The Charlotte News

Friday, March 26, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the members of the Senate Investigations subcommittee, preparing to undertake hearings into the dispute between the Army and Senator McCarthy, indicated their hope to select by this night a special counsel for the investigation. Senator Karl Mundt, to act as temporary chairman of the subcommittee during the investigation, and the three Democrats on the subcommittee, Senators John McClellan of Arkansas, Stuart Symington of Missouri, and Henry Jackson of Washington, agreed that the fight had gone too far to be dropped without full public scrutiny to show where the truth lay, heading off an apparent attempt by some Republicans to avoid the confrontation by having Roy Cohn, chief counsel of the subcommittee, Secretary of the Army Robert Stevens and chief counsel for the Army, John G. Adams, resign their posts. Reports indicated that such discussion was had in the presence of White House aides at a private luncheon the previous day. Senator George Malone of Nevada said that he had discussed the case with others at the luncheon after Senator McCarthy had left the room, but had no knowledge of reports that one Senator had suggested that resignation of Mr. Adams and Mr. Cohn might avert the investigation. In addition to Senators McCarthy, Malone, and Mundt, Senators Herman Welker of Idaho and John Butler of Maryland were present, along with White House press secretary James Hagerty, the top White House liaison officer to Congress, General Wilton Persons, and two of his aides, with Senate Majority Leader William Knowland indicating that he had attended only briefly. Senator McCarthy said he had not heard any mention of the dispute while he was in the room and Senator Mundt said that the conversation was heading in that direction when he departed, but heard of no resignation deal.

The House Appropriations Committee recommended this date to the full House reduction of the President's planned four-year, 140,000-unit public housing program to one-fourth that size, to be terminated in two years, with a limit of 20,000 new units during the ensuing fiscal year. The recommendation was part of a 5.566 billion dollar omnibus appropriation bill for the ensuing fiscal year, sent to the floor for debate the following week, with the total being 363.6 million dollars less than requested by the President, a cut of 6.2 percent, and 375.2 million less than the same agencies had received the previous year. No explanation accompanied the recommendations for the reduction to the public housing program, other than that slum clearance was the only justification for the program and, according to one member of the Committee, the program had not worked out satisfactorily. A deep cut was made to funds recommended for the Atomic Energy Commission, but the same member of the Committee said that no reductions in the AEC's construction and weapons programs were included. A major reduction was also recommended for the Veterans Administration and new restrictions were placed on the activities of the Tennessee Valley Authority. The House normally followed the Committee's recommendations, but Democrats intended to wage a stiff fight on the floor.

The Senate passed this date a bill reducing a wide range of Federal excise taxes by about a billion dollars, the cuts to take effect the following Thursday, passing by a vote of 76 to 8, after two days of active debate. The bill was sent to the Senate-House reconciliation conference, which could not take place before the following Monday. Senator Eugene Millikin of Colorado, chairman of the Senate confreres, said that he believed the confreres would speedily approve the measure and rush it to the President for signature prior to the Wednesday night deadline. Both houses voted identical cuts on many items, including furs, jewelry, handbags and luggage, cosmetics, sporting goods, admission tickets to movies costing more than 60 cents, train, bus, and plane fares, telephone bills, telegraph charges, mechanical pens and pencils, cigarette lighters and electric light bulbs. The bill also extended for a year a series of 1951 increases in major excise taxes, adding about the same amount lost in revenue, but the President had counted on that extension in figuring his budget for the following year, which had calculated a 2.9 billion dollar deficit. The two largest items of dispute would be a 100 million dollar cut voted by the Senate on such household appliances as refrigerators, stoves and electric irons, plus a 65 million dollar cut in revenue from elimination of the tax on movie tickets, not voted by the House.

In Staunton, Va., the wife of former Secretary of State Cordell Hull died this date at age 79, at the home of her sister-in-law, after recently having suffered an attack of pneumonia, followed by a heart attack. Mr. Hull, 82, resided in a Washington hotel.

In Mexico City, a Mexican airliner crashed about 16 miles north of Monterrey early this date, with all 18 persons aboard, including 15 passengers, believed to have been killed.

