The Charlotte News

Thursday, June 10, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports from Hanoi that according to the French high command this date, infiltrating Vietminh troops had won two more small defense posts in the Red River Delta southeast of Hanoi, as the rebels had stepped up their harassing attacks northwest and southwest of the city. One garrison of about 160 men at one of the villages had blown up its little red brick fortress 30 miles southeast of Hanoi and withdrawn after a long assault by the Vietminh, the French reporting appreciable losses on both sides. Vietnamese militiamen in another sector near the Gulf of Tonkin had been overwhelmed by a Vietminh attack in which they were reported heavily outnumbered. Posts garrisoned by Vietnamese troops fighting under French command were singled out in other attacks and the Vietminh were reported to have been repulsed in each such case.

In Geneva at the peace conference, British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden wanted the conference to narrow the differences between the East and the West without delay or admit failure in regard to the efforts to bring about an acceptable peace in Indo-China. There had been no progress the previous day in the talks, according to a British spokesman. The fragile French Government of Premier Joseph Laniel faced another key parliamentary vote of confidence the following Saturday, and thus there was concern as to what the effect might be if the Government were to fall. The previous day, Communist China's Premier and Foreign Minister Chou En-lai stated that the "war faction in France" was still in "feverish pursuit of American intervention and enlarged aid" in the war, and had adopted a dilatory policy in relation to the Geneva conference. Most of his remarks, as were the remarks of Soviet Foreign Minister V. M. Molotov the previous day, had been aimed at the U.S., with Chou indicating that U.S. policy was "designed to extend the war in Indo-China and to prevent the Geneva conference from reaching agreement." Undersecretary of State Walter Bedell Smith replied that he was disappointed by the "unconstructive" statements of both Chou and Mr. Molotov. He said that the Soviet, Chinese Communist and Vietminh delegations to the conference had thus far shown no signs of willingness to resolve the issues regarding Indo-China on any reasonable basis which could be acceptable to the conference or ensure the return of peace.

In Paris, the Government faced the Saturday vote of confidence before the National Assembly, the third such vote in five weeks, with little hope that it would succeed. The demand for it came after the refusal of the deputies to consider an innocuous Government-backed resolution on the Indo-China crisis, with many speakers during the debate accusing the Cabinet and Foreign Minister Georges Bidault of not working hard enough to effect peace in Indo-China. The Saturday vote would be on the Government's refusal to provide priority to three other resolutions sharply critical of its Indo-China policies. The Assembly's decision might also turn on the question of the proposed European Defense Community pact to form a united Western European army. The Gaullists were firmly opposed to EDC and wanted to delay its consideration while the Popular Republican Movement insisted that the treaty be called up for ratification as quickly as possible, Premier Laniel needing the support of both groups to have a majority, as long as the Socialists remained in opposition.

In the 31st day of the hearings before the Senate Investigations subcommittee regarding the dispute between the Army and Senator McCarthy, the Senator, having begun testifying the prior afternoon for the first time during the proceedings, swore this date that Army general counsel John G. Adams had tried to blackmail him out of calling Army loyalty board members before the subcommittee for questioning about "Communism, graft and corruption." The Senator said that Mr. Adams had used "a combination of salesmanship and threats" in a three-hour talk at the Senator's Washington apartment on the night of January 22. He said Mr. Adams had made it clear that if the investigation were not called off, an unfavorable report about Roy Cohn, usual chief counsel to the subcommittee, would be made public. The Senator said that at that time they had not "thought up" the charges subsequently included in the Army's report, submitted to the subcommittee in early March, regarding the claims that the Senator, Mr. Cohn and subcommittee staff director Francis Carr had sought preferential treatment for Private G. David Schine, failing which Mr. Cohn had threatened to intensify the investigation transpiring during the previous fall of Fort Monmouth for suspected subversion. The Senator claimed that he told Mr. Adams that they would not be blackmailed. He claimed that Secretary of the Army Robert Stevens and Mr. Adams had sought to divert the subcommittee from its investigation of Communists in the Army and had suggested to him at a November 6 Pentagon luncheon that "there must be" Communist infiltration of the Air Force and the Navy which the subcommittee could investigate, confirming a claim by Mr. Cohn during his testimony. He stated that as early as the previous September, he had urged Secretary Stevens to "lean over backwards" against giving any special consideration to Private Schine, who had been an unpaid aide of the subcommittee, then facing impending draft by the Army. He said that Secretary Stevens, in his presence, had asked Private Schine to pose with him for a photograph at McGuire Air Force Base the previous fall. Secretary Stevens had testified earlier in the proceedings that he did not believe he had asked for the picture to be made, that he had no recollection of having done so. There is no transcript available online of this date's proceedings and likewise for the following day and Monday.

