The Charlotte News

Tuesday, June 29, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Washington, the President and Prime Minister Churchill concluded their talks this date with a six-point joint statement of principles, calling for "general and drastic reduction" of world armaments "under effective safeguards", and the determination to bring about conditions in the world under which the "prodigious" forces of atomic energy "can be used to enrich and not to destroy mankind." They extended the hand of friendship to all nations, including those with Communist governments, on condition that by "solemn pledge and confirming deeds", they would show themselves desirous of participating in a "just and fair peace". They also reaffirmed the principles of the Atlantic Charter, formed in August, 1941 between FDR and Prime Minister Churchill, and promised to use every peaceful means to secure the independence of all countries whose people desired it, while indicating they would not be party to any deal confirming or extending the "unwilling subordination" of once independent states which were presently in bondage.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee this date adopted a proposal cutting off special Southeast Asian foreign aid funds from any nation joining a nonaggression pact with the Asian Communists. The purpose, according to Representative John Vorys of Ohio, chairman of the Committee, was to prevent creation of a Far Eastern nonaggression pact as proposed by British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden the previous Wednesday in Commons. The proposal was to be offered as an amendment to the current foreign aid bill as "the sense of the Congress", regarding 800 million dollars earmarked for special aid to Southeast Asia, intended for Indo-China, but giving the President authority to use the money anywhere in Asia. A total of 18 members of the Committee had signed a letter advising the President to reject the British nonaggression plan or face complete review of foreign aid.

From Mexico City, it was reported that a diplomatic source in Guatemala City had reported this date that arrangements were being completed for a cease-fire in Guatemala between the Government forces and the insurgent rebel forces, that the cease-fire would provide an amnesty for political prisoners except for known Communists. The report issued a few hours after Guatemala got its third government in as many days, with a new three-man military junta headed by anti-Communists replacing the Government formed on Sunday by Col. Enrique Diaz, who had replaced the resigned President Jacobo Arbenz Guzman, believed by the U.S. and Central American neighbors to be pro-Communist, Guatemala having received in May a large shipment of arms from Communist Poland. The leader of the insurgent rebels, Col. Castillo Armas, had demanded the "unconditional surrender" of the Diaz junta. A Guatemalan broadcast said that José Sanchez, another member of the three-man ruling military junta which had succeeded President Arbenz, had also quit, and that Alfredo Monzon, the third member of the junta, now headed the new ruling junta, with the other two listed as José Luis Salazar and Maurice Dubois. Sr. Monzon was expected to negotiate a truce with Col. Armas, and the new Government promptly outlawed the Communist Party and began arresting Communists, but that move had failed to placate the anti-Communist rebels still driving toward the capital from the Honduran border. Former President Arbenz was reported via Guatemalan Government radio under heavy guard the previous day at his private residence in a suburb of Guatemala City, but a broadcast later the previous day said that he had gone into exile in Argentina. The monitored broadcast also said that the previous afternoon, rebel planes had bombed Guatemala City, after which the station had gone off the air, followed by a communiqué from rebel headquarters which made no mention of the bombing.

Before the Senate Banking Committee, a former top official of the FHA, Clyde Powell, this date refused to answer questions from Senators investigating the million-dollar "windfall" profits for builders of Government-backed apartment projects, the second time he had refused to testify before the Committee, claiming the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination. Mr. Powell had been fired from the FHA in April and reportedly was under investigation by the Justice Department. Senator Harry F. Byrd of Virginia had described him as a "key official" in reports of gambling losses by former top housing officials, which had initially attracted the FBI to the investigation, and in a letter to Attorney General Herbert Brownell in April, Senator Byrd had said that Mr. Powell was also a "key official" regarding over-valuation of properties, resulting in windfalls of 100 million dollars or more for the builders. A deputy housing official testified to the Committee that former Truman Administration Housing expediter Wilson Wyatt, who was a close political ally of Adlai Stevenson, had counseled apartment builders on how to make windfall profits with the least possible down payment. The deputy also charged that the FHA refused to police the Fair Labor Standards Act and other laws setting minimum wages and working conditions for construction workers on apartment projects.

