The Charlotte News

Tuesday, May 25, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that at Geneva, the Indo-China portion of the peace conference, according to Western sources, had made "some progress" this date during its first "real working session", regarding a proposed cease-fire and related military matters. A reliable informant had reported that representatives of both the Indochinese government of Viet Nam and the Vietminh rebels had spoken during the secret session and that each had briefly regarded all points of a seven-point discussion plan placed before the conference the previous day, that there appeared to be a "considerable amount of common ground" as the nine delegations met, but the source did not disclose particulars. He believed that agreement could be reached on certain points.

From Luang Prabang in Laos, it was reported that the French hoped to complete their airlift of wounded from fallen Dien Bien Phu within the ensuing three days, with the shuttle having reached a record high of 150 casualties evacuated the previous day, including the first group of French officers and some Vietnamese. The total evacuated was now 572, leaving 313 yet to be transported ultimately to Hanoi. Helicopters and light planes, necessary to accomplish the airlift because of the airstrip next to the fortress having been destroyed during the battle, were shuttling back and forth every 20 to 30 minutes, delivering a maximum of six wounded on each trip. The Vietminh had put gangs of coolies to work this date on repairing the airstrip so that large transports could speed the airlift.

From Hanoi, it was reported that Genevieve de Galard Terraube, the heroic nurse who had tended French wounded for 40 straight nights and days at Dien Bien Phu prior to its fall to the Vietminh, declared this date to a press conference, after arrival in Hanoi, that it had been the "most formidable experience" of her life, opening "new horizons" of courage and devotion to duty while French soldiers and officers "were so brilliantly fighting and dying". She said that she had only done her duty. She indicated that on the night of March 30-31, the most dangerous and dramatic moment of the battle had occurred, when the Vietminh had hurled several thousand mortars and heavy artillery projectiles into the fortress, resulting in hundreds of French wounded and dying. Many of the wounded, she said, had to wait many hours in line in the underground bunkers, while in terrible pain, before she could help them. They had only a few doctors to assist and she was the only woman nurse present. She said she felt mixed joy and sadness, because she had been ordered to leave behind many wounded and people who had worked with her who needed her help. She said she planned to return to her home in Paris within a few days to see her family and rest, and then would continue her work as a nurse.

The wife of captured French General Christian de Castries, former commander of Dien Bien Phu, had arrived by plane in Paris this date from Indo-China.

Secretary of State Dulles said this date to a news conference that the Communists may have shipped arms to Guatemala so that they could build up a Communist bastion near the Panama Canal. A report the previous week had indicated that Poland had shipped 2,000 tons of arms to Guatemala, worth ten million dollars. The Secretary said that Guatemala was the only country in the West to receive a massive amount of arms from an Iron Curtain country. The State Department had announced the previous day that arms were being airlifted as rapidly as possible to Nicaragua and Honduras, neighbors to Guatemala, in response to which Moscow radio had announced that the action was in preparation for an attack against Guatemala. The Guatemalan Foreign Minister, however, had said that he did not believe the arms shipment had anything to do with Guatemala. Secretary Dulles also said that the U.S. would support an appeal to the U.N. for the dispatch of a peace observation mission to Southeast Asia, that the U.S. had made it clear to the French in talks presently underway what terms and conditions would be required for U.S. intervention in the Indo-China war, including approval by Congress and the creation of an anti-Communist coalition in Southeast Asia. He also said that the U.S. was about to send a new diplomatic note to Russia regarding President Eisenhower's proposal, made before the U.N. the prior December, for an international atomic energy sharing pool, and that negotiations on the matter were proceeding with Britain and France.

The District of Columbia Board of Education adopted, by vote of six to two, a five-point blueprint for ending segregation in the schools of the District. The plan called for a start toward ending segregation the following fall, with desegregation to be completed within one year. The President had stated his hope that a successful plan for ending segregated schools in Washington could serve as a guide for abolishing segregation in 17 Southern and border states where it had been compulsory. The five points of the program were that all assignments and ratings within the school system would be based on merit, rather than race or color, that no pupil would be favored or discriminated against because of race or color, that children would not be permitted to attend schools outside the boundaries in which they lived for reasons of race or color, that no records of pupils or personnel would make any reference to race or color, and that all schools would use maximum efficiency without regard to race or color.

