The Charlotte News

Tuesday, April 20, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports, via William L. Ryan, Associated Press foreign news analyst, writing from Singapore, that a cluster of Tonkinese peasants had watched as the reporter and his French officer escort had driven by in a jeep in the Tonkin delta area of Viet Nam, their faces "inscrutable under their big, round, pointed straw hats", the French officer saying that they were possibly Vietminh, or possibly not, that no one knew, as the Vietminh were everywhere and no one knew exactly who they were. Mr. Ryan indicates that it was why in that region of northern Indo-China everything which could be damaged by sabotage was being heavily guarded, that only the barbed wire in Hanoi reminded that a war was transpiring, that its peaceful look was otherwise deceiving. The French admitted that inside Hanoi, the capital of Tonkin province, there were at least two armed battalions and perhaps more Vietminh hiding, ready to rise when and if the signal were given. A French sergeant warned Mr. Ryan not to venture out at night in the bicycle rickshaws, the taxis of Hanoi, as the boy pulling it might be a "Viet", as the French called the rebels. The French nominally controlled all of the delta, which was comprised of swampy rice fields and dense forests surrounding 5,400 villages containing some seven million persons. General Rene Cogny, the French commander in the region and an outstanding and colorful officer, said that the Vietminh in the area had 30 battalions of regular troops, 15 "regional" battalions, 100 "district" companies and about 50,000 guerrillas. In Hanoi and the villages, those troops would rise from their thatched huts, out of the fields, even out of the city's sewers, if a signal were given to attack.

Senators Homer Ferguson of Michigan and Styles Bridges of New Hampshire, following a meeting this date with Secretary of State Dulles, said that they believed no decision to send U.S. troops to Indo-China was under consideration, that following the statement the previous Friday by Vice-President Nixon that in the event the French were to pull out of Indo-China, the U.S would need to send in ground troops to save Indo-China from the Communists, the keystone to all of Southeast Asia. The purpose of the briefing by the Secretary was to advise members of Congress regarding the upcoming Geneva conference, set to begin April 26. Senator Bridges said that in his view, the prospects for success of the conference appeared gloomy but not hopeless. He had said in a speech the previous night that the country had made its decision to hold Indo-China, but said this date that there was no move to send U.S. troops there. Senator John Sherman Cooper of Kentucky, a former U.N. delegation member—nine years later to become a member of the Warren Commission—, said this date that he was prepared to follow the Administration's lead in maintaining Indo-China from Communist control. He favored pressuring the French to permit U.S. training of native troops to fight against the Vietminh, a proposal which the French had previously rejected on the basis that it would only invite the Communist Chinese to enter the fight.

Secretary Dulles said the previous day, following a conference with the President at Augusta, Ga., that it was "unlikely" that any U.S. troops would be sent to Southeast Asia, but declined to answer whether he would favor that action as a last resort should the French withdraw.

Members of the Senate Investigations subcommittee, set to begin on Thursday the investigation into the dispute between Senator McCarthy and the Army, were planning to complete their preliminary arrangements in a closed-door meeting this date, with informed sources indicating that they had nearly reached an agreement that both the Senator and Army officials would be allowed to question each other and other witnesses, a remaining issue being how far the Senator would step to the sidelines while the subcommittee, which he normally chaired, investigated the dispute. The Senator and two of his aides were planning to submit during the day a bill of particulars, outlining what they would attempt to prove against the top Army officials, who had charged in a report to the subcommittee that the Senator and chief counsel for the subcommittee, Roy Cohn, had sought preferential treatment for former unpaid subcommittee aide, Private G. David Schine, following his draft into the Army the prior fall. The Senator and his aides had contended that the Army was attempting to "blackmail" the Senator into dropping his investigation of Communists in the Army.

