The Charlotte News

Monday, April 12, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports from Saigon that Viet Nam's new war Cabinet had decreed total mobilization this date of all of its male citizens between 21 and 25 to fight the Vietminh rebels. The new Cabinet had first been formed the previous Saturday by Chief of state Bao Dai. Premier Buu Loc and his two Cabinet members then ordered the call-up by May 15. It was not immediately stated how many of the 13 to 15 million Vietnamese would be affected by the order. It was the first time during the war that Viet Nam had called its young men in bulk into the armed forces, previously drafting them individually, with evasions being numerous and, in consequence, the French forces, comprised of French regulars, North Africans and Foreign Legionnaires, bearing the brunt of the fighting. A Government decree on Saturday had incorporated into Viet Nam's 300,000-man national army the 32,000 fighting men who had formerly paid allegiance to the Cao Dai and Hoa Hao religious sects and the Binh Xuyen party. The Cabinet also froze approximately 100,000 Vietnamese volunteers presently on active duty with the armed forces, ordered to continue serving until further orders. Most of the exemptions from military service were abolished. Court-martial boards were set up to deal with draft dodgers and deserters. All citizens subject to military service were forbidden to leave the country.

It was reported from Hanoi by the French high command that its troops at the besieged fortress of Dien Bien Phu were waging a furious bayonet counterattack on thousands of Vietminh rebels trying to smash into the fortress from the east and southeast. The Vietminh appeared to be seeking to regain a 1,200-foot hill overlooking the fortress, only slightly more than a half mile from its center. The French seized the height from the rebels in a surprise offensive Saturday and held it against four earlier large Vietminh attacks. The Vietminh were armed with submachine guns, rifles, pistols, grenades and plastic containers of high explosives and had charged up the jungle-covered hill into the heavy fire of the French Union troops, firmly holding a long series of winding trenches. As the Vietminh had come within close range, the French defenders emerged from their trenches and fought the rebels with bayonets and hand grenades.

In London, Secretary of State Dulles met with British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden in person this date to try to obtain his public promise of "united action" should Communist Chinese troops enter the war in Indo-China. It was reported that the British Government was willing to join in such a promise but only if the Russians and the Chinese demonstrated at the Geneva peace conference, set to begin on April 26, that they were willing to negotiate a peace in Asia. Secretary Dulles would address his arguments directly to Prime Minister Churchill this night when he would dine with him at No. 10 Downing. The opposition Labor Party stepped up its demands that the Prime Minister tell Secretary Dulles that not "a single British man or gun" would be used in Indo-China. Secretary Dulles was scheduled to fly the next day to Paris to meet with members of the French Government, reported fearful that strong public words to the Communists at present would doom in advance any chance of negotiating a peace in Indo-China at Geneva. The view of the British Government was reported to be the same.

Attorney General Herbert Brownell was scheduled to meet this date with the House Judiciary subcommittee, which was considering new laws against the Communist Party in the United States. He was proposing that new statutes be enacted to prohibit Communist control of industrial organizations and labor unions in vital sections of the nation's economy, to impose the death penalty for peacetime spying, as under the current laws regarding wartime spying, and to eliminate the statute of limitations which banned prosecutions for espionage after a given period of time. He also proposed taking away citizenship of any person found guilty of advocating the violent overthrow of the Government—decidedly unconstitutional out of the gate unless limited to naturalized citizens, as one born in the United States cannot have his or her citizenship removed for any reason, even if certain rights, such as voting rights, might be removed by a felony, or rights to travel limited by probation or parole. Republicans and Democrats in Congress applauded the general objections of the Attorney General's report, broadcast the prior Friday night, but it was not clear that his request for legislation would win passage in the form he desired, or whether it would receive any action at all.

