligations of officers in time of war.

It suggests that it was an indictment which merited a serious examination by the Administration, as to exert its proper role in world leadership which it had inherited after the war, the U.S. had to have an effective foreign service. But the State Department had been the favorite target of "demagogues, witch-hunters and superpatriots", and since Secretary Dulles had come into office, top officials, too much of the time, had not been willing to stand up and defend the foreign service from such attackers. In consequence, many of the best and most experienced foreign service officers had resigned, while others had been exiled to posts of little importance to appease Congressional critics. Those who remained on the job had learned from bitter experience that an honest analysis made in the past could be brought up years later to suggest subversion or disloyalty, and so were only reporting facts to Washington, rather than providing their impressions and ideas.

There had been a report that the President might appoint a special commission to study the foreign service and recommend changes in the current system, which, it suggests, might help the situation, but ventures that it would be even better were the President and the Secretary of State to use the resources at hand to lay down hard, fast policies for the service and then stick by them in the face of irresponsible criticism.

A piece from the New Orleans States, titled "Truth Mirror", indicates that a French engineer's invention of a "truth mirror" was likely greeted with mixed emotions. The invention was technically an isoscope, which reflected images without reversing them, enabling those confined to bed to read from a book placed on their chests and reflected in the new mirror suspended above their eyes. It also permitted people to prepare their appearance in the form in which others saw them.

The piece indicates its satisfaction with mirrors as they were and that those faults which one could not see were the kind of faults which one's best friends would not tell about anyway.

Drew Pearson indicates that when former Secretary of State Acheson had returned from international conferences, President Truman had invariably met him at the airport to show his support of the Secretary and the difficult foreign policies he was trying to execute. But when Secretary Dulles had returned from the Berlin foreign ministers conference recently, President Eisenhower had not been at the airport, instead conferring with Republican leaders in Congress. Senate Majority Leader William Knowland of California had challenged Secretary Dulles before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for agreeing to sit down across the conference table in Geneva, starting April 26, with Communist China, saying it was a step toward recognition. Senator Knowland had also objected to placing Indo-China on the agenda of the conference, as the Korean War was a U.N. effort, contrary to the status of the French in Indo-China. Secretary Dulles had replied that it would have been impossible to hold a conference without including Indo-China on the agenda, making it appear that Russia was trying to solve the problem for the French, while the U.S. was not. Undersecretary of State Walter Bedell Smith believed that without the Indo-China war on the agenda, the present French Government would have fallen and France would have withdrawn from the war. Senator Alexander Wiley of Wisconsin vigorously supported Secretary Dulles, while others were sympathetic, including Senator Leverett Saltonstall of Massachusetts. But Senator Knowland persisted in stating that the French would now settle the war in Indo-China by establishing a coalition government which would include Communists, eventuating in the domination of that country by the Communists. Few other Senators questioned the Secretary's wisdom. At the end of the closed-door meeting, Senator Knowland agreed with Mr. Dulles's statement that he had not answered all of his questions. Mr. Pearson notes that Mr. Dulles claimed that the West had scored a diplomatic victory regarding the European Defense Community unified army because Mr. Molotov's tactics had been so crude that he had strengthened the EDC.

Lawyers for the New York Times and New York Herald Tribune had warned that it was libelous to print the names of the 12 women whom James Roosevelt had listed in his letter provided his wife in 1945, in deference to his father's poor health at the time, to keep the matter quiet, as his wife had ensured she would if Mr. Roosevelt provided her an admission of adulterous relations in the letter. The letter, however, was not a privileged document, and several of the women were considering filing libel suits against the newspapers which had printed their names.

The previous week, business failures throughout the U.S. had numbered 277, compared to 200 a year earlier.

The Democrats were considering a campaign slogan for the fall elections to fit the recession: "It's un-American to be unemployed."

Black groups had quietly abandoned their fight for an FEPC law and were presently planning to seek an amendment to the Taft-Hartley labor law to make it illegal to deny a job based on color. Under the law, it was already illegal to deny a job to a person because of union membership, and black leaders wanted that provision extended to include race and religion.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop again address the "new look" of U.S. defense policy, indicating that the version given to the public was not necessarily the actual case, that there was a need to distinguish between the rhetoric regarding it and the real thing, the latter resemblant more to the British new look which had preceded the U.S. new look. At the time in 1951 when the Churchill Government had taken office, the Prime Minister had asked the British chiefs of staff to reconsider the defense program of the Labor Government, which Mr. Churchill thought overly ambitious. The three chiefs had then met with only their secretaries and aides present and for several days debated how the new weaponry had revolutionized defense, resulting in the "Bracknell approach", which entailed heavy cuts to the British Navy, some cuts to the Army and greater emphasis on air-atomic power. The leading proponent of the new theory, Air chief marshal Sir John Slessor, was secretly sent to Washington to persuade the U.S. chiefs of staff that the established NATO plans were "just preparations for a 1914 war". Though the latter had gotten nowhere, an expanded version of that concept had now been adopted by the U.S. Joint Chiefs. The American version had added language, via Secretary of State Dulles, indicating the capability of "instantaneous reprisals" and "massive retaliations" "at places and in ways of our own choosing".