In Darwin, Australia, the wife of former Soviet diplomat Vladimir Petrov, who had fled Communism for asylum in the West, had joined her husband after Australian police officers had disarmed two Russian escorts ushering her in tears back to Moscow. The Australian police had wrestled with the two escorts as a Europe-bound plane stopped in Darwin on its first leg of a flight from Sydney. Eight hours earlier, some 1,500 anti-Communists at Sydney had fought with police in a vain effort to prevent the woman from being dragged aboard the BOAC Constellation by the Soviet Embassy's second secretary and the two armed Russian couriers. White Russians in the crowd said that they heard Mrs. Petrov screaming: "I do not want to go. Save me." Australian authorities said that she was heading back to Russia on the belief that her husband had been kidnaped and killed, but made her final decision to stay after a prearranged telephone call from Darwin had established contact for the first time with her husband since he had fled with Communist espionage data from his post as third secretary of the Canberra Embassy and as chief of the secret police. The Soviet Ambassador immediately lodged a formal protest at the Australian Foreign Ministry, charging an armed assault on the diplomatic couriers.

Senator Harry F. Byrd of Virginia said this date that Government housing officials had guaranteed 24 million dollars in loans for the Glen Oaks Village apartment housing project in Queens County, N.Y., despite the project costing only 20 million. He said that he had been unable to ascertain an explanation for why that had occurred, but referred to it as a clear evasion of the law which had limited such loans to a maximum of five million dollars, that tax officials had discovered hundreds of similar examples of windfall profits acquired under Federal housing programs. He said that he had written to Federal Housing administrator Albert Cole on March 24, asking for information on who had been responsible for the loan guarantees, but had not yet received a direct answer.

In Washington, the court-martial of Corporal Edward Dickenson, a former prisoner of war in Korea, accused of informing on his fellow American prisoners, was proceeding in its second day, with the testimony of a former prisoner who said that his plans to escape from a prison camp had been tipped off to the captors by the Corporal. Defense counsel, a retired Army colonel, had obtained from the witness an admission that he had also overheard Corporal Dickenson say that he was planning an escape, and when asked why he had not previously mentioned that fact, said that he tried to forget things. Defense counsel indicated that Army intelligence had instructed prospective witnesses not to cooperate with the defense and that the defense would call an Army doctor, who had also been imprisoned in Korea, to corroborate that statement. The defense also tried to prevent introduction of recordings by the prosecution, allegedly made by Corporal Dickenson, on the ground that it could not be determined that he was the voice on the recordings.

In Charlotte, a traffic captain of the Police Department stopped his police car at an intersection and was preparing to turn left, with his signal lights on, while he waited for oncoming traffic to clear, at which point he heard a crash, propelling his police car 65 feet after a car had struck the rear of his car, jolting him backward, but without injury. The other car had been traveling at about 25 mph at the time of the collision, which caused about $400 of damage to the front of the following car and about $250 worth of damage to the rear of the police car. The driver of the following car was charged with reckless driving.

Incidentally, the lone-nut theorists could cite this 67-year old newspaper account of this accident as providing proof that a force exerted from the rear will cause backward movement of a person riding in a vehicle to which the force is applied, even if the circumstances are completely different, obviously, from force applied directly to a person in the vehicle by a projectile entering the human body. Also, the police captain may have simply been describing the initial thrust backward from the rear impact, before the recoil forward, the backward movement resulting only because of the rearward force to the rigid automobile causing a momentary backward reaction in the non-rigid human skeleton, a compensatory sliding effect produced by the greater weight and mass of the automobile, whereas the direct force to the human body by a projectile entering it would result in the predictable movement, consistent with the laws of physics that for every force applied in one direction, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Thus, lone-nut theorists, don't get your hopes up.

Also in Charlotte, a man who posed as an employee of the City Engineering Department was being sought by police for stealing a schoolteacher's automobile. The teacher said that the man, wearing a blue work shirt and work trousers, had come into the school during the morning and told her that the City was planning to do some paving work outside on Brevard Street and that all automobiles parked on the street would have to be moved. The teacher went to the school office to obtain her keys, and the man offered to move her car for her, at which point she gave him the keys, thanked him and returned to her classroom. After the man did not return with her car keys, she called the Engineering Department, and officials informed her that no street work was authorized in the area, at which point she called the police. Her car was a 1948 dark green Buick and the man was described as 5'8" tall, weighing approximately 145 pounds, having a ruddy complexion and black hair, should you see him in the teacher's car roaming around Charlotte today.

