The Charlotte News

Saturday, June 26, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Secretary of State Dulles and British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden began their discussions at the State Department in Washington this date regarding possible developments of a common British-American policy for blocking further Communist advances in Southeast Asia. The conferences had begun the previous day between the President and Prime Minister Churchill, and would conclude the following evening, the President and Prime Minister also slated to meet during the afternoon this date. U.S. officials had indicated that they were going to urge the British officials this date to begin immediately the creation of SEATO, for which the British had far less enthusiasm than did the U.S. Mr. Eden had indicated before Commons on Wednesday, prior to departure, that Britain would like to see a security system in Southeast Asia based on a series of nonaggression pacts with the Communists, rather than SEATO. Congressional leaders from both houses of Congress and a dozen prominent Administration officials, plus the chief members of the British delegation, were invited to a luncheon this date at the White House.

French President René Coty sent a message to President Eisenhower this date that he was ready for early "confidential and intimate" talks between France and the U.S. on such questions as Indo-China and the European Defense Community treaty. The letter was in reply to a message the President had sent to President Coty the previous week offering "to open new discussions" on Indo-China defense problems with the new French Government headed by Premier Pierre Mendes-France. The President had told President Coty that time was running out on ratification of EDC, the proposed unified army of six Western European nations.

In Tegucigalpa, Honduras, it was reported that the anti-Communist Guatemalan "liberation army" had set up a provisional government in a town about 20 miles from the Honduran border the previous night, amid indications that the struggle for Guatemala was becoming a hot shooting war, as insurgent planes were reported to have attacked Guatemala City and the rebel radio broadcast had claimed that its forces were "marching victoriously" on the capital. The Communist-supported Government of President Jacobo Arbenz Guzman declared, however, that its troops remained in control on all fronts.

In Roanoke, Va., a Federal Housing Administration official in Virginia, addressing the Virginia Savings, Building and Loan League the previous day, said that the FHA scandal had helped rather than hurt business, that despite the widely publicized investigation of the FHA, the office was busier than ever processing loan applications.

In Chicago, a freak tidal wave swept across Lake Michigan's shore for a distance of several miles this date, washing at least 20 fishermen into the water, with some witnesses saying the wave was at least 20 feet high. Police said that at least three bodies had been recovered and that more people were feared to have been drowned, with most of the victims having been swept into the water from two rock jetties at Montrose Harbor and off a pier at North Avenue, both on Chicago's North Side. The height of the wave varied by who was estimating it and where it was observed. The Weather Bureau said that it was caused by a squall line moving across the lake, precipitated by a rapid change in air pressure depressing the water in one spot and causing a mound of the water level in another area.

Near Hallam, Neb., the Rock Island's fast eastbound Rocky Mountain Rocket had started to shimmy and eight of its 11 passenger and Pullman cars had tipped over in a derailment the previous night, with at least 75 persons receiving hospital treatment and between 16 or 18 having been seriously injured. There had been about 150 passengers aboard the train. It was unclear what had caused the train to derail.

Near Greenwood, S.C., 17 Seaboard Airline Railway freight cars jumped the tracks at May's Landing this date and no one was injured.

In Clarksdale, Miss., a sheriff and two men were killed this date in a shooting which had begun shortly after dawn, when one man wounded a woman and shot another man to death before fleeing into a cotton warehouse, whereupon the sheriff and a deputy and other officials entered the warehouse, at which point the sheriff was shot twice through the heart, once in the head and twice in the back. The officers returned with tear gas and were able to flush the man out of the building, at which point he had come out shooting and was killed. Officers had not learned how the initial trouble had begun.

Near Paris, Va., police raided a farmhouse in northern Virginia late the previous night and discovered what they said was an "abortion mill" and "no kitchen-table type of thing". A doctor, three other men and three women were arrested by the State and county officers, who said that they found nine women patients in the eight-room frame structure. At the time of the raid, one of the physicians was said to be performing an operation on one of the women on a table in an upstairs bedroom. Subsequent medical examinations showed that five other women had undergone operations and three were awaiting their turn, all of them from the nation's capital. The doctor caught in the act was charged with five counts of performing an abortion against Virginia law, and was released on bond. Police said that a search of the house had turned up $3,600 in cash, one-third of which was found on a woman whom police described as the contact for the group. Also arrested were the physician's wife and two of his nursing assistants. Three other men, described by police as drivers or guards, were also arrested. A physician who accompanied the officers and investigators on the raid said that only one woman in a thousand would have had any trouble as a result of an operation at the facility, which he described as being "very sterile".

