The Charlotte News

Wednesday, March 3, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the President, at his press conference of this date, had made a statement on the dispute between Senator McCarthy and Secretary of the Army Robert Stevens, which it provides verbatim. The President first commented on the case of the dentist who had been promoted from captain to major and then provided an honorable discharge, despite having previously, some 14 months earlier, refused to answer questions about whether he had been a member of a subversive organization. The President said of that case that the Army had made "serious errors" in handling it and that Secretary Stevens had so stated about a month earlier, that the Army was correcting its procedures to avoid such mistakes in the future, and that neither in that case nor in any other had any person in the executive branch been authorized to suggest that a subordinate should violate their convictions or principles or submit to personal humiliation when testifying before Congressional committees or elsewhere. He stated in a more general sense that the Government had to be "unceasingly vigilant in every phase of governmental activity to make certain that there is no subversive penetration", that in opposing Communism, the country would defeat itself if it used methods which did not conform to the American sense of justice and fair play, and that the American conscience would discern when the Government was exercising proper vigilance without being unfair, as reflected in the body of the Congress responding to America's beliefs in that regard. He said that the conduct of all parts of the executive branch rested with the President, that it could not be delegated to another branch. He also indicated that successful service by the Government required a spirit of cooperation among the branches, especially between the executive and legislative branches, and that such cooperation was only possible in an "atmosphere of mutual respect". His statement is continued on another page.

The President had also indicated his pleasure with the Senate for rejecting the Bricker amendment by rejecting the substitute offered by Senator Walter George of Georgia the previous Friday by a vote of 60 to 31, failing therefore by a single vote to obtain the necessary two-thirds of the members present. He refused to take a position on the tax issue of whether a ceiling of 10 percent should be imposed on excise taxes, deferring to Secretary of the Treasury George Humphrey's report on the matter. He also said that he was not willing to say yet whether he favored outlawing of the Communist Party, that he had ordered a study on the matter shortly after taking office, and that the lawyers apparently disagreed on whether such a law would be Constitutional. He also re-emphasized that he had never used the word "subversive" in reference to the "security risks" to be separated from Federal jobs under his security program.

It is noteworthy, incidentally, that just two days after the shooting inside the House by four Puerto Rican nationalists, wounding five Congressmen, one seriously, the President made no mention of it at the press conference other than a brief expression of appreciation to the Governor of Puerto Rico for coming to Washington the previous day to express his sorrow about the incident, and there were no questions posed about it by the press. Nor was there any story about it on the front page after one day of coverage the previous day, now relegated to page three—where it is related, among other things, that Guy Banister, FBI special agent in charge of the Chicago field office, said that the Bureau had under surveillance the brother of Lolita Lebron, the woman who secreted in her purse the three Lugers the shooters used, though Mr. Banister (or "Bannister" as the case may be) said that there was no information that the brother had any role in the shooting.

Senator Alton Lennon of North Carolina, who had supported the substitute amendment of Senator George on the Bricker proposal, filed notice in the Senate the previous day of a motion to reconsider the defeat the prior Friday of the substitute.

In Bostic, N.C., a bandit wearing a bandanna had robbed this date the town's branch of the Security Bank and Trust Co. of Rutherfordton, stealing about $2,000, after forcing two female employees to the floor and another to hand over the cash. The FBI in Charlotte said that the robber had dropped some of the money in front of the bank as he ran to his waiting automobile, which, according to the Forest City police, bore a license number of a car reported stolen in that town the previous night. The robber had entered the bank alone and then pulled a bandanna from around his neck over his face and said: "This is a stick-up. Don't press any buttons." Police and State Highway Patrol officers had erected roadblocks throughout the area, indicating that his getaway car was black and was headed toward the Sunshine community as he left. If you see a man wearing a bandanna, who looks like he might be given to cliché, driving a black car in the vicinity of Sunshine, immediately call the police. He may be stopped at a motel, holed up for awhile to watch the latest episode of a tv cop drama.

In Monroe, N.C., a man died of suffocation when his house had caught fire during the morning and he had failed in an apparent attempt to escape. The cause of the fire is not indicated.

