The Charlotte News

Wednesday, April 14, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Paris, France had joined Britain and the U.S. this date in declaring that it would examine the possibility of creating a collective defense in Southeast Asia "to assure the peace, security and freedom" of that area. The agreement was announced in a joint communiqué issued by Secretary of State Dulles and French Foreign Minister Georges Bidault, following a day of conferences between the two. It was in the same pattern as that issued in London the previous night by Secretary Dulles and British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden regarding an alliance of ten nations, to form what would ultimately become the following September, SEATO.

During the discussions between Secretary Dulles and Foreign Minister Bidault, the latter explained that France wanted a solution to the Indochinese conflict as quickly as possible so that it could meet its obligations to the Indochinese Associated States, Viet Nam, Cambodia and Laos, and suppress the dangers of Communist intrusion in that sector. He said that he was opposed to any measures being undertaken prior to the April 26 Geneva conference on Asian problems. The discussions were described as cordial. Secretary Dulles was scheduled to meet later with French Premier Joseph Laniel, and perhaps with former Emperor Bao Dai, present chief of state of Viet Nam.

Senator McCarthy said that he had affidavits purporting to show that Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer had once been a member of the Communist Party but declined to elaborate. Dr. Oppenheimer had previously categorically denied that he had ever been such a member. Two other persons familiar with the case stated that the accusations had been reviewed and discounted years earlier. The Atomic Energy Commission had issued a formal statement the previous day, after Dr. Oppenheimer had made public correspondence between the general manager of the Commission, Maj. General K. D. Nichols, and himself regarding his suspension by the AEC of his security clearance the prior December, saying that the President had ordered "a blank wall" be placed temporarily between Dr. Oppenheimer and secret data on the atomic bomb, to which he had access for the prior ten years.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop, appearing on the front page, indicate that hearings were currently taking place behind closed doors before a specially appointed three-man board headed by former Secretary of the Army and present UNC president, Gordon Gray, to determine whether Dr. Oppenheimer was a loyal American citizen, and that Senator McCarthy was preparing to try to use the matter to rescue himself from his present predicament in the investigation of his dispute with the Army. They posit that Dr. Oppenheimer would receive a fair hearing before the three-member board but not from Senator McCarthy. They attempt to show how Dr. Oppenheimer had used bad political judgment 15 years earlier in dabbling in Communism, in a present time when the old Biblical injunction, "Judge not lest ye be judged," was considered subversive in some quarters. They indicate that through all of his early years, until he was well past 30, Dr. Oppenheimer had known little more about politics than a child, at a time when only a comparative handful of persons across the world were practicing theoretical physicists. He had lived in a closed and cloistered world of his own, in which even the basic language used to communicate his ideas was not understood by the rest of the world, causing the rest of the world to mean little to him. Around 1936, as Hitler's power over Germany was consolidated, Dr. Oppenheimer, who had Jewish friends and relatives in Germany, some of whom he was able to rescue and others he was not, had reacted to Nazism by naturally viewing the Communists as an unsavory means of defeating them, but had never accepted Marxism or understood it, and had never come to see Communism as any reliable system. Nor had he ever joined the party, as had his brother for a brief time. The rest of the piece is continued on an inside page.