On the editorial page, "In an Off-Moment, a Political Crisis" indicates that Vice-President Nixon's statement the prior Friday regarding the possible use of U.S. ground troops in Indo-China, should the French withdraw, had served to confuse the question instead of clarifying it, and so it seeks to review the circumstances under which the statement was made. He had said that he did not believe France would withdraw but that if it became necessary to use U.S. ground troops in that event, he would favor it.

A hue and cry was set up among some members of Congress from both parties, and an official State Department announcement had, in consequence, issued during the weekend, indicating that the Vice-President had not enunciated any new official U.S. policy, that there were no plans for sending U.S. troops. Even so, it suggests, the Administration had fully realized in recent weeks the strategic importance to the free world of Indo-China and Southeast Asia generally, indicating its concern over the gravity of the military situation there. The use of ground troops, while being avoided if at all possible, would become inevitable to save Indo-China from Communist control.

No one had asked Vice-President Nixon the point at which encroachment of Communism in Indo-China would call for the "massive retaliation" against the aggressor, as recently articulated by Secretary of State Dulles as the "new look" foreign policy whenever Communist aggression threatened the free world. Retaliation by air against the Chinese mainland would likely lead to World War III, whereas "united action" and another Korean-type war might stem the Communist tide without igniting a full-scale war. It suggests that the Vice-President might have dodged the question had it been posed, and if he had erred in answering it, it would only have compounded the error of election-conscious members of Congress who sought to make political capital from it. It regards the negotiations with the country's allies as being too delicate and the Indochinese situation too serious for "such antics".

"Editors Should Not Condone Secrecy" indicates that the printed program for the American Society of Newspaper Editors luncheon in Washington the prior Friday had listed the Vice-President as the speaker, immediately below which, in smaller type, had appeared the phrase "not for attribution". The president of the Society had introduced Mr. Nixon to reporters on the basis that everything he would say in his speech could not be attributed to him by name. Therafter, for several hours, the secret was maintained, referring to the Vice-President only as a "high administration official", regarding his controversial remarks about the need potentially to send U.S. troops to Indo-China should France withdraw.

By Saturday morning, the story had indicated that the statement had come from a "high administration official" who regularly attended meetings of the Cabinet and National Security Council, but who had no constitutional authority in the conduct of foreign policy. It adds that no reporter had stated that the individual had recently taken a trip around the world and owned a dog name "Checkers", but by then, the identity of Mr. Nixon had been established and the whole matter of secrecy appeared farcical. A British correspondent reported that Mr. Nixon had been the only Administration official making a speech in Washington on Friday.

It suggests that there should be a lesson in the incident to newspaper editors, as put by former Louisville Times editor Tom Wallace, that it was ridiculous for a group of editors, pledged to freedom of information, to permit non-freedom of information on the country's programs. But it also led to the possibility that high government officials might become overly cautious when speaking on the record or supposedly off the record, as Defense Department officials at a Pentagon briefing for visiting editors the previous Thursday had been. It concludes that newspaper editors, nevertheless, had to take that chance for if they condoned secrecy by off-the-record talks at their meetings, they could not effectively campaign for freedom of information otherwise.

"Another Argument for Local Colleges" urges Charlotte residents to vote tax aid for the two community colleges, Charlotte College and Carver College, providing freshmen and sophomores college training for those who could not otherwise afford to attend college, while also filling a gap in higher education in the southern and central Piedmont region of the state, from Polk and Union counties in the southwest to Iredell and Davidson counties in the northeast, with a small number of college students in proportion to its population. The region had a population of nearly a million, almost a quarter of the entire state, without one of the dozen State-supported higher educational institutions. Fifteen of the total 57 colleges in the state were in that populous 14-county Piedmont region, which one might assume would offset the dearth of State-supported colleges. But a compilation of enrollment figures at those 15 schools showed that they had only one-eighth of the state's college students. It lists those 15 schools, with a total enrollment of 5,500 in 1951, against a total statewide college enrollment of 41,765 in 1952.