In Vatican City, Pope Pius XII, still steadily recovering from his prolonged illness, begun in late January, took an automobile ride and walk in the Vatican gardens this date for the third consecutive day.

An examiner for the NLRB this date recommended setting aside the bargaining rights election apparently won just before Christmas by 1,492 votes by the independent International Longshoremen's Association on the New York waterfront, on the ground that the union had been responsible for violence and intimidation on the voting day. More than 4,000 of the votes had been challenged by the new rival union, the AFL-ILA, set up after the AFL had expelled the now-independent union because it had failed to rid itself of racketeering elements. The challenged votes were the basis for the examiner's recommendation. The contest over representation was at the heart of the three-week strike which had tied up the New York Port, costing millions of dollars worth of shipping business. Federal Government had obtained an injunction under Taft-Hartley against the walkout and an action for contempt for its violation by eight union locals and three local officials of the independent union was pending in New York Federal District Court. The work stoppage had begun as a purported "wildcat" strike among the workers themselves in purported protest of the injunction having named only their union and not the AFL-ILA. Top officials of the independent union had given their approval of the walkout only during the current week.

New York Harbor tugboats proceeded as usual early this date, despite orders to observe the picket lines of the striking longshoremen, and police reported that only one tugboat had tied up, after its crew had quit working when a small boat bearing pickets came alongside. The officials of the independent union had ordered its tugboat members to observe the picket lines.

There was no immediate indication of the result of a shipping industry move to get the longshoremen back to work by offering a package increase of a dime per hour and about 1.7 million dollars in retroactive pay and welfare benefits.

In Tampa, Fla., an investigation was ongoing into the several acts of violence, including one death, associated with the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus during the start of its 1954 tour. The circus and its 36-car train had departed its winter headquarters at Sarasota around noon the previous day, scheduled to open its annual 40-day stint in Madison Square Garden in New York on March 31, but as the train moved along, a series of troublesome reports began to occur, with one man found dead beneath the wheels of the train only a few miles north of Sarasota. In Tampa, there was a report of another man having been savagely beaten and kicked in a drunken brawl, while in Dade City, 30 miles north of Tampa, a man was taken off the train with a skull fracture. Amid the reports, a State attorney at Tampa had the train stopped near Gainesville, while railroad detectives questioned the roustabouts, particularly those of the elephant crew, for which the dead man had worked. The sheriff of Manatee County, where the body had been found, said that the dead man had been drinking and walking the tops of the cars, and that apparently his death had been an accident, but the State attorney said that he had a report from a circus candy concessionaire, who claimed that he had been thrown off of the train, that the man who died also had been thrown from the train. The circus train was proceeding northward again this date.

As one of the pictures on the page suggests, some of the circus crew were blaming a giraffe for all of the violence—an explanation service we offer exclusively for those who have not yet learned to read.

You might note that we have on the same front page this date a story which is harbinger of the ensuing year's Best Picture Academy Award winner and another conveying the suggestion of the prior year's winner.

In Hollywood, the 26th annual Academy Awards program the previous night had featured a comeback for Frank Sinatra, winning the Best Supporting Actor award for his role in "From Here to Eternity", the story stating that a year earlier he was washed up in Hollywood. The report indicates that he had campaigned hard for the role in the movie and had finally convinced the producers that he could do it without singing a note or dancing a step. The audience had cheered loudly when his name was announced as the winner, the loudest applause of the evening. He had attended the affair with his children by his first wife, Nancy and Frank, Jr., though his current wife, Ava Gardner, nominated for the Best Actress award for her role in "Mogambo", was not on hand, finishing a film in Rome. The story goes on to tell of some of the other principal winners, covered quite copiously in our extra edition the previous day. It reports that William Holden, who had won the Best Actor award for his role in "Stalag 17", was upset at having been cut off by emcee Donald O'Connor from being able to express his full appreciation to director Billy Wilder, cut short because of the time constraints of the program, Mr. Holden indicating that it appeared to him that the network could have held off on the concluding commercial long enough to permit the recipients to make proper remarks of appreciation.

