The Charlotte News

Tuesday, May 4, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports from Hanoi that the Vietminh had renewed their massive infantry assault on the French fortress at Dien Bien Phu this date, capturing a French outpost on the western side of the fortress. The French high command announced that the French Union defenders inside the crumbling defenses of the fortress had immediately launched a strong counterattack, and that "bitter combat" was presently underway. It was the fourth French strong point to fall to the rebels since they had begun their final thrust the prior Saturday night, an assault which had suddenly stopped on Sunday but was then resumed with new fury before dawn this date, as a violent rainstorm hit the fortress, slowing down tank operations and preventing French planes from striking the enemy positions. The French had estimated that the Vietminh would need to cover about 600 yards before reaching the heart of the fortress, its headquarters, but only needed about 100 feet to reach the first French barbed wire barricades and engage the defenders in hand-to-hand combat, which had raged throughout the night after the assault on the western approach, with the battle ongoing after dawn. The Vietminh followed their usual tactic of battering the crumbling defenses with wave after wave of troops, hurling plastic containers filled with nitroglycerin at the barbed wire defenses. The French hit the enemy with machine gun and artillery fire, but they continued to advance, being met at the barbed wire by the bayonet thrusts of the French.

The President was quoted this date by Senator Ralph Flanders of Vermont, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, as saying that the U.S. would undertake no military operations in Indo-China "unless it has the support of the people of that region." The Senator had just left a meeting with the President regarding the Indo-China crisis. Senate Majority Leader William Knowland had said in an interview the previous night that he would provide his "fullest support" should the President ask Congress to approve the sending of U.S. troops to Indo-China. House Speaker Joe Martin said in a speech, at a Republican dinner in Troy, N.Y., that he believed such action would not be necessary.

At Geneva, in the Far Eastern peace conference, the U.N. allies in Korea were reported this date ready to compromise on a proposal for unification of Korea, based on the report of a highly informed source, who said also that the proposal would be very difficult for Russia, Communist China and North Korea to turn down. The source indicated that the reaction to the proposal would determine whether there was any real chance of unification and holding of free elections in Korea.

In the ninth day of hearings in the dispute between the Army and Senator McCarthy before the Senate Investigations subcommittee, the efforts to shorten the hearings failed, after which the testimony of Secretary of the Army Robert Stevens continued, the Secretary having testified during each of the nine days of hearings, albeit interrupted by several other witnesses to provide testimony regarding the controversial photograph taken the previous November 17, showing the Secretary with Private G. David Schine and two other persons. The subcommittee regarded a charge this date by Roy Cohn, normally chief counsel to the subcommittee, that the Army had allowed "friends and associates" of convicted and executed atomic spy Julius Rosenberg to work in a secret radar laboratory at Fort Monmouth in New Jersey, until the investigations undertaken by the subcommittee at the direction of Senator McCarthy had resulted in the dismissal of those persons some months after Secretary Stevens had taken office. The Secretary replied that none of the 35 security cases at Fort Monmouth had involved a Communist insofar as he was aware and that none had pleaded the Fifth Amendment to avoid testifying. Senator McCarthy responded that such was "clearly false" testimony. A dispute ensued as to whether the Senator was referring to the entire Army Signal Corps or only to the laboratory at Fort Monmouth, and Secretary Stevens said that he was speaking only of Fort Monmouth. At that point, the subcommittee recessed for lunch after the Secretary had testified for only 17 minutes during the morning session, with the rest of the time consumed by trying to shorten the proceedings by limiting the remainder of the hearings to testimony by the Secretary and Senator McCarthy.

Temporary chairman of the subcommittee, Senator Karl Mundt, finally determined that as there was no agreement, the inquiry would have to proceed to the "bitter end", possibly taking another two or three weeks. Senator McCarthy expressed a belief that Army counsel Joseph Welch had "welched" on his own proposal to limit witnesses, that it was "bad faith" and that henceforth, the Senator would consult with Mr. Welch only if he was under oath. Mr. Welch said that the accusation of bad faith was false and that other people at the table knew it to be false. Mr. Welch had suggested the previous day that if the Senator would follow Secretary Stevens in testifying, the hearings could be shortened. Senator Everett Dirksen of the subcommittee had proposed that the testimony be confined to the Secretary and Senator McCarthy, based on a suggestion by Mr. Welch.

