The Charlotte News

Wednesday, July 14, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the President, at his press conference this date, urged Congress to pass his tax and farm programs prior to the coming recess, saying that the tax program would boost economic expansion and create more jobs, and that his farm program would benefit the entire country, thus proving to be the best kind of politics. He indicated that the members of the House who had killed his health reinsurance program did not understand the facts of life and that the American people had been the losers, that he would continue his fight for passage of such a program as long as he was in office. He also indicated his hope very shortly to be able to state something about the talks between the U.S., Britain and France in Paris regarding the Indo-China war, that perhaps such an announcement would come during the day. He said that Secretary of State Dulles had gone to Paris early in the week to see, among other things, whether U.S. representation at the Geneva talks would be helpful rather than damaging in reaching a settlement in the war. He made a formal announcement that South Korean President Syngman Rhee would visit the U.S. on July 26 for the purpose of making further plans for "the attainment of a unified, free and independent Korea." He also stated that he would not allow his nuclear energy pooling arrangement, enunciated by him before the U.N. the previous December, die if he could help it and that he was sure that Prime Minister Churchill, with whom he had recently conferred in Washington, agreed with him on the matter. He stated his belief that the Senate Agriculture Committee had made a grave mistake in voting to raise the support price of butter from 75 to 85 percent of parity, that it would not help the basic problem of selling more butter at a reasonable price, that only the middlemen would benefit from such an increased support price. He indicated that he was not committed to any particular formula for building highways but was convinced that a multi-billion-dollar highway construction program was needed, with both Federal and state support.

In Paris, a communiqué issued by the foreign ministers of the Big Three Western powers, including Secretary of State Dulles, British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden and French Premier and Foreign Minister Pierre Mendes-France, stated that Undersecretary of State Walter Bedell Smith would soon travel to the Geneva conference to represent the U.S. The statement also said that Undersecretary Smith's presence at Geneva would satisfy British and French demands for a higher-level U.S. representative at the conference, without departing from Secretary Dulles's principles, opposing his own presence—the concern being that the U.S. might impede negotiations thereby and that, politically, any resulting peace agreement which would appear as a concession to the Communists could be blamed on the Administration and backfire in the coming midterm elections—the communiqué stating expressly that the Secretary had explained that the U.S. Government did not wish "primary responsibility in the Indo-China war." Mr. Dulles would, therefore, return to Washington.

In London, former Prime Minister Clement Attlee, appearing before Commons, accused Secretary Dulles of "playing right into the hands of the Communists" by failing to return to Geneva, indicating his belief that a settlement of the war in Indo-China and the question of unifying Korea were bound up with the problem of seating Communist China on the U.N. Security Council and with the associated problem of Nationalist China on Formosa. He raised his voice in stating adamantly that Britain was as anti-Communist as the U.S. and would continue to oppose successfully what it believed to be misguided Communist doctrines, recognizing their dangers and errors, while believing in peaceful coexistence. He said that in the name of peaceful coexistence with Russia and China, it was "wrong, unwise and contrary to the principles" of the U.N. to keep out the Chinese Communists.

Attorney General Herbert Brownell this date asked Congress to bar former Federal employees from ever handling for private interests any Government matter with which they had been associated while in Government service, his proposal to rewrite the conflict of interest laws having been sent to Vice-President Nixon and House Speaker Joseph Martin. Mr. Brownell described the existing statutes as inadequate, suggesting that the present penalty for violation of the statutes be increased from the present one year in prison or $10,000 fine, present law forbidding such conflict of interest employment for two years after leaving Government service, written so as to appear to apply principally to attorneys. A Federal District Court ruling the previous year had narrowed the application of the laws to cases where the participating former Government employee was involved in presenting a claim for money or property against the United States.

The Senate Banking Committee, investigating the FHA scandal, heard testimony from a former Wilmington, Del., builder that a former Home Loan Bank governor had netted more than $45,000 after investing $60 in construction of an apartment project in Columbus, O. He said that the man had been an original investor in the project, buying 12 shares of stock at five dollars per share and receiving nearly $46,000 for his part of the distribution of the difference between the amount of the FHA mortgage and the actual cost of construction of the project. The man had later sold his stock for five dollars per share and now lived in retirement in Santa Monica, Calif. Records showed that he had left the Government in 1947 and invested in the project in 1950, obtaining his profit in the distribution to stockholders in late 1952.

