The Charlotte News

Friday, February 5, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Berlin at the Big Four foreign ministers conference, Secretary of State Dulles denounced the Russian plan for German unification, telling the conference this date that Soviet Foreign Minister V. M. Molotov was trying to extend Russian power to the Rhine, that he had rejected the Western plan for unification through free elections because he was afraid that the 18 million Germans in the Eastern zone would overwhelmingly reject the Communist regime. He further said that Mr. Molotov's plan showed that the Russians had no serious intention of seeking German unity with freedom. He said that the Soviet-backed regime in East Germany would have been overthrown by the workers the previous June had it not been for elements of 22 Soviet divisions, including tanks and armored cars, breaking up the revolt. The West wanted free elections prior to unification, whereas the Russians wanted a provisional government prior to elections, to ensure preservation of Communists in high office.

In Munich, John Hvasta, who had been in prison and in hiding in Communist Czechoslovakia for the previous five years, flew this date toward freedom in the U.S. after escaping from his 30 months of prison confinement for alleged espionage, for which he had been sentenced to 10 years, then remaining on the lam for 21 months until he was taken in as a refugee by the U.S. Embassy in Prague, where he remained for four more months. Born in Czechoslovakia, he was a U.S. Navy veteran, and had escaped with four other prisoners. Prague radio announced that he had been released and ordered expelled from the country, obviously the result of negotiation by the State Department.

In Vatican City, Pope Pius XII, 77, was having difficulty taking food and continued to weaken, according to the first official bulletin issued this date by his private physician, who said that since January 25, he had exhibited symptoms of gastritis, preceded by insistent hiccups.

The joint Congressional Economic Committee was informed this date by the Bureau of Labor Statistics that a drop of 380,000 workers employed in factories from December to January represented the largest manufacturing employment reduction for that season since January, 1949. The Bureau stated, however, that the total workers engaged in manufacturing, 16.1 million, was the highest number for any period, except during the record-breaking 1953, 750,000 lower than in January of that year. The report also said that a decline in factory overtime in the latter part of 1953 had carried over into 1954, with the average weekly hours dropping by 48 minutes between December and January, to 39.4 hours.

Albert Beeson, appointee to the NLRB, told the Senate Labor Committee this date that he would give up his pension rights with a San Jose firm and resign if it would make the Democrats "happier". The president of the firm had testified that Mr. Beeson had been given a one-year leave of absence from the vice-presidency of the firm to take the Government post and that while on the leave of absence, he retained full rights to the pension fund accumulated on his account during the previous seven years. Democrats contended that he was a "company man" who would have a conflict of interest in the position on the NLRB. At stake was $4,400, representing contributions to his pension by the former employer.

The Post Office Department was testing two-wheeled caddy carts used on golf courses as a means of enabling postmen to travel their routes with greater facility. The carts would cost $28 apiece and could carry two loaded mail bags. The director of Post Office Department procedures said that other devices suggested to ease the mailman's task had been bicycles with containers for mail, "snorkel" mailboxes for curbside letter posting, throwaway paper sacks, bundle-tying machines and push-button change-makers.

In New York, former President Truman would deliver a speech this night at the annual Roosevelt Day Dinner of the Americans for Democratic Action, with the topic being "The Real Issues in American Politics", the speech to be recorded by CBS and broadcast over its radio network later in the night. The former President had skipped his usual morning walk this date to work on his speech.

Near Wilmington, Del., the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad's St. Louis-to-New York flyer, the National Limited, sideswiped a freight train five miles south of the city this date, derailing 10 of its 13 passenger cars and killing the engineer of the freight train while injuring six crewmen. None of the passengers were injured.

In Los Angeles, a man who had been on the FBI's 10 most wanted fugitives list until his recent capture was nevertheless popular with nearly 100 neighbors and business associates, who wanted him to remain in the community with his wife and baby on Mt. Washington, where, according to his attorney, the man had led an exemplary life for nearly two years. The friends and neighbors had signed two petitions to Governor Goodwin Knight, asking him to deny a request for extradition to Michigan, where he had escaped the State Prison in January, 1952, after serving 22 years of a life sentence for a series of robberies committed in 1929 when he had been 24. Prior to that time, he had also served time in a reformatory for rape. His wife of 18 months said that more signatures were expected. After his escape and move west, he had joined a trucking firm as a truck spotter, and had met his wife in Las Vegas, never telling her anything about his past.

In Atmore, Ala., nine convicts escaped through a tunnel under Atmore Prison the previous night and remained at large despite an all-night search by a posse with instructions to shoot to kill. They were all long-termers who had been placed in a special security cell block and it was not known whether any of them were armed. Bloodhounds had picked up their trail soon after the escape, but thus far, the convicts had maintained the advantage over the pursuers. Most of them were robbers with long records and one was serving two sentences for rape.