In the afternoon session, the Secretary continued his testimony in the face of cross-examination by Mr. Cohn and Senator McCarthy, as well as further examination by Ray Jenkins, special counsel for the subcommittee, and other members of the subcommittee. Army regular counsel John G. Adams briefly testified toward the end of the afternoon session regarding a letter he had sent to the subcommittee the previous October 15 or 16, in which he indicated that the Civilian Personnel Office at Fort Monmouth had sent to the subcommittee, contrary to the executive directive of the President, the loyalty files on an individual, and that in light of that fact, Secretary Stevens had determined that there would be no useful purpose served by withholding the loyalty documents on the individual, which were then provided.

U.S. military doctors were informed this date in Tokyo that Communist agents had sought to spread drug addiction among allied soldiers in the Far East, and that the Army had no immediate solution to the problem. The Communist agents had peddled a variety of drugs at bargain prices near allied bases. The drugs were said to be of such purity that they created addicts more quickly than highly adulterated narcotics normally sold in the U.S. Twenty-five cases of narcotics addiction were uncovered at an air base during an eight-month period ending the previous month, according to a doctor, and he said that there were probably an equal number who escaped detection. Attempts by the Army to combat drug addiction had included offers of medical amnesty to any addict or user who turned himself over to authorities, but that program had proved unsuccessful. The Army had found that the best countermeasure to drug addiction was education and physical education courses which left little time or energy for taking drugs, that incarceration was no answer as the addicts received little or no effective treatment.

In Washington, the eight-man Army court-martial of Cpl. Edward Dickenson, charged with collaborating with the Chinese Communists in North Korea and with informing on fellow prisoners of war, was scheduled to resume this date behind closed doors as the officers were now deliberating, having done so for nearly 5 1/2 hours the previous day without reaching a verdict. Concurrence of six of the eight members was necessary for conviction and the maximum penalty was life imprisonment.

In Washington, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that that Attorney General Herbert Brownell could not take further steps toward listing the National Lawyers Guild as subversive, pending further court action, reversing a decision by a U.S. District Court judge who had denied the application for an injunction presented by the Guild. The stay of a hearing to be conducted by the Attorney General regarding designation of the Guild as subversive would remain in effect pending the outcome in the District Court.

In Detroit, Ford and G.M. were far out in front in selling lower-priced automobiles, with Chrysler's Plymouth a distant third, after which came the independents. The automakers were predicting that sales for 1954 would be below the previous year, as present inventories were 50 percent higher than a year before. The automakers were denying any intention to cut prices, but some in Detroit believed that was inevitable should spring and summer sales fall below expectations. Dealers were cutting prices, usually in the form of higher trade-in values, concessions on optional equipment or easier payment terms. Occasionally new cars were being provided to used-car dealers who then sold them at less than listed retail prices, a practice known as "bootlegging". Production so far during the year had been about 498,000 Fords, 499,000 Chevrolets and 139,000 Plymouths. Some 187,000 mid-range priced Buicks had also been produced. There had been several slowdowns and shutdowns at Chrysler and at the independents, resulting in five percent lower deliveries of new cars during the first quarter than in the same period the previous year. Earlier, Ford had been producing at near capacity whereas Chevrolet had not, but was now stepping up output.

In New York, the 1954 Pulitzer Prizes were announced the previous day, with Newsday of Long Island, N.Y., winning the award for meritorious public service for its successful four-year fight to break the power of a labor racketeer, William DeKoning, an official of the Long Island AFL Building Council, convicted of extortion and grand larceny and sentenced to prison for between one year and 18 months. John Patrick, playwright of The Teahouse of the August Moon, received the drama award, also having earlier won the Tony Award for best dramatic play, and Brig. General Charles Lindbergh received the non-fiction award for The Spirit of St. Louis, his autobiographical account of his 1927 trans-Atlantic flight from New York to Paris. There was no fiction award presented. The only repeat winner was Herbert Block, the syndicated cartoonist for the Washington Post and Times-Herald, who had also won a Pulitzer in 1942 for a March 11, 1941 cartoon. The prize winning cartoon for 1953 was one he had drawn regarding the death of Joseph Stalin, appearing March 6. The news photography prize went to Mrs. Walter Schau of San Anselmo, Calif., the first woman and second amateur to win the award in the 12 years it had been given. She had witnessed the dramatic rescue of two men from the dangling cab of a truck which had smashed through the railing of a bridge, and had snapped a picture minutes before the cab had dropped in flames to the ground below. She declared that she was "no photographer at all". Her photograph, along with a picture taken by another of the cab after it hit below, had been transmitted by the Associated Press from Sacramento on May 4, 1953. Two local reporting awards were made to the Vicksburg (Miss.) Sunday Post-Herald, for its coverage of a disastrous tornado the previous December 5, and to Alvin Scott McCoy of the Kansas City Star for a series of reports which led to the resignation of RNC chairman Wesley Roberts.

