The Charlotte News

Saturday, March 6, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that a top aide to Secretary of the Army Robert Stevens had resigned in protest of the handling of the dispute between the Secretary and Senator McCarthy, but a spokesman for the Secretary said that he had no intention of resigning, amid reports that he was quitting. The aide, John Kane, who had also worked for former Secretary Frank Pace, said that he deplored the lack of full support for Secretary Stevens in the dispute with Senator McCarthy, and congratulated the Secretary on "the gallant battle" which he was trying to fight for the Army. He also said that his resignation in part was the result of poor health. He said to a journalist that he excluded everyone in the Army from his charge of lack of support, implicitly pointing to the Defense Department. The Secretary was scheduled to appear before Senator McCarthy's Investigations subcommittee in closed session, probably the following week, to discuss the problem of getting rid of subversives from within the Army, either in military or civilian roles.

In Miami Beach, Adlai Stevenson said that he agreed with the President that the Army had not coddled Communists, but the 1952 Democratic presidential nominee was expected this date to criticize the President's leadership on domestic and foreign policy issues in a scheduled major speech at a party rally this night. During a press conference, he avoided direct questions regarding Senator McCarthy but said he did not believe the Senator's investigations of alleged Communists in the Government would be a major factor in the midterm elections. His address was to be broadcast nationally this night over CBS television and NBC radio.

In Caracas, Venezuela, Guatemala's foreign minister denied this date that he had assailed the U.S. the previous day in his address before the Inter-American Conference, saying that it was aimed at "intervention", the "internationalization of McCarthyism" and the "great North American monopolies", not against the U.S. This date's scheduled plenary session of the conference had been canceled without explanation, but it appeared likely that conference leaders wanted time for tempers to cool after the Guatemalan foreign secretary and Secretary of State Dulles had argued openly about placing on the agenda of the conference the threat of Communism in the Western Hemisphere, which the Guatemalan foreign minister took to be an affront to Guatemala because of previous U.S criticism of a heavy Communist influence in that country and some Communists occupying positions in the Guatemalan Government. Secretary Dulles had said that the foreign minister had repudiated two resolutions approved by Guatemala at previous international meetings, condemning international Communism "as incompatible with the concept of American freedom and as a danger for the American States."

In San Juan, Puerto Rico, police captured Pedro Albizu Campos, the 62-year old head of the Nationalist Party, following a shootout at his San Juan apartment this date during an island-wide roundup aimed at three dozen persons within the fanatical group which demanded independence for Puerto Rico, the same group behind the attack the prior Monday on the House in Washington, in which four Puerto Ricans opened fire, wounding five Congressmen, one seriously. The raid was officially described as having no connection with that shooting, that it was a roundup of members of a subversive group. Also in the apartment was the sister of one of the two assailants who had attacked Blair House, in an apparent attempt to assassinate President Truman in 1950, her brother having been killed in the ensuing shootout. First reports indicated that there was no one injured in the shooting and the arrest of Mr. Campos.

In Nice, France, police said this date that the wreckage of a missing U.S. Air Force C-47 transport plane had been spotted in the mountains behind the city. The plane had been carrying 20 persons when it disappeared on Thursday on a flight from Rome to Bitburg, Germany. Police said the wing had been spotted by a French farmer through field-glasses and that the report had been confirmed, that the plane was buried in snow at a 7,800-foot elevation in the Alps, ten miles southwest of Auron, a ski resort. Apparently there was no sign of life in the vicinity of the wreckage.

In London, the British Press Association reported that hormone treatments and three years of plastic surgery had transformed a British World War II fighter pilot into a woman in what was described as possibly the most complete sex change in world medical history. The former pilot was the father of two children who had been divorced by his wife in 1952 on a charge of desertion. His father had been a major general in Britain, was an honorary surgeon to the late King George VI, and, during the African campaign of World War II, had been director of medical services for General Eisenhower. While a male, the son had played rugby, football and participated in auto and motorcycle racing, and while a Spitfire pilot, had chalked up a good record in wartime dogfights, spending six months as a war prisoner after being shot down over Germany. He had started his hormonal treatments in 1948 after noticing a change in his physical condition and mental outlook, hearing from a physician that his body showed prominent feminine sex characteristics. He then underwent plastic surgery. Neither of the daughters had been told about their father's sex change and their mother had again married.

In Mobile, Ala., the heaviest snow in at least 50 years, with a four-inch accumulation, fell along the Azalea Trail, and spread along the Gulf Coast into western Florida.

