The Charlotte News

Thursday, March 4, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Senator Joseph McCarthy had held a public hearing at which an Army doctor refused to testify whether he had ever been a Communist, admitting, however, that he had been denied an officer's commission, but also refused to indicate whether he believed it was because he had been a member of the "Communist conspiracy", as contended by Senator McCarthy's leading question. The doctor said that he was a soldier under the jurisdiction only of the President as commander-in-chief, and that the committee had no jurisdiction over him. Senator McCarthy rejected the claim, indicating that the President had stated at his press conference the previous day that Army and Government witnesses should willingly provide testimony as long as it did not endanger security. Other witnesses were to be called this date, with the Senator claiming that they were Communists spying at the Federal Telecommunications Laboratory in Nutley, N.J., but the Senator declined to provide their names until they were actually called.

The White House indicated that the President had received hundreds of telegrams in praise of his statement at his press conference the previous day calling for "fair play" in Congressional investigations, widely interpreted as a rebuke to Senator McCarthy. White House press secretary James Hagerty said that there was no precise count but that the hundreds of telegrams were running about 9 to 1 in favor of the President's statements. Senator McCarthy said that he had no fight with the President and he hoped that the issuing of statements back and forth would end henceforth.

Senator Everett Dirksen of Illinois, a member of the Investigations subcommittee headed by Senator McCarthy, was invited to have breakfast with the President, and another member, Senator Karl Mundt of South Dakota, was to meet with the President later in the day. Senator Dirksen, emerging after about an hour, refused to tell reporters anything specific about the discussion. He said, in response to a question as to whether there was discussion about the controversy with Senator McCarthy, that he would leave that to the reporter's imagination. He said that he thought the controversy was simmering down and that there would be no new flare-up.

The Agriculture Department reported this date that farm income the previous year had averaged $882 per person, compared with an average of $1,898 for non-farm income. There was a decrease of $23 from the farm income of 1952, and an increase of $56 for non-farm income, the record average for farm income having been $986, established in 1951. The previous year's non-farm income was the highest on record. The decline in farm income was a reflection of lower farm produce prices.

The House Labor Committee, in a tie vote, effectively maintained in force the Committee's decision to accept a proposed revision of Taft-Hartley which would provide to the Federal courts the task of handling unfair labor practice claims, removing the responsibility from the NLRB. The tie vote occurred on a motion to reconsider the proposal, which had been adopted by a 14 to 13 vote the previous day, with one member absent.

It was anticipated that the House would approve a bill to cut a wide range of excise taxes by almost a billion dollars, but it was also anticipated that there would be considerable sentiment against it in the Senate. The President opposed the bill, approved by the House Ways & Means Committee, arguing that the Government could not afford presently such revenue reductions as the bill's 10 percent cut in all excise taxes not presently above that level, except on liquor and tobacco.

The Army disclosed that about 6,450 transmissions of medium M47 and M48 tanks already delivered for service were being dismantled for correction of faulty assembly after three or four had been found defective. The Army had some of the tanks and the National Guard had others, all produced by General Motors.

In New Delhi, the National Geographic Society awarded its highest honor, the Hubbard Medal, to Sherpa Tenzing for his conquest of Mount Everest on May 29, 1953, with Sir Edmund Hillary of New Zealand. The Society's president relayed a message from President Eisenhower, offering his personal congratulations. The medal was officially conveyed to Tenzing Norgay in Darjeeling by U.S. Ambassador George V. Allen.

In Boston, about 500 guests were evacuated from a 14-story hotel early this date after it had caught fire. A passerby had initially reported that a man was going to commit suicide, after seeing him climb onto a fifth-story ledge wearing a sheet soaked in water thrown over his head, prompting police initially arriving at the scene to believe he was attempting suicide and so to take him into custody, before learning of the fire.

