The Charlotte News

Monday, May 3, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Geneva, at the Far East peace conference, the Eastern and Western representatives had reached virtual agreement this date on setting up the portion of the conference set to consider a resolution of the Indo-China war. According to French sources, the Soviets had agreed to a Western proposal that representatives of the Vietminh would be invited to that conference by the Soviets instead of by Communist China. The Western Big Three foreign ministers and the foreign minister of Viet Nam had formally agreed to accept the Vietminh representatives, with the understanding that it would not imply recognition of the Vietminh as a state. The Russians and the West had already agreed that nine parties would attend that part of the conference, the Big Four, Communist China, the Vietminh and the three Associated States of Indo-China, Viet Nam, Cambodia and Laos. Secretary of State Dulles had left the conference for Washington this date, leaving U.S. representation in the hands of Undersecretary Walter Bedell Smith. The Australian foreign minister had also departed for home to take part in that nation's parliamentary elections, and several other foreign ministers were scheduled to depart in the ensuing couple of weeks, including Soviet Foreign Minister V. M. Molotov, who said he would remain about two more weeks.

In the eighth day of the Senate Investigations subcommittee hearings on the dispute between the Army and Senator McCarthy, Secretary of the Army Robert Stevens insisted that he was not covering up "anybody at any time", after Senator McCarthy had suggested that someone in the Army was "covering up" Communists. Secretary Stevens was testifying for the eighth consecutive day of the hearings, though his testimony had been interrupted by the several witnesses called to testify regarding the taking, delivery and cropping of the controversial photograph of the Secretary with Private G. David Schine and two others, taken the previous November 17 at McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey. Senator McCarthy was seeking to explore this date the case of Major Irving Peress, the Army Reserve dentist who had been promoted from captain and then honorably discharged despite having refused to sign loyalty papers and having taken the Fifth Amendment, an area of inquiry to which subcommittee special counsel Ray Jenkins raised objection for involving questions of loyalty of an individual who had been investigated by the subcommittee earlier and involving alleged subversive activities within the Army. The Senator responded that it was a "crucial" matter at the heart of his dispute with the Army, claiming that the Army had cooperated with investigations of individual cases involving alleged Communists, but had thrown up every obstacle available to them to avoid the more important issue of determining who had been responsible for "covering up" Communists within the Army. The Senator claimed that Army officials had threatened to issue "smear reports" against his staff when the subcommittee had pressed for the names of those responsible for "protecting" Communists, at which point Secretary Stevens had interjected that he had not been covering up anyone at any time. Eventually, Mr. Jenkins ruled that questions regarding the Army's handling of the dentist's case were proper but that the inquiry should not regard the merits of that case, the actual loyalty or not of Major Peress. For the most part, the morning session had not produced anything which shed light on the basic issues in the dispute, the competing claims that, according to the Army, the Senator and his staff, principally Roy Cohn, had sought special favors for Private Schine on the basis of threats of retaliatory action against Army officials for failure to comply, and the Senator's contention that the Army had "blackmailed" him to end his investigation of Communists in the Army by issuing its report to the subcommittee regarding the coercive tactics used to seek special favors for Private Schine. There was some discussion of what might be done to speed up the hearings, but that was dropped when Senator McCarthy said that it would take him at least three more days to complete his examination of Secretary Stevens.

The afternoon session continued the examination of Secretary Stevens. Future counsel to President Nixon during the Watergate scandal twenty years hence, James St. Clair, special co-counsel for the Army, testified briefly to authenticate a verbatim transcript he had prepared of a dictabelt recording made by Army regular counsel John G. Adams on October 19, 1953, and Mr. Adams then testified about the substance of that recording, which was a press release he had prepared for Senator McCarthy regarding Fort Monmouth and the subcommittee's investigation of Communist infiltration to the radar research facility there, a press release which Senator McCarthy did not issue, stating that he would issue his own press releases.