Lucien Agniel of The News reports on the North Carolina Republican convention meeting in Charlotte, and the keynote address this date by Senator Frank Carlson of Kansas, who called for a foreign policy which would neither barricade itself on its own shores nor attempt to defend alone every free nation around the world. Senator Carlson was a close friend of the President and an early backer of him for the presidency.

Emery Wister of The News tells of flying with the Air National Guard over Charlotte in a T-33 jet trainer, providing his first-hand account of the experience.

On the editorial page, "To Tar Heel Republicans, Greetings" welcomes the North Carolina Republicans to Charlotte for their annual convention, and finds selection of the city to suggest that Charlotte held the greatest promise for developing a strong two-party system in the state. The Republicans were happy to have one Congressman from North Carolina, Charles Jonas, and were hopeful of gaining entry to other areas of state and local government.

It indicates that the Republicans were probably aware that things were not going very well in Washington and that the Democrats were having a difficult time attracting a good candidate to run against Congressman Jonas in the Tenth District. It refers to a Business Week piece, reprinted on the page, and suggests that it could have pointed out other Republicans in Congress who were opposed to the President's policies.

The Asheville Citizen had found Republicans meeting in Waynesville to have endorsed the Eisenhower program and that which Republican members of Congress were trying to accomplish, while urging the election of large Republican majorities in both houses of Congress "to uphold the hands of Ike", suggesting that something did not follow.

It suggests to the state Republicans that if they were going to pass resolutions, they should request that their Congressional leaders join the President's team, or the voters might decide to defeat them in November.

"Scott Meets a Big Issue Head-On" indicates that former Governor Kerr Scott, running for the Senate seat currently occupied by interim Senator Alton Lennon, could not have been more forthright in his speech in Charlotte the previous day to the Carolinas warehousemen regarding his opposition to secrecy in government, abuse of the Congressional investigative function and the encroachment by the legislative branch on the executive branch. He denounced the "vicious, irresponsible" abuse of the "legitimate investigative functions of Congress", and described as an "inflamed, growing cancer" the tendency of the legislative branch to take over the executive function.

To remedy the situation, he proposed that Congress enact necessary laws to protect the country from those who would destroy it from within, and that when the executive branch failed to bring to justice those who would destroy the country, Congress should use its power of impeachment.

It finds that the speech had been eloquent and penetrating in its analysis of the division of powers, and that the subject of secrecy in government was timely, both at the state and Federal levels. It suggests that the showdown recently between the President and Senator McCarthy had underscored the former Governor's remarks on the abuse of Congressional investigations and the attempt to usurp the authority of the executive branch, and that it was good to have a candidate for the Senate place himself squarely on the record on those matters, as it was in the Senate where the abuses to which he referred had gone unchecked.

"Rich Dividends from Modest Investment" finds adult education in the community had become of increasing importance in a rapidly changing world, and that a proposed tax levy of two cents per $100 of property valuation to support the two local community colleges would cost the average taxpayer very little each year. In return, Charlotte would have two two-year colleges, one for whites and one for blacks, serving both young people and adults who wanted to continue their education. It hopes that the City Council would approve the call for an election to ratify the proposal.

A piece from the Richmond News-Leader, titled "The Vanishing Pencil Mystery", indicates that it had just opened a new box of No. 1 pencils and wondered what had happened to the previous box of pencils which seemed strangely to have disappeared, despite not recalling having tossed pencils into the wastebasket more than a couple of times during the year after they had become sharpened down to the nubs. Yet, the editor was on the third or fourth box of pencils just since the prior Christmas.

It decides that by night the pencils turned into paperclips, as paperclips seemed always to be around, multiplying like rabbits. So it would count its pencils at the close of business and if by the following day, the six had dwindled to four or five while the paperclips had increased in number, it would invite the geneticists to come in to study the matter. It confesses that it did not believe the theory but still found something odd going on.

Business Week, as referenced in the above editorial, indicates that no one had ever questioned the right of Congress to investigate or criticize the executive branch as a necessary check on power, but the rights of Congress had never been intended as a weapon to interfere with the functions of the executive branch so as to weaken its power. It indicates that some Republican Senators were gravely injuring their own party in the eyes of the country while undermining the Administration. Senator McCarthy, chairman of the Government Operations Committee, was claiming that the Eisenhower Administration was as weak in ferreting out Communists in the Government as had been the Truman Administration.

In addition, Senator William Langer, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, had held up for nine weeks the recess appointment confirmation of Earl Warren as Chief Justice, while giving publicity to ten unverified charges against Mr. Warren while he had been Governor of California.

