The Charlotte News

Monday, March 1, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Senator Joseph McCarthy had called two Army privates this date for questioning by the Senate Investigations subcommittee, for the first time since the truce had been announced with Secretary of the Army Robert Stevens regarding alleged abuse in questioning by the subcommittee of uniformed personnel. The Senator had said the previous day that he thought that Brig. General Ralph Zwicker should be recalled later to testify because the General had demonstrated by his testimony that he was "either mistaken or guilty of perjury, or the AP story and [the Senator's] investigators were wrong." He referred to an Associated Press account the prior Friday regarding the former major, a dentist in the Army Reserve, whom the Senator had alleged had been involved in subversive activities because he had refused to answer questions about whether he had previously been a member of subversive organizations. One of two privates called this date was a doctor in the Army's Murphy General Hospital at Waltham, Mass. Subcommittee members were advised that the two privates were to be questioned on whether they had refused to sign loyalty oaths when they had entered the Army.

The Senate this date confirmed Earl Warren as Chief Justice on a voice vote which appeared to be unanimous, following little debate. The Chief Justice had been appointed the previous October when Congress was in recess, and the appointment had been formally sent to the Senate on January 11, but had been delayed for various reasons by Senator William Langer, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, who wanted an FBI investigation done on ten unchecked and unsworn charges against Mr. Warren, involving such things as his supposed appointment of dishonest judges while Governor of California between 1943 and the prior October.

The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers this date scheduled a strike for the following Saturday against Southern Railway, with the dispute being on safety and relief from poisonous gases and overloading of diesel power.

In Raleigh, Senator Alton Lennon opened his state primary campaign headquarters this date, and his campaign manager, John Rodman, challenged his principal opponent, former Governor Kerr Scott, to tell how he stood on issues presently before Congress, particularly the proposed revisions to Taft-Hartley. The Senator had been appointed the previous summer to succeed deceased Senator Willis Smith, who had died the prior June.

Ann Sawyer of The News reports that the Mecklenburg County Commissioners this date had adopted recommendations from a four-month, two-man study designed to put the County tax office on a smoother running basis, including salary increases for a number of personnel, removal of employees from the temporary payroll to the permanent payroll after six months, construction of additional office space, the appointment of an office manager, and appointment of a head of the machinery and equipment departments.

In Charlotte, police signed a warrant for the arrest of a former janitor at a credit corporation this date, charging him with stealing $860 from the company safe the prior Friday night. The janitor had not reported for work since the loss had been discovered on Saturday morning. Officials of the company said that the safe apparently had been left unlocked when the business closed on Friday night. The business was across the street from the finance company which had been robbed at gunpoint of $842, also on Friday. Police said there was no progress in the investigation of the latter robbery.

In Nashville, Tenn., former Army Sgt. Alvin York, famed hero of World War I, was in serious condition this date at a hospital where he was being treated for a cerebral hemorrhage suffered the prior Wednesday. Earlier, he had been listed in critical condition.

In Washington, the entire detective force was engaged in a hunt for a man who had knifed to death the registrar of the University of Maryland, a 58-year old woman. Police said that the man had apparently intended to rob her, and had stabbed her ten times early the previous day and also wounded her sister, before fleeing. Police said that the victim had apparently surprised the intruder as he rummaged through her bedroom after being aroused by her sister's screams, arrived in time to see him slashing with a knife, at which point he turned and fatally stabbed her. She had been the University registrar since 1936, was active in civic clubs and was the former president of the Maryland Federation of Women's Clubs.

Nine-inch snows, windstorms and heavy rains hit the Carolinas this date, with nine inches of snow reported in a four-county area of the western portion of North Carolina, though there was little snow to the east of the mountains. Asheville received four inches, its heaviest snowfall since February 10, 1948. Raleigh and Charlotte had more than an inch of rain, with 44 mph gusts of wind in Charlotte, while Greensboro had just under an inch.

Was it foggy in London?

In Chicago, a 70-year old butcher, seeing a four-month old lion kitten at a pet shop, said he wanted to have something no one else had and so purchased the 75-pound kitty for $150, receiving advice from the pet shop owner that one should not try to retrieve anything with which the animal wanted to play. But he had decided to return it after ignoring the advice and, seeking to teach the animal a lesson in who was boss, tried to retrieve from it a kettle cover which it was banging around in the kitchen, resulting in his receiving several cuts and scratches. He said that he did not care if he only got $100 in return, the kitty had to go.

