The Charlotte News

Saturday, March 20, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Senator McCarthy, speaking the previous night before a crowd of about 400 in Milwaukee in rebuttal to a March 6 Miami Beach speech by former Governor Adlai Stevenson, accused Democrats of "twenty years of treason", "at best gross stupidity" and "at worst, treason", on twenty counts of "betrayal", casting Governor Stevenson as the "attorney for the defense" and calling on him to plead guilty or not guilty, after saying that the Governor had used the "Communist method" of attacking the Senator and the Republican Party. The 20 deeds he listed as "betrayals" included U.S. recognition of Russia in 1933, the Yalta agreement in February, 1945, which he described as events leading to the loss of China to the Communists, and the Truman Administration's handling of the war in Korea. He claimed that General MacArthur's order to bomb the Yalu River bridges in late 1950 to prevent "Reds from pouring across the river to kill, cripple, capture and then torture to death the sons of American mothers" had been countermanded in Washington, and that the number of Americans who died as a result would never be known, but that it had been many. He then would ask, after each such recitation of the 20 deeds, how Governor Stevenson would plead. Governor Stevenson had no comment on the speech. Senator McCarthy drew long applause when he praised the late Senator Robert Taft, who had died the prior late July, and had a large contingent of support from Wisconsin at the 1952 Republican convention.

Senator Charles Potter of Michigan said this date that Private G. David Schine, the drafted former aide of Senator McCarthy's Investigations subcommittee, would be asked under oath whether Senator McCarthy or others had sought from the Army special favors for the Private. Senator Potter, who was a decorated hero of World War II after losing both legs in combat, said that evidence of special favor "would not necessarily reflect" on the Private, but that it would reflect on the Army.

In New Orleans, former FCC commissioner Clifford Durr of Montgomery, Ala., an attorney who had served on the Commission from 1941 to 1948, had attacked former Communist Paul Crouch this date at a Senate subcommittee hearing on possible Communist activities, after Mr. Durr became insulted over testimony Mr. Crouch had provided about Mr. Durr's wife, saying: "He can't talk that way about my wife. I'll kill the ____." Mr. Durr was restrained by friends when he tried to reach Mr. Crouch, who testified that a spy ring operated in the country prior to World War II and that Mrs. Durr had used her influence among high government officials to try to foster Communism. Mr. Crouch also accused Mr. Durr of being a Communist. Mr. Durr had represented a witness who had been ejected by the subcommittee earlier this date after refusing to answer questions about a former instructor at a school in Tennessee, of which the witness was the director and founder in 1932 to educate "rural and industrial leaders for democratic living and activities". The witness had answered several questions about the school, saying it was not a Communist school and had never accepted Communist students. It was an interracial school for adults. Senator James Eastland of Mississippi asked the director if Dr. James Dombrowski, director of the Southern Conference Educational Fund, had been affiliated with the school, to which the director refused to answer and attempted to read a statement explaining his reasons, at which point Senator Eastland had him ejected by the marshals.

Secretary of State Dulles said, during his testimony the previous day before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, that selection of types of weaponry, and times and places to fight, were the keys to the President's "new look" military program. He also said that the President had the right under the Constitution to act in the interests of the country in undertaking war in the case of an emergency, that it was a matter of the President's judgment, taking into account treaties, such as NATO and the Inter-American Defense Treaty, in making that judgment, and that Congress would be consulted if there were time to do so, that Congress, the public and the President were likely in agreement on any defense action to be taken. He said that "the heart of the thing is that we can make aggression so expensive to the aggressor that it would not be worthwhile." Senator Mike Mansfield of Montana, who had done most of the questioning during the three-hour session, said at the conclusion that he remained confused about the policy of "massive retaliation" which had been mentioned earlier by the Secretary and other Administration spokesmen as a key point in the nation's new military planning.

Some 19 miles from Annapolis, Md., an Air Force C-119 twin-engine transport plane crashed in flames on a farm the previous night, killing all 18 aboard, 12 passengers and six crewmen. The plane had left Bolling Air Force Base only a few minutes earlier. No cause of the crash had yet been determined.

A B-26 from Vance Air Force Base, Okla., crashed at about the same time in a swampy area to the south, near Amelia, Va., taking the lives of all four aboard. Residents who witnessed that crash said that the plane appeared to be in trouble as it flew at a low altitude with lights flashing, before going down in the swamp.