Hey, pal, your boots were made for walkin'.

In New York, showman Billy Rose and actress Joyce Matthews intended to marry in June, according to columnist Earl Wilson. Ms. Matthews had been married twice previously to comedian Milton Berle, and Mr. Rose had recently obtained a divorce from Eleanor Holm, a former swimming star.

In Edenton, N.C., police this date sought three men whom they said had broken into a Chowan County store early this date, beaten the storekeeper to unconsciousness and robbed him of about $12,000, half in cash, half in bonds. The storekeeper, according to hospital personnel, suffered a fractured skull and cuts to his head. In adjoining Perquimans County, the sheriff said that the same three had broken into two other firms and stolen an undetermined amount of cash, using the same crowbar in both instances. Just how they came by that bit of insightful detective work is not explained.

On the editorial page, "Stiffer Sentences Will Deter Crime" indicates that Judge J. C. Rudisill in Charlotte had been handing down more severe sentences during the week, suggestive of his belief that justice had been treating lawbreakers in the community too lightly, with which the piece concurs. It had especially been the case regarding black on black crime, not unusual to find sentences of two or three years for convictions for murders by black defendants committed against black victims.

Two days earlier, the Judge had sentenced a white man charged with two counts of armed robbery, after finding that he had hidden in a parked car and then forced two women at gunpoint to drive him to an isolated spot near Highway 49 where he robbed them of their purses and watches, forcing one of the women to get in the back seat with him before he was frightened away by an approaching automobile. The Judge gave him 22 to 30 years on one count and 15 to 20 on the other, running the sentences consecutively. The Judge had commented that when it got to the point that two women could not go to the grocery store without being held up at gunpoint, it was time for the courts to take drastic action. The piece indicates that it could not have said it better.

The previous day, the Judge had sentenced a man convicted of fatally shooting another man to between 27 and 30 years, while another defendant, convicted of killing his wife, received the same sentence.

"The 'Weekly' Will Still Be Around" indicates that the Chapel Hill Weekly was an interesting newspaper because its editor, Louis Graves, was "affable, good-humored, shrewd" and wrote with warmth and sincerity, regardless of the subject of his reporting, whether the first dogwood in bloom on the UNC campus or arguing questions of national and international import. Mr. Graves, it indicates, had helped through the years to create the free, easy and friendly informality which was integral to Chapel Hill's charm.

So when the news came that he had sold the newspaper, the immediate reaction was one of incredulity and some resentment, until the full story developed that a new company headed by George Watts Hill of Durham, including many persons who had close associations with Chapel Hill, had been formed to effect the purchase. Mr. Hill had said that his principal purpose was to do the best they could to preserve the "distinctive quality of the paper". Mr. Graves would continue as one of the stockholders and as a contributor to the newspaper, as would other personnel in the news and business offices. The new owner had distinguished himself as a businessman, good citizen and friend of UNC, and so the newspaper welcomes them to the business and thanks Mr. Graves for placing the Weekly in such good hands.

"Move To Oust Chavez Ill-Considered" indicates that the move by Republicans in the Senate to try to unseat Senator Dennis Chavez of New Mexico had failed, a deserved fate which should never have been attempted. The subcommittee which had investigated the 1952 New Mexico election versus Patrick Hurley had not charged Senator Chavez with any form of wrongdoing, but had supposedly found election irregularities in the balloting, consisting of fraud, non-secret voting, loose registration, illegal assistance in marking ballots, intimidation of illiterate and handicapped voters, plus illegal voting by aliens.

The report of the subcommittee had contended that 6,000 voters, the margin of victory for Senator Chavez, "might well be disqualified". Yet, the subcommittee had not proved that Senator Chavez had benefited any more from the irregularities than had Mr. Hurley, and with no improper actions ascribed to the Senator, it would have been unfair and unjust to oust him from his seat.

It indicates that it did not mean that the Congress should not take note of the bad electoral process in New Mexico, and might put the state on notice that it would not recognize future Congressional elections unless the laws were strengthened and enforced, the piece suggesting a strong warning to the state.

