The Charlotte News

Thursday, March 11, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Senator Joseph McCarthy, still contending that he was entitled to equal time from NBC and CBS for those networks having carried the speech of Adlai Stevenson the previous Saturday from Miami Beach, announced that he would make a partial reply this night on the Mutual Radio network, two days ahead of the official Republican reply to Governor Stevenson's speech, which would be made by Vice-President Nixon on Saturday night, the selection of whom, according to high Republican sources earlier, had been made by the President, himself, though the President had said at his press conference the previous day that he could not recall who finally made the choice, though he had heartily approved of it. Senator McCarthy's reply would take place on the 15-minute radio program of conservative commentator Fulton Lewis, Jr., in a question-and-answer format touching on the criticism of the Senator by Governor Stevenson and by Senator Ralph Flanders of Vermont, also to include his reply to the story broadcast on the television program "See It Now" on CBS, narrated by Edward R. Morrow, on Tuesday.

The Republican majority of a Senate investigating subcommittee of the Senate Rules and Administration Committee, chaired by Senator William Jenner of Indiana, recommended this date that the seat held by Senator Dennis Chavez of New Mexico be declared vacant because of "irregularities" in the 1952 election. Senator Chavez, the incumbent, had been challenged by Republican Patrick Hurley. The majority report, signed by two Republican Senators, would be challenged by Senator Thomas Hennings, a Democrat from Missouri, in a minority dissenting report. The report came after a one-year investigation of fraud charges made by Mr. Hurley, former Ambassador to China in 1945 and former Secretary of War during the Hoover Administration. Senator Jenner said that the full Committee would act on the report the following Tuesday. Unseating Senator Chavez would result in a 47 to 47 tie in the Senate, though because Senator Wayne Morse, who had switched from being a Republican to an independent in the 1952 fall campaign, had voted with the Republicans for the sake of organization of the Senate, no change would occur in that respect. Senate Majority Leader William Knowland said that if the Committee sent the matter to the Senate floor, he would call it up for debate the following week without delay.

Before a Marine court of inquiry in Washington, Col. Frank Schwable testified in his own behalf this date regarding his suspected aiding or attempting to aid the enemy by admitting falsely to participation in aerial germ warfare during the Korean War, after he was captured as a prisoner for 14 months by the Communists. The inquiry was determining whether formal charges would be brought against him in a court-martial. He testified that upon his return to the U.S. the previous September, he had not known of the "harsh attitude" which his superiors might take against him. He said that during his confinement, he only spoke to Chinese interrogators who were trying to feed him their political doctrines, and that after weeks of that treatment, he lost his sense of judgment. He said that initially there were only kids interrogating him, but after a few days, the experts took over and were "vicious and rotten".

The President nominated Charles Thomas of Los Angeles, presently Assistant Secretary of Defense, to be the new Secretary of the Navy, succeeding Robert Anderson of Texas, who had been nominated to be Deputy Secretary of Defense to replace Roger Kyes who was resigning to return to private business. No successor to Mr. Thomas had yet been named.

In New York, 125 longshoremen defied a crowd of hooting pickets and marched to work on a freighter docked at a pier in lower Manhattan this date, the first break in the seven-day wildcat strike which had hamstrung port activities. A dozen foot patrolmen, two mounted and two motorcycle policemen stood by at the head of the pier and there was no violence. A United Fruit ship was moored alongside the pier, ready to be unloaded. The longshoremen who had gone to work were said to be members of the AFL International Longshoremen's Association, rival of the independent Longshoremen's Association which had ignored a Federal court order and the plea of its leaders to return to work. The two longshoremen's associations were battling one another for the right to represent the longshoremen in collective bargaining before the NLRB. The independent organization had been expelled previously from the AFL for not cleaning out racketeering activity.

Near Plymouth, Ind., fire destroyed a two-story frame home, killing seven occupants, all except one of whom had been sleeping on the second floor.

In Atlanta, a judge sentenced an 18-year old boy, following his guilty plea to assault and battery the previous day for striking a blow against a man who had one good eye, completely blinding him, to the maximum allowed by law for the misdemeanor, 18 months in jail and a $1,000 fine, calling the offense "dastardly". The blinded man testified that he was sitting in a parked car and observed the youth trying to let the air out of the tires, remonstrated him, whereupon the boy thrust his fist through the car window, striking the man in the left eye. His right eye, he explained, had been removed when he was seven years old, and he could now only distinguish bright lights with his left eye as a result of the blow.