As indicated yesterday, the newspaper on page two this date recaps the exchange transpiring the previous day between Army special counsel Joseph Welch and Senator McCarthy, after the latter had brought up that a lawyer at the law firm of Mr. Welch, Fred Fisher, had, for a brief time, previously been a member of the Lawyers Guild, which the Senator claimed was a "communist-front" organization, so named years earlier by several Congressional committees and the Attorney General. Other than a picture of Mr. Fisher on the front page and one of Mr. Welch with a brief quote from the confrontation with the Senator as its caption, the newspaper gives that exchange no widespread special recognition or treatment, and, as indicated, it would receive no special treatment generally until years after the death of Senator McCarthy in 1957. It was simply, in retrospect, a particularly dramatic, short and symbolic representation of the kind of attack which Senator McCarthy had undertaken during his four-year scheme to achieve political recognition by publicly seeking to ruin reputations, and so was elevated beyond its actual importance to the overall proceedings and the eventual fall from public grace of Senator McCarthy, which had been transpiring, openly in the press and sub rosa in the arts, in steady decline for the prior four years. Elevating that exchange beyond its due import tends to distract from the more salient testimony of Mr. Cohn which he provided at another point during examination by Mr. Welch, in which he stated that the subcommittee investigative staff had determined that there were approximately 130 suspected Communists in 16 defense plants, and that FBI director J. Edgar Hoover was aware of the situation—tending thereby to undermine the entire claim of Senator McCarthy that the defense establishment, including the armed forces, was infiltrated with a network of Communist spies threatening to the country's security and that the Army was trying to dissuade him by "blackmail" from undertaking his inquiry, but for which the country was imperiled with a Communist takeover of its military.

Parenthetically, indicative of the lack of special attention paid to the June 9 colloquy nationally, in perusing, via the modern magic of a search engine, several hundred newspapers during the entirety of 1954, we find only two instances of editorials on the subject of the exchange regarding Mr. Fisher, both favorable to his position, both in small town newspapers, in Okemah, Okla., and Ridgewood, N.J., and only two other instances of treatment beyond the general wire service summary of the testimony as in the News, occasionally extended to provide verbatim excerpts, one being in the Baltimore Sun and the other, quite brief, in the Boston Globe, both local treatments, all within a few days after its occurrence. In addition, there was a personal statement by someone who was a friend of Mr. Fisher and had also been a member of the Lawyers Guild, made in support of his own candidacy for Congress, out of Coos Bays, Ore., later serving two terms in Congress between 1957 and 1961. We have not attempted to compare it with similar extended treatment of other aspects of the hearings. We, of course, have no way of gauging the prattle which was broadcast over the airwaves, radio and tv, though, by the nature of the beast at the time, without cable and 24-hour news, it had to be limited to brief comment. Mr. Fisher, by the way, went on to have a successful career in the law. Had, however, he been a Democrat...

The President intended to make a new appeal for public support for his legislative program in a major address this night to be broadcast on radio and television. He would direct his remarks primarily to the Citizens for Eisenhower. ABC would carry the speech on television and radio, while NBC would broadcast it live on radio and then provide a delayed broadcast on television, while the Mutual Broadcasting System would rebroadcast it on radio later in the evening.

The Census Bureau indicated that the nation's population, including armed forces overseas, had reached 161,969,000 on May 1, an increase of about 2.8 million or 1.7 percent over the estimated population one year earlier.

