The Charlotte News

Tuesday, June 8, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Secretary of State Dulles, at a press conference, said this date that the Communists had been dragging their feet on peace negotiations at the Geneva peace conference while intensifying their war effort in Indo-China, giving the lie to their claim of loving peace. He said he believed that the negotiations at Geneva, regarding both Korea and Indo-China, would soon come to a head. He said that the Administration had no present plans for seeking authority from Congress to intervene in Southeast Asia, that the progress to obtain a united front among allied nations had not reached the point of general acceptance so that it would be practical politics to seek such authority from the Congress. He said emphatically that the U.S. had no intention of dealing with the problem alone, unless the Chinese Communists were to launch new military aggression.

In the 29th day of the hearings before the Senate Investigations subcommittee regarding the dispute between the Army and Senator McCarthy, usual subcommittee chief counsel Roy Cohn continued his testimony, indicating that Army general counsel John G. Adams had once told him that he "would stop at nothing" to prevent the subcommittee, chaired normally by Senator McCarthy, from questioning members of the Army's top loyalty board. He claimed that Mr. Adams had threatened to cause an "embarrassing" report to be circulated about him unless the subcommittee withdrew subpoenas for loyalty board members. Mr. Cohn, in responding to questions propounded by Senator John McClellan of Arkansas, indicated that Mr. Adams had said that if anyone working for him provided information to the subcommittee about alleged Communist infiltration of the Army, "he would have their heads." He said also that Mr. Adams sought on "numerous occasions" to obtain a promise of silence from Senator McCarthy in the event Maj. General Kirke Lawton were removed as commanding general at Fort Monmouth. The Senator was contending that Army Secretary Robert Stevens had planned to remove General Lawton because the latter had cooperated with the subcommittee in its investigation of subversives at the Fort Monmouth secret radar research facility.

Otherwise during the morning session, Republicans outvoted the Democrats on the subcommittee 4 to 3 in refusing the Democratic members' request that Clark Clifford, former special counsel to President Truman, be summoned as a witness, pursuant to the demand of Senator McCarthy. Senator McCarthy had stated the previous day that he believed that Senator Stuart Symington of the subcommittee and Mr. Clifford had persuaded the "naïve" Secretary Stevens to bring the charges against Senator McCarthy, as contained in the Army's report of early March, which indicated that the Senator and Mr. Cohn had put pressure on the Army to provide favors for Private G. David Schine, former unpaid aide to the subcommittee who had been drafted the previous November, after having his draft deferred for 30 days so that he could wind up his work with the subcommittee. The report had contended that the Senator and Mr. Cohn had made threats to intensify the investigation of the Army which had begun the previous fall at Fort Monmouth, with the allegations being made by Senator McCarthy that there were subversives at the facility of whom the Army was aware but had failed to root out. The temporary chairman of the subcommittee during the investigation, Senator Karl Mundt, said that the vote did not necessarily prevent eventual testimony of Mr. Clifford, provided subcommittee special counsel Ray Jenkins recommended it, which he was opposing at this point.

The transcript of the day's proceedings before the subcommittee is not available online, and the above-linked extract from the television coverage appears to be a combination of this date's proceedings and some of the following day's proceedings, regarding the tense exchange between Senator McCarthy and Senator Symington, in which the latter had offered to testify regarding the committee report which he had helped to prepare in 1952 following investigation of Senator McCarthy's finances. That is reported in the following day's news. Since the transcripts are not available for the following day either, it is not possible to be absolutely certain, and so we have to rely on the newspaper accounts to pin down the date. In any event, even if someone interspliced the two days together, it happened. It should be noted that Army special co-counsel James St. Clair, future counsel to President Nixon in 1974 during the House Judiciary Committee's and special prosecutor Leon Jaworski's investigation of the Watergate scandal and the abuse of executive power, appears in the latter portion of the extract, beginning at the 32-minute mark, questioning Mr. Cohn with regard to the efforts by Secretary Stevens to ensure that there were no subversives in the Army, seeking to some extent to distinguish that effort from that of his predecessor under the Truman Administration.

The House Agriculture Committee voted this date to recommend continued farm price supports at the present fixed 90 percent parity level through 1955, rejecting Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson's proposal for flexible price supports. Secretary Benson had said that he would recommend that the President veto any high fixed-support bill.