In Hamlet, N.C., the sheriff had asked State law enforcement to assist in the investigation regarding a three-year old boy who had been missing since Wednesday of the previous week in the McRae Pond swamp section, after an all-night search of that area and draining of the pond had failed to turn up any sign of the child or information regarding his whereabouts. The mother of the child and a man were being held in the Richmond County jail under bond on charges of fornication and adultery, both of whom having maintained that the child had wandered off shortly after noon a week earlier. The sheriff was having both of them undergo lie detector tests at the State Bureau of Investigation headquarters. A $50 reward for information leading to the recovery of the child, dead or alive, was being offered by the sheriff.

In Salt Lake City, a three-year old girl stumbled into her home unable to breathe with her face turning blue, prompting her mother to call for an ambulance, and the officer on duty told her to tell the girl to cough and swallow, which the girl did and now was doing fine.

In Milwaukee, a woman who had fraternal twins 11 months earlier, had twin boys the previous day.

In Charlotte, a woman miraculously escaped death early this date when a gas stove exploded and blew her house-trailer apart at a trailer camp in the early morning hours. She suffered first-degree burns on her face and both of her hands, but aside from that and shock, was unhurt. Observers at the scene said that she had left the trailer to go to her car for a few minutes and apparently had either left the gas on or the pilot light had gone out, and that when she reopened the trailer door, the movement of air carried the escaping gas to an oil heater, causing the explosion. A woman who occupied a trailer about 100 feet away said the explosion raised her trailer off of its axles and shook it. Another person in the camp thought that it was an earthquake.

In Hollywood, the musical "The King and I", which had run successfully on Broadway for 154 weeks, would be filmed by 20th Century Fox, according to that studio.

Emery Wister, in his "Show 'Nuf" column on an inside page, tells of Basil Rathbone relating that his role as Sherlock Holmes had typed him too much because he had been "too good at it".

On the editorial page, "Room for Both Willie and Reddy" indicates that 19 years earlier, 11 of every 100 farms in the United States had been electrified but that in North Carolina only 3 percent had been, that by 1937, the rural electrification program had resulted in one of every 11 North Carolina Farms and one of every six across the nation having electrical power. By July, 1945, 39 percent of the state's farms were electrified, while the national average was 45 percent. During the postwar period, nearly 10 percent of the farms without electricity had obtained it each year, and within the state, the figure rose from 44.2 percent in 1946 to 51.5 percent in 1947, and eventually to 83.8 percent in 1951, and 90.4 percent, ahead of the national average of 88.1 percent, in 1952, and 94.1 percent in 1953, compared to the national average of 90.8 percent.

Farms in the state which had been electrified for as long as 15 years were doubling their use of power every five years and tobacco farmers were experimenting with automatic electrical controls on tobacco curers, electric fans were being used in corn cribs to reduce spoilage, potato farmers were using electric conveyor belts, automatic scrubbers and electric drying lamps, obtaining profits which once had gone to the processors, and peach growers were using electric sprayers, defuzzers and graders.

Credit for the success of rural electrification belonged jointly to the Rural Electrification Administration, electric cooperatives, private utilities and many farmers, home economists, legislators and dedicated public servants. Within the state, about 45 percent of the lines, with 57 percent of the consumers, were owned by 15 electric utility companies, while 37 REA membership corporations had about 50 percent of the lines with one-third of the consumers, and 59 municipalities and three public institutions accounted for the rest.

It indicates that sometimes the old battle between co-ops and utilities flared up, occasionally with ludicrous results, as in South Carolina, where the creator of "Reddy Kilowatt", the symbol of the commercial power company, claimed that "Willie Wiredhand", the symbol for rural electrification, was infringing on its trademark. It concludes that both "Reddy" and "Willie", representations of which are included with the piece, had contributed substantially to rural electrification, that there was still a big job ahead and thus room enough for both of them.

It seems that those two were once famous members of bands, weren't they?