In Washington, Republican Senator Dwight Griswold of Nebraska, who had been Governor for three terms of that state and was former director of the American aid mission to Greece under President Truman in 1947-48, had died early this date of a heart attack at the age of 60. He was in his first term as a Senator, having been elected in 1952 to complete the remaining two years of the term of the late Senator Kenneth Wherry, and had not announced publicly whether he intended to seek re-election in the fall, while having told close friends that he expected to be a candidate. It was unlikely that his vacancy would cause any change in the Senate partisan makeup, as the Governor of Nebraska was a Republican and presumably would appoint a Republican successor until the November election. Until that appointment occurred, the makeup of the Senate stood at 46 Republicans, 48 Democrats and independent Senator Wayne Morse of Oregon, who voted with Republicans on matters of organization of the Senate, as he had been originally elected as a Republican until changing to independent status during the fall of 1952.

In the sixth in a series of retrospective articles on Senator McCarthy's career, Associated Press reporter Relman Morin tells of the Senator acquiring his information about Communists during the prior four years through an intelligence system he had built up, based on a network of agents and informants, paid and unpaid, who dug up material all around the country, from confidential government files and even from foreign countries. His two principal sources of information were former FBI agents who earned more working for the Senator than for the Government, and undercover operatives in foreign countries. He also utilized a network of amateur tipsters and snoopers, "anxious or disgruntled people" whom he had never met and whose names might be unknown to him. It was often asserted that he had agents among the employees of Government offices, but no solid evidence to that effect had emerged, as the Senator carefully protected his sources and informants. He had access to some secret Government documents and classified material, but how he obtained them was maintained in secret. The Senator stated that when he first brought his charges of Communists in the State Department in February, 1950, he was swamped with tips, much of which had been worthless while some had proved very valuable. An old newspaper clipping from 1935, for instance, had been used by him the previous month to attack Edward R. Murrow as having supposed Communist sympathies, after the March 9 broadcast of "See It Now", narrated by Mr. Murrow, expressly reading from a script prepared by producer of the program, Fred W. Friendly, which had covered copiously the career of the Senator and made negative editorial comment on it. (The Senator had nothing to say about Mr. Friendly, probably assuming that his followers were too stupid to distinguish between a script prepared by the producer and the words spoken right there on the screen by Mr. Murrow, that they was one and the same as far as them's concerned.)

In Santa Barbara, Calif., actress Suzan Ball and her new husband, actor Richard Long, began their honeymoon this date with a leisurely drive up the California coast, after their marriage the previous day. Ms. Ball had lost her right leg to cancer in January. Everyone at the wedding ceremony had expected the bride to walk down the aisle on crutches, but she had vowed to do so unaided and accomplished that, following six days of practice with an artificial leg. Some 1,000 people had crowded inside and outside the quaint country church, and an audible gasp had arisen from the assemblage when she entered and walked without crutches, showing only a slight limp, accompanied by her father. Mr. Long had first seen his bride in a movie while in the Army in Japan four years earlier, had been impressed by her, and subsequently, while resuming his acting career at Universal-International Studios, had seen her sitting in the commissary and introduced himself, Ms. Ball having told him at the time that she had lost her leg to cancer. You recall Richard Long—"Bourbon Street Beat". Sure you do. We watched that one every week.

In Okeene, Okla., the champion hunter of the 15th annual "Rattlesnake Roundup" said this date that he was ready to retire after capturing the biggest rattlesnake in the history of the event, a Texas diamondback, 75.5 inches long. The man estimated that he had caught 2,000 rattlesnakes alive during his 19-year career. In all, contestants had caught 1,576 rattlesnakes in the Salt Creek Canyon in a safari sponsored by the International Association of Rattlesnake Hunters, billed as the most unusual sporting event, attracting 20,000 sportsmen from 26 states. The winner received a prize of $51.50 from auction proceeds. He said that the body of the snake must have been as big as a man's arm and as strong, that they had pinned the snake with a forked stick and snapped the steel snake-catcher behind his head before dropping it into a bag. Now, boys, it's time to sit down and fry up those suckers and have us a real Western-style meal.