In Laredo, Texas, police hurriedly evacuated residents of low-lying areas in the face of the Rio Grande River's greatest flood in its history, police anticipating a 40-foot crest which would send water into the business area of the city. Across the border in the twin city of Nuevo Laredo, workers had abandoned attempts to sandbag the levee and were moving people and possessions to higher ground, with police anticipating that the water would envelop the International Bridge at any moment. Thousands of people on both sides of the border had fled to the hills. Nearly 100 miles north of the Rio Grande, in the oil and cattle country of far west Texas, 14 persons were believed dead after flash floods had swept through Ozona. The rains which had swollen the river had come from Hurricane Alice, which had hit the Texas-Mexican Gulf Coast for 12 hours on Friday, the first hurricane of the season. The international Falcon Dam, dedicated less than a year earlier by the Presidents of the U.S. and Mexico, was expected to prevent the damaging floodwaters from harming the vegetable and citrus-growing lower Rio Grande Valley and its large population.

In Pittsburgh, according to a source, David McDonald, president of the United Steelworkers union, accepted a new contract submitted by U.S. Steel this date, ahead of the expiration of the old contract at midnight on Wednesday. The new terms were not yet available, but a source said that it would include a seven-cent increase in wages per hour, insurance and improvements in pensions worth up to another nickel per hour. The union officials said that all of the major steel companies had signed a memo approving the proposal by U.S. Steel, generally the pacesetter in contract talks. The proposal still had to go before the union's 170-member wage policy committee for ratification, but a union spokesman said that ratification was probable.

The National Safety Council predicted this date that during the coming Fourth of July weekend, 430 persons would die in accidents and that 40 million cars would take to the highways, creating the largest traffic jam in history. The Council's president urged that it be a "wreckless" holiday, "not a reckless one".

In Pisa, Italy, a man went to the kitchen the previous day for a drink of bottled mineral water and by mistake drank a mouthful of gasoline, spit it out onto a lighted stove, then was burned to death as the flames enveloped his head and shoulders.

In Charlotte, a fire swept through a large rubbish dump on the south side this date, resulting in injury to one fireman. It was the third large fire in Charlotte in four weeks, confined on this occasion to an area known as the "Rock Hole", which was an old abandoned surface quarry into which people had dumped trash and junk for years, causing during every summer fires to erupt on numerous occasions. The fire chief said that it would smolder for possibly a week or longer after the flames were extinguished, stating that it usually caught fire at the beginning of the summer and continued to smolder and burst into flames periodically for the remainder of the season. It had been particularly dry when it caught fire on this occasion.

In Burlington, N.C., the superintendent of the City cemetery said this date that he planned to put up a sign which would read: "Please don't sleep in Pine Hill Cemetery", after recently finding a woman and two children asleep in a grave where a burial was scheduled to take place a few hours later, the woman explaining that she and her children had come to the "cool, quiet place to relax" after swimming in a nearby pool. They should have lain down on the cool ma'ble slabs in the heat of the night.

In Hollywood, a drinking party, with a running argument apparently ranging in subjects between Senator McCarthy and the State of Texas, was blamed by detectives for the shooting of a motion picture stuntman, struck by three bullets at the home of oil heiress Barbara Clampitt. The man's condition was critical and he would die on July 5. A 61-year old Texas oil man, the hostess's brother-in-law, was booked on suspicion of assault with intent to commit murder, the sixth husband of one of two daughters of the late Los Angeles oil developer, E. A. Clampitt. A police sergeant said that the accused assailant had told him that the alleged victim had made derogatory remarks about Senator McCarthy, the State of Texas, and his wife, the sister of the hostess. The alleged victim said, according to officers, that they were kidding around about Texas and he never expected the man to shoot anyone. The officer said that the two men and others at the home overlooking Wilshire Country Club had been drinking for several hours and that both of the Clampitt sisters had said they were not in the room when the shots were fired. Maybe Uncle Jed was around and can supply definitive percipient witness testimony.