Lucien Agniel of The News tells of Sheldon Roper, a lawyer of Lincolnton, having suddenly declared as the first announced candidate for the Democratic nomination for the 10th District Congressional seat held by Republican Charles R. Jonas. He said that he would not have entered the race if David Clark had decided to run, but since Mr. Clark had indicated his decision not to do so, he had decided to enter the race. He said that Mr. Jonas was a "fine fellow and a good friend", but that they had different political philosophies.

Should Mr. Roper win the Democratic nomination, we can suggest, in light of Mr. Jonas's middle name, often referenced in the newspaper, a good slogan for the fall campaign: "We need a Roper in Congress, not a Raper." You cannot judge the reaction today by what the reaction might have been in 1954. We think it would have been rather catchy. Sorry, because of the alliterative congressional intersection, we could not resist, though resist we have for some time in making any reference to Mr. Jonas's distinctive middle name.

Betty Boyer, in this date's weekly "Grocery News" column, provides a "timely article" on pies. Why is it timely? We have seen no news about pies, or even pie graphs. You speak cryptically. We have no need to know these things...

On the editorial page, "The Facts on Subversion at Last" indicates that the testimony before the Senate Civil Service Committee the previous day by Civil Service commissioner Philip Young, as explained further below by James Marlow, had placed the Republicans in an embarrassing position because, with breakdowns into categories regarding "security risk" terminations having been received from all departments except the Navy, Air Force and Defense, there was no evidence that a single subversive or traitor had been discovered and fired. Instead of 90 percent of the 2,427 dismissed employees being "Communists and perverts", as Senator McCarthy had claimed, only about ten percent had actually been fired because of sex perversion. A stated 383, about 19 percent of the total, had been fired because "subversive information" was contained in their files, though Mr. Young had not been able to say whether that information was of a sort which would have been grounds for termination. About 30 percent had been dismissed because of felonies or misdemeanors and 41 percent for miscellaneous reasons.

It finds that it was strange that if there had been any subversives among the lot, they had not been prosecuted by Attorney General Herbert Brownell. It suggests that it was possible that among the 19 percent, there were some with serious questions raised about their loyalty, but that it was also possible that their files contained unproved accusations, just as those which had been put forward regarding Chief Justice Earl Warren during his confirmation process. Nevertheless, those 383 employees had been fired.

It regards the security risk controversy as a "bad chapter" in the brief history of the Eisenhower Administration. Mr. Young's belated revelations the previous day had helped the Administration recoup some of its lost self-respect, after it had been shown that the numbers supplied initially had been manipulated and distorted for political profit at the expense of the Democrats. The decision by Secretary of State Dulles to restrict the power of the State Department's security officer Scott McLeod, who had opposed the decision to break down the numbers, was another step in the right direction. It finds, however, that it was not enough, that those who had spoken out early about the matter in reckless fashion, including Governor Thomas Dewey, Postmaster General Arthur Summerfield, and the President's counsel, Bernard Shanley, had not, with the exception of Mr. Shanley, admitted their error. It indicates that it would be out of character for Senator McCarthy to do so but that Governor Dewey and Mr. Summerfield, as well as the President, himself, would build confidence in the integrity of the Administration by so doing.

It concludes that the Truman Administration had done a much better job of ousting subversives than it had been given credit for doing by the Republicans during and since the 1952 campaign.

"Conservation Is Above Partisanship" indicates that a truce had been arranged in one sector of the farm front, that involving conservation policy, between Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson and his erstwhile critics in the National Association of Soil Conservation Districts. The Association was composed of farmers and ranchers who managed, without pay, the 2,570 soil conservation districts across the country, whose leaders had launched the attack against Secretary Benson's departmental reorganization because they believed soil conservation was being de-emphasized.

The previous week, the Secretary, in his address to the Association's annual conference in New Orleans, had allayed the fears of the conservationists. As they met, dust storms, reminiscent of the 1930's, had swirled through the Western states, emphasizing the urgency of the task of the conservationists.