On the editorial page, "The Story of the H-Bomb 'Delay'" indicates that the biggest dud which Senator McCarthy had thus far thrown had been in his previous Tuesday television broadcast on "See It Now", regarding the supposed "deliberate delay" of 18 months in the decision to proceed with development of the hydrogen bomb—a subject also treated below by the Alsops. He had posed the question that if there were no Communists in the Government, why there had been such a delay. It finds it to have been a non sequitur, as whether there were Communists in the Government had nothing to do with the delay in development of the hydrogen bomb, unless the decision-makers, themselves, were Communists. Yet, the Senator implied that Communists had caused the delay.

Former President Truman, members of the Atomic Energy Commission, informed Congressmen and physicists had debated the issue after the Soviets had detonated their first atomic bomb in August, 1949, trying to resolve practical questions—as the Alsops develop more fully.

It concludes that if Russia had begun work on the hydrogen bomb long before the U.S. found out about it, a charge of faulty intelligence might be appropriate, but that to insinuate that top Government officials and scientists delayed deliberately the bomb because of Communists in the Government was to do "an unconscionable injustice to their loyalty, their patriotism, their concern for the maximum security at the minimum cost, and their deep spirituality and morality that must have been chilled by the thought of developing the shudderingly destructive new weapon." It finds that they deserved better treatment for their decision and their effort in developing the bomb than they were receiving from Senator McCarthy.

"Rehabilitating N.C. Alcoholics" indicates that books such as The Snake Pit and newspaper series such as that by former deceased News reporter Tom Jimison, who, in 1941 had committed himself for a year to the mental institution in Morganton and then written about it in articles published throughout the state, had finally caused the society to realize that treatment of the mentally ill was cruelly improper, with the result that, in most states, mental illness was presently being treated like any other illness and large numbers of patients were being restored to sound mental health and mind.

But society had not so quickly realized the scientific facts about alcoholism, with many local governing agencies refusing to recognize it as an illness. Many judges repeatedly sent the drunk to prison, while knowing full well that incarceration only aggravated the condition. Many legislators refused to modernize laws or back establishment of adequate facilities for alcohol rehabilitation.

Recent articles in the newspaper by reporters Ann Sawyer and Lucien Agniel had demonstrated that alcoholism was a major problem in the community, about which little was being done to tap its roots. There was some start in that direction through community social organizations in the nearby prison camp for whites, but alcoholics in the black camp near Huntersville were not so fortunate. There were several active Alcoholics Anonymous units for whites in the Charlotte area, but none for blacks. That fact was not the result of a lack of effort on the part of white members of A.A., who had tried many times to set up black units and had tried an integrated unit, but gradually saw the black members drift away, not appreciating, just as with some of the white members, the true nature of the A.A. method.

At least one North Carolina community had a successful black A.A. organization, which included a doctor and a dentist. It finds that the success of the organization was probably dependent on education deriving from discipline of mind and character, plus a decent environment. The obligation for providing such a better social and economic environment, making treatment of the alcoholic easier, rested with the white community, but black leaders also could devote more attention toward the establishment of A.A. organizations in their community. All citizens of the state had the responsibility for choosing in elections officials at the state and county levels who would recognize the true nature of alcoholism and support such a program of rehabilitation, as opposed to redundant incarceration, of the remediable alcoholic.

"South's Gain Isn't Northeast's Loss" indicates that New England residents had made a major point in their argument with the South regarding the exodus of the textile business, that there was resultant great unemployment in New England and that, therefore, the Government should award contracts to New England because of that labor surplus and unused plant facilities. Yet, Southern mills usually could do the work more cheaply, and thus awarding Government contracts to New England could not be justified economically, though the human factor of mass unemployment deserved consideration.

It finds, however, that there was less validity to the argument because the electrical machinery industry was moving into the old New England textile mills and employing the former textile workers. Dozens of electronics companies had been lured to New England by the rental and sale of the vacant factories and the extensive labor market available. While textile mills in that region had lost about 54,000 workers, employment in electrical machinery industries had increased by 84,000 since before the war.

