The Charlotte News

Wednesday, March 10, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that at the Inter-American Conference in Caracas, Venezuela, Secretary of State Dulles had told the Latin Americans this date that they might be right in saying that the U.S. should make some changes in its economic policies, but that government played a much more important role in economic affairs in Latin America than the U.S. thought desirable for itself. He said that no country should expect another to abandon its economic creed and that the Administration had no intention of departing from its philosophy that the U.S. should operate within a free enterprise economy, but that there were some things that the U.S. representatives were prepared to consider "open-mindedly". The Latin Americans wanted increased U.S. commercial and technical aid. The conference appeared to be headed toward adoption of the U.S. anti-Communist resolution, possibly by the following Saturday, but there was still some question as to its final form.

The President said this date at his press conference that Senator Ralph Flanders of Vermont had done a service by pointing up the dangers of party-splitting strife caused by Senator McCarthy's antics, as contained in Senator Flanders's speech of the previous day before the Senate. The President said, however, that he was not issuing a blanket endorsement of the speech. He also said that it was "nonsense" for Adlai Stevenson to have said that the Republican Party was split in half between those supporting Senator McCarthy and those supporting the President. He believed that CBS and NBC had done the correct thing by providing a half-hour of free network time to the RNC for a reply to Mr. Stevenson's speech, carried by those two networks, and also by denying to Senator McCarthy time as an individual for response. The President was grim when discussing some of Mr. Stevenson's remarks about the "new look" military program of the Administration, with emphasis on atomic and other new weaponry, with Mr. Stevenson having questioned whether that really afforded the best security for the nation, the President, while stamping his foot, saying that he was not doing anything which he did not believe was best for the country. The President also announced that he would make a television and radio address probably the following week to discuss informally the philosophy behind the Administration's tax bill.

House leaders of both political parties predicted close to unanimous approval for the proposed excise tax cuts, a bill which would also postpone for a year scheduled reduction to other excise tax rates, the latter part of the bill having been requested by the Administration. Hours of political debate were in prospect, however, regarding different aspects of the first major tax bill to hit the House floor during the year, which would restrict to 10 percent all excise or sales tax rates presently above that figure, excluding liquor and tobacco. Sponsors of the bill said it would produce a wide range of price and tax cuts and save consumers substantial amounts of money while giving a boost to business to help combat the present economic slump.

The Senate Republican policy committee this date set forth a seven-point program which it described as "suggestions" for rules of committee investigations. There was no provision for committee chairmen, however, who might violate the rules. Senator Homer Ferguson of Michigan, chairman of the committee, handed out copies of the recommendations to the press. Senator Ferguson refused to say whether the suggestions were aimed at Senator McCarthy. The suggestions included that an investigating subcommittee of any committee could be authorized only by the action of a majority of the committee, that no investigating committee or subcommittee would be authorized to hold a hearing to hear subpoenaed witnesses or take sworn testimony unless a majority of the members thereof were present, but that a committee could authorize the presence of one majority and one minority member to constitute a quorum, that an investigating committee or subcommittee could not delegate its authority to issue subpoenas except by a vote of the members, that no hearing should be initiated unless the investigating committee or subcommittee had specifically authorized it, that no hearing should be scheduled outside D.C. except by a majority vote of the members, that no confidential testimony or confidential material presented in an executive hearing of an investigating committee or subcommittee or any report of the proceedings of such an executive hearing should be made public unless authorized by a majority of the membership, and that any witness summoned to a public or executive hearing could be accompanied by counsel of their own choosing who would be permitted while the witness was testifying to advise the witness on their rights.

Eddie Gilmore of the Associated Press, for 11 years the chief of the A.P. bureau in Moscow and now reassigned to the foreign service in London, tells of having gotten to know Rebecca Gross, editor of the Lock Haven (Pa.) Express, while she had visited Moscow the previous spring with a group of newspaper editors. She had lost both of her legs in an automobile accident the prior New Year's Eve, but was seeking her passport, to which Mr. Gilmore had inquired as to whether she was well enough yet to travel, to which she said she was not contemplating traveling yet but just wanted to find out how tall she was. He finds that remark characteristic of her, that she refused to feel sorry for herself or to treat herself in any way but normally. She said she wanted to begin thinking about how tall she wanted to be, as she was ordering her artificial legs soon. She said that she initially thought she might like to add five inches to her previous height so that she could see above the heads of the crowds at parades, but then decided that she would then need a new wardrobe to fit someone 5'10" tall. Mr. Gilmore said that he could only listen in unashamed "admiration of a very wonderful human being, making her way back to normalcy with dignity and a sense of humor." She had just finished her first week at the Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation close to the nearby Orange Mountains in West Orange, N.J., where she was building strength in what was left of her two legs, one amputated just above the knee and the other just below the knee.