The previous day, the Supreme Court had instructed lower courts, in light of its decision in Brown v. Board of Education, handed down May 17, to reconsider cases involving admission of black students to the University of Florida Law School and L.S.U., and the affirmance by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals of the refusal to allow black admission to operatic performances by a privately owned theatrical group which leased a publicly owned amphitheater in Louisville, Ky. (For subsequently held elucidation of the principle distinguishing between the required "state action" to invoke the Fourteenth Amendment in cases of discrimination in denying a fundamental liberty interest based on a suspect classification involving immutable characteristics such as race, and situations involving purely private action, and the fact situations falling in between involving some state action, see Palmer v. Thompson, 403 U.S. 217, decided by the Supreme Court in 1971, and cases cited therein. Do not become confused, however, with the 1964 Civil Rights Act, prohibiting, by Federal statute, discrimination even in privately owned facilities which are engaged in business affecting interstate commerce, the power of Congress so to legislate having derived from the Commerce Clause of the Constitution, not necessarily the Fourteenth Amendment, requiring some, even tenuous, form of state action.) While Brown, per se, only applied to primary and secondary schools, it was considered broad enough to encompass public colleges and universities by the fact of having stated that "in the field of public education", segregation was unconstitutional. The Court also declined review of a Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals order that six qualified black applicants be admitted to the University of Wichita Falls in Texas, formerly Hardin College. The Court also declined review of the Circuit Court decision allowing admittance of blacks to municipal golf courses in Houston, Tex., albeit on a segregated basis, and a California Court of Appeal decision upholding an order of integration of public housing projects in San Francisco. These were the "orders" to which the brief bulletin had alluded the previous day.

In the 20th day of hearings before the Senate Investigations subcommittee regarding the dispute between the Army and Senator McCarthy, Maj. General Cornelius Ryan, commander of Fort Dix in New Jersey, testified this date that the subcommittee staff had repeatedly asked for special leaves from duty for Private G. David Schine, but that he had no knowledge whether the requests were for any purpose other than subcommittee work. General Ryan utilized charts to explain the leaves, and Senator McCarthy called the charts "phony and dishonest" and "an attempt to deceive the American people", by showing in large black squares the days on which Private Schine had enjoyed pass privileges during his basic training, while in relatively unblemished white squares, showed the pass privileges of the "average" inductee. The General said he did not see anything dishonest about the charts, and that he did not think that anything put out by the Army was dishonest. He also said that he had never heard Secretary of the Army Robert Stevens ask Private Schine to pose with him for a photograph, and that he had been with Secretary Stevens every moment of the time the previous November when Senator McCarthy had contended Mr. Stevens had made such a request. He also stated that there was no preferential treatment for Private Schine at Fort Dix, unless the leaves were considered preferential treatment, that he had made available at Fort Dix a conference room to be used by Private Schine and the McCarthy staff, but that the room had been used only once, that Private Schine had made 250 long distance telephone calls during his eight weeks at Fort Dix, and that insofar as the General knew, no other private ever had that many calls, adding that there was nothing wrong about a private making telephone calls if he had the time and money to do so. He further said that despite the leaves, Private Schine had completed his training with a "superior" rating, while being rated only "fair" on character, a rating which the General described as "very low". He testified that members of the staff of Senator McCarthy had called the General's headquarters 29 times regarding Private Schine during the eight weeks of training. An aide to the General, Lt. John Blount, testified regarding telephone calls he had with subcommittee chief counsel Roy Cohn regarding Private Schine, saying that Mr. Cohn had been "extremely angry" regarding treatment of Private Schine at Fort Dix and had let him know about it in no uncertain terms. He said, however, that there were no swear words used. One such call occurred January 9, regarding a January 10 assignment of the Private to kitchen duty. Lt. Blount said he told Mr. Cohn that the Army considered kitchen duty part of the routine of basic training and that Private Schine could not be excused from it. General Ryan had testified that Mr. Cohn had remarked, in reference to the kitchen assignment, that certain Army officers were making it as difficult as they could for Private Schine and that he would not forget their names.

