The Charlotte News

Friday, April 9, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the House had passed the previous day the wiretap bill, somewhat amended from the version desired by Attorney General Herbert Brownell, as further explored by James Marlow below, after a vote on a preliminary amendment of 221 to 166, with 32 Republicans and one independent joining 188 Democrats to form the majority. The Democratic-sponsored amendment to the bill provided that, instead of the Attorney General, a Federal judge would first need approve a wiretap deemed required by national security before it would be admissible subsequently into evidence. All 166 votes opposing that amendment were from Republicans. In its amended version, the measure then passed by 378 to 10, and it would now go to the Senate, where it was predicted, with strong opposition present, that it would likely die, as in earlier times, in the Judiciary Committee. Senator Alexander Wiley of Wisconsin, chairman of a Judiciary subcommittee on wiretapping, said that he believed, however, that there was a need for appropriate legislation in the area, as present law, passed in 1934, forbade use of wiretap evidence in any court proceeding.

Senator Styles Bridges of New Hampshire, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said this date, after a breakfast meeting with the President, that Congress ought to "reappraise the whole foreign aid picture in the light of the current world situation", particularly regarding the crisis in Indo-China. He said that he had not discussed with the President foreign aid or the situation in Indo-China in any detail. He also said that Secretary of State Dulles had canceled a planned appearance before the Appropriations Committee during the afternoon because of his intention to fly to London and Paris to appeal to the British and French governments for support of his program of "united action" against any new Communist aggression in Southeast Asia. Earlier, Senator Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota had said to journalists that any effort by Congress to use foreign aid to pressure Britain and France into a united front against Communism in Southeast Asia would boomerang and "play right into the Kremlin's hands", that it would be like cutting off one's nose to spite one's face.

The House Appropriations Committee this date voted more funds than requested for the Agriculture Department for the following fiscal year, but accused Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson of "a breach of faith" with Congress. The Committee sent to the House floor for debate the following Monday a bill appropriating about 699 million dollars in cash and 320.5 million dollars in loan authority for the Department, the exact amount of the cash requested through the Budget Bureau for the Department but 45 million more in contract authority. The cash amount was about 36 million less than the Department had received in the current year's budget, while the loan authorization was about 64 million less. The Committee had authorized the entire 250 million requested by the Department for its conservation program for the 1955 crop year. It found that many reductions proposed by the Department were "arbitrary and unrealistic" and that Secretary Benson's freezing of funds of some of the "action programs" the previous fall, only a few months after the Department had pleaded with Congress for more money than was finally voted, had also been "arbitrary", and amounted to "a breach of faith with the Congress", which seriously damaged confidence and working relationships. The Committee indicated that it was for Congress to determine the scope of the various departmental programs and the intent of Congress should not be thwarted by the freezing of funds appropriated. The Department had proposed cuts for the Forest Service, the Soil Conservation Service, the crop insurance program, the Rural Electrification Administration, the Farmers Home Administration and the school lunch program, and for disease and pest control. It was in these areas that the Committee had criticized the cuts as arbitrary.

The fifth in a series of retrospective articles on the career of Senator McCarthy, this one again by Associated Press reporters Jack Bell and Relman Morin, based on their recent recorded interview with the Senator, indicates that they had asked him whether he was running for the presidency and trying to capture control of the Republican Party, to which he had answered "no" to both questions. Roy Cohn, the Senate Investigations subcommittee chief counsel, who was also a primary focus of the Army-McCarthy hearings set to begin on April 21, was also present. One of the issues to be investigated was whether Mr. Cohn had sought from the Army, on behalf of the Senator, favors for former subcommittee aide G. David Schine since the latter had been drafted by the Army as a private the previous fall. Again, as the previous day, they set forth verbatim the questions posed and answers given regarding the topic of the Senator's political ambitions. The Senator said that he thought the President's batting average was "pretty good" thus far and that he would campaign for him if he were running presently. He clarified that a speech he had made on television on November 24, 1953, in which he said that the Administration's batting average, in terms of getting rid of Communists and pro-Communists within the Government, was zero in a few cases, had been limited to one particular case, and that otherwise, he thought the batting average was high at that time. He said that he did not expect that there would ever be a President who was perfect, that if such an individual could be elected, there would be no need for Congress. He said that whenever he dug out a Communist from the Truman Administration, "someone like the Alsops, Edward R. Murrow or Drew Pearson" would shout that the Senator was starting a fight with the President, a claim which he found "ridiculous", saying that he was doing the job which the President promised that the Administration would do, digging "out the Communists". He indicated that the President had never said to him that he was unhappy about the methods he had used in digging out Communists, that he might have said things in press conferences which could be interpreted to mean that he was unhappy, but he would let the reporters interpret those statements.