The speech by the Secretary had raised some ugly questions, however, implicitly indicating that if there were to be any war, it would be an atomic war and probably a large atomic war, leading to the question of whether the U.S. wanted to ensure having such a war when the Soviets were acquiring formidable air-atomic power also, with their like capability of massive retaliation and instantaneous reprisal. The primary danger at present arose from localized, limited Communist attacks on strategically vital positions, such as Indo-China. The failure to meet those challenges would have worse effects than the appeasement of Hitler regarding the Sudetenland at Munich in 1938, leading to the question of whether U.S. policymakers would really be willing to start an atomic war in response to only a localized war halfway around the world.

There was also the question of how the U.S. response could be "instantaneous" when the Constitution provided that only Congress could declare war.

Thus, the new doctrine propounded by Secretary Dulles appeared as a "pretty desperate doctrine". But there was no reason for it to have such trappings, any more than the British new look had needed them. The problems disappeared if it was considered as no more than a sensible attempt to catch up with the revolution in warfare, leaving the country free to respond to aggression in any manner which appeared most appropriate in the particular circumstance.

The Alsops find that the new policy was overdue. The entire emphasis of existing NATO planning was on conventional ground offensive in Western Europe, but military goods had to pass mainly through six West European ports, all of which were vulnerable to atomic attack.

Marquis Childs, in Berlin, discusses the East German uprisings of the prior June, occurring in 65 centers of population, involving walkouts from the Communist-controlled factories, marches and angry mass gatherings, in many instances utilizing stones and crude weapons, requiring repressive action through hastily summoned tank battalions and troops in Soviet uniforms. The Soviets, obviously, were more aware of the extent of the revolt than was Berlin or Washington, and it perhaps had been the motivating force for the intransigence of Soviet Foreign Minister V. M. Molotov at the recent Berlin foreign ministers conference, stressing that unity of East and West Germany would have to precede free elections, whereas the Western Big Three had insisted first on free elections. It was estimated that the Communists would receive at most ten percent of the vote, and probably less than five percent in any free elections within East Germany.

The uprisings of the prior June had been put down by force, with an estimated 3,000 to 4,000 East Germans arrested, some of whom had been executed while the majority had been jailed, and perhaps as many as those who had been arrested having escaped to the West. It was not a large revolt in terms of its numbers, but those arrested had been its leaders, leaving a vacuum in leadership not easily filled. It was thus a disservice to suggest that a potential revolution was lying in wait in the East, and rumors which had abounded during the foreign ministers conference of an incipient new uprising were likely unfounded. While stones might be used against tanks on one occasion, such crude weaponry was unlikely, given the result, to be used a second time.

Conditions were unquestionably bad in East Germany, but probably no worse than a year or two earlier, with the regime holding out promises of more food and clothing.

With the conference resulting in a stalemate and it likely that East and West Germany would go on in a divided state for a period of years, West Berlin was again seen as "the first frontier of our freedom and therefore of the highest importance", both "a command post and a show window of Western resolution", in the words of Secretary Dulles. The situation in West Berlin was largely favorable, with bombed out cities from World War II, such as Frankfurt, having been rebuilt and West Berlin now producing at a rate about 40 percent above a year earlier, its brightly lit shop windows filled with plentiful consumer goods standing in contrast to the drabness of East Berlin.

The Communists were aware that attempting another blockade of Berlin, as in 1948-49, would fail, as there were large stockpiles of food, fuel and raw materials on hand for another airlift, if needed. Missing from the West Berlin landscape, however, was the late Mayor Ernst Reuter, who had courage, spirit and humor, plus sharp intelligence, and, after returning from exile following the end of the war, had been instrumental in saving the West Berlin frontier.