In Raleigh, Governor William B. Umstead this date appointed Carlisle Higgins, 64, a Winston-Salem attorney who had managed the Governor's 1952 campaign, to replace Senator-designate Sam J. Ervin, Jr., on the State Supreme Court. Mr. Higgins was the DNC state committeeman, a graduate of UNC, and a member of the State House in 1925 and the State Senate in 1929, serving as solicitor in 1934 and later as U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of North Carolina until 1946. He aided the prosecution of Japanese war criminals after the war, including Premier Hideki Tojo. In 1947, he had begun practicing law in Winston-Salem.

In Charlotte, a fire destroyed the 25-year old Armory-Auditorium during the early morning hours, leaving only portions of its brick walls standing, and on the recommendation of the city building inspector, arrangements were made with the National Guard to use a truck and winch to topple the remaining walls as being dangerously unstable. It was believed the fire had been smoldering in the building for a long time until it finally received enough oxygen to break through the roof and windows, at which point it was out of control. The fire department was able to bring it under control within 30 minutes of their arrival. The National Guard salvaged jeeps and equipment from the basement where they had their headquarters. The building had been hastily constructed in 1929 in just 90 days to accommodate a rally of Confederate veterans, built to resemble a fortress. No one was injured in the fire. No cause is stated. For years, members of the community had complained about its bad acoustics, chilly atmosphere and generally inadequate facilities for programs, which had led to the construction of the new Auditorium and Coliseum complex on Independence Boulevard, set to open in 1955. A wrestling match had been the last event of the previous night at the old Auditorium. The building had been locked shortly after 11:00 p.m., and the fire was first observed about 6 1/2 hours later.

On the editorial page, "A Decade of Medical Progress" indicates the graduation of the first senior classes from the new four-year medical and dental schools at UNC, marking the end of an era and the beginning of a new one in the state's drive for good health. In 1944, a commission under the late Governor J. Melville Broughton had recommended the creation of a Medical Care Commission and the launching of a Good Health Program. The report had prompted the next Governor, Gregg Cherry, to ask the 1945 General Assembly to create the commission and adopt as a policy the expansion of the University's two-year medical curriculum to four years. The statewide Good Health Program, spearheaded by bandleader Kay Kyser in 1946, led to the authorization by the General Assemblies of 1947 and 1949 of the necessary appropriations for the Division of Health Affairs at UNC, and the construction, based on a matching grant, of hospitals, nurses' homes and health clinics across the state.

It finds it significant that of the 226 students in residence at the Medical School, 222 were from North Carolina, and of the members of the first class of the Dental School, all except those entering military service would practice within the state. It indicates that when the Good Health Program had been initiated, the state ranked fourth from the bottom in the number of persons per physician and the supply of dentists was very low also. With the additional medical and dental educational facilities and the encouragement of the graduates to practice within their native state, the demand for medical and dental care would be more closely matched by the supply of doctors and dentists, giving the state a well-rounded health program which the members of the original commission under Governor Broughton had envisioned ten years earlier.

"David Lawrence Reappraises Allies" indicates that the columnist had a distinguished journalistic career, but that a few years earlier he had appeared to grow quite bitter in his editorials, with Democrats of the Adlai Stevenson type and leaders of the country's allies, particularly those of Western Europe, regularly drawing his ire and condemnation.

Recently, Mr. Lawrence had gone to Europe and his editorials for U.S. News & World Report, as well as his regular newspaper column, appeared to reflect a major change in that appraisal of U.S. allies. He had reported from London that whatever the outside world may have previously received regarding British unawareness of the dangers of a policy of vacillation with respect to the Geneva peace conference, could be erased presently as unrealistic. In Paris, he had written with understanding empathy for the French, asking whether the U.S. understood what five years of military occupation, which had ended only nine years earlier, did to a nation, whether there was understanding of what it did to a country to have lost two million men in two world wars, with other millions crippled for the rest of their lives, with hardly a family left untouched by the casualties. He also wrote sympathetically of the French burden undertaken in Indo-China, the diminishing Communist strength in France, expressing a belief that it would right itself, as its spirit had not been squelched.

The piece concludes that those who had long invoked Mr. Lawrence's prior opinions to support their own views and prejudices ought now to reflect on his new conclusions.