During the afternoon session, Army Lt. Col. John Murray would testify regarding the preparation of the charts described during the morning regarding Private Schine's leaves. Col. Kenneth BeLieu, a staff assistant to Secretary Stevens, would also testify regarding his accompanying Secretary Stevens on his October 20, 1953 trip to Fort Monmouth and generally corroborated the testimony of Army general counsel John G. Adams regarding the anger displayed by Mr. Cohn after being denied entrance to the top-secret radar facility, and that he had stated it was done to embarrass him, that it meant war with the Army and that the subcommittee would proceed to investigate more vigorously the claims of subversives at the facility.

The House Ways & Means Committee reversed itself this date and decided against bringing an estimated 150,000 medical doctors and interns under the Social Security program, following a motion by Representative Thomas Jenkins of Ohio, which passed by a vote of 15 to 10. The AMA had opposed the original recommendation which had included the doctors. The Committee also voted 22 to 2 to keep municipal firemen and policemen out of the Social Security system as well, after having previously recommended extension of benefits to 270,000 police and firemen.

The Justice Department dropped the prosecution of Val Lorwin, former State Department official accused of lying when he denied Communist affiliations. A representative of the Justice Department stated that the decision had been reached because of misrepresentations made by a prosecutor before a grand jury. The prosecutor had said that two FBI informants would be available for the trial, when there were no such informants, and had also said that there was no need to summon either Mr. Lorwin or his wife to appear before the grand jury because they would probably refuse to testify on the grounds of self-incrimination, when there was no basis for that statement. A loyalty board hearing had previously completely cleared Mr. Lorwin, who had since become a professor at the University of Chicago, on leave.

In Baltimore, a 15-year old boy was shot and killed the previous day while target shooting in a wooded area with his best friend, an 18-year old boy, who ran from the woods for help, but got lost on return, taking 30 minutes before six policemen could locate the boy's body.

In Elmira, N.Y., 300 people attending the 27th annual conference of the Eastern Association of Fire Chiefs were on hand the previous night when local firemen had to put out a small blaze in the kitchen of the hotel.

In Bryson City, N.C., a man was sentenced in Federal Court this date to ten years in prison after he pleaded guilty to armed robbery of a branch bank on May 5.

In Toronto, a 63-year old woman finished her annual birthday hike on schedule the previous night, traversing a mile for every year she had lived. She had started the 63-mile hike on Sunday morning, at a pace of four miles per hour. She offered $25 to anyone who had seen her show signs of quitting and also challenged Toronto's female population to accompany her, but there were no takers. She said she thought that the women of Toronto were just a bunch of sissies, saying that she was peppy all the way and hoped to do it again the following year if she could, as it kept her figure in good shape.

On the editorial page, "City School Officials Look Ahead" indicates that the City School Board had taken a wise precautionary step when it decided to undertake a special study of biracial education in the city, pending further action by the Supreme Court and appropriate state authorities, with regard to implementing a plan for desegregation. It suggests that the City Board could not do much else at the moment.

Even if the Court were to order immediate integration of schools, it suggests, the placement of local schools within the residential areas they served would preclude abrupt alterations in the system, with segregated schools within the city to remain so until there was a significant shift in the residential constituency of the city neighborhoods. It finds that did not mean that City school officials should twiddle their thumbs, as long-range planning was necessary.

It indicates that there had been a commonsensical, calm attitude among the people of both races in the city since the decision had been handed down eight days earlier, that people had lived and worked side by side for generations, creating a sufficient backlog of goodwill and understanding to enable them to live and work together during the generations to come.

Just so long as the li'l chil'ren don't have to go down 'ere to the school with that there racial mixin' goin' on.

"A Serious Charge by a Responsible Man" indicates that a few Congressional committees, including Armed Services, Foreign Relations, and Atomic Energy, served as checks on and confidants to the military, and those committees had served well in the past. Thus, when the chairman of the Joint Atomic Energy Committee, Representative Sterling Cole, made a charge, it was worth thoughtful attention. He had stated that no one could find out the facts about the progress in continental defense against atomic attack without "traversing one of the most complicated bureaucratic mazes ever to exist in the Pentagon". When he had finally penetrated that maze, he had discovered that more than two years had passed since formidable technical problems pertinent to the distant warning system had been surmounted, and that four years after the need for the warning system had been indicated and two years after scientists had developed the equipment to make it possible, it was still not in existence.