The Senate was set to debate the President's proposed changes to Taft-Hartley this date, and Republicans believed they could block an effort by the Democrats to pigeonhole the matter by sending it back to the Labor Committee, which would effectively kill the revision effort for the present session of Congress. Senator Alexander Smith of New Jersey, chairman of the Labor Committee, had finished work during the weekend on a speech he might deliver this date, outlining the revision bill adopted several weeks earlier by the Committee on a vote along straight party lines. Tentative plans called for Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona to follow Senator Smith with an amendment on the states' rights question, which Senator Goldwater said was backed by the labor aides within the White House. The only suggested revision by the President which had been omitted from the Labor Committee's recommended revisions was for the Government to conduct secret polls of employees on the question of a proposed strike whenever a labor dispute entered the strike stage.

Bernard Baruch said this date in New York, as part of a series of lectures at CCNY, that the President's proposal for a worldwide atomic energy sharing pool would not solve the basic problem of security, that the idea might expand peaceful atomic uses but that the dangers of an atomic attack would not be reduced. He asserted that Russia and the U.S. had to reach a general disarmament agreement on all weapons, not just atomic bombs, before there would be peace.

In Cincinnati, a ten-year old boy had been begging his father to let him drive the family automobile, until the father relented and allowed him to drive it back and forth in the driveway the previous day, at which point the boy lost control, causing the car to strike a baby's playpen near the garage, running over and killing a 15-month old infant.

In Monroe, N.C., a man shot and killed his high school age daughter during a family argument in the morning hours and was now in jail, facing a murder warrant to be issued later in the day. The victim was 14 or 15 and was too shaken, according to the deputies investigating the incident, to provide clear details after the shooting. She had been shot once in the temple with a .22-caliber rifle and was hospitalized in "very critical" condition, dying about three hours later. Her father, according to deputies, did not appear to have been drinking and was shocked by the news of his daughter's death, breaking down and crying when told she had died. He had not stated a reason for shooting her, saying that it was the result of a family argument. A Methodist minister who had been passing by the home where the shooting occurred, said that he believed the argument had begun when the father had sought to convince his daughter to attend church the night before. The minister said that he understood that about a year earlier, the girl's brother had been killed in a tractor accident, leaving only a six-year old daughter still presently alive.

In Charlotte, plans were proceeding for the President's visit of May 18, and a schedule of the day's planned events is provided.

Also in Charlotte, a 1950 Buick, forced to the left by a half-ton 1951 Chevrolet truck turning left against traffic, had gone up on the sidewalk early this date, struck a mailbox and tore down a traffic signal box from a light pole, in an early morning accident, disrupting traffic at a busy intersection.

In another accident, a late model convertible careened out of control and smashed into an automobile and two houses, winding up wedged between a tree and the porch of one of the houses, the driver of the vehicle charged with speeding and reckless driving. The makes and model years of the cars involved were not provided in the story. Someone was not reporting matters thoroughly to enable the reader to get a full mental picture of the accident scene. Judging by the picture, however, the car pinned against the tree appears to be a 1951 Oldsmobile.

In Malibu, Calif., a wrecker had been summoned the previous day after a collision on Ventura Boulevard, but the wrecker had not shown up, and deputies, anxious to clear the road, had finally sent two men to look for it, finding it weaving uncertainly down a thoroughfare, prompting the arrest of the driver on suspicion of drunk driving. They summoned other tow trucks to take away both the originally wrecked cars and the first summoned tow truck.

In nearby Long Beach, Calif., two persons driving home Friday night spotted a wandering blonde cocker spaniel on the highway, and since they had nearly hit it, decided to take it home, the next day reading that the dog had apparently run away from its owners who had offered a $1,000 reward for its return. The man then returned the dog and collected the reward, part of which, he said, would be used to buy a dog, as his children had fallen in love with the cocker spaniel overnight.

