The Charlotte News

Friday, April 16, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Senator Karl Mundt, temporary chairman of the Senate Investigations subcommittee investigating the dispute between the Army and Senator McCarthy, pushed ahead this date with the plans for the televised hearings, despite demands from the McCarthy camp for another investigation before the public hearings would begin and to provide additional time for preparation in light of the "bill of particulars" released the previous day by the Army, setting forth in more detail the original charges that Senator McCarthy and subcommittee chief counsel Roy Cohn had placed pressure on the Army, through intimidation and threats, to provide special benefits for Private G. David Schine, a former unpaid subcommittee aide. Mr. Cohn had wanted to know who violated an earlier subcommittee decision not to make public the Army charges until Senator McCarthy's accusations against the Army had also been submitted and could be made public. Mr. Cohn made clear that he was not referring to Senator Stuart Symington, member of the subcommittee, who had given out the Army's list of charges, which the Senator said he had done because of prior "piecemeal leaks" to the press. Senator McCarthy, in Houston, said that he was very surprised that Senator Symington had violated the Senate rule. He also said that any Pentagon officials who had leaked parts of the report earlier should be cited for contempt. Senator Mundt said that he hoped the hearings would start the following Thursday, having previously been set for Wednesday and then postponed a day so that Senator McCarthy could deliver a speech in Houston.

Saul Pett of the Associated Press writes from Madison, Wisc., in the tenth and last of a series of retrospective articles on the career of Senator McCarthy, reporting that the Senator's support in Wisconsin would not be tested until he would come up for re-election in 1958, barring a special recall election. He had talked to several political figures, editors and persons on both sides of the fence, regarding the Senator's present popularity in the state, and had found no one even among his bitterest opponents who was ready to bet that he could not win re-election were he to have to do so in 1954. Some said he was stronger while others said he was weaker and still others predicted it would be a close race. The editor of a weekly newspaper had begun circulating a special recall election petition and generally opinion on it was cautious. A "Joe Must Go" movement was being planned and reporters present at a recent organizational meeting found that of the 500 present, the majority were Democrats. Wisconsin had only one Democratic Senator since 1932 and very few before that time. Many believed, therefore, that if anyone was going to defeat Senator McCarthy, it would have to be another Republican in the primary. The recall effort had to collect 404,000 names and then withstand a probable court fight contesting whether anyone could be removed from Congress other than by Congress, itself. If those hurdles were passed, the Senator's name would appear on the ballot opposed by any candidates who could receive 3,000 signatures, without any primary.

In Augusta, Ga., the President pledged this date that a "fair share" of American troops would be maintained in Europe as long as a threat to the security of the Western nations existed. He delivered the six-point message to the prime ministers of the six Western European countries which would form the European Defense Community united army, France, Italy, West Germany and the Benelux countries. He promised that rearmament of West Germany would not endanger France, in the hope of inducing ratification by the National Assembly. Only Italy, other than France, had not ratified among the six nations. The President also pledged continuation of efforts to provide for sharing with the country's allies more information about the use and effects of the hydrogen bomb and atomic weapons on military and civilian personnel.

Rowland Evans, Jr., reports that three Democratic Senators, Paul Douglas of Illinois, Herbert Lehman of New York and Burnet Maybank of South Carolina, said this date that they would fight any effort by the Senate Banking Committee to focus on housing swindles which might have taken place during the Truman Administration while glossing over more recent irregularities. Senator Homer Capehart of Indiana, chairman of the Committee, said that there was no such intent for the hearings, which would begin in public the following Monday regarding the multimillion-dollar scandal. But the three objecting Senators said that thus far there had been a lack of emphasis on exorbitant fees said to have been charged to homeowners for repairs financed with loans insured by the FHA, which officials had said had continued virtually to the present time. The other principal investigation, regarding FHA-insured loans to construct large apartment houses, involved loans which had been authorized by a law which had expired in 1950, though some of the projects were still under construction. The IRS had announced late the previous day that 1,149 corporations had received FHA loans to build apartment houses which cost less than the amount of the loans, the difference having been pocketed by the corporations. One result had been to force rental increases in those projects because rents were tied to the size of the loans. Senator Capehart had said that builders might have reaped a half billion dollar windfall under the program, designed to stimulate construction of apartment buildings during the postwar years. Senator Douglas said in an interview that it was natural for the Republicans to try to shift blame to the Truman Administration and that the Democrats would not try to cover up well-publicized abuses in apartment construction after World War II, but also would not allow the Republicans to divert attention from the current scandalous operations in the field of repair loans.

