The Charlotte News

Thursday, March 18, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Secretary of Defense Charles E. Wilson testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee this date that the Army was not "coddling Communists", as Senator McCarthy had suggested, and that he had complete confidence in Army Secretary Robert Stevens as well as in the Army's general counsel, John G. Adams. He said that no case of Communist or subversive infiltration to the armed forces had been exposed by any Congressional committee which had not already been previously known to defense officials. Without mentioning Senator McCarthy, his statement implicitly contradicted the contention of the Senator that his Investigations subcommittee had revealed subversives unknown to defense officials. The primary reason for the Defense Secretary's appearance was to discuss proposed changes to drafting of doctors. He said that out of 14,000 doctors drafted, the armed services had 51 drafted doctors and dentists who had been denied commissions, 20 of whom were for "very questionable loyalty", and the remaining 31 because they had failed to qualify as officers. A court ruling had indicated that a commission was mandatory for a drafted doctor or dentist, but the defense officials wanted to make it clear that there was no mandatory commission when there was a question of loyalty, and that the armed services would discharge such doctors and dentists.

A late bulletin indicates that the Secretary had stated in his testimony that he regarded as truthful the Army report charging Senator McCarthy and Roy Cohn, his subcommittee's chief counsel, with putting pressure on the Army to obtain special treatment for Private G. David Schine, the drafted former aide of Senator McCarthy's Investigating subcommittee.

HUAC began again looking into the extent and nature of Communist infiltration to the clergy, hearing testimony from the Rev. John Hutchinson, professor of religion at Williams College in Massachusetts. Representative Donald Jackson of California said that the Committee wanted to determine how successful Communist front groups were in obtaining the help of young ministers. The previous summer, the Committee had questioned two clergymen, Methodist Bishop G. Bromley Oxnam of Washington, appearing at his own request, and the Rev. Jack Richard McMichael of California, who had been subpoenaed. Mr. Jackson had described Bishop Oxnam in March, 1953 as a man who "served God on Sunday and the Communist front for the balance of the week," regarding which the Bishop had demanded an opportunity to testify before the Committee to address some of the damage done by the unverified material released to the public, a hearing which had occurred the previous July 21 for over 10 hours, ending with the unanimous adoption of a resolution by the Committee, saying that the record showed that Bishop Oxnam had no record of Communist membership or affiliation. There were still individual members of the Committee, however, who believed that the matter was not resolved. At another hearing, Rev. McMichael had denied that he had ever been a member of the Communist Party or had known a former member who had testified that he knew the minister as a one-time member. A transcript of that testimony had been referred subsequently to the Justice Department. The Committee had said in its formal report on the previous year's investigations that it was convinced that the few members of the clergy who had associated with Communist causes constituted a "minute percentage of the hundreds of thousands of loyal, patriotic men of the cloth". It also said that some members of the clergy had been lax in lending their names to various causes and groups.

The State Department warned that Puerto Rican Nationalists were planning to kill "important" persons, including U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., and had asked for assignment of 200 extra city police to special guard duty early this date. The FBI had no comment on the alert and further information from the State Department was not immediately available. Special protection was provided to Senator John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts, who had stopped at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, where Ambassador Lodge was staying. The guard at the home of New York Mayor Robert F. Wagner had also been increased. Likewise, security was strengthened for the homes of several Federal judges and other officials, including Representative Franklin D. Roosevelt, Jr., of New York. Tension was heightened because of the shooting by four Puerto Rican Nationalists on March 1 inside the House, wounding five Congressmen, one seriously, though all had since recovered.

In Washington, General Douglas MacArthur flew from New York for a meeting at the White House with the President, saying that he did not know know why he had been invited but was delighted to come down. He guessed that it was a purely social invitation.

In Tokyo, it was reported that a U.S.-Japanese team of radiation specialists this date had begun treating 23 Japanese fishermen who had been showered with radioactive debris from the March 1 detonation of the second U.S. hydrogen bomb in the Marshall Islands. Four of the fishermen were in serious condition in the hospital. Public furor in Japan over the contamination continued and opponents of Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida's Government demanded prompt action, without specifying what form that should take. Spokesmen for the fishing industry were quoted by a news service in Japan as saying that the industry had been dealt a "near fatal blow" by the discovery that some of the fish from the radioactive boat in question had been sold. As a result, tuna prices had slid and it was not selling in the markets. Eight other fishing boats from the area had been found to be slightly radioactive but none of the fish had been contaminated and the crews had also been uncontaminated. The 23 crewmen contaminated indicated that they were about 80 miles from the blast scene and outside the danger zone which had been prescribed by the U.S. Government.