Lucien Agniel of The News reports that a 23-year old Long Creek sixth grade school teacher this date had told of an ocean rescue which had resulted in her winning a bronze medal from the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission, of which she had found out for the first time only the prior Friday after the newspapers started trying to locate her. The incident had occurred the previous May 23 at Myrtle Beach at a party on the beach with several teachers present acting as caretakers for ninth grade students from the school, during which a man had approached and inquired whether any of them could swim because a woman who could not swim had been pulled out to sea by the undertow, the school teacher volunteering to swim out to her, able to pull her about 200 yards to safety. The teacher was very modest in relating the story. The Hero Fund Commission had been established in 1904 to honor and reward those who, while following a peaceful vocation, had undertaken an heroic effort to save human life. Mr. Agniel relates that her sixth grade students this date were playing a game to improve their schoolwork, whereby a child received a paper crown bearing his or her name, posted on the bulletin board, and whenever one of them did outstanding work, a gold star was added to the crown. He suggests that the star in the teacher's crown had shone brighter than all of the others. How do you know? Tomorrow, one of the sixth-graders might have to save the teacher's life during the nuclear sneak attack upon a nation distracted by anti-Communist hysteria generated by the likes of Senator McCarthy, or from a speeding car careering out of control, running into the classroom from the street, driven by a four-year old or maybe even by a cocker spaniel, or simply from a cocker spaniel turned rabid.

In Hollywood, movie producer Darryl F. Zanuck said that he had paid a record two million dollars for screen rights to The Greatest Story Ever Told, by the late Fulton Oursler.

On the editorial page, "Homeowners Have a Stake" indicates that on the coming Wednesday, the City Council would hold a public hearing on a major change to the city's zoning ordinance, to authorize the construction of carports up to the side property lines in two residential districts, effectively eliminating the side-yard requirements of the current ordinance for such structures. It indicates that the ordinance proposal had been made quietly with little or no public discussion, designed to eliminate hardship cases, while creating more hardship cases than it would cure. It informs that the side-yard requirement in residential districts was one of the key provisions of the zoning ordinance and that in 1951, a proposed change to allow construction of side steps encroaching on the side-yard clearance limitations had been defeated, the carport amendment deserving the same fate.

Well, you have to know that the property owners are just going to park their cars there anyway, with or without a carport over them. So, what is the difference? At least with the carport, you could require under the ordinance that the side facing the adjoining property owner had to incorporate some form of wall, whether plastic or otherwise. Then, you would not have to look out your side window and see somebody's old jalopy or large truck staring you in the face.

"New Orleans Solves Its Railroad Problem" indicates that during the weekend, a union terminal for rail passengers had been opened in New Orleans, replacing five scattered stations which had served nine different railroads, ending more than 30 years of public discussions of the need for a modern union terminal. It finds that it might serve as a lesson for Charlotte, which had the same basic problem on a smaller scale. New Orleans, in working closely with the railroads, had been able to put through an amendment to the State Constitution which permitted a plan of financing of the terminal, whereby the City of New Orleans issued 15 million dollars worth of revenue-producing bonds, which combined the tax-free advantages of municipal bonds with annual rentals guaranteed by the railroads adequate to pay the operating expenses of the station and to retire the bond principal and interest. There was an additional agreement by the railroads to pay for any construction cost above that which was estimated, and the annual rentals were divided between the railroads according to the use they made of the terminal. Construction of the central terminal was combined with a 40 million dollar track relocation program which eliminated 84 of the city's 144 grade crossings, freeing New Orleans from much traffic congestion.

It suggests that construction of a new rail passenger terminal and relocation of tracks which caused traffic congestion in Charlotte had long been on the city's agenda and that perhaps the New Orleans plan, or some variation of it, would help get the two projects going.

"A Truth Never To Be Forgotten" remarks that the Philippines and two of the three Associated States of Indo-China, Cambodia and Viet Nam, were all threatened by the Communists, with that threat having substantially diminished in recent years in the Philippines, as the 40,000 Huk rebels of a few years earlier had been reduced to around 4,000, as President Magsaysay had launched an attack on hunger, exploitation and bad government, which had been the nurturing ground for Communism.