There were other signs that U.S. atomic policy deserved more attention than it was receiving. A high official of the Atomic Energy Commission was reported to be in disagreement with the Commission on censorship policy, planning to resign soon. The Alsops had reported increasing difficulty, and occasional impossibility, in obtaining clearance for articles based on published atomic data. Responsible Democrats on the Joint Atomic Energy Committee had been critical of AEC chairman Lewis Strauss for his request to increase his personal power, particularly as it related to censorship. They were also questioning proposed changes in the Atomic Energy Act—as further explored this date by Doris Fleeson and the previous day by the Alsops. The latter were reporting on the page this date that intercontinental missiles, equipped with hydrogen warheads, could become a reality within a few years.

It indicates that if such intercontinental warfare became possible on a mass scale, the most elaborate warning system currently available might become obsolete. While development of a more sophisticated warning system could be ongoing in secret, it was time for Congress and the public to call for an accounting from those who were shaping atomic policy, especially true when the chairman of the Committee overseeing it was having trouble obtaining information.

"Give N.C. Republicans a Fair Shake" indicates that in several ways, governmental powers were abused in the state, used to the advantage of the Democrats rather than in furtherance of democratic principles. One such power was that of the gerrymander, whereby Congressional districts were divided into "bacon strips", including more Democratic than Republican voters. The same technique was applied to judicial districts and in apportionment of seats for the State Senate.

Another such method was applied to selection of county boards of education. In the upcoming primary election the following Saturday, seven candidates for two positions on the Mecklenburg County Board of Education would be at stake, with four of the candidates being Democrats and three, Republicans, without any runoff between the top two candidates of both parties in the general election the following fall. The names of the nominees would then be supplied to the superintendent of public instruction, and then to the General Assembly, which appointed the Board members. As a result, a worthy Republican candidate had no chance to get more votes than a Democratic candidate. Democrats and independents could not vote for a Republican candidate in the primary. The General Assembly, being Democratic, would be unlikely to appoint a Republican to the Board, even if the Republican were to obtain more votes.

It thus counsels a change in the law to enable voters of each county to elect directly their own boards of education.

But what if they elect morons?

A piece from the Greensboro Daily News, titled "Steaks out of Doors", indicates that among the new devices on sale regarding barbecuing was an electrical spit, a trunk-like portable refrigerator which would keep food and drinks cold for an entire weekend, and colored plastic plates with anchored tumblers to hold whatever was needed to slake the thirst. It appeared to the student of the Boy Scout Handbook to be too much on the "super-duper side", but, nevertheless, finds the trend to be good, as a steak cooked over hardwood embers or charcoal was an advance over potato salad, baked beans and cold cuts, which had typified the average picnic in earlier years. Eating outdoors, it concludes, had always been a good idea, but was better than ever at present.

Drew Pearson indicates that the Eisenhower Administration had reversed the Truman Administration policy of informing the public whenever Russia exploded a nuclear bomb. The Atomic Energy Commission thus had announced only one hydrogen explosion by the Soviets, whereas actually they had exploded three. He suggests that because of the enormous destructive potential of the hydrogen bomb, for the sake of civil defense, it would appear wise to inform the public of the status. The Russians appeared to be ahead of the U.S. in some phases of hydrogen bomb research, though the U.S. was still probably ahead in overall hydrogen bomb development.

At the Geneva peace conference, British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden had discovered that Undersecretary of State Walter Bedell Smith had been talking quietly with French Foreign Minister Georges Bidault, trying to form a Southeast Asia pact without Britain. Mr. Eden had immediately phoned Prime Minister Churchill, who told him to have a showdown with Undersecretary Smith, which Mr. Eden then did, whereupon General Smith more or less told him to jump in the lake, that he would talk to the French if he wanted to do so. Mr. Churchill retaliated by withdrawing New Zealand from the proposed defense pact, leaving the U.S. only with a hesitant France, sparse Australia and the willing but weak Philippines. The Anglo-American spat was serious, with some diplomats comparing it to the time of Munich in 1938, when Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain had appeased Hitler and then been branded with the sign of the umbrella for life, which had marked his return to Britain and his proclamation of "peace for our time", within less than a year turned to world war. At the time, Mr. Churchill had been one of the bitterest critics of Mr. Chamberlain.