On the editorial page, "Dulles Faces His Gravest Assignment" indicates that Business Week, on April 26, in an editorial titled "Diplomacy at its Best", had praised Secretary of State Dulles for his activities preceding the Geneva peace conferencesaying, that in the previous three or four weeks, he had, almost single-handed, saved the situation in Indo-China and prevented Geneva from being taken over by Soviet Foreign Minister V. M. Molotov, that by "bold and skillful diplomacy", he had reforged the united front he had with Britain and France at the February Big Four foreign ministers conference in Berlin and was in a position to press for an Indo-China settlement which would halt Communist aggression in Southeast Asia.

The piece finds that estimate to have been optimistic against the backdrop of the Geneva conference, which began on April 26. Britain had refused to join the proposed defense pact for Southeast Asia before the conference determined whether a negotiated truce in the Indochinese war could be effected. Senate Majority Leader William Knowland had demanded that the U.S. go ahead with a "united action" program without British cooperation, but that had been ruled out by the Administration. Secretary Dulles's reliance upon the nation's capacity for "massive retaliation" to meet aggression had been temporarily shelved. In spite of numerous statements on the strategic importance of Indo-China by the President, the Vice-President, Secretary Dulles and others, the President said the previous week at his press conference that representatives at Geneva were seeking to reach a "modus vivendi" in the Far East, pointing to acceptance of some kind of cease-fire arrangement which would leave Viet Nam divided between the French and the Vietminh. Although the free nations lacked harmony, the Communist nations had developed a solid front and held the initiative at Geneva.

Given those facts, it was beginning to appear that the U.S. had not only lost its leadership of the free nations for the moment, but that it was also necessary to undertake an "agonizing reappraisal" of its whole Far Eastern policy, as there was no current availability for "united action", and "instant retaliation" had, for the time being, been shelved. It suggests that might explain why Secretary Dulles had so quickly returned to Washington from Geneva after only a week of the conference. He had gone to Geneva with his hands tied already because of Republican campaign rhetoric preventing diplomatic recognition or agreement to U.N. admission of Communist China, an inevitable demand by the Communists for any negotiations to take place. Congress had also been cold to any proposals regarding increased trade between East and West, denying Secretary Dulles another strategic bargaining chip. The notion that U.S. troops might be sent to Indo-China had met with widespread opposition. Thus, the U.S. appeared to have painted itself into a diplomatic corner from which there was no easy exit or room to maneuver.

It concludes that Secretary Dulles faced the gravest assignment of his career as he sought to fashion a new and realistic policy for the Far East and to restore the unity which was the free world's best hope for survival.

"Fees May Be Answer to Park Problem" indicates that the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was in trouble, as the number of visitors was increasing faster than the money available for its upkeep, that there were not enough park attendants and appropriations were not adequate to maintain the park, let alone modernize its roads and buildings. Many other national parks faced the same problem.

They could get around that problem by increased Federal appropriation, not likely, by operation of the park by the states of North Carolina and Tennessee, requiring the two states to put up about three million dollars to restore the park to its status in 1940, or by charging an admission fee, as did many parks. The problem with the latter alternative was that the land for the park had been donated by private interests on the condition that the Federal Government would not charge a fee for its use or entrance. Members of the park commission had nearly unanimously condemned the fee system. Some of the parks which charged admission fees were required to turn the proceeds over to the U.S. Treasury and then had to rely solely on Congressional appropriations.

Notwithstanding those problems, it finds the fee system to be the most reasonable of the three alternatives for maintaining the park. It doubts that the donors of the park land would object to a slight restriction on free use of the park when its very existence was at stake.

"A Correction and a Suggestion" indicates that in an editorial the previous Saturday, the newspaper had suggested that the County commissioners issue bonds without a vote of the people to purchase school sites for both the city and county school systems, based on a State Constitutional provision. It admits, however, that it had overlooked the fact that the County Government had sold 2.3 million dollars worth of school bonds during the 1952-53 fiscal year and that even though those bonds had been authorized by the voters, the State Supreme Court had held that in any fiscal year in which a county's net indebtedness was increased, even after approval by the voters, the debt retirement provision of the State Constitution, to which the editorial had adverted, did not apply. Thus, contrary to the indication of the previous editorial, the County could not issue any bonds on its own authority during 1954.