In Las Vegas, a Federal grand jury indicted publisher H. M. Greenspun of the Las Vegas Morning Sun for distributing the newspaper with an article on Senator McCarthy which tended to "incite murder or assassination". Mr. Greenspun had written in the January 8, 1954 edition: "Senator Joe McCarthy has to come to a violent end … but I would hate to see some simpleton get the chair for such a public service as getting rid of McCarthy." Mr. Greenspun responded that the column had been intended as "facetious", saying: "If you read the whole column, you can see that it's a joke. On the other hand, I've made some very serious charges against McCarthy. Why don't they attack me on that basis?" Conviction on the charge carried a possible $5,000 fine, five years imprisonment, or both.

In the Mediterranean, Navy craft were searching for a British Comet jet passenger liner which was missing with its 21 persons aboard, on a Rome to Cairo flight this date, and had reported finding several bodies and debris floating in the Mediterranean. Three Americans had been aboard the flight. A long oil slick, about 50 miles south of Capri, Italy, had drawn the attention of the Navy aircraft at dawn. For the second time in three months, all Comets, pride of the British air transport industry, were grounded for investigation, and the British Government ordered a full inquiry. London newspapers speculated on the possibility of sabotage, drawing parallels with the January 10 crash of another Comet 30 minutes after it had left Rome, but there was no such comment from either the Government or the BOAC.

In Pittsboro, N.C., the SBI stated that a man who was considered the principal suspect in the bombing attempt on a woman's car at Edenton two days earlier and who was also the chief suspect in the killing of her husband by a bomb planted in his truck two years earlier, had been found dead this date from a gunshot wound, apparently self-inflicted. He was the neighbor of the parents of the woman he had allegedly attempted to kill. The SBI said that he had been the principal suspect for over two years. When a journalist asked the woman for comment, she burst into tears and said that she knew the man in question but declined further comment until she had talked with SBI agents. She had recently announced her intention to marry, on April 24, a businessman and civic leader of Edenton.

In Charlotte, Harry Shuford of The News tells of officials of the Mecklenburg County draft board, the state board, and the top Selective Service brass in Washington either having refused to give information or having denied knowledge of a local registrant over whose case the local board had resigned. The unnamed youth prompting the resignations had received a postponement of induction, and the chairman of the local draft board said that the postponement order had come from Washington after the youth had been ordered into service in March, that there had been "political pressure" exerted on board members to grant the postponement, but the source of the pressure remained a mystery. It was indicated at the Selective Service headquarters in Washington that within the previous few days, Selective Service director General Lewis Hershey had reviewed the case of a named individual from Charlotte and had ordered a 60-day postponement of his induction. Draft officials on both the local and state level, however, declined to comment on whether the person named by General Hershey was the same person whose postponement had prompted the resignation of the local draft board. A Charlotte attorney, whose son had been the person named by General Hershey, this date denied that there had been any effort to bring pressure to exempt his son from military service. The father said that his son had been scheduled to graduate from UNC in June and that he had gone to the local board and simply asked them to postpone his son's induction until that time. The son bore the name of a future President, but, presumably, that had nothing to do with the matter—which appears to be much ado about little or nothing in any event, with no national emergency at hand.

