The Charlotte News

Tuesday, April 6, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports from Hanoi that the French high command had announced this date that the Vietminh had, during the previous 24 hours, eased their fanatical charges at the French Union fortress at Dien Bien Phu. A French communiqué said early this date that the previous night had been "relatively calm". The French Union forces behind the barbed wire barriers and bunker defenses, however, continued to brace themselves for renewed assaults. French planes ranged throughout the night against the coolie supply lines of the Vietminh, transporting supplies from Communist China. The French were bolstered during the night by tons of supplies and ammunition parachuted to them from American-supplied transport planes. The French maintained their surveillance of the northwest corner of the fortress, where the fiercest rebel attacks had taken place. They believed that the enemy had concentrated on that weak point to attract attention there while they regrouped and reinforced their troops for new assaults at other points. The French commander in chief in the war, General Henri Navarre, praised his forces and expressed the "utmost confidence in the success of their arms". He said further that the courage of the defenders of the fortress would be "an everlasting example" of heroism to the free world.

In Paris, NATO severely reprimanded France's Marshal Alphonse Juin this date for his criticism of the European Defense Community, which had led to his dismissal from his military posts by the French Cabinet. The action, unprecedented by NATO, heightened the virtual certainty that either France would ask that the Marshal be relieved as commander-in-chief of the Allied forces in Central Europe or that he would have to resign. A NATO spokesman commented that any military officer receiving such a reprimand would be impelled to resign.

The President, the previous night, addressed the nation and the free world via radio and television regarding the cold war and the hydrogen bomb, indicating his belief that war with Russia was unlikely as long as the country stood ready to retaliate swiftly with all of its atomic might. He said that the country had to prepare "very coldly and very carefully" against the danger that men in the Kremlin might "in a fit of madness or through miscalculation" plunge the world into a nuclear war. He said that the U.S. would not start a war, despite its advantage in atomic weapons. He warned against the perils of hysteria over Communism, investigations of Communism, or the threat of a depression. He said that the FBI, rather than Congressional investigators, was the nation's "great bulwark" against Communist infiltration, and that "very grave offenses" could be committed against innocent persons by "someone having the immunity of Congressional membership", expressing confidence that public opinion would "straighten the matter out wherever and whenever there is real violence done to our people."

In Washington, Samuel Sears, Boston lawyer, withdrew this date as the special counsel appointed for the Senate Investigations subcommittee, getting set to investigate the dispute between the Army and Senator McCarthy, and the six voting members of the subcommittee accepted his resignation unanimously. His impartiality had been questioned after it came to light that in 1952, he had made public statements supportive of the re-election of Senator McCarthy and that he believed the Senator was doing a good job in hunting down Communists in the country. He had originally told the subcommittee that he had made no public or private statements of any kind regarding Senator McCarthy or McCarthyism. In resigning, Mr. Sears said that he believed he could be impartial but that after due consideration, he had concluded that to avoid compromising the credibility of the proceedings, he should not serve. The resignation eliminated the prospect that the hearings would begin, as tentatively scheduled, the following Monday. The Army had chosen Joseph Welch, also of Boston, as its counsel.

In the second of a series of retrospective articles on the rise to prominence of Senator McCarthy since February, 1950, Associated Press correspondent Bem Price reports that on February 20, 1950, the Senator had given a speech on the floor of the Senate, in which he said that about 10 days earlier he had made the statement in Wheeling, W. Va., that there were a "sizable number" of Communists within the State Department, and had made the further comment that of one small group which had been screened by the President's own security agency, the Department had refused to discharge approximately 200, that Secretary of State Acheson had promptly denied his statement and said that there was no Communist within the Department. The Senator then said that he had sent a telegram to the President, which he then read, stating that he had in his possession the names of "57 Communists who are in the State Department", and that he was aware of "one group of 300 certified to the Secretary of State for discharge because of Communism", whereas he had only discharged 80. The telegram had demanded that President Truman rescind his executive order forbidding disclosure of the contents of loyalty files, and that failure to do so would "label the Democratic Party as the bedfellow of international Commm-mmm-mmmunism".

