The Charlotte News

Saturday, March 27, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Omaha, RNC chairman Leonard Hall, speaking before Midwestern and Western state Republican chairmen, said that Senator McCarthy had "done more harm than good" in his public statements regarding the dispute with Army officials, and that as a result, the Senator's "Senate effectiveness" had diminished in recent weeks. Mr. Hall had, just a few weeks earlier, described the Senator as an asset to the party. He said that the dispute hurt, as did any dispute. He was quick to add that the only spokesman for the party was the President.

Near Augusta, Ga., Brig. General F. E. Howard, commanding general of the provost marshal general center at Camp Gordon, said that Private G. David Schine had been treated as any other soldier during his eight-week basic M.P. course and that the General had not been subjected to any pressure. Private Schine was a focus of the Army-McCarthy dispute, with the allegation being made by the Army that Senator McCarthy and Investigations subcommittee chief counsel Roy Cohn had sought favorable treatment by the Army for the Private, with threats allegedly made by Mr. Cohn that otherwise the Army would be "wrecked", charges denied by the Senator and Mr. Cohn. They contended that the Army, in issuing a report to that effect to the Senate Investigations subcommittee, was trying to "blackmail" the Senator to end his investigations into Communists in the Army. The Army's provost marshal general, Maj. General W. H. Macklin, had said in Washington on Thursday that he denied an application made by Private Schine for the criminal investigator's course as being premature and that it would be considered again later. The Private declined again to talk with newsmen.

Senators who were aware of the top-secret plans for defending the country against possible nuclear attack said this date that they had not been told estimated costs. Senator Harry F. Byrd of Virginia and other members of the Senate Armed Services Committee expressed the belief that the measures contemplated would push the annual defense costs upward. Senator Byrd said that he was confident that Congress would not have cut a billion dollars of revenue in Federal excise taxes had they listened to electronics engineer and manufacturer, Russell Sprague, explain parts of the overall continental defense strategy, answering questions of the Committee the previous day, after outlining plans for evacuation of cities and use of guided missiles against attacking planes two days earlier. Senator Stuart Symington of the Committee also opposed the revenue reductions on the same ground. Mr. Sprague had made an independent survey with the aid of Government agencies and would be called back before the Committee from time to time to provide details of the defense proposals.

Senator Homer Ferguson of Michigan called this date for accelerated action on the President's legislative program, saying that April would be the make or break month for committee action, to reach the floor by the scheduled July 31 adjournment. Senator Ferguson said that he believed the dispute between Senator McCarthy and the Army was obscuring the Eisenhower program. Thus far, the Senate had passed only the St. Lawrence Seaway bill and an excise tax measure not completely pleasing to Administration leaders. Democrats, meanwhile, chided Republican leadership for failing to push through the Administration proposals. Senator Mike Mansfield of Montana said that he could see few signs of progress, that out of the 196 or more proposals of the President, the Republicans would be lucky to get a dozen through Congress. DNC chairman Stephen Mitchell had said in Gary, Ind., the previous night that because of the dispute between Senator McCarthy and Army officials, he doubted whether the average citizen recalled that the President had a program. The House had set a much faster pace but had not yet taken up the reciprocal trade program, Social Security expansion, farm price supports or revision of Taft-Hartley.

Senate Labor Committee chairman Senator Alexander Smith of New Jersey this date predicted that his Committee would complete its work on the revision of Taft-Hartley the following week, that a letter he had received from the President the previous day regarding the controversial question of states' rights in the field of labor relations had removed the last obstacle to speedy action in the Committee. The President's letter had stated that which the President had already told Congress regarding Taft-Hartley in his State of the Union message in January, but proposing one change in the law not mentioned at the time, to give states the freedom to act on a labor dispute involving interstate commerce, making it fall within the ambit of Taft-Hartley in the event the NLRB refused to assert its jurisdiction. That would enable the states to take over labor disputes which the NLRB had refused to take, previously not covered.

In Frankfurt, West Germany, a U.S. soldier was charged with murder this date in the quadruple slaying of two other G.I.'s and their German girlfriends, occurring February 23, and he would be tried before a general court-martial at Augsburg on April 5.