In Cumberland, Md., Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas and a party he described as "a little bigger than the Lewis and Clark expedition" set out early this date on a 184-mile hike to Washington, expecting to cover the distance in about eight days. The 45 persons on the hike would wind along the old Chesapeake & Ohio Canal to Washington, a hike resulting from a challenge by Justice Douglas to editorial writers Merlo Pusey and Robert Estabrook of the Times-Herald and Washington Post, respectively, after they had written editorials favoring a Federal parkway along the unused, Government-owned canal, which Justice Douglas had said would mar its natural beauty and so challenged them to the walk to see for themselves. Naturalists and others quickly joined the expedition.

The IRS said that it wanted manpower to cope with citizens who owed more than three billion dollars in overdue taxes.

In New York, police were looking for $30,000 in cash and "another woman" in the case of the runaway bridegroom who had left his 67-year old bride of two days in Fredericksburg, Va., a couple of weeks earlier, taking her $243,000 and jewels in the trunk of his cream-colored Cadillac convertible with tangerine interior, winding up in a New York hotel room, claiming that he had been followed by a car as he went to obtain repairs in Fredericksburg on the Cadillac's electric windows and became concerned because of the cash and jewels, and so drove to Paterson, N.J., took a train to New York, where he checked into the hotel, slept for 48 hours and awakened with no recollection of what had occurred to his bride until reading in the newspaper that she had sworn out a warrant against him, then turned himself in and reconciled with her after relating his story of harrowing intrigue. She had sought to have the complaint dismissed but Federal prosecutors declined and she then put up the $10,000 bail for her new husband. The previous day, Federal prosecutors told her that they had recovered the jewels and $213,000 of the cash in two safe deposit boxes, but that the remaining cash was still missing, as a third box contained "nothing but ozone". (Nobody likes a smart aleck.) They reported that her husband had checked into a hotel on Broadway with a woman and had placed most of the cash in the safe deposit boxes in her name. They had been unable to identify the woman or locate her. The bride said that she was surprised to learn of the missing money. Maybe her name was O. Zone. Anyway, there is a perfectly plausible explanation, we are certain, for the missing money. He probably needed it to pay for the repairs on the electric windows and for the extra gas to get away from the thieves following him from Fredericksburg to Paterson, probably having to pay along the way various persons to act as distractors and decoys to the following thieves to get them off his trail, including O. Zone, who was only there to confuse the thieves into believing that she had the money, when in fact her box was empty. It will all work out in the end.

In Raleigh, six of the state's incumbent Democratic Congressmen won renomination this date as the deadline for entering the May 29 primary past without any opposition candidates filing against them. In other Congressional races, three Democrats and six Republicans filed. There was no last-minute filing in the 10th Congressional District race, around Charlotte and Mecklenburg, leaving two Democrats in the race, local attorney Marvin Ritch and Recorder's Court Judge J. C. Sedberry, vying for the nomination to contest Congressman Charles Jonas. A Pinetown pig farmer and perennial candidate, Ola Ray Boyd, declared for the U.S. Senate Democratic nomination, contesting incumbent Senator Alton Lennon and former Governor Kerr Scott. (The day of the pig farmer will come, in 1992, if only for one term.)

In Philadelphia, a postmaster headed to his office, said that he was startled when he saw a man stuck next to a mailbox with the flap of his overcoat caught in the lower door panel, something he had never seen in 42 years with the post office. The man explained that he had been talking to friends, never noticing that the mailman had come to open the box and then departed, with the tail of his coat, having been apparently blown by the wind into the opening, locked tight in the door. The postmaster called the clerk, who came rushing over with a key and the man's coat was freed. In a separate incident in the city, a woman was sobbing as she walked along a street with her fingers snared in an electric mixer. Two police officers took her to a garage and sawed off the blades which had trapped her fingers while she had been cooking in the kitchen, leaving her fingers bruised. It was quite a news day in Philadelphia.

In San Diego, another in a series of moderate to light earthquakes had occurred the previous night, the heaviest of which had recorded 5.0 on the Richter scale.

On the editorial page, "Court Record Makes Mockery of Laws" indicates that a defendant had been in city and county Recorder's Courts 18 times since mid-1945, seven times on charges of drunkenness, one for breaking and larceny, one for carrying a concealed weapon, and one for an assault with a deadly weapon, plus eight offenses involving an automobile, including a 1949 arrest for drunk driving, reckless driving, driving without a license, and carrying a concealed weapon, receiving a 90-day sentence, suspended on payment of a $150 fine plus costs, a 1950 violation for speeding, a 1951 violation for reckless driving, a 1953 charge of hit and run while driving drunk, on which he was provided a seven-month sentence and fined $150 plus costs, appealing the latter conviction to the Superior Court where the Solicitor nol-prossed the charges, effectively a dismissal. Seven weeks later in 1953, he was charged with driving without a license, hit and run, and reckless driving, the charge of driving without a license having been nol-prossed and he was found guilty, bound over to Superior Court on the hit and run charge, sentenced to four months on the reckless driving charge, suspended on payment of a $100 fine plus costs, appealing the latter to Superior Court, where the hit and run was nol-prossed and the reckless driving charge resulted in a 60-day sentence, suspended on payment of $100 and costs.