In New York, actress Zsa Zsa Gabor and playboy-diplomat Porfirio Rubirosa arrived this date by air from Paris after a three-week trip abroad.

On the editorial page, "Progress from Some Friendly Talks" indicates that the joint statement issued the previous day by the President and Prime Minister Churchill had been disappointingly vague and general, but reflected some progress toward conciliation of U.S. and British policies in two critical areas of the world, Southeast Asia and Western Europe. For Southeast Asia, there was a pledge to "press forward with plans for collective defense" of that region, regardless of whether France could successfully negotiate at Geneva a cease-fire in Indo-China; and for Western Europe, there was prodding of France to ratify the European Defense Community treaty and a commitment to West Germany that its full sovereignty as "an equal partner" in the Western world would be restored.

It indicates that it had hoped for more tangible plans for free peoples of the world, but that given that France had just undergone another change in Government and that the Anglo-American differences in the Far East were so basic that they might not be reconcilable by anything short of the passage of time, it had probably been wishful thinking. The British viewed Communist China as a sovereign nation of great power and that U.S. postwar policy had forced China to remain dependent on Russia for its development, thus neutralizing the strong nationalist forces which conceivably could produce Chinese Communist independence, as in Yugoslavia. The British believed U.S. policy left no alternative except prolonged tension and heavy military expenditures, which could lead eventually to armed conflict. U.S. diplomacy was being based on the premise that Communism was a worldwide conspiracy with conquest as its goal, and that recognition of Communist conquest, as in China, or any substantial trading with Communist nations, would only advance that conspiracy.

It suggests that perhaps neither policy was completely sound, with both having some validity. It had thus hoped that the conference would bring a broader area of agreement and that if it failed, would at least not widen the disagreement between the past allies. It indicates that the bonds of friendship were so strong and there was such mutual respect between the two nations, that the present disagreements would not weaken them.

"... And 100 Tar Heel Lives Were Saved" indicates that 100 North Carolinians' lives had been saved during the previous year by the new safety program inaugurated in the state. Since the beginning of the year, 403 persons had been killed on North Carolina highways, 101 fewer than killed during the same period the previous year, despite an apparent increase in highway traffic in the interim based on gasoline tax receipts. Motor Vehicles commissioner Ed Scheidt and alert Highway Patrolmen were responsible for the decrease during a year when U.S. highway fatalities were slowly climbing, as they had been for the previous three years. The new safety program included stricter enforcement of the 55 mph speed limit, increased use of radar, road-side watches and special interceptor cars to detect and catch speeders, saturation patrolling of heavily traveled roads, encouragement of slow drivers to follow the flow of the traffic and a constant educational campaign. Mr. Scheidt had also encouraged a revision of the jaypee system in traffic cases and a workable auto inspection law.

It indicates that it was somewhat anomalous that the traffic injuries remained constant given the decline in fatalities, with 3,207 persons having been injured during the first four months of 1954, only 14 fewer than in 1953. It appeared that drivers continued most of their bad habits which caused non-fatal accidents, while the safety program had curbed the excessive speed, the cause of most fatal accidents. It suggests that these statistics underscored the truthfulness of the slogan, "Speed kills". It urges remembering that during the July Fourth weekend.

"A New Term for an Old Device" indicates that military documents of value to an enemy carried one of three security classifications, "top secret", "secret" or "confidential", in descending order of importance. There had been a fourth category, "restricted", once stamped on almost every publication put out by the military, but the authority to restrict was so abused by bureaucrats, including within it any information which they did not want the press to publish even though it would not jeopardize national security, that the White House the previous year had eliminated that fourth category, something it finds to have been sensible.