The State Department reported this date that Secretary of State Dulles had consulted on Southeast Asia with diplomatic representatives of six friendly nations during the previous few days, and authoritative sources said that the Government was seeking the formation of some kind of regional security group to counter the Communist threat to that area and to undertake united action in the Indo-China war. Dispatches from Paris quoted French Foreign Ministry sources as saying the U.S. had proposed that Britain, France, Australia and New Zealand should join with the U.S. in a strong warning to "Communist aggressors" in Southeast Asia. Dispatches from Australia indicated that the U.S. was seeking a firm declaration from Britain, Australia and New Zealand that they would support France as much as necessary to keep Indo-China out of Communist hands. Reports from London were similar.

Prime Minister Churchill said this date, in answer to questions by a Labor Party member in Commons, that he would be delighted to welcome President Eisenhower to London for talks about the hydrogen bomb and other world problems, but added that he did not think the President would leave the U.S. at present because of the heavy duties on him.

The President appointed Rowland Hughes, presently deputy director of the Budget Office, to be the new director, succeeding Joseph Dodge, who had resigned effective April 15 to return to the Detroit Bank as board chairman. Mr. Hughes was former vice-president of the National City Bank of New York.

The Air Force this date named Charles Lindbergh to a five-man board charged with the task of selecting a site for the new Air Force academy. Two other civilians were named to the board, Virgil Hancher, president of the University of Iowa, and Merril Meigs, vice-president of the Hearst Corp. of Chicago. The two military members were General Carl Spaatz, the first chief of staff of the Air Force and a member of a previous Academy site selection board, and Lt. General Hubert Harmon, special assistant to the chief of staff for Air Force academy matters. Charlotte was among the communities competing for the site selection—which ultimately would be awarded to Colorado Springs.

In New York, P. Lorillard Co. indicated at its annual stockholders' meeting this date that the company expected to break ground in mid-year for a new plant in Greensboro, N.C., and that it would take about 18 months to complete construction. The chairman of the board of directors, H. A. Kent, said that despite current rumors, the price of Kent cigarettes would not be reduced.

That will likely come as bad news to young Dean Smith, at the beginning of his basketball coaching career as an assistant at the University of Kansas, his alma mater, to become an assistant at the Air Force Academy in 1955, before joining the UNC staff as an assistant to coach Frank McGuire in 1958.

While on the topic, we congratulate coach Roy Williams of UNC, and previously of Kansas, for an exceptional 33-year career as head coach at the two schools, finishing his tenure with 903 career wins, having broken the 900 mark in fewer seasons and in fewer games than any other coach, retiring with the fourth most wins of any major college head coach in the history of the game, and, more importantly, a winning percentage of 77.4 percent. Coach Williams also had three national championship teams, all at UNC, in 2005, 2009, and 2017, and took his teams to two other Final Fours, finishing, by three-tenths of a second, as runner-up in 2016. He also had several stellar teams at Kansas, where he took his teams to four Final Fours, twice finishing as runner-up, in 1991—after taking the measure in the semifinals of his mentor, ejected in the end for adjusting his tie once too often, a measure returned, however, in the semifinals two years later—, and in his last season at the school, 2003. His teams qualified for the N.C.A.A. Tournament in all except his first season at Kansas, when the school, then defending national champion, was ineligible for post-season play, and in the cupboard-bare 2010 UNC season following the 2009 championship, finishing nevertheless as runner-up in the N.I.T.—and we don't speak of last year, 2020. We had occasion to see the first game of his second season at UNC, in Oakland, against Santa Clara, with the preseason number one ranked Tar Heels falling, rather badly, to the unranked Broncos, prompting some expert fans sitting behind us to make snide comments about how "that Williams, he can't coach", to which, in a friendly manner, we had gently to correct them with the record he had amassed at Kansas, one of them, experts as they were on basketball, saying, "...their coach before, Brad Daugherty, right?" Anyway, of course, that UNC team went on to win the national championship in April. As with the rather understated, taciturn coach Bill Guthridge, coach Williams's folksy, "aw shucks" type of demeanor off the court was often misunderstood as indicative of something less than peak efficiency, only to have opponents who made such a deadly assumption live to regret it. In any event, job well done, and... It hardly seems like 18 years.