Senator John W. Bricker had persisted in his attempt to undermine the President's ability to conduct foreign policy despite the opposition of the President to his amendment of the treaty-making power, and the support given by many Republican Senators to the amendment had caused a rift in the party to become wider.

Senator William Knowland, Majority Leader, had found in Secretary of State Dulles's agreement to hold a conference in Geneva in April on the Far East, Korea and Indo-China, to be a form of appeasement to the Chinese Communists. That had come at a time when the Secretary had achieved positive results in the Berlin foreign ministers conference and deserved a vote of confidence. It was difficult to see that attack by Senator Knowland as anything but an attempt by Republican Senators to usurp the right of the executive branch to conduct foreign policy.

It finds that under those circumstances, it was only natural for the people to ask whether the Republicans were equal to the responsibilities of power. During their 20 years as a minority party, the Senate leaders among the Republicans had learned well to be an opposition party, and unless they could learn to cooperate loyally with a Republican Administration, the people would ultimately come to the conclusion that their rightful place was in the minority.

Drew Pearson indicates that Puerto Rican Governor Luis Munoz-Marin had been asked why he had released Nationalist leader Albizu Campos from jail the previous September despite the fact that he had lived for two years in the home of Oscar Collazo, one of the two nationalists who had tried to assassinate President Truman outside Blair House on November 1, 1950 and who had also plotted against the Governor. Discussing the matter with Mr. Pearson, the Governor had said that Mr. Campos had become a martyr to many people and that the longer he remained in jail, the more martyrdom he would acquire, that actually he was a mental case and now that he was released, people could see how crazy he was and would no longer take him seriously. The Governor said that while in jail, Mr. Campos had worn cold towels around his head to protect him from atomic rays from the U.S., which he believed the U.S. was directing into his cell to kill him. He still wore the towels around his head after his release and people realized that the notion was crazy. The Governor further told Mr. Pearson that the editors of Bohemian, a Cuban magazine, had been among those who wanted to make Mr. Campos a martyr, presenting him as a victim of U.S. oppression, but had changed their opinions when they came to see him and realized his mental condition. He also said that Mr. Campos was probably just as much in touch with the Nationalists while in jail as he was presently. The Governor doubted whether Mr. Campos had anything to do with the attack on the House by the Puerto Rican nationalists the previous Monday, indicating that it was "a few young hotheads" who had been responsible.

Senator Homer Ferguson of Michigan, chairman of the Republican policy committee of the Senate, appeared to mean business when he announced that there would be an overhaul of Senate investigative procedures, telling newsmen that the overhaul's aim was specifically directed at Senator McCarthy's methods and that the President wanted such an overhaul. But Senator Ferguson had a history of undertaking such tasks and then backing away, as he had done regarding the insider commodities speculation of Senator Elmer Thomas of Oklahoma, a Democrat. Senator Ferguson had started that investigation but then quickly called it off after receiving a letter from Senator Thomas saying that the latter was aware of some favors received by the Ferguson family from the Chrysler Corporation in Detroit. At that point, Senator Ferguson backed away. He was now calling up chairmen in the Senate and asking them politely to follow the rules of fair play, but was proposing no new rules or legislation which would modify Senate investigations.

Mr. Pearson predicts that Postmaster General Arthur Summerfield's plan to increase the pay of postal workers would not pass Congress in its present form because too much of the increase would go to the top-level postal workers and too little to the rank-and-file employees.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop indicate that the signs were clear as to Senator McCarthy's plans for the rest of the year and into 1955, that he would try to associate the President with Communist sympathies for not ridding the Government of subversive elements, while at the same time trying to tar the Democrats with the same brush, that if the Republicans were to lose the fall midterm elections, he would blame the President, and if they were to win, he would take the credit for himself. That would set the stage for the Senator's "Big Show for 1955" which would be to paint the President red. He would then seek to dominate the 1956 Republican convention, as doing so and obtaining control of the party were his declared objectives, as well as those of his allies. The strategy for that process was already well developed. Smearing the President was the only way that the authority of the Presidency could be challenged. His attacks on the Army, which had given the President his rise to prominence, signaled the beginning of the campaign.

While smearing the President would astonish and outrage many Americans, the country by and large appeared to regard the presence of suspected Communists as serious proof of dark, far-reaching plots. Many people believed that the Army Reserve dentist, whom Senator McCarthy had accused of having Communist sympathies because he refused to answer whether he had ever been a member of a subversive organization, and who had been promoted and then honorably discharged, was undermining the foundations of the country.