Associated Press reporter Don Whitehead, in the eighth of a series of retrospective articles on Senator McCarthy, indicates that in 1949, he had first taken issue with the Army regarding the supposed coerced confessions of war crimes by German SS troops who had been involved in the Malmedy massacre of U.S. prisoners of war during the Battle of the Bulge in December, 1944, coercion which the Senator had said placed the Government in a position "of condoning a brand of brutalitarianism worse than that practiced by the most morally degenerate in either Hitler's or Stalin's camps". He had linked the name of General Marshall with that which he called "a conspiracy of infamy so black that, when it is finally exposed, its principles shall be forever deserving of the maledictions of all honest men." He had sought to picture General Eisenhower, while he had been chief of staff of the Allied forces in Europe, as "invariably" siding with General Marshall in decisions which the Senator said had aided the Russians. He had charged that the Army had been "run by politics" and "political generals", following the firing by President Truman of General MacArthur from his Far Eastern command. He had accused the Army of "20 years of softness" in dealing with Communists, and most recently, contended that the Army was blackmailing him in releasing a report which claimed he and his chief counsel of the Investigations subcommittee, Roy Cohn, had sought special treatment for Private G. David Schine, a former unpaid aide of the subcommittee, in an attempt to get the Senator to relent in his investigations of Communists in the Army. In a recent interview with the Associated Press, the Senator had stated, in answer to a question as to why, thus far, he had only been investigating the Army in any major way, that if he and his staff found any Communists in the Air Corps or other branches, then they would be investigated also.

Senator Homer Capehart of Indiana said this date that the Senate Banking Committee, of which he was chairman, would ask for $250,000 to investigate what he called enormous, excessive profits obtained by some builders of rental housing insured by the Government, indicating that there might be as much as 500 million dollars involved in the matter.

In Augusta, Ga., the President had given orders this date to see what could be done about providing an Easter weekend plane ride home for a group of Army privates stationed at nearby Camp Gordon. Twenty-six G.I.'s had appealed to the President through an appointments secretary for use of his private plane for a trip to their homes in New York and New England. Press secretary James Hagerty said that he had been instructed by the President to see what could be done to obtain a commercial plane, but that they did not believe that they could or should use the President's plane for anything other than official business. An Eastern Air Lines executive said that his company was looking into the matter.

In Illinois, Joseph Meek, who labeled himself a "no-label, unhyphenated Republican", had won the Senatorial nomination early this date in the nation's first primary of the year. Mr. Meek headed an organization of 60,000 Illinois merchants. He said that he would support most, but not necessarily all, of the President's policies, that he was neither a Taft-Republican nor an Eisenhower-Republican. He said that he supported cuts in taxes and foreign economic aid, and the position that no Americans should be sent to fight in Indo-China, considered investigations aimed at Communists, such as those of Senator McCarthy, necessary, but that the technique employed was not always perfect. The lightest turnout in at least ten years had taken place in the primary, and there were no surprises. Mr. Meek would face incumbent Senator Paul Douglas in the November race.

Betty Boyer, in this date's weekly "Grocery News" column, tells of the secret of golden mayonnaise, as well as other culinary delights, including the Sweetheart Soap and Blu-White Flakes, sounding as a fit breakfast of champions. We don't get the cartoon... Probably Communist-inspired.

On the editorial page, "Two Thoughts on Oppenheimer Probe" indicates that in June, 1953, Gertrude Samuels had written in the New York Times Magazine an article titled "A Plea for 'Candor' about the Atom", setting forth the views of Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer regarding atomic security regulations, stressing the internal conflict in Dr. Oppenheimer from his "dual role as a citizen with unique responsibilities and as a scientist trained to find rational solutions for complex problems." The author had said that since the war, Dr. Oppenheimer had dropped his purely scientific work in favor of close advisory work with the nation's policy-makers and the AEC, having desks in the President's office in the old State Department building, in the Pentagon, and at the Princeton Institute for Advanced Study.

The piece suggests that since his recent suspension on security grounds by the AEC, with his loyalty now in question, having been closer to the atomic energy program than even the President, the matter approached the incredible.

It speculates that the Eisenhower Administration perhaps had known of Senator McCarthy's plans to launch a sensational attack on Dr. Oppenheimer and had decided to preempt that attack and its conceivable revelation of sensitive atomic energy secrets by taking the bull by the horns and suspending him, to enable the Administration to conduct the investigation. Such speculation fit the facts, as the charges against him were old and had been known to the Government security agencies for a long time. In naming an impartial three-man board comprised of men of unimpeachable reputation and integrity, including Gordon Gray, UNC president, the President had adopted a policy which it posits should have been instituted long earlier, enabling the charges and evidence to be sifted in an atmosphere of calm, free of sensational headlines so often produced by self-serving Congressional investigators.