In Niles, O., police had responded to a report that a dead man was sitting in a parked car, but when approached, he rubbed his eyes and told the police officers that his wife was a "shrew", that when she raised a fuss, he would leave the house and drive around awhile, then fall asleep, later returning home to her welcome with open arms, whereupon he would go to bed. "No fight. No lost sleep."

On the editorial page, "Amid Chilling Memories of Korea, President Seeks a Way in Indochina" indicates that when the Russian-trained and Russian-equipped North Korean Army had invaded South Korea across the 38th parallel on June 25, 1950, President Truman had been faced with a grim decision, that unless aid were sent quickly to South Korea, it would be overrun. He had acted with characteristic decisiveness at the request of the U.N. Security Council, at the time without Russia present to veto the action because of their boycott since the beginning of 1950 regarding the refusal to admit Communist China to the U.N. Following the passage of resolutions declaring the incursion to be a threat to peace in the region, the Korean War began.

It finds that President Eisenhower's decision in the war in Indo-China was no less grim, that loss of Indo-China would seriously jeopardize all of Southeast Asia, just as the loss of South Korea would have endangered Japan in 1950. Beyond geography, raw materials and manpower, a Communist victory there would be a tremendous psychological advantage for the Communist world, especially in light of the rumblings against colonialism in Asia.

As with Korea, thus far it was a civil war, with much of the matériel being used by the Communists coming originally from Russia, with staff direction and assistance furnished by Communist China. Because of the terrain, modern war machines had to take second place to man-to-man combat.

It posits that the President and Secretary Dulles had a great advantage which President Truman and Secretary of State Acheson had not enjoyed in 1950, that they had nearly 15 months since taking office to reassess the Truman Administration's policy and its stress upon the importance of Indo-China to the free world, and the same period in which to build up U.S. assistance to the beleaguered French. They had also the same period to convince the American people that the danger in Indo-China was grave, and to persuade other free nations that it was in the interest of freedom everywhere for the Vietminh to be defeated and liberty and territorial integrity restored. They also had time to consult with Congress and with the nation's allies before acting.

It appeared that the Administration had hoped that a combination of U.S. aid and a new French military strategy would be enough to win the war, but it had become obvious that something more was needed, direct intervention on the side of the French. That was not a pleasant prospect for Americans who had become disillusioned about the concept of collective security through the campaign rhetoric of "unscrupulous and irresponsible politicians" who had called the Korean War "Truman's War" and who had proclaimed that "the blood of American boys is on the hands of Dean Acheson." The people had only just greeted Korean War veterans on their arrival home and it would be very unpleasant to have to send young men out again to "a steaming jungle, at the mercy of the sniper's bullet." Furthermore, the Republican campaign platform in 1952 had denounced President Truman for having "plunged us into the war in Korea without the consent of our citizens" and "carried on that war without a will to victory", that the war would never have happened "with foresight", that "by their hampering orders that produce stalemates and ignominious bartering with our enemies", the Democrats had offered "no hope of victory". It had said also that the Republicans had no intention to sacrifice the East to gain time for the West.

It suggests that with the same foresight, the situation in Indo-China would likely never have reached the present stage and it would be just as hard to wage that war to a decisive victory as it had been in Korea. There was also the Eisenhower Administration's recent commitment to "massive retaliation" against major aggression, and if the aggression in Indo-China was serious enough to merit "united action", it qualified as major aggression.

It indicates that the paradoxes set forth were not in criticism of the past but rather an effort to help readers understand the enormity of the decision facing President Eisenhower, and if it were to become the President's considered judgment that the interests of the nation and the free world demanded intervention in Indo-China, there was only one alternative available for the American people, "to give him the faith and support due a responsible democratic government from a mature and alert democratic people in one of the gravest moments since the birth of the American nation."