One reason Senator Homer Ferguson of Michigan had spoken out against having Senator McCarthy campaign for him for re-election was the Louis Bean political survey, which showed that Senator McCarthy's ability to attract voters to a candidate was not what it was supposed to be.

Governor Allan Shivers of Texas was not going to have an easy time getting re-elected, as had been expected, as many Democrats who had voted for President Eisenhower were upset with him.

The Alsops had scored a real victory when they were able to get Attorney General Herbert Brownell to probe Paul Crouch, the professional former Communist witness for the Justice Department, for possible perjury. Mr. Crouch had tried to smear former WPA administrator Aubrey Williams and former FCC commissioner Clifford Durr and his wife, the latter being the sister-in-law of Justice Hugo Black.

A group had established a "McCarthy for President" headquarters, the group being comprised of many of the same people who had supported General MacArthur for the presidency.

Senator McCarthy may have inadvertently revealed the identity of the Army officer who provided him the 2 1/2-page supposed letter from FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, which Mr. Hoover indicated he had never drafted and that it was only a condensation of an 11-page unsigned memorandum prepared by the FBI, the Senator, earlier in the hearings, during questioning of Secretary Stevens, having asked about a conversation taking place in front of an Army major who had told the Senator about the conversation, the Senator having written the name of the major on a slip of paper and handed it to the Secretary to refresh his recollection. The Army was now investigating whether that same major may have provided to the Senator the confidential FBI report and the phony letter compiled from it. Mr. Pearson advises Secretary Stevens to check with Attorney General Brownell, that he would find in so doing that the FBI had sent two reports to the Justice Department regarding the Signal Corps at Fort Monmouth about a year earlier, in April, 1953, a few months after which Senator McCarthy had received from all executive departments the reports of their investigations regarding Fort Monmouth, pursuant to orders of the President. It was at that point that Senator McCarthy saw an opportunity to get back into the headlines. The Justice Department had apparently concluded, however, on the basis of the FBI investigation, that there was no evidence of espionage at Fort Monmouth.

The latest Senate quip regarding the McCarthy hearings was: "This is the first time since the Philistines that an army was defeated with the jawbone of an ass."

Every important television quiz program was planning to invite Army special counsel Joseph Welch to be a guest star after the hearings concluded.

At the start of the hearings, Senator McCarthy had demanded that every member of his staff take a loyalty oath supporting him and Roy Cohn, but one staff member had refused, Ruth Young Watts, and had thus far not been fired. Mr. Pearson notes that she had been around Congress long before Senator McCarthy.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop, in the first of three related editorials on the subject of push-button weapons, indicate that the development of the hydrogen bomb was expected to lead to the early development of guided missiles with intercontinental capability, the reason being that the atomic bomb had a very limited central area of destruction, which meant that it had to reach its target to within 1,500 feet, about a third of a mile, whereas the hydrogen bomb had a much wider area of central destruction, enabling it to hit within three or four miles of its primary target and still wreak havoc.

The Soviets were believed to be ahead of the U.S. in the development of guided missiles, an area to which the Pentagon had never provided highest priority, raising the question whether the Soviets might be the first to achieve intercontinental capability with a hydrogen warhead. If that were to occur, then the sense of security which the U.S. had obtained from its nuclear arsenal would prove false. The time when the "birds will fly", as missile developers liked to say, was officially estimated to be as close as 1960, with first tests possibly coming as early as 1957 or 1958.

The problem with guided missile technology was that over the course of 5,000 miles between continents, there was no capability of pinpoint accuracy, and, with smaller hydrogen bombs being developed with one megaton explosive capability, the larger area of potential destruction with the hydrogen bomb would tend to diminish the problem of error in trajectory.