"All Is Not Turmoil and Trouble" suggests that, based on the front-page headlines and tv news broadcasts, one might get the idea that the society was being ripped to pieces by the pressures of the East-West cold war struggle and the national political battle, but that it was not the case, that there were countless millions of persons in the country who were going about their daily work and maintaining their basic pattern of life.

It cites a couple of local examples, the Charlotte Boys Choir, which was embarking on a ten-day tour to Florida after providing their annual Charlotte concert at the Armory-Auditorium to help defray expenses of the tour, and the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, which had given four regular concerts since the prior early fall with guest artists present and one special concert for schoolchildren. On the following Monday and Tuesday nights, the orchestra would appear without any guest artist in its last concert of the season, which promised to be the best. It indicates that the two groups provided different types of music, with the Orchestra providing classical selections and the Choir relying on old popular favorites, but that it took all kinds to make a world or a town and that without either, the pattern would be incomplete.

"Tillett's Role in Fight Recalled" tells of the Horace Williams Society the previous year in Chapel Hill having given a moving tribute to the late Charles Tillett of Charlotte, an attorney who had been active in promoting the U.N., attending the Charter Conference in 1945 and sending back to The News special reports, and more recently active in opposition to the Bricker amendment which sought to limit the treaty-making power in the Constitution. Attorney Francis Winslow of Rocky Mount had provided the tribute, in a speech titled "The Free Mind in Action", in which he said that Mr. Tillett had believed that the safety of the country depended on a strong executive in charge of foreign affairs and that the founders were correct in vesting that power in the chief executive, that the Bricker amendment would be a final act in withering away that power vis-à-vis Congress, and that the effort to defeat it had become such an unremitting toil and deep concern for him that it inevitably led to his untimely death.

The piece indicates that through various bar associations, in testimony before the committee of Congress considering the Bricker amendment, and by correspondence with newspapers and other journals, Mr. Tillett had been one of the leaders of the opposition to the amendment. It gives a large portion of the credit therefore to him, and to U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge John J. Parker of Charlotte, who carried on the fight following the death of Mr. Tillett, for the defeat of the amendment.

A piece from the Asheville Citizen, titled "Battle of Bull (Calf) Run" tells of Senatorial candidate and former Governor Kerr Scott engaging in some "amiable nonsense" to publicize his campaign by offering a giveaway of bull calves from his dairy farm to anyone who would beat his time, established in 1919 to avoid a $21 taxi bill, of walking 21 miles in six hours, the result having been that 36 contestants managed the task, causing Mr. Scott to be called the "Bull Calf" candidate.

It suggests that it was now up to Senator Alton Lennon, against whom Mr. Scott would run in the spring Democratic primary, to challenge people to accomplish some feat he had performed in his youth, perhaps swimming around a Wilmington pier in a certain amount of time or hauling sheepshead from Wrightsville Sound. It concludes that politics was rarely amusing but that the contest which Mr. Scott had proposed was better, at least, than baby-kissing, finding, however, that whatever it had to do with the issues of the day was another matter.

Drew Pearson writes an open letter to his adult daughter, saying that he was glad to hear he would become a grandfather for the third time and that it did not make him feel old. He indicates that it was probably not published in the California newspapers, but conservative radio commentator Fulton Lewis, Jr., had been indicted for criminal libel recently by a Maryland grand jury, causing Mr. Pearson to contemplate some unpleasant things. He indicates that his daughter had many years earlier played with Mr. Lewis's daughter but that in recent years the two men had drifted apart as Mr. Lewis had jumped onto the McCarthy bandwagon when the Senator was making speeches from the safety of the Senate floor, demanding that Mr. Pearson's radio and television sponsor cancel their advertising and that he be removed from the air. Nevertheless, he believes that the grand jury's action in indicting Mr. Lewis for criticizing gambling and bootlegging in southern Maryland reached a low for intolerance on the part of public officials and was not too far from the McCarthy brand of retaliation against anyone who dared criticize him. Mr. Lewis's broadcasts had secured the indictment of several individuals charged with gambling, but the grand jury indicted him when he criticized local judges.

He indicates that any good newspaperman who tried to get at the truth was bound to be sued in the civil courts for libel, but a criminal indictment bordered on the "vindictive tyranny of the early days of the country". The law under which Mr. Lewis had been indicted had been handed down from early colonial days when British officials were worried about respect for themselves and King George.

