The Charlotte News

Wednesday, March 24, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the President replied in his press conference this date to a question regarding Senator McCarthy by saying that in cases where a man was a party to a dispute, directly or indirectly, he should not be permitted to sit in judgment, though declining to express an opinion on the demands by Senator McCarthy for the right to cross-examine witnesses in the forthcoming hearings on the dispute between the Senator and the Army. The President was also asked about the position of Senator McCarthy that he would give up his right to vote on the subcommittee but would insist on cross-examining witnesses, the President responding that he had no feeling regarding any particular situation, that they were technicalities on which he could not concern himself, but then made his generalized statement regarding the concept that no person should be sitting in judgment of their own case.

The Senator had agreed to step aside as a member of the subcommittee during the investigation of the charges he had made that the Army officials were trying to "blackmail" the subcommittee into dropping its investigation of alleged Communists within the Army by bringing up, in its report to the subcommittee, the charges that the Senator and chief subcommittee counsel Roy Cohn had threatened Army officials to obtain favors for former subcommittee aide, Private G. David Schine in connection with his Army service. But, Senator McCarthy had insisted that he should be permitted to cross-examine Army witnesses and that Army officials should be permitted to cross-examine him when he testified before the subcommittee. The Senator, the previous night, said that the matter was a "blown-up … squabble between an employe of the subcommittee and an employe of the Army."

From Hanoi in Indo-China, Larry Allen of the Associated Press reports that the French had claimed this date to have killed 184 Vietminh rebels and captured 85 others in resisting fresh harassing attacks on the vital rail and highway lines in the Red River delta. The Vietminh had stepped up those attacks in recent days, in an obvious effort to divert French reinforcements from the beleaguered French Union fortress at Dien Bien Phu. The Vietminh were reported to be "beating the bushes" throughout northern Indo-China to recruit every available man to fight in another mass assault on the fortress, located in the mountainous Thai country west of Hanoi. Rumors circulated in Hanoi that the Communist commander in chief, General Vo Nguyen Giap, had vowed to raise a force of 100,000 men if necessary to try to vanquish the fortress. French sources did not believe he could raise that number of men to add to the estimated 40,000 to 60,000 already believed to be surrounding the fortress. The Vietminh had lost an estimated 3,000 killed and 9,000 wounded in four days of suicide charges on the fortress early the previous week, and had taken northern defense outposts from the French, before retiring to the hills around the plain at Dien Bien Phu. Since that time, the major activity in the area had been a continuous artillery duel between the two forces and round-the-clock French air attacks on the rebel positions.

Regarding the situation in Indo-China, the President said at his press conference that it was important to the free world to have a settlement there in favor of those who wanted to live their own lives against Communist aggression. He also said that there was no change in the U.S. attitude regarding recognition of Communist China, in connection with the Geneva conference, set to start April 26, that Communist China would be represented but not as one of the main consulting powers.

The President also said during the press conference that something must have happened at the recent detonation of a hydrogen bomb in the Marshall Islands, which had surprised and astonished scientists. A reporter told the President that anti-American newspapers in Japan and elsewhere were making much of the incident because Japanese fishermen 75 miles away from the blast site on March 1 were reported to have been possible victims of atomic fallout. The President said that Admiral Lewis Strauss, chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, had not yet returned from the blast site to report on the explosion, but that from what he had been able to determine thus far, the reports of possible injuries to persons who were relatively close to the blast site were more serious than the actual results of the explosion justified. Twenty-three Japanese fishermen had been burned seriously from a shower of nuclear ashes from the blast, reporting that they were 75 miles away from it and outside the designated perimeter of safety established by the AEC. The Navy had reported the previous night that a 4,200-ton tanker had also received a slight, but not dangerous, contamination of radioactive fallout. Representative Chet Holifield of California, who had observed the blast, said that it was "so far beyond what was predicted that you might say it was out of control." The power of the blast had been estimated to be between 600 and 700 times greater than that of the Hiroshima bomb in August, 1945, which had killed an estimated 60,000 persons.

A nationwide Civil Defense exercise, featuring mock atomic attacks on 42 selected critical target areas, was announced this date by the Civil Defense Administration for June 14-15. Designated "Operation Alert", its purpose would be to disclose weaknesses and improve the efficiency of Civil Defense organizations at all levels, and would involve all 48 states, the territories and the ten provinces of Canada. It would be assumed for purposes of the test that aircraft carrying atomic bombs would attack the continental U.S. and Alaska, and that guided missiles with atomic warheads would be launched from submarines against Hawaii and Puerto Rico.