It suggests, however, that, because of the urgency of purchasing school sites for future construction, the County commissioners, if they believed it would be politically unpopular to raise the tax rate enough to provide for the entire $300,000 in one year, could stretch it out over a period of two or three years, better than no action at all.

A piece from the Raleigh News & Observer, titled "Up in the Air", tells of a tree-trimmer in Birmingham, Ala., saying that he had no intention to quit his job though he was 81 years old. It indicates that the young had always been unduly critical of their elders in such matters, and the elders had not lacked for reply. It suggests that the tree-trimmer should have referred his questioners to the better-known Father William of Lewis Carroll's poem, from which it quotes. It hopes that the man would go on climbing trees and that if he ever fell out of one, it would be "upon the upturned faces of the enquiring and disapproving young."

Drew Pearson tells of G. David Schine, while at Harvard, having enjoyed the same kind of privileged life which he had in the Army as a private, the latter including having a chauffeured Cadillac pick him up at Fort Dix on weekends, skipping kitchen duty and guard duty, the most coddled private, suggests Mr. Pearson, in the history of the Army. At Harvard, he had hired a stenographer to attend classes for him and take down every word of the professors in shorthand, and then type it out for him to read, as he had indicated to the house tutor that he did not have time to attend classes. The stenographer also typed out dictation which Mr. Schine recorded while doing his assigned reading for classes. He had a roommate one year but preferred to live alone, as he did the remainder of his time there, paying extra for a living room and bedroom. For the most part he had been quiet, cold and uncommunicative, even to the point of being impolite. He had written two songs while at Harvard and, unable to find a publisher for them, bought his own publishing house. According to his fellow students, he appeared to suffer from an inferiority complex while at Harvard, distrusting anyone who sought to befriend him as doing so only for his money. When he went to dances, he hired an artist's model to escort him so that he could say he was dating the most beautiful woman on campus. His fellow students who later read that he had gone to Europe with Roy Cohn on an investigating junket regarding State Department officials and the Communist publications in the Information Service libraries, said that they were surprised because he had been such a recluse, but figured that it was the result of his inferiority complex, that he enjoyed participating in the investigation, with the power to throw people out of their jobs, to compensate for his inferiority.

He had his own piano at Harvard and, though it was customary not to play after 10:00 p.m., he did so and said that he had paid for the room and would do as he liked. A few weeks after being rebuked for that late night playing, he had a custom-built combination piano-organ set up in his room, costing $14,000, enabling him to play his two songs, "All My Loves" and "Please Say Yes or It's Goodbye".

How about "No and Get Lost", late night organ player?

James Marlow tells of Secretary Dulles returning home this date to face questioning from Congress regarding the Administration's Indo-China policy. The Secretary had traveled 100,000 miles since he was appointed in January, 1953, evidence of his enormous determination. His success or failure, however, would be based not on his energy but on his vision and wisdom. Great opposition in Congress had arisen to allowing the Communists to make further advances while at the same time no assurances were given to the Secretary that Congress would back him up anywhere in specific moves to block Communist aggression.

The Eisenhower Administration had been helped into office by public distress over the Korean War and yet appeared not to have any clear policy on how to prevent Communist aggression in the future except by all-out attack. Vice-President Nixon had said that the Communists would not be allowed to nibble the country to death in small wars, and yet, in the age of the hydrogen bomb, future Communist aggression could occur steadily through such small wars. The Communists would not likely undertake direct aggression, but could simply stimulate small wars in various countries. Thus the question arose as to what constituted aggression in the eyes of the Administration.

The Eisenhower Administration, as had the Truman Administration, appeared satisfied that it was only a matter of time before the French would suffer defeat to the Vietminh in Indo-China. Neither Administration had prepared the country with carefully stated notices of what would need occur for the U.S. to intervene in Indo-China, unless it were willing to see the Communists take it. Secretary Dulles had proposed his "united action" plan to the British and French, but the French had balked and wished to make peace at Geneva rather than participate in a Pacific alliance. The question also arose as to what "united action" actually meant, whether it included sending U.S. troops.

Congress did not want to have the country directly participate in the Indochinese fighting, and that reluctance, suggests Mr. Marlow, might be the result of the Secretary not having set forth the contingencies for sending in troops.

The U.S., he indicates, was reaching the point in dealing with the Communists where it might have to put up or shut up because its leadership, which suffered a blow at the Geneva peace conference, was now at stake.