He indicates that whenever he became discouraged about what a newspaperman ought represent, he liked to read about the battles for freedom of the press fought in the early days of America, especially those of the first great American journalist, Thomas Paine. He believes he had as much to do with winning basic freedoms for the nation as anyone, and had read him during the morning while thinking about Mr. Lewis, coming across Edmund Burke's warning to Mr. Paine that his "rights of man" did not "deserve any other reputation than that of criminal justice". Mr. Burke, in other words, had proposed criminally prosecuting him for championing basic American freedoms, not dissimilar to the Maryland grand jury with respect to Mr. Lewis. Mr. Paine had responded to Mr. Burke by saying: "It must be criminal justice indeed that should condemn a work as a substitute for not being able to refute it. It is for the good of nations, not for the emolument or aggrandizement of particular individuals, that government ought be established. The defects of every government … must be as open to discussion as the defects of the law, and it it is a duty which every man owes to society to point them out… Those subjects (the reform and criticism of government) are always before a country as a matter of right, and cannot, without invading the general rights of that country, be made subjects for prosecution. On that ground I will meet Mr. Burke whenever he pleases."

Mr. Pearson concludes that if the country were to have good government and clean government, the right of Mr. Lewis to free and reasonable comment had to be protected, no matter how much he may disagree with Mr. Lewis, as once that right vanished, the dividing line between free government and the government in the Kremlin also vanished.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop indicate that the Democrats were anxiously awaiting questioning of Scott McLeod, the State Department's security officer, whose responsibilities had been severely delimited recently by Secretary of State Dulles. They intended to call him before the Senate's Post Office and Civil Service Committee to ask an embarrassing question, which would go something like the following: If information related to subversion appeared in personnel files, consisting of a recommendation, in writing, that Communist China be recognized by the U.S., that the individual had been closely associated with the Institute of Pacific Relations and had been intimate with others extremely active in that Institute, that the same individual had a long time sympathetic association with Alger Hiss, and that he had recommended Mr. Hiss for a post of great national influence and failed to propose his discharge from that post when Mr. Hiss had been exposed by HUAC as an alleged Communist, whether that information would place the individual into the subversive category within the Administration's breakdown of security program dismissals. The answer would be difficult, as each of those facts would apply to Secretary of State Dulles, who, by the State Department's opinion polls, had the trust of 68 percent of the voters. No one would suggest that it was anything but ridiculous to count Mr. Dulles among subversives.

Some weeks earlier, the "security firings" hoax perpetrated by the Administration had begun to backfire after it was shown by the Alsops and others that most of the supposed firings were actual transfers from one department to the other and that only a small percentage involved actual suspected subversion, and that most of those latter cases had originated from investigations begun during the Truman Administration. Those revelations resulted in a high-level Cabinet meeting at the White House to try to figure out how to control the damage, determining that a frank admission of the problem would be too politically embarrassing, resulting in a determination that the breakdown of the "security firings" would include as "subversive" the personnel whose files contained any sort of indication of "security risk", even though it might simply be based on a vague association or a letter contained within the person's file. The Democrats claimed to have proof that in one such case, a Government employee who had resigned after being listed as a security risk and classed in the subversive category was so listed for having a sympathetic association with another Government worker, who, in turn, had been charged with disloyalty but had been completely cleared.

The decision by the Cabinet to treat the matter in that way had saved some embarrassment for the Administration, at least for the time being, and had enabled Civil Service Commission chairman Philip Young to claim that more than 400 out of the 2,200 "security firings" fell into the "subversive" category. The Democrats, however, were not willing to stop at that point and were intending to call Mr. McLeod as well as the security chiefs of all the other important departments and agencies, intending to prove by questioning them that not a single genuine Communist had yet been uncovered and that the vast majority of those classed by Mr. Young as "subversive" had actually been no more subversive than Secretary Dulles.

Opinions differed on whether the hoax had any political importance, but it had given the Democrats an opportunity to make the Administration look silly and, venture the Alsops, there was no good reason for an Administration with a popular President and a good program of its own to give the Democrats such an opportunity.