In San Diego, a Navy jet fighter pilot wing-waved a runaway jet out to sea where the pilot ejected safely, to avoid possible disaster on land, saying that he could have pushed it by making actual contact without danger. The runaway plane had started to spin out of control at 22,000 feet and unaccountably righted itself at 4,000 feet, then rose to 8,000 feet before heading for San Diego. The pilot who came to the rescue said that the air flowing over the wing of his plane had been enough to lift the other plane's wing and tilt it around. The planes were traveling at 300 mph at the time. Navy aviators said that they believed the maneuver was something new to aviation history. The pilot of the runaway plane was rescued from the sea by a Navy helicopter.

In New York, Federal and state officials, headed by Secretary of Labor James Mitchell and Governor Thomas Dewey of New York conferred this date on legal means to end the 24-day strike paralyzing New York City's waterfront, based on a dispute between the rival unions, the International Longshoremen's Association, an independent union which had been banned from the AFL for not eliminating its racketeering elements, and the AFL-ILA, formed anew after the ban. The New York Shipping Association planned to remove its support from 4,000 tugboat crewmen who had supported the 23-day strike. An NLRB examiner the previous day had made a recommendation that the prior December's waterfront bargaining election, apparently won by the ILA, be set aside because of violence and threats against the voters on the election day. That would provide the AFL-ILA another chance to become the representative union. A slow back-to-work movement had continued the previous day but showed only a slight increase over the day before. The strike continued in defiance of an injunction issued against the ILA on March 4, with contempt charges pending in Federal District Court.

Justice William O. Douglas and his expedition of hikers, consisting of press and environmentalists, pushed toward Washington on the last leg of their eight-day, 189-mile hike through the Maryland wilderness country along the towpath of the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal. The hike had been undertaken after an invitation by the Justice to two editorial writers, Robert Estabrook of the Washington Post and Merlo Pusey of the Times-Herald, who had indited editorials favoring construction of a motorway along the abandoned canal, Justice Douglas indicating that such a highway would destroy the woodland natural beauty of the area and so invited them to see it for themselves. The two editorial writers had to ride horses part of the way after their feet gave out, perhaps indicating their lack of change of attitude. Justice Douglas, 55 and an avid hiker, continued to set a three mile-per-hour pace but admitted that he was "pretty tired". The original party of 37 which had departed Cumberland, Md., the previous Sunday had dwindled to only nine by the time the group reached Seneca, Md., the previous night, about 18 miles from Washington. The oldest of the hikers, at 73, was continuing on the hike but limping.

In Clio, Ala., a creditors' committee sought unanimous approval from depositors this date to take a 10 to 15 percent loss so that a $75,000 deficit in the exchange bank of the town could be liquidated without a court fight, and 86 of the estimated 200 customers of the unchartered, uninsured money exchange agreed with the settlement the previous night, while another 40 or more had not yet reached a decision. The committee was empowered to act on behalf of the people of the town and the defunct exchange, provided all of the depositors agreed. One dissenting vote would void the proposed settlement. The president of the exchange, whose 12-day disappearance earlier in the month had precipitated an investigation which uncovered the $75,000 shortage in his accounts, was not present, as he remained in jail on embezzlement charges. Enough money was available to pay 85 to 90 percent of the depositors' funds, which would include an estimated $15,000 from the sale of the president's house, furniture and all other personal property.