House Republicans apparently held a slim and shifting margin of votes this date against a Democratic proposal for raising the personal tax exemptions by $100, which would reduce Government revenue by about 2.4 billion dollars annually. It would be in addition to the 1.4 billion in revenue cuts the following year from many liberal deductions for businesses and individuals in the general overhaul of the tax program presently pending before the House.

The Interstate Commerce Commission this date granted the railroads a ten percent increase in the rates paid them by the Government for handling the U.S. mail, the increase being retroactive to the previous October 1.

In London, it was reported that Pravda had declared this date that "not a single worker or peasant" sat in the U.S. Senate or House, whereas in Russia, there were such persons in the Supreme Soviet, the equivalent of parliament. The editorial said that the 1,347 deputies elected in the Soviet national election the prior Sunday had included hundreds of manual laborers and men and women of the soil, some of whom were tractor drivers.

In Petersburg, Ind., a doctor said this date that there was little overnight change in a baby born with two heads, suffering from a circulatory disorder. There was a possibility that the infant would be returned later this date to a hospital in Indianapolis, where it had been kept for several weeks after its birth on December 12.

In Los Angeles, a court had ruled that a collision between a bicycle and a tricycle resulting in an eight-year old sustaining a leg fracture had caused damages totaling more than $1,300, attributable to the negligence of the 11-year old boy who was deemed not to have business riding his bicycle on the sidewalk, where the eight-year old had encountered him with his tricycle.

Also in Los Angeles, a woman obtained custody of a black seven-year old cocker spaniel in a divorce suit, but her husband was provided permission to visit the dog and take him for walks.

In Detroit, a 14-year old boy had threatened to run away if he were required to return to the Tennessee farm home of his father, an Army captain who demanded that the boy take nightly baths, to which the boy objected. The boy's mother had divorced the father and remarried, and the stepfather did not require nightly baths but rather insisted on five showers per week. When appearing in court, the eighth-grader was neatly dressed and seemed well-scrubbed. The judge ruled that the boy could stay with his mother and stepfather, without reference to the bathing issue, denying his father custody.

In Detroit, a police officer ticketed a woman for illegal parking, and she then complained in traffic court the previous day that she had received the ticket for spending only two minutes in the location while replacing under the dashboard of the car the padding on her accelerator pedal which had slipped off, and the referee dismissed the ticket.

In Passaic, N.J., a magistrate fined a man $20 for offering a 17-inch striped bass for sale in his store, which was one inch less than the legal size, but after imposing the fine, did not know what to do with the confiscated fish and so he took it home and had it for dinner.

Emery Wister of The News tells of plans being drawn for the widening of Providence Road in Charlotte to convert it to a four-lane highway for a two-mile stretch.

Also in Charlotte, City Recorder J. C. Sedberry was considered likely to become a candidate for the Democratic nomination for Congress in the 10th District after State Representative David Clark of Lincolnton had withdrawn. Judge Sedberry said that he remained undecided and would reach a final decision later this date after consulting with friends and advisers. Friends said that he had gone to Raleigh the previous day prepared to pay his filing fee in the event that Mr. Clark withdrew from the race. He had also consulted with Governor William B. Umstead, head of the state Democratic Party, during the morning, and it was said that the Governor had encouraged him to enter the race.

On the editorial page, "Review Board Stand Fully Justified" repeats the stands addressed in an article in the newspaper the previous day regarding the current differences between the Mecklenburg Association for Handicapped Children, a United Appeal agency, and the North Carolina Society for Crippled Children & Adults.

Without getting into the arcane details of this controversy 67 years ago, the piece indicates that it would leave it to potential donors to decide whether they wanted to stick by the United Appeal agency, or support a second agency for the crippled, an agency which had declined to tell the Solicitations Information Committee about its finances.