It suggests that the work of the conservationists was one of the noblest of callings and should always be nonpartisan, and that it was gratifying to note that the Association and the Secretary the previous week had helped to place it on a high plane, above politics.

"Bad Practice" indicates that the arrest and conviction of a Charlotte man for dumping garbage along the road beyond the city limits ought have a salutary effect on other such thoughtless persons who had cluttered up much of the countryside around the county. The County Recorder had fined the litterbug five dollars and given him a 30-day suspended jail sentence, ordering him to remove the garbage. The Recorder had proceeded under a state law which prohibited the dumping of garbage or trash within 100 yards of a State highway or on any private property without the permission of the owner.

It indicates that many of the roads in the county, especially those near the city limits, were unsightly and unsanitary because of accumulation of trash from previous dumping. It urges that in addition to strict enforcement of the law, the County Government could help by cleaning up the accumulated debris.

What if the litterbug was the owner of a VW Microbus? Would that have mitigated the punishment?

A piece from the Sanford Herald, titled "This Is Topcoat Country", tells of having emerged from the barbershop with a topcoat which did not feel right, and that upon examination, realizing it was the wrong one, returned to the shop and shuffled through several identical topcoats until finding one with a ripped pocket, identifying the writer's own. It suggests that three-fourths of the male population in the area probably had the same experience as it was "topcoat country" and that brown gabardines were the standard fare among topcoats.

It distinguishes between topcoat weather and overcoat weather, says that in the Sandhills region of North Carolina, a topcoat was not foolproof, but an overcoat would not be serviceable for more than a few days each winter, that about the only people who wore the latter were visiting lecturers and nephews of men who moved north and died up there without leaving a son.

Is that some sort of veiled attack on Yankees?

Drew Pearson indicates that a former officer of the Italian Army was sitting with a group of Senators when the question of the dispute between Senator McCarthy and Army Secretary Robert Stevens had come up, with Senator McCarthy having been quoted as saying, "If you want a commission in the Army I can fix it up for you." One Italian said that he doubted whether Americans realized what politics could do to an army, that he had been a young captain in the Italian Army when the Fascists took over and he knew what politics had done. He said that it crept in very subtly before anyone realized it, that an inferior officer who was a lieutenant would be promoted to a captain simply because he was a friend of the Fascist regime. He recalled that once, he had ordered a lieutenant to take over a work detail which he had refused on the basis that he was busy writing reports on the Army for the Fascist Party. He said further that the Italian Army had been criticized for caving in during the war, but that the reason had been politics, that an army did not fight when it was run on political lines. Senator William Fulbright of Arkansas had been listening and remarked that he had just received a telegram from a friend calling attention to the fact that the Egyptian Army had kicked out the Premier, that the Syrian Army had kicked out that country's President, and that Senator McCarthy had driven a political wedge in the U.S. Army, all in the same day. The Italian responded that once a political leader began to dominate an army, the line between free government and a totalitarian government became very thin.

Mr. Pearson remarks that based on the current resentment against Senator McCarthy in the Army, it was not likely that the Senator could take over any time soon, but that officers had recalled the previous week how Maj. General Cornelius Ryan, commander of the 19th Infantry at Fort Dix, had phoned Secretary Stevens to complain that the Senator's office had been bombarding him to obtain special privileges for the former aide of the Senator, Private G. David Schine. The Secretary had replied that the General would have to handle the matter himself. Officers had also recalled the previous week that when Col. Frances Kreidel, commander of the provost marshal's school at Camp Gordon in Georgia, had protested against the transfer of Private Schine to the school without sufficient qualifications, the Colonel had suddenly been transferred to Tokyo. Under an Army regulation, no one was to be admitted to the provost marshal's school without at least two years of service, attainment of the rank of corporal or higher and in class one or two physical condition, whereas Private Schine had been admitted after being in the Army for only four months and in class three physical condition. Nevertheless, Senator McCarthy had arranged for the Private to be transferred from Fort Dix basic training to the provost marshal's school and despite the objections by the Army, Secretary Stevens, himself, had approved the transfer. Mr. Pearson observes that it was no wonder that Senator McCarthy had boasted that if someone wanted a commission in the Army, he could fix it for them.

