The Charlotte News

Thursday, July 15, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Geneva, France and Britain, encouraged by new support from the U.S., opened the showdown phase of negotiations with the Communists regarding the end of the Indo-China war this date, with French Premier and Foreign Minister Pierre Mendes-France and British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden reportedly feeling that the Eisenhower Administration's decision to resume a major role in the talks had boosted the chances of obtaining a cease-fire before July 20, the deadline by which Premier Mendes-France had promised to obtain a cease-fire or resign his post. Mr. Eden had conferred with Russian Foreign Minister V. M. Molotov the previous night and obtained an agreement to continue private talks between delegation heads until Undersecretary of State Walter Bedell Smith, the designated U.S. representative, would arrive on Friday. France and Britain appeared in agreement on seeking to negotiate a truce by dividing Viet Nam between the Vietminh and French Union forces, a partition plan which Secretary of State Dulles had disapproved, the primary reason why he remained apart from the Indo-China portion of the conference, so that it would not appear that the U.S. was acquiescing in providing the Communists domination of northern Indo-China areas, possibly including Hanoi. There was no indication that Mr. Dulles, after conferring with Mr. Eden and Premier Mendes-France, liked the idea of a partition any better, but it did appear that the three Western allies were nearer an understanding which would allow them to have a more united front when negotiations resumed with Russia and Communist China. It was believed that the U.S. would stand aside from providing moral approval of partition, but would join Britain and France in providing some type of guarantees to support and protect the southern part of Viet Nam remaining under the French-sponsored chief of state, Bao Dai, and providing similar guarantees to the other two Associated States of Indo-China, Cambodia and Laos.

Secretary Dulles returned from his talks in Paris, saying that the three nations had found the formula for constructive allied unity which would strengthen the anti-Communist position during negotiations regarding Indo-China, that the formula for unity had been achieved without abandonment by the U.S. of its principles, which presumably included non-recognition diplomatically of Communist China or approval of its admission to the U.N. as a condition for achieving peace.

The Army reported this date to the Senate Armed Services Committee, through Assistant Army Secretary Hugh Milton, that it was presently investigating 237 security cases involving questions of loyalty. Earlier, Secretary of Defense Charles E. Wilson had reported that during the previous four months, the Pentagon had reduced from twenty to seven the number of cases involving doctors and dentists who had been drafted but denied commissions for security reasons, mostly through discharges from the service. The Secretary said that since the start of the Korean War in mid-1950, the industrial security program had resulted in checks and clearances by the Pentagon of about 20,000 plants and 500,000 employees for access to top secret, secret and confidential material, and that at present, about 200 plants were being cleared per month, that in the previous four years, clearance was refused to 688 persons by industrial security boards.

In Waidhaus, Germany, seven U.S. Army soldiers, six enlisted men and one captain, held in Communist Czechoslovakia since July 4, crossed the border to freedom in West Germany this date, following 12 days of captivity. Army authorities said that the men appeared to be in good condition and had reported that their food had been good. They had gone on a sightseeing trip to the border on July 4 and had inadvertently wandered into Czech territory, where they were arrested. A press conference would be held on Saturday, according to the Army. The captain, speaking for the men, appeared nervous and his hands trembled as he said that his men were very tired and very nervous, that their treatment had been satisfactory.

The Senate Banking Committee heard from William Levitt, one of the builders of Levittown, N.Y., and Levittown, Pa., the former having been built with Government-insured loans, that the project had cleared over five million dollars in profits. He said that a realty company had been set up to build 4,000 of the 18,000 individual homes in the New York community, and that Government-insured mortgages totaled nearly 30 million dollars, with actual costs of construction having been $24,160,000, the difference having been treated as a capital gain after the stock in the realty company had been sold to a charitable corporation of Philadelphia in December, 1949. The Levittown homes, which had received FHA-insured mortgages of about $7,500 each, had been built only for rental under an expired postwar program, and were now valued by the FHA at $7,700 each and were actually worth a good deal more than that, according to Mr. Levitt. He indicated that a third owner had bought the stock in the project from the charitable corporation and was now selling the homes, with purchasers eligible for FHA mortgage insurance. The chairman of the Committee, Senator Homer Capehart of Indiana, then interrupted to describe the process of FHA insuring mortgages as being "sort of like a dog chasing its tail", to which Mr. Levitt agreed. He, his two brothers and his father had owned all of the original stock in the realty company. Meanwhile, acting FHA commissioner Norman Mason announced that he was removing permanently the general counsel of the agency since 1940, effective this date. The general counsel had been on leave since May 7 when Mr. Mason accused him of failure to carry out his duties satisfactorily, having stated also, however, that he had no evidence of any illegal activity by him.