"Sen. Williams Questions Oil Tax Rate" indicates that the 27 1/2 percent depletion allowance for the oil industry had been rightly regarded as a cause célèbre for left-wingers, such as Senators Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota and Paul Douglas of Illinois, rather than as an injustice to the average taxpayer. But now, Senator John Williams of Delaware, a Republican conservative, who had gained fame for his exposure of irregularities in the IRS, along with Senator George Aiken of Vermont, also a Republican, were taking the lead in a move to have the depletion allowance reduced to 15 percent. Senator Williams said that the current allowance relieved the oil driller of income tax on the first 27 1/2 percent of his annual gross income regardless of his original investment, making it possible for an individual or corporation to recover many times more than the original investment.

The piece indicates that the depletion allowance helped the miner and oil driller to compensate for depletion of their investment, just as depreciation permitted businessmen to compensate for the loss in value of investment property. But the problem with the depletion allowance was its excessive rate. Businesses could only depreciate the cost of their investment and no more, and mine-owners received a fixed depletion allowance, ranging between five and 23 percent, and for most minerals, 15 percent.

Backing the 15 percent rate for the depletion allowance for oil, the two Republican Senators were endorsing the stand of former President Truman and his Secretary of the Treasury, John Snyder, and taking a stance for fairness in the tax laws. But the President and Secretary of the Treasury George Humphrey thus far had failed to endorse the proposal, which the piece regards as ultimately just and fair.

"For Teen-Agers, a Practical Project" indicates that the summer teenage employment project launched during the week by the United Church Women of Charlotte promised to be a highly useful and constructive enterprise which would be of great benefit to the young people of the community as well as to businessmen.

By questionnaires distributed through the schools, volunteer workers in the summer employment bureau would be able to assemble a list of young people desiring work, providing a background file on each such person. The Chamber of Commerce would provide a list of available jobs and then the jobs would be matched by the bureau with the students seeking them. The bureau would then also check on the progress of the student workers and assist and advise in solving any problems. The program had excellent results in Iowa City and, given the right cooperation by business in the community, it suggests that it should work well in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County.

A piece from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, titled "Angler's Considerations", addresses several questions which fishermen would be asking themselves as they took to the rivers and streams to begin fishing. You can read it for yourself. We don't fish, find it probably the most boring activity on the face of the earth, short of watching paint dry. There are other and better ways, we find, to commune with nature, such as hiking or running through it.

Lucien Agniel of The News, in the fourth in his series of articles on the teacher shortage in the state, regards again the issue of teacher certification being so course-specific as to deter many students from pursuing a career path in teaching, especially at the elementary school level where the shortage was most acute. He uses one UNC professor as a composite of eight to suggest that certification was the instrument of control over education and the livelihood of teachers within the state. They had indicated that there was a preoccupation with methodology, teaching how to teach, dominating the lives of students in the schools of education, who instead first needed to learn what to teach. They regarded it as a national cult in the "new method of education". They cited some language from the National Education Association Journal of December, 1950, suggesting that each child created his own school out of the meanings and feelings which emerged during his interpretive interacting with events and people in his external environments, something the professors could not understand and regarded as "fuzzy gobbledygook".

They indicated that certification had developed in a "vacuum of public disinterest" and while, technically, control of the teacher was in the hands of the State Board of Education, in reality, the State Office of Public Instruction and the Division of Professional Services, augmented by education professors working through their deans, who in turn occupied chairs at the North Carolina College Conference, were those who governed education in the state. When Mr. Agniel pointed out that a number of high school and elementary school teachers with whom he had talked had voiced no objection to the certification requirements, the professors countered that teachers, dependent on official approval for continued employment, would not pick a fight in print with the state authorities.

They indicated that while the teacher shortage was resulting from the heavy-handed certification process, instruction was deteriorating, as reflected by the large numbers of incompetent people entering college. The professional educators refused to relax the certification requirements because it would mean relaxing their control of patronage by which they perpetuated themselves. The professors did not know exactly what to do about the situation other than to get some good people interested in the problem from the PTA level on up and obtain thereby grass roots support for accrediting institutions rather than individuals. They favored letting the colleges and prospective teachers work out between themselves the details of education, cutting the State arbiter out of the picture.

The last in the series the following day would sum up the conflict.

Drew Pearson indicates that while the nation was absorbed in the conflict between Senator McCarthy and the Army, the most complicated tax bill in the previous 20 years had been almost totally misunderstood in the House. No Congressman, he indicates, could possibly vote intelligently on the bill, 875 pages long. Even Treasury Department experts who had helped to draft it admitted that certain sections did not turn out to mean what had been intended. They all agreed that for many years to come, tax lawyers would make money interpreting the bill.

