The Charlotte News

Wednesday, April 7, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the President said this date at his press conference that the U.S. had already constructed hydrogen bombs as powerful as there would ever be any reason to build and that he had no fear that Russia would build a larger one. He said that he was aware of no application of the hydrogen bomb to peaceful purposes. He also said, in regard to Senator McCarthy's remarks on "See It Now" on CBS the previous night, in reply to the report by Edward R. Murrow of March 9, that the President had no information whatever about any delay in production of the hydrogen bomb, the Senator having stated that it had been delayed for 18 months through some sort of Communist plot. The President said that he had always regarded Mr. Murrow as a good friend. (Notice that only Commm-mmm-mmmunists and fellow-travelers use that word, "friend".) The President also said that the free world could not afford further losses to the Communists in Asia, such as Indo-China and Southeast Asia. He said the country was talking with other nations about the situation in Indo-China but declined to say what might be contemplated to prevent conquest by the Communists. The President further said that there were encouraging signs regarding unemployment leveling off, that March figures had shown an increase of about 50,000 in both employment and unemployment, seeming to cancel each other out. He said that the important thing was for the people not to become panicky.

The previous night, in his 27-minute broadcast afforded him for free by CBS, Senator McCarthy had said that Mr. Murrow was the "cleverest of the jackal pack, which is always found at the throat of anyone who dares expose Communists and traitors." The Senator had also again dredged up the red herring regarding Mr. Murrow's supposed prior Communist sympathies because of his having been associated, along with many other prominent educators, with a summer school exchange student program in Moscow in 1935, which had been cancelled at the instance of Moscow.

The Atomic Energy Commission and Representative W. Sterling Cole of New York, chairman of the Joint Atomic Committee, declined comment on Senator McCarthy's claim of an 18-month delay in development of the hydrogen bomb because of Communist traitors in the Government.

Associated Press reporter Bem Price provides the third in a retrospective series on Senator McCarthy's rise to power since 1950 and his claim of Communists in the State Department, indicating that in June, 1951, the Senator had made a speech on the Senate floor linking General Marshall to "a conspiracy of infamy so black that, when it is finally exposed, its principals shall be forever deserving of the maledictions of all honest men." He was discussing the questions of why the country had fallen from its position "as the most powerful nation on earth at the end of World War II", claiming that General Marshall had ignored the attack on it. Mr. Price also indicates that of the five Senators who had crossed Senator McCarthy, Senator Raymond Baldwin of Connecticut had resigned, Senators Millard Tydings and William Benton had been defeated for re-election, and Senator Charles Tobey had died. Only Senator Margaret Chase Smith of Maine had thus far survived politically, and she was up for re-election in 1954, opposed in the primary by a friend of Senator McCarthy who said that McCarthyism was an issue in the Maine Senatorial campaign. The piece explains the details of those clashes, which began in 1947.

The Senate Investigating subcommittee resumed its search for an impartial special counsel this date for the investigation into the Army-McCarthy dispute, to replace resigned Samuel Sears, who had determined that he could not serve because of questions arising regarding his impartiality, as explored in more detail in an editorial below. He told reporters that there had been "a grievous misunderstanding", and that when he told Senators he had not discussed Senator McCarthy or McCarthyism, he was thinking in terms of the current dispute with the Army officials, and was not attempting to conceal his public declarations two years earlier, praising the Senator for doing a great job in fighting Communists. Senator John McClellan of the subcommittee said that he did not think it was "improbable" that the post would be filled this date.

A report from Hanoi indicates that the lull in the Vietminh's infantry assaults on the French fortress at Dien Bien Phu had extended beyond 48 hours this date, with a French communiqué stating only that the previous night had been calm, the second successive such report. Rebel artillery and mortar batteries and the French long-range guns, however, continued their sporadic firing at each other. With the monsoons almost at hand, rainy weather had forced French fighters and bombers to relent in their constant attacks on the Vietminh troop concentrations and war depots around the fortress, but still continued aerial raids northward, hitting rebel supply convoys on the mountain trails and highways leading from Communist China. The Vietminh had virtually halted their infantry assaults on the fortress the prior Monday after suffering extremely heavy losses in a week of fighting. The rebels had tried one assault the previous day on the northwest defenses of the plain surrounding the fortress, but French patrols quickly repulsed it.