Marquis Childs, in Bonn, West Germany, indicates that in the German elections of the prior September, Chancellor Konrad Adenauer's Christian Democratic Union Party had employed the slogan "The German Miracle" to describe the rebuilding of West Germany since the end of World War II. But the Germans were not completely happy with that expression, since they regarded it as no miracle but rather the result of hard, incessant work on their part. Just seven years earlier, Secretary of State James Byrnes, in a speech at Stuttgart, had given the Germans in effect a go-ahead signal to work for their own rehabilitation, in what would turn out to be an ever-closer partnership with the West and particularly the U.S.

A major step toward recovery had been taken with the reform of the currency in June, 1948, when all three occupation zones of West Germany abolished the old German currency. While wiping out the savings of millions, the move proved successful and now the German mark had been restored to one of the soundest currencies in the world. In mid-1949, the Federal Republic was formed in West Germany and a group of economic specialists began freeing the German economy from artificial controls, creating a "social market economy". Ludwig Erhard, the Economics Minister and a former professor in Munich, removed rationing and other controls as rapidly as possible, and it had worked. Prices rose as Germans rushed to buy things they had had not had since before the war. Herr Erhard was seeking to build a consumer economy, with the realization that too much reliance on exports could not enable healthy expansion over the long-run. No one could say how much those efforts had contributed to the German recovery. The basis for the German economy remained heavy industry in the Ruhr region, with the export market being 40 percent of the total.

The Minister of Finance, Fritz Schaeffer, also believed in free enterprise and was trying to meet the demand for investment capital, reducing income taxes by 15 percent and now seeking a second reduction. He believed that the middle class would invest the money thus saved in industry and thereby enable expansion and modernization.

The trade unions in the coal and steel industry had recently made new wage demands, but no one expected the increases to be granted, including the union leaders, one reason being that three million tons of coal were piled above the ground and another being that the union organization was increasingly ineffective. The work week in Germany was 48 hours and the more than ten million refugees had increased the workforce, which had consistently demonstrated a willingness to buckle down to the job.

Germans were beginning to enjoy themselves, had always been great travelers, and were now vacationing all over Europe, particularly in Italy and in countries where prices were somewhat lower than at home.

The Ruhr industrialists complained of the restrictions put on them by their participation in the European coal and steel pool and suggested that if they could only obtain capital, preferably from the U.S., and be turned loose, they could once more quickly outperform their rivals in Europe. That sort of go-it-alone spirit was that which Chancellor Adenauer hoped to channel into the European Defense Community and eventually into the European political community.

A letter writer indicates that he had seen an Associated Press story quoting Senator Lennon on the proposed bill to grant statehood to Hawaii, indicating that he opposed admission of either Alaska or Hawaii as a state because they were too far from the mainland and that the population of Hawaii had too high a percentage of Orientals. The letter writer asks rhetorically whether the Three Wise Men had come from Virginia Beach.

A letter writer from Cheraw, S.C., indicates that unemployment was on the rise among the working people because of the selfishness of those who wanted to pinch pennies. He indicates that the late President Roosevelt had proved in his first term of office that there was no need for such a policy in the U.S., and he warns the Government and those seeking public office that they had better remember the working people as well as the rich. He indicates that he had talked to people in all walks of life during the previous month and was informed that they would never submit to another depression. He indicates that he was one of those forgotten people during the Great Depression and that the country had advanced a long way since those days, that there was no intention of going back.

A letter writer responds to a letter from A. W. Black, who had written that the British were far too advanced rationally to heed Billy Graham's Bible preaching, and that the Biblical origin of man and the Redemption, etc., were childish fables and ignorant superstition. This writer differs with the statement, indicates that intellect was not a supreme reality or an end in itself, as man was always seeking to know more than that which was unknown to him. He wonders whether Mr. Black could truthfully say that he had reached "scientific cosmic consciousness" or a "mental nirvana" and so wonders why he should ridicule the story of a Supreme Creator. He indicates that many great minds had accepted the story of creation in the Bible, including some of the greatest scientific minds of the 20th Century who had found proof of Biblical facts. He finds that science and rationalism had failed to arrive at an ultimate good, while Billy Graham's preaching led closer to an ultimate good.

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