In Hamlet, N.C., police and Richmond County deputy sheriff's officers were searching for a three-year old boy who had been missing since the previous afternoon, with a posse of over 100 persons searching a densely wooded swamp a short distance north of the town all through the bitterly cold and windy night. There was an indication of foul play, according to the officers, as the search had turned up a bundle of men's clothing with red stains, which were being tested to determine whether they were from human blood. The police officers believed that the child could not have gone into the swamp underbrush on his own.

In western North Carolina, temperatures had dropped below freezing the previous night and highways in some sections were icy, causing travel to be hazardous, with snow falling in many areas. No major accidents involving injury or property damage had been reported in the area. The low temperature in Asheville the previous night had been 17 degrees.

As pictured, a record snowfall for the date of 12 inches had caused a severe traffic snarl on Chicago's Lake Short Drive.

In Edgeware, England, a dentist had successfully sued a patient for damages the previous day because she failed to keep an appointment to have a tooth pulled, the dentist awarded the equivalent of $1.05 for the half hour he wasted waiting for her.

In Los Angeles, an inventor had received a patent on a flying saucer design, and another had finished a round boat, which the inventor claimed would overcome the "whoopsy feeling" which led to seasickness. The inventor of the flying saucer said that it was about 90 feet in diameter and thick enough to accommodate a lot of people, would have eight engines mounted around its circumference on swivels so that they could rotate in any direction.

Also in Los Angeles, Miss USA of 1952, Jackie Loughery, pictured under the heading "Song Is Ended", received a divorce from singer Guy Mitchell, after she had testified that he swore constantly, walked out on her when she was ill and refused to take her to Europe with him. Whether he was now singing the blues is not indicated.

On the editorial page, "The President Rose to the Occasion" indicates that there was great disparity between Americans' views regarding the necessity of preventing Communists, subversives or traitors from entering or continuing as part of the Government and the means being employed by Senator McCarthy toward that end, with no one taking issue with the basic aim, but many millions finding the Senator's methods improper.

It finds apt for the times the President's statement regarding the "American sense of justice and fair play" being the ultimate arbiter of what was appropriate, and Senator McCarthy's response that the President had generated a "silly tempest in a teapot" not properly descriptive of the case. It thinks that the President had wisely refused to become involved in a name-calling contest with the Senator, in keeping with the adage that one should never become involved in a barking contest with a dog. The President had admitted that the Army had made "serious errors" in handling the case of the dentist in the Army Reserve who had been promoted from captain to major and then provided an honorable discharge, despite Senator McCarthy challenging him as a Communist because the dentist had refused to answer questions some 14 months earlier regarding whether he had ever been involved with a subversive organization. The President also said that the Army procedures were being corrected to avoid such mistakes in the future. He said that the Government had to remain vigilant but through methods which would not tend to cause the country to become the totalitarian enemy it was fighting. Congressional inquiries, he had continued, were the right of the Congress, but ought be conducted in an atmosphere of mutual respect, calling for cooperation among the branches, especially between the executive and legislative branches. He also defended Army personnel appearing before Congress, indicating that no officers should be subjected to humiliation, commending Brig. General Ralph Zwicker, despite the attack by Senator McCarthy that he was not fit to wear the uniform and should be removed from any command, for refusing to comment, per orders, regarding the case of the dentist, who had been under his command while in the Reserve. The President demanded that Congressional committees show the same respect and courtesy to members of the executive branch which the committees expected of those appearing before them.

It finds, therefore, that the President had risen to the occasion at the previous day's press conference and that his statements would be regarded historically "as one of the most significant and most meaningful statements of the executive-legislative relationship ever made by an American President." It indicates that the performance was of the "Ike we liked in 1952", that it had taken him a long time to meet the assault on the Presidency presented by Senator McCarthy, and that if the Republican majority in Congress had the same respect for basic American traditions of fair play and justice, it would quickly and fearlessly draw up the code of fair play which the President sought, and force Senator McCarthy to conform to it at the peril of being expelled from the Senate "which he has so thoroughly degraded and besmirched."

