The Charlotte News

Tuesday, March 30, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports, via A.P. science reporter Alton L. Blakeslee, that the ensuing six months could spell the absolute end of polio if all were to go well with the administration, beginning April 12, of the field test trials of the Salk polio vaccine. There was some evidence that a few shots could provide lifetime protection. By the end of the summer season, the normal time for polio epidemics, it could be determined whether the vaccine really worked. If it did, then all 46 million children of the country could start obtaining the vaccine the following year, and within a few years, no one would any longer be vulnerable to polio. Dr. Jonas Salk had developed the vaccine at the University of Pittsburgh, based, as with all vaccines, on a dead virus, utilizing all three types of the particular virus which caused human paralysis, then injecting it to produce antibodies against the live, dangerous form of the virus. The field trials were being conducted by local health authorities and the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, and if the studies showed that the vaccinated children proportionately escaped the disease in significant numbers, compared with those who had not received the vaccinations, then the field trials would be deemed successful, and if not, the research would have to begin anew.

The President this date, in a special message to Congress, asked for broader power to cut tariffs, as well as seeking a reduction of aid to other countries and an end to grants of economic aid as soon as possible. He gave assurances that increased trade in peaceful goods between the West and Iron Curtain countries should not cause undue concern, and asked Congress to ease the "buy American" laws which gave preference to domestic firms over foreign competitors on some Government or Government-financed purchases. The message followed, to a great extent, the recommendations of a special Presidential commission on foreign economic policy, a report, however, loaded with dissents, which could spell trouble for its passage. Many Congressional Republicans believed that tariffs should be maintained relatively high to protect domestic industry against cheap imports, and so the proposal might have a difficult time. The main point of the report and the message of the President was a recommendation for a three-year extension of the Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act, slated to expire June 12, and for expanded authority for the President to negotiate tariff adjustments with other countries on a reciprocal basis. Congressmen Dan Reed, chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee, Richard Simpson, high-ranking member of that Committee, and Senator Eugene Millikin, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, all registered objections to the proposal.

The House overwhelmingly passed a compromise bill cutting more than 20 excise taxes an estimated 999 million dollars per year, to become effective the following Thursday. The Senate was expected to follow suit late this date, and it was anticipated that the President would sign the bill the following day. The President opposed the cuts in revenue but could not veto the bill without also vetoing the excise revenue for which it provided.

In Jerusalem, the Jordan-Israel Mixed Armistice Commission condemned Israel this date "in the strongest terms" for the killing of nine Arabs and the wounding of 19 in an attack the prior Sunday night in the Jordanian border village of Natalin. Jordan's members of the Commission and its U.N. chairman, U.S. Navy Cmdr. E. H. Hutchison, had voted for the censure. Israel claimed that the attack was a "local reaction" to a previous border incident in which Arabs had killed Israelis. Israel boycotted the Commission after it failed to support their claim that Jordan had been responsible for a March 17 ambush in the Negev desert of a bus, in which 11 Israelis had been killed. The resolution said that a large group of military-trained Israelis had crossed the demarcation line into Jordan, firing from automatic weapons, detonating explosives, and throwing hand grenades and incendiary bombs, killing five Jordanian national guards and a woman, and wounding 14 villagers. It said that at that point, the Israelis had blown up a truck killing three Arab Legionnaires and wounding the officer in charge and four other Legionnaires.

At Fort Bragg, N.C., a "Flying Boxcar" C-119 air transport carrying nine men had crashed in flames into a mess hall this date, with five men killed and 11 injured. The plane had just taken off from adjacent Pope Air Force Base for Louisville, and the pilot had been apparently seeking to land on a parade ground when the plane struck the top of an officers' quarters, snapped off a power pole, skidded across the parade ground and crashed through the mess hall, which burst into flames. The Air Force said that seven of the victims had been in the mess hall. The plane carried an Air Force crew of four plus five from the Army.

In Valdese, N.C., the residents voted the previous day more than two to one against the legal sale of beer and wine through the State Alcoholic Beverage Control system.

In Henderson, N.C., a woman was stabbed to death and her husband was being treated for apparently self-inflicted stab wounds. The homicide had occurred at a service station owned by the victim's sister with whom she had come to stay the previous week after taking out a warrant against her husband charging assault.