A year earlier, thousands of "freedom fighters", supplied by the Communists, had been in Cambodia fomenting revolution and gathering supporters from the villages, with presently about 8,000 Communist troops within that kingdom. During the previous six months, however, more than 6,000 soldiers had switched sides to join the Cambodian Army under King Norodom Sihanouk.

In Viet Nam, the power of the Communists had steadily increased, such that they now had an estimated several hundred thousand troops and controlled millions of natives.

It observes that the size of the Communist threat in each of those states was indirectly proportionate to the degree of freedom from foreign rule. The Philippines was completely independent and had made remarkable progress against Communism. Cambodia had won virtual independence from the French six months earlier, and that point had been pivotal in the battle against Communism. Viet Nam had not won complete independence, and the Communists were on the verge of victory there. While the latter was in the most exposed position geographically of the three because of its long common border with China, the grant of freedom and self-government to Asian nations appeared to strengthen them and weaken their enemy. It was an object lesson, it suggests, which Americans should not forget and should not fail to point out to allies reluctant to end colonialism.

"Sen. Fulbright's Interesting Habit" indicates that Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas was a quiet, bespectacled Southerner who had been a Rhodes scholar, a teacher of law and the president of a college, an investment company and a lumber company. Life had indicated in a story recently that he was likely to sit in his office for hours on end, just thinking. The magazine had carried a picture of him, looking downward, appearing lost in thought, though that about which he thought was not reported. It assumes that one of the results of his contemplation had been the idea for the international exchange of students under the scholarship program which bore his name. He also likely thought about how to cast his vote, the only negative vote, against the measure which had provided the Senate Investigations subcommittee of Senator McCarthy a budget of $200,000.

It suggests that it was too bad that Life had not inquired of Senator Fulbright how he formed his habit of thinking, as the information should be generally useful. James Bryce had written that to most people, "nothing is more troublesome than the effort of thinking." In A Moosehead Journal, James Russell Lowell had observed that it was curious "how tyrannical the habit of reading is, and what shifts we make to escape thinking", that there was no bore dreaded more than being left alone with one's own mind. It concludes that it was strange that the Senator's habit was considered noteworthy in the first place, and that it was something to think about.

A piece from the Milwaukee Journal, titled "Kind of Translation We Need", indicates that scientists at IBM had come up with a huge electronic brain which could translate Russian into English within seconds, and in a test of it recently, had provided the computer a Russian sentence, which it quotes, the machine translating it as, "International understanding constitutes an important factor in decision of political questions." It wonders whether it was a step forward, as the Russians had been sending "human machines" to international meetings and to the U.N. to provide, effectively, tape-recorded Russian speeches. With machines to translate what they say, nothing was solved. It suggests that what was needed was a machine which translated what they said into what they really meant.

Drew Pearson indicates that behind the hemming and hawing at Geneva regarding the Indo-China war, Joint Chiefs chairman Admiral Arthur Radford had told French Premier Joseph Laniel that the President would agree to a request made by the Premier for intervention by the U.S. Air Force, but then, after the formal French request was made, the President had rejected it because he had no authority from Congress, causing the Premier to be furious at the apparent change of stance. Mr. Pearson indicates that Admiral Radford had wanted the U.S. to intervene directly in the war, while other members of the Joint Chiefs did not, a fact of which Premier Laniel was not aware, or the fact that the President believed that Congress and the people would vigorously oppose the use of the U.S. Air Force in the war. Thus, the Admiral finally told the Premier that the U.S. would intervene only if Great Britain joined the effort, which would not happen, as Prime Minister Churchill had already told Commons and the President that Britain would not cooperate. The result of those conversations had made a French surrender more likely, and with it, the fall of the moderate Laniel Government.