"A Revolting Use of the Smear" indicates that Senator McCarthy's favorite technique was to label as Communist or Communistic anyone who disliked his methods, questioned his objectives, disagreed about the nature of the threat to U.S. security posed by subversives, or in any other way failed to align themselves with the Senator's "vicious and calculated campaign for personal political power." In his reply the prior Tuesday night to CBS correspondent Edward R. Murrow, regarding the latter's March 9 program devoted to the rise to power of Senator McCarthy, the Senator had employed his usual tactic to the point of "revulsion" in an effort to "peddle the notion that Murrow has worked hand-in-glove with Soviet Communism."

It indicates that Mr. Murrow needed no defense from the newspaper editors as his "intelligence, his integrity and his passionate devotion to America are not in question." But, it finds, when the Senator had described the Institute of International Education, of which Mr. Murrow had been the acting director in 1935, as "a Soviet agency to do a job which would normally be done by the Russian secret police", he had "fired a scatter-shot blast at many other distinguished Americans." It then proceeds to list some of the trustees and advisers of that Institute, including present NYU chancellor and former president of UNC, Harry Woodburn Chase, playwright and professor of English at Vassar, Hallie Flanagan, professor emeritus of philosophy at Columbia, John Dewey, former president of UNC and former North Carolina Senator, Frank Porter Graham, former president of the University of Chicago, Robert Hutchins, professor of sociology at UNC, Howard Odum, and professor of social economy and social research at Bryn Mawr, Susan Kingsbury. In addition, John Foster Dulles had been among the trustees in 1935.

It points out that the 1935 summer school session in Moscow had been set up "to provide American educators an opportunity to observe educational methods in Russia", was essentially a student exchange program, not only with the Soviet Union, but several other foreign countries. The Kremlin had become suspicious and canceled the session in Moscow before it was ever held.

"McCarthy's leaning upon such a weak reed is a sign that he is a desperate man, that, as one of his critics said recently, 'the very proliferation of his enemies' is beginning to worry him."

"Plaudits" pays its respects to the son of Wallace Kuralt, the head of the Welfare Department in Charlotte, for having won a campus election for the editorship of the Daily Tar Heel, the UNC student newspaper, after a spirited campus political battle. The editors express confidence that the young Charles Kuralt would maintain the recent tradition of that newspaper, which had been outspoken and lively, as well as responsible.

Mr. Kuralt, as we have previously pointed out, would, upon his graduation from UNC in 1955, go to work for the News, where he would spend about two years before joining CBS.

It should be noted that among the three associate editors of the Tar Heel appointed by Mr. Kuralt was Ed Yoder, the subsequent year to be elected co-editor, along with another associate editor from this year, Louis Kraar, and would also subsequently write for The News, then the Charlotte Observer, (from which he was not fired because he never worked there), then the Greensboro Daily News, before becoming chief editorial writer for the Washington Star in 1975, winning a Pulitzer Prize in 1979 for his editorial writing for that newspaper, then writing a nationally syndicated column starting in 1981 under the Washington Post for fifteen years. He has also authored several books through the years, including a series of essays, published in 1990, The Unmaking of a Whig, in which he discusses W. J. Cash, among other topics, having also written a piece titled "The Easy Chair: W. J. Cash after a Quarter Century", for the September, 1965 issue of Harper's Monthly.

Drew Pearson indicates that Mayor Sam Tully of Rawlins, Wyo., had been in Washington the previous few days trying to obtain relief from bureaucrats in the Government from the closure of local coal mines in the area by the Union Pacific Railroad, for which the Mayor worked to supplement his $1,200 annual income as Mayor. The railroad had thus caused about 1,800 miners to be out of work and the economy of the town and surrounding towns was, in consequence, in poor shape. He had gone to the Defense Department, seeking some location, perhaps, of a defense facility in the area to bolster the economy, but got nowhere. He called on Republican Senator Frank Barrett, who had just spent $270,000 on an investigation of the Senatorial election in New Mexico regarding his colleague, Democrat Dennis Chavez, in his race in 1952 against former Secretary of War and former Ambassador to China, Patrick Hurley, an investigation, pointed out by Mr. Pearson to the Mayor, which had gotten nowhere and ended without unseating Senator Chavez. The Mayor had also gone to the Commerce Department, but they could only advise trying to attract private industry to locate in the region, which the Mayor indicated was not likely any time soon, as most industry did not favor the Rocky Mountains.