They did not find, however, any meddling by Hugo Chavez in the election, certainly a plus.

"Going Up" indicates that the New York Times the previous Sunday had reported that the recent hydrogen bomb detonation in the Marshall Islands had been estimated as having 250 times the force of the atomic bomb detonated over Hiroshima in August, 1945, whereas the Alsops had written that it had about 500 times the force of the Hiroshima bomb, while the Associated Press had estimated that it was 600 to 700 times the force. It wonders who might make it 1,000 times more powerful.

A piece from the Giles County Virginian, titled, "It Could Happen to Anyone", indicates that a man had stopped in front of a drugstore routinely to get his mail and, whenever he had pennies or nickels on hand, properly fed the parking meter, even though he was departing his car for only a moment, and that occasionally, when he did not have change, did not do so, but routinely, when he returned to his car, he had a parking ticket, until, finally unable to take it anymore, he ripped the entire parking meter up and placed it in his car, took it to a bridge and tossed it into the New River, then returned to the drugstore, parked his car and retrieved his mail.

But the police, who had not seen him take and dump the meter, had become suspicious at his ability to park for free in the spot every afternoon, and proceeded to follow him on one occasion to the bridge, where they saw him laugh and throw pennies and nickels into the river, whereupon they dragged the river and found the meter, then arrested him. When the case came to court, however, he was freed, the court giving him a bag of nickels and pennies, the judge indicating that it could happen to anyone.

It says that the above was the romantic story which it thought it might be able to impart regarding the stolen parking meter, but, as it turned out, there was no such romance or imagination, the meter having been stolen by two boys who simply wanted the money inside, and the case was handed to the grand jury.

Drew Pearson indicates that those who had participated in a recent visit of elder statesman Bernard Baruch by Senator McCarthy and his Investigations subcommittee lead counsel Roy Cohn were not saying what had taken place and were likely to issue denials regarding it. But Mr. Pearson had learned that the Senator had applied the first "thinly veiled anti-Semitic pressure" the country had seen, the same as that brought to bear by Hitler's Brown Shirts before he had come to power. The visit had occurred at the Drake Hotel in New York, after Mr. Baruch had been spending most of the winter at his estate in South Carolina, the visit arranged by conservative columnist George Sokolsky, who accompanied the Senator and Mr. Cohn. According to friends of Mr. Baruch, the ostensible purpose of the visit was to apologize for slurs the Senator had cast on City College of New York, Mr. Baruch's alma mater, which the Senator had implied specialized in graduating Communists. But the actual reason for the visit appeared to have been to persuade Mr. Baruch as an elder statesman to use his influence with NBC and CBS to provide Senator McCarthy airtime to answer Adlai Stevenson, and to get him to use religious pressure in the process. The Senator reportedly had made a point during the visit that he was not anti-Semitic, based on the fact that Mr. Cohn was Jewish, as was the former subcommittee aide, Private G. David Schine, though the Senator admitted that some of his followers might be and that it might be difficult to restrain them from criticizing the two big networks, whose executives were Jewish, for refusing to grant him the airtime. William Paley was head of CBS and David Sarnoff, through RCA, was head of NBC, both Jewish, and both having contributed generously to their country during wartime and peacetime. The Senator's veiled threat was reportedly put politely but nonetheless unmistakably, and Mr. Baruch had made no comment or commitments. Shortly afterward, he returned to South Carolina and had not been available for comment since the meeting.

It had been purposely omitted from the official findings of the Senate Elections subcommittee, but it had stumbled across a Republican scandal in its search for Democratic scandals in New Mexico involving the contest between Senator Dennis Chavez and his Republican challenger in 1952, Patrick Hurley. The subcommittee had found that Republican leaders had sought to obtain $100,000 from Mr. Hurley, effectively seeking to sell the nomination, a year prior to the election. Mr. Hurley, who had been former Secretary of War under President Hoover and Ambassador to China under FDR, had provided a signed affidavit to that effect, saying that if he paid the $100,000, he would have received the endorsement of the next Republican administration and the Republican Party's support throughout the campaign. Mr. Hurley had indignantly rejected the proposition, saying that he would be violating every corrupt practice law of both New Mexico and the United States, and would be guilty of such illegal conduct that he would be barred from being seated in the Senate, if elected.