In Oak Ridge, Tenn., Federal mediators this date abandoned efforts to try to settle a threatened strike of 9,000 atomic production workers at three local plants, plus one at Paducah, Ky., as the mediation efforts had deadlocked. CIO and AFL union representatives were demanding substantial wage increases and the strike deadline was slated for this midnight. Further efforts at negotiation were taking place this date.

In Lincoln, Neb., a ranch woman and vice-chairman of the Republican Party in the state, Eve Bowring, was named this date to fill the vacancy in the Senate created by the death the prior Monday of Senator Dwight Griswold. Governor Robert Crosby, who made the appointment, had filed the previous day for the election to the full six-year term in 1954, which Ms. Bowring had indicated she would not seek. The appointment was made quickly to assure that there would still be a working Republican majority in the Senate, with 47 Republicans, 48 Democrats, and one independent, Senator Wayne Morse of Oregon, who voted with the Republicans for organizational purposes and when there would otherwise not be a tie vote which could be broken by Vice-President Nixon.

In Alabama, two communities 100 miles apart were struck by two different tornadoes this date, demolishing at least four buildings and damaging several others, but no one was reported injured.

In Honolulu, a Japanese farmer, 64, indicted on a charge of violating the immigration law, said that Japan had won World War II and that he could not be made to believe otherwise. He was accused of refusing to file an annual alien address report, and the U.S. Attorney's office said that he insisted that Hawaii was part of Japan and that everything else was a pack of lies. He said that he would believe that Japan lost the war only if the Emperor sent a representative, but was certain that the Emperor would not do such a thing. He also said that there was no Korean War, despite his son having been wounded in that war, indicating that he believed his son had been injured in Army maneuvers. A professor of sociology at the University of Hawaii said that the farmer's attitude had resulted from an "emotional crisis at V.J. Day which drove some older generation Japanese to seek questionable mental security in delusions of Japanese victory." Apparently, the same emotional crisis was reached by Trumpies on November 3, 2020, driving them into the same denial complex for the sake of security.

In Seattle, a million residents of the area had been stirred by pock-marked windshields of their automobiles, some blaming hydrogen bombs, others supernatural causes. The Mayor was trying to get the President on the phone, believing that someone was damaging thousands of windshields with an unknown substance and seeking appropriate Federal agency cooperation with local authorities on an emergency basis. There were doubters who believed that the people were victims of mass hysteria, suddenly becoming aware of something which may have happened days or even months earlier. A man assigned by the chemistry department of the University of Washington to assist authorities in finding an answer to the problem said that there was nothing of which he knew which could be causing unusual breaks in windshields and that after examining residue found on the cars, he believed that the "people must be dreaming". Claims of damaged windshields were mounting into the thousands, but no other glass objects or windows were at issue. The damage description ranged from actual holes to pit marks, and some claimed that they had seen the damage occur. Law enforcement officials were convinced that it was the result of vandalism which had begun in Bellingham, and some believed that the vandalism had simply spread. We suggest that it might have been the President hitting errant golf balls on long drives from Augusta National. What do you think?

On the editorial page, "Citizen School Committee Needed" indicates that the letters to the editor from intelligent and articulate readers regarding the five-part series of articles by Lucien Agniel, appearing four weeks earlier in the newspaper, showed the concern of the Charlotte public for the public schools. The letters had been notably free of the "super patriotism" or "Ku Kluxism" often engaged in by irresponsible critics of education in other areas of the nation. On the whole, the commentary had been thoughtful, sincere and reasonable.

It suggests that such concern indicated the need for an organization in the community to lead in formation of a citizens group to work with school authorities and parents in an effort to improve the schools. Citizen-teacher cooperation had been effective in many American communities and local citizens committees had been set up as chapters of the National Citizens Commission for the Public Schools. Teachers College of Columbia University had sponsored citizen-teacher cooperative studies in 200 communities across the country. The National Society for the Study of Education had released a 310-page report which, in the opinion of the New York Times, was one of the most extensive of its type ever prepared.