The President also said at the press conference that there was nothing in the current unemployment situation calling for emergency action, that always after the end of a war, there was a drop in production with a commensurate loss of employment, and that while unemployment had been rising since the end of the Korean War the previous July, the reports for March were not complete. He said that one issue affecting the situation was that Easter was late in 1954 and women had not yet been busy buying. He ventured that precipitate action might upset the situation rather than help.

In Seoul, South Korea's President Syngman Rhee called on the U.S. this date to help unify Korea by force or give him a South Korean army which would need no help if peaceable efforts failed to do so. He said that only if one of those conditions were met would South Korea attend the Geneva conference on Korea and Indo-China, set to start April 26. He wanted permission to unify Korea militarily if the peaceful efforts at the conference failed. He made the statements in written answers to questions submitted by the Associated Press. He said also that he wanted cooperation from the U.S. in the form of arms, munitions and other logistical support, such as air and sea coverage. Otherwise, he wanted immediate expansion of the South Korean armed forces to a strength not requiring foreign manpower for support except for U.S. officers in advisory and training capacities. The present South Korean Army had 20 divisions, and U.S. military experts had doubted that the Korean economy could support a larger army or that the 20 divisions could fight for more than a few days without U.S. supplies.

In Dacca, East Pakistan, Pakistani authorities announced this date that 13 persons had been killed and 35 injured in rioting on Monday in a paper mill at Chandroghona, rioting which had started with an argument between the plant's operations manager and one of his subordinates.

In Cairo, Britain notified Egypt this date that it considered the talks on the future of the Suez Canal base "formally broken off".

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported this date that there were slight decreases in prices on a wide variety of items, including food, between mid-January and mid-February, reducing the cost of living by two-tenths of one percent, to 115 percent of the 1947-49 average, compared with the historical peak reached the previous October of 115.4 percent.

In Philadelphia, a motorist was fined $516 the previous day for 62 traffic violations, the chief magistrate commenting that the defendant had broken almost every traffic law on the books, parking on sidewalks, not putting nickels in the meters, reckless driving and not stopping for stop signs. The defendant had been the object of a police search since December, 1952, and the violations had accumulated over the previous three years.

In Burlington, N.C., the president and treasurer of Baker-Cammack Hosiery Mills, Inc., confirmed this date that officials of Burlington Mills had contacted his company in regard to merger of the two enterprises, but that nothing had been accomplished on the deal. Get back to us when something happens.

In Raleigh, the State Supreme Court decided this date that the $800,000 bond issue in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County for expansion of the local library facilities had been constitutional, affirming a ruling of the Mecklenburg County Superior Court, in a test case brought by a local attorney. The question before the court had been whether city residents could be taxed both as city residents and as county residents, making them pay more of the bond issue than persons living in the county, when city residents had voted for $800,000 of the bond issue and county residents had voted for the other $800,000. In response to the favorable ruling, library officials in Charlotte began completing plans and making preparations to move into new facilities in an older building, located behind the present library, to serve as temporary quarters for the library while the modern building was being constructed on the site of the present library.

Also in Charlotte, a local import company, which was not in the habit of filing a balance sheet with its tax listing, in violation of the County Tax Department's insistence that figures be substantiated by actual records, prompted an employee of the County Tax Supervisor's office to call on the business. The businessman said that he did not think the Department could tell much about the records, but the Department's employee insisted on seeing them, whereupon they were produced, with the businessman explaining that his bookkeeper did not write very well, the books having been written in Arabic.

Betty Boyer, in her weekly "Grocery News" column, tells of ladies liking the "New Blue", as well, as promised the previous day, anent the "real news" about tea.