In Richmond, a meeting of governors and representatives of 15 states where schools were segregated met at the invitation of Virginia Governor Thomas Stanley, voting to meet in closed session this date to consider the impact of the Brown v. Board of Education decision of May 17, holding that continued segregation of public schools violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. Acting Governor Charley Johns of Florida stated that as long as he was Governor, complete segregation of the public schools would be maintained, that the citizens of the state believed in social progress but not through "coercive judicial mandates". Governor Robert Kennon of Louisiana said that his state had maintained and would continue to maintain a good system of "dual education", but did not say how it would be accomplished. Governors Herman Talmadge of Georgia, James Byrnes of South Carolina and Hugh White of Mississippi had said previously that they would abolish the public school systems of their states if necessary to maintain segregation. Governors Stanley and William B. Umstead of North Carolina had indicated their desire to formulate a plan which would legally circumvent the Court's ruling—which, ultimately, would take the form of delay, taking advantage of the 1955 implementing decision in Brown and its language of effecting desegregation "with all deliberate speed". Governor William Marland of West Virginia said that he was not attending the conference with any idea of finding a way to evade the Court's decision, but wanted to learn something which might help West Virginia solve the administrative problem of integration more easily.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court, which had originally set oral argument on implementation of the decision for October 12 at the start of the new term, with briefs on implementation due by October 1, had decided to wait until the start of the term on October 4 before setting a date for oral arguments. The Court had invited all 17 states impacted by the decision to submit briefs.

In California, Democrats and Republicans were pleased with the outcomes of their respective primaries two days earlier, the Democrats having achieved the greatest primary vote in modern times, claiming that the result was because of political affiliations listed on the ballot, an innovation for the direct primary, and a newly revived Democratic organization, plus an anti-Republican trend. Republicans had outpolled the Democrats, however, in the combined tally for all major races, with one exception, that being that Democratic incumbent Attorney General Pat Brown had amassed the highest overall vote, more than 1.6 million, to become the only two-party victor among the state officers on the ballots. Incumbent Governor Goodwin Knight had a cumulative vote total of more than 1.5 million in the cross-filing system, which allowed candidates to file in both the Democratic and Republican primaries, compared to just short of 800,000 for Richard Graves, the winner of the Democratic nomination, both of whom had cross-filed.

In Pittsburgh, top negotiators for U.S. Steel and the United Steelworkers gathered this date for a meeting at which big steel was expected to answer the union's contract demands, seeking an unspecified wage increase for workers who were averaging between $2.14 and $2.24 per hour at present. The union was also asking for a guaranteed annual wage, improved pension and hospitalization programs, as well as other contract changes. U.S. Steel generally set the pace for all steel companies in union negotiations, with 600,000 United Steelworkers employed in the industry. The current steel contracts were set to expire at the end of the month.

In Charlotte, the National Guard, having lost its headquarters in the Armory-Auditorium fire which destroyed the building two days earlier, was searching for a new home. It had been offered one of the Air National Guard's Morris Field buildings for drill sessions and had accepted, and its 25 vehicles were being stored in a building elsewhere. One spokesman for the Guard said it was possible that the Federal Government would make available funding in the new fiscal year for construction of a new armory and that if that was not done, the Charlotte Park & Recreation Commission had indicated it would include the Guard in its plans for reconstruction.

On the editorial page, "Some Questions for the Park Board" indicates that in calling for a thorough study of all of the factors before initiating any move to rebuild an armory to replace the old Armory-Auditorium, the Park & Recreation Commission had taken the logical course. It sets out three questions which it believes needed to be answered in performing its study, and that in answering them, the Commission members should remember that the city's recreation program was already hard-pressed for funding and that Charlotte taxpayers were not in the mood to authorize large new capital expenditures until the present indebtedness was trimmed substantially.

"Politics and the Judiciary" finds that the appointment by Governor William B. Umstead of his former campaign manager, Carlisle Higgins, a Winston-Salem attorney, to the State Supreme Court, was open to the charge of playing politics with the judiciary, not completely dispelled by the fact that Mr. Higgins had a good record as a lawyer. Since Mr. Higgins had been national committeeman for the DNC from the state, his appointment would create another vacancy which could be filled by the state executive committee, in all likelihood following the recommendation of the Governor.