The Information Service of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in America examines the claim of educators and psychologists, among others, that television watching by children for two or more hours daily could be dangerous to their health, character and education. Others had replied that the dangers were exaggerated or nonexistent, and that television was simply a new medium with great potential for use or abuse. The few studies available on the effects of television on children were inconclusive, with the exception that they showed that a lot of children were watching a lot of television.

A study in metropolitan New Haven, Conn., had examined the attitudes of parents toward the television fare which their children had been watching over the course of the previous two years, conducted by the Communications Research Project under the auspices of the Broadcasting and Film Commission of the National Council of Churches and Yale Divinity School. The group under study was a five percent random sample of all New Haven households, developed originally by August Hollingshead, professor of sociology at Yale. The sample, consisting of 3,559 households, was said by all tests to be a faithful representation of the total population of New Haven. There were minor children in 62.3 percent of the households interviewed in the sample. About 80 percent of all households had television sets, but virtually all of the families with children four years of age or older reported that the children watched television regularly, either at home or at a neighbor's home. Fewer than 20 percent reported regular radio listening. The average time spent by children between the ages of four and 15 was 13 hours per week, while time spent listening to radio programs averaged no more than two hours per week.

It lists the 11 most popular children's programs and the percentage of all households reporting those programs as regularly watched by their children, starting with "Howdy Doody" at 21.6 percent, followed by "Hopalong Cassidy" at 7.2 percent, "Super Circus", at 6.2 percent, "The Lone Ranger", at 4.4 percent, "Roy Rogers" at 4.2 percent, and so on down the list. (Whoever heard of "Rootie Kazootie"?) Six of the first 11 were cowboy programs, but none of those had a regular audience comparable to that for "Howdy Doody" and it was evident that one cowboy program looked much like the others to the children whose parents were interviewed.

The parents in New Haven who were interviewed and had television sets liked TV for themselves and the majority approved of it for their children, though not always wholeheartedly. Of those who expressed their attitudes, 69 percent said they generally favored children's programs, while 26 percent disapproved and five percent favored some aspects and opposed others. Forty-six percent of the parents expressing opinions gave simple, undetailed answers regarding their favor of the programs, such as "they're fine". The 26 percent who gave negative responses had given more detailed replies in their comments. A recurrent theme was that there were too many westerns, causing the youngster of the house to drive the family crazy by mimicking the gunplay during weekends.

Parents of pre-school children often felt that their needs were not being considered as all of the programs, save one, "Ding Dong School", were beyond the level of comprehension of their children. But parents of school-age children tended to believe that the general level of content was below the intelligence level and acceptability of their children.

Many comments showed a feeling that the children's television programs were restricted to narrow formulas, such as westerns and children's variety shows, and that there were many untapped resources for new programming, such as children's classics, literary programs, children's plays, and dramatization of Bible stories. A fourth of the objections were to excessive violence, especially that of the cowboy programs. There was also objection to the crime shows, such as "Suspense" or "Dangerous Assignment", demonstrating that children were watching television late in the evening, though parents did not report that fact.

A large group of the parents believed there were possibilities inherent in television for aiding their children's education, while a smaller number specified the types of education they desired, such as art instruction, spelling, better English, health and safety education, music, geography and travelogues, literature and science.

One respondent said that there should be more informational programs such as "Mr. Wizard" and "Zoo Parade", but the man who made the comment noticed that the children were not as interested in those programs as he was, indicative of the fact that the parents were the respondents, not the children, and that many of the parents so realized.

We think "Zoo Parade" was a forerunner of Gatorade. What do you think?

A letter writer reminds voters that there was an election coming up on May 18 to determine whether or not the taxpayers would again be gouged, regarding tax assessments for the two local community colleges. He urges a no vote.

A letter writer indicates that as Mother's Day drew near the following Sunday, she was reminded of her own mother who had gone on to heaven. She thinks every day ought to be Mother's Day, and that the person who had looked into their mother's face for the last time knew how precious she had been, that one's best friend had gone. She is happy that her own mother had been Christian, one who prayed for her when she was sick, and assures that she would do nothing which would disgrace her.

A letter from a representative of the Charlotte Garden Club thanks the women's editor, Isabel Howe, and the newspaper for their help and publicity in the recent garden tours.

A letter from the president of the Charlotte chapter of Hadassah indicates their protest of the Government's decision to provide military aid to Iraq, "the most vindictive and belligerent member of the Arab League", in the continuing war against Israel. She indicates that arming Iraq would risk a renewal of open warfare and that to win Arab friendship for the U.S., the people should be provided economic and technical aid to raise their standard of living, rather than arms to be used for war or to bolster despotic military regimes.

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