On the editorial page, "Making Mud Pies Is Fine, But…" indicates that British author Aldous Huxley had said, in a speech at Duke University during the week, that education "seems on the face of it radically absurd", the piece asking whether it was a sweeping statement. He had not been defending older methods of education, stressing that they could do nothing better for him than "Swedish drill and compulsory football", nothing for his character other than "prizes, punishments, sermons and pep talks" and nothing better for his soul than "hymns before bedtime and after breakfast". He had found that as a result, he was functioning at only a fraction of his potential. He believed that the greatest flaw in modern, progressive education was that the disciples of John Dewey, in their belief that a child learned by doing, had not analyzed the "doing". They instead plunged headlong "into their mud pies". He proposed a 10 to 15-year program of "intensive, extensive and long-drawn research" to find out how to incorporate "a decent education in the non-verbal humanities into the current curriculum" of primary and secondary schools and colleges.

The piece tells of a new bulletin titled, "Science for the Elementary School", published by the North Carolina Department of Education, in which it said that such research would be profitable in the state, as the innate "doing" tendency of children was an advantage in science, as science should be largely a "doing" experience.

It indicates that the problem was that the certification requirements in the state, being defended by State authorities, did not include science within the required curriculum. It concludes that "learning by doing" was an important philosophical concept of modern education and wonders whether it was not time to re-examine the current mania for teaching teachers how to teach at the expense of teaching them what to teach.

"A Beginning … and an End" finds paradoxical the juxtaposition of events between RCA's development, on January 26, of a tiny atomic battery, producing only one-millionth of a watt, activating a tiny transistor which had powered a radio headset, on which RCA head David Sarnoff had tapped out a message audible 20 feet away, and the explosion five weeks later, on March 1, in the Marshall Islands, of the most powerful hydrogen bomb thus far detonated, the second by the U.S., with 500 times the force of the Hiroshima bomb, a force strong enough to destroy completely everything within a 12-mile diameter circle. "Man—the greatest miracle, and the greatest problem on this earth, just beginning to tap the secret of the universe for useful, peaceful purposes, but so expert at developing its destructive potential that he threatens to end his society at the beginning of its most promising era."

"Never, Never Mention Motes" indicates that the "Suburban Farmer", presumably referencing the writer, who had recently come from the North had slapped his knee, saying, "Motes!" after his wife told him that someone had said that their lawn needed motes, laughing that one needed to understand the Southern accent, that what he had probably said was "mulch". They told their neighbors, however, about the apparent misheard statement and found out that there were, indeed, motes around cotton waste mills and on lawns, with ideas on what to do about them conflicting.

A seed salesman said that motes would condition the soil as long as they were worked into it. But a dirt-mover said that they did not need to be worked in but rather just scattered around, while a lawn contractor said he preferred rotted old sawdust, and a neighbor added that his motes were so thick that the lawn looked like a snow bank. A pamphlet prepared by a lawn expert from N.C. State was silent on the topic.

Eventually, it was determined that motes would be purchased, picked up at the mill to save the delivery cost, and worked into the soil of the lawn. Through arduous labor, the motes were obtained at the mill the following morning and taken home and scattered about, but the red clay was not receptive, and before the Suburban Farmer could try to work them into the soil, a rain came, causing the garage, the washtub, the vacuum cleaner, and the driveway to be filled with motes, while a few tufts which had not washed away remained on the lawn. It concludes that the Suburban Farmer believed more than ever the silent advice of the N.C. State expert that one should never mention motes.

Drew Pearson indicates that HUAC was having one of its few full committee hearings this date, infrequent because Democrats and Republicans had been upset by the "helter-skelter tactics" of Committee chairman Harold Velde. Another reason was that subcommittee meetings were being held in key areas across the country, partly to dig up embarrassing political information which would influence local elections. Though Mr. Velde had toned down his habit of pre-noon drinking which made him difficult to handle as a presiding officer, Republicans were still upset over the way he had subpoenaed former President Truman without consulting other members of the Committee, believing it had upset the carefully planned strategy of Attorney General Herbert Brownell the prior October to pin on the Truman Administration the case of the late Harry Dexter White, former Treasury Department employee accused posthumously of providing secret documents to the Communists during the 1930's. Republicans in Mr. Velde's Illinois district were planning to run another Republican against him in the primary. Republican Congressman Pat Kearney of New York, former commander of the American Legion and a member of the Committee, opposed Mr. Velde and often voted with the Democrats on the Committee. A Democrat, Morgan Moulder of Missouri, sometimes, however, voted with Mr. Velde. The latter had persuaded the chairman to give a job to the brother of his secretary and apparently felt he owed the chairman as a result. Mr. Pearson notes that the brother was receiving $9,200 annually after being only four years out of college and that therefore perhaps Congressman Moulder could be forgiven for being grateful. Mr. Velde had one staff member, being paid by the taxpayers nearly $7,000 per year, assigned to checking his own constituents in Illinois, with a view to promotion of the Congressman's re-election.