It indicates that patronage was an essential part of the two-party system and nothing required that members of the State Supreme Court had to have prior judicial experience. Governors and Presidents had frequently made political appointments to the high courts, but the fact that such appointments were made did not mean that they were necessarily good. It suggests that if there were future vacancies on the State Supreme Court during the term of Governor Umstead, it hopes that he would return to the precedent of naming qualified lower court judges, as he had when he elevated Charlotte's Superior Court Judge William Bobbitt to the high court.

"It's So Peaceful (Ha) in the Country" relates again of a conversation between Charlie, the collie down the street, and Tinker, Charlie's mongrel friend, speaking of the bad quality of the drinking water in the county, though better than drinking out of the creek.

A piece from the Richmond News Leader, titled "Women, Coffee and Communists", indicates that while the governments of the 20 nations belonging to the Organization of American States were fumbling around trying to determine what to do about the Guatemalan situation, women of the United States, according to the newspapers, had been sending to the distributors of popular brands of coffee inquiries about how much Guatemalan coffee was used in their blends, warning them sternly that no Communist or fellow-traveling coffee would be tolerated at the American breakfast table. As coffee made up about 80 percent of Guatemala's exports, nearly all of which the U.S. normally purchased, the piece ventures that the question of economic sanctions should be settled without having to bother with convening a conference and persuading skeptical Latin American countries that sanctions ought be applied. It finds it regrettable that most of the coffee growers in Guatemala were decidedly anti-Communist, but the idea seemed to be that as long as they were tolerating a government which was dealing with the Communists, the growers should suffer from the unofficial boycott.

It finds something to be said for such feminine logic, that man always fussed about having the proper tool for a job, but that when it was left to women, they could do it just as well most of the time with a bobby pin.

Drew Pearson indicates that human emotions and prejudices played a part in any Senate hearing, but none more so than in the McCarthy-Army dispute. He posits that one reason was that the Republicans on the subcommittee were picked because they were pro-McCarthy and another was the personal backgrounds of the Democratic Senators. Senator Stuart Symington of Missouri might be prejudiced in favor of Secretary of the Army Robert Stevens, a Republican, but was no more prejudiced than Senator Everett Dirksen of Illinois and the temporary chairman of the subcommittee, Senator Karl Mundt of South Dakota, both of whom opposed the Secretary. He indicates that it was natural for Secretary Stevens to appeal to Senator Symington for advice for two reasons, that the Senator had bipartisan inclinations and was married to the daughter of the late Congressman Jim Wadsworth, a revered Republican, and that he had been, himself, former Secretary of the Air Force, thus understanding the problems of a military secretary. The Senator's father-in-law had been defeated as Senator from New York and had modestly returned to the House, where many Republicans had a soft spot for him and his family. Senator Symington had once paid for a band to welcome Governor Thomas Dewey to St. Louis in 1944, and also had many important Republican friends. His support for Secretary Stevens and the President was chiefly based on his long experience in the executive branch, where he had served as head of war surplus property, as chairman of the National Security Resources Board and the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, as well as having been Air Force Secretary. He had been one of President Truman's chief troubleshooters.

Senator John McClellan of Arkansas was not expected to be against Senator McCarthy but had his eyes opened when Senator McCarthy had retained as subcommittee counsel J. B. Matthews, who had charged in an American Mercury article in early 1953 that the Protestant clergy was infiltrated by Communists, leading to Arkansans complaining to Senator McClellan, resulting in the departure of the three Democrats from the subcommittee until Senator McCarthy agreed to relent on his previous insistence on hiring and firing of staff at his own will. Senator McClellan had undergone a personal tragedy during World War II, when his son had written him from North Africa that he had been quite ill but that the Army doctors did not think there was anything wrong, and did not want his father to intervene because he believed that a Senator's son should not play favorites. Accompanying the letter had been a telegram from the Army indicating that Senator McClellan's son had died of spinal meningitis. Thus, he saw no reason why Private Schine should be coddled and pampered.

Senator Henry Jackson of Washington, the third Democrat on the subcommittee, had been picked because he had training as a district attorney, but both he and Senator Symington labored under the handicap of being freshman Senators.