The U.S. had proposed that ten nations join in a defense agreement underwriting the security of Southeast Asia, including Indo-China, against Communist conquest. The proposal was under discussion with friendly governments, some of which, according to diplomatic informants, had reacted favorably. The British Government had not yet made a decisive response, and officials in Washington considered its reaction of utmost importance to the success of the plan.

Near Anderson, S.C., police had found a 65-year old man and his wife brutally beaten to death in their home and were holding the couple's son for questioning. The son, about 25, had called officers to the cottage early in the morning, reporting that he had found his parents dead when he entered the house a few minutes earlier. He said that he had not gone home the previous night as he did not want his mother to know that he had been drinking. The sheriff said that he was being held for the present without charge for questioning. He said they had not found the murder weapon. The officers found $120 in the son's shoes and he had said that he had taken $40 of that money from his mother's purse to prevent it from being mislaid, after he had discovered the bodies. A nearby resident said that he and the son had ridden about in the victim father's car until late the previous night.

In Edenton, N.C., the police chief had been injured this date while investigating an attempt to bomb the attractive young widow of a teacher whose slaying by bomb in 1951 had never been solved. The chief had suffered burns to his hands and legs when a homemade bomb, planted in the woman's automobile, had exploded at the police station. The woman's husband had been fatally injured on December 31, 1951, when he stepped on the starter of his pickup truck in Mount Airy, on his way to the nearby White Plains school where he was a teacher of agriculture. The State Bureau of Investigation, which had spent months trying to track down his killer, had been notified of this date's bombing attempt and had rushed agents to the town.

In San Francisco, a 32-year old unemployed man leaped from the top of a three-story hotel the previous night, but was unsuccessful in committing suicide. Police officers said that after he screamed not to try to stop him, he jumped from the roof and landed with a perfect belly flop on top of a parked car, was taken to an emergency hospital with minor cuts on his nose and elbow and a sore midriff, then was booked for public drunkenness.

In Chicago, two doctors, addressing the American College of Physicians, said this date that the resumption of sex life seemed more important to heart attack victims than going back to work, that it was a "welcome sign of good adjustment". They stated that if the "sex drive is greater than the fear of sudden death, one has good material for rehabilitation."

Betty Boyer, in her weekly "Grocery News" column this date, tells of "real coffee" at reduced prices, among other things, including the No. IX shortening, albeit juxtaposed this time to the death announcements, not terribly conducive to a healthy appetite.

On the editorial page, "Sears Resignation Was Inevitable" indicates that Boston lawyer Samuel Sears, who had voluntarily stepped aside from his previous selection by the Senate Investigations subcommittee as temporary counsel for the investigation of the dispute between Senator McCarthy and the Army, had done the only thing he could under the circumstances, after his impartiality had been questioned because of previous statements, two years earlier, which had surfaced, in which he had endorsed Senator McCarthy for re-election and said that he was doing a good job in hunting down Communists, after having told the Senators that he had never said anything one way or the other regarding Senator McCarthy or McCarthyism.

It finds that he would have started out the investigation with two strikes against him had he remained, and that to attribute the discrepancy to a lapse of memory would be to place the kindest possible blush on it, that he had been discredited in the eyes of everyone who expected objective handling of the matter. Mr. Sears had actively sought the job and that appeared doubly strange after his admiration for Senator McCarthy had surfaced.

It was unfortunate that the resignation meant the loss of more time in starting the investigation, as it had already been delayed so long that intense public interest was beginning to wane. Unless acting chairman of the subcommittee, Senator Karl Mundt, soon came up with a chief counsel for the subcommittee, he would lay himself and Republican colleagues open to suspicion that they did not really want to hear the dispute.