"Highway Death Toll Still Dropping" indicates that slowly but surely, State Motor Vehicles commissioner Ed Scheidt and the 530 Highway Patrolmen under his command were winning the war against highway fatalities. At the beginning of the current week, the death toll for 1954 had been 367, whereas on the same date the previous year, the death toll had been 451, a reduction by 21 percent. It was the first time that the highway death toll had shown a sustained downward trend since 1945, at a time when registration of passenger vehicles and trucks was continuing to climb.

Mr. Scheidt had employed radar spotters, electric speed watches, saturation patrolling, camera cars, unmarked cars, high-speed interceptor vehicles and had posted the roads with thousands of signs warning speeders, including handouts to motorists entering the state in its eastern section, explaining the safety program. Proof that those devices were working was shown by the fact that now a motorist could go many miles while sticking to the 55 mph speed limit without being passed, whereas a year or two earlier, the motorist would have been passed regularly. It gives most of the credit to Mr. Scheidt, a former FBI agent, who, it finds, had brought imagination and determination to the job which had become bogged down in routine through the postwar years.

"Let's Not Label Judge Ervin—Yet"—that dash, incidentally, we do not take as somehow forecasting majority counsel Sam Dash of the Senate Select Committee on Watergate 19 years hence—indicates that "poor Sam Ervin", less than 24 hours after being named to the Senate seat of the late Senator Clyde Hoey, had been declared a "conservative liberal", the meaning of which term it is not certain. It indicates that Americans loved to label their legislators, most of whom were assigned categories either as liberals, conservatives, or moderates early in their legislative careers.

It imagines that a conservative liberal was somewhere between the middle of the road and the "left-hand ditch", and that a liberal conservative was equidistant from the center line on the other side of the road. Yet, it indicates, some extremely right-wing thinkers of late had been presenting themselves as "liberal conservatives". Adlai Stevenson had labeled himself conservative during a 1952 campaign speech and the Democratic campaign slogan, "Don't Let Them Take It Away", had epitomized the conservative philosophy.

It concludes that political labels did not mean much and when a seemingly contradictory label was pinned on someone who had been on a state supreme court and out of politics for seven years, as had been Justice Ervin, it was meaningless. It favors giving him a chance to make a few speeches and cast a few votes before pinning a label on him.

A piece from Harper's Magazine, titled "Grandpa Was a Subversive", indicates that a Republican friend of the writer, who expected to obtain a job in Washington, was prepared for questioning by Senators who would have to confirm his nomination, and believed that, when inquiry was made about whether he had ever belonged to any organizations seeking to overthrow the Government by force and violence, he would have to answer that his grandfather had once belonged to the Second Alabama Cavalry of the Confederacy, and that to hear him tell it, they had used considerable force and violence. The friend believed that he would pick up a few votes among the Democrats on the committee.

Then, 90 years after the Civil War, that was treated as a joke. Now, 156 years after the Civil War, the treason of the Confederacy is being treated very seriously because of the unfortunate intervention of a lot of lousy, uninformed television and, on the one hand, slick, semi-fictionalized movies, overindulging in cheap sentiment, while on the other, slick, semi-fictionalized movies, indulging in overly graphic violence, to the point where people don't really know what to believe anymore, because they no longer read books, except the tripe which they find in their local chain bookstore, written by authors out to grab headlines by rehashing and revising history, reprising the same old stuff while giving it some little, modern twist and tweak. While the Civil War was no joke, it certainly cannot be taken very seriously 156 years later, unless, of course, you are a subversive and want to start the whole damned thing over again. That's what the nuts out in Texas want to do, as well as the nuts, stimulated by the nut on the radio out in Texas, who stormed the Capitol on January 6, 2021. The best way to handle nuts like that is to laugh loudly in their faces. That is one thing they cannot handle well usually. Laugh at them and their stupid guns. They are idiots, trying to live in the 1860's. Don't go back there with them and try to relive the fight over slavery. That is a fool's game only apt to breed reaction and eventual violence.