It concludes that there was nothing more of the moment which could be ventured on the matter as the story still remained too dim in its implications and too frightening to permit current rational discussion.

"Planning Would Minimize Controversies" indicates that it was doubly regrettable that the proposal to widen Providence Road had already become so thoroughly enmeshed in a political controversy. It goes on to explain, should you be interested in that 67-year old controversy of great moment in our time of times. Well, were it your neighborhood...

"Draft Board Statement Now in Order" indicates that when the five members of the Mecklenburg County draft board had resigned the previous week, their refusal to discuss the facts of the case had been understandable and proper, because to discuss the matter would have served to reveal the identity of the inductee, whose induction had been delayed by 60 days because of "political pressure" exerted on the board from some unknown source in Washington. But since that time, the identity of the young man, a student at UNC, whose father had sought the extension to enable his son to graduate on time in June, had become known, permitting the board members to make the full record public. It thus ventures that it would be important for them to do so.

It suggests that there was more to the story than just the 60-day deferment or the board members would not have taken such drastic action as to resign. If Selective Service director General Lewis Hershey had made an arbitrary and unreasonable decision in overruling both the local and state draft boards, the people should be permitted to judge how arbitrary and how unreasonable his decision had been, and the ultimate source of the "political pressure" exerted on him. To enable full confidence in the draft system, the public deserved a detailed explanation.

"10 Per Cent for 70 Per Cent" indicates that on May 29, residents of the county would vote for a chairman of the Board of County Commissioners and four members of the Board, from a field thus far of 11 candidates, whom it lists. Only one of the 11 resided in Charlotte, which contained about 70 percent of the county's population. It therefore suggests that unless the pattern changed, residents of the city would have no one to blame but themselves should their viewpoint not wind up sufficiently represented on the next County Board.

A piece from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, titled "Department of Icy Calm", indicates that a man living in Eau Claire, Wisc., had his house smashed into by an automobile for the ninth time, and had requested, in consequence, that the City install a blinker warning light. It finds that a minimum response to irritation, and that the next time a driver waited a couple of moments before starting out after the light turned green, the editors would not give a hoot.

Something seems to be missing from this piece, such as an explanation of how that comment necessarily follows from the related vignette.

Drew Pearson tells of having had lunch on December 15, 1950 with Frank Stanton, president of CBS, who was at the time enthusiastic about a sponsor's proposal to use Mr. Pearson's radio and television program on his network. On the same afternoon, however, Senator McCarthy had delivered a speech on the Senate floor, for which he was immune from lawsuit for defamation, in which he attacked Mr. Pearson, encouraging his sponsors to drop him and that newspapers cancel his column and radio networks, his program. Mr. Stanton had then sent word officially that time could not be made available for Mr. Pearson's program on CBS, and Mr. Pearson learned that Edward R. Murrow, CBS vice-president in charge of news, had actually been the person who emphatically turned down the idea.

He indicates that from that perspective, he had watched Senator McCarthy's castigation of Mr. Murrow on April 6, after CBS had allotted him equal time on the "See It Now" program to respond to the March 9 program, which had presented a retrospective on Senator McCarthy's rise to power, largely presented through his own words, with some critical commentary at its end. Mr. Pearson indicates that he had sympathy for Mr. Murrow in enduring the attack. It appeared to Mr. Pearson that the Senator had done a more effective job than that for which the critics of the Senator had given him credit, that he had the help of some of the best "hucksters" on Park Avenue, two advertising men from a well-known firm having helped him prepare his filmed response, though having done so without the knowledge of the head of the firm, Bruce Barton. A former public relations man for Nazi Germany had also assisted. The film could be repeatedly re-shown across the country, without the ability of Mr. Murrow immediately to respond again. He indicates that the Senator had employed the old technique of Joseph Stalin, that anyone who was the enemy of Stalin was also the enemy of Russia, such that Mr. Murrow, being an enemy of the Senator, became responsible for the growth and expansion of the Soviet Union.