In Detroit, a pair of Alabama deputies, in the city to take custody of a robbery suspect, were ticketed for illegal parking in front of the city jail, though after explanation, the tickets were destroyed.

In Moscow, a writer for a Soviet periodical, Art of the Cinema, in an article titled "Hollywood Looks to the Future", had decided that Captain Video, Buck Rogers, Flash Gordon, Superman and the other space adventure characters were the vanguard of a new and greater "American imperialism", aimed at conquering other planets. The writer claimed that the films were being used to scare U.S. citizens so badly that they would not mind paying the bill for rearming, that the destruction in New York portrayed in the movie "When Worlds Collide" was an attempt to give the average American a deadly fright and justify the arms race. The writer described star swimmer Buster Crabbe as "one of the nine pseudo-actors who played Tarzan in the Hollywood films" and also played Flash Gordon "quite colorlessly". He said that all of the superheroes were seeking to defeat the terrible "Atom Man" and the "superkiller" Cain who was trying to gain control of the world. He contended that Bernard Baruch and the late Secretary of Defense James Forrestal had ordered Hollywood to embark on the space campaign when America thought it had a monopoly on the atom bomb, but when Russia had detonated its first bomb in 1949, Hollywood had entered a new phase, with the screenplays foretelling "the inevitability of interplanetary wars" and propagandizing "the idea of conquering the universe".

One no longer has to look as far as Moscow for such conceptions, only as far as Republican House members from Georgia, the U.S. version.

In Hollywood, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced that NBC would pay $115,000 for radio and television rights to the annual ceremony to be aired on March 25. Wonder who is going to win?

In 2021, they ought to give one to Trump as a consolation prize for having acted the part of El Presidente for four years.

Dick Young of The News tells of the possibility of the widening of Rozzelle's Ferry Road from the vicinity of Stewart's Creek to the city limits. The story is accompanied by a picture of News editor Pete McKnight, a member of the Planning Board, and other Board members, examining a map of the Board's recommendations to the City Council for a zoning ordinance regarding the perimeter areas of the city.

On the editorial page, "'Justice' at the Jaypee Level" indicates that a State Highway Patrol corporal had reported the previous Tuesday, in explanation of why he had not promptly sought a warrant against a motorist presently held on a manslaughter charge, that the justice of the peace on duty did not know how to draw up a warrant and that he did not wish to try it.

The following day in Yadkinville, another justice of the peace had been sentenced to State prison for 18 to 36 months for embezzling fines and costs paid to him by defendants, and the judge indicated that the jaypee had tried cases beyond his jurisdiction.

It cites those instances and others like them as being not uncommon in the state because of the antiquated justice of the peace system, lacking standards and checks. Such jaypees were appointed by the Governor, Superior Court clerks or the Legislature, which frequently made indiscriminate appointments, and could also be elected. The fact that they collected fees opened the system to abuse and, it suggests, the system would continue in that manner until it was completely overhauled. It looks to the state bar association and individual members of the legal profession to propose an alternative system for handling minor litigation and then to help enact that into law.

"The Clelands Have the Edge" refers to a piece on the page by Dr. James T. Cleland, a Duke University Methodist minister, who had given a talk to the North Carolina Press Association the previous week, telling of the composite American and his general worldview, both that presupposing Christian principles and that regarding the human situation in the 20th century. It finds the talk quite worthwhile for journalists, to bear in mind the nature of the readers to whom they were reporting and writing, and suggests that it be read carefully. It finds that it was not an easy task to be an editorial writer, confronted with a new set of facts to measure against the writer's cherished principles every day, while being expected to write authoritatively and responsibly minutes or hours after a particular news event broke, never quite sure at what readers the writer should aim, whether the more intelligent, those commuters on the bus casually reading the newspaper, or those sitting at home dissecting the thoughts of the writer and coming to the conclusion that the writer was either foolish or wise.

It finds that Dr. Cleland grasped well the composite American and that his address would live on in the memories of those who had heard it, while most editorial pages wound up in the wastebasket along with the other parts of the previous day's newspaper.

Not here. Your words live on, whether foolish or wise in 20-20 hindsight.

"On Coffee Prices and Speculation" indicates that the evidence was that Brazilian farmers were not reaping the profits from higher coffee prices, that they were going to American middlemen and speculators. The Congress had done little to limit the profits from commodity speculation. Former President Truman, in his first message on the Defense Production Act of 1950, following the start of the Korean War, had asked for standby controls on commodity speculation, but the House had voted against it in August, 1950 by a narrow four-vote margin, with Southern Democrats and Republicans combining to defeat it, resulting in the prices of many world commodities going skyward, to the benefit of speculators. Again, in 1951, amendments to the Act were being debated, among them a clause to authorize the Government to fix margins for commodity speculation, rejected by both houses.