Senate Minority Leader Lyndon Johnson of Texas had developed "one of the smoothest machines in recent Democratic history", with colleagues agreeing that while it was not always right, it was smooth. That machine had caused the defeat of the Republicans when Majority Leader William Knowland had sought to hold night sessions regarding the Bricker amendment on the treaty-making power. Every Democrat had been in their seat at the right moment and voting, except for two who were absent generally from the proceedings, and Senator Johnson had gone to almost every Democrat and said he did not think it fair to hold night sessions so early in the Congressional session, that they had cooperated on almost everything else but that the older Senators could not be present at night, especially Senator Walter George of Georgia who was sponsoring an alternative to the Bricker amendment, and so he said that the Democrats should insist that the Republicans get all of the work done during the daytime. Senator Johnson had held no caucus, though one was customary under such circumstances, and had not held any caucus yet during the session because he was afraid that some of his several Democratic opponents would object to his tactics, and so instead went around to each individual Senator personally. Mr. Pearson observes that it was more work but that one could not get around the fact that "the gentleman from Texas is efficient".

Senator Carl Hayden of Arizona had remarked that Senator McCarthy and the three other Senators who had gotten Secretary Stevens to capitulate and withdraw his order to the two generals not to appear before the Investigations subcommittee and also agreed to provide the names of those responsible for the promotion and then honorable discharge of the dentist whom Senator McCarthy had accused of Communism because the dentist had refused to answer questions regarding whether he had ever been a member of a subversive organization, had done so by having observed the Communists so closely that they had learned how to brainwash.

Col. Robert McCormick, publisher of the Chicago Tribune, had amazed Washington by publishing a front-page editorial at the height of the Stevens-McCarthy controversy, telling Senator McCarthy to lay off the Army, despite the fact that Col. McCormick and the Senator were old friends and that the Chicago Tribune was one of the Senator's staunchest backers. But, remarks Mr. Pearson, Col. McCormick was first and last an Army man.

Marquis Childs, in Berlin, finds that, on the theory that architecture revealed a people more than literature, music or any other of the arts, walking around East Berlin was a "rather frightening experience". Amid the ruins of the city's past, the Communist masters had decreed the construction of the new order, a "chilling and depressing prospect". Mr. Childs indicates that in a park along the River Spree, the Russians had built a great war memorial, in the center of which 7,500 Russian soldiers killed in the Battle of Berlin were buried. The memorial exhibited a "crude sentimentality" by showing a figure of a sorrowing Russian mother kneeling before the large statue of a Russian soldier, with sentimental representations, in a series of bas-reliefs, of the Soviet soldier destroying the beastly Hun, also showing innocent families being oppressed by the Nazis. Mr. Childs finds them as completely without artistic merit as a crude comic strip. He goes on to describe other aspects of the memorial, which he finds equally sentimental and crude in their artistry.

He also finds that the memorial was cold, possessing a "barbaric remoteness that can be compared to the architecture of the Aztecs."

The showcase of East Berlin was Stalin Allee, a housing development built on the site of a razed bombed apartment building, intended to advertise the glories of the socialist state. But the development was ill-conceived and pretentiously designed, with small windows, stone and plaster ornamentation stuck on exterior walls adding nothing but cost, and exibiting a style reminiscent of a badly designed apartment house of around 1905. He had toured two model apartments in one of the buildings, along with Communist Youth groups, saw that one apartment consisted of a living room, bedroom, kitchen and bath, while the other had an extra room furnished as a study, showing no ingenuity or adaptation to modern living, as American architects had accomplished in recent years regarding housing and apartments. The furnishings were third-rate, which U.S. department stores would be embarrassed to display.

He finds that as a symbol of the mentality directing the Communist world, the structures added to the chill which one felt in the presence of almost every Communist phenomenon. "It is a tragic poverty of the spirit that borrows from the past, not knowing what it borrows but only that forms must somehow be supplied."