Yet, he indicates, Mr. Murrow had done a great deal to warn of the expansion of the Soviet Union, whereas Senator McCarthy had helped rather than hindered that expansion. He had, for instance, voted against the Marshall Plan, which the Communists had vigorously opposed. He had ridiculed the Voice of America, on which the Russians had spent millions of rubles to jam, to prevent its broadcast into Iron Curtain countries. The Senator's first crusade in the Senate had been to accuse U.S. Army officers of torturing Nazi prisoners who had executed in cold blood 150 U.S. prisoners of war in the Malmedy massacre at the Battle of the Bulge in December, 1944. His speeches on the subject had been inspired by a Communist agent, and were echoed in the Communist press for propaganda reasons, ultimately doing grave injury to U.S. prestige and the U.S. military government in West Germany. The Senator had also helped to undermine the morale of the U.S. Army by his attempts since the previous fall to investigate Communists within its ranks, something also to the liking of the Soviets. He had also undermined the morale of the U.S. diplomatic service, something the Kremlin also was seeking to do. The Senator was helping to render the country "apathetic, discouraged, and resentful toward the rest of the world", the kind of atmosphere in which Soviet expansionism could thrive without risk of intervention from the U.S. The entire fabric of Senator McCarthy's attacks on Americans served the basic purpose of Communism, as originally expressed by V. I. Lenin, to have the "American bourgeoisie lose their heads, arrest thousands of persons suspected of bolshevism and create an atmosphere of panic and spreading alarming rumors about bolshevik plots".

Doris Fleeson, in Birmingham, indicates that 1952 vice-presidential nominee John Sparkman, Senator from Alabama, was having to wage a fight for re-election against Representative Laurie Battle, who was put into the race by Birmingham's "big mules"—a term which she explains as having originated from the late Governor Bibb Graves to refer to the South's economic royalists. Mr. Battle had been able, however, only to attack Senator Sparkman's record on straddling the fence on labor and civil rights. The Senator had served as a delegate to the U.N., where about two-thirds of the spokesmen for other member countries were non-whites. While voting against civil rights in Congress, he had waged a battle for greater economic and educational opportunities for everyone.

Mr. Battle professed to find in him a "traitor and turncoat" to the South, with the customary prejudicial material beginning to appear on the outlying fringes of his campaign. The Dothan Eagle, on April 2, had published a photograph of Senator Sparkman with three black leaders, including a Birmingham lawyer and his House colleague, Representative William Dawson of Illinois, a vice-chairman of the DNC. The caption above the photograph had read "A Portrait of Alabama's Non-Deviating Senator", and comments below it reinforced the argument that he was supportive of civil rights legislation, particularly FEPC, while he had been running for the vice-presidency—implying, though not specifying, a different stand while running for the Senate in 1948 and again in 1954.

It was a pattern familiar to reporters who had covered the campaign in 1950 between Willis Smith and incumbent Senator Frank Porter Graham in North Carolina, and the race the same year between then-Congressman George Smathers and incumbent Senator Claude Pepper in Florida. That pattern was for the candidate, educated and attractive, aware that were he to win the race, he would be tied to his campaign record, to take the high road while others campaigning on his behalf took the low road, enabling the candidate to disavow such unsavory tactics.

A widespread impression existed that the race at hand was only a dry run for targeting senior Senator Lister Hill, who would have to run for re-election in 1956. Senator Hill was a true leader of Southern liberal forces, able to identify important objectives, and while deviating inexplicably along the way, as had FDR, never losing sight of his ultimate goal. He had resigned as Senate Whip after a short tenure in the position and had taken himself out of the running for Democratic leader, but had conceived the idea of seminars for liberal Senators at which experts would familiarize them with the issues, enabling them to organize among themselves to keep watch on legislative policy.