Secretary of the Interior Douglas McKay had given approval for a reversal of President Theodore Roosevelt's 50-year old Reclamation Act, in a letter of April 6 to Congressman Arthur Miller of Nebraska, giving approval to the same principle of reclamation and water power which had been applied to the graft-ridden Federal Housing Administration. Western Senators who had examined the plan believed it amounted to the biggest giveaway since the New Deal and represented a complete reversal of Eisenhower policy, planning to try to block it in Congress. Its chief provisions would be ignored, fought by the power companies and big landowners, including preference to public bodies such as municipalities and the Rural Electrification Administration co-ops rather than the private utilities in the sale of power, and a 160-acre limitation on the amount of land a single owner could irrigate from a Federal reclamation project, opposed for years by the large landowners. To get around those two reclamation policies, Secretary McKay had approved the plan to provide power on the Stanislaus River in California to a group of private irrigation developers, plus P.G. & E. The Federal Government would provide that group with 10.3 million dollars in grants and loans under a special bill introduced by Congressman Leroy Johnson with Senators William Knowland and Thomas Kuchel of California. Congressman Miller had introduced a bill making those plans applicable to all of the 17 Western states, ignoring and bypassing thereby the Reclamation Act. The Budget Bureau and the Administration generally had made that official policy. About a year earlier, the Oakdale and South San Joaquin irrigation districts had signed a contract with P.G. & E. to set up three power plants on the Stanislaus River, and using the contract as security, negotiated a loan of 4.7 million dollars, planning to use the excess water for irrigation. But Secretary of the Treasury George Humphrey's hard-money policy upset the plan, as the banks refused to go through with the loan, at which point the California promoters of it called on Undersecretary of the Interior Ralph Tudor for help, and he developed a plan to give the Stanislaus River to the private groups and to provide them with 10.3 million in loans and grants. The new plan was not definite regarding the time of repayment and the rate of interest, whereas under the Reclamation Act, loans of that type had to be paid with interest within 50 years.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop indicate that Illinois Senator Everett Dirksen of the Senate Investigating subcommittee, currently investigating the dispute between the Army and Senator McCarthy, had said that the real weakness of the Army case was that Secretary of the Army Robert Stevens had a long record of extraordinary attempts to appease Senator McCarthy at almost any cost. The Alsops point out that the Secretary had not been alone in that appeasement, that the President and the Vice-President had led the way for a year in doing so, treating Senator McCarthy with kid gloves. Finally, after seeing for 14 months that such mollification did not work with the Senator, that he only continued his attacks on the Administration, they had finally drawn a line.

Vice-President Nixon had sought a meeting early in the year with Senator McCarthy, explaining afterward to reporters that the Senator was going to be good henceforth, meaning that he would stop his Communist-hunting within the Government, leaving that to more appropriate committees, such as the Internal Security Committee of the Senate and HUAC, and instead concentrate on exposing corruption within the past Truman Administration. But no sooner than Vice-President Nixon had made that statement, Senator McCarthy said that whoever had made the statement, knowing full well that it had been Mr. Nixon, was "a liar". Shortly afterward, the President had a talk with Senator McCarthy and believed afterward that the Senator was going to be cooperative, only to have the Senator state a short time later that the President was learning, and was now asking for his advice. Thus, indicate the Alsops, the continued compromise of Secretary Stevens with Senator McCarthy during the prior fall and early in the winter had been a natural consequence of the Administration attitude in general.

They regard the Secretary's gestures, such as having his photograph taken with Private Schine, to have been the least of the compromises, having also given the Senator room and board at the Secretary's private New York club and loaned to him his official airplane. When the Senator came to Fort Monmouth, N.J., for an inspection tour, the Secretary ruled that the Senator could tour the base but not any other person who was not an elected official, thus leaving out subcommittee chief counsel Roy Cohn, who immediately became incensed and said that it meant war, that he had access to FBI files when he wanted them, that he was being excluded for the purpose of embarrassing him and that the subcommittee staff would really begin to investigate the Army as a result. Yet, the Secretary did not answer those claims by the 27-year old Mr. Cohn, but by his own testimony, had done the best he could to smooth things over with Mr. Cohn. They conclude that the Secretary and the Army's chief counsel, John G. Adams, had not only offered Senator McCarthy and his staff excessive courtesy, but had also not responded when a response would have been proper, inviting additional steamrolling by the subcommittee staff and the Senator.