Mack Bell, editor of the Bertie Ledger-Advance, discusses Liberace, some of whose loyal fans gave him greater allegiance than the United States flag. He was getting ready to hire out Madison Square Garden, expecting to fill it, the first pianist to do so since Paderewski. The piece finds that he had "illusions that he can sing", while burning a lot of candles, and that for some reason, "not connected with pianistic ability", he had captivated millions, particularly older ladies, and, by reliable reports, had earned in the range of a million dollars. Mr. Bell finds him a long way from being a great piano player, an opinion which he had mentioned to someone and was almost beaten to death, tarred and feathered and ridden out of town on a rail. He finds him to be a fair popular-song piano player, but that "everything else was flash, bang, showmanship and work of a first-glass hairdresser." He suggests that what he did to the classics should prompt warrants to be served, bond fixed and trial ordered immediately.

While Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff had been "pulled inside out and renamed 'Tonight We Love' and 'Full Moon and Empty Arms'", that was nothing compared to what Liberace was doing. Mr. Bell had heard him play a medley of Chopin works by candlelight, because, he said, Chopin played by candlelight, finding it a "mish-mash", displaying no art, "just a heartless picking of Chopin themes from his Études, Mazurkas and Polonaises, hoking it all up with a lot of cross-hand playing, loud banging and trills." Mr. Bell had thought to himself that Liberace was making loads of money while Mozart, the greatest musical genius of the Western world, was buried in a pauper's grave, that while old ladies might think him a dream, he regards him as a "drip".

Drew Pearson indicates that within the House subcommittee on labor racketeering, there was an internal battle brewing, not yet hitting the headlines, not dissimilar to the dispute within the McCarthy subcommittee. The previous year in Detroit, hearings on racketeering in the Teamsters Union had been suspended after Michigan Teamster leaders had made a deal to support Senator Homer Ferguson for re-election, whereas in the past, the Teamsters had strongly supported Democrats. But the previous week, it was Democrats who suspended the labor hearings rather than the Republicans. The subcommittee had voted five to four to fire its investigator and chief counsel and suspend the scheduled hearings, with the Democrats on the subcommittee joined by Representative Clare Hoffman of Michigan, who had voted to continue the hearings on the Detroit Teamsters, but now voted to suspend. The subcommittee had been planning to explore a series of payoffs in Washington to local officials of the Painters Union to undercut their own unions, break union contracts and, in some cases, to use spray guns instead of brushes, involving several Government contracts, one of which was painting the Capitol dome, in which the secretary-treasurer of the Painters Union District Council threatened to hire helicopters to fly around the Capitol, trailing signs which would say "unfair to organized labor", because the Capitol architect had signed a contractor who brought in painters from outside the District of Columbia Painters Union Council. The Democratic members of the subcommittee who voted to suspend the planned hearings said that they were not against going into the matter, though it was relatively small, but that the chairman of the subcommittee, Congressman George Bender, had been unfair and anti-labor in his overall approach.

At the same time, top leaders of the CIO and AFL had taken the initiative in trying to clean out racketeering, with Dave Beck, international head of the Teamsters, having suspended some of the top Michigan leaders after learning of racketeering in the Detroit area. George Meany, head of the Seafarers Union, had precipitated the cleanup of the New York waterfront after most large shipping companies had shown a preference for dealing with the old, graft-ridden Longshoremen's Union. Mr. Pearson indicates that, according to spokesmen for the AFL and CIO, racketeering occurred because some employers would rather make payoffs than live up to fair labor standards.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop indicate that the heart of the case against Dr. Robert Oppenheimer and the reason that the three-man Presidential committee, chaired by UNC president Gordon Gray, had recommended that his Atomic Energy Commission security clearance be lifted, was his "lack of enthusiasm" for the hydrogen bomb. They indicate that it was necessary, to understand the case fully, to appreciate the origins of the hydrogen bomb project. Dr. Edward Teller had come to Washington immediately after the detonation of the first Soviet atomic bomb, announced by the Truman Administration in September, 1949, taking place the previous month, Dr. Teller wanting a crash program to make the then-hypothetical hydrogen bomb. He had first talked to AEC member, now chairman, Lewis Strauss, who then urged the Commission and President Truman to give the matter consideration. It was then referred to the AEC's general advisory committee, which met in October, 1949, under the chairmanship of Dr. Oppenheimer. On October 29, 1949, that committee reported to the White House and the AEC that a majority opposed a crash program to build the bomb, at least for the time being, but did not preclude such a program in the future. The other majority members on the board were Dr. James B. Conant, then president of Harvard, presently Ambassador to Germany, Dr. Lee Dubridge, presently the President's personal scientific adviser, Oliver Buckley of the Bell Telephone Laboratories and Hartley Rowe of the United Fruit Co.