On the editorial page, "A Dangerous Sacrifice of Principle" finds it doubly tragic that Senator McCarthy had been able to defeat Army Secretary Robert Stevens and the President the previous week, because by their failure to stand up for the Army in the case of Brig. General Ralph Zwicker, they had let down a lot of other "nice guys" in and out of the Army and given the "unprincipled" Senator some additional rope with which to tie the Republican Party and the whole country to him.

It posits that the President and the Secretary had erred because they apparently did not understand "gutter politics" and that when they sought advice, the type they received was almost as devoid of morality as Senator McCarthy's tactics

It suggests that the Secretary had a duty to stand up for General Zwicker, who had been grossly abused by Senator McCarthy before the Investigations subcommittee, despite the General only carrying out his orders when he had testified. Senators McCarthy, Everett Dirksen and Karl Mundt, with whom the Secretary had lunch the prior Wednesday, had convinced the Secretary that a public quarrel with Senator McCarthy in an open hearing would dramatize the split in the Republican Party and that therefore it would be best to sign a private agreement, which Secretary Stevens then did.

The President did not look good, as he was returning from his second recent vacation and had only taken public interest in the matter enough to endorse the Secretary's attempt to retrieve a measure of honor by insisting that there had been an oral agreement by the Senators not to abuse Army officers in the future, which Senator McCarthy then promptly denied as false, saying that it would have been an admission of past abuse to do so.

It indicates that the Administration was loath to tangle with Senator McCarthy because they believed he would help them in the midterm election campaign, and, it ventures, they might be correct. But, it also indicates, the strategy would not help the country or the Republican Party, unless the latter intended to become the party of McCarthy. (That sounds vaguely familiar regarding the current struggle of the Republican Party in 2021 with a certain individual.)

The whole series of attacks by Senator McCarthy on the Administration afforded ample proof that the Administration could not get along with the Senator except on his terms. If the Administration and Congress went along with the Senator when he "lied and distorted" matters and attempted to usurp power, it wonders what it would do if he ever did turn up a real Communist, speculating that at that point, they would have to give him even greater power. It suggests that an analogy between Senator McCarthy and Hitler in 1933 was closer than it might seem at first glance, as was an analogy between President Eisenhower and President Von Hindenburg of Germany at that time.

The difference, however, is that Hitler did not drink, and Senator McCarthy's liver was in very poor shape.

"County Officials Not Paid Enough" provides a list of the salaries of various County officials, each of whom earned less than the $10,120 which would be paid to employ a pediatric consultant for the County Health Department, and, with one exception, the $7,920 to be paid for a dentist for the Department. Currently, the highest paid official of the County was the Clerk of Court, at $8,000 per year.

It indicates that it did not mean to imply that the two health officials would be overpaid, but finds it inequitable to pay them more than the County chairman, who earned $7,500 per year.

It apprises that the responsibility for adjusting the salaries would be on the Mecklenburg delegation to the 1955 General Assembly, and it favors raising the salaries to levels competitive with private enterprise to attract good personnel.

"Off-Street Parking Proposal—Again" indicates that the adoption of such a program was long overdue but that the interest expressed in it the previous week by the City Council did not mean that it would ultimately come into being, though at least Charlotte residents could once more hope that City officials would realize the urgent need for the project.

A piece from the Lancaster (S.C.) News, titled "Let's Skip the 'Credits'", finds that the credits which followed television shows served no purpose except to bore the viewer, that no one in Lancaster cared about who had been responsible for creating the stage sets or designing the costumes for a tv whodunit. It then proceeds to provide the credits for the issue of the newspaper to demonstrate how silly it looked.

Drew Pearson indicates that Secretary of State Dulles might be jumping from the frying pan into the fire as he turned his attention from the Berlin foreign ministers conference to the Pan American conference in Caracas, Venezuela. The U.S. delegation was facing an unfriendly atmosphere, the worst since 1928, the last time a Republican Administration had participated in a Pan American conference. The bad feeling was partly the result of Latin America believing that the U.S. was no longer interested in the Good Neighbor Policy initiated under President Roosevelt. The leading delegates, in addition to Secretary Dulles, would be John Cabot, who had just been fired as Assistant Secretary of State for Latin American affairs and would attend the conference as the new Ambassador to Sweden, as well as U.S. minister-counselor to Greece, Tom Mann. The Pan American diplomats could not help contrasting the delegation with the last Republican delegation, President Calvin Coolidge, Secretary of State Frank Kellogg and Charles Evans Hughes. They were also contrasting it to the trips to the conferences by FDR and Secretary of State Cordell Hull, and the present membership of the delegation confirmed their contention that the U.S. regarded Latin America as a forgotten stepchild.