Welcome to the new head coach, former UNC player and assistant to coach Williams, Hubert Davis. We anticipate five national championships in the next five seasons, after which he can take a short rest for one season, maybe, before having another five straight. Otherwise, as with the current UNC football coach, there is always that seat at ESPN waiting to be occupied again.

Tomorrow, Betty Boyer, in her weekly "Grocery News" column, will tell, again, of the "New Blue", a labor-saving product.

In Albany, N.Y., the State Liquor Authority held a hearing to determine whether a merchant had sold beer to an underage boy, calling the 13-year old as a witness, and asking him whether or not he had purchased beer at the store, to which he answered in the negative, prompting the examiner to remind him that he had told investigators that he had purchased beer, to which the boy said that they had never asked him what kind of beer, that it had been root beer.

On the editorial page, "The President Restates Some Truths" indicates that the President's half-hour report to the people the previous night had been delivered against the backdrop of ominous events, that in Indo-China, Chinese intervention had come close to invoking the Administration's new "massive retaliation" policy, that around the globe, the political and moral shocks from the U.S. massive hydrogen bomb tests recently in the Pacific were still reverberating, and at home, the American people were fearful of internal Communist subversion, and anxious over economic conditions, in addition to their fears and concerns about matters abroad. The President had set out to allay those concerns.

He reminded that the Soviet leaders had worries also, one of which was the knowledge that aggression would bring immediate and devastating retaliation from the West, another being the probability that they would lose their autocratic powers in a war against the free world, and yet a third, that the historical evidence indicated that slave satellites made uncertain partners in any military venture.

He restated a basic principle, that U.S. allies should never become tools of the nation, that they rather should be friends, engaged in mutual cooperation in the defense of freedom. He said that the threat of Communist subversion within the country had been "greatly exaggerated" and that it was being handled efficiently by the FBI. As to economic worries, he said that the Administration was ready to do whatever was necessary to prevent a recession.

It finds that there was nothing particularly new in his talk, that he had said it all before and in somewhat better language, but that it perhaps served a useful purpose to restate the need for facing the facts and meeting the problems calmly, without hysteria. It says that, nevertheless, the President had been badly advised about the content of the speech and its staging. It indicates that the American people were not children and that it was not necessary to oversimplify great issues or gloss over hard realities, such as the war in Indo-China and the hydrogen bomb. If they were to face the facts calmly, the people needed more than the President had given them the previous night.

Producer of the program, Robert Montgomery, had not served the President well in staging the broadcast, it suggests, as the President was not at ease in sitting on the edge of his desk, frequently shifting his position, distracting to the listener and viewer. His extemporaneous manner of speaking did not instill confidence that he would say precisely what he meant on such serious matters. It finds that the advertising agency advisers, "with their contempt for the collective IQ of the American people", were apparently being too heavily relied on by the White House. It partially quotes President Lincoln, that you can't fool all of the people all of the time, and recommends "a little more plain speaking".

But when you got that "plain speaking" from President Truman, all you did was carp about how he was dragging down the dignity of the Presidency. Make up your mind.

"Sales Tax Revision Badly Needed" indicates that State Government revenue had risen steadily since 1940 but was now leveling off, causing Governor William B. Umstead and members of the General Assembly to be faced with a tough financial problem at the start of the biennial 1955 General Assembly meeting. To solve it, one of two alternatives would be necessary, reduction in spending, which, under tight state budgeting, meant a reduction in services, or coming up with new sources of revenue.

