The Charlotte News

Tuesday, July 20, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports from Geneva that a French source had reported that East and West, with the U.S. standing aside, had this date agreed to partition Viet Nam roughly along the 17th parallel, and that only technical difficulties remained to be settled before signing a cease-fire agreement for Indo-China. The source indicated that the partition line would run about 12 miles north of the important Highway No. 9, leading from Quang Tri on the coastal road to Savannakhet in Laos. British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden and Soviet Foreign Minister V. M. Molotov had, for an hour, left the meeting in which the final details of the peace were being completed during the afternoon, and were scheduled to return later for another meeting with French Premier Pierre Mendes-France and Vietminh Foreign Minister Pham Van Dong. The French Premier was reported to be cautious but very optimistic. He had pledged to resign unless a cease-fire could be reached by midnight this date. It appeared likely that a final agreement would be reached by midnight. A reliable source indicated that the Communists had agreed that the U.S. would not be listed among the powers approving of the agreement, and that the Communist Chinese, who had originally insisted that the U.S. be included in the list, had ceased its demand in that regard. A Laotian source said that agreement had also been reached on the issue of regrouping of "resistance forces" in Laos, and the withdrawal of an estimated 10,000 Vietminh troops from that kingdom within 60 days. Under that agreement, about 1,500 Laotians who opposed the present Government would be grouped around Sam Neua and Phong Saly and permitted to retain their arms and certain political rights until elections in the fall, and the French would be permitted to maintain bases in Laos.

Senator McCarthy this date announced the resignation of chief counsel to the Investigations subcommittee, Roy Cohn, who had been the principal target of four members of the subcommittee, the three Democrats and Senator Charles Potter of Michigan, seeking a shakeup in the staff. Senator McCarthy said that the resignation "must bring great satisfaction to the Communists and fellow-travelers", that "the smears and pressures" to which Mr. Cohn had been subjected made it clear that an "effective anti-Communist cannot long survive on the Washington scene." Mr. Cohn had stated in his resignation letter that there appeared to be a lack of unanimity among the members of the subcommittee on the question of his continuing as chief counsel. He was quoted by the Chicago Tribune as saying that his helpfulness to the subcommittee had been brought to "the vanishing point" and that in future investigations, "all the slanders" voiced against him would be repeated to minimize the evidence presented.

The Senate Banking Committee heard testimony this date from a New York builder of Government-insured apartments that the RNC had interceded to get an official ousted from his job, that the former FHA head, Guy Hollyday, had sent the official a letter the previous March asking that he resign, and that another letter from the RNC accompanied that letter, the RNC letter stating that it had waited a long time to get him dismissed. The witness said that the official had shown him a copy of the letters shortly after receiving them, at a time when the witness and his partner had been considering hiring the official at $12,000 per year plus a small interest in the building partnership, equivalent to about the Government salary of the official. The official had twice refused to testify before the Committee, each time pleading the Fifth Amendment. The witness said that after the housing scandals had broken on April 5, he and his partner had given up all interest in hiring the former official.

The Senate Finance Committee would meet this date to put finishing touches on a bill to extend Social Security to about 6 million additional persons instead of the 10.5 million the President had sought, leaving the increased benefits and tax base recommended by the President unchanged.

Senate Majority Leader William Knowland said this date that by conducting a filibuster to prevent a vote, foes of the Administration's atomic energy legislation were acknowledging that they were defeated, that they would otherwise not be engaging in a filibuster. Senator Albert Gore of Tennessee was leading the opponents of the bill, designed to use TVA contracting authority to make loans to private utilities, and was not convinced that the filibuster had failed.

The House this date defeated a last-ditch drive led by Democrats to enact the President's proposal to build 140,000 low-rent public housing units during the ensuing four years, with the roll call vote having been 234 to 156 to defeat a motion by Democratic Representative Brent Spence of Kentucky to restore the President's program of 35,000 public housing units per year to a compromise bill carrying out many of the President's other housing recommendations. That bill was a compromise between separate versions which had been passed earlier by both the House and the Senate. Democrats denounced the vote as a "death blow" to public housing, with Representative Spence predicting that if the Republicans defeated the motion, Democrats would be back in power in Congress for the ensuing 20 years—insofar as the House was concerned, actually to be for forty years, until 1995.

The Defense Department announced that the Charlotte Quartermaster Depot would be changed to the Charlotte Ordnance Missile Plant, to be used for production of the Nike missile under civilian contract, and would employ 1,500 people. An effort would be made to absorb the 150 employees of the Depot into the new installation. The Depot had operated in Charlotte on Statesville Avenue since World War II.