Near Clinton, N.C., a farmer, apparently motivated by jealousy, shot and killed a young married woman, whom the farmer had been dating, and then killed himself, according to the Sampson County sheriff. The killings took place on a farm about six miles from Clinton in the early morning hours, and the sheriff said that the same home had been the scene of a murder-suicide a year earlier on March 17, with the perpetrator of that crime having had the same surname as the present perpetrator, though unrelated. The woman was estranged from her husband, who lived in Illinois. Better probably to stay away from that house.

Wintry weather, with snow, sleet and cold, hit wide areas from the Rockies to New England this date, dropping from 3 to 8 inches of snow in the Midwest and 16 inches in Rochester, N.Y., 13 inches in Washington, N.H. At least 16 persons had been killed in accidents connected with the storm, including eight in western New York, five in Toledo and three in Iowa. It was two degrees below zero early this date in Butte, Mont., and 72 above in San Antonio, Tex.

A photograph on the page shows a ghost car stopped astride a railroad track. Better probably to avoid that particular Chevrolet. It will drive you crazy.

Betty Boyer, in her weekly "Grocery News" column the following day, will tell the thousands who love "real coffee" how to beat the high prices. We guess that she's going to suggest drinking Tetley. What do you think?

On the editorial page, "Tension Grows in Middle East" indicates that many astute students of foreign affairs believed that the spark to ignite World War III would come in the Middle East, rather than in a place like Korea or Indo-China or between East and West Germany. That belief was based on the continuing friction between Israel and its Arab neighbors, growing nationalism within the Arab world, the large oil reserves of the Middle East, and the strategic importance of the region, traditionally the crossroads for world conquest. Recent incidents along the Arab-Israeli border indicated an increase of tension. Arab raiders had massacred a busload of Israelis in Scorpion Pass in the Negev desert, setting off a sequence of events which included Israel's withdrawal from the Mixed Armistice Commission, speeding up of military preparations on both sides and the voicing of warlike threats in Arab propaganda. During the weekend, armed Israelis had retaliated for the attack on the bus by killing nine Jordanians in a village. U.N. observers had told journalists privately that they were more dubious of preserving the peace than at any time since the end of the Arab-Israeli war in 1949.

Mutual fear had led to diverting of large sums of money to military preparations instead of to needed development of the lands left barren by centuries of misuse and neglect. The situation was ripe for subtle Communist takeover.

The U.S. had a responsibility for formulating a fair and just policy toward the entire region, which would aid the indigenous national movements in the Arab nations and guide them along democratic lines. In carrying out such a policy, it ventures, the U.S. should make it clear that renewal of open hostilities between Israel and the Arab nations would probably set off a third world war which would be more disastrous to both sides than the continuing border violations, despite their provocative nature.

"Food Stockpiling a Sound Policy" indicates that the Government owned or was committed to buy about 6.5 billion dollars worth of agricultural products under price supports, including enough wheat to make 260 loaves of bread, enough cotton to make 22 shirts or 18 dresses, and enough milk to provide 13 quarts, for every single American. The surplus, representing overproduction of goods subject to spoliation, was properly resented by taxpayers, as was the fact that some goods in surplus were priced out of the consumer's reach. The major problem was that there was no end in sight to overproduction and that past and present farm programs encouraged production of more farm goods than could be consumed at home, sold abroad or safely stored.

But, it indicates, moderate stockpiling of agricultural goods was a sound program, particularly in an age when germ warfare could disrupt the nation's agricultural economy, or when a prolonged drought could diminish reserves. But surpluses had to become manageable while ensuring that controls did not result in scarcity.

"You Have To Pay To Keep Good Men" indicates that the resignation during the weekend of Budget Office director Joseph Dodge had suggested a growing problem within the Eisenhower Administration, of which 15 major members had quit during the previous six months. The first to resign had been Secretary of Labor Martin Durkin, one of whose assistants had also resigned at the time. Members of the NLRB, the AEC, and the Small Business Administration had also resigned, as had Undersecretary of State Donald Lourie, Assistant Secretary of Commerce Craig Sheaffer, Undersecretary of Labor Lloyd Mashburn, along with about a dozen members of the Agriculture Department. C. D. Jackson, special assistant to the President, was scheduled to depart this week, and Deputy Secretary of Defense Roger Kyes would leave May 1. Undersecretary of State Walter Bedell Smith wanted to resign, as did presidential assistant Robert Cutler, and Assistant Secretary of Defense John Hannah, who had reluctantly agreed to remain another six months. A member of the ICC was also set to leave soon.