Mr. Pearson, after listening to the Mayor, reflected back to November, 1947, when he had promoted and ridden the Friendship Train, which had gone across the country collecting food and clothing for distressed Europeans, prior to the beginning of the Marshall Plan the following spring, and recalled that the train had stopped in the nearby town of Rock Springs in Wyoming, where it was greeted by a brass band in Scotch kilts and a large group of miners, merchants, farmers and schoolchildren, who had collected two train carloads of goods for Europe.

Remembering that gesture of largess, Mr. Pearson tried to get Averell Harriman on the phone, the largest stockholder in the Union Pacific, though he did not any longer have much to do with running the railroad. He was away, but, indicates Mr. Pearson, he was continuing to try to get in touch with him, in the hope of enabling some relief for the towns surrounding Rawlins, including Green River, Laramie, Cheyenne and especially the tiny town of Rock Springs. He states his belief that to the community which had been uprooted through no fault of its own, a Government which had taken its toll on men of that community in time of war ought return the dividends in time of economic distress.

Doris Fleeson indicates that the Republicans had not consolidated their apparent gains and opportunities in the South in the 1952 election, on the coattails of General Eisenhower's victory—which was, by no means, pervasive vis-à-vis Governor Adlai Stevenson in the region, who carried all of the Southern states except Texas, Florida, Virginia, Tennessee, and Oklahoma. Democrats contended confidently that the South would not help the President strengthen his narrow majorities in Congress in the midterm elections.

Republicans pointed only to scattered progress but were not predicting new gains in either house, and would be satisfied if those members of the House who had won on the coattails of the President were to win re-election. They would be happy and surprised in the Senate if Senator John Sherman Cooper of Kentucky could defeat former Vice-President Alben Barkley.

Nonetheless, what the President had done in breaking the formerly solid South would, she ventures, be accomplished again by another Republican "and the wave will be stronger, its effects more lasting." The Democrats had worked hard to overcome the effects of the Eisenhower landslide, while Republicans lacked faith that it could be exploited to their benefit. Republicans also were at a disadvantage because most of their Southern alliances were with Democrats, such as South Carolina Governor James Byrnes, Texas Governor Allan Shivers, and Senator Harry F. Byrd of Virginia, each of whom had insisted on remaining Democrats in state and local affairs.

She indicates that there were two exceptions to the general rule that as things had been for the Republicans in 1952 in the South, they would be again in 1954, those exceptions being women and the voters. They were giving up less easily on the Eisenhower crusade and were finding an easier home within the Citizens for Eisenhower organization than among regular Republicans. The Citizens for Eisenhower were studying the 39 Congressional districts in the South which the President had carried and were attempting to find for each one a Republican nominee who fit the pattern of the President. These candidates would have amateur support, while the professional politicians in the party took a practical view of the matter, with Republican control by such a narrow margin, requiring that their effort be concentrated in the fall on places where they had the best chance to win, which would be in the Midwest rather than in the South.

DNC chairman Stephen Mitchell had set out to bind the party's wounds after the 1952 debacle and had courted the South to such a degree that it had aroused apprehension in the North.

James Marlow indicates that the House had, the previous day, passed the wiretap measure sought by Attorney General Herbert Brownell, albeit in amended form. The Attorney General wanted the 1934 Communications Act, which forbade the interception of any communication and divulging or publishing its "existence, contents, substance, purport, effect or meaning", amended to allow, in cases of national security, the Attorney General to approve a wiretap and make it admissible in the courts thereafter. The Act had been interpreted not to prohibit wiretaps, but rather only the use of them and their results in subsequent court proceedings. As a result, the FBI, since 1934, despite director J. Edgar Hoover having declared himself to be opposed to wiretaps in 1929, conducted wiretaps regarding suspected spying, sabotage, and other such activity which threatened national security. President Roosevelt had authorized such wiretaps in the early period of World War II, but those wiretaps were only for information gathering and could not be used in court prosecutions.