In Raleigh, political observers were wondering how long former Governor Kerr Scott was going to treat his opponent in the upcoming Democratic Senate primary, incumbent interim Senator Alton Lennon, with kid gloves, after the forces of Senator Lennon had issued three direct salvos at the former Governor, two of which had come during the week. Thus far, Governor Scott had not responded, ignoring completely his opposition for the nomination, apparently adopted as the campaign's strategy. Senator Lennon had told a group of business and professional women in his hometown of Wilmington on Sunday that he favored a plan to feed some of the Government's huge stock of surplus foods to the needy and aged, that he believed in supporting farm prices at 90 percent of parity and in Federal aid for constructing schools. Governor Scott's campaign had issued a statement inviting people to take a look at his farm, urging them to see the roads which had been built in the community and the advances they had made, as in thousands of other North Carolina communities in the previous few years when the Governor had been in office, apparently in response to an anticipated attack on the network of roads built around the former Governor's Haw River dairy farm. Senator Lennon's campaign manager responded that such a visit to the farm would be "a real eye-opener", saying that improvements at the farm while the Governor had been in office had included a 15-mile network of paved roads, plus three expensive bridges and an underpass or two "for the convenience and safety of the Scott cows." He also said that the former Governor had received $12,600 in payment for 39 acres of his land taken by the State for the right-of-way and that the State had bought gravel and topsoil from Mr. Scott while he had been Governor. Most of the points had been publicized in newspapers earlier. Senator Lennon said on Thursday that the time had come to destroy the myth that the expanded secondary road system in the state was the personal accomplishment of any one individual, aimed at Governor Scott, who had undertaken a 200 million dollar secondary road program, the major focus of his Administration. Governor Scott said that if the Government would collect as much as 2.5 percent interest on the nearly five billion dollars it maintained in its reserves, it would provide the Government a return of 125 million dollars per year. When he had campaigned for Governor in 1948, he had charged that the State was keeping its reserve funds in banks without receiving interest, and when he became Governor, the system was changed to enable collection of interest on those funds.

In Oklahoma City, two stubborn drivers, one male and one female, at a busy intersection during the height of the morning rush hour, proceeded to scream at each other to yield the right-of-way, neither budging, as cars were backed up for blocks. The woman had attempted to make a left turn and the man was determined to proceed through the intersection before she could do so, causing them to meet at the center, bumper to bumper. A police officer said that he and fellow officers had settled the dispute by booking both on charges of obstructing traffic.

On the editorial page, "Can Democracy Meet Its Acid Test?" finds that the new reality of the cold war between East and West was testing the patience and resolve of Americans accustomed to dealing with hot wars, such as World War II, bringing about a common bond. Instead, the cold war was a new experience for Americans, "living from day to day and from year to year in a twilight zone between war and peace, bearing the heavy financial burdens and many of the anxieties of war without the compensating satisfaction from the hope and expectation of victory."

It was testing the democratic institutions founded on the Constitution and the concept of freedom and equality with inalienable rights, and the idea that free peoples were capable of governing themselves, provided the government was based on law and not on arbitrary will. It had been a revolutionary concept at the founding and many had predicted that it would not work. But it had worked through crises, panics and depressions, early foreign wars, Civil War, and two world wars.

British historian Arnold Toynbee had found that there had been two major powers emerging in civilization 21 times through world history, resulting in a clash between the two and the emergence of a victor which ruled an empire until it was finally dissolved. It wonders whether that would occur a 22nd time.

The new stresses and strains on the system from the cold war had produced "the ready and even eager response to demagoguery; the frenzied search for scapegoats; the preoccupation with relatively minor issues that have a strong emotional appeal; the toleration of assaults upon basic liberties and upon free institutions; the labeling of adversaries on the right and the left; the growth of a mood of conformism." It was not the first time the American system had been tested, but the prospect was now to live with the problem for a lifetime or even centuries, to avoid the alternative of atomic war.

It poses its original question as to whether American democracy could meet the test, expresses confidence in the collective wisdom of the people and their staying power, reaching the conclusion that it would. But it also recognizes that the successful pursuit of peace would require a renewed acceptance of the revolutionary premises of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, and would also require more patience and quiet resolution than that to which Americans had become accustomed, including the suppression of emotions and application of intellect, a realization that the U.S. was under constant scrutiny by other peoples across the globe. It finds that the process would not be comfortable or easy, or very satisfying except in a deeper sense of that word. "But it is the only way."

"Common Courtesy, Plus Enforcement" indicates that the Charlotte Police Department had followed through with its promise to accord pedestrians the respect due them from motorists by enforcing the law against turning into pedestrians at intersections when the signal allowed pedestrians to walk, a law which was generally broken routinely. But after three pedestrians had been struck thus far during March, the police were now promising enforcement of the law. It hopes that they would do so vigorously and continuously. It also indicates that pedestrians would need to accord motorists the courtesy of moving quickly across intersections, not darting out among moving vehicles, that the courtesy required between vehicles and pedestrians was reciprocal.