But now, the services were seeking to restore the fourth category under another name, "For Official Use Only", approved by the Army and Navy during the month, for "official information which does not require classification in the interests of national defense". Such a label would prevent disclosure of the information to the news media.

It finds the label to permit broad censorship authority concerning non-secret matter, "creating a refuge for bumbling bureaucrats", favors retreat to the sensible position of the President when he eliminated "restricted" from the list of classifications.

A piece from the Baltimore Evening Sun, titled "It Beats Blinking", indicates that when a library or museum wanted to remind patrons of the approach of closing time, it would often blink its lights, that the same problem arose at home or at the office with boring visitors, but that blinking the lights would pose a formal insult or might not be understood. Now, however, engineers had come up with light dimmers on a rheostat, enabling hints to be passed by turning the knob beside the chair to intensify the lighting when it was time to depart.

It indicates that it was only one of the new marvels being demonstrated at a San Francisco exhibit of florescent lighting improvements, as told by the Wall Street Journal, including also lighting in color or colors, with ceilings screened off for 20 or 50 sets of indirect bulbs.

It suggests that the possibilities were endless, such as dimming the lights in a late inning of a baseball game so that the pitcher's fastball suddenly became invisible, or using the dimmer to reduce gradually the lighting in the children's bedroom when they pitched a tantrum if one light was not left on after they had gone to bed. It concludes that those were special cases and that they still believed in "Light For All".

Drew Pearson indicates that it had been 25 years since Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald had become the first British Prime Minister to visit the U.S., sitting on a log over the Rapidan River in Virginia and conferring with President Hoover. At the time, the only worry was the size of the naval cruisers, as England dominated the world militarily in those times and the U.S. had little to say about it, the visit by Prime Minister MacDonald having been a concession to the U.S., acknowledging its growing power in the field of naval and financial affairs. It had taken a week at the time to cross the Atlantic, and since, Prime Minister Churchill had crossed the Atlantic seven times for conferences, usually by overnight plane. Things had changed quite a bit even during the ten years since Mr. Churchill had regularly visited during the war, with the latter having said privately in London recently that Foreign Minister V. M. Molotov was one of the great statesmen of Europe and Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden having stated the previous week nice things about Mr. Molotov in Commons, while saying nothing about Secretary of State Dulles.

A decade earlier, FDR had been encouraging Prime Minister Churchill to get along with Stalin, and now it was Mr. Churchill urging the U.S. to get along with Russia in the post-Stalin era. Mr. Pearson reviews the second-front debate, the cross-Channel invasion sought by Russia in the summer of 1942, to relieve the pressure being put on Russia at the time by the Nazis, and the reluctance of Mr. Churchill to accommodate it, favoring first wearing the Germans out in North Africa, Italy and the Balkans, the feud between Mr. Churchill and Premier Stalin having become so bitter at times that the latter had threatened to get out of the war entirely by making a separate peace with the Nazis. At the Québec Conference in the summer of 1943, the second front across the English Channel was postponed again and FDR told Mr. Churchill that he would have to go to Moscow himself to pacify Stalin, and so he did, but was kept waiting three days by an angry Stalin, whom Mr. Churchill finally met after getting "slightly tight" the previous night, telling his staff that he planned to give Stalin hell when they met the next day. At the meeting, Stalin had done all of the talking, answering the issues which Mr. Churchill had intended to raise before he got a chance to raise them, having apparently bugged Mr. Churchill's quarters. After Mr. Churchill sought a second meeting and was ignored, he announced that he was returning to London, at which point Stalin invited him to his apartment where his daughter served dinner and, thanks to plentiful vodka, the two men parted friends, although things later changed.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop tell of the disarray of U.S. foreign policy having been revealed on the eve of the meeting starting the prior Friday between the President and Prime Minister Churchill, during the briefing of 30 Congressional leaders by Undersecretary of State Walter Bedell Smith. The President had presided over the meeting but did not direct it, permitting Undersecretary Smith to begin his report on the status of negotiations at Geneva without introduction. The Undersecretary had provided the Congressional leaders only a concise summary of the news dispatches from Geneva, Paris and Saigon, and at the close, observed that new French Premier Pierre Mendes-France was expected to reach a settlement with the Communists, which almost certainly would lead to the loss of Viet Nam and probably all of Indo-China.

