The Charlotte News

Monday, June 28, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Washington, the President and Prime Minister Churchill issued a joint statement this date that they would "press forward with plans for collective defense" of Southeast Asia, regardless of whether peace negotiations for Indo-China were successful, the statement having followed their weekend of discussions between Friday and Sunday. They also stated that further delay in the creation of the European Defense Community and of granting sovereignty to West Germany "would damage the solidarity of the Atlantic nations", that statement regarded by observers as an effort to get France to ratify EDC, the six-nation Western European unified army proposal. They also indicated that both countries would benefit from "technical cooperation" on atomic energy to the fullest extent permitted by U.S. law. There was no statement included regarding when a conference might be undertaken to establish SEATO—to be established in September. Britain was opposing the idea, at least until a conclusion of the Indo-China peace conference in Geneva, favoring instead, as advocated by Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden in a speech before Commons the previous Wednesday, creation of a series of nonaggression pacts in the Far East. Both the President and the Prime Minister agreed in the communiqué that if the new French Government was confronted with demands at Geneva which prevented an acceptable agreement, the international situation would be "seriously aggravated".

A late bulletin indicates that Prime Minister Churchill had made a plea this date for a "real good try" for peaceful coexistence with Russia, to minimize the risk of a conflict which would "leave us victorious on a heap of ruins."

In New Delhi, Prime Minister Nehru of India and Communist Chinese Premier and Foreign Minister Chou En-lai jointly called this date for an Indochinese political settlement creating free states "which should not be used for aggressive purposes or be subjected to foreign intervention." The communiqué, issued after Chou's departure for Rangoon, Burma, made no mention of an armistice in the Indo-China war, appearing to indicate that it was assumed by the two leaders that an armistice would be achieved soon, a result promised by the new French Premier, Pierre Mendes-France, by July 20 on condition that he would otherwise resign. Chou planned to spend two days with Prime Minister U Nu of Burma before returning home.

In Geneva, a high Western source said this date that there appeared to be "a good chance" that the West and the Communists would soon agree on the establishment of an international armistice supervisory commission for Indo-China. The Communists, especially the Soviets, had initially insisted that the two Communist states of Czechoslovakia and Poland be included in a four-member commission, but the West had rejected that idea. The Western informant said that the most likely compromise appeared to be a commission comprised of India, Ceylon, Burma, one Communist country, and one European neutral, which the source indicated the West hoped would be Sweden or Norway.

In Tegucigalpa, Honduras, the anti-Communist rebel radio broadcast this date that the rebels did not recognize the new Guatemalan Government of Col. Carlos Enrique Diaz, established as a military junta after the resignation on Sunday night of President Jacobo Arbenz Guzman, and warned that insurgent warplanes would initiate a general attack on military targets in Guatemala City if rebel conditions for peace were not met, providing Col. Diaz until 8:00 a.m. to reply, although still repeating that warning 20 minutes after the hour with the Guatemalan Government radio broadcasting music at that time. On Saturday, the rebels had urged the Army to form a military junta, arrest President Arbenz and "all other Communists" and join the rebels in forming a new government, following which the President had resigned the previous night. The rebel radio said that their target was a system and not a man, and thus delivered the ultimatum to Col. Diaz.

In Jerusalem, a Jordanian broadcast was heard this date which said that a "great force" of Israeli soldiers armed with mortars had crossed the Israeli-Jordan border near Kalkilyeh the previous night and attacked an Arab Legion base, indicating that four legionnaires had been killed and several injured. An Israeli Army spokesman admitted the crossing, but said that only a small Israeli unit was involved, that the unit had strayed across the border by mistake and one Israeli soldier was missing.

Before HUAC, one of nine persons cited for contempt for refusing a year earlier to testify about his Communist Party connections, Francis X. P. Crowley, reversed himself and testified freely this date, appearing voluntarily before the Committee, telling of his Communist activity in New York, Boston and while a student at the University of Michigan, having been advised, he said, by a Catholic priest to tell the full story. He said he had been motivated by conscience rather than the decision of the House on May 11 to refer his case to the Justice Department for prosecution for contempt. He said that he no longer believed in Communism and saw no reason for suffering a penalty for something he did not like or to be made a scapegoat for something in which he did not believe. He had refused a year earlier to tell the Committee about his 1946 membership in the Red Connolly Club in New York or a 1947 connection with the West End Club of Boston or with a similar Communist-affiliated club in Ann Arbor, Mich. He said that he had become attracted to Communism after leaving the Army in 1946 when he was looking for "some kind of faith or ideology" after he had lost his own and was "floundering around". He said his refusal to cooperate the previous year had been motivated by a desire to protect others who might suffer damage, socially or economically, from his testimony. He said that since leaving the University of Michigan in August, 1950, he had abandoned his beliefs in Communism. He also said that he had been provided no promises of immunity from prosecution by members of the Committee or its staff in exchange for his testimony.