In Joliet, Ill., a 19-year old high school girl was found strangled and shot to death this date in an automobile abandoned on a lovers' lane just outside the city limits, and authorities said the owner of the vehicle was missing. The sheriff said that the girl had been slain apparently while resisting sexual advances, and the coroner reported that she had been dead for at least 18 hours before her partially decomposed body had been spotted by a farmer passing on the lonely country road. Authorities believed she had been killed at some other location and that her body had then been driven to the lovers' lane.

In Middletown, O., the six-year old boy who had been bleeding since having a tonsillectomy on July 6 now appeared likely to survive, though his condition remained critical. Nearly 60 townspeople had provided direct blood transfusions to him, and he had received more than 30 pints of whole blood plasma. Until the previous night, there had been little hope for his survival, but now the bleeding had become almost negligible. He suffered from a rare condition which had only become evident after the operation, and was not hemophilia. One of the attending doctors said that they had become so desperate that they had intended to try an unscientific remedy, moccasin snake venom, which had been used as an old remedy by physicians for the unnamed disease. The venom was applied locally to the bleeding area and had previously been successful. Since the boy's body was now coagulating blood properly, that remedy appeared unnecessary. A photograph appears of the boy from a year earlier when Ed Sullivan had visited Middletown.

In Rodanthe, N.C., it was reported that a 1,290-ton Honduran vessel which had sunk off the Outer Banks on May 14, its 14 crewmen having been rescued by breeches buoy, had finally been salvaged by three men of Cleveland County, at an estimated profit of $100,000.

In Pulaski, Va., the postmaster had appealed to the town council to do something about the duplication of street names which often caused mail to be misdirected, as there were two Maple Streets and a Maple Avenue, one Hickory Street and a Hickory Avenue, two Pine Streets and two Locust Streets.

In Raleigh, the State Advertising Division reported that a Portland, Conn., man had sent them a letter thanking them for North Carolina vacation literature, as being the only such literature which did not advertise with a bathing beauty.

On the editorial page, "What Is a Tax and What Is Not?" indicates that the new increase in Charlotte's water rates had been undertaken by the City Council as a means of balancing the budget, the increases amounting to 80 percent in the county and 20 percent in the city, denominated "service charges" rather than taxes, which clearly they were.

The increase amounted to 12.18 cents of increase to the tax rate, bringing in an estimated increased revenue of $264,384 from water customers inside the city and another $146,880 from those outside the city. Yet, unlike city taxes, that increase was not deductible, costing most taxpayers around another 20 percent, and potentially more in many cases.

It finds that the citizen was the fall guy, now contributing more than a third of income to taxes.

"Servicemen Should Get More Benefits" indicates that the movie "Gone with the Wind" had returned to Brooklyn the previous week, and outside the theater had stood two men attired in Civil War garb, inviting young men to join the Air Force. On Staten Island, the Air Force had offered to send a car to the home of any young man or woman who wanted to hear about a career in the Air Force. In New England, Air Force recruits were flown to their training camps, instead of via the traditional troop train transport.

It indicates that all of those things were recruitment gimmicks, necessary, along with changes in the law regarding service benefits, to obtain the kind and quantity of men needed by the armed forces. Brig. General Charles Lindbergh had summed up the problem in the current issue of the Saturday Evening Post, in which he had said that fleets of atomic aircraft, costing billions of dollars, could be operated efficiently only by skilled, satisfied and experienced personnel, and yet thousands of expert airmen were leaving the service each year to obtain jobs in civilian life, thus requiring opportunities and pay conditions encouraging of people to remain in the careers for which they had been trained over the course of years.

It indicates that the rest of the military establishment shared the problem of the Air Force, as military pay had never compared favorably with civilian salaries in similarly trained areas. In the past, the services had paid various fringe benefits, but in recent years, those had been reduced and, in some cases, eliminated entirely. But on Friday, the President had signed a bill which substantially increased the size of re-enlistment bonuses, which it regards as the type of legislation which should presently be considered to make the services more attractive to capable young people, as well as to the capable existing servicemen who had been trained at great expense of the taxpayer.