In Hobbs, N.M., the four-month old daughter of a Japanese war bride and a former G.I. had been kidnaped and raped early this date by a dinner guest who was held in custody following his arrest near the car in which police officers said he had abandoned the baby, to be charged with kidnaping or rape or both, depending on the condition of the infant. Her condition was described as good. He had baked a chicken for his hosts and the mother had left him alone in a two-room cabin in which the baby was sleeping while she went to a nearby club across the state line from Texas in New Mexico, where her husband was a bartender, and when she returned, the baby and the man were gone, while the baby's five-year old brother remained asleep and apparently unharmed. Guess he won't be invited back to bake a chicken any time soon.

The season's most extensive and severe heat wave pushed eastward to the Atlantic this date, while a cool front from the northern Rockies began moving into the Midwest, but there was no relief in sight for south-central sections of the country, where seven consecutive days of 100-degree and higher heat had been recorded, taking a toll on crops and poultry. There had been thus far at least 17 deaths across the country related to the heat and temperature records were being broken in areas between southern Texas and South Dakota. Maybe the chicken-baker can use the old excessive heat defense.

Elizabeth Blair of The News reports on the meeting of the Presbyterian Synod in Charlotte, indicating that during the morning, it had postponed until the following year action on segregation in Presbyterian-supported institutions, which included Davidson College outside Charlotte. In the meantime, a committee would be appointed to study the question and report to the Synod the following year. It was believed prior to the floor discussion that most ministers supported banning of segregation in the Presbyterian higher institutions, which also included Mitchell, Peace, Presbyterian, Queens, and Flora MacDonald Colleges. As one minister said, there was a sign outside his church which stated, "Everybody Welcome", but he knew that they were not. The first voice vote on the motion was apparently a tie, as was the second such vote, leading to a third roll call vote which was close, the decision being whether to vote on the matter at the current meeting or postpone for a year and appoint the committee.

Also in Charlotte, an attempt before the City Council to hold up the adoption of the City's 1954-55 tax rate, to permit review of the recently increased water rates, had failed this date.

As pictured, two sisters in Chicago, one four years old and the other two, had been injured when they fell through screen wire from a second-story window, after leaning against the screen too hard. Object lesson: Do not lean on screen wire, as it is screen wire which bends and eventually rips like fabric, is not a semi-transparent wall, a good rule of thumb also regarding large glass windows, unless, that is, one should desire to become a statistic.

On the editorial page, "A Dramatic Program for Better Roads" indicates that the President's call for a ten-year, 50-billion dollar highway construction program raised a question which had long been in controversy, the extent to which the Federal Government should participate in highway construction. A number of governors attending the conference of governors believed that road-building was the province of the states and wanted the Federal Government to stop levying a gasoline tax of two cents per gallon for the purpose.

Congress apparently believed that the Federal Government had a definite role in road-building, despite the current Congress having steadily restricted the role in most controversial Federal-state programs. But it had appropriated 900 million dollars for highway construction the following year, about double the current appropriation.

The President appeared to lean toward the view of the Congress, though Vice-President Nixon, who had delivered the speech to the governors conference on behalf of the President, had stressed cooperation and local management of the roads program being proposed. It appeared clear that the Federal Government would pick up the slack if the states neglected their responsibilities.

The newspaper indicates that it favored a minimum of Federal interference in those functions of government properly belonging to the states and local communities, but finds road-building to be in a special category, requiring national planning for an overall highway system, with uniformity of design and safety regulations, meeting the needs of national defense in a time when nuclear weapons threatened peace and security. Thus, it is resigned to a continued Federal role in that area as a practical necessity, concluding it to be a good thing, as the states appeared unable even to reach agreement on something as relatively simple as truck weights. It also finds that the President's goal was not overly ambitious and was quite probably an underestimate of what would be needed by 1964. It finds that the elimination of some of the loss of life and property damage inherent in slow-moving traffic through narrow, congested roads would, alone, make the investment worthwhile. It would also afford increased economic opportunity and activity, making the program a bargain.