Many prospective students of limited means had to take into account the proximity of their place of residence to where they would attend college. At present, the higher educational facilities within the state were concentrated in the Raleigh-Greensboro corridor. The modest tax on the ballot would aid the two community colleges to expand their worthwhile services and would tend to equalize the geographical imbalance, helping to provide young people and working people with an education which they might not otherwise receive.

A piece from the Washington Post, titled "Alphabet Boys at It Again", indicates that the British, according to the Associated Press, with a hint that it might have been the A.P. man who had invented the thing, were suggesting that the new Southeast Asia united organization, similar to NATO, as proposed by Secretary Dulles, be dubbed SEATO—as it would be the following September. It regards the name as "infelicitous", connoting a "sedentary future for the organization", forced to keep its seat.

The story had gone on to say that in France there was discussion over whether it ought be called PATO, for Pacific, though there was no explanation as to the source of the "A". The piece thinks it sounded as dubious paternity for a foundling.

It suggests that the supreme headquarters for SEATO would, in keeping with SHAPE, have to be known as SEASAC, believes that the note of "mal de mer" was an appropriate one on which to leave the matter.

Wouldn't it have been, more appropriately, SHAPSEA? in which case you get a nice overture to "It Happened One Night".

Drew Pearson provides the inside facts on how the Atomic Energy Commission had suspended Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer the prior December, resulting presently in the three-person Presidential commission investigating his loyalty, with the intention of heading off an investigation by Senator McCarthy with all of its attendant headlines, tending to distract from the current investigation, set to begin public hearings in two days, on the dispute between the Senator and the Army. When the suspension was originally made by the AEC, Senator McCarthy was not involved, but decided to try to grab headlines once it became known that the AEC investigation was underway. As a result of that intervention by the Senator, Admiral Lewis Strauss, chairman of the AEC, became quite concerned over where the probe would lead and confided to friends that he was sorry that he ever raised the question of the loyalty of Dr. Oppenheimer. He now realized he had played right into Senator McCarthy's hands and alienated some of the nation's top scientists who were essential to the success of the AEC chairman.

It had been about a year earlier, in May, 1953, that Admiral Strauss had first thought of bringing up the matter, but initially rejected it on the advice of friends, who advised that Dr. Oppenheimer's record from the 1930's, and his dabbling with the Communists, was well known and had been thoroughly investigated by HUAC when Vice-President Nixon and Senator Karl Mundt had both been members of HUAC while still in the House, and that any investigation would backfire.

Admiral Strauss had been advanced to chairman of the AEC on July 2, 1953, and five days later ordered secret documents withdrawn from Dr. Oppenheimer, subsequently initiating a full-scale investigation. Those who had worked in the AEC said that Admiral Strauss had developed a major prejudice against Dr. Oppenheimer since the chairman, who was a Republican, had sided with Senator Bourke Hickenlooper regarding the charges that former AEC chairman David Lilienthal had been guilty of "incredible mismanagement". Admiral Strauss, then a member of the AEC, had testified generally against Mr. Lilienthal, regarding the exportation of radioactive isotopes to be used in medical research for cancer, describing it as dangerous because the isotopes could be used by a European power to produce weaponry. Dr. Oppenheimer had destroyed that testimony of Admiral Strauss and made him appear as a fool, prompting the Admiral, being a bit vain and vindictive, to take it out on the leading atomic scientist.

The Admiral insisted that his name be pronounced as "Straws", and though most of his life had been spent on Wall Street as a partner in a major firm, he emphasized the point that he was a Virginian and maintained a 2,000-acre estate there. He had been a former secretary to former President Hoover and was one of the few reserve officers promoted to the rank of Admiral during the war. In 1946, he had been appointed by former President Truman to the AEC. He resigned in 1950 after the abortive probe by Senator Hickenlooper, but was reappointed in 1953 by President Eisenhower as chairman. In addition to beginning almost immediately the probe of Dr. Oppenheimer, he had appointed a glorified Washington gumshoe as his special assistant, a friend of an assistant to Senator McCarthy, who had served under Senator Hickenlooper when the Joint Congressional Atomic Committee had been probing the AEC, but had been demoted by the late Senator Brien McMahon when the latter had become chairman. The assistant was considered a link between Senator McCarthy and the AEC.