Former President Truman had the same problem in keeping good personnel and for the same reasons, primarily financial, as many of those departing could obtain much higher salaries in the private sector. One official had remarked to a New York Times reporter that the only argument they had for keeping people was the patriotic duty of public service.

It observes that Government officials needed criticism and that not much could be done in a democracy regarding unjust attacks on Government officials, but that something could be done and should be done about the relatively low pay. It urges that salaries for top officials should be raised to provide a stable Government employment force.

A piece from the Greenville (S.C.) Piedmont, titled "What Price Football?" indicates that Charlotte's Central High School had scheduled a football game on September 3 with Chattanooga, the Friday before Labor Day, while normally school would not begin until after Labor Day. But under State school regulations, football games could not be played until the formal opening of school, and the Charlotte Board of Education had deferred action on the matter. It suggests that the tail might wag the dog and the scheduling of the football game determine the start of school in Charlotte.

Bill Sharpe, writing in the State magazine, examines temperature records in the state during the previous half-century to see if there was a warming trend, finding that some areas backed up the notion with some evidence, but not much. The record showed that the first two decades of the century had been a little cooler than the previous three. But it could have been the result of there having been two or three severe winters during those first two decades, combined with a couple of mild summers, sufficient to move the temperature by a degree or more. He provides the mean five-year temperature records from 1900 through 1949 for Raleigh, Asheville, Winston-Salem, Greensboro, Wilmington, and Hatteras, finding them largely inconclusive, as were the records of other stations across the state, concluding that the reader would probably have to wait another century before the argument could become arguable.

From the global perspective, people would not have to wait so long, unless they were wearing blinders or just plain stupid.

Drew Pearson indicates that the Justice Department was examining the record of several Congressmen from California in order to find some Democrat who would be subject to the same charge as Republican Congressman Ernest Bramblett, recently convicted of taking salary kickbacks, to lessen the impact on the party. U.S. attorneys were considering the indictment of Congressman Robert Condon of Walnut Creek on a charge of perjury for stating that he had never been a Communist, despite his law office having once represented Communists. The Justice Department would likely hold up the matter until just before the elections. Justice Department officials had also looked at the record of Congressman Jack Shelley of San Francisco, member of the Teamsters Union, who had been a friend of a former IRB collector who had been indicted in connection with income tax scandals but never convicted, though a search of the Congressman's records had not borne fruit. The U.S. Attorney in Los Angeles appeared to be after Congressman Cecil King, the second-ranking member of the Congressional delegation from the state. The office had recently subpoenaed Mr. King's bank records, as well as those of his wife, but both sets of records failed to show any substantial deposits. They had then subpoenaed records of a trust fund in the name of someone with a similar name to that of Mrs. King and thought they had found something important, but it turned out to be a completely unassociated account. The U.S. Attorney had also attended a campaign rally for Mr. King's opponent, but the U.S. Attorney's office said that it was not a violation of the Hatch Act since the U.S. Attorney was not a civil service employee.

The State Treasurer of California, Gus Johnson, was upset that a man also surnamed Johnson was challenging him for re-election, and had sworn that he would find out the real name of the man, who was Greek. When told of the statement by Gus Johnson, George Johnson said that Gus had come to the U.S. as Johansen, whereas he had come as Joanides, both meaning "son of John". But Gus Johnson referred to George as an immigrant, despite also having immigrated, himself.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop indicate that there was no longer doubt that Senator McCarthy was in very bad trouble and that he knew it. He and his partisans were undertaking desperate efforts to negotiate a deal to head off the forthcoming hearings on the Senator's dispute with the Army. The previous week, Richard Berlin, a powerful executive in the Hearst newspaper chain, had come to Washington for a pre-arranged dinner party with Senator McCarthy, along with Brig. General A. J. Drexel Biddle, close to both Army chief of staff General Matthew Ridgway and Secretary of the Army Robert Stevens, with Mr. Berlin, a backer of Senator McCarthy and original sponsor of Roy Cohn as counsel for the Investigations subcommittee, suggesting that perhaps Mr. Cohn and Army counsel John Adams be fired and then drop the matter. Another suggestion was to have an arbitrator of national stature adjudicate the matter privately. But no deal was worked out. Since the dinner meeting, there had been hints that Mr. Cohn might be fired and that Senator McCarthy would not require that Mr. Adams be fired in exchange, provided the matter went away.