"Matusow's Story Points up a Problem" indicates that Harvey Matusow had appeared before a House committee during the week, and his story illustrated a very real problem for the Government with professional former-Communist witnesses. He had joined the Communist Party in October, 1947, and had been expelled in January, 1951, after furnishing information to the FBI for about a year, had then become a professional anti-Communist as staff investigator for the Ohio Un-American Activities Committee and as the associate editor of the publication Counterattack, selling articles about his experiences as a Communist and testifying before Congressional committees regarding Communist infiltration of youth groups, unions and the Institute of Pacific Relations. He had testified as a Government witness in the trial of the 13 Communist leaders, who had been convicted, and he had spoken on Communism in several Western states during the 1952 election campaign.

When he appeared on Monday before HUAC, he was in a different role, however, after it was discovered by Committee counsel that he had twice sought out Methodist Bishop G. Bromley Oxnam and apologized for lies he had told about him before Congressional committees, explaining that he had undergone a religious experience and wanted to undo his lies. HUAC, having accepted quite a bit of his testimony in the past, wanted to know whether he had been lying, and he assured them that he had not.

During the 1952 campaign, Mr. Matusow had toured Montana with Senator James Murray of that state, making wild charges along the way, but had gone to the Senator's office during the current summer and offered to tour the state again and eat the words he had uttered two years earlier, having been brusquely turned down.

It indicates that the Committee needed only to look at Congressional committee files to conclude whether or not he had been lying, as on October 8, 1952, he had sworn before the Internal Security subcommittee that in New York City there were approximately 500 dues-paying Communists working in the newspaper industry, and that the New York Times had over 100 such members, with Time having 76 members working in editorial and research, and that just a few months earlier, the Communist caucus had regained control of a unit of the American Newspaper Guild. The subcommittee, chaired at the time by Senator Pat McCarran of Nevada, had accepted the "tripe" without questioning it, and a week afterward, Mr. Matusow claimed that the New York Times Sunday section had 126 dues-paying Communists employed on staff, and that the New York office of the Associated Press had 25. It turned out that the Sunday section of the Times only employed 87 people.

It concludes that in that case, as in others, imaginative informants appearing before irresponsible committees of Congress had been permitted to commit injustices, giving false impressions and accusing unjustly people and organizations. It suggests that the fact that HUAC was at least questioning him about his prior testimony suggested that they may have become more aware of their responsibility, but wonders whether it was enough to guard against future injustices caused by reckless witnesses and urges that the entire practice of paying witnesses to provide such information should be re-examined if the Government was to have the confidence of the people.

"Battle for Better Health Goes On" indicates that Charlotte's significant place in the national health picture had been brought into focus by the Bureau of Medical Economics of the American Medical Association, in a study which looked at data from 48 states and the District of Columbia, finding that Charlotte was among 88 "prime primary" medical centers in the nation, with every type of medical treatment and surgery being offered. Charlotte served all or parts of 22 counties, with a total population of 768,900, spread over 6,200 square miles of the state in 1950. Since that time, 42 additional doctors had taken up practice in the city, 12 during the previous six months, adding to the 188 physicians present in 1950. Important additions had also been made to hospital facilities, adding 90 new beds since 1950 plus other facilities.

Such progress was being made throughout the state, based on a general awakening to the state's health needs generated in part by the Good Health program of the late 1940's. In 1944, there had been 8,475 general hospital beds in the state, a ratio of 2.4 beds per thousand people, whereas now there were about 13,000 such beds, with a ratio of approximately 3.2 beds per thousand.

The AMA Bureau had noted in its report that the entire South Atlantic region, including eight states and the District, had only 16 such prime primary medical centers in 1950, four of which were in North Carolina, at Charlotte, Winston-Salem, Durham and Raleigh. It concludes that greatly improved hospital facilities and the number of new doctors and nurses had brightened the state's health picture considerably, but that the task was not yet complete and never would be, as the battle for better health never ended.