The investigation which Admiral Strauss had initiated had turned up no new facts since the prior summer, and so on December 21, the Admiral had initiated a meeting with Dr. Oppenheimer at which he informed him that "someone" had revived the old charges against him, not revealing that he was the initiator by withdrawing secret papers from Dr. Oppenheimer the prior July. He urged Dr. Oppenheimer to resign as a consultant to the AEC, and most of the meeting was spent toward that end, warning that the alternative would be suspension. Two days later, Dr. Oppenheimer returned to see Admiral Strauss and provided him a letter in which he stated that he could not resign in the face of such absurd charges and that he intended to fight it, at which point the Admiral provided a letter to Dr. Oppenheimer indicating his suspension from the AEC until the loyalty investigation was completed. Two weeks later, Dr. Oppenheimer notified the AEC that he wished formal hearings on the matter, at which point Admiral Strauss began to fear public reaction in case of a leak of the investigation. Shortly afterward, Senator McCarthy got wind of the matter and believed he could thus talk freely about spies in the atomic bomb program, and should someone question him on it, he could simply point to the fact that Dr. Oppenheimer had been suspended for loyalty questions. It was the reason why Senator McCarthy had stated on "See It Now" on CBS on April 6 that the hydrogen bomb had been delayed for 18 months because of Communist sympathies. It was also why scientists all over the country were quite upset over the matter and why the probe could prove the worst mistake for the Administration since the firing of Dr. Allen Astin from the Bureau of Standards the previous year—because he had refused to approve an auto battery additive which supposedly would revive dead batteries or lengthen their lives, which Dr. Astin, based on Bureau tests, had found useless.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop examine ex-Communist Paul Crouch as a Government-paid informant testifying before Congressional committees regarding supposed Communists in the Government. Mr. Crouch received $25 per day from the Justice Department when he was acting as an informant, and since he described himself as "employed by the government", it could be deduced that he received most of his income from that source. He had made the most serious charges against Dr. Oppenheimer, both to the Justice Department and to Senator McCarthy and his fellow investigators.

He had stated to a court in testimony that he was in the habit of writing "letters to my friends and imaginary persons, sometimes to kings and other foreign persons," in which he placed himself in an "imaginary position" so that he could develop his "imaginary powers", concluding that the letter in question in the particular case was "semi-fiction", part of it being true and part of it being untrue.

Mr. Crouch was originally from a small town in North Carolina, was 51, and had been something of a self-described child prodigy in his ability to learn in such a rural setting growing up. He had once told the Subversive Activities Control Board that prior to the age of 12, he had been reading the "Communist Manifesto", and Marx's "Value Price, and Profit" and "Wage, Labor, and Capital", as well as popular Socialist papers. He said that after age 12, he had proceeded to more serious works, eventually leading him to join the Communist Party. In 1925, while enlisted in the U.S. Army in Hawaii, he was tried for seeking to form a secret revolutionary organization, and was convicted, sentenced and served about three years at Alcatraz as a military prisoner. He complained, however, of being called an "ex-convict". After his time at Alcatraz, he became a professional Communist functionary and remained in the party until sometime during the 1940's, the time of his formal break not being clear. He had testified that he had discussed Communism at length with an FBI agent in Brownsville, Tex., in 1946, saying that it took place in front of a county judge, whom he described as a personal friend from his home county. But the judge had told the Alsops that the story was not true, and as far as he was aware, he had never seen Mr. Crouch in his life. Yet, Mr. Crouch had repeated the story for some time, albeit with many variations.

He had given six different and conflicting accounts of his attendance of meetings of the Communist Party Central Committee. He had represented himself at one time as building a vast apparatus within the U.S. armed forces, and at another time, claiming to have supervised another apparatus "for the purpose of supplying the Soviet Union with information regarding scientific experiments … at the University of California." On another occasion, he gave sworn testimony that he had only interested himself in barroom talk, and on yet a fourth occasion, said that he had not obtained any military secrets from the U.S.