In Charlotte, the Democratic runoff primary took place this date, with all precincts reporting light voting by noon in the races for State Senator, local solicitor and two members of the County Commission. Across the state, 45 of the 100 counties had races subject to being decided in the runoff primary after no candidate had received a majority vote in the initial primary of May 29.

On the editorial page, "A Chance in a Lifetime for Charlotte" indicates that the fire which had destroyed the Southern Railway freight station on Thursday had been a disaster of major proportions, the full extent of which could not be determined for weeks or months, but that the disaster also presented an opportunity for the City and Southern Railway, for the latter to rebuild the freight facility on the fringe of the city, away from midtown traffic congestion which had always made freight operations inconvenient and costly, while the City had an opportunity to eliminate the major traffic bottleneck in midtown Charlotte.

"The Other Side of the FHA Coin" indicates that a Government agency and the persons who worked for it usually did a good job over a period of years without getting much credit for it, until scandal reached them, at which point there was widespread and unfavorable publicity, as with employees of the State Department, the IRB and the Army. A disproportionate amount of adverse publicity created a distorted picture of an individual agency's work and the caliber of its employees.

It thus seeks to balance the record of one such agency, the Federal Housing Administration, the 20th anniversary of which was being observed in Charlotte and other parts of the country. There had been serious irregularities uncovered recently in the housing program and the investigation was continuing. In part, people outside the Government were to blame for the wrongdoing in the high-pressure home improvement and repair scandal, charging exorbitant fees on the basis that the Federal Government supposedly mandated the improvements, and the other scandal involving contractors obtaining loans larger than the actual cost of the housing projects which they built, pocketing the difference. But, it ventures, those abuses and the officials who had permitted them to occur should not obscure the value and accomplishments of the FHA, established to encourage improvement in housing standards and conditions, to provide home financing and exert a stabilizing influence in the mortgage market. It had accomplished those aims, based on the vast majority of officials and realtors, bankers and builders with whom they worked having been honest and able. In Charlotte, some of those people, it points out, had helped lead the fight for slum clearance, urban redevelopment and better housing for all.

"Does Town Need Another Auditorium?" indicates that since the fire which had destroyed the old Armory-Auditorium on June 8, City officials had been considering whether to replace it. The City Council had agreed during the week to participate in the building of a new armory exclusively for the use of the National Guard, with the City furnishing a four-acre site and advancing one-fourth of the construction costs, to be repaid without interest. That left only the question of whether a public recreation and display center should be built for groups too small to need the new facilities at the Auditorium-Coliseum complex set to open in 1955.

Insurance proceeds from the fire totaled $400,000, but a legal question had arisen as to whether the funds should properly be distributed to the Park & Recreation Commission or generally to the City Government. Some members of the Commission favored using the money to construct a new public arena, and some members of the City Council wanted to put the money to other uses, such as for public playgrounds. It suggests that the wisest course would be for representatives of the Commission, the Council and the Auditorium-Coliseum authority to get together and attempt to reconcile the conflicting viewpoints, bearing in mind that the taxpayers of Charlotte were already heavily burdened with indebtedness for new public facilities.

A piece from the Mattoon (Ill.) Journal-Gazette, titled "The First Weekend of Camping", indicates the regimen of items needed for an 11-year old taking his first weekend camping trip, suggesting that it was perhaps heaven-sent that the parents could not see everything that went on during the weekend, though everything could be pieced together from the condition of the child, his clothes and equipment upon his return. The rehabilitation of the child and the clothes would take at least two days, but the parents could not refuse permission for future trips when the child indicated that he felt awful but had never had a better time.

Drew Pearson indicates that shortly before Prime Minister Churchill had arrived in Washington for his talks during the weekend with the President, the National Security Council, which appeared to be making the major foreign policy decisions at present, had drawn up an important new policy for the Far East, involving three defense lines, across the first of which, Indo-China, should the Communists transgress, the U.S. would fight, but only with the cooperation and support of the U.N.; across the second of which, South Korea, the Philippines, all of the island chains through the East Indies including Formosa, plus Thailand, Burma and Malaya, the U.S. would fight in alliance with any of the countries invaded, regardless of U.N. support; and across the third of which, including all U.S. territories, trusts and possessions in the Pacific, plus Japan, the U.S. would fight with or without allies.

The key to the entire Far Eastern policy was Japan, the NSC having determined to encourage a strong and friendly Japan to counterbalance the alliance between Communist China and Russia, and because Japan was dependent upon imports and so could be starved into allegiance with Communism. That was one reason why Burma, Thailand, the Malays and Indonesia were so important, as they had been large Japanese markets in the past. Mr. Pearson indicates that the policy was much closer to the views of all members of the Joint Chiefs, most of whom disagreed with the chairman, Admiral Arthur Radford, who had now retreated from his proposed immediate intervention in Indo-China and was willing to accept the three-defense line policy.