"A New Kind of Political Morality" indicates that it was inclined to agree with the Raleigh News & Observer that DNC chairman Stephen Mitchell had over-spoken himself in public by denying party endorsement for two Congressional candidates instead of merely withholding the endorsement. Public denial of an endorsement tended to prejudge a person, whereas withholding endorsement would imply disfavor with past actions while expressing a willingness to await the orderly processes of justice.

It indicates, however, that having made that point, it finds it refreshing for a national political party to show some concern over the morals and loyalty of the candidates who were seeking public office under its label. In the case of James Roosevelt, running for Congress from California, the Democratic Party and the nation would have everything to lose and nothing to gain by his election, given the charges of "gross immorality" against him in the context of the separate maintenance suit with his wife—involving alleged adulterous relations with several women, which he denied to have occurred, saying that he had admitted the allegations previously to his wife in early 1945, on the expectation that it would remain private and spare his then-ailing father the news and to appease her to try to save his marriage after her unfounded suspicions of him had surfaced.

The case of Representative Robert Condon, also of California, was not so clear, it suggests. He had denied former membership in the Communist Party but was still regarded as a security risk by the Atomic Energy Commission, which had excellent intelligence resources. Until Mr. Condon was cleared, Mr. Mitchell, it finds, was justified in withholding the party's endorsement of him.

It suggests that had the Republican Party adopted Mr. Mitchell's example in the 1952 Wisconsin election, the country might not be saddled at present with the responsibility for Senator McCarthy.

"A Canadian Raises a Pertinent Point" indicates that NATO had celebrated its fifth birthday during the week, duly noted by the President and Secretary of State Dulles. But the most significant comment had come from Canadian Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent. The policy of the U.S. had been to neglect NATO and concentrate instead on getting European parliaments to ratify the European Defense Community, the proposed united army of France, Italy, West Germany, and the Benelux countries, with prospects for its ratification by all six parliaments not being good. Small European powers feared that Germany would dominate such an organization, unless Britain and the U.S. were also in it to balance off German power. Mr. St. Laurent had said that "European unity in itself" might not "furnish an answer to the problems that face Western Europe". He believed that it might be time to step up integration "within the larger framework of the North Atlantic community", to unite that community militarily and economically, instead of the European Community militarily. He believed in making national barriers somewhat less artificial and providing for political stability in self-defense by closer integration of national resources and machinery of government within the North Atlantic community.

The piece indicates that he was suggesting sharing by those countries of some of their sovereignty. The U.S. had repeatedly urged Europeans to share their sovereignty, but the U.S., while giving lip service to NATO, had shown no inclination to practice what it preached. It finds it an inconsistency which many Europeans, and some Americans, found difficult to understand, suggests that the whole matter of international relationships deserved reappraisal in view of the recent developments regarding the detonation of hydrogen bombs.

"The Grand Old Maestro Steps Down" indicates that as the final chord of Wagner's Die Meistersinger had wafted through Carnegie Hall on Sunday, the baton of Maestro Arturo Toscanini had slipped from his grasp and was handed back to him, whereupon he walked slowly off the stage and shut himself in his room. The audience applauded for several minutes until the lights were finally turned up, leaving listeners with a sense that they had witnessed what was probably the end of "one of the greatest musical careers of all time". His career as a conductor had covered 68 years, having left his cello at age 19 when a conductor failed to show up in Rio, conducting Verdi's Aida. Since then, he had conducted some of the world's greatest music, had been at La Scala when his friend Giuseppe Verdi had presented the world premiere of Otello. Mr. Toscanini had conducted world premieres of Leoncavallo's Pagliacci and Puccini's La Boheme, and had introduced to his native Italy some of the great German works, such as Wagner's Gotterdammerung.

He had begun conducting in the U.S. shortly after the start of the 20th Century, first at the Metropolitan Opera House, and later for the New York Philharmonic Society. In 1937, the NBC Symphony Orchestra had been created especially for him, and since that time, he had taught millions of listeners, in the U.S. and abroad, to appreciate good music. A taskmaster and perfectionist, he ranked with the masters of the ages.