Marquis Childs, in Luxembourg, tells of an experiment taking place representing one stage on the path toward a new Europe, in which six countries, France, Germany, Italy and the Benelux countries, had delegated authority over coal and steel to a supra-national organization established as the initial phase of the Schuman Plan. There had been great confusion, some of it deliberately caused by special interests opposed to the plan, as to what was intended to be achieved, too often taken for granted as merely another supra-national method of enforcing old cartel agreements which had maintained production low and prices high within the tariff protections of each separate country. But, actually, the goal was just the opposite, the intent being to free the economy of 160 million people from controls, lower production costs and thereby reduce prices so that the average citizen could have a much higher standard of living.

Americans sometimes failed to realize that Europe never had anything close to a free enterprise system in the sense of a competitive economy producing increasing amounts of goods at ever lower prices. Competition at the consumer level was practically nonexistent, as cartel agreements and tariffs protected inefficient producers so that prices in the home market tended to be fixed at a level placing the consumer at the worst possible disadvantage. Government subsidies helped the domestic competitor beat out his competitors from foreign markets. Such arrangements were entrenched in the politics of the countries, particularly in Germany and France. The power of the Ruhr industrialists in Germany and the Schneider-Creussot group in France was, in many respects, pre-eminent, enabling them to make and break governments, with anyone seeking to interfere with their controls likely to be swept out of power. Eventually, that economy spread into the armaments industry, becoming part of the nationalistic competition which helped to bring on the era of war during the first half of the century. The same forces and the same rivalries were beginning to rise again, and if they were not checked and canalized toward a healthy economy, the old cycle would again begin, something for which the Russians were hoping, to produce again the nationalistic struggle between the Western powers, with Communism taking over after the competitors had destroyed each other. Thus, the Schuman Plan was of utmost importance and the last best hope for Europe, caught between the tragedy of the past and an uncertain future.

Mr. Childs had talked with Jean Monnet, the president of the High Authority, and with others of the nine members of that Authority, as well as with many of its staff, and they had a realistic understanding of the obstacles ahead while also being confident that they had made progress since the High Authority had first begun its work in August, 1952. In a series of steps begun a year earlier, a common market had been established with tariff barriers between the six countries removed, permitting coal and steel to move freely from one country to the other, with only three or four minor reservations regarding special conditions in Belgium and Italy, and only for a limited term. It meant more competition and, eventually, lower prices, as well the end of penalties and quotas applied to buyers from abroad.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop indicate that a hydrogen bomb hitting a U.S. city would destroy it, and so the Civil Defense Administration, headed by Val Peterson, had laid plans for evacuation of all cities in the event of a nuclear attack. Mr. Peterson had said bluntly, "The cities are finished," that the first hydrogen bomb detonated by the U.S. on November 1, 1952 had enough force to blow up an entire large island in the Pacific, and so such a bomb would blow any city off the map, a bomb which had only half the force of the most recent bomb detonated March 1.

Mr. Peterson had initiated a study of the results of a successful attack with modern nuclear weapons on the 67 major population centers of the country, assuming that the only type of civil defense was the "duck and cover" method, and the results were that an estimated 31 million casualties would result, of whom nine million would be killed immediately and the rest requiring hospital care. Mr. Peterson wondered "how in hell" the country would bury nine million corpses, stating that the answer was that such mass slaughter could not be allowed to occur. But short of total defense in the air, which no informed person believed possible, the only way to prevent it was through evacuation of the cities, and that was only possible with a warning time for most cities of at least two hours, and for San Francisco, New Orleans and New York, bridged cities, considerably longer.

Modern radar and other techniques made early warning possible, and Mr. Peterson had been promised by the National Security Council that the minimum warning time of two hours would be made available within a year to 18 months. At that point, "pre-attack evacuation" would officially become national policy. Mr. Peterson indicated that a reasonably healthy person could cover ten miles in two hours on foot, particularly with the incentive of survival motivating the person. Such a policy would at least save human lives, but to make it successful required the disciplined cooperation of tens of millions of people, and most people did not "give a tinker's dam about civil defense."