In Hollywood, two twins sipped milk and gulped vitamin pills this date, after having gone 23 days in jail without food and losing 50 pounds between them during a protest against what they regarded as the injustice of one-year jail sentences for interfering with a Government officer. Both were now freed from jail on appellate bond pending their appeal before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and had been taken to a hospital by ambulance late the previous day. Their conviction stemmed from their purchase of a war-surplus C-46 cargo plane from a school district and the Government contention that its purchase was illegal, while the two twins, both with good wartime flying records, contended that it was legal. They were contending on appeal that the Federal District Court had committed many errors in sentencing them and then refusing them bail. One of the twins indicated that the only time during the fast which was tough was when they were asleep, that one night, he had dreamed of a charcoal-broiled steak which he was eating with his fingers in the dream and could taste it. He said that his twin brother had dreamed of being in a cake factory filled with giant cakes, each 3 feet wide and 5 feet tall. As they readjusted to food, their diet would not be rich, receiving small meals every hour consisting of milk, vitamin pills and rare ground steak with high vitamin C and D content, doctors indicating that it would be a couple of weeks before they could leave the hospital.

In San Francisco, five amateur sailors who had hoped to drift from San Francisco to Hawaii on a raft, were rescued from their foundering vessel 60 miles off the central California coast, off Morro Bay, early this date by a freighter, reporting that all of the men had been rescued despite high seas and strong winds. The Coast Guard said that a cutter would find the drifting raft and destroy it as a menace to navigation. The men had issued an SOS, received by the Coast Guard, that the craft was sinking. The United Fruit Co. freighter, loaded with bananas, headed for San Francisco, received the SOS and picked up the men three hours later, praised by the Coast Guard for a marvel of seamanship. The men had taken along no food or water, hoping to catch fish while using a desalinization device to make seawater potable.

The death toll attributed to the heat and storms had reached 111 persons this date, including those who had been victims of heat prostration and drowning after seeking refuge from the heat in water, and from storms which swept in behind the hot surge of air as it moved through eastern states. Cooling air, frequently dropping temperatures into the 50's the previous night where only the previous day, they had been above 95, blanketed the North Central states. The temperature had reached 120 at Fort Scott, Kans., before cooler air had begun moving into that state. Temperatures above 100 were common from Kansas, Oklahoma and northern Texas eastward to the Atlantic. Thousands of baby chicks had died from the heat in Arkansas, and the Arkansas Poultry Federation said that the state's poultry industry might suffer its worst baby chick shortage in history. Eleven patients had died in Kansas mental institutions during the week, some of whom suffered from conditions which made them especially sensitive to heat because of a deficiency in a gland which acted as a kind of thermostat in the body, those patients having to be packed in ice or otherwise externally cooled.

On the editorial page, "New Explosions Due on Water Issue" comments on the rate hikes imposed by the City on water and explains the City's justification for it, but then questions whether, if it was necessary, the City had not erred in applying the new rates before consumers knew the increase was in effect, that a rebate order of the previous day had corrected that oversight, but the action had not pacified many of the consumers complaining about the sharp rate increases. It finds that the City had done an inadequate job of explaining and documenting the need for the increases and that more facts and figures might fill in the gap and convince worried residents of the rural parts of the county that the City was not merely trying to take unfair advantage of them, as the City had made a profit under the old rate system.

"A Conservation Lesson for Farmers" indicates that nature periodically reminded man that he was violating some of its laws, as floods, pestilence and drought usually originated from man's carelessness. It thus finds a lesson in the current drought, which was felt most keenly in rural parts of the county and in rural parts of the Carolinas generally, where farmers had lost millions of dollars worth of pasture land and fields.