Stop smoking and drinking so much, eating yourself into early blimpdom, and the need for all of that medical care will disappear very quickly. Every time you have a desire to smoke a cigarette or drink a beer, instead go exercise your fatness, thinking of all which otherwise you will incur, both as a burden and expense to your family and to society in general down the line from excessive consumption of food, alcohol and tobacco, not to mention the cloudiness of mind which those bad habits and addictions cause, tending to exacerbate other health problems of pandemic proportions.

Drew Pearson indicates that despite backstage efforts to squelch it, one of the most important Senate investigations of the current Administration had resumed this date, without television or radio coverage and conducted on a shoestring budget. It concerned the effort of the Administration to order the Atomic Energy Commission to sign a contract with a private power firm without at least 100 million dollars more than if operated by the Government. Senators Everett Dirksen of Illinois and Robert Hendrickson of New Jersey, both Republican members of the Judiciary Committee conducting the investigation, wanted to stop the probe, and Senator William Jenner of Indiana, chairman of the Rules Committee, which provided funds for such probes, had also sought to discourage it. Thus far, the subcommittee investigating the matter had so little money that it could not hire investigators or stenographers. The work had been done almost single-handed by Sydney Davis, former law clerk to Justice Hugo Black, whom Senator William Langer of North Dakota had persuaded to come from New York to investigate monopolies. Mr. Davis had been so short of funding that he had to serve subpoenas, himself. That contrasted with the $200,000, plus private financial support from friends, which Senator McCarthy had for the investigation of the Army. Despite the handicap, however, the subcommittee had uncovered amazing facts, which he provides.

Doris Fleeson, in Bolton Landing, N.Y., at the governors conference, observes that a certain tension, which in Governor Dewey became acerbity, pervaded the conference. The year marked the expiration of the terms of 25 Republican Governors, who, two summers earlier, had triumphed over the pro-Taft Congressional leaders to nominate General Eisenhower, and now the Administration's record was the issue in the midterm elections. The supporters of the President were not quite as sure of his continued hold on the people as they professed to be, and some of them, such as Governor Thornton of Colorado, while still openly supportive of the President, were saying frankly that the people had doubts about the Republican Party.

The Democrats welcomed that perception, but were wary of overconfidence and privately restrained in their comments, one or two believing that things were not as rosy for them as believed in Washington. In terms of the gubernatorial races, the Democrats, theoretically, were better positioned, as only 11 Democrats, most of whom were Southerners, were standing for re-election. They believed that advantage would give them an advantage in winning control of both houses of Congress as well.

Governor Dewey was especially sharp, possibly from the necessity of having to make hard choices about his future, as he was tired of being Governor and eager to enter the practice of law, both for a personal change and to build his personal fortune. He believed that Senator Irving Ives would be a strong and worthy Republican candidate for governor. With peculiar thoughtlessness, New York Democrats appeared bent on nominating Representative Franklin Roosevelt, Jr., a nomination which would be galling to Mr. Dewey because he believed that "the boy hasn't earned it", an opinion which other Republicans shared. But no one could say positively that Mr. Roosevelt would not do as well as Robert Wagner, Jr., who had been easily elected Mayor of New York City, following years of being downgraded as amiable but incompetent by the Dewey forces. Mr. Roosevelt had not been outstanding in the House and so appeared unduly presumptuous in believing he could beat either Senator Ives or Governor Dewey.

The President had canceled an appearance before the conference because of the death of his sister-in-law, Mrs. Milton Eisenhower, and Vice-President Nixon had filled in for him. The President had also sent Secretary of Interior Douglas McKay to defend his policies on power, an indication that those policies may have caused concern in some Republican quarters. Secretary McKay would not discuss the controversy over proposal of the Administration for a private power combine in the TVA area, to be financed through the Atomic Energy Commission's contracting authority, as he said that Interior was not involved.

The farm issue was also giving farm state governors trouble, with the Administration's program being popular in industrial areas where it was only one of many issues impacting popular political opinion, while in the crop-producing areas, its popularity remained to be seen in a way reassuring to the politicians who had to run in those areas.