Secretary of State Dulles, in testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, after being asked by Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas why he did not do something about the way Senator McCarthy was wrecking U.S. foreign policy abroad, said that it was not his responsibility as a member of the executive branch to get into a problem which he believed was the responsibility of the legislative branch.

The Administration's victory in the House on taxes, defeating the Democratic proposal for a $100 increase in personal exemptions, to have been in lieu of the Administration's tax break for stock dividend holders, marked not only a step up for the Republican tax proposal but also the development of the smoothest working machine in Congress in years. Every President sought to develop a lobbying organization in Congress, some having been successful and some not so, with FDR having been highly successful, whereas President Truman had not been. At first, President Eisenhower had taken a hands-off approach, but more recently had advocated pressure on Congress as vigorously, and perhaps more expertly, than any other recent President. To defeat the Democratic proposal for the $100 increase in personal exemptions, recalcitrant Republicans were promised jobs and campaign funds, and called traitors to the party if they intended to vote for the Democratic proposal. The Citizens for Eisenhower Committee, renamed the Committee to Elect a Republican Congress, had been collecting large campaign funds from rich Republicans and had threatened to withhold them from nonconforming Republicans. Thus, even Republican Congressman William Ayres of Ohio, who had warned that to vote against the increase in exemptions meant defeat in 1954, had changed his mind and voted against the proposal. The toughest job the White House and Republican leaders had was in obtaining the votes of 20 Republicans who had introduced bills similar to the Democratic proposal, for if even half of those had voted with the Democrats, the Democratic proposal would have won. In the end, only four Republican members voted with the Democrats, resulting in the Democratic proposal coming up seven votes short of a majority.

Doris Fleeson indicates that for three days in early May, the fifth through seventh, the Democrats would hold a celebration in which every aspect of the Administration would be covered, starting with two days conducted by the DNC, placing emphasis on the Democrats' Congressional leadership and record, and then on May 7, friends of former President Truman would hold a 70th birthday-eve party for him at the Pan-American Union, with the general public invited at five dollars per person, the proceeds going to the Truman Memorial Library at Grandview, Mo. The former President would be in Washington for the entire three-day event, as would Adlai Stevenson, but by consent, the event would belong to the Democrats in Congress.

Former Democratic members of the Senate and House would take charge of the Jefferson-Jackson Day dinner on May 6, to be held at the Mayflower Hotel at $100 per plate. A spirit of optimism pervaded Democratic headquarters in Washington, as the Democrats liked the way the problems surrounding Senator McCarthy were working to their advantage, that despite their complaints regarding the Senator's statements on "20 years of treason" by Democrats, the statements were helping to unify the party, especially in the South.

Democrats were certain that the farm situation and its effects on certain industries and communities would give the party plenty of fodder in May to feed discussion of the Republican record. They were saying that their biggest problem in the Midwest was a lack of strong candidates, but they were already claiming gains in the House from Nebraska and Iowa, considered Republican strongholds. Public power would be another subject on which they would criticize the Republicans, and events would determine how the economic downturn would play out in the campaign.

Democrats were aware that former President Truman and former Governor Stevenson were "two quite different cups of tea" and held the loyalty of factions which did not always agree with one another. But it was decided that both men could handle themselves appropriately and that neither would object to allowing Congressional Democrats to take center stage.

A major topic at the DNC meeting would be what, if anything, ought be done regarding conferences or conventions prior to 1956. While some approved of such meetings, they were generally not favored by many important Democrats who had personal ambitions, because Governor Stevenson usually took center stage as such events for his natural speaking ability, and there was already underway a drive to renominate him in 1956.

The Congressional Quarterly indicates that more than a third of the Administration's 696 million dollar Agriculture Department budget, which was set for debate in Congress, would be devoted to two programs, one designed to conserve soil and water resources and the other for the sugar-producing industry, to which payments had been made in 1953 in 23 states. The President had asked the Congress to appropriate 195 million dollars for farm conservation and 59.6 million for the sugar-producers. In the present fiscal year, those appropriations had been 212 million dollars for conservation payments and 59.6 million for sugar. During the calendar year of 1953, the Government had paid out 181.4 million dollars for soil conservation, of which 3.9 million went to North Carolina farmers for soil and water conservation. Another 31.7 million dollars went to sugar producers, none of which had gone to North Carolina.