Since the end of World War II, local school boards had been so busy with the details of vast building programs to keep up with increased pupil registration that little time was left for acting as a means of communication between the people and the public schools. A citizens committee, it opines, would help fill that gap. It recommends that members of such a committee be informed and interested in the schools and have sufficient time to devote to the work.

"The Scandal in the Housing Program" indicates that the housing investigations, initiated by the President's seizure of FHA files early in the week, would produce some scandalous accounts of mismanagement at the least, while some cases thus far reported suggested that collusion and fraud might also be proved. Two principal types of deals had been reported, the first involving contractors receiving FHA loans larger than the total actual costs of the housing projects and pocketing the difference, and the other, involving transient groups of high-pressure home improvement and repair persons who had persuaded homeowners that they had to make certain improvements by law, so-called "dynamiters", who then made the improvements at exorbitant fees, and moved on.

It indicates that the Administration ought be commended for initiating the investigation, which could reflect adversely on both the current and the previous Administrations. But it finds it passing strange that the issue had not come to light earlier. Senator Harry F. Byrd, chairman of the Joint Committee on Reduction of Non-Essential Federal Expenditures, said that his Committee had probed irregularities nine months earlier and found Government agencies non-cooperative.

Two Congressional committees would work on the current investigation, Senator Byrd's Committee and Senator Homer Capehart's Banking Committee, both of which had reputations for expertise and diligence. The Administration had also entered into the probe, and by the following week, it anticipates, with the start of the committee investigations, the whole picture would become much clearer. It urges North Carolina contractors and housing officials to provide full cooperation to the investigations.

"N.C.'s Famous, Fighting Sons" indicates that a Peabody Award was to radio or television personalities what a Pulitzer was to a writer or a Medal of Honor to a soldier. During the week, two individuals, both native sons of North Carolina, were so honored. Edward R. Murrow received his third Peabody Award, and Gerald W. Johnson, who, unlike Mr. Murrow, had grown to adulthood in the state, worked on newspapers and taught in the state before moving north to Baltimore, had been honored for his television newscasts.

Less than a year earlier, three native North Carolinians, weekly editors Willard Cole and W. Horace Carter, and Vermont Royster of the Wall Street Journal, had received Pulitzer prizes. Two weeks earlier, Mr. Johnson had received the Sidney Hillman Award, presented annually for an outstanding contribution to civil liberties, race relations and associated issues. The previous year, the award had been presented to Messrs. Cole and Carter.

It finds that North Carolina could be particularly proud of those native sons because of the adversaries they had chosen. Messrs. Cole and Carter had taken on the Klan when it was dangerous to do so. Mr. Johnson had taken on hysteria and intolerance. Mr. Murrow had supplemented his uncommonly good radio reporting with equally good telecasts, including his March 9 telecast on the rise of Senator McCarthy and another memorable one on the young reserve officer, Lt. Radulovich, who had been regarded as a security risk because of leftist ties of some of his relatives. Mr. Royster regularly provided his readers with thought-provoking and incisive editorials. It finds that all of those honorees fit the phrase used by the Peabody Award committee in honoring Mr. Murrow: "Fair-minded and a fighter for justice."

A piece from the New York Times, titled "Little Girl Found", finds that an Associated Press picture of a ten-year old Inca girl found frozen and intact in a block of ice 20,000 feet up in the Chilean Andes, captured there for five hundred years, had the feel of universal experience, as the child's legs were pulled tight against her chest, her hands were held around her knees, and her head listed to one shoulder. It could have been a picture of an American girl, safe in the warmth of her playroom, fallen asleep in a corner shortly before supper. Or it could have been the familiar image of a child orphaned in a London air raid. It finds the peculiarly human attitude recurring repeatedly in the plastic and graphic arts, always representative of refuge of one kind or another from the world around.

Drew Pearson indicates that Senator McCarthy had been nursing as a trump card the charge that Communists had held up production of the hydrogen bomb and that Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer was responsible. The Senator had planned to bring the charge forth in his Texas speech on April 21 so that the headlines would eclipse the probe of the dispute between the Senator and the Army, which would start its public hearings on television the following week. The bomb had been delayed only during the fall of 1949, from the time that the Government learned of the Soviet detonation in August, that intelligence having come in September, until the determination by the President in January, 1950, to go forward with the bomb. Mr. Pearson indicates that he had published a column on January 23, 1950 regarding that delay, which had preceded by some three weeks Senator McCarthy's initial claim that there were Communists in the State Department. The reason for the delay had not been any motives involving Communism, but rather honest differences of opinion. He explores that disagreement in great detail.