Robert C. Ruark indicates that when he had seen an account sometime earlier of an exploding star, he had quit worrying about humanity. It had taken 20 million years for the light from that star to reach the earth, and the experts had said that it was such a grand explosion that it would make an hydrogen bomb blast appear as a falling feather. The fact gave him comfort, as when the earth finally exploded, it would take 20 million years for the light to reach the farthest reaches of space.

Thus, such things as the husband who had rigged a suicide five ways, utilizing a gunshot, fire, a bludgeoning instrument, asphyxiation, and sleeping pills, but managed to fail in his task, meant little. When his wife had gone to the hospital to see him, Mr. Ruark observes, it was unclear whether she went to console or condole.

He believes that any country which could produce and sell successfully enough to advertise a cigarette without tobacco and which did not light, was in fact not a cigarette at all, had very little claim for future concern. What he found interesting was that the non-cigarette was advertised as being sold at tobacco counters.

He goes on in that vein, describing various problems which were big problems to the people involved, but amounted to so much foolishness to others. Some cut their throats because the milkman failed to smile at them, others robbed banks to afford dancing lessons, and some were opposed to Cinderella in the cartoons. He thinks it all comforting nevertheless, because one day, "bam, and 20 million years later somebody says, what was that? And the answer is: Nothing very much."

A letter from an Army private at Fort Bragg addresses the issue of segregation, indicating that blacks only sought the same opportunity, the same justice and the same rights as whites presently enjoyed, indicating that he is white. He suggests that blacks were tired of "secondary citizenship", just as the country had been in 1776 when the Declaration of Independence was signed. He finds that blacks had not been ready for full citizenship rights in 1860, but were now ready. He indicates that in the South, the psychology, anthropology and sociology departments advocating the doctrine of the "natural inferiority" of blacks were few and far between, and the evidence was overwhelming that black potential was the same as that for whites. He suggests that blacks were culturally inferior because of long-term discrimination. He finds that it should not be a worry if public schools were to be integrated and is not concerned about intermarriage, as it took two people to agree to such a compact. He urges giving blacks a break and recognizing that black lawyers, doctors and teachers were quite able. He indicates that he had always lived in the South but had never understood the contradiction between the democracy preached and the discrimination practiced.

A letter writer indicates that Secretary of Commerce Sinclair Weeks was so full of the "General Motors psychology" of Secretary of Defense Charles E. Wilson, former president of that corporation, that he had forgotten a lot of the facts when delivering his speech dedicating the new air terminal in Charlotte the previous week, having stated that the pessimists and certain political dopesters had failed in an attempt to depress the economy, and that even the optimists would have to revise upward their best claims of an optimistic economy, that the Republicans would lead the country to increasing national prosperity. He suggests that the Secretary had failed in his history task, for the Republicans had been in power during every panic and depression during the previous 55 years in the country, had been the first party which printed money without having precious metal reserves to back it up, going back to the era following the Civil War, that they constantly boosted big business at the expense of the ordinary people, who were the consumers and workers who provided ultimately the prosperity. He finds that the current economy was not healthy, as prices of new cars would ultimately rise considerably in an industry controlled by a few manufacturers.

A letter writer from Gastonia indicates that the era of 1930 appeared to be returning to the state, except that there was a lot more money than there had been in those earlier days, though people could buy more food for their money then than presently, as the tax rate had been low. He finds from firsthand experience that in county jail, prisoners received grits, fatback, bread and coffee without butter or any meat gravy and were charged a dollar per day for it, whereas in 1930, when money had been hard to get, at least one got good food for the money, whereas now one was lucky to get anything for $20. He finds that it was all coming to be as God had said. He indicates that he was leaving the state as soon as he was free from custody, and would take his people with him to another state where it was more free than it was in North Carolina, where at least they would treat his wife, mother and kids nice and at least let them see him. He reckons that it was time to close his letter before he began talking about the ABC officers in the state—apparently, though not expressly stated, related to his offense against society.

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