It goes on, providing the details of two more offenses, one in 1953 and the other a few days earlier, the latter again for driving without a license, on which he was provided a six-month suspended sentence on condition of payment of a $200 fine and costs. The following day he had been charged with drunk driving and driving without a license, on which he was fined $500 plus costs on the drunk driving charge and $300 plus costs for driving without a license.

The County Recorder, when asked about the two successive violations during the week, had suggested that perhaps he had been too lenient, saying that the "boy certainly needs help", that he was very emotional and perhaps needed medical care. The piece agrees that the Recorder had been too lenient and that the boy needed help, that, nevertheless, the record made a mockery of the laws designed to protect society. It indicates sympathy for any young man who could not distinguish between right and wrong, and recognizes that the state was deficient in providing the kind of institutional help needed by such individuals, but concludes that there also came a point when sympathy had to end and concern for the laws and protection of society had to begin, a point which had been passed long earlier in the case of the particular defendant.

"Secrecy Walls Come Tumbling Down" indicates that in Maryland, Governor Theodore Roosevelt McKeldin had recently signed into law a bill requiring that all meetings of State commissions, boards and agencies and all county and city boards, agencies and councils, had to meet in public, and that in executive sessions which were permitted, no ordinance, rule or resolution could be finally adopted. In Illinois, the State Budgetary Commission, which prepared recommendations and appropriations bills for the State Legislature, had agreed to open future meetings to the press and public, whereas for years they had been held in closed session. In North Carolina, many members of the 1953 General Assembly, in announcing for their re-election, as well as many new candidates, pledged to vote to repeal the secrecy law adopted in the 1953 biennial session.

It finds it a wholesome trend, set in motion after World War II by press and radio media, and provided additional momentum by citizens who had discovered their inherent right to know how their government was being managed, a right which had been seriously circumscribed.

"Camellia 'Fever' and How It Spreads" indicates that in the Sunday Raleigh News & Observer, Herbert O'Keef had indicated several causes for the rapid spread of "camellia fever" in the state, that the blooms were lovely, that the rules for growing camellias were simple, that they made fine shrubs for new homes, that information about the plants had been disseminated widely by magazines, newspapers and garden clubs, and that the state's climate and soil were favorable to their growth.

It indicates that there was something else, the "indefinable and mysterious and infectious" quality of the plant which gripped people who had never before thought of planting a shrub or grafting a plant.

The previous weekend, for instance, the Charlotte Men's Camellia Club had sponsored a camellia show staged by the newspaper's garden editor, Cora Harris, in the lobby of the American Trust Co., and in 12 hours on the previous Saturday and Sunday, more than 12,000 people had shown up, standing in line for as much as an hour, just to get a look at the "exotic beauty" of the camellias on display. It concludes that it was a fever for which there was no antibiotic and hopes that there never would be.

A piece from the Asheville Citizen, titled "Too Far", indicates that no one had ever found out from the chicken precisely why it crossed the road, though everyone knew that 22 flight feathers on each wing helped it along. A scientist, however, at the University of Maryland had developed a chicken without flight feathers, which made plucking and fencing easier, as the chicken could not fly.

The piece remarks that somebody was always upsetting poultry to make it conform to human needs, such as turkeys yielding a preponderance of white meat. But, it finds, breeding non-flying chickens was the "ultimate incivility to the Little Red Hen and all her kind." It finds that a chicken which could not fly away from the neighbor's dog or an earth-bound hen was, "Fowl play, indeed!"

Rather, it is that tired old pun which is quite fowl. Moreover, nobody cares about your Commie hen being able to fly away. Give that sucker to Col. Sanders and fry that turkey. Who is Col. Sanders? He led a whole Kentucky regiment during the Civil War, on which side nobody ever figured. Nicknamed the "finger-lickers" because of their penchant for cooking fried chicken every night by the campfire, shared with both sides of the lines, they cooked up all the chickens in the countryside based on the Colonel's secret recipe. He lived to be 140, and that's a fact. He almost beat Generals Lee and Grant to the peace table at Appomattox, in fact, would have done so, but for his wagon being hijacked by some Union and Confederate troops, acting in concert, who demanded that he surrender his secret recipe, detaining him for four crucial days in isolation in early April, 1865, somewhere in northern Virginia, yet to no avail. That's why he acquired the additional nickname "no-surrender finger-licker".