Mr. Pearson indicates that Mr. Cabot had been fired by the President's brother, Milton Eisenhower, who had become the chief Administration policymaker on Latin America. Latin American diplomats went to see Mr. Eisenhower, president of Penn State, whenever they wanted advice, which they found more satisfactory than going to the State Department, as they knew that Mr. Eisenhower was highly capable and had his brother's ear, and that the previous October, Mr. Eisenhower had tentatively fired Mr. Cabot as Assistant Secretary of State, and though he had continued in his position, the diplomats realized that he was no longer making major decisions. The division of authority between Washington and Penn State had not helped promote a harmonious Good Neighbor Policy.

Mr. Pearson indicates that the previous summer, when the President sent his brother on a goodwill trip to South America, Assistant Secretary Cabot had gone along. Though coming from the blue-bloods of Boston, the Cabots and the Lodges, he had a tendency to rub people the wrong way sometimes, and after returning from the trip, Mr. Eisenhower quietly had him transferred to another post. Mr. Pearson notes that Mr. Cabot had been an enthusiastic supporter of the Good Neighbor Policy, though ineffective in his role, partly because the policy had been directed from Penn State.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop recount the dispute between Senator McCarthy and Secretary of the Army Robert Stevens. Initially, Senator McCarthy had told Brig. General Ralph Zwicker that he was unfit to wear a uniform. The General then called his superior officer, Lt. General Withers Buress, and said that he did not have to take "this stuff", that he would quit. General Buress told him to relax, and then called Army chief of staff, General Matthew Ridgway, telling him that General Zwicker had threatened to resign his commission. General Ridgway then called a meeting of senior Army officers, who agreed that Senator McCarthy was endangering the morale of the Army, and the generals then presented their views to Secretary Stevens, who immediately agreed that it was his duty to protect the men in uniform, and so issued his order to defy any further summonses from Senator McCarthy.

The President and the Secretary of Defense, Charles E. Wilson, who were in Palm Springs, learned through the wire reports that Secretary Stevens had unilaterally issued the order without first consulting anyone. White House press secretary James Hagerty initially stated that the President was "standing aloof" from the quarrel. It was arranged that the Secretary and the Senator would confront each other at a public hearing, promising to pit the appeasers of the Senator within the Administration against those who would stand firm against him.

The appeasers, including the White House Congressional liaison officer, General Wilton Persons, and Assistant Attorney General William Rogers, plus one or two others, first sought to defer the date of the confrontation, accomplished the prior Monday, then sought a meeting between Secretary Stevens and Senators McCarthy, Karl Mundt and Everett Dirksen. The latter was accomplished on Tuesday afternoon, and the Secretary agreed to have lunch with the Senators the following day, a meeting of which Vice-President Nixon was informed.

The White House group who preferred standing firm against Senator McCarthy decided to put the whole situation before the President immediately on his return from his Palm Springs vacation, but because they did not know about the luncheon with the Senators, they did not inform him of the fact. The President asked them to send a message to Secretary Stevens, assuring him of complete backing by the President.

Secretary Stevens, pledged to secrecy about the luncheon meeting, made no mention of it to his colleagues at the Pentagon, spending most of the morning on Wednesday discussing strategy for the public confrontation with the Senator, scheduled for Thursday. Just after he had left for the luncheon, word had come of the promised White House backing.

During the luncheon, Senator McCarthy threatened three times to leave the room and split the Republican Party wide open, and the Secretary, "battered and bewildered", at last approved the agreement whereby he promised to provide the names of the Army personnel responsible for the promotion and honorable discharge of the dentist in the Army Reserve who had, 14 months earlier, refused to answer questions about his membership in any subversive organizations, as well as agreeing to relent in his order that the generals and other Army personnel not respond to the Investigations subcommittee summonses.

After the meeting, Senator Mundt announced to the press the agreement and Senator McCarthy informed his favorite newsman that the Secretary could not have surrendered more completely "if he had gone down on his knees." He also offered wanderers in the Capitol corridors Army commissions if they wanted them. (Were any proud boys among them?)

Secretary Stevens returned to the Pentagon, announcing that he had avoided an open fight with Senator McCarthy and had saved the principle for which he was fighting, based on an oral agreement with Senators Mundt and Dirksen that there would be no further "abuse" of Army officers. General Ridgway thanked Secretary Stevens. But then the memorandum surfaced in the press and when the Secretary also heard of the boasts of Senator McCarthy which went along with it, he offered to resign.