The Governor was thinking about ways to increase the revenue, and, it suggests, he would benefit from a detailed analysis compiled by the Revenue commissioner regarding state sales taxes, produced during the Administration of his predecessor, Governor Kerr Scott. He had pointed out the shortcomings of the sales tax law, riddled with exemptions since 1935, such that many things escaped any sales tax. He recommended that exemptions be limited to sales in interstate commerce, sales to Federal, state and local governmental agencies, and to educational, hospital and charitable institutions, along with sales of productive equipment used by farmers in producing agricultural products and by industry and manufacturing or processing of manufactured or processed goods, and finally sales of raw materials becoming an ingredient or component part of agricultural or industrial production.

The commissioner had found that on the basis of the 1950 sales tax revenue, limiting exemptions to the above categories would have produced an additional 22 million dollars in revenue, more than half again the 42 million dollars actually collected. He had also recommended elimination of the single article sales tax limitation, which, for example, limited tax to $15 per automobile, which would net another ten million dollars. It goes on listing other recommendations he had made, suggests that if the 1955 Assembly were forced to look for new revenue, it commends to it the earlier report by the Revenue commissioner.

"Bell versus Georgia Belles" indicates that it did not understand transistors, designed to take the place of vacuum tubes in electronic equipment. Bell Telephone Laboratories was trying them out in rural telephone systems in Georgia, permitting five telephone conversations to take place at one time via one set of wires, with each call on a different frequency. It finds the innovation to be progress, but thinks that Bell ought be warned that they might be going too far, as housewives could no longer listen to their neighbors' conversations on the party line unless they happened to be on the same frequency. The right to listen to neighbors' conversations in rural areas was ingrained, and while Georgia housewives might favor progress as much as other women across the nation, they might be inclined, it posits, to view the transistor system as a Chapel Hill professor had recently viewed the admission of women to the Faculty Club, that if that was progress, he preferred to be a little reactionary.

It suggests that someone would contrive a device which would enable women to listen in on all five frequencies at once, with half the women then neglecting husband and home to listen to their neighbors, while the other half would be mad because they could not. "Bell, beware."

A piece from the Greenville (S.C.) Piedmont, titled "Opportunity Missed", indicates that a Hollywood writer suggested that a "Humility Award" ought go to the judge who failed to kiss the former Miss Marilyn Monroe after he performed her marriage ceremony with Joe DiMaggio. It suggests that instead of recognition of his humility, he probably needed a hearing aid to enable him to recognize opportunity when it knocked at his door in the future.

Robert Mitchum, however, as reported the previous day, received a little too much opportunistic knocking.

Drew Pearson indicates that Senator John Williams of Delaware, who had been a pain in the neck to Democrats when they were in the majority, regarding income tax scandals, was now proving to be an equal pain to some of his fellow Republicans. He wanted to probe tax scandals involving two Republican Senators, but Senator Eugene Millikin of Colorado, chairman of the Finance Committee, had refused his approval, despite the same Committee having given Senator Williams free rein when the Democrats were in control. Now, Senator Williams was digging into the 27.5 percent oil depletion allowance, wanting to get it reduced to a reasonable figure. Since Edward Folliard of the Washington Post had published a revealing series of articles on the tremendous wealth of Texas oil men H. L. Hunt, H. R. Cullen, Clint Murchison and Sid Richardson, there had been much talk in Congress about the depletion allowance. Senator Williams meant business and had enlisted the support of Senator George Aiken of Vermont to try to defeat the large allowance.