The current Congressional inquiry into coffee prices recalled a similar probe by Senator Guy Gillette's subcommittee in 1950, which had produced evidence of profits going to coffee speculators, in one such instance a Brazilian trader having built up a $3,000 investment to a profit of more than $200,000, the subcommittee report eventually demanding sharp curbs on coffee speculation, only to have the State Department intervene, objecting that such a move would harm good neighbor relations with South America, leaving the report unheeded.

It contrasts cotton prices and coffee prices, wherein the former was propped up by supports higher than world prices and by acreage limitations which caused prices to go yet higher, with a floor under the prices so that speculators in cotton futures had to bet on an increase, while coffee prices had no such limitations, as the coffee beans came from foreign countries. It suggests that there ought be consistency and if there was not, there was no one for Americans to blame but themselves.

"Subversion at the Breakfast Table" tells of the thought having hit the writer that Americans were becoming "dullards, robots, welfare staters" because of scientific progress in the kitchen, resulting in the lack of needed enterprise or skill to prepare an acceptable breakfast, everything from the automatic percolator, the toaster, the egg timer, etc. It finds that the toaster, in particular, had weakened the self-reliance and individualism of Americans, as before its invention, the sense of smell had been honed to the point where the toast-maker could sense when the toast was burning or not, and before electric and gas ranges, had prepared breakfast by putting four pieces of bread on a wire toaster and laying it on top of the fired stove, requiring first the skill of developing a good fire, keeping the bread on the hottest part of the stove from burning while still toasting the rest of the bread, then flipping it. It had been a challenge, especially when there were different sizes of bread slices, some little, some big.

In a nation where homesteads were going begging, Wall Street bemoaned the dearth of speculators, and a Republican Administration was trying to outdo the New Deal in welfare and security legislation, it suggests giving the automatic toaster back to the Commies.

Dr. James T. Cleland, a Methodist minister at Duke University, as indicated in the above editorial, had discussed the previous week before the North Carolina Press Association the average American as he saw that person, both as a Christian and as a human living in North Carolina, summarizing the views he had witnessed, including that the person was suspicious of integration of the races, was given to suspicion of Jews, tolerated Catholics but was glad that his family were not Catholics, was family-oriented, sociable, patriotic, cared for his job and his community, expressed through volunteer work in civic organizations, believed that anything was capable of accomplishment in America and was neighborly. But there was also present an underlying uneasiness of mind respecting the meaning of life in a world full of tragedy and death, leading to a sense of normlessness, futility and live-for-today mentality. This average American thus longed for real security, wanted to know he counted as an individual.

Dr. Cleland concludes therefore that there were three prevailing attitudes, pragmatic self-assurance, general neighborliness and ultimate anxiety about life in general. He says that if it were a sermon rather than a talk to journalists, he would feel the need to suggest a solution to the conflict presented, but was only outlining the traits so that journalists, especially editorial writers, could keep in mind who the people were for whom they were writing and reporting the news.

Drew Pearson, writing from Dallas, Tex., indicates that in Texas, jockeying had already begun for the 1956 presidential campaign, behind which was the question whether the Democrats would again nominate Adlai Stevenson or a liberal Democrat, and whether the pro-Eisenhower Democrats who had been led by Texas Democratic Governor Allen Shivers in 1952 would be brought back into the fold "with a big abrazo and a kiss on both cheeks."

Also at stake to a degree was the political future of former Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn, the most revered political figure in the state, who had served in Congress for 40 years and sponsored some of the most important New Deal legislation. At 72, Mr. Rayburn had vowed that he would never forgive Governor Shivers for double-crossing him at the Chicago Democratic convention in 1952, after telling him he would not bolt to support General Eisenhower, then doing so. Mr. Rayburn had declared that he would never allow Mr. Shivers back into the Democratic Party, but the latter was giving signs that he wanted to return, making several speeches, appearing to seek peace with the DNC, thus far not reciprocated.

Thus, the previous week, Mr. Shivers had hinted that Mr. Rayburn's Congressional district might be redistricted, to cause Mr. Rayburn the fight of his political life and perhaps his defeat. Mr. Rayburn's district was the second smallest in the nation and with a population of reactionary Republicans around Dallas pushing north toward the district, any redistricting by the Legislature could move about 96,000 anti-Rayburn votes into the district.