Mr. Peterson had discovered that a great number of people had remarkable illusions about the basic facts of a potential atomic disaster, most believing, according to polls conducted by Civil Defense, that it could never really occur, and 75 percent of those surveyed believing that air defense alone would suffice to stop all enemy bombers or at least prevent heavy damage, an assumption which was completely untrue. That meant that Civil Defense had a tremendous sales job to accomplish. On top of the lack of belief was the other assumption, often held by the same people, that nothing much could be done about such an attack if it did occur, an assumption reinforced by the recent reports of nuclear fallout impacting Japanese fishermen located 80 miles from the site of the March 1 hydrogen bomb test, as had the greatly exaggerated accounts of the damage range of such bombs, whereas recent tests showed that an individual ten miles from ground zero of even a large hydrogen bomb would have a good chance of survival.

Keep the bicycle tuned and ready to roll.

A letter writer thanks the newspaper and Lucien Agniel for the series of five articles the previous week on North Carolina education, stressing the teacher shortage, especially in elementary schools, attributed to the overly stringent certification requirements causing young people to steer away from the teaching profession because of the heavy strictures on their college curriculum. She asks for figures comparing amounts spent on such activities as arts and crafts education versus that spent on the traditional subjects in Charlotte.

A letter writer from Hamer, S.C., who signs "Pedro", indicates that the copy reader should have plainly noted that an "e" was missing in the last syllable of the word "Kriegsgefangenenentschaedigungsgestz", printed in an Associated Press story out of Great Falls, Mont., recently, and should have concluded the word with "-gesetz", says he wanted to keep the record straight that there was more than one "DUMMKOPF" around.

The word, incidentally, referred to a new law in West Germany providing for compensation for former prisoners of war.

A letter from A. W. Black indicates that a previous letter writer, who had announced his private support for local attorney Marvin Ritch as a candidate for the Democratic nomination for the local Congressional seat, had suggested that "thousands of others" would do likewise. Mr. Black disagrees, suggests that some eligible voters would support Mr. Ritch, just as they would support any political candidate for any public office, but that nominal support did not translate necessarily into "thousands" of votes, and finds also not well-founded the letter writer's criticism of the newspaper for being unfair for suggesting that Mr. Ritch ought drop out of the race, as the newspaper had its right to express its opinion, just as had the previous letter writer.

A letter writer takes issue with the "megalomaniacal rumbling" of Dr. George Crane, who, he finds, had long disgraced the features page of the newspaper, concocting "a daily witches' brew of misinformation, old wives' tales, inflammatory prejudice, and incredible ignorance." He finds, however, that the column had reached a new low on March 24 by labeling drinking "an effete European custom", calling on Americans to "quit imitating decadent Europe's pagan drinking habits." The writer suggests asking any G.I. who had served in the European Theater of Operations to compare the number of drunken soldiers with drunken European civilians, that they had shown the Europeans how "to tie one on". He finds the column an insult to the intelligence of the newspaper's readers and suggests that they "derrick Crane".

That is possibly the worst pun ever made in print. As Ms. Woolf advised in the context of a novel, never play with people's names, as you may wind up dead.

It was not, by the way, the first time Dr. Crane had referred to drinking as an "effete European custom".

A letter writer from Lancaster, S.C., suggests cutting out all taxes on the "big man" and corporations and placing them on the "little man" and small businesses, as he believes the Republican Congress was approaching that result in its current tax bill. He says that the "small man of the low bracket class" was already taxed beyond his limit and that many great nations had fallen over such taxation, even as far back as Biblical times.

A letter from the president of the Guild of Charlotte Artists thanks the newspaper for covering the watercolor classes the previous week at the Mint Museum, held by Eliot O'Hara, whom she regards as an excellent teacher. She indicates that many had come daily from surrounding towns to attend the classes.

A letter from the acting group supervisor of the IRS thanks the newspaper for its cooperation in providing the public valuable information pertaining to filing of their 1953 income tax returns.

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