In Fredericksburg, Va., police were hunting for a cream-colored Cadillac convertible with tangerine upholstery, believed to be driven by a man they charged with leaving a nearby motel the previous week with $234,500 of his 65-year old bride's money. The man's address was not yet determined by State Police this date, but he was described as being six feet tall, clean-shaven and a neat and expensive dresser, originally from Florida. He had asked his bride of four days to register at a motor court 14 miles north of Fredericksburg on Thursday, said that he was going to have the windshield wipers on the car repaired, but never returned. His wife waited two days and was very much broken up by the fact of his leaving. The co-owner of the motel had escorted her to a railroad station on Saturday, where she boarded a train for Washington to stay with her brother. Her erstwhile husband was charged on a warrant of grand larceny of the money, plus an undetermined amount of jewelry. They had been married in Palm Beach, Fla., on March 1 and on the eve of the wedding, the groom had persuaded the woman to convert all of her holdings to cash, and they then embarked on a honeymoon trip which was to include a tour of Washington, New Orleans, Mexico City, Santa Monica and Honolulu. The money was contained in a 20-inch brown leather case deposited in the trunk of the Cadillac, which was registered in the man's name. The woman's first husband had died in 1947, leaving her $500,000. Be sure to look for the tangerine upholstery, as that will be the dead giveaway.

In Raleigh, one of the most influential members of the State Senate, John D. Larkins of Trenton, announced this date that he would not seek re-election. He had served in seven regular and two special sessions of the Legislature. He said that he intended to devote his time to his private law practice and that his legislative service had been both a physical strain and a financial sacrifice. He had been prominently mentioned in recent months as a possible appointee to the vacant posts of State Treasurer and as the successor to deceased Senator Willis Smith the previous summer, the latter position having been filled by Governor William B. Umstead by appointment of Alton Lennon.

In Charlotte, County Police arrested two young Charlotte men for larceny of an airplane and store-breaking and other larceny charges stemming therefrom, based on a complaint lodged by Southern Flight Service at Municipal Airport. The two men were planning to drive to Florida when arrested. They were alleged to have ripped off the aluminum siding of the Southern Flight Service hangar the prior Saturday night and rolled a Beechcraft "Bonanza" single-engine, four-seater airplane onto the runway, at which point they were provided clearance for takeoff by the tower. One of the two young men had a private pilot's license. They then flew the plane for about 45 minutes and returned to the hangar after the flight, at about 1:00 a.m. Well, they only borrowed it for a little while.

Dick Young of The News indicates that the City School Board this date was in need of a "graveyard lawyer", after a graveyard had been discovered at the site of the new North Charlotte Elementary School. The regular attorney for the Board had gone to the law books and was giving required 30-day notice of intention to remove any buried corpses and re-inter them elsewhere. When workmen at the site of the construction struck the corner of what was believed to be a coffin, all of the work stopped and a legal investigation was initiated by City and school officials. The graveyard was found to belong to a black congregation which had since moved and was operating at the Center Grove AME Zion Church, having abandoned its former site at least 50 years earlier. It was believed that no burials had taken place in the graveyard therefore for at least 50 years, and in more recent years, the property had been cultivated. There were no markers remaining and no means of identifying therefore next of kin. The construction work on the school was shifted to another part of the property away from the graveyard, until the legal matters were sorted out.

As pictured, an Army sergeant from Mt. Airy, stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C., got his head stuck in a cannon and, thus far, there was no indication as to how they were going safely to extract him, although food and liquid was being provided to him through a hole drilled into the top of the muzzle, while the brass figured out the situation. Little child who cannot yet read, do not emulate what some adults do.