The transition had not entirely solved the unemployment problem, as in Lawrence, Mass., where about a fourth of the entire labor force was out of work, but that was an exception. A Wall Street Journal reporter had said that "a production revolution that's remaking the industrial face of New England" was in process.

Thus, the gain of the South was not New England's loss, and the South had finally obtained the industry which rightfully belonged in the South, because it was the source of the textile industry's raw materials. New England was making its adjustment.

A piece of from the Greensboro Daily News, titled "Keep Silent before Whom?" tells of a sports story out of the Greater Greensboro Open golf tournament, relating of someone having whistled when Julius Boros was starting his backswing on the first hole, whereupon he "toed the ball into the trees on the right".

The piece finds that inconsequential, wondering what would occur if every time a fan whistled from the bleachers, a baseball player fanned or muffed the ball, resulting in a game of the same sort as golf or tennis, "funereal", wherein "the silence is appalling". One expected someone to quote Edna St. Vincent Millay, "Prithee, let no bird sing." It finds that games were not supposed to be played in a hush and should not be too genteel. It favors more noise and rooting in golf and tennis, finds that it would be good training for any golfer's or tennis player's nerves to have a fan holler, just before a drive or serve, "You're gonna miss it, ya bum."

That's a good idea. Look at college basketball, for instance, where, until this past season at least, fans constantly waved their arms and cards and pictures and whatever else they could lay their hands on to distract free-throw shooters of the visiting team, with varying impact. The same was true of end-zone sitters in football vis-à-vis field goal kickers. What if golfers and tennis bums had to put up with that? It would liven up the games. The 2020-21 college football and basketball seasons were, for the most part, much more akin to golf and tennis, and suffered enormously for it in generating fan excitment. That is why there will always be an asterisk by this year's seasons which will read: "Because of the Trump-ignored pandemic, there were few, if any, fans on hand for any games, football or basketball." It should serve as a reminder that the fans are the true sixth man in basketball, the game-saving substitute off the bench in football. Hate them if you're the visitors, love them if you're in your home venue, their spirited presence is the spice of the thing for players and coaches alike, causing the adrenaline to flow aplenty, sometimes, when used to advantage by the visitors, having a reverse effect on the better teams who enter the hostile arena.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop indicate that Senator McCarthy was getting ready to play his "ace in the hole" regarding the supposed "18-month deliberate delay" of the hydrogen bomb, of which he had talked the prior Tuesday night in his one-man rebuttal to Edward R. Murrow's March 9 program on the Senator, both programs broadcast by CBS on "See It Now", the Senator implying that the delay was the result of "traitors" in the Government. The Alsops observe that he was seeking to distract from the McCarthy-Army dispute, nationally televised hearings on which were about to begin the following week, on April 22, and his "ace" had to appear as a sure winner.

There had, in fact, been a delay in the hydrogen bomb development, though it was more on the order of about five months, from the time of the Soviet detonation of its first atomic bomb in August, 1949, announced by President Truman the following month, until January, 1950, at which point the President had provided approval for the bomb's development. There was no question of any treason or traitorous intent causing that delay, but the nuclear physicists involved in the development of the atomic bomb had serious questions, both morally and practically, regarding the bomb. Dr. Robert Millikan, for instance, believed that the chances of successfully developing the bomb were only 100 to 1, and Dr. Robert Bacher, then a member of the AEC, believed that the thermonuclear fusion bomb would be less efficient by a ratio of about 16 to 1 than the fission bomb. There were also other technical grounds for objection and hesitation posited by many other physicists, a majority expressing serious reservations. Thus, if there had been any plot treasonous in nature to delay the bomb, a majority of leading U.S. physicists would have been involved.

While the physicists had been wrong about the problems of development of the bomb, it was understandable why they had hesitation about a weapon which could kill millions of people in one detonation.