A piece from the Providence (R.I.) Bulletin, titled "You Never Know What Next", indicates that in earlier days, momentous events were always preceded by mysterious warnings and portents. It wonders in the "skeptical age" what portent might have been ascribed in earlier times to a 12-pound cod recently caught off Provincetown containing a billfold in its stomach with a driver's license issued in Los Angeles, or why in Little Rock, Ark., a fish-bait dealer had developed a two-tailed worm.

It posits that 300 years earlier, had either of those events occurred, prayers would have been issued in apprehension of all manner of catastrophes, including the outbreak of war, plague and pestilence. But reading now of the news of the driver's license in the cod's stomach would only prompt people to shrug their shoulders and say that it must be pretty easy to get a driver's license in California, that the two-tailed fishworm in Arkansas would only suggest depopulation of the trout streams.

It insists, nevertheless, that something pretty big was in the offing, though it does not profess to know what it was.

Drew Pearson indicates that Senator McCarthy was one of the most skillful political tacticians ever to operate in Washington, able to shift to a new field of operation quicker than any other man in politics. He had made accusations during the week, from the safety of the Senate Appropriations Committee, against Mr. Pearson which he never would have dared to make had he not been protected from defamation laws by Senate immunity. He had used the tactic in a floor speech accusing General Marshall of being Communistic and then included the speech in a book on the General, and had also used the ploy against the Saturday Evening Post, accusing it of following the Communist line by inserting a copy of the speech from the Congressional Record in a letter to constituents. The Senator had known that Mr. Pearson was compiling a factual and devastating review of his Senate record for a television broadcast this weekend, and had also needed diversionary headlines away from the ongoing Senate investigation between the Senator and the Army, not going well from his perspective.

He claimed that Mr. Pearson had violated the Espionage Act and that one of Mr. Pearson's assistants had blackmailed a Pentagon official, Don Murray, an assistant to the chairman of the Munitions Board, assigned to handle press relations. In that capacity, he had often seen one of Mr. Pearson's assistant's, Fred Blumenthal, but at no time had Mr. Blumenthal sought to blackmail or intimidate Mr. Murray. Mr. Pearson had talked to Mr. Murray and Mr. Blumenthal after the rumor had been circulated by the Senator the previous summer and he was convinced that there was no problem. There had been some production figures discussed by Mr. Murray with Mr. Blumenthal, but they had not been published, as Senator McCarthy admitted, and it was not uncommon for Government officials to discuss confidential matters with responsible newsmen off the record. That was not a violation of the Espionage Act, as contended by the Senator, or nearly every journalist in Washington would be in trouble. His claim that the figures had been used for other purposes was absurd and untrue. His additional claim that a Justice Department official also named Murray had called Mr. Pearson and given him all the facts on an espionage case did not make sense, as Mr. Pearson had never heard of the official in question nor of any such case, but that even if it had happened, that also would not have violated the Espionage Act.

He suggests to the Senator that he request that a grand jury consider the various allegations that the Senator had violated the Espionage Act and the Corrupt Practices Act. On September 11, 1953, the Army had stated that the Senator had violated the Espionage Act when he published a 75-page restricted Army intelligence report on Siberia, and that the Senator had also violated that Act in a speech of January 22, 1951 when he made public a document from December 15, 1950, a military report radioed from Korea, making it easier for a foreign power to break the code. He appeared to have violated the Corrupt Practices Act by collecting $10,000 from Congressman and Mrs. Alvin Bentley for the purpose of fighting Communism, when he used the money instead to speculate on soybeans. During his four years as a Senator, he had deposited more than $172,000 in a bank, despite earning an annual salary as a Senator of $12,500, with $19,000 of the money deposited in cash from unidentified sources and $40,500 in checks from unidentified sources. If those sums had been campaign contributions, he was required by law to report them. An assistant of the Senator had deposited another $93,000 at the same bank, of which more than $29,000 had been in cash, as reported by a Senate committee which had wanted to know why so much cash had been deposited.