On the editorial page, "Supports, Like Tariffs, Need Flexibility" discusses a speech provided to the Charlotte Kiwanis Club by State Agriculture Commissioner L. Y. Ballentine, in which he pointed out that average farm income per capita in 1952 among farmworkers was $1,903, while the average wage for industrial workers totaled $3,591 per year, that the farmers' share of the consumer food dollar had dropped from 54 to 44 percent since 1951, that Government losses under the farm price support program between 1933 and 1953, the Roosevelt and Truman Administrations, had been slightly more than a billion dollars, while business reconversion payments, including tax amortizations, had totaled an estimated 41 billion dollars just since 1945. He questioned whether industrialists could make their billions without the benefit of protective tariffs, a form of Government subsidy, or whether labor could earn a fair living without legislation which had established minimum wages and maximum hours or without the right to organize and strike for higher wages, whether the airlines could survive without their mail subsidies and whether mine and oil well operators could forgo their depletion allowances.

It finds that Mr. Ballentine had set up a straw man, that the issue was not one of the open market versus the subsidy for the farmers, that rather it was the high, rigid price supports, which he advocated, versus flexible price supports, as being proposed by Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson and the Administration. Mr. Ballentine, however, regarded those flexible price supports as providing speculators with the whiphand over farmers, that they would fall far short of their purpose of balancing supply and demand, instead having the effect of increasing surpluses instead of diminishing them, by forcing farmers to plant increasing acreage to make up for declining prices.

It finds his reasoning hard to follow, that there was no reason why production restrictions could not be applied to crops under flexible supports as easily as they could under rigid supports, that the high price supports were driving many farmers into the open market for the simple reason that in some parts of the country, storage facilities were so glutted that none were available, and without availability, the Government could not store under the price-support program the surplus produce, which thus had to be dumped on the open market at far below parity prices. In addition, the high cost of the American farm produce was reducing overseas markets, and while the 20-year overall expenditure on the price support program was accurate, the final figure would be much larger unless some means were found of disposing of billions of dollars worth of agricultural products now being stored by the Government in its warehouses. It agrees with him that various segments of the economy were presently subsidized and subsidies were frequently advantageous to the nation and its citizenry, but it finds that it did not follow that one segment of the economy, agriculture, should be specially favored with high and rigid subsidies. The President and the Tariff Commission could and did reduce tariffs when they were found to be so high that they were ruining the domestic trade because a product's market was diminishing. It suggests applying that simple rule to agriculture and reducing its support price when a commodity was in oversupply and at a price too high to sell in the world market.

It concludes that the reason that was not being done appeared to be because too many people grasped the politically popular idea of high and rigid price supports, without stopping to analyze the dangers of the concept or the benefits to farmers of a flexible price support program.

"Faith and the Search for Truth" remarks on a speech delivered by Gordon Gray, president of the Consolidated University of North Carolina, before the Men's Club of the Myers Park Presbyterian Church the prior Monday, an abstract of which is presented on the page. It summarizes the speech, and indicates that Mr. Gray had reminded his audience that a university was essentially a "place of mind and spirit" and, as such, adopted no point of view "in religion, politics, or even disputed items of scholarship". No one was to direct faculty thinking or student thinking, but the right kind of leadership could help create the right kind of learning atmosphere.

It indicates that from the figures he had presented showing the number of faculty members and students of the three branches of the University, the main campus in Chapel Hill, Woman's College in Greensboro, and N.C. State in Raleigh, who regularly participated in organized religious activities, the accusation that universities were hotbeds of agnosticism could not be applied to the Consolidated University, and for that fact, North Carolinians could be content.

"Flanders Lays It on the Line" approves of Senator Ralph Flanders of Vermont, who had been quoted on the front page the previous day as the first Republican Senator to challenge directly Senator McCarthy and McCarthyism, stressing that "the dangerous attack is from without, not from within", wondering aloud what party Senator McCarthy belonged to, as he was helping the Democrats while shattering the Republican Party.

The piece indicates that his attack was all the more forceful because he had leaned over backwards to give Senator McCarthy credit for the "vigorous and effective housecleaning" which McCarthyism displayed. It concludes that he was saying what other Republican members of Congress and Administration spokesmen should have been saying all along, and that it remained to be seen whether other Republicans would follow suit and have the "moral courage to stand with Flanders against this smokescreen artist."