A piece from the Raleigh News & Observer, titled "Stamp", indicates that no one would be surprised at the zeal of Congressman Charles Jonas, up for re-election, in urging the issuance of a special postage stamp in commemoration of the 175th anniversary of the Battle of Ramsour's Mill in Lincoln County.

But a committee named by the Republican Secretary of Interior had proposed that Moore's Creek Battleground be abandoned as a national military park, whereas even the North Carolina State Guide described the Battle of Ramsour's Mill as "a Revolutionary skirmish". The battle was so little-known in the state that historians were divided as to how the name was spelled, whether as spelled in the piece or as "Ramseur".

It suggests that North Carolina say to the Republican Administration and the Republican Congress to leave Moore's Creek alone and that North Carolinians would somehow manage to get along without a stamp commemorating Ramsour's Mill.

Drew Pearson tells of Senator McCarthy and Senator William Jenner of Indiana both being friends and fellow Communist hunters, but had become somewhat miffed at each other recently regarding Mr. Pearson. The column had carried an advance story on how Senator Jenner's Internal Security Committee was going to use former Ambassador Spruille Braden as a star witness against Alger Hiss and the State Department, causing Senator McCarthy to blow up, claiming that the Jenner Committee had been infiltrated by a spy of Mr. Pearson, prompting concern of Senator Jenner. He suspected a liberal Republican who was a former crime-buster under Governor Thomas Dewey, presently the new counsel for the Committee. Mr. Pearson had praised the counsel as being fair-minded and so Senator Jenner immediately suspected him as the spy, seeking an investigation by the FBI. Mr. Pearson assures the Senator, however, that his source was not this counsel, and to prove it, provides other secret information from the Senator's Rules Committee, which had nothing to do with the counsel for the Internal Security Committee.

He indicates that the Rules Committee was planning to repeat Senator Jenner's political strategy of 1948 and investigate Democratic primaries during the year, then publicize Democratic "election scandals" on the eve of the fall general election. In the past, it had been the Committee's practice to stay out of partisan primaries, investigating only general elections. The only exception to that practice had been in the Republican 80th Congress, when Senator Jenner headed the Senate Elections subcommittee. He quotes extensively from the minutes of the Committee regarding Senator Jenner's secret strategy.

Attorney General Herbert Brownell had been begging for someone to introduce his wiretap bill in the Senate, and so far, only Senator McCarthy had offered to do so, an offer Mr. Brownell did not wish to accept. He had tried to persuade Senator Alexander Wiley of Wisconsin to introduce the bill, but the Senator insisted that wiretapping should be left to the courts and not the Attorney General. Meanwhile, the proposal was in Vice-President Nixon's office, awaiting pick-up by some Senator other than Senator McCarthy. Mr. Pearson notes that the proposal would make wiretap evidence admissible in the courts retroactively, even if acquired illegally several years earlier. Senator Pat McCarran of Nevada vigorously opposed the bill, as he suspected that his own telephones had been tapped.

The Vice-President had told friends privately that Senator McCarthy had finally "gone too far" and had "hanged himself".

Government storage bins were so crammed with surplus food that the Agriculture Department would not be able to store the surplus from the year's harvest. Experts were predicting that over 200 million bushels of grain would have to be dumped on the market at cut-rate prices or else left in the fields to rot, unless Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson got busy providing more storage space.

Postmaster General Arthur Summerfield had privately backed down on his plan to increase first-class mail postage from 3 to 4 cents. He had agreed with key Congressmen not to demand the higher rate if they would increase second and third-class rates. Mr. Pearson notes that it was a safe bet, however, that the increase in postal rates would remain bottled up where they presently were, in the House Rules Committee.

Four large gas and oil companies, Sinclair, Sohio, El Paso Natural Gas, and People's Production Co., would form a joint venture to explore oil beneath the ocean floor in the Gulf of Mexico off Texas and Louisiana.