The other problem associated with guided missiles of intercontinental range was that they needed to re-enter the earth's atmosphere, as the bulk of their travel was accomplished outside the atmosphere in space. Re-entering the earth's atmosphere without burning up was still a problem not yet conquered. One solution was that rather than a ballistic or rocket-propelled type of missile, a ramjet form of missile could be utilized, which could achieve high supersonic speeds but without leaving the atmosphere. Thus, careful balancing of many different problems and possibilities still needed to obtain before guided missile technology with intercontinental range could become a reality.

The Alsops conclude, however, that the hydrogen bomb had brought the era of push-button warfare across intercontinental range much closer, an eventuality which would be much more advantageous to the Soviet Union than to the U.S., as a dictatorship had the advantage over democracies of being able to launch at will. They wonder what would become of the new strategic concept in the Eisenhower Administration, "massive retaliation", when that to which retaliation was aimed was the capability for instantaneous destruction of the United States.

Doris Fleeson discusses the bill before Congress which would provide the Atomic Energy Commission chairman far more power, as discussed the previous day by the Alsops. The Joint Committee on Atomic Energy was considering the bill, and only five of the 13 members of the Committee regularly attended hearings, including the chairman, Representative Sterling Cole, Senator Bourke Hickenlooper, both of whom were sponsoring the AEC legislation, and Senator John Pastore of Rhode Island, and Representatives Chet Holifield of California and Melvin Price of Illinois, the latter three being Democrats.

She indicates that the ongoing loyalty hearing regarding Dr. Robert Oppenheimer, before a three-man Presidential special commission, chaired by Gordon Gray, could have an impact on the changes occurring in the atomic field. In addition, the fact that AEC chairman, Admiral Lewis Strauss, was under fire by some atomic scientists and by some members of Congress could likewise impact the matter. The commission reviewing Dr. Oppenheimer's loyalty was expected to report soon, possibly during the current week, and Democrats privately were bitter that two of the three members appointed by the President were Democrats, Mr. Gray and Thomas Morgan, retired chairman of Sperry Gyroscope Co. For if they cleared Dr. Oppenheimer, Democrats expected Senator McCarthy to blame the Democratic members of the commission, and they believed that Admiral Strauss had planned it that way.

The principal charge against Admiral Strauss was that he was a martinet who sought dictatorial powers over the AEC, as the proposed legislation would make him the "principal officer" of the Commission, able to make decisions independent of the other four members, a complete change from the current status, where all five members had equivalent power. The Admiral had been scheduled to appear before the Committee the previous Monday, but that had been postponed until June 2, possibly because of the imminence of the report on Dr. Oppenheimer. It was anticipated that he would undergo vigorous cross-examination and that other members of the AEC would then also testify.

The Cole-Hickenlooper bill, in addition to giving the chairman significant new power, fixed the terms for participation of private industry in the atomic energy program. Democrats claimed that it also set up a patent system which would create private monopolies, costly to taxpayers who had already spent 12 billion dollars on atomic power research. The bill which the President had submitted had safeguards against monopoly, but the bill as rewritten had eliminated those safeguards.

A letter writer responds to a May 22 editorial, titled "The South Respects the Law", finding that the ban on segregation was not necessary, that the schools attended by black students were as nice, or perhaps nicer, than some schools attended by white students. "A self-respecting colored person would not want to go to school with the white people. I imagine it is some of the low-down white trash in Charlotte pushing this mess." She had talked to several teachers and they had told her that they would not teach mixed classes, and to that she says, "Three cheers for the teachers." She does not know what could be done to set aside the ruling of the Supreme Court, but if there was anything she could do, she wishes someone to let her know. She concludes that if the letter was considered to be one of the "shrill voices" of which the editorial had remarked, then she was glad, that maybe a million more such voices would result in something being done about the mess.

We suggest you take a long hike up to the Yadkin River, and jump in.

A letter writer from Spartanburg, S.C., asks what is segregation, and thinks that readers would benefit by trying to answer the question in 500 words. He suggests that no Christian could successfully defend segregation as morally correct, that one might reason that sudden abolition of a custom was wrong or at least would cause trouble. But Christ had caused trouble, as had the Declaration of Independence, trouble forcing the solving of problems, and so he favors facing the trouble with a positive attitude and letting "the negative voices join each other along with the Judases and the Tories."

A letter writer favors increasing the pensions of widows of soldiers, as tending to help the economy by putting more money into circulation among consumers.

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