Bear in mind that all of this negative editorial commentary and bad press given Senator McCarthy by the syndicated columnists and newspapers of the time, spanning back to February, 1950, when the Senator first stumbled into his unsubstantiated claims made in a Lincoln Day address in Wheeling, W. Va., after random assignment of the topic by the RNC, that there were more than 200 "card-carrying Communists" in the State Department, whittled in the ensuing few days to 57, preceded the now-famous Edward R. Murrow criticism of the Senator, airing on his Tuesday "See It Now" program, March, 9, 1954, and, subsequently, in an April 13 reply to the Senator's CBS-broadcast response on April 6. Thus, while Mr. Murrow, who during the March 9 broadcast read brief excerpts from a number of editorials from the roughly 3 to 1 proportion of newspapers criticizing the Senator in the dispute with the Army, often gets credit for "bringing down" the Senator, his commentary actually came late in the process, ongoing for four prior years by the print media, gradually eroding the Senator's credibility, setting up the final showdown which was shortly to begin with the Army-McCarthy hearings. Mr. Murrow, not thereby to be diminished in his impact on public opinion of the time, simply gave the editorials and newspaper reporting widespread voice, a familiar and trusted voice for many years, over a medium reaching millions at once, in every household or bar and grill equipped with a tv and aerial. In truth, if any single columnist should receive the credit for bringing down the Senator, it would be Drew Pearson, who first brought to light, among other things, the preferential treatment by the Army sought by Senator McCarthy, through his subcommittee's counsel Roy Cohn, for Private G. David Schine, a central focus of the ensuing hearings.

"No Perfect Security for Public Officials" indicates, in the aftermath of the Monday attack in the House by four Puerto Rican nationalists who shot from the public gallery and wounded five Congressmen, one seriously, that there was no way to provide absolute security at the Capitol or for the President, but that tighter security precautions and increased vigilance could reduce the risk. It finds that frisking everyone—in the times before metal detectors—was probably not practical.

It reminds that had the pair of Puerto Rican nationalists who attacked Blair House in November, 1950, when the President and First Family were residing there during White House renovation, done more planning, they would have had a clear shot at the President as he walked to his car a few minutes later to dedicate a statue at Arlington National Cemetery. It also reminds that of the 33 Presidents, three had been assassinated, Lincoln, Garfield and McKinley, and attempts had been made on Presidents Andrew Jackson, Theodore Roosevelt, after his Presidency, Franklin Roosevelt, shortly before his inauguration in 1933, and Harry Truman.

Unfortunately, the vigilance and increased protection would not be increased enough until after the unthinkable in modern times occurred, when President Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963. Since then, serious attempts have been made twice on the life of President Gerald Ford in 1975 and then on Ronald Reagan in 1981, President Reagan having been the only sitting President to survive an actual wound. Theodore Roosevelt, fired at while running as the Bull Moose Party candidate in 1912 against incumbent President William Howard Taft and Governor Woodrow Wilson, was saved by the fortuity of a thick copy of a speech which absorbed and deflected the impact of the bullet, though it did penetrate his chest. Occasional attempts since 1981 have been made to penetrate the White House grounds in various ways, but never placing a President in any real danger.

The January 6, 2021 riot and insurrection at the Capitol placed in jeopardy any number of members of both houses of Congress, prevented by the quick and courageous action of badly outnumbered Capitol police, one of whom lost his life in the melee, generated by Trump's crazy claims for two months preceding the riot, as well as exhorting the crowd to "fight like hell" minutes before the trouble started, that he actually won the 2020 election and that the Democrats and some Republicans had stolen it from him—the worst "president" in U.S. history, impeached twice and never actually elected to the office but for the silly anachronism of the electoral college in 2016.