Drew Pearson indicates that Cuban President Fulgencio Batista recently, during an interview with Mr. Pearson, had scribbled a memorandum to himself in shorthand, causing Mr. Pearson to comment that he had always wished as a newspaperman that he had learned that facility and asked El Presidente how he came by the knowledge as a soldier. He indicates that El Presidente was mild-mannered and likable, belying the fact that twice he had taken control of Cuba through revolution. He had been the son of poverty-stricken parents living in the interior of Cuba and had gone to work in the cane fields at a very young age, later obtaining a job on the railroads as a conductor-brakeman, finally entering the Army at age 20. He had spent almost every evening in study, though he had never finished formal schooling, borrowing books, going to night school, once even obtaining permission to use the library on the farm of President Zayas near which he had been stationed at the time. It had been during those years that he had learned shorthand, enabling him to obtain a job as a reporter at courts-martial and to attain the rank of sergeant.

Mr. Pearson had told Sr. Batista that he had been in Cuba when his first revolt had taken place against the bloody Machado regime, at which point Sr. Batista had not yet become president, remaining a sergeant in the Army, though having become a power behind the scenes. It would be seven more years before he became El Presidente.

He told Mr. Pearson that the best antidote against Communism was to provide better social and economic conditions for the people, eliminating low standards of living and other conditions on which Communism thrived. When Mr. Pearson had asked whether U.S. companies, such as United Fruit, faced a problem of land distribution in such countries as Guatemala, El Presidente responded that the problem did not exist in Cuba where relations with foreign investors were good and would so continue. He said also that relations with the other nations of the Americas, including the U.S., were excellent. He said that Cuba had severed relations with Russia after he had become President the second time in 1952, at a time when the Russians had been using Cuba as an exchange point for their international spy system.

The House, which had engaged in fierce debate over the tax bill, also had heated debate behind closed doors. At an off-the-record Republican caucus, House Speaker Joe Martin had threatened to resign as the Republican leader were the tax bill to fail to pass and if the Republicans were defeated in November. His Republican colleagues insisted that he not do so, but he continued to insist that he would. Mr. Pearson provides the highlights of the two closed-door meetings.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop examine the problems in Congress of the Republicans, which one Democratic Senator had described as the worst situation he had seen since he had been in Congress, examining first the issue of taxes. Despite the defeat in the House of the Democrats' proposal for a $100 increase in the personal exemptions, it appeared that the Senate was likely to pass the proposal of Senator Walter George of Georgia to raise the personal exemptions by $200, with Senators McCarthy, William Langer, Milton Young, and Wallace Bennett all likely to defect from the Republican camp on the issue, along with independent Senator Wayne Morse of Oregon, with only Senator Harry F. Byrd of Virginia defecting from the Democrats. It would then be likely that emerging from the reconciliation conference would be a compromise bill regarding exemptions, which would represent a defeat for the Eisenhower Administration.

Another issue on which the Administration's prestige was staked was the farm program, calling for flexible price supports. The Democrats were not quite as united as they were on taxes, but the majority would vote for continuation of rigid supports and would be joined by a large number of Republicans, led by Senators Young and McCarthy, resulting in an inevitable vote for the rigid supports. The President, as also on the tax bill, could veto the farm bill, in which case flexible farm support prices would result under a 1949 Act sponsored by former Secretary of Agriculture Clinton Anderson, now a Senator, as rigid supports had regularly been tacked on to that Act. But obtaining flexible supports in that manner was not the same as the Administration passing its own farm program.

A third issue was the upcoming McCarthy-Army hearings, during which the country would be treated to a spectacle of Republicans endlessly calling one another liars, while the Democrats sat on the sidelines adopting suitable attitudes of horror and pious disapproval.

A fourth issue was the amendment offered by Senator George regarding the defeated Bricker amendment, which could be raised for consideration by a simple majority vote at any point during the session, although it would need a two-thirds supermajority to pass. The previous amendment had missed that latter supermajority by only one vote, and Senate Majority Leader William Knowland had deserted the Administration on the issue. If a couple of other Senators who had voted against the amendment decided to change their minds, the Administration's prestige in battling against the amendment would be damaged.