In New York, a Federal District Court judge instructed the jury this date that columnist Westbrook Pegler had libeled author Quentin Reynolds in a 1949 column and said that Mr. Reynolds was entitled to damages, that it would be up to the jury to determine the amount. Mr. Reynolds had sought $550,000 in damages from Mr. Pegler, the Hearst Corporation and Hearst Consolidated Publications. The judge declared that the column, read in its entirety, was defamatory as a matter of law for having exposed the subject to public contempt and ridicule, as there was no competent evidence to support two specific allegations in the column, entitling Mr. Reynolds therefore to damages. It was the first libel case against the Pulitzer Prize winning columnist ever fought in a courtroom. The piece does not indicate the nature of the libelous statements in question.

In Kansas City, former President Truman was listed on a hospital report during the morning as a little improved but still in serious condition, after spending a restful night following complications after an operation for removal of his gallbladder and appendix eight days earlier.

In Frankfurt, Germany, evangelist Billy Graham, who had arisen from a sickbed to preach to 75,000 Germans in Berlin, entered the U.S. Army hospital this date for a medical checkup and treatment, after flying to Frankfurt from Berlin during the morning. His press spokesman said that he was getting along fine and that it was nothing serious, that they hoped to fly on to Paris the following day. He was scheduled to conclude his European tour in Paris on Wednesday.

In Langtry, Tex., 14 helicopters had shuttled through rainy skies to rescue stranded passengers this date from a Southern Pacific Railroad Sunset Limited train stranded by high water, as the Rio Grande River, swollen by heavy rain, headed for its greatest flood in history, according to the Weather Bureau. Seventy passengers of the train were evacuated before nightfall the previous day via helicopter and were taken to Del Rio for a hot meal at the hotel the previous night, then transported by train to San Antonio to proceed to their destinations. The helicopters delivered 1,000 pounds of food to the remaining 196 passengers aboard the train, many of whom were doctors returning from the AMA convention in San Francisco. The Rio Grande at Del Rio, 60 miles down the river from Langtry, had risen to a record 40 feet during the morning and was still rising, 24 feet above flood level, its previous high having been 35.5 feet in 1932. Eagle Pass, 55 miles downstream from Del Rio, was in more danger as the town was only about 100 yards from the river, which had risen to 42.8 feet this date and was expected to crest at 50 feet by this night, its previous high having been 49 feet in 1932. Langtry, the piece notes, was the town made famous by Judge Roy Bean, named after the woman he worshiped, British actress Lily Langtry.

In Amesbury, Mass., the district attorney revealed portions of "a sordid confession" by a woman who admitted killing her husband after "a vicious verbal row over other men". She had said that she had lain on a sofa-bed in the couple's living room for about three hours while her husband's body lay at her feet after she had killed him. The prosecutor said that he could not release the full details of the confession because the three children might be adversely impacted. He said that self-defense was not involved, that the killing was premeditated, vicious, and atrocious, that after she had rested on the sofa-bed for awhile, she dragged her husband's body to the garage under their home, stuffed it into a trunk with wire and three 15-pound mushroom anchors, drove to a bridge over the Merrimack River, wired the anchors to the body and dumped the body over a five-foot high railing. He indicated that a knitting needle found in the river might have been the murder weapon used to stab her husband several times in the chest, and that he had also been shot twice in the head with a .22-caliber pistol. He said that the investigation was seeking to clear up any doubts about whether she might have had any accomplices. He said that the investigation had determined that the slaying took place on April 10 and that the body had been disposed of in the early morning hours of the following day, Palm Sunday. A female birdwatcher had discovered the body nearly two months later in a saltwater marsh in nearby West Newbury. The woman entered a plea of not guilty to first-degree murder on Saturday and was held in the Salem jail—presumably with a lesser included offense of practicing witchcraft on the side.

In Shelton, Conn., a man was paged at a movie theater the previous night, left his seat and went to the lobby, where he was met by a State police officer who took him to the State Police barracks and booked him on a charge of stealing a rowboat. What was the name of the picture? It is still too early for "Night of the Hunter", not due out for another year. Had he used the rowboat to get to the theater? Who owned the rowboat?