Since Attorney General Herbert Brownell had come into office, the Justice Department had done nothing about the Senate report on the Senator, and Mr. Pearson suggests that if the Senator had nothing to hide, he should urge, along with Mr. Pearson, that the whole matter go before a grand jury.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop, in Indo-China, tell of the key to Southeast Asia being more likely lost at the conference table in Geneva than on the battlefield at the French fortress at Dien Bien Phu. A recent, little-noticed event which had been significant had been a pronouncement by a member of the Chinese Politburo, Chen Yun, its chief expert on economic matters, that China, not Russia, was the leader of the Communist revolution in Asia, that as in the early days of the Soviet Union, the first duty of Communist China was to "consolidate the revolution", that while doing so, maintenance of world peace was essential, and that such might necessitate retreats from the cause of Communism "in other countries", specifically recalling the situation in China in 1927 when "many lost courage" because the Soviet Union had seemingly abandoned Chinese Communism, while that retreat had actually been in the interest of the world revolution. He had not referred directly to Indo-China, but the implication appeared clear that while Russia had let China down, the Communists had still managed to gain control of the mainland, and so China could let down the Indo-Chinese Communists and in the end they would still win.

To that could be added a significant statement by Soviet Premier Georgi Malenkov, who had said recently that world war "under contemporary conditions of war means the death of world civilization." That was a departure from the usual Soviet line of the past, which had regarded war as the death of capitalist civilization. In addition, there was a lot of propaganda coming from Peking and Moscow to the effect that the cold war could easily be ended by resumption of normal trade and diplomatic relations. China was also experiencing major economic difficulties, with reports that the Chinese Army had been reduced to half rations, with full rations not being generous in the first instance. There had been serious food riots in many cities. The Chinese industrialization plan was on the verge of collapse for want of raw materials, as China was presently buying 76 percent of its food and raw material imports from Russia on very disadvantageous terms and could not obtain such raw materials anywhere else. China thus needed badly to be able to trade with the West.

With all of those signs in play, it appeared quite possible that Soviet Foreign Minister V. M. Molotov and Chinese Foreign Minister Chou En Lai might be getting ready to negotiate a truce in Indo-China at Geneva, including a promise to cease supplying Vietminh leader Ho Chi Minh. They would seek a quid pro quo of diplomatic recognition for Communist China by the major powers, including the U.S., plus admission of China to the U.N. and the restoration of unrestricted trade with China. Another probable condition would be a staged withdrawal of French troops from Indo-China. Assistant Secretary of State for the Far East, Walter Robertson, was reported to believe that the odds were in favor of some similar negotiated peace offer, and the Alsops venture that it was hard to exaggerate the extent of the crisis which would almost certainly ensue.

Marquis Childs, in Paris, indicates that the approaching crisis regarding the war in Indo-China could no longer be concealed by the official optimism of the French and U.S. Governments, with a growing likelihood that in the months ahead, a choice would be put to the Eisenhower Administration either to intervene directly with air and naval forces and, if necessary, subsequently deploy ground forces, or face the fact that the French would have to end the eight-year war despite the risks of loss to the Communists of Indo-China and, in consequence, most of Southeast Asia. No French official would say so publicly, but France hoped that the U.S. would intervene, though realizing the chances of that were decreasing. French Defense Minister Rene Plevin had returned from an inspection tour of Indo-China with a report believed to have been more pessimistic than had been publicly acknowledged, part of that report concerning the importance which the Communists overlords placed on Ho Chi Minh in the struggle for Asia. That fact suggested that the Communists would seek a high price for termination of the conflict.

The U.S. was footing the bill for 78 percent of the costs of the war and the dollars from that source spent by the French for supplies in metropolitan France had a lot to do with keeping down the French dollar gap. A recent debate in the National Assembly on the French military budget also had brought out that the number of casualties of Frenchmen was smaller than had been generally believed, that the number of killed and missing since 1945 was 15,500 and the number of wounded was 56,000. The French pointed out, however, that those casualties were trained professional soldiers essential to form the French contribution to the proposed European army under the European Defense Community. The French contribution, among the six EDC countries, was supposed to be 14 divisions and the French routinely pointed out that they could not be expected to make that contribution as long as the war in Indo-China continued.