A piece from the Cleveland Times of Shelby, N.C., titled "Sassafras and Monkey Cigars", tells of growing up with News editor Pete McKnight and assuming the previous editorial on sassafras-chewing was by him as they chewed it together, along with "monkey cigars".

That's good. We used to pick acorns from the big oak tree down the block in the first grade, but only once tried eating one. That cured that. Acorns are inedible. Enough about sassafras.

Drew Pearson tells of Secretary of State Dulles having testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee the previous week and nearly weeping when explaining that the agreement made in Berlin at the Big Four foreign ministers conference to hold a conference in Geneva starting April 26 to discuss Far Eastern problems, Korea and Indo-China, had not involved any recognition of Communist China. He said that there appeared to be no way to please the Senators, despite that agreement having been in writing. He was especially upset about the relentless heckling by Senate Majority Leader William Knowland. The Democrats, in contrast, had asked helpful questions. The incident reflected a growing rift in the Republican Party, not caused by Senator McCarthy but exacerbated by him.

The President needed to act presently on the problem while he had the political capital to do so effectively. He needed to realize that the extreme isolationist wing of the party, active for years, with some being neo-Fascist, had to be dealt with before they began to take control.

Mr. Pearson recounts that such heckling of the Secretary of State had occurred earlier and had eventually led to war, such as during the London Naval Conference of 1930 when Secretary of State Henry Stimson had proposed a consultative pact, pledging the U.S. to consult in case war threatened, pledging no use of troops or materiel, whereupon President Hoover called a press conference undercutting his Secretary, succumbing to pressure from the isolationist wing of the party. He wonders whether President Eisenhower fully understood the problem.

He recounts talking to General Eisenhower in 1952 at his NATO command headquarters in Paris, having been among those who had discussed with him early running for the presidency, and having pointed out that his chief problem would be the isolationist wing of the Republican Party, the China Lobby and Senator McCarthy as its chief exponent. The General had listened carefully, but it had been obvious from his questions that he did not understand the problem. Mr. Pearson suggests that he ought to understand it by now, but would have to move vigorously if the McCarthy-isolationist wing would be prevented from taking control.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop discuss the need of the Administration to challenge Senator McCarthy's continuing power, with one Republican comparing the recent imbroglio between the Senator and Secretary of the Army Robert Stevens and the latter's capitulation, to Munich in 1938, suggesting that the next question was whether there would be enough guts to guarantee Poland—implicitly comparing the Senator to Hitler.

The appeasement-minded Presidential advisers, such as Congressional liaison General Wilton Persons and Assistant Attorney General William Rogers, believed that Secretary Stevens did not have a good case against the Senator in terms of his previous order to two generals and other officers not to respond further to summonses from the Senator because of past "abuse" of Army officers in testimony before the Investigations subcommittee.

The Alsops indicate that the simplest case would be that of State Department employee John Davies, Jr., whom the Senator had demanded be fired. Secretary of State Dulles had said before leaving for the Pan American conference in Caracas that he would delay his decision on the matter until after his return but hinted that he would not fire Mr. Davies, saying that he did not want to make the decision before leaving as it would be perceived as running away from a fight with Senator McCarthy. Senator William Jenner of Indiana had also demanded the firing of Mr. Davies, but he would be ignored as a "bargain basement" version of Senator McCarthy, without the same political power in the country.

It was one of several examples of the Administration having an opportunity to back down Senator McCarthy but, thus far, winding up only appeasing him. In one instance, the Senator had bragged that the President had asked him for favors after the President was reduced to asking that he meet with the Senator, after which the White House had issued a statement that the Senator had promised to be good. The "tin-horn politicians" who were advising the President wanted to appease the Senator, while the result had, each time, been an increase in power for the Senator.

Ultimately, the Alsops conclude, Senator McCarthy wanted to go after the President when he believed his power was sufficiently strong to accomplish the task. The strange thing was that the President's advisers appeared to be cooperating with the effort and appeared willing to continue to do so.