Mr. Battle had been shrewdly chosen for his role, as the son of a preacher, a World War II veteran, attractive and well spoken, having a respected following across the state, consisting mainly of professional classes.

The odds were for re-election of Senator Sparkman, but he could not take anything for granted, as could not Senator Hill.

The gubernatorial race was standing on its own, with eight candidates, including the unfavorably known former Governor "Kissing Jim" Folsom, who had been given a chance early in the race, but James Faulkner, a young member of the Hill-Sparkman faction, was now odds-on favorite to win. Governor Folsom would actually win the race.

Robert C. Ruark, in the Supkhar Range in India, tells of having protected the smaller game twice by killing two large tigers, both approximately ten feet long. He describes in detail how he dispatched them and indicates that there was an evil in a tiger which he had never seen in any other animal, "a mocking streak of devilishness that communicates itself to the people and the other animals around him", which was why it had been classed as a public enemy with no-holds barred on hunting it.

A letter from J. D. Messick, president of East Carolina College in Greenville, N.C., finds that News reporter Lucien Agniel had done an excellent job in seeking truth in his five-part series four weeks earlier on education in the state, focusing on the teacher shortage, especially among elementary school teachers, attributed primarily to the strict certification requirements limiting the available college curriculum of prospective teachers. He indicates that he had graduated from a liberal arts college where he had taken 18 hours of education, and was an honor graduate with a major in English. He had then served as a principal of a consolidated school system for nine years and then become superintendent of schools, where he also served primarily as principal of the high school and elementary school for six years, while continuing his studies in the summers toward graduate degrees in English and the administration and supervision of public schools. For nine years, he had been dean of Elon College and then had spent three years as dean of New Jersey State Teachers College in Montclair, before joining East Carolina for the previous seven years. He describes East Carolina as a "multi-purpose college, carrying both the arts and teacher training programs." He suggests that his wide variety of experience gave him a comprehensive and unbiased view of the total program in education, and he finds that one thing which the liberal arts college people failed to recognize was the change from the teachers college of 25 years earlier to the teachers college of recent years. He had been chairman of the National Committee on Accreditation of Colleges of Teacher Education in the United States, including schools of education in universities, and had the opportunity for several years to study the standard requirements of education throughout the country. He found that teachers colleges in general required just as many hours in substantive subjects for their majors and minors as did the liberal arts colleges. The staffs of the teacher colleges were also as usually well-prepared as those of the liberal arts colleges. At East Carolina, 65 percent of the staff held a doctoral degree from leading colleges and universities, and the remainder, save one, had a master's degree with considerable work beyond that point. He says that while he had been in New Jersey as an educator, a thoughtful and helpful idea had been put forth, that those who graduated from liberal arts colleges and wanted to enter teaching would be permitted to take a six-week course in the summer, after which they were provided an A-ranked certificate, renewable each year until they had satisfied requirements for general certification by attending the summer sessions. He believed it was necessary for teachers to know more than material gathered from substantive courses, that one could not expect, for instance, a doctor or other professional to become a practitioner without having had practical experience at the laboratory level, that the minds of children were as important as dealing with the physical condition of those same children.

Well, we permit lawyers to go right out from law school, without any necessity of practical training, and begin representing clients, and that situation prevails even to this day. We can attest that there is no substitute for practical legal training while still in law school in the desired field of the law in which one wants to practice, even if only handling two or three cases, under a professor's supervision, during the course of one year of law school, preferably the third year.

A letter writer indicates that the following Sunday was to be honored as Easter, and that when she thought of how Christ had died on the cross to save her and everyone else from sins, and had arisen again, it made her want to live closer to him and thank God for giving his Son to die on Calvary that she could be forgiven of her sins and go to Heaven when her life on earth was over.

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