A controversial item in the current bill was the advance authorization of payments for the upcoming 1955 crop year, which would be included in the following year's appropriations bill. Congress would focus on the conservation payments program, scheduled to expire at the end of the year, though the President had requested its extension and revision to include funds for conservation practices on diverted acreage, and legislation to extend it for two years and to include that acreage was presently under consideration. The President had also asked the Congress for an advance authorization of 250 million dollars for the conservation payments program in the 1955 crop year, 55 million of which would be contingent on application of the diverted acreage plan, a matter which likely would become a subject of debate in Congress, as it had debated the question in the previous year's 195 million dollar authorization.

A letter writer says that every newspaper he had read was full of accounts of "red jackasses kicking and braying at McCarthy", while the majority of the people he had spoken to, from Asheville to Wilmington, and up to Baltimore, believed that the Senator was doing a great job and should have more power to force the "red-bellied commies to talk". "When the Red scum try to hide behind U.S. laws which they are trying to overthrow and destroy, that should be prima facie evidence of their guilt, and they should be punished accordingly."

In other words, when citizens invoke the Constitutional privilege against self-incrimination, they should be punished for doing so. That's a real American statement, wrapped in the flag, with a hammer and sickle emblazoned boldly on it.

A letter writer indicates that the City Attorney had determined, pursuant to a 1901 statute, that the City had owned a 60-foot right-of-way on Plaza Road since 1901, implying that the City owed adjoining property owners nothing for the additional right-of-way the City had acquired from them, necessary for widening the street. He indicates that the North Carolina Attorney General, Harry McMullan, had said that the statute allowed the State Highway & Public Works Commission to take up to a 60-foot right-of-way by paying the property owner "just compensation" and that a committee should be appointed by the County Commissioners to appraise the property and assess the damage. He says that the City had not done those things, that he had found a 128-foot section of hedge which had taken him 15 years to develop, scooped up and piled in his front yard without his knowledge or permission, where it remained for ten weeks before it was finally moved. He indicates, however, that the City was complying with the statutes with regard to the widening of Selwyn Avenue and its adjoining property owners, suggesting that the City Council applied the laws when, where, and only if they felt like it.

A letter from the president of the Junior League board of directors thanks the newspaper for its coverage of their activities and program.

A letter writer from Richmond, Va., says that many years earlier, she had laid aside an editorial from The News about a special series of stories by former News writer Tim Pridgen regarding the North Carolina Shipbuilding Co. in Wilmington. She indicates that her grandfather of Wilmington had owned and operated a shipyard there for many years, and that since he had been born in 1817, she believed that the North Carolina Shipbuilding Co. was not the first such company to be operated there, though she was not certain as she was not young and her family records had been destroyed. She faintly recalls that her grandfather's shipyard had the honor of reconditioning the Monitor and the Merrimac. She indicates that her writing at this juncture might seem strange as the events had taken place in the past, but she felt that she should give her grandfather the honor and suggests that someone might take the time to look into the record for more concrete information.

The editors indicate that any reader with such information could contact the writer at a specified address. So, have at it. It's not our dig.

A letter writer wonders what was so patriotic about the boxing matches that they should sing the national anthem before them. He sees nothing good about fights or wrestling, but that the American people went to see them, spent a lot of money and called it sport. He sees no sport connected with it, finds it dangerous, that the contestants could be killed and it would be called an accident, when he would call it murder. It all looked silly to him and the winner did not win anything worthwhile.

A letter writer from Cheraw, S.C., indicates thorough enjoyment of the series of articles by Lucien Agniel on the editorial page the previous week regarding education in the state. She asks where she might purchase the book by Paul Woodring, Let's Talk Sense about Our Schools, mentioned in the last of the series. She indicates also enjoyment of Mr. Agniel's daily "Close-Up" column.

The editors respond that the writer could obtain the book, published in September, 1953 by McGraw-Hill in New York, at a price of $3.50, through local bookshops. Can't she borrow it from the library for free?

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