The Rocky Mount Telegram tells of finding an old newspaper clipping of unknown origin from 1893, from which it quotes, stating in rambling, stilted prose that the way to talk was "plainly, naturally, sensibly, truthfully, and purely."

Sample: "Eschew all conglomerations of flatulent garrulity, jejune babblement, and asinine affections. Let your extemporaneous descantings and unpremeditated expatiations have intelligibility and veracious vivacity, without rhodomontade or thrasonical bombast."

In one sentence, the old piece should have used "concision" for "conciseness" and "comprehensibility" for "comprehensibleness", having outdone its own outdoneness.

The State magazine tells of a problem suggested by a Raleigh resident, that if a band were stretched around the circumference of the earth, assuming the distance to be 25,000 miles, and the band were then extended by ten feet, how high would the band be raised off the ground, the piece concluding it would be about 18 inches. That "about" presumably makes room for the slight parabolic curve forming the base of the imperfect triangle thus created, as the earth is not flat. So, making room for the arc, what is the precise answer? If that plucked-up little triangle is not the trick assumption to reach its approximate solution, then the answer is wrong. For if the problem asks for the uniform elevation around the globe for the band by its merely being extended 10 feet, as it appears to do, the precise answer is .000946969697 of a foot, that is a micrometer's measurement in elevation, not about 18 inches.

A letter writer indicates his appreciation for Pete McKnight's remarks in a recent speech concerning the "ultra ultra philippics of McCarthy about communism in our government." He had indicated that out of the more than 2,000 terminations from the Government for security reasons, not one had been shown to be because the employee had been a Communist. The writer suggests that the taxpayers had granted to the "rabble rouser" McCarthy hundreds of thousands of dollars to ferret out Commies, and the Senator had insulted the whole human race with "empty howlings". The writer is proud of the Democrats who had boycotted the Senator's Investigations subcommittee for several months because of his high-handed tactics in insisting on hiring and firing staff without consulting the Democrats. The Senator's Republican colleagues also had now backed off, leaving him, at times, as a one-man subcommittee "to rave and rant like a prairie wolf for the balance of his miserable days."

A letter writer from Pittsboro expresses sorrow that the Senate could not pass some version of the Bricker amendment to limit the President's use of executive agreements in conducting foreign policy. He cites the example of President Eisenhower having sent Air Force technicians to service the American airplanes in Indo-China which had been loaned to the French, without consulting the Pentagon, the State Department, the Congressional Armed Services Committees or even the Secretary of the Air Force, General Nathan Twining. He regards the action by the President as an act of war which might draw the country into a war in Asia which the country could never win except by a truce as in Korea to stop the "senseless slaughter". He concludes that there had to be some safeguard against executive recklessness.

A letter writer indicates that Mecklenburg County had cast 42,000 votes in 1952 for General Eisenhower, that the previous week, he had attended the Mecklenburg County Republican convention at the courthouse and found only 123 people present. He had listened to a speech by a young lawyer reading a plan of Republican organization in the county, which, after an hour, had become so tiresome that he had departed. The young lawyer's plan had proposed six new committees other than the regular county executive committee, centralization of power and control in an executive board, to consist of the county chairman, the secretary-treasurer, a member of the Woman's Republican Club, and a member of the Young Republicans Club. He questions whether all members of the WRC and YRC were registered Republicans, eventually protests the idea of a ruling clique of Republicans, indicating that Republican voters in the primary should choose the party candidates, concluding that since Republicans had not won in North Carolina in 57 years, something had to be wrong, which he feels he had pinpointed.

A letter from the publicity chairman of the Derita Junior High School PTA thanks the newspaper for helping it to complete a project to buy $1,800 worth of band uniforms, through the proceeds of a mid-winter carnival.

Framed Edition
[Return to Links
Page by Subject] [Return to Links-Page by Date] [Return to News<i><i><i>—</i></i></i>Framed Edition]
Links-Date Links-Subj.