Mr. Pearson indicates that a small black boy had looked longingly at a candy counter through the open door of the Senate restaurant, finally stopping a passerby to inquire whether "colored boys" were allowed in to purchase a chocolate bar, to which the stranger said that he would accompany the boy into the restaurant, where he picked out his candy and sought to pay for it with the only dime in his pocket, discovering that the stranger had already paid for it, the boy then dashing off without asking the name of the stranger, who was Senator Dennis Chavez of New Mexico.

A high-level diplomatic conference had taken place in London recently, which pinpointed one of the principal problems now being discussed by Prime Minister Churchill and the President. It had been a meeting of top U.S. ambassadors from Western Europe, with the exception of Ambassador to Italy Clare Booth Luce, who had been in poor health, nervously upset by Communist inroads on Italy. The highlight of the meeting was when U.S. High Commissioner to Germany, Dr. James Conant, reported that unless West Germany were given the right to set up its own army, Chancellor Konrad Adenauer's Government would fall sometime during the summer. In consequence, German rearmament had become one of the major aims of the U.S. and Britain, despite the likelihood that an independent Germany might retreat.

Some time before departing London, Mr. Churchill had called on top atomic advisers to his Government and set forth a British policy that it was better to lose all of Indo-China than risk using the atomic bomb. The meeting came in response to word that Admiral Radford had a plan to use atomic bombs on Indo-China, Mr. Churchill arguing that such use would alienate all of the people of Asia.

Secretary Dulles was upset over the British Labor delegation which planned to visit Communist China, without having tipped him off in advance, and he was planning to prevail on Mr. Churchill to withdraw the permission for the trip, though the latter would likely tell Mr. Dulles to mind his own business.

Doris Fleeson indicates that Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson had conducted the outstanding experiment in character thus far during the Administration. Both Agriculture Committees of Congress had rejected his flexible price supports plan, approving a one-year extension of the 90 percent of parity support prices. Senator George Aiken of Vermont, chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, a backer of Mr. Benson, claimed that they could win the fight for flexible controls on the floor, and a surprising number of reporters who regularly covered farm news agreed with that assessment. If the Benson view were to prevail in the Senate, the House might be influenced by the fact and when the bills came up for reconciliation in conference, the Senate version might prevail.

It was too early, she indicates, to predict with confidence that the farm bloc would go down to defeat regarding fixed price supports. But Secretary Benson was standing out for fighting for his principles, regardless of political consequences during the midterm election year. The President had supported him in his fight. Many people who worked hard to solve the ills of farmers believed that Mr. Benson lacked understanding and that the President had been disingenuous in his campaign promises regarding the farm problem. But, she indicates, no charge of inconsistency could be leveled against the Secretary. His opponents liked him personally and admired him, some reluctantly. He was never inconsistent in his statements depending on his audience. Members of Congress wondered how he had persuaded the President to go along with him on such a politically thorny issue.

Secretary of State Dulles, Secretary of the Treasury George Humphrey, and Secretary of Commerce Sinclair Weeks had gone along with the President in seeking a one-year extension of the reciprocal trade program without a fight. Had they insisted on a fight and gotten the President's backing in so doing, they could have obtained a three-year extension. The protectionist Republicans on trade were no more entrenched or powerful than the farm bloc had always been.

Attorney General Herbert Brownell had demanded wiretap authority in cases implicating national security and other security measures, but the White House had not offered support for it and chances of success of the proposals were nil.

Secretary Humphrey had made the biggest retreat in the balanced budget and hard-money areas, acceding to tax reductions despite the deficit, and would soon seek from Congress an increase in the national debt limit. He had also not raised objection while the Federal Reserve Board had eased credit when there was no critical need for it.

Ms. Fleeson indicates that so it went with the Administration, but Secretary Benson had never faltered in his championing of flexible price supports, despite it being political suicide with the farmers. The Republican politicians were not keen about Mr. Benson and he might become very unpopular should his position win out in Congress and the election returns in the fall reflect it. But, she concludes, no one could take away from him, even if he was forced to resign, his "laurel wreath for character" during the current session of Congress.

A letter writer indicates that she was a black girl who had just graduated from high school and had been reading the letters to the editor, some of which she found to have blacks all wrong, indicating that they were not looking for something for nothing but rather only a chance to lead a decent and civil life. She asks how readers thought it might feel to have to ride at the rear of a bus after paying the same fare as white passengers, to be waited on last when they knew they had arrived first, questions which she believes white readers would not be able to answer. She says that she did not want her children to attend mixed schools any more than whites did because they would be mistreated. She indicates that the color of the face did not determine a person, that it was instead the character within.