Doris Fleeson indicates that the President detested political manipulation and whether he had any talent for it remained unknown because he would not try it, that any realistic appraisal of the chances for success of his program had to take into account that fact. The President conceived of himself as head of state rather than the political manager of the country and his party, and the fact that his program was in peril had not changed that stance.

Because winning votes on all issues had to come from Democrats in the narrowly divided houses of Congress, or, in the Senate, from independent Senator Wayne Morse, who preferred the leadership of the President to that of his former fellow Republicans, the President generally looked stronger than he was. It was not clear that the midterm elections would enhance the narrow Republican majorities, only a working majority in the Senate.

The result of not having a strong President was that Senator McCarthy monopolized the headlines and the record of the Administration was slow to develop, causing doubts to arise among Republicans. The President had found out that, contrary to advice during the campaign, there was more to his leadership than simply lending his name to important issues, and yet he still avoided political leadership. What would occur if the Democrats were to take over Congress in the midterm elections would, Ms. Fleeson suggests, be interesting. She finds that the President would be potentially the ideal leader of a coalition, as a popular hero, truly nonpartisan on international issues, and without any legacy of extremism to defend. But thus far he would not coalesce, even when his program was in trouble.

Robert C. Ruark finds that fixation on largeness could be overdone, as in Texas, or in California, where olives were graded as select, standard, medium, large, extra-large, mammoth, giant, jumbo, colossal, super-colossal and special super-colossal. The same was true of consumer products, such as toothpaste, shrimp, cigarettes, and automobiles. The U.S. had the biggest merchandise, the biggest movies, and, "possibly, the biggest and dumbest dames, who will buy anything if it's talked at 'em enough." The country also had the biggest crime and the biggest corruption, the tallest trees and the dirtiest backyards, and the most insolent waiters and surliest servants.

He says that he had never quite understood why the fixation on size had become so firmly implanted in the public consciousness of the country, unless it was the largeness of the land compared to its population, breeding nervousness at the prospect of being left alone in the wide-open spaces. The advertising industry had fostered the idea that it was good to be big, which he ventures was not necessarily the case.

The fixation with bigness had caused anti-American irritation among allies who took the country's money but snarled behind its back and to its face. He says that he had been overseas a lot during the previous dozen years and anyone who believed that the country was beloved was kidding themselves.

A letter writer from Davidson finds it not surprising that Secretary Dulles made the assertion that the U.S. Government felt that the possibility of Communist domination of Indo-China "should not be passively accepted, but should be met by united action." Thus far, he finds, there had been no hue and cry raised by the American people about the prospect of sending fighting men to Indo-China, but such would be expected if it ever appeared that U.S. troops were going to be sent. Were it to become the case, opposition to intervention would probably take the form, he ventures, that a truce should be made with the Communists, that intervention by the U.S. was not absolutely necessary, and that the U.S. could not possibly attempt to hold the line against Communist forces all over the world, that security of Indo-China was not so vital as to require the sending of American forces half way around the world. He believes that the latter argument proceeded from false premises, as the Communists, with possession of Indo-China, could easily move westward into weak Thailand and then menace Burma and India, with a spearhead then into the Southwestern Pacific, including Malaya, Australia, New Zealand and the Philippines. He also finds that any truce which would be negotiated with the Communists in Indo-China at present would have to be on terms which they chose, with recognition that Communists were calculating to undertake world domination. He finds that such a truce would be a repeat of Munich in 1938 and would involve only self-deception of peace.

A letter writer is opposed to the two-cent tax levy for the support of the two community colleges in Charlotte, Charlotte College and Carver College. He believes that if parents could afford to send their child to college, then they should be willing to pay the price and not seek support from the "poor man's shoulder" by such an unjust tax levy on his meager earnings.

A letter writer from Lowesville, N.C., thanks the newspaper, and especially John Borchert, for its editorials and articles on recreation, indicating that the County Commissioners had agreed, largely thanks to the support of the newspaper, to appropriate $5,000 out of the following year's budget toward a survey to find out the county's recreational needs.

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