The House altered the desired amendment put forth by the Attorney General to make it necessary that a Federal judge first approve the wiretap, not the Attorney General, before the results could be used in court in cases of national security. The belief was that some future attorney general might abuse the power and that no one could predict where it might lead.

The bill still had to be passed by the Senate before Congress adjourned in August, and the Senate had not begun to consider it.

Mr. Marlow indicates, as had Drew Pearson two days earlier, that wiretap evidence could be revived from earlier cases, going back years, to be used in court prosecutions should the amendment to the statute be passed. While that might be true of the information as evidence, where otherwise admissible, to support a recent offense, it would not apply to initiation of a new prosecution based entirely on an old wiretap, unless the wiretap were within the statute of limitations, as the statute runs from discovery of the criminal offense by a particular accused.

A letter from a school principal in Mount Holly tells of having found interesting the series of articles three weeks earlier by News reporter Lucien Agniel on the state of education in North Carolina, especially focused on teacher certification and the shortage of elementary school teachers. But with the exception of the first article, regarding the deficiency in English, mathematics and science among UNC freshmen, the inability of some to read, he finds the series to have read "like a report on a 'bull' session where some professors were 'popping off' about their pet gripes." He suggests that high school graduation was not necessarily adequate preparation for college, that there were some graduates who should not be given diplomas and there were some who had the capacity to finish high school but not the capacity to go further into higher education. He indicates that the public schools had little control over the selection of pupils for college and that school administrators were sometimes surprised that pupils were accepted to college. He suggests that the composite professor at UNC, which Mr. Agniel had adopted as a figure in his first piece to represent the generalized opinion he found among the professors, should examine the recommendations filed with the transcripts of some of the pupils who could not pass English. He does not believe that anyone maintained that a pupil should never be graduated from high school until he had convinced the faculty that he was ready for college. He had also found the last article in the five-part series to be misleading, pitting the traditional practice of education against progressive ideas, suggesting that North Carolina public schools had gone to the extreme in promoting "progressive education". He says that it was generally agreed that North Carolina schools were very conservative and that the state was the stronghold of the traditional academic emphasis in education. To be progressive, he asserts, it was not necessary to adopt the ideas of "progressive education". He believes that the greatest deterrent to entering the teaching profession was its necessity to resolve delicate problems of students and parents, on pay which did not compete with other jobs requiring a similar level of education. He asserts that better teachers were needed and that the teachers the school systems had should be doing a better job. He encourages parents to get involved with their children's schools, and assures that administrators and teachers understood that schools always needed study, analysis, criticism and improvement.

A letter writer, identified only as "Reporter", expresses "not much" distress for the attack on his or her "reportorial veracity" by a letter writer in describing the scene at Municipal Airport when Adlai Stevenson had arrived for a visit to Charlotte the prior weekend, the letter writer having stated that an informal poll of the fourth-graders who greeted Mr. Stevenson had actually demonstrated that about half of them were Republicans, when the report in the newspaper had indicated that only one was so identified. "Reporter" says that 14 of the 20 children standing along the fence at the time of the arrival had raised their hands when asked if they were Democrats. He or she further reaffirms the reported perception that the teacher was "breathless" when she arrived to greet Mr. Stevenson, and believes that anyone would have been had they needed to elbow their way to the front of the crowd, as did the teacher to reach the Governor to ask him if he would say something to her 20 students. "Reporter" concludes, "Next time I'll carry a stethoscope."

The "Reporter" for the short piece in question on the front page of April 2 was not identified, though the main story had been reported by Mr. Agniel.

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