A letter writer from Pittsboro seeks to supplement what the newspaper had said regarding the Guatemalan situation, finds it to be the result of "aggression" not composed of Guatemalan exiles, and that the weapons being used had been sent to neighboring Honduras and Nicaragua by the State Department, that it was U.S.-inspired aggression against the existing Guatemalan Government regime, which the U.S. did not like because it was not doing as the U.S. wanted. He says that he hated Communism completely, but loved truth more, that the country had experienced trouble in Latin America since its founding and that very little of the trouble had been of foreign origin. He does not regard the current trouble with Guatemala as emanating from Russia. He approves of what U.N. Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., had told the Russian delegate, to stay out of the American hemisphere, but that the Russian delegate had missed the opportunity likewise to tell Ambassador Lodge to stay out of the Asian hemisphere. He regards it as being an hypocritical double standard in foreign policy, ultimately to cause the U.S. to be subjected to more than admonitions, to be reduced to size and put in its place. He quotes from an editorial from the Laredo Times from January 28, indicating that Guatemala, contrary to the State Department's suggestions, was not becoming the center of Communism in the Western Hemisphere, that such had once been attributed to Mexico City, later shown that the latter was more anti-Communist than the State Department. The Laredo editor had regarded it as propaganda boomeranging against the U.S. because the propaganda was being generated by friends of three U.S. corporations whose purpose was to control Guatemala, the U.S. Fruit Co., American Power & Electric Co., and the Grace Steamship Lines. The writer suggests that many other countries to the south were like Guatemala, dependent for economic life on foreign resources, and that Guatemala had made the mistake of trying to break its fetters, for which he admires it rather than condemning it.

A letter writer indicates that he and his wife had three school-age children, were Southerners whose ancestors had settled in the South in 1774, and would be glad to see the end of segregation in the public schools. He says, however, that his purpose in writing the letter was not to argue the point of segregation or the Brown v. Board of Education decision of May 17, but rather to call attention to the need for training and reorientation courses for present public school teachers in light of the decision. He says that their oldest child had begun public schooling in Georgia, and had come home reciting the hateful doggerel: "Eeny, Meeny, Miney, Mo; catch a nigger by his toe..." They had assured their daughter that the version was incorrect and that it actually ran: "Catch a cracker by his toe." Their daughter had then taught the substitute version to her younger brothers, and he and his wife were somewhat annoyed when, a couple of months earlier, their eight-year old boy attending school in Charlotte had come home and told them that his teacher had corrected the rendition to supply "nigger" in lieu of "cracker". He indicates that a more disturbing incident had occurred a couple of weeks before the end of school when their boy had come home and quoted a teacher as having told the class that according to the Supreme Court decision in Brown, they would have to take "niggers" in the class and that if a white child and a black child should have trouble, the teacher would have to think that the "colored child" was at fault. He indicates that the sort of attitude, regardless of when or whether segregation were ended, should be corrected, that what the one teacher said so openly was probably being said less openly by many other teachers and might be sensed by the children without being spoken by the teachers. "Instead of utterances and attitudes which tend to convince our little conservatives that racial hostility is right and proper, thereby leading to all sorts of complications and difficulties for the children who have been pumped full of this racial poison, we could all do our children a service by teaching them the democratic idea of being uniformly considerate of and kind to others—without thought of race, creed or color." He indicates that those in charge of selecting teachers should take proper steps to correct incorrect racial attitudes among the present teachers and, in the event of failure, should relieve such teachers of their responsibility and employ others whose minds had not been closed by prejudice.

A letter writer from Monroe indicates that he is black and was glad when he had read the Brown decision, believed that blacks were coming into their own, but that after listening to the "'plow-boys,' local 'shysters' and 'run of the millers'", he would rather his children go to school with the devil than with whites. He indicates that he worked six days per week with whites and they got along splendidly, that he felt no hate for his fellow workers, but that when the work was finished, he wanted to be with other black people, that they did not wish to eat together, sleep together or mingle together with whites. He asks for understanding and that God's name be kept "out of this mess".

You should not let some backward idiots purport to speak for all whites, thereby allowing those idiots to have their way. But we understand that it is difficult when you look out on a daily society largely segregated and when the leaders of the state and local governments are counseling calm, patience and deliberate delay of implementation of the Brown decision, while stopping short of the open defiance of South Carolina, Mississippi and Georgia.

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