Senators Dirksen and Mundt had both been close friends to Senator McCarthy and Senator Mundt's wife socialized with Senator McCarthy and his wife several times each week. Republican Senator Charles Potter of Michigan, also a freshman, was possibly more pro-Republican than pro-Eisenhower. He had lost both legs during the war and Senator McCarthy had been careful not to tangle with him. Senator Henry Dworshak of Idaho, who had temporarily replaced Senator McCarthy on the subcommittee during the investigation, was an honest conservative who placed the Republican Party ahead of President Eisenhower. All four of the Republicans on the subcommittee appeared to lean more toward Senator McCarthy than the Eisenhower Administration in their cross-examination of witnesses.

Marquis Childs states, as had the Alsops the previous day, that the ensuing ten days to two weeks would determine whether an armistice acceptable to the French could be reached at Geneva for Indo-China. He indicates that in Washington, the opinion was growing that if a reasonable armistice could not be reached, then the U.S. would intervene in the war, even without the support of the British and other allies. French officials were saying, more or less openly, that U.S. policymakers had promised such intervention to the extent of air and sea power if the Communist forces continued to press for victory. U.S. sources would not reveal whether a U.S. commitment to France had thus been made. Even if it had not been, there would be no disavowal of it in the U.S. as it would weaken the bargaining power of the French at Geneva. Informed observers believed that talk of intervention was not just a bluff for the sake of Geneva.

Senate Majority Leader William Knowland had remarked that the U.S. must act with military force if within the ensuing 30 days there was no armistice and the Communists pushed forward to take Hanoi and the Red River Delta.

French officials had informed U.S. policymakers that the French estimated that the Vietminh would soon have available in the Delta eight full divisions, considerably more than those which the French would have at their disposal. Whether the eight divisions would be sent against the French strong points protecting Hanoi and the communications line between the Port of Haiphong and Hanoi remained uncertain.

The situation was embarrassing for the President as he had repeatedly promised during the 1952 campaign to try to end the war in Korea, having asserted that Asians should fight Asians while farm boys in the U.S. should remain on the farm. (With the state of the farms economically, they might rather go to Indo-China at this point.) He had said not long before the fall of Dien Bien Phu on May 7 that the fall of Indo-China would be a disaster to the free world.

If it were necessary to supply air and sea power to the French Union forces, Joint Chiefs chairman Admiral Arthur Radford had conveyed the impression to the British military chiefs that ground forces would not be necessary to turn the tide of the war. But the British believed otherwise, not accepting Admiral Radford's assurance that General James Van Fleet, who had successfully trained Korean divisions, could train a fighting army of Vietnamese within 6 to 9 months.

The President would be reluctant to go to Congress with a request for authorization to intervene in the war and when asked at his press conference the previous week whether he would shortly go to Congress, as suggested by two Senators, to present a resolution empowering him to act, he said that no firm decision on the point had been reached. But, remarks Mr. Childs, the previous acts and deeds of the Administration's military-diplomatic team, plus developing circumstances in the war, may have left the President with no alternative. A rising tide of sympathy for civilians who would be imperiled by an attack of the Vietminh on Hanoi would support the view of Admiral Radford and other military chiefs that intervention was imperative for the sake of U.S. security. He thus concludes that in the days and weeks ahead, the U.S. would be "on the edge of the abyss".

Robert C. Ruark tells of a spy-catching group of ladies in Des Moines, Iowa, self-described as "old-time vigilantes". They were seeking to track down Communists in their city and had investigated homes for the aged and the feeble-minded, as well as looking at politicians and police officials, while passing themselves off as drunks in barrooms to tabulate the incidence of Communism in the bars.

Mr. Ruark finds it silly and harmless, good for a few laughs except for some sinister undertones. Such investigations were not new in the country, as during the Salem witch trials of 1692, as well as the lynching of blacks in the South, while ruining reputations since time immemorial by use of the same technique. He finds that the "poison that the heroic ham, McCarthy, has spread under the guise of patriotism, has been creeping for a long time into the backwaters", that before Senator McCarthy, there had always been some blabbermouth who got neighbors conniving, as had Hitler and Goebbels done against the Jews.