Gordon Gray, president of the Consolidated University of North Carolina, as indicated in the above editorial, has an abstract presented of his speech he had given to the Men's Club of Myers Park Presbyterian Church on Monday evening, in which he says that the responsibility of the university administrator was first to God and his own conscience, then to the millions of people and centuries of time which had preceded him, to the four million people of North Carolina who expected effective teaching and training and a dedicated increase of knowledge within the framework of the University's mission of broad service to the state, to the 170 members of the Legislature, to the 103 members of the University Board of Trustees, the 1,200 faculty members of the University, the 12,000 students, and to those who had founded the first state University in 1789. The administrator also had a responsibility to the faculty and students who had proceeded through the University in the interim decades, and to the future, "a trust with the past and a tryst with the future."

He indicates that by exercising continuing leadership, the administrator should stand for "fairness, when liberalism has become a label, for justice, when conservatism has become an epithet, for eternal truth, without flavor, for freedom to worship, to vote, to move about, to speak one's mind, to own property, for undying resistance to tyranny of any kind including tyranny over the mind." And finally, he had suggested that as they sought leaders to do those things, they should "not give leadership unless they believe in God."

Drew Pearson tells of Senator McCarthy, at a recent big cheese party in Washington thrown by the Republicans for newsmen, having placed his arm around the shoulder of Secretary Dulles and asked whether he had not been a good boy lately, referring to his having laid off criticism of the State Department for a few weeks, partly as a result of a compromise agreement worked out with Vice-President Nixon in Miami the prior December. The Vice-President had urged the Senator to lay off witch-hunting and turn the problem of Communism over to Senator William Jenner's Internal Security Committee where it belonged, and that in return, Attorney General Herbert Brownell would turn over to Senator McCarthy various cases of alleged graft and inefficiency which, according to Mr. Nixon, would reflect on the Truman Administration and would properly fall within the purview of the Senator's Government Operations Committee. Senator McCarthy had agreed to the proposal, but no sooner had he returned to Washington and was questioned by newsmen about it, he denied it. He lived up to the agreement, nevertheless, for about two weeks, and then quietly handed to Senator Herman Welker of Idaho, sometimes referred to as the "Junior McCarthy", a copy of a speech which Senator McCarthy had prepared as an attack on the law partner of Secretary Dulles, Arthur Dean, then special ambassador for the Korean peace talks. Mr. Pearson indicates that Secretary Dulles probably did not know that the speech had been written by Senator McCarthy as a criticism of the Secretary the previous December, after the Secretary had issued the most forthright statement thus far made by any member of the Eisenhower Cabinet against Senator McCarthy following his nationwide radio broadcast answering former President Truman. The response to Secretary Dulles by Senator McCarthy had remained undelivered, thanks to the persuasion of RNC chairman Leonard Hall, who had also talked President Eisenhower out of direct criticism of Senator McCarthy just the prior week. But Senator McCarthy had kept the text and given it to Senator Welker, who then blasted Secretary Dulles, an attack from Senator McCarthy by proxy.

Mr. Pearson indicates that the above scenario had illustrated the basic problem the President faced with Senator McCarthy, that one wing of the Republican Party was in the Senator's corner and that the Senator never stayed put on issues, subject to being appeased one day and then turning around and slugging the person who appeased him the next. He presents ten different occasions since September, 1952 during the presidential campaign in which the President or the people around him had sought to appease Senator McCarthy, more recently involving the Army turning over to the Senator carbon copies of its investigation at Fort Monmouth in New Jersey, enabling the Senator to take the Army's reports and its witnesses and stage his own probe, making it appear that he had personally rooted out subversion in the Army, and in three other cases more recently, involving the Vice-President's attempt in Miami to get the Senator to be good, Secretary of the Army Robert Stevens's retreating from his original order to Army personnel not to appear again before the Senator's subcommittee because of prior "abuse" of Army witnesses, and the President's decision to tone down his originally proposed blast of the Senator regarding the dispute with Secretary Stevens.

Nevertheless, indicates Mr. Pearson, some White House advisers still believed that they could appease the Senator, and despite a growing group of advisers who told him to the contrary, the President still followed the advice of the appeasers.