Facts Forum, the propaganda network of the Texas millionaires, had taken over the radio broadcast, "Reporters' Roundup", on the Mutual Broadcasting System. It was the fourth nationally broadcast program which Facts Forum produced, including "State of the Nation", broadcast on 315 radio stations, "Facts Forum", broadcast over 222 radio stations and 22 television stations, and "Answers for Americans", on 306 radio stations and 22 television stations. Facts Forum was granted free radio time on the theory that they were impartial, nonpartisan programs. But the truth was that they were financed primarily by Mr. Hunt to propagate his own reactionary philosophy and promote Senator McCarthy for the presidency. Mr. Hunt had indicated publicly that he favored the Senator's aims, as well as his methods. The wife of Senator McCarthy had helped to launch the radio-television series before their marriage, and Facts Forum had invited the public to consult J. B. Matthews on the loyalty of anyone who might be doubtful, Mr. Matthews having charged in an article for the American Mercury that the Protestant clergy was riddled with Communist sympathizers, a claim later investigated and rejected by HUAC. It also sponsored Allen Zoli, a notorious American Fascist whose organization was listed on the Attorney General's subversives list. It had also promoted Merwin Hart, whose National Economic Council had been accused of anti-Semitism by the House Lobbying Committee.

Some of the most important diplomatic conversations of the previous decade had been taking place in Paris and Washington in an effort to keep the French from withdrawing from Indo-China. At the same time, the White House had made careful but pointed overtures to Democratic leaders to obtain their support in case the Administration were to become militarily committed to the war. Members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee had been given detailed, off-the-record briefings on the war and the White House had ordered an "educational campaign" to prepare the public for the potential shock of unpleasant news regarding Southeast Asia.

Joseph Alsop indicates that General Rene Cogny had entered the forward operational headquarters of General Christian de Castries, the present commander of the French Union forces at Dien Bien Phu in northwest Indo-China, the headquarters at the time consisting only of a tent, a couple of desks, a map board, half a dozen officers and nothing more, set down amid dusty disorder of a truck park, tank park and ammunition dumps. There was nevertheless something businesslike in the way the commander moved to the map board, as soon as greetings were over and General Cogny asked for a situation report. General De Castries told of his nine battalions being strung out in a line down a narrow valley, with the enemy in heavy force in the hills on the other side, and the last battalion of Moroccan rifles about to be committed in the drive on the final objective, the little town of Phu Nho Quan. General Cogny commented that there would be no reserves, to which General De Castries said nonchalantly that they had been without reserves before, that it would be better to have some, but that they could manage. Mr. Alsop indicates that it was how he had met General De Castries the prior fall.

An hour or so later, after General Cogny had ordered a battalion of paratroopers flown to General De Castries from his own slender central reserve, Mr. Alsop had joined the Moroccan battalion in the attack on the small town, which had fallen to the French on schedule. That was no longer important, but what was still important was how the men and fellow officers talked of General De Castries, one of the last of General de Lattre de Tassigny's famous "Fighting Colonels" whom General De Lattre had used to restore the sunken morale of the French forces. General De Castries had 19 battlefield citations and, as a celebrated jump-rider, the largest collection of horse-show prizes in Paris. He had a beautiful wife and when he was not in the field with his men, the couple defiantly lived in a large, highly vulnerable country house in a countryside crawling with Vietminh guerrillas.

He had "courage that would have been close to madness if it were not always cool; a nonchalance that might almost have been negligence if the man's eye did not casually take in every detail of importance; a sardonic humor that might have been unrelieved cynicism, if he had not believed very deeply in a few things, such as France". He appeared anachronistic to any war except that in Indo-China. The last time Mr. Alsop had seen him had been at a grand dinner at General Cogny's, celebrating his victory in the Mouette operation, which Mr. Alsop had joined for awhile. He had been quite witty and ribald, telling stories and drinking toasts, making those around him roar with loud laughter.

Now, as the defender of Dien Bien Phu, on which the outcome of the war hung in the balance, the General could be imagined cursing the intelligence which had not counted on the post-Korean increase of supply for the Vietminh and had not believed the enemy would have heavy artillery. One could picture him making his night and morning rounds, as had been his custom, snapping his riding crop easily against his boot amid the thunder of enemy fire. One could see him encouraging his men to the most desperate resistance by the best of all methods, his own superb example.

Mr. Alsop indicates that the free world owed to General De Castries and the other French soldiers of his type in Indo-China a debt that the free world was unlikely to repay, a debt which he suggests ought be acknowledged, the least which could be done.