During the 20 years he had known J. Edgar Hoover, he had admired him and he had made a speech sometime in the recent past in which he had said that the public should leave the investigations to the FBI and other organizations trained to do so. The vigilantes and private investigators could cause a lot of grief for the innocent, according to Mr. Hoover, making it tougher for professional investigators to do their jobs. Mr. Ruark says that he had never underestimated the danger of snooping, having been raised in small towns and knowing the impact of gossip on innocent individuals. "A great many lives have been wrecked by one pursy-mouthed old horror who served as curator for idle tittle-tattle—the upright and honorable old women, male and female, who feed on rumor and employ it to pay off personal enmities."

He finds it emblematic of the human animal that they were willing to believe the worst of their neighbors, that he had been caught up in the past in unfounded rumor and the object of snooping, with its attendant gossip, was personal ruin for the target.

One might question, incidentally, whether Mr. Ruark was motivated to write this piece, which was the first of its kind appearing in his column directly or indirectly commenting on McCarthyism's destructive tendencies to free expression and thought, in response to the McCarthy hearing of the previous day, but the piece was published in other newspapers, such as the Eau Claire (Wisc.) Daily Telegram, the previous day, and so had to have been drafted before the caustic exchange between Senator Symington, Mr. Welch and Senator McCarthy in the afternoon session of the hearing on June 9.

A letter writer finds it amusing to read so many people trying to justify the right to their beliefs in segregation by citing the Bible, in the wake of the May 17 Brown v. Board of Education decision holding continued segregation of public schools violative of the Fourteenth Amendment Equal Protection Clause. He suggests that if God had intended, as so many had said, that mankind be of the colors God had set, then it had not been blacks who had changed that pattern, or Yankees.

Well, you are making some bold assumptions, are you not? You are suggesting that miscegenation during slavery was all the result of rape or the functional equivalent of rape, and while some of it was, that does not mean all of it was—except, of course, in the movies. Moreover, you are neglecting the other side of the fence in that regard, long before Roe v. Wade, as well as the notion of more modern interracial relationships. Support your thesis first with fact, and then make your bold assumptions count. You are just spouting divisive nonsense, as surely as the adherents to segregation—many of whom, truth be known, are concerned of their own backgrounds.

Oh, right, you wouldn't know about that. It's a canoeing story which hasn't been published yet.

A letter writer from Nashville, N.C., wonders why, if the South was so bad to the black, they were all "down here", and why the Northern part of the country was trying to rule the South, whether they were trying to start a race war among Southern whites and blacks. He indicates that he had been all over the North and the West, as far as California, and had seen how blacks were herded around like animals, that in one place in New York City at which he had lunch, he had observed an old black man, appearing destitute, who had sat down at the counter a short distance from him, and was quoted one dollar for a cup of coffee and another dollar for coffeecake, which he knew could be bought in the South anywhere for a nickel. He found that the Yankee who ran the diner had a sly way of getting the old black man out of his place because the "half-breed whites" would stop going there if he did not. He finds that too many people were trying to rush the fulfillment of the Bible's prophecy, presumably regarding the "end times", and were causing too much hatred among the people. He assures that his and his wife's three children would "never go to school with, sit with, eat with, play with, ride with, work with or associate with in any way the Negro or any other race of people other than the white and you can take that any way you wish." He finds the imposition of the end of segregation by the Federal Government to be the equivalent of Hitler.

You must have gotten some bad food in that New York diner.

A letter writer responds to a letter writer who had wondered why Christians did not take the lead in integration, causing her to reflect on why the country was almost in another war, whether God was forsaking America because its leadership in being a Christian nation was failing. She thinks that too much pride in the people's hearts would help to ruin the Christian leadership of the country, that there were a number of people and preachers professing to be Christians who were not true Christian leaders to the world because of having too much pride in their hearts. She indicates that it appeared to her that America was certainly in a mess in Indo-China and wonders how America could climb out of the mess without the people's prayers.

A letter writer from Myrtle Beach, S.C., indicates that the newspaper, in listing the 11 finalists of the Miss South Carolina Beauty Contest the previous Saturday night had omitted Carol Cameron, Miss Myrtle Beach, and so corrects the omission.

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