After his presentation, Senate Majority Leader William Knowland stated bitterly that such a conclusion represented only "another Munich", referring to the September 30, 1938 "peace for our time" pact with Hitler, as Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain had described the cession to Germany of the Sudetenland, leading, however, less than a year later to World War II with the September 1, 1939 blitz of Poland. The Undersecretary, who had served as a General in France under General Patton, argued that there was a moral difference, and that at Munich the British and French had given up the Czech territory, whereas in Indo-China, the French were directly responsible and were making the settlement of their own volition. He did not, however, seek to conceal the magnitude of the disaster to the free world. One of the Democrats present at the meeting asked whether the disaster would require any revision of U.S. foreign or defense policy, to which Secretary Dulles responded that no changes were contemplated regarding the effort to obtain "united action" in Asia. The meeting then ended. As it did, one of the wisest and most senior Senators had sardonically remarked that he supposed that the countries which would join the "united action" would turn out to be "Thailand and Knowland".

The Alsops observe that the meeting between the President and the Prime Minister had begun with U.S. policy "in a condition of near bankruptcy." Since Indo-China was to be treated as Czechoslovakia had been in 1938-39 and abandoned, the State Department was planning to offer a guarantee to Thailand, much as the British had guaranteed the continued sovereignty of Poland at the start of World War II. But there were no plans to redress the world balance of power either through greater defense effort or other measures, and the significance of the disaster was that it would gravely upset the world balance of power in favor of the Communists, while the U.S. continued to talk as if it were unchallengeably powerful, not a coherent policy. By contrast, they venture, British policy, with all of its defects, had at least been coherent, as the British had thought that an attempt to save Indo-China would lead to world war.

Doris Fleeson also looks at the conference between the President and the Prime Minister, indicating that the press had been starved of any reports from it, primarily because agreement between the British and Americans did not appear possible at present. Just before the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary Eden had departed from London, the latter had provided to Commons an address indicating a desire for a series of Far Eastern mutual nonaggression pacts between the free nations and the Chinese Communists and Vietminh, instead of the SEATO "united action" pact being pushed by Secretary Dulles. Members of Commons had cheered Secretary Eden loudly when he made the proposal, and Britons said that it was the greatest success of any Foreign Secretary in many years. The British were catering to the Commonwealth nations in the Far East, especially India, whose Prime Minister Nehru had a discussion the previous weekend with Communist Chinese Premier Chou En-lai.

The President was on notice that the British policy appeared unpopular at least among Republicans, making him a prisoner to that policy, just as Secretary Dulles had been a prisoner at Geneva to the policy of non-recognition and non-admission to the U.N. of Communist China. The result was that the U.S. was drifting deeper into diplomatic isolation regarding Asian questions. While the British were being made the scapegoat, it was clear that the people had no taste for further military ventures in the Far East, as made manifest in the adverse reaction to Vice-President Nixon's statement the prior April that if the French were to withdraw from Indo-China, he could foresee and would favor introduction of U.S. ground troops to keep Indo-China from falling to the Communists.

The President, Ms. Fleeson urges, could probably change the American mind, but it would split the Republicans and rally to him the presently bitterly critical Democrats, ready to campaign against him strongly on both domestic and foreign policy. The best guess was that the President would not make any strong moves to change direction. The Congressional leaders who talked so tough about Asia had just led Congress into tax cuts, a reduced defense establishment and a halt to the "trade not aid" policy which the President had championed during the 1952 campaign.