A letter writer from Spartanburg, S.C., indicates that the South Carolina sales tax was definitely unpopular among those who had to pay it daily, believes that if Governor James Byrnes were to seek a second term, that unpopularity would be expressed by the voters who regularly complained about it. But he believes also that thanks were due the Governor for the sales tax as it had produced modern schools. He indicates that customers used various methods to try to get around the sales tax, as he could attest as a retail salesman of confections out of a truck. He says irate mothers had bawled him out and tried to shame him or even boycott his business for charging children sales tax. He would ask whether the parent voted for Mr. Byrnes and informed them that he was the one responsible for the tax.

A letter writer says that she had been reading both sides of the argument regarding the ban of showing of movies on Sundays, believes that God would attend to things.

That sounds like a threat.

A letter writer says that he had picketed the controversial film "The French Line", showing at a local theater—and in 3-D no less—, says that he had been asked to participate by the priest at St. Patrick's Catholic Church, who said that they needed men to perform a Christian action, and he obliged, though asking himself whether he was being objective in carrying a sign against the film, concluding that he could only be subjective about his convictions, even though he had never seen the film and therefore did not know whether it was immoral. He says also that he had never seen John Carroll sign the Declaration of Independence but believed that he had. He says that the Legion of Decency and the Catholic Church had said that the movie flouted the code of the movie industry, and if that were true, other pictures might follow in that vein. He thinks that it would be a good idea for all church people to get together and fight the showing of the motion picture, better than arguing about whether movies should be shown on Sundays.

Might it not be yet more Christian to spend time, if picket you must in 1954, protesting something substantive, impacting the rights of all, such as the system of segregation in the country, or the war on freedom of thought posed by McCarthyism?

Preoccupation with the "morality" of books, plays, movies, music and other representations of reality, rather than reality, itself, misses the point. No book, play or movie, no work of art, will cause a person to do an act, except as a handy scapegoat for action undertaken in fact by the choice of the actor, when the reader or viewer is properly educated to the task of understanding the art being practiced by the work, whatever it may be, that it is not a reality vicariously being lived when read or viewed but rather a perception being conveyed, deliberately or not, by the author or screenwriter or playwright engaging the reader or viewer in some manner, whether intellectually, emotionally or in an alternating combination thereof, a stimulus to think or to feel, or merely to contemplate, at the conclusion, what it was the author, or auteur, as the case may be, was seeking to convey. Once the reader or viewer is properly educated to be critical of the matter, to analyze it and seek to understand its point of view, any threat to an established system of morality which may or may not be posed by its content disappears as the phantasmagoria of a dream not lived—a man transmogrified by spell of mischievous sprites to an ass, "no more yielding but a dream". It is only preoccupation with the content, the belief that one might actually become an ass via such sleights, which might cause some motivational complex resulting in behavior in a certain manner, which, nevertheless, is voluntary in nature. The tendency to emulate such representations, when portraying untoward conduct, as if real, becomes the problem with which education in media must ultimately concern itself. Censorship does nothing but avoid the problem, which the censored viewer or reader will, sooner or later, likely confront, unprepared if not educated to the art.

The Supreme Court cases of the time, incidentally, on movie censorship by state or local government-sanctioned boards, referenced in the above-linked Life editorial of February 8, 1954, are Joseph Burstyn, Inc. v. Wilson, 343 U.S. 495, decided in May, 1952, and Superior Films v. Dept. of Education, 346 U.S. 587, decided in January, 1954, the latter a per curiam decision only referencing the prior restraint prohibition of Burstyn, with a separate concurring opinion by Justice William O. Douglas, joined by Justice Hugo Black. The Life editorial appears to misunderstand the scope of the concurrence as advocating a completely free screen, when Justice Douglas was actually only discussing censorship by law, not through private censorship codes and boards to which movie producers voluntarily submit, such as the familiar Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. system of ratings for movies, introduced in 1968, "G", "PG", "R", etc. For all the controversy that system sometimes spawns, it is not, of course, censorship but only a recommendation regarding who may and ought not see a particular movie, based on the age and maturity level of the prospective viewer. It remains outside the realm of censorship even if desired compliance to avoid an age-restricted rating might induce some movie-makers to alter content of a given film. That, when done, is a commercial decision to attract the widest possible audience, sometimes a demonstration of absence of moral principle more despicable than that displayed in the foulest of the foul movies one might choose to see and then leave the theater thoroughly repulsed.

A letter writer from Albemarle agrees with a previous letter writer, who believed that laws could not ensure respect for God. She thinks that the President was not to blame for America being in a war, but rather it was the result of lack of enough respect for God and not enough prayer.

What war? That was seven months ago.

Framed Edition
[Return to Links
Page by Subject] [Return to Links-Page by Date] [Return to News<i><i><i>—</i></i></i>Framed Edition]
Links-Date Links-Subj.