During the previous year, the Legislature had begun talking about redistricting, at which point Senator Lyndon Johnson, a protégé of Mr. Rayburn, had told the latter not to worry, indicating that he would talk to Herman Brown of Brown & Root, one of the largest contracting firms in the nation, for whom Senator Johnson had been a "glorified messenger boy" in Washington and from whom he had received large campaign contributions, the firm having just received a multi-million dollar Government contract to help build U.S. bases in Spain and so could afford to aid Senator Johnson in his request. The paid lobbyist for the firm in Washington flew back to Austin and contacted Lt. Governor Ben Ramsay, telling him that Mr. Rayburn's district was not to be touched; and because the lobbyist had been responsible for a large part of Mr. Ramsay's campaign contributions, the latter acquiesced, promising that no redistricting bill would get out of committee for debate in the Legislature.

Mr. Pearson points out, however, that if Governor Shivers wanted such a bill out of committee in the March Legislature, which he had talked of calling, he would not have any trouble doing so and therefore could retaliate against Mr. Rayburn.

Marquis Childs indicates that even though agreement among Republicans had finally been reached on a compromise on the Bricker amendment, it could not conceal the split in the party on foreign policy which had persisted for at least two decades. He says that most of the machinery of the party was still in the hands of Republicans who had done their best to prevent the nomination of President Eisenhower, state and county chairmen who were members of the RNC and had worked at the grassroots level when the Democrats had been in power for 20 years. Most of them had been dedicated followers of the late Senator Taft, and had not changed their views, still believing in the concept of fortress America, supported by sea and air power. Their only present consolation was that the Administration appeared to be moving in that direction by a reduction in land forces and devoting the greater share of the budget to the Air Force.

He cites as a good example of that type of person, Clarence Kelland, a national committeeman from Arizona and a highly successful writer of popular fiction, who had said publicly in an article in American Magazine that which was being said privately by many writing letters to the RNC, that the President was not behaving as a Republican, having placed in positions of power men such as Charles E. Wilson, Secretary of Defense, whom Mr. Kelland described as "stubborn to the point of arrogance". Such men, these Republicans complained, did not recognize a responsibility to the party and had made only a negligible number of jobs available to the party faithful who had worked in the trenches. The fact that the President was trying to be a bipartisan leader was, in the view of Mr. Kelland, impossible.

Mr. Childs observes that in fact what those Republicans wanted was for the President to turn back the clock to a more comfortable era, an impossibility but nevertheless resulting in their continuing hostility—mek Amurica grate agin and agin and agin!

The President's opposition to the Bricker amendment fed that emotion the more as such Republicans believed they needed to restrict the power of the President to make treaties and executive agreements to protect states' rights and ensure that treaties did not trump individual rights under the Constitution—despite the fact that the Supremacy Clause prevented any such thing from occurring, the Constitution, standing alone, being the supreme law of the land.

Mr. Childs suggests that the old-guard wing of the party would find it hard to crusade for a Republican Congress to support the President when they did not believe in supporting him, and thus would tend not to participate in the coming fall midterm elections. He finds that in the immediate weeks ahead, the program of legislation laid out by the Administration would need action in Congress for success, and a dozen or so resentful Republican Senators might absent themselves from the floor on critical votes, leading to its defeat.

He indicates that the history of American parties showed that they were a large tent under which many different types of views resided, one of the virtues of the two-party system as contrasted with the multi-party system of Europe, where coalitions had to be effected before governments could be formed in a parliamentary system.

He also comments that because of the dissension among Democrats regarding the liberal-labor Americans for Democratic Action, which some Democrats hoped would disband, Senator Herbert Lehman of New York, in a recent speech in Boston, had warmly championed the ADA, saying it was here to stay. But opposition, plus the continuing charge of treason brought against Democratic leaders and the party itself, had done much to unite the several Democratic factions, suggesting that adversity was achieving for the Democrats what prosperity during the Roosevelt and Truman Administrations had failed to achieve.

A letter from "J. Helms" of Monroe—again not clear whether it was the famous future Senator from Monroe, presently the assistant in Washington to Senator Alton Lennon—indicates that J. R. Dean of Charlotte had a brother, J. Sim Dean, living in Union County, near Monroe, who was one of their best county commissioners and who could be elected sheriff any time he wanted to run, though he might not want to do so. The writer believes that J. R. ought be elected governor—presumably, on his pro-dog platform. He also indicates that another letter writer who had argued that the voting age should be raised to 25 rather than lowered to 18, appeared to want to return to the dark ages instead of going forward, wanted all ladies to be old enough to be old maids and all men old enough to be bachelors before allowing them the right to vote. He concludes that he would ride the Dean train.

He sounds a little too progressive to be that J. Helms.

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