As a result of that Administration coddling of Senator McCarthy, Private Schine became the beneficiary of special treatment. They indicate that there were three principal points to be derived from the hearings, which had become lost in the shuffle of events, that Senator McCarthy and his staff had insisted that basic rules be broken on behalf of Private Schine, that the Secretary had then resisted and refused to bend on principle, even though allowing some favors for the Private, and that both the Secretary and the Administration generally had finally stood up and fought the Senator rather than continuing the appeasement, after learning it had done no good. They conclude that the new direction was the correct one and that the growth was impressive.

James Marlow indicates that the Administration, despite earlier tough talk with regard to Communist Chinese intervention in Indo-China, presently appeared to have never prepared a plan to help the French face disaster in the war. On September 2, Secretary Dulles had warned the Communist Chinese not to send troops into Indo-China, on pain of suffering "grave consequences" as a result, making it plain that bombing or blockading of Communist China could be among those consequences. But that had overlooked the idea that Communist China did not have to send in troops to be effective in the war in Indo-China, that all they needed to do was to send in supplies and specialists to lead the Vietminh, which is what they had done, presently having an estimated 2,000 specialists within the country.

Mr. Marlow suggests that might set the future pattern for Communist aggression.

In another major policy speech of January 12, Secretary Dulles had said that aggression would be met with instant and massive retaliation, but later indicated that "instant" meant only within the country's constitutional capacity to wage war, with the approval of Congress, except in limited circumstances where aggression entailed direct aggression against the United States or threatened such aggression, with the type of "aggression" effected by the Communist Chinese in Indo-China clearly not falling within those categories. The President, on March 10, had watered down the advice even further when he said at a news conference that the U.S. would not become involved in a war without a formal declaration by Congress, followed three days later by a statement of Secretary Dulles, explaining the exception. On that same day, March 13, the Vietminh had begun their major offensive against Dien Bien Phu. The Administration appeared to have assumed in February through late March that the French would be able to win the war ultimately, and believed that they would win this particular battle for the fortress. But by March 29, the Vietminh had inflicted serious setbacks to the French at the fortress, prompting Secretary Dulles to comment that a Communist victory in Indo-China would lead to domination of all of Southeast Asia, leading to his "united action" statement for consumption by the allies with an interest in Southeast Asia, which he then sought to shore up with his quick trip to London and Paris, only partially successful, as both the French and British said they wished to wait until the Geneva conference before committing to support such "united action", although giving support to the theoretical idea of creating a Southeast Asian version of NATO.

Mr. Marlow indicates that the Communists knew, going into the Geneva conference, therefore, that the allies were divided regarding the concept of "united action", which gave them a strategic advantage in the talks. He concludes that the French might, as a result, agree to a peace plan which could lead to the eventual loss of Indo-China to the Communists.

Robert C. Ruark tells of his return to New York after his five-month world tour, which had included New Zealand, India and Kenya, and finding that while he had missed all of the major news stories in the interim, he had not missed anything of consequence. After recapping some of the sights he had seen on safari and some of the places he had visited, he concludes that it was time to get back to the regular daily grind, asks whether anyone knew any dirt about people, except himself.

A letter writer from Pineville, N.C., comments on the April 28 editorial, "Bulls, Dogs and People", noting that the price of a certified four-generation pedigree on dogs was six dollars and not one dollar.

A letter writer from Campobello, S.C., indicates that Senator McCarthy had started by pointing out all the bad things which had been done during the Truman Administration, which the writer finds to have been plentiful, including there having been too many Communists "placed in high and responsible places", with President Eisenhower having done the same thing. The writer thinks that as long as Senator McCarthy had limited his attacks on Democrats, no one minded, but since he had started attacking Republicans, all the newspapers and radio stations acted as if it was news. The writer wants the Senator left alone, finding "glory in his spunk", and desires to see what he could develop.

He has been hard at it for more than four years, and has yet to turn up one single bona fide, card-carrying Communist in the Government. How long do you wish to provide a platform to a demagogue for destroying good people before you draw the line? He should have been stopped cold in the spring of 1950 or defeated in 1952.

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