In Jacksonville, Fla., the 101-degree temperature the previous day had caused the Doctors Inlet drawbridge span to expand in an open position so that it would not close for 45 minutes, causing traffic to pile up in both directions over the St. John's River for about 15 miles while the bridgetender went underneath the bridge with a hammer and chisel to knock loose concrete and enable scores of volunteers to help push the drawbridge shut.

In Chicago, the Madison Street bridgetender saw a nude body in the Chicago River the previous night, telephoned the Monroe Street bridgetender a block downstream, the latter seeing it too late and called the Adams Street bridgetender a block farther downstream, at which point a hurriedly summoned police officer flashed his flashlight on the body, which proved to be a dressed turkey. So the man in Shelton had used the rowboat to dispose of the body in Chicago? What if they had not spotted it before it reached the Fillmore Street bridge? Did he also witness from the rowboat the disposal of the body by the woman in Massachusetts? Was his hot rowboat the final contributing factor which caused the drawbridge to freeze in the open position at Doctors Inlet? Did that have anything to do with the complications which had set in after former President Truman's surgery, with Billy Graham's illness in Germany? Was the CIA involved? The pieces are beginning to fit together, depending on the movie the rowboat reiver was viewing when arrested, a critical missing component of the puzzle presented holistically by the page.

On the editorial page, "The People Have Spoken" finds that there had been a relatively heavy turnout for a runoff primary election the prior Saturday, with 20,000 voters having cast their ballots, just 5,000 fewer than in the original primary on May 29, while normally such runoff primaries turned out a much smaller percentage of the voters. The most decisive victory had been for former State Senator Jack Blythe over the incumbent State Senator Fred McIntyre, and Mr. Blythe's enthusiastic campaign workers deserved much of the credit for the victory, along with his pledge to work in harmony with members of the House delegation from Mecklenburg and to consult with local officials on local legislation.

It also reviews the winners in the two County Commission races and the local solicitor's race, and indicates that the winners and losers should accept the judgment of the voters with good grace after hard-fought campaigns.

"Armies Can Do a Lot Besides Fight" indicates that armies could do more than fight wars, could cause political, social and ideological changes as military service created firm bonds of camaraderie, secondary functions which could be exploited more fully to the advantage of the free world in its struggle with the Communists. As the Alsops point out in this date's column, the Communists had been able to enjoy the dividend of a political maneuver in China in the wake of the Korean War by consolidating authority from the new warlords.

Social changes had been hastened by desegregation policies in the U.S. military services following World War II, after there had been segregated Army units during the war, producing tension when the separated soldiers came together, often resulting in fistfights. By the time of the Korean War, integration of the Army was well along and the troops got along remarkably well when integrated all the way to the squad level, focusing their fighting on the enemy, rather than with each other.

Common Army service had been a considerable factor in the unification of Israel, and during the recent war there, dozens of nationalities were represented in the Israeli Army, with four or five languages often spoken in a single brigade, but within a few months, the immigrants became devoted Israelis during their military service.

It had become the experience of bilingual Canada and Belgium, quadrilingual Switzerland and the multilingual French Foreign Legion that language differences posed no great difficulty in international military units, and similar experiences had been reported by veterans of U.S. units in Korea which had included South Korean troops.

It suggests that the non-military attributes of integrated armies could be exploited profitably among the military forces of the U.S. and its European allies through formation of an integrated NATO unit, perhaps initially on a small, experimental scale, perhaps enabling the faltering European Defense Community treaty finally to be ratified by the six participating Western European nations, and renew among the allies an esprit de corps which was currently lacking. It urges that a few thousand French, German, British, Italian and American boys, serving alongside one another, would probably generate more of the contagious camaraderie which the free world needed, than a dozen high-level conferences and a Pentagon full of liaison officers.

"Not Much of a Record So Far" indicates that with the midterm Congressional elections only four months away, exaggeration and distortion of party records were to be expected, but that Vice-President Nixon's exposition of the record the prior Saturday had been disappointing, providing the Republicans more credit and the Democrats more blame than either deserved. Speaking at a Republican rally in Wisconsin, the Vice-President had claimed that the Administration had abandoned the policy of former Secretary of State Acheson, which had been "directly responsible for the loss of China", had veered away from the Democrats' "Socialist tradition", and had done something about the Communist danger which the Democrats had "failed to recognize".