Some farmers could have mitigated that damage had they utilized better conservation techniques. Most farm ponds were too small to irrigate fields of any size and some of those ponds dried up in a major drought. The drought underscored the value of such ponds for stock watering, as a water source for garden irrigation and as a means of keeping the water level up. Some farmers were successfully irrigating from streams. The successful farmer thought ahead and put in a good winter cover crop, such as crimson clover or winter peas, and mulching to conserve moisture. That farmer was putting surplus pasture into silage around May and was sowing drought-resistant kudzu and cerisea lespedeza, which would provide plenty of pasture when the grass dried up.

It concludes that many of the crops were beyond hope for the year, but if the drought continued, farmers would become more conscious of the need for conservation so that similar tragedies could be averted in the future.

"A Cultural Key to Better Understanding" indicates that Charlotte and other progressive American communities ought maintain an eye on a unique educational experiment underway in York, Pa., where a fourth of its second and third-graders were speaking in French during the summer as a result of language instruction in elementary grades of the public school system, learning by the same conversational methods which had taught them English.

It regards it as demonstrating good common sense, because children at an early age displayed the greatest aptitude to learn foreign languages, diminishing rapidly by the time they reached early adolescence and never regained. It finds that a two-year language course in high school or college was too little, too late, observes that language study had been neglected within the U.S. after World War II, while learning the languages of global neighbors was one of the surest ways to advance the cause of international brotherhood, thus finds public education in that regard deserving of special attention.

A piece from the Providence (R.I.) Evening Bulletin, titled "Lumber Camps and Submarines", indicates that news from Canada that the lumber companies of northern Ontario were currently housing 30,000 lumberjacks in community camps where the recreational facilities included rollerskating rinks, had prompted the thought that lumberjacks now had some viable pastime, "enough to make Paul Bunyan weep cloudbursts and Niagaras!"

From New London, Conn., it had been reported that the U.S.S. Bergall, a submarine, was having its interior repainted in four shades of green and was being equipped with jukeboxes, a sundeck and bunks with aluminum partitions and built-in bedlamps.

The items prompt it to wonder what was going on afloat and ashore during present times, stating that it did not object to seeing life made beautiful for lumberjacks or living become gracious for submarine sailors, but finds that two he-man occupations had gone a long time before comfort and convenience had caught up.

Drew Pearson indicates that few people had ever seen the U.S. budget, about the size of the New York phone book and about as dull. He regards the last few pages of it to be extremely significant, however, and worthy of being made public on the Senate floor during the debate on farm subsidies. The figures on the amount of the subsidies paid to farmers, veterans, businessmen and others showed that veterans received the most, in the form of bonuses and hospitalization, totaling 4.2 billion dollars in 1953, that businessmen received twice as much subsidy as farmers, with the latter receiving 523 million dollars for soil conservation, price supports, and other Government assistance the previous year, while businessmen received 1.2 billion, most of it going to large businesses, whose leaders were most apt to complain about "creeping socialism" and yet had spent a great deal of money lobbying Congress into voting money for business subsidies, some of which he proceeds to detail, including large tax write-offs received by George Humphrey's company during the latter days of the Truman Administration, just before he became Secretary of the Treasury.

The Manchester (England) Guardian, in an editorial, indicates that the world was lacking necessary U.S. leadership, that the current Administration appeared weak and inconsistent, speaking with many voices, with the result that allies were confused regarding its foreign policy. It wonders whether the President's policy of getting along with the Communists in Asia was the official policy, or that of Senator William Knowland, who rejected all negotiation with the Communists as worthless. It asks whether Vice-President Nixon's statement on April 16, that if the French were to pull out of Indo-China, the U.S. would send in ground troops, was the reliable position or whether the Vice-President's statement four days later, indicating that the U.S. would not become involved in the war in Indo-China, was the policy. It further wonders whether the avowed position of U.N. Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., to help small nations, in the context of Siam's appeal to the U.N., was the position of the Administration, or to let them stew in their juices, as had been Ambassador Lodge's reaction to Guatemala's appeal to the U.N.