Many illusions had developed about the strange war in Indo-China fought against an enemy which refused to fight on conventional terms by conventional means, with the primary illusion, which had more or less been publicly dispelled after eight years, being that French victory was just around the corner. In the view of objective observers, the war, as it was presently being fought, could not be won. It remained a question as to whether U.S. intervention would serve to stiffen the resolve of the native Vietnamese fighting in the war against the Vietminh or whether they would regard the Americans as only substitutes for the French in a war which the Communists professed to be waging against whites and colonialism.

Many Frenchmen feared, as Pierre Mendes-France had expressed in a speech in the Assembly, that direct U.S. intervention would bring the intervention of the Communist Chinese, eventuating in World War III. They also knew that Americans in influential positions in the Far East wanted that to happen, as the latter were convinced that only through the destruction of the Communist dictatorship in China could U.S. interests in the Pacific be secured. Thus far, the French directing the war had refused to permit Americans to do anything more than observe and supervise the loading of war materiel in Saigon. Lt. General John O'Daniel was merely to head the American mission, as Paris had resisted any suggestion, even by Americans, that he take over the training of the Vietnamese troops.

A letter writer from Iron Station, N.C., agrees with the views expressed by another letter writer the prior Monday from Monroe, stating his belief that the News editorials showed a lack of "editorial insight, objectivity, reasonableness or fair play." He recalls, however, when the editorials of the newspaper had expressed too many prejudices, but now finds it inclined to the "socialistic New Deal, so-called liberal line of thinking", not surprising as the editorial page had syndicated columns by Drew Pearson, Marquis Childs, James Marlow and others. He says readers were not the dupes the newspaper thought they were, that they were capable of evaluating issues of controversy on their merits in an impartial and objective manner. He thinks the editorial writers, however, were not. He wants the newspaper to report both sides of issues.

A letter from a rabbi of Binghamton, N.Y., writes regarding a series of articles about Arab refugees by Lynn Heinzerling, which had appeared in recent issues of the newspaper, finding it well-balanced but omitting several pertinent matters which he thinks important. He indicates that the origin of the Arab refugee problem was from the fact that the Arab nations, in defiance of the will of the U.N., had invaded Israel soon after the withdrawal of British troops in May, 1948, and that it should not be forgotten that Israel came into being by the will of the U.N., as a culmination of a series of plans advanced since World War I, when King Faisal of Iraq, the representative of the Arab peoples, agreed with the Allied powers to establish Palestine, which included the present Kingdom of Jordan, as a Jewish homeland. He says that it should also not be forgotten that Israel had not invaded the Arab nations, but that the reverse had occurred, continuing even after the U.N., for the first time in its history, had declared that the invasion was "a breach of the peace". He concludes that the Arab refugee problem had occurred for two primary reasons, one being the war initiated by the Arab nations, and the other being that Arab residents of the new State of Israel had been ordered to leave by the Arab Higher Committee.

A letter from Bob Cherry, Jr., provides an extended quote which says in effect that McCarthyism was Fascism, suggests that the quote might have come from "the tribe of Roosevelt" or Adlai Stevenson, or the "Me-Too Trinity" of the Alsop brothers, Drew Pearson and Marquis Childs, but rather had been the words of William Foster in the Daily Worker of December 4, 1953. He had gone on to say that Governor Stevenson, Eleanor Roosevelt, Senator Herbert Lehman of New York and former President Truman were among the better known of those who had spoken out in denunciation of Senator McCarthy, a common ploy by Communists to seek to use non-Communists to promote Communism. Mr. Cherry finds, therefore, that the orders from Moscow were clear, to annihilate Senator McCarthy politically as being "possessed with the necessary measure of good old-fashioned American know-how and courage" to deal with the Communist conspiracy effectively. He suggests that the Communist conspirators knew that Senator McCarthy was an "irrepressible American patriot" proud to "strip to the waist and dig out the 'rats' one by one for his countrymen to see and beware of."

When did he strip to the waist? Most people probably did not wish to see that.

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