Within Senator McCarthy's files, there was plenty of material to ruin some highly placed Defense Department officials if the Administration wanted to play rough. There was also an attempt to divorce Senator McCarthy from the matter, as the Senator called it the "Cohn-Adams hassle", that he had nothing to do with it, and that it had been stirred up by "left-wingers".

But the fact was that the Senator had effectively called Secretary Stevens a liar, a blackmailer, and so contemptible as to offer to supply dirt on the other military services to afford immunity for himself. Secretary Stevens, a naïve but honorable man, did not believe the whole business was in the spirit of good fun and had told friends that he was in it to the end. Moreover, the Administration had its guard up, with careful preparation being made for the hearings, and substantiation having been found for everything in the Army report regarding the alleged threats by Mr. Cohn to the Army to obtain special favor for Private G. David Schine. According to the report, the Senator had told Mr. Adams and Secretary Stevens that Private Schine was a "pest" and a "nuisance", but asked them not to repeat those statements to Mr. Cohn, and two others had been found who would testify that they had the same experience with the Senator.

There had been damning material to the Senator not included in the Army's report, and it had compiled another report, described as "devastating", regarding negative effects on morale at Fort Dix, N.J., caused by the special favors sought for Private Schine. Thus, it was not surprising that the Senator wanted to make a deal, and it might be that the appeasers within the Administration yet would agree to such a deal in the interest of "party harmony". The final outcome of the matter would depend on the President.

They recount that the President had recently attended the correspondents' dinner in Washington and had grabbed Edward R. Murrow on his back, saying, when Mr. Murrow turned around, that he was feeling it to see if there were any knives sticking in it, at which both men laughed, with Mr. Murrow saying that it was up to the President from there on out. The Alsops find that to have been a cogent observation and that the President had a golden opportunity to show once and for all who was the real leader of the Republican Party and of the country.

James Marlow indicates that the Republicans had made a political issue out of the charge that the Democrats had been "soft" on Communism. Some Republicans in Congress had expressed misgivings when Secretary of State Dulles had agreed to meet in Geneva with the British, French, Russians and Chinese Communists to discuss the peace in Korea and in Indo-China, which could be interpreted as fear that the Secretary might be outsmarted by the Communists or that he was not strong enough to stand up to them. The previous night, Mr. Dulles had sought to allay any fear of what might occur at the Geneva conference, in a speech in New York, by saying that the country not only would not recognize Communist China but would not agree to letting it become a member of the U.N. His phraseology, however, appeared to leave the door slightly open for either or both occurrences by indicating that the U.S. would not recognize a nation which "actively attacks our vital interests" or approve of U.N. membership for one which "promotes the use of force in violation of the principles of the United Nations". He pointed out, as an example, that the Communist Chinese still occupied North Korea and were supplying the Communist-led Vietminh with the means to continue their fight in Indo-China against the French.

The Chinese Communists might take those words to mean that they could obtain recognition and U.N. membership were they to surrender to the U.S. demands to withdraw from North Korea and permit all Koreans to vote for their chosen government, and abandon the support of the Vietminh by shutting off supplies to them or telling their agents to stop the Indo-China war on terms acceptable to the French and the U.S. While such accommodations appeared remote, if that was all there was to it, then the Geneva conference would be foredoomed to consist only of conversation. Were it not for U.S. aid, the French could not continue the war in Indo-China. If the Communists obtained control of it, they would probably soon obtain control of the remainder of Southeast Asia, giving the U.S. a stake in the outcome. The French had lost thousands of lives, spent about ten billion dollars on the war and were tired of it. The French National Assembly, on March 9, had asked the Government to try to find a way to end the war, with Premier Joseph Laniel having said that an effort would be made toward that end at Geneva, and Foreign Minister Georges Bidault having said that the hands of France were not tied in seeking to end the war.

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