The Democrats, with one exception, had decided to send the bill back to the House Ways & Means Committee, with instructions to change only one section, which would eliminate the provision whereby those who received dividends were given a preferred status over those who earned salaries and wages, substituting a $100 increase in the personal tax exemption, designed to benefit the lower bracket taxpayers and remove about seven million people from the tax rolls. The only Democrat who disagreed was Congressman Thurman Chatham of North Carolina, who did not want any new tax bill at all. His family, manufacturers of blankets, would reap a great windfall from a vote for the Republican tax bill, because their income derived from dividends and the new tax bill was beneficial to big business, but regardless of the personal benefit, he did not believe it was time to reduce Government revenue. A lot of Democrats and Republicans privately agreed with him. About 20 Republicans were on the spot regarding sending the bill back to Ways & Means, as they had taken the opposite position, but some would nevertheless vote their conscience, such as Representative Edith Nourse Rogers of Massachusetts, and side with the Democrats.

The Democrats were especially concerned about the loopholes in the Administration's bill favoring big business and the manner in which the bill had been rammed through Ways & Means. The Republicans had drafted it in the Committee without Democratic input, contrary to the usual procedures. It had been rammed through the Committee in six weeks, before the Democrats had any chance to consider it, and members were not even permitted to take copies of the bill from the Committee room for study overnight, forbade by chairman Dan Reed. Congressman Wilbur Mills of Arkansas had protested that the members could not vote intelligently on the provisions unless they could study them overnight, but the 78-year old chairman persisted. He also would only allow members to vote provisions out of the bill and forbade them from making amendments. He had also imposed a gag rule on the bill so that it could not be amended from the House floor during debate. Thus, it had to be taken as a whole or not at all, and, in consequence, the Democrats would vote to send it back to the Committee with instructions to substitute the higher personal exemption for the preference given to dividend holders.

A letter from a teacher addresses the series of articles by Mr. Agniel and relates of a personal experience with compliance with state certification from an out-of-state college where the difference was in emphasis in certain courses, resulting in her taking a job at a lower salary than originally anticipated. She regards her training as being equally adequate to that of North Carolina-trained teachers and indicates that the out-of-state teachers paid for the rigid interpretation of college credits, not only in terms of a lower salary but also in terms of a lower rating than that which the teacher formerly held in the other state. She advocates a more uniform system of certification across the country.

A letter writer indicates that the state was preparing for an address by Adlai Stevenson, which everyone knew would be a political speech "to try to patch up some of the errors" which the Democrats had made in the 20 years they were in power. He says that unless the Democrats revised their foreign policy and passed a law prohibiting the President from sending troops into foreign countries and fighting an undeclared war, they would never return to power. He indicates that the voters would never allow their sons to fight another war as they had in Korea without the consent of Congress. (That is a misconception, as Congress ratified the U.N. resolution which declared the emergency action against the incursion in South Korea, threatening the peace of the entire region.) He, nevertheless, thinks that President Truman had "blood on his hands for every boy who lost his life in the Korean War", and that it was unconstitutional for him or any other President to declare it a police action. He regards Governor Stevenson as following in the footsteps of President Truman and wants the Democrats to draft Senator Harry F. Byrd of Virginia as their 1956 nominee, the only Democrat for whom he would consider voting, finding little fault in the Eisenhower Administration.

A letter from the president of the Charlotte Altrusa Club thanks the newspaper for endorsing the vote for the two-cent tax to maintain Charlotte and Carver Community Colleges, which were important to the life of the community.

A letter writer calls attention to the Mecklenburg County Republican Convention, of which she is executive secretary, which had met at the courthouse on February 27 and had adopted a resolution endorsing the installation of voting machines in all voting precincts in the county.

A letter writer from Albemarle says that McCarthyism was causing hatred between Americans when peoples' hearts should be filled with love. She says Communism was the work of evildoers, but with the love of God in peoples' hearts, Communism could be avoided. The American people did not want another depression, but God had ways of turning the wicked people from "the lust of evilness" by sending a depression upon the people. She concludes therefore that the love for God and prayer would help the country to become better and greater.

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