It finds that if the Administration had abandoned the Acheson foreign policy, it was for a policy which was weaker, as the truce in Korea and the retreat in Indo-China had only increased the quarrels among the allies and so served as proof of the point. The suggestion that the Eisenhower Administration had decreased the danger of subversion was belied by the fact that no Communist or spy in the Government had yet been uncovered by the current Administration, and any threat of subversion appeared to have been overemphasized. If the Democrats had a "Socialist tradition", the Republicans appeared bent on establishing one also, by embracing the Brannan Plan, that of former Secretary of Agriculture Charles Brannan, for wool price controls and expansion of Social Security coverage.

It ventures that the truth was that the Republican record of accomplishment was not good, that Congress had postponed much of its major legislation and the Administration had postponed many of its important policy decisions, that it would take a great deal of action by Congress and the White House before the Republicans would have the record which the President had said was essential to victory in the November midterm elections and match the claims made by the Vice-President.

A piece from the New York Times, titled "Home, Quiet Home", indicates that recently between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 12:30 and again between 2:00 and 5:00 p.m., the television set in the living room had regularly been tuned to the Army-McCarthy hearings, but was now, at last, quiet, such that it was possible to enter the living room during daylight hours to see the sun shining, the shades not drawn, and the television set not on. One could now sit down and read a book for a couple of undisturbed hours at a stretch and talk in the living room in an extended conversation. It suggests that the summer might be a good one, after all, as for awhile, it had appeared that the summer might be canceled through a point of order.

For the first time in many years, there was no shirt in the house lacking a button, no pants lacking a patch, no sock having a hole, prompting recollection of the ladies knitting as the guillotine fell during the French Revolution.

Drew Pearson indicates that Governor Allan Shivers of Texas, who had supported General Eisenhower in the 1952 election, had been, until recently, considered a shoo-in for re-election, but now did not appear so certain because of resentment against him for running for a fourth term, his prior bolt from the Democrats, and insurance scandals plaguing his Administration. It had not yet been covered in the Texas press that the Governor had covered up the insurance scandal for more than a year while his campaign manager had been hired by one insurance company for $1,000 per month as thousands of insured were cheated out of their life savings. Mr. Pearson provides detail of how the scandal had come to light through the treasurer newly hired by an insurance company who spotted the problems and wrote of them to the Governor, after State Attorney General Price Daniel, presently Senator, had brushed him off. The Governor, also, did not bother to answer the letter. But eventually, after two years, the Governor had launched an investigation after his campaign manager had been implicated in the scandal, and the treasurer of the insurance company who had uncovered the scandal initially was called to testify by the new State Attorney General, John Shepard.

Friends of the President at the White House pointed out that he could save himself a lot of headaches if he knew more about domestic politics or if he had someone close to him who did, that he could have, for instance, saved a Senate debate over FCC commissioner John Doerfer, a friend of Senator McCarthy. The President had not known at the time that the son of the late Wendell Willkie, Philip, was being urged on the White House for appointment to the Doerfer spot at the conclusion of his term. Philip Willkie was the son-in-law of the executive treasurer of the RNC and represented the anti-McCarthy wing of the Republican Party, thus would not be objectionable to any Democrat as a member of the powerful FCC, responsible for issuing radio and television broadcast licenses. But Congressman Charles Halleck of Indiana, from whence Mr. Willkie also hailed, then demanded that Mr. Doerfer be reappointed, apparently not wanting competition from Mr. Willkie for power in Indiana and also because Mr. Halleck was receiving pressure from supporters of Senator McCarthy. The White House quickly made the reappointment, and now Mr. Doerfer was facing Senate debate regarding his confirmation, prompting criticism that the President spoke critically of Senator McCarthy one day and then appointed a friend of the Senator the next.

The office staff of the late Senator Lester Hunt of Wyoming, who had recently committed suicide, had been prevented from attending his funeral by the Senate sergeant at arms, who barred them on the ground of economy, despite the fact that the plane carrying Senator Hunt's body from Washington to Wyoming departed with 36 empty seats.

T. V. Houser, chairman of the board of Sears, Roebuck, in an excerpt from an address delivered to North Carolina businessmen in Winston-Salem recently, regards taxes and specifically the effect of state taxes on business in the state. He indicates that North Carolina received almost double the proportion and amount of all other states of the country from corporate income taxes as applied to its corporations, had the highest corporate income tax rate of any Southern state, save one, which was equal, and ranked alongside the two highest corporate tax rate states in the country, Massachusetts and Oregon. Corporations produced jobs and, he urges, the individual citizen was better off with a job and higher taxes than with no job and lower taxes. He indicates that taxes alone did not determine the flow of investment and new industries in a given state, and that North Carolina had a great record in development of industry.