The following morning, Secretary Stevens was being treated as a goat who had caved in to Senator McCarthy, and the President was angry that he was placed in such a position when he had been ready to back the Secretary in the showdown with the Senator, a position, the Alsops note, he had been placed in by the appeasers on his staff.

A desperate effort was then made to get Senator McCarthy to agree to a statement to save face for Secretary Stevens, which would indicate that there was an agreement not to abuse officers in the future, but Senator McCarthy had balked, saying that it would tacitly admit that there had been abuse in the past. Secretary Stevens issued a statement which cleared up some of the problem by indicating that the President backed him up completely. But, the Alsops note, the worst of the damage was irreparable.

Marquis Childs, in Berlin, indicates that after the recent Big Four foreign ministers conference in Berlin, West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer had delivered a speech which elicited wild applause from several thousand West Berliners. He had called for reunification of Germany within the framework of the European Defense Community, terms appealing to ordinary Germans, whose intense nationalism was beginning to surface again after the defeat in the war. He said that such a unity was the only way for peace and freedom to prevail. He denounced the security plan for Europe proposed by Soviet Foreign Minister V. M. Molotov at the conference, which he described as being the status quo for the present, and then later Sovietization of all of Europe.

Mr. Childs, who had heard the speech, found it to have been remarkable. Though 78 years old, the Chancellor had spoken for 65 minutes without faltering, sounding as a man 20 years his junior. When he said that the three Western foreign ministers had negotiated for the future of West Germany as well as a German could have done, he intended it as a tribute. Mr. Childs regards him as an extraordinary example of the triumph over age, having, prior to the speech, flown from Bonn to Berlin and then conferred with the City Senate and with economic and financial advisers to Mayor Walter Schreiber on how to cut unemployment below the 200,000 mark, gave the speech and then met briefly with the German and foreign press before attending a dinner in his honor given by the city, the while showing no stress or tension.

He remarks that age was about the only thing Chancellor Adenauer had in common with President Von Hindenburg, when the latter prepared the way for Hitler to take power in 1933. The Chancellor had been credited with shaping the policy under which his Government had become indispensable to the foreign policy of the U.S. in Western Europe. Mr. Childs suggests that it had come to a point where the U.S. needed Chancellor Adenauer almost as much as he needed the U.S., as without him, the French would have far less assurance than they presently had that Germany intended to contribute its revised military power to a common pool in the European Defense Community. Mr. Childs notes that during his speech, the Chancellor had said that ratification of EDC would have to be postponed until after the Geneva conference in April regarding the Far East, and it was believed that he had spoken with the advice of the French—suggesting implicitly perhaps that the French would bargain further U.S. support or a Korean-type arranged truce in Indo-China for assurance of ratification of the EDC, assuming French Foreign Minister Georges Bidault could engage credibly in any such bargaining, given that the Socialists, taking cues from the British Socialists, apparently held the key to ratification, according to the front page A.P. report on Saturday.

Mr. Childs indicates that the position would invite the Russians to stall, and that further postponement of the ratification at a time when Congress was considering the military aid bill would not improve the dispositions of those Republicans already restive with the Administration foreign policy.

A letter writer, noticing the editorial about sassafras, indicates that he had a good supply of red sassafras bark with him in Charlotte.

A letter from A. W. Black indicates that picketing, as explained by the letter writer of Saturday, by the St. Patrick's chapter of the National Legion of Decency of the local showing of the Howard Hughes production "The French Line" was a token expression of condemnation, which he finds actuated by sincere and conscientious motives, yet not lessening the fact that it was precisely the sort of organized protest on which Mr. Hughes capitalized. He suggests that otherwise the film might be a complete flop. He indicates that the critical scene in question was about two minutes long and would likely be excised from most prints, but, by special arrangement, a print of the original cut was shown in places where state law did not prohibit exhibition of obscene material. The Legion of Decency had been induced to attend the premieres, and the censorship bodies, unskilled in critical analysis and unacquainted with the business of promotional schemes, took the bait and registered indignation and condemnation of the scenes intended to be shocking. As a consequence, the film was off to a hot start in nationwide publicity, despite the shocking scenes being cut for general distribution. Meanwhile, Mr. Hughes could smile about his film having been censored. Mr. Black suggests that it would be better for the Legion of Decency to follow a procedure of passive resistance and avoid the stimulation of public curiosity upon which the success of such productions was dependent.

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