The Editors introduce a new syndicated columnist to the page, Doris Fleeson, who had been a Washington columnist for many years. After growing up in a small town in Kansas and graduating from the University of Kansas, she had gone East in search of a job on any newspaper she could find which would hire her, winding up on a Long Island daily, where she learned the rudiments of the profession, before joining the New York Daily News in 1927, where, she said, "we learned to hit 'em in the eye". In 1930, she had married Daily News columnist John O'Donnell and together they had written a column for eight years, "Capitol Stuff", until, in the early 1940's, the couple divorced and ended the column. Ms. Fleeson had then served as a war correspondent for Woman's Home Companion during 1943-44, then returned to Washington in 1945 as a correspondent for a number of leading newspapers across the country.

Time had listed her among the top 13 Washington news writers. She had established pipelines to Congressional offices, attended no off-the-record conferences, yet frequently knew what the Administration was up to before many of its leaders. She had obtained her share of scoops. It lists her many accolades as a reporter and columnist. Because of the many facts she placed in her columns, she had become known among her fellow correspondents as "the columnists' columnist".

She had recently become a member of the United Feature Syndicate staff and her work was being distributed nationally by that organization.

A quick perusal forward of subsequent editions of the newspaper indicates that she would not replace any of the other regular columnists, such as the Alsops or Robert C. Ruark, but rather would alternate with those columnists.

Doris Fleeson tells of the likely issues to be front and center in the midterm election campaigns in the fall, with Democrats confident that they would regain control of the Congress—as they would, while many of them believed that the result could, as it had worked for President Truman in 1948, enabling him to campaign against the "do-nothing" 80th Congress controlled by the Republicans, provide the Republicans with an issue on which to run in the general election of 1956, thus ensuring re-election of President Eisenhower.

Somewhat surprisingly, some Democrats, with proved political prescience, had placed Senator McCarthy in the list of their party's present assets, arguing that by his continuing to challenge and humiliate members of the Eisenhower Administration, he was dividing the Republicans and tarnishing the personal popularity of the President with the people. Those Democrats were convinced that the issue of Communists in the Government had ceased to appeal to all except a vocal minority of the people, most of whom had not been for the Democratic goals in the first place. Senators in that group believed that Senator McCarthy was not as formidable as he once had been, that he had become reckless and unreliable, and all agreed that the best policy of the Democrats was to let the Republicans handle the issue. Those Democrats would have preferred that Adlai Stevenson, when he made his recent speech from Miami, broadcast nationwide on NBC and CBS, not mention the Senator. Otherwise, the meeting of the Democrats had been regarded as a great success by Senators who attended, possibly, ventures Ms. Fleeson, because no one had mentioned the divisive issue of segregation, it being argued in both regions, North and South, that since the Supreme Court would shortly rule on the issue of school desegregation, there was no need to quarrel over it again. In Miami, the Democrats had put economic conditions at the top of the campaign issues for 1954, including, the drop in farm income. Some Senators agreed with former Governor Stevenson that the new Administration policy of "massive retaliation", in place of the Truman Administration containment policy toward Communism, should be made an issue, but generally speaking, the economic trends downward would be the overriding theme.

There was in prospect, however, a follow-up to Governor Stevenson's concern about the defense policy, as Senator Mike Mansfield of Montana had secured a promise from Senator Alexander Wiley, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, that both Secretary Dulles and Defense Secretary Charles E. Wilson would appear during the month before the Committee to answer questions about the new defense policy. The hearing would take place before Secretary Dulles would depart for the April 23 Geneva conference on the Far East, Korea and Indo-China. Efforts would be made to make the hearing public.

She reports that Washington was filled with gloomy reports about the French intentions in Indo-China, with many believing that France would insist on a truce along the same pattern as had occurred in Korea. Any such development would cause the foreign policy to be thrust into the fall campaign "for such use as the candidates could square with their consciences and their knowledge of the awful difficulties of the post-war world."

A letter writer from Mount Airy, N.C., indicates that he was pleased with the President for taking a firm stand against McCarthyism and was in complete accord with everything he had said, and especially pleased that the President was insisting that members of the executive branch called to testify before Congressional committees would be treated with "respect and courtesy". He wonders about private citizens called to testify and urges that they, too, should be treated with respect and courtesy, but that the President's statement appeared to imply that they would continue to be helpless until Congress decided to take corrective action. He indicates that as long as the President stood for progress and fair play, regardless of political expediency, the people would be with him, that party loyalty was of slight importance to most of the public and was objectionable when it demanded compromise of high principle.

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