He indicates that the primary point was that the scientific work on the hydrogen bomb had continued during that four-month interim, such that little, if any, time had been lost because of the debate. Moreover, the U.S. had a large enough stockpile of fission bombs to do the work of many hydrogen bombs, and the only difference between the two types was the destructive intensity of the hydrogen bomb.

Doris Fleeson indicates that Dr. Oppenheimer's moral doubts about building the hydrogen bomb had been so widely shared by fellow scientists that then-chairman of the AEC, David Lilienthal, said that he was not sure that he could get enough scientists who were willing to proceed with the project. Deputy Secretary of Defense at the time, former FDR press secretary, Steve Early, took the Pentagon view that development of the bomb could and must go forward.

The scientists who had opposed development of the bomb had been heard sympathetically by the American people and the idealism thus expressed had been dampened only by the Russian development of the atomic bomb, causing practical considerations then to take over public opinion. The Truman Administration had taken a calculated risk in employing Dr. Oppenheimer and the other reluctant scientists to develop both the atomic and the hydrogen bombs, and to the present time, President Eisenhower and his associates had followed suit. Everyone, including the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy in Congress, had been aware of those risks. That Committee would undertake any Congressional investigation which might follow the investigation ongoing by the three-person special commission appointed by the President.

By deciding to fight his suspension from the AEC, Dr. Oppenheimer had drawn attention to the problems regarding McCarthyism. It was accepted in Washington that the investigation was leaked to avoid Senator McCarthy using it to distract from the McCarthy-Army dispute investigation about to start the following week. The cost to Dr. Oppenheimer, even should he be vindicated, Ms. Fleeson suggests, would be great. It was not clear how it would affect the President's power to take risks.

She comments that the times demanded that American Presidents and high Government officials possess wisdom almost beyond that of mortals. Whereas people in the past had seemed too tolerant, they were now going to the opposite extreme.

Robert C. Ruark, in Balaghat, India, tells of the feast day, Holi, centered around a festivity lasting three days, in celebration of a battle by one of the early disciples of Lord Krishna with the forces of evil. Legend had it that it was a time of gaiety, with dancing girls and spring flowers. He finds that the people in the central provinces took such celebrations seriously, such that any woman who viewed a man could demand money from him or could legally beat him with a stick or pelt him with mudpies. Everywhere they went, there was a roadblock of laughing aboriginal women, requiring two rupees to pass.

After describing more of the festivities, he indicates that there had been a report that a tiger had killed a cow nearby and they organized about 60 people, "all as fried as newts and happy as Saturday night", staggered into the jungle behind his teetotaling Moslem guide, the only sober person of the bunch other than Mr. Ruark, who found the local green gin too much "even for a Volstead baby".

They located the tiger, but the group was making so many horrid noises that they must have scared it, causing it to bolt through the lines and depart for other climes. His guide said, in one of his six or seven dialects, that a drunkard had found the tiger and a drunkard had lost the tiger, that the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. Mr. Ruark replied, "Amen." On the way home, a drunken woman hit him in the face with a handful of soft, drippy mud.

A letter from the administrator of the Rural Electrification Administration in Washington comments on the March 11 editorial, "Room for Both Willie and Reddy", regarding the development and expansion of rural electrification since 1935, finding it informative and accurate.

A letter writer thanks his customers for helping him win tenth place in the News nineteenth annual efficiency contest for newspaper carriers. He indicates that he had been a carrier since October, 1953, describes his route, and assures that he would try hard to win first place in the following annual contest.

Probably won't be one if the next letter is correct. You best pack up and move to Antarctica.

A letter writer from Pittsboro indicates that he had been mulling over the March 27 editorial, "Can Democracy Meet Its Acid Test?" and finds that no government was more than the intelligence and character required by its people. He believes that the country was approaching the end of its government and that democracy was on the way out, that the individual was a slave to the government when daily bread was involved, as the case had become, that the end of the country would not come from nuclear war but rather by being nibbled to death in foreign wars and welfare governments at home, that socialism and perhaps Communism was on the march and would not be stopped until all peoples had their fill of it. He finds that people everywhere were moving away from the democratic concept of government, and he wishes he could see it otherwise.

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