James Marlow indicates that it remained a mystery how many disloyal Government workers the Administration had found since coming to power in January, 1953, after the Republicans had campaigned in 1952 on a promise to rid the Government of Communists. Some Republicans were talking about using the same issue in the midterm elections the following November. In consequence, Democrats in Congress were demanding the actual number of disloyal persons found, and journalists had repeatedly asked for the figures as well.

The latest information, as supplied by Philip Young, chairman of the Civil Service Commission, had still not provided the answer. He had informed the Senate Civil Service Committee that 2,427 "security risks" had been terminated under the Eisenhower Administration, but said that he did not know whether any were fired for disloyalty, subversion or Communism. He said that 383 of the total were persons whose files contained something of a subversive nature, but added that the individuals were not necessarily subversive and that he did not know whether the subversive information had been sufficient reason for their termination. Afterward, he told newsmen that he knew of no way of finding out whether subversion was the principal factor in terminating the 383 such individuals.

Senator Mike Monroney of Oklahoma said that he believed the only way they were going to find out the information was by asking each of the security officers in each of the agencies. Some of those officers had already been questioned by other Congressional committees and some had provided vague information.

In 1947, former President Truman had set up a program for getting Communists, or people who otherwise might injure the country, out of Government jobs, and when President Eisenhower came to power, he gave the job of developing a new program to Attorney General Herbert Brownell. The previous April, the President presented that program, which abolished the two classifications of the prior Administration, distinguishing between loyalty cases and security problems, and lumped them into one category, "security risks". Under the new program, a Communist, a drunk, a homosexual, a person convicted of a felony or misdemeanor or a blabbermouth could be fired as a "security risk", whether or not the agency for which he or she worked dealt in secrets. The total figures thus would not show how many released under that program were Communists and how many fell into the other categories, unless a breakdown were provided.

The previous October, the Administration had announced that there had been 1,456 employees terminated as "security risks", and the figure had then been increased on January 7 by the President to 2,200. When newsmen sought a breakdown of the number, the President referred them to Mr. Brownell, who in turn referred them to Mr. Young, who in turn referred them back to the White House. Mr. Marlow indicates that the matter was still "bouncing".

A letter from Bob Cherry, Jr., says that he had noticed the recent reprint of the editorial by Ralph McGill of the Atlanta Constitution, in which he said that a Turkish newspaper editor had told him that world Communism had no greater asset than Senator McCarthy. Mr. Cherry thinks that claim false and ridiculous, that it was just another attack on the Senator coming from Communists or those who were loyal but disapproved of the Senator's direct approach to rooting out corruption, treason and potential treason. He equates "McCarthyism" with "The Fight For America"—but you should never capitalize a preposition unless it is the first or, inappropriately, the last word of a title or a set-off phrase therein, the same being true of articles and conjunctions, the necessity of a momentary thought occasionally arising when having to discern between the infinitive phrase starting with "to", capitalized, and its prepositional form. He concludes that Americans such as Senators McCarthy, William Jenner of Indiana, Herman Welker of Idaho, Everett Dirksen of Illinois, John W. Bricker of Ohio, and Pat McCarran of Nevada, and the Southern delegations in both houses, would not fail the nation, and thus the nation should not fail them.

You left out Vice-President Nixon. What are you, some kind of Communist?

A letter writer questions whether another letter writer of February 24 had nothing more about which to gripe than the service of mechanics. She explains why the repair charges of mechanics were fair, as they did not receive a salary. She concludes that the previous writer's statement that Jesse James had to carry a gun had been inappropriate, as the latter also had to walk or ride a horse, commenting that perhaps in the present, housewives were the ones who should begin to carry a gun.

What does that mean? Are you going to rob someone when they come in for a spray job at your husband's or son's shop? And for someone upset about the previous letter writer taking up space in the newspaper regarding mechanics, you took up about three times the space he did with your objections. Haven't you got anything better to do? We tend to agree with your basic point though, which is why the previous writer and anyone else concerned about the cost of repairs should learn basic automotive mechanics and do the job himself, in the process developing a sense of the pain and frustration endured by mechanics, while also experiencing the zen of the thing.

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