The Alsops believe that the smear of the President would hearken back to some of the things that had been done after the war in Germany, when General Eisenhower was in command, and suggest that it had been appeasing of the Communists. Indeed, Joseph Alsop, in 1946, had reported that a number of American Communists had found posts in the military government in Germany. But in those same times, the Communist-dominated Wisconsin CIO had endorsed Senator McCarthy in his primary win over Senator Robert La Follette. The Senator at that time simply responded that Communists voted, too. They indicate that their report from Germany in 1946 had little result, only serving to clean up the military government when General Lucius Clay, the successor to General Eisenhower, assumed the command. They suggest that were the same facts to be discovered presently, the country would lapse into a condition of "seething hysteria".

They indicate that few people presently would realize that the early mistakes the U.S. had made in Germany had done no great harm and few would realize that General Eisenhower had not realized the Communist affiliations of some of the members of his staff. Senator McCarthy would understand that tendency of the people to forget and bring up those facts when the opportunity arose, at the point when the Senator was built up such that his word would be taken against that of the President. Through repeated appeasement of the Senator, some advisers of the President were aiding that building up process.

But the Senator's recent reaction to the President's press conference appeared to have shocked even the most obstinate of the White House appeasers into a sense of the danger. The Alsops suggest that the President still had a chance to restore the national sense of proportion and give back a semblance of decency to political life, that if he were to do those things, the plan of Senator McCarthy would be "instantly frustrated".

Robert C. Ruark, in Wellington, New Zealand, suggests that independence might be readily granted to Puerto Rico if in the bargain the half-million or so Puerto Ricans living in New York would return to Puerto Rico. He says that the Puerto Ricans in New York were, as a group, the worst ever allowed into the country. He indicates that his opinion was apart from the recent attack on the House and the assassination attempt on President Truman in November, 1950, that those shootings had been the work of "wild-eyed zealots" and that there would always be people screaming for independence when they could not spell the word and would not be allowed to run it if they had it.

He finds that no one had a better deal from the U.S. than Puerto Rico, including their independence if they wanted it and could make it work. But, he finds, the Puerto Rican had become a classic case of criminality in New York, with blacks in Harlem shying away from them because the Puerto Ricans had given the blacks a bad name through association. He indicates that they had been brought into the country by the planeloads for political purposes and had loaded down the welfare rolls. The country was tying to assimilate a group which would not assimilate.

He indicates that the Capitol shooting showed that Puerto Rico needed the U.S. more than the U.S. needed Puerto Rico, which, he concludes, meant that the U.S. did not need Puerto Rico at all if it meant that the country had to inherit the Puerto Ricans already present.

Incidentally, on the theory that the trouble starts on the playgrounds, the first A.C.C. Tournament concluded this night, as a way of ameliorating the playground animosities, just as the game of basketball, itelf, was designed by Dr. Naismith to do. N.C. State was victorious, on its home court, over Wake Forest, 82 to 80 in overtime. Long despised by some coaches, as Frank McGuire, formerly of St. John's, now of UNC and then subsequently of South Carolina, as forcing the best team throughout the regular season to prove themselves again on three successive days at the end, the A.C.C. Tournament originated from the season-ending tournament held by the Southern Conference, out of which the A.C.C. germinated, and for many years, they were the only conferences to determine their post-season N.C.A.A. tournament representatives via their conference tournaments, until the expansion of the field began in 1976 to enable at-large bids from the conferences to teams not winning their conference championship, a fairer way of determining N.C.A.A. tournament participants but also subtracting from the excitement and tension of the conference tournament, though still serving its purpose of enabling an opportunity for teams not otherwise likely to be invited as an at-large bid to participate in the big national dance by winning the local dance contest over the course of successive days of competition to exhaustion.

While the playground animosities have not disappeared, as the human condition, constantly at work to overcome the primordial instincts with civilization, suggests they never will, they have dissipated over the decades, not in small measure thanks to basketball and basketball tournaments during March. Last year was a bust, with the air having been let out of the ball a year ago this week, starting the national shutdown for the pandemic. Hopefully this year, 2021, will be somewhat more fun, and next year, fans may return in the normal course of controlled chaos, sans mask, sans social-distancing, sans everything, the best way to vent pent-up frustrations over this or that grievance, shooting at a hoop, not a person. That's why the avoidable touch is a foul. Learn the game, then complain to the ref.

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