One of the McCarthy sycophants had recently said that it was a mark of "leftism" to publish the facts about such persons as Mr. Crouch, and the Alsops suggest that it had reached a strange pass when such was the case instead of being regarded as good Americanism to point out that the Government had a duty to investigate the reliability of the informers whom it hired. They conclude that if informers had to exist in the country, they should at least be persons who told their stories in a way which carried "a little conviction".

Marquis Childs, in Paris, indicates that the lines of opposition to be followed by East and West as their delegations sat on opposite sides of the table at the upcoming Geneva conference, scheduled to begin April 26, were clear, that it would be a contest somewhat similar to the recent Berlin foreign ministers conference, with the major difference being that the West hoped to come out with a clear gain. The objective was to form an Asian defense pact similar to NATO, as outlined by Secretary of State Dulles during his recent trip to London and Paris to obtain preliminary agreements on that objective from British and French leaders.

U.S. strategy would be to play down the importance of the conference while at the same time delaying as long as possible consideration of the issue of the war in Indo-China. Secretary Dulles would remain in Geneva for only a week, and when he departed, so, too, might British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden and French Foreign Minister Georges Bidault, with the consequence that the significance of the conference would then be diminished.

The issue of the Korean peace would take precedence over Indo-China on the agenda of the meeting, and it was hoped that Korea would continue in that preeminent position during the course of the conference. That would be advantageous to the West because a Korean political settlement was being disputed by the Communists, such that there was virtually no chance of agreement, and with Indo-China maintained in the background, the French National Assembly could proceed with debate on ratification of the European Defense Community treaty regarding establishment of a unified army for the six signatory nations, France and Italy being the only countries not yet having ratified it, after West Germany and the Benelux countries had done so. A danger existed that if debate in the National Assembly coincided with the Geneva conference discussions on ways to end the fighting in Indo-China, opponents of EDC might use it to stall for more time, especially with the Communists holding out tempting offers to achieve a negotiated peace, such as by full recognition by all Western powers, including the U.S., and admission to the U.N. of Communist China.

The Communist strategy at Geneva would be based on official propaganda out of Communist China and the Soviet Union, with the Communists offering an Asian security pact similar to that proposed for Europe by Foreign Minister V. M. Molotov at Berlin. They were also expected to make a bid to the French for a cease-fire in Indo-China and would likely try to submit that at the beginning of the conference, if so, making it hard to keep the Indo-China war out of the discussion. That would present the weakness of the current French Government of Premier Joseph Laniel, as that Government had nearly failed on the eve of the recent visit by Secretary Dulles and had been saved only when the Premier agreed to a preliminary debate on the "preconditions" for EDC.

A letter writer from Pittsboro says that he would have little faith in the three-person Presidential board investigating the loyalty of Dr. Oppenheimer but for the presence of the chairman, Gordon Gray, UNC president. He indicates he would have little trouble in excusing Dr. Oppenheimer for errors in judgment, as long as he had not sought to cover up anything, as it had occurred many years earlier during the time of the Depression and after the State Department had recognized Russia diplomatically. He says that he would not put to death any one of his dogs for dealing in a friendly manner with former allies.

A letter writer from Wingate indicates that when Adlai Stevenson had spoken at the Charlotte Armory-Auditorium, he had pointed out that the 1952 campaign had consistently referred to the New Deal and Fair Deal programs of the previous 20 years as "creeping socialism", while indicating that the Republicans had adopted the program since they had come to power in early 1953. He finds the observation borne out by the current issue of "Economic Intelligence", a pamphlet published by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which credited the former Democratic Administrations with providing the major bulwarks presently operating to prevent a serious depression.

A letter from the managing director of the Charlotte Merchants Association thanks the newspaper for its cooperation in covering its 32nd annual meeting of the Southern Credit Conference, which had just ended in success.

A Pome appears from the Atlanta Journal, "In Which Is Given A Suggestion For Increasing Your Income:

"If a raise is what you seek,
Do better work from week to week."

A second Pome from the same source appears, "In Which Is Attested A Method Of Achieving The Regard Of One's Fellows:

"Higher goals are in your reach,
If you practice what you preach."

But if you get all the way to the peak,
Then all that's left to do is to teach,
Typically entailing wages which reek.

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