Marquis Childs, in Paris, tells of the political upheaval caused by the dismissal of Marshal Alphonse Juin as vice-president of the French high council of the armed forces and from other offices, resembling the furor touched off in the U.S. by the firing by President Truman of General MacArthur over his conduct of the Korean War in April, 1951. The reason for Marshal Juin's dismissal had been his criticism of the European Defense Community at a critical moment in the effort of the French Government to bring the issue to a debate after the Easter holiday. For months, Marshal Juin had privately spoken in opposition to the EDC, becoming a kind of hero to the extreme right opposed to the united European army. He had stated in his private conversations that NATO supreme commander, General Alfred Gruenther, was also opposed to EDC. Ten days earlier, General Gruenther had told him that he was disturbed by that report and said that he believed there was no alternative to EDC, then making a public statement to that effect to clarify. That statement appeared to Marshal Juin to be a signal for him to come out publicly opposing EDC. Marshal Juin's backers in the National Assembly were even demanding the dismissal of General Gruenther.

Marshal Juin was a respected military figure in France, with a long and distinguished record, but did not have the same kind of following as General MacArthur had at the time of his dismissal. But his words, as a Marshal, two stars above the highest-ranking five-star general, nevertheless carried great weight in France. American generals who had worked closely in NATO with him were surprised at his stance, having found him friendly, with a sense of humor, even at times at his own expense. But as the French political crisis had deepened, rumors had spread that the Marshal had been playing with the idea that a strong man might be needed to pull the country together. Those rumors had it that the Marshal had begun to think of himself as that person. The thought of a coup d'état was ridiculed by most observers in Paris, but they did not rule out the idea that Marshal Juin might be toying with the idea that the people would turn to him when they finally became sufficiently sick of recurring political crises and governments which could not govern.

A letter writer supports the proposed two-cent tax levy to help maintain Charlotte City College and Carver Junior College.

A letter writer wonders why some newsmen would not report the truth, indicating that the fourth grade school teacher whose class had met former Governor Adlai Stevenson during his weekend visit to Charlotte, had not approached him on Friday at the airport "breathless", as reported. The writer says that she did not see any police in uniform around the Governor, though she was sure that they were present. She also says that the party was planned a month earlier, before they knew Mr. Stevenson was coming to town, and that they appreciated the unknown official who had cleared the way for the children to see Mr. Stevenson. She says he was nice, and that the "lone Republican" member of the fourth grade class had actually been, after a poll, about half the class.

Well, we heard that they weren't fourth graders at all, but sixth graders.

A letter from the president of the General Trucking Co., Inc., comments on the editorial regarding overweight trucks and its conclusion that because there were 1,441 vehicles cited for violating weight regulations, out of more than 150,000 trucks weighed in February, they must have been trucking companies. He finds the editors to be using the "McCarthy method of interpreting statistics", suiting their own purposes. He says that he was aware that the for-hire trucking industry was going to a great deal of expense to remain in conformity with the law, even purchasing scales to weigh each load before it left the terminal. He suggests that probably most of the overweight trucks had been owned by private industries and that many were from out of state. He also says that many who had been cited were not in excess of the capacity ratings for the state, but rather for the license plate which they had purchased.

The editors note that the Division of Motor Vehicles did not distinguish in its statistics between truck operators, individual truck owners and private industry trucks. It supplies statistics on the number of cited trucks which were from out of state, versus those in state, showing that nearly two-thirds of the violators were from within the state. They also state that the letter writer was correct in his assertion that most of the violations were for over-license and over-axle loads, rather than gross loads. They also indicate that they were not being antagonistic to the trucking industry, as the letter writer had suggested, and that the editors were pleased that Charlotte was a major center of the trucking industry.

A letter from the chairman of the publicity committee for the Adlai Stevenson rally in Charlotte thanks the newspaper and its staff for the coverage it had given the visit of the former Governor on April 2.

A letter from the outgoing president of the Parents League indicates that the newspaper had given valuable assistance to the Parents League during the year, with its interpretation of its purpose as a new organization.

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