It goes on in that vein, finding that the weakness of the Eisenhower Administration, its honest divergence of view from others, and the yearning among others for agreement with the Communists, were greater than a weekend conference at the White House could overcome, referring to the recent meeting between Prime Minister Churchill and the President in Washington. It finds it a grave thought that the Western nations generally lacked clear leadership and more grievous that the U.S., under current trends, might gradually withdraw from many of the commitments it had made to the outside world.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop again address the revelation of many secrets from the public release of the transcript of the loyalty hearings regarding Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer, hearings which ultimately revealed that the father of the atomic bomb had his Atomic Energy Commission clearance lifted because of his opposition to the hydrogen bomb and otherwise questioning AEC policy under chairman Admiral Lewis Strauss, who had gone to great lengths to try to suggest instead that "defects of character" were at issue, when the AEC indicated the exact opposite and complete loyalty of Dr. Oppenheimer. Other scientists at Los Alamos protested the treatment of Dr. Oppenheimer, resulting in Admiral Strauss seeking to cajole them by indicating that the AEC believed that no Government servant should "slant his advice or temper his professional opinion because of apprehension that such advice or opinion might be unpopular now or in the future."

But the advice appeared to be hollow, given the treatment of Dr. Oppenheimer. Maj. General Charles R. Wilson had testified that one of the reasons why he felt impelled to go to the director of intelligence to express his concern regarding Dr. Oppenheimer was the latter's interest in internationalizing atomic energy at a time when the U.S. had a monopoly on it. The Alsops indicate that Bernard Baruch also shared that interest, but because General Wilson did not like the position, he had seen fit to complain about Dr. Oppenheimer.

The report had revealed that the long-range detection system for nuclear detonations had been developed during the war by the Los Alamos team led by Dr. Oppenheimer, but rather than praising him for that achievement, he was hectored at great length because he advised the Government that the air sample method of long-range detection was more important than seismographic or barometric methods, upsetting to the air staff which took a different view, despite the fact that Dr. Oppenheimer's advice was completely correct. In addition, regarding the Vista report in which Dr. Oppenheimer had suggested a change in the then-existing arrangement which made the existing atomic stockpile the monopoly asset of the Strategic Air Command, favoring dividing it into three parts, one for SAC, one for the Tactical Air Command and for other use on the battlefield, and the other in reserve, completely appropriate in light of the stockpile achieved in atomic weapons, the Vista report having now become official policy of the Pentagon. But the SAC generals had been suspicious of the motives of Dr. Oppenheimer.

They indicate that, with the passage of time, except for the hydrogen bomb debate, Dr. Oppenheimer's advice to the Government had been completely sound, though not popular at the time, leading to the public hints regarding his supposed disloyalty, which in turn made possible the attack of Admiral Strauss. All except one or two of the basic facts showing the supposed defect in the character of Dr. Oppenheimer had been known during wartime at Los Alamos, and were also known when Admiral Strauss and the other members of the AEC unanimously reaffirmed Dr. Oppenheimer's security clearance in 1947. They conclude, therefore, that other scientists could reasonably believe that providing advice contrary to the popular view held by the chairman of the AEC would result in adverse action, notwithstanding Admiral Strauss's reaffirming letter.

Doris Fleeson, in Bolton Landing, N.Y., at the governors conference, indicates that in the past, the conference had drawn national attention for its role in producing candidates for the presidency, but at present, there appeared no such person. There was not even an amusing demagogue among the present crop of governors. Among Republicans, Governor Christian Herter of Massachusetts was tall and distinguished looking, and Governor John Davis Lodge of Connecticut was handsome, while Democratic Governors Frank Lausche of Ohio, G. Mennen Williams of Michigan, Robert Meyner of New Jersey and Lawrence Wetherby of Kentucky all stood out, but no one else appeared noteworthy. The intellectual content of the discussions followed the same pattern, with the opening sessions having been characterized by the most articulate governors looking back to the time of the Articles of Confederation, though few placed any practical reliance on that position. And Governors Meyner and Theodore McKeldin of Maryland, who opposed such states rights rhetoric, were not passionate innovators, but rather moderates showing a good deal of common sense while generating little excitement.

Governor Dewey, though a rare man of competence who was quite knowledgeable, and had dominated previous conferences when it appeared that one day he might accede to the presidency, now was reserved and almost indifferent.

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