The Alsops thus indicate that the Administration, on several fronts, had its program either bogged down or threatened with defeat, whereas just five weeks earlier, the legislative prospects of the Administration program had been considered excellent, based on the President's continuing major messages. The difference, they posit, was in the Democratic strategy, united as rarely before, starting a fight on the issues of taxes and farm prices. Privately, many Democrats had doubts about the wisdom of rigid farm price supports, as well as on heavy tax reductions on top of an already unbalanced budget. But they also realized politically that they had the Republicans on the spot for their opposition to farm parity price supports and tax reductions during the midterm election year. In addition, the Republicans had let down the President, with the endless debate over the Bricker amendment having started the process of decay, and the charges against the Democrats, accusing them of "treason", had helped to unify them. The row between Senator McCarthy and the Army dominating the headlines of late had also contributed to pushing the President nearly into the shadows. Another reason for the change was that the President and his staff had successfully seized the initiative in the early days of the session, but that was not enough to push through his program in a stubborn and always suspicious Congress. It required steady effort, with continuing pressure and persuasion, which the President and his staff had conspicuously failed to do.

The Providence (R.I.) Bulletin, in an editorial, indicates that early in the 1952 presidential campaign, Democratic nominee Adlai Stevenson delivered a speech in Portland, Ore., in which he had complained about a "one-party press in a two-party country" and its implications for the press in general and a free society. Shortly afterward, Robert H. Estabrook of the Washington Post had warned that one of the dangers was the heavy commitment of the press to General Eisenhower, which would result in the press ultimately apologizing for him instead of giving him independent, constructive criticism, as needed by any Administration.

The editorial indicates that it was instructive to recall those observations during recent weeks when virtually all newspapers were presenting the Republican internal squabble over McCarthyism and vigorous criticism of the Administration, including the President, himself, for being inept in handling that situation. Part of the problem was the issue over the "security risk" firings, which the Administration had initially claimed to have amounted to 2,200 persons terminated from the executive branch, while ultimately it had turned out that virtually none of them had been terminated for any suspected subversion or disloyalty. Regardless of the numbers in the final analysis, it was clear that the Administration had released initially misleading figures and had since been forced to backtrack with considerable embarrassment. Another issue had been Attorney General Herbert Brownell's reference the prior October to the case of deceased former Treasury Department employee Harry Dexter White and his alleged Communist sympathies, said by the Attorney General to be reflective of laxness on the part of the Truman Administration regarding Communists within the executive branch. The newspapers which had strongly backed the President initially during the campaign were among the first to reprove the Administration for exploiting the White case more heavily than was justified or necessary, given the fact that it stretched back to 1948, when Mr. White had died shortly after testifying before HUAC. In addition, during the previous two months, few newspapers had failed to print stories and editorial commentary about the symptoms of an economic recession on the horizon, whereas in recent decades it would have been considered heresy to do so. Moreover, a true "one-party press" would be doing its best to gloss over some of the potential difficulties for the Administration in passing its legislative program.

The editorial indicates that it was not trying to suggest that the entire press had performed in that manner, but indicates that in each of the cases it cites, the major episodes of the previous 14 months since the President had taken office, responsible newspapers had not hesitated to criticize the Administration sharply and insistently, and had not sought to bury news which would distress the party supported during the 1952 campaign. The press had honored its historic role, therefore, as watchdog of the Government, regardless of the party in power. It thus concludes by asking rhetorically of Governor Stevenson whether that represented the performance of a one-party press.

A letter writer from Southern Pines indicates that as chairman of the art committee of the Southern Pines Library Art Gallery, she was writing to thank the newspaper for the coverage provided them and their exhibiting artists. She indicates that there had been an awakening of art enthusiasm during the previous year in the community and the publicity coverage in their weekly newspaper, The Pilot, was enabling that, that such appreciation was available to a larger community on a larger scale when it had a larger circulation newspaper.

A letter writer thanks the newspaper, especially Cora Harris, for its publicity for the Men's Camellia Club of Charlotte and its camellia show the previous weekend, about which comment was made in the above editorial.

A letter writer indicates that it had been announced that the new West Charlotte High School would offer many technical courses in the fall, and wonders why barbering would not be offered when "beauty culture" was, as there was a great demand for black barbers everywhere, with 90 percent of the black barbershops in Charlotte and throughout the state needing from one to four additional barbers, whereas that demand did not exist in beauty culture because of the number of excellent beauty schools in the state. He indicates that to the disadvantage of private beauty schools in the state, only a skeletal law protected their rights, and that it was a public affront to the members of the State Board of Cosmetic Art, who had worked hard to attain the best regulations of the beauty schools, that they had not been consulted on the matter of the curriculum in the public schools of Charlotte.

We don't know if there is any connection between the lack of barber education in the West Charlotte High School, the Men's Camellia Club, the Queen of Spades Gardening Club, and the man with the cream-colored Cadillac with the tangerine interior absconding with the cash and the jewels and another woman two days after his marriage, but maybe you can think on it.

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