The Alsops indicate that there was one prominent U.S. physicist involved in the Manhattan Project, who had, in his younger years, toyed with Communism, which they regard as "acts of political folly unworthy of the intelligence of a five-year-old child", though he had not by any means been alone in that dabbling during the 1930's. Though they do not identify the scientist in question, it was Dr. Robert Oppenheimer, shortly to become the focus of Senator McCarthy's inquiry into this entirely ridiculously conceived "plot" to delay development of the hydrogen bomb. The distraction, in the end, would not work to deceive anyone except the incredibly stupid—just as Trump's crazy "plot" by Democrats to "steal" the 2020 election. Things, styles and names, change while everything pretty much stays the same regarding the thing we call human nature, whether its generous side, its reflective side, or its disingenuous and politically or monetarily avaricious side, requiring for success, destruction of all of one's "enemies", the very reason, in the end, that we have wars and rumors of wars.

Doris Fleeson, still in Atlanta, indicates that farmers were in distress in Georgia, a popular favorite joke going around, started by Senator Robert Kerr of Oklahoma, being that the President had kept his word when he said he would bring the boys home, that he had brought one from Korea and two from Detroit. Georgia farmers were looking for help from Senator Richard Russell, who had expressed a negative view of Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson. That was bad news for the President, who still supported Secretary Benson. Ms. Fleeson suggests that Senator Russell could lead Southerners and Democrats into a winning combination with Midwesterners.

Business in the South under the Administration's policies, except in a few instances, such as textiles, had generally held its own. Retail trade was down slightly but an Easter increase was expected, Easter being the following Sunday.

She finds that, generally speaking, friendly impulses toward the Republican Party which had been set in motion in 1952 by General Eisenhower's candidacy had pretty much dissipated. While there was no resentment personally directed toward the President, as they still liked him and had not forgiven former President Truman, it was unlikely to translate into Republican support in the midterm elections.

An important assessment in any present Southern politics was registration of black voters, though the subject was not usually publicly discussed. The politicians, however, understood well that such registration was steadily rising and had to be taken into account in any realistic appraisal of the political scene. Southern experts were not surprised when Rufus Clement, president of Atlanta University, had been elected to the Atlantic City Council, elected by white voters gracefully bowing to the inevitable. Governor Herman Talmadge said that there were 150,000 registered black voters in Georgia, the overwhelming majority of whom were Democrats.

She indicates that there were Democrats who privately believed that South Carolina and Louisiana had voted for Adlai Stevenson in 1952 largely because of the black vote, and further believed that it would not be long before black voters became the balance of power in Louisiana.

Democrats believed that they had profited in the South by settlement of the tidelands oil dispute, arguing that it could no longer be a divisive issue among them. The Supreme Court had contributed to the present quietude politically by taking jurisdiction of the issue of segregation in the public schools, keeping civil rights legislation in abeyance in the meantime. Democrats frankly admitted that they were glad that the Court's decision would be rendered during the Eisenhower Administration, with a Republican Justice Department and the President therefore having responsibility for enforcing it.

Robert C. Ruark, in the Supkhar Range in Central India, tells of the way one shot a tiger being to find enough money to get into India and then finding someone who knew where the tigers lived and had the foresight to rent a "block" of land from the Government. Then one found a friend, such as his friend, Mr. Butt, who knew how to locate the tigers and knew the local aboriginals well enough to hire them at a rupee apiece to chase a tiger from its hidey-hole—and so on and so forth. We've heard this all before about your drunken safaris in Africa, and there appears little of consequence new about your drunken safari shaping up in India. So, if the reader is interested in drunken safaris, you may read about it. Or you can go back and read again about the rattlesnake safari out 'ere in Oklahoma.

A "Capital Quote" quotes from a speech by Senator Hubert Humphrey on the floor of the Senate on March 4, saying that he was sick and tired of being confused with Secretary of the Treasury George Humphrey, to whom, he clarified, he was no relation, regarding Secretary Humphrey's consistent headlines about raising interest rates, being against tax reduction, and finding no urgency in stopping a recession.

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