Moreover, the moral objections to the bomb for which Dr. Oppenheimer had been so criticized, had been shared by the two minority members as well, Dr. Enrico Fermi and Dr. I. I. Rabi, going even further than the majority, saying that the hydrogen bomb would be a weapon so horrible that it should never be made under any circumstances, desiring a U.S. pledge never to build it, on condition that a Russian hydrogen bomb test, upon being detected, would be treated as an act of war. Dr. Rabi was presently chairman of the general advisory committee.

On November 9, 1949, the AEC sent their recommendations to President Truman, saying, in effect, that Admiral Strauss and Gordon Dean, subsequently chairman of the AEC, were tending toward support of building the hydrogen bomb, while David Lilienthal, the chairman, Sumner Pike and Dr. Henry Smyth shared the doubts of the scientists, leaving the final conclusion to the President, who had ordered special studies of the problem to be made by the State and Defense Departments.

The State Department reported that there was no hope of achieving control of the new weapons by agreement with the Soviets, while the Defense Department pointed out reasons why the U.S. could not risk Soviet development of the hydrogen bomb first.

The Alsops had reported the substance of the matter at the time and there was nearly unanimous public reaction in favor of building the bomb. As a result, in late December, 1949, Admiral Strauss had sent an individual memorandum to the President in which he expressed complete support for building the bomb, and by late January, 1950, all five AEC commissioners, appearing before the Joint Atomic Energy Committee, chaired by the late Senator Brien McMahon, also favored the project. As a result, the President ordered it to go forward.

They note that Admiral Strauss had served a useful public service in debate on the project, but that the picture often given that he had, alone, foiled some nefarious plot of Dr. Oppenheimer to block the project was false. The report of the Gray committee had indicated that those who would put forth that version of events had been "less than candid". The Alsops indicate that Admiral Strauss had been the chief source of that version. They also note that if "lack of enthusiasm" for such a terrible weapon as the hydrogen bomb was ground for labeling someone a security risk, then Dr. Teller and former Secretary of State Acheson, both strong advocates of the project from the beginning, were safe, but that certain of the country's most respected businessmen and virtually all of its leading scientists had to be categorized as security risks. In almost every case of doubt over the worthiness of the project, it boiled down to moral objection. They posit that scientists were human beings and that it surely meant that they were "strange times, when it is a suspicious act to voice hesitations about a weapon which may one day write finis to the history of the human race."

A letter writer believes that the President and the Federal Government were bending over backwards to please the Russian Government and the NAACP and their demand for the end of segregation, which he believed had worked well in the South to the present time. He regards the NAACP as an agitation organization. He believes that an end to segregation should be up to Congress and not to the "nine old men" of the Supreme Court, expressly borrowing the phrase used by FDR in 1937.

The Supreme Court was ruling on Federal statutory law only to the extent of the District of Columbia schools, holding segregation therein to be a denial of liberty without due process under the Fifth Amendment, and, otherwise, dealt only with whether state laws, which permitted or mandated segregation, violated the Fourteenth Amendment Equal Protection Clause. Congress, therefore, except with respect to D.C., could not do anything about it, short of a Constitutional amendment being proposed to the states by two-thirds vote of each house, needing ratification by three-fourths of the states to repeal the Equal Protection Clause. Good luck with that.

A letter writer from Pinebluff takes consolation in the Brown v. Board of Education decision in that it took away a potent weapon of the Communists regarding the presence of segregation. She indicates that Communists had used that propaganda in Asia and Africa. When a Southern man or woman wrote to the newspaper that he or she would never see their son or daughter go to an integrated school, the Soviet press seized on such statements and printed them under large headlines or broadcast them over loudspeakers, seeking to induce people to join the Communist Party. She indicates that "the time for Untouchables in civilized, Christian America" was long past and suggests praying about it and asking how Christ would have felt about it, when he said, "Suffer the little children to come unto me and forbid them not."

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