He provides the ratio of Sears purchases to sales in 1940 and in 1953 for the states of Mississippi, Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee, showing significant increases in the interim in each state, whereas Virginia and South Carolina remained about the same during the 13-year interim, but North Carolina had dropped from 165 percent to 145 percent during the interval. North Carolina's 1953 percentage was high and was only exceeded by three of the six states mentioned, but he regards it as a possible downward trend which was important because the forces in question worked slowly.

He indicates that corporate income taxes created difficulties by their nature when applied to a business conducted interstate, particularly if the corporation had manufacturing operations in other states, causing the difficulty of establishing an equitable method of determining the true proportion of income applicable to the state in question, the state placing an inequitable burden on its own industries when they had to compete for business against firms not having such a burden, and placing a premium on efficiency and success, when it was possible that the success was due more to operations outside the state than within it.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop indicate that the Chinese Communists, while preparing to take Indo-China, had acquired another dividend from the Korean War, eliminating the threat of warlords within China as a threat to the central Government. The West had held out hope that the Chinese warlords might cripple the Communist regime, with the conservative London Economist voicing the hope recently, reflecting the optimism of the British Foreign Office.

In 1949, at the end of the Chinese civil war when the Nationalists had fled to Formosa and the Communists had formally organized their regime, the threat of the warlords was real, though the old-fashioned warlords had ceased to matter. The new version were comprised of tough commanders of Communist field armies who had just won the civil war. Those generals had recruited and trained their own forces, selected and promoted their subordinate officers and enjoyed the same personal loyalty, as a consequence, from their armies which successful Chinese generals had always enjoyed.

Under the original settlement at the end of the war, most of China had been divided into four great military areas, with each area occupied by the field army which had conquered it, each governed by the field army commander. The most important areas, with the most powerful forces, were the East China Military Area under General Chen Yi, commander of the Third Field Army, and the South-Central Military Area under General Lin Piao, commander of the Fourth Field Army. The forces under the commanders, with full administrative powers, were loyal to them rather than to the Chinese Politboro, and it was clear to any observer that any one of the commanders could at any time challenge the latter's authority, as the Politboro controlled only a small part of China with relatively weak military forces at the time.

But when the Chinese intervened in Korea in October and November, 1950, triggered by the advance northward of General MacArthur to the Yalu River bordering China, General Lin was chosen as the first Chinese commander in Korea, as he was by far the strongest of the field army commanders, and the first contingents of Chinese fighting forces in Korea were entirely from the two strongest field armies, the Third and Fourth. General Chen, meanwhile, was eliminated from power. Thereafter, contingents for Korea were drawn from all of the military areas in rotation, then mixed together after arriving in Korea, creating a truly national army with no personal allegiances to any particular commander. General Lin was then replaced as the Korean commander by General Peng Teh-huai, obeisant to the Chinese Politboro. The military and administrative commissions which had ruled the military areas under the field army commanders were then transformed into administrative commissions entirely staffed by Communist bureaucrats. Finally, by an order given just the previous week, the remaining Army leaders had ceased to govern their military areas and the subdivisions of China were now under the direct control of the Politburo, ending the conversion process from the power of the new warlords to consolidation of the power under the central Government.

Thus from the Korean War, the Chinese Communists had obtained that dividend, eliminating a serious internal threat while also obtaining the dividend of Russian arms and equipment for the most powerful armed force in Asia and the accompanying prestige of having fought the U.S. to a stalemate in Korea. Shortly, they would acquire Indo-China as a satellite.

The Alsops ask when the process would stop and wonder who could say that the U.S. and its allies should not have fought the Korean War to final victory.

A letter writer from Pinehurst comments on a letter appearing June 19, suggesting that intellectuals favored Communism and complaining that the newspaper had taken every opportunity to smear the work of Senator McCarthy, this writer indicating that he, as The News, opposed McCarthyism in all its forms and so must be guilty in the eyes of the previous letter writer of Communist sympathies. He believes that anyone was entitled to believe in Senator McCarthy and his tactics, or be guilty of McCarthyism in denying a person that right, but that the typical tactic, as displayed Q.E.D. by the previous writer, was to label anyone who opposed Senator McCarthy and his tactics as being in favor of Communism. This writer indicates his opposition to Communism and says that what separated his form of opposition from that of McCarthyism was that he did not believe in using the methods of Communism to fight it. He indicates that in the same issue of the newspaper had appeared the 29 editorial excerpts regarding the conclusion of the Army-McCarthy hearings, with four of the 29 favorable to Senator McCarthy and the remaining 25 more or less critical of him, this writer concluding that those 25 other newspaper editorials, in the opinion of the previous writer, must have been written by intellectuals favoring Communism.

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