She indicates that a year earlier, Bernard Baruch had warned in a speech in Philadelphia that the coalition of free peoples was having difficulties and would not be restored by seeking to gloss over problems via resolutions of unity. He said that those who thought the problems of alliance would be eased by slowing down and doing less were learning how mistaken they had been, that the challenge faced by the West was not lack of strength for the task ahead but one of organizing the strength at its command and accepting the disciplines needed to preserve the values it held worthy.

She points out that Vice-President Nixon was beginning the midterm election campaign for the Republicans in Milwaukee, home state of Senator McCarthy, charging that the "Acheson foreign policy" had directly been responsible for the loss of Communist China and that if China had not been lost, there would have been no Korean War and no crisis in Indo-China presently. "This is where the Old Guard came in."

Marquis Childs tells of Communist China working on an atomic reactor which would be operative likely within a year or two, capable of producing fissionable material, according to officials who had access to top intelligence information. It did not mean that China would have the power to make atomic bombs, but since Western intelligence had consistently underestimated the capacity of Russia in the atomic field, there could be no complacency regarding the capabilities of China, which had given the project highest priority, pooling all resources of science and technology in a country with only limited development in those areas. The project was being directed, according to the intelligence reports, by Bruno Pontecorvo, one of the atomic scientists who had fled from England to take refuge behind the Iron Curtain, disappearing in October, 1950 after saying he was going on a family vacation. He had been a leader prior to his disappearance in British atomic development.

Those with classified information believed that unless the U.S. took certain steps quickly, it would lose the opportunity to show the world how atomic power could be used for peaceful purposes and that if it were not so used, it would be unleashed on the world for vast destruction, a world in which no longer could the U.S. boast of nuclear supremacy.

The U.S. had a large stockpile of fissionable material, far more than could conceivably be needed for military purposes, and, according to those most familiar with the nation's nuclear resources, use of a small portion of it to develop atomic power in Asia and the Middle East would not jeopardize U.S. security. Soon, either Britain or Russia would be in a position to take the initiative and provide the leadership on the world stage regarding nuclear energy, which the U.S. had the present capability of doing. Presently, 16 nations had nuclear reactors and others, in addition to China, were on the way to developing them.

An atomic power station was being built at Pittsburgh by the Duquesne Light Co., in cooperation with the Atomic Energy Commission, with a target date for production of power set for 1958. Duquesne had put up five million dollars for the project and the AEC estimated that the power company's total contribution in one form or another would save 30 million dollars for the Government.

Those who had been responsible for the Marshall Plan believed that sharing of such peaceful uses of nuclear energy would constitute a new phase of economic cooperation in Europe which could turn back the rising tide of Communism, while avoiding the disadvantages of a giveaway, as it would be based on a low-cost, pay-as-you-go principle. The choice was between limitless destruction and limitless plenty, as breeder reactors, presently in development, could power a plant theoretically in perpetuity.

Mr. Childs indicates that the fear of nuclear power as a weapon had obscured its splendid horizon for hope, and at present there was the utmost urgency to develop it, lest other nations beat the U.S. in taking advantage of the opportunity.

A letter writer from Jackson, Tenn., suggests that perhaps integration of the public schools could better be started in the first grade only during the first year and allow the children to become accustomed to classroom associations, with gradual integration then taking place throughout the ensuing 11 years, affording full integration by the end of high school. He suggests that black leaders would be wise to counsel their groups not to expect too much too soon as integration would have little value if any of the blacks' "natural instinctive traits for enjoying life are marred by individual racial frictions."

A letter writer from Hamlet thinks that the Communists were behind the idea of mixing the races in the South and that Southerners were falling for it, judging by some of the letters involving name-calling and mud-throwing against Northern and black friends. She wonders where the good manners and Southern hospitality were, indicates that neither the Yankee nor the black was any more to blame for the matter than Southerners, whose leaders, with "maybe a Communist slipped in among them somewhere", having tried to bring about integration. She wonders whether the country would be taken from its "rightful owner, the Indian", and given to the blacks.

Remind us when we are in Hamlet not to ask you for directions, lest we wind up in Denmark.

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