"FBI Informants Aren't Special Agents" indicates that the moniker "G-man" had first been applied in 1933 to FBI agents by "Machine Gun" Kelly, who had died at Leavenworth the previous Saturday—the linked 1933 dramatization of the trial for the kidnaping which sent him to prison for the last time, showing momentarily, at the 9:54 mark, the Southern Rock Island Plow Co. Building at the corner of Houston and Elm Streets in Dallas, Tex., subsequently becoming notorious on November 22, 1963. The moniker, meaning "government men", had stuck and been applied across the board, with Treasury Department agents labeled "T-men". It indicates parenthetically that it recalled a movie called "F-Man", about a man who did not quite have what it took to be a G-man.

But now, FBI investigators were referred to as "special agents", their correct designation, or simply as "FBI agents", usually no longer as "G-men".

Recently, a new type of person was being referred to as an "FBI agent", the paid informant who had infiltrated the Communist Party and supplied names of party members to Congress. One man had been so identified the previous day before Senator McCarthy's Senate Investigations subcommittee and Senator McCarthy had then invited him to defend himself, at which point the man had begun yelling that he wanted to know who his accusers were, that they were "stool pigeons", at which point the Senator had him removed from the hearing room because he was not going to have "an FBI agent" called a stool pigeon. In fact, the informant was not an FBI agent or a special agent, most of whom were either lawyers or accountants who had passed a battery of tests and graduated from the rigorous FBI training school at Quantico, Va. Nevertheless, the informants, who included some unsavory individuals, were frequently referred to in the press as "FBI agents". It thus wishes to make the distinction clear.

"End of an Era" indicates that if author Joel Chandler Harris were alive at present, he would be distressed to learn that his beloved Brer Rabbit was no longer safe in the briar patch, after an automobile occupied by two teenagers had hurtled from a highway near Clarksville, Ark., and rolled 200 feet into the brush, killing a rabbit some 130 feet from the road.

It suggests that Brer Rabbit was now aware that Brer Fox was only one of his many worries, that the mechanical monsters were even more puzzling and terrifying than the Tar Baby. It finds that everyone was haunted by the mechanical monsters now that people could see, hear, smell and almost taste the "mushroom of cumulus smoke in his imagination" and no briar patch could any longer save them, that progress was a "frightening disease".

A piece from the Richmond News Leader, titled "Greeting, Southern Style", indicates that in his forthcoming book, The Rebel Yell, humorist H. Allen Smith offered a brief lexicon of speech differences between the North and the South.

The piece regards it as being remarkably accurate, especially as Mr. Smith was a proud Yankee. It included such pronunciations as aig for egg, but it finds that his perceptive ear had failed him regarding the familiar Southern greeting, at least as heard around Richmond, translating the Northern "hello" into a Southern "hey-how-yew?" It suggests that it was not certain of doing it any better, but that Mr. Smith's version was not exactly right, as there was a delicate r-sound in it some place, "as elusive as the favors of a Charleston belle". And the "hey" was a mere prefix, sometimes heard and sometimes not, such that the whole of it was something like, "Haow'r-yew?" or "Howa-yew?" or even "Hah'er-yew?", with the inflection being most important, the accent on the "ow" sound, "followed by a sort of swizzle of the tongue and vocal cords, with a brief and inquisitive 'yew' at the end." And the response invariably was, "Fahn, jus' fahn."

Mr. Smith had said that orange was pronounced orange in the North, whereas everyone knew it was actually pronounced ahrnge. He also contended that the word was pronounced children, not chirren. "Did you ever?"

It's not "chirren". It's "chi'dren", as in "the little chi'dren cain't not gonna be learned of nothin' in them schuuuuls if they're goin' down 'ere to be intergrated like 'at with ever'thing, and all."

Drew Pearson indicates that U.S. policy regarding Indo-China had flip-flopped nearly as rapidly as Secretary of State Dulles had traveled across the Atlantic and back, but out of those trips and his latest report to the President, a policy appeared to have developed, in which the country was about in the same position regarding Indo-China as it had been the previous April when Vice-President Nixon had warned that it might send in ground troops were the French to withdraw, as the country had now made a commitment to back up France in that war if the Communists were to continue fighting, the first time such a commitment had been made. In the recent Paris conference between Secretary Dulles, British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden and Premier Pierre Mendes-France, the latter had told Mr. Dulles that if the U.S. wanted a French no-surrender policy in Indo-China, it would have to share the responsibility. Secretary Dulles had so agreed and had also agreed to a partition line, but most importantly, to back France completely if the Communists did not accept a reasonable line. The latter became convinced in the process that Premier Mendes-France was a sincere patriot and trying to salvage stability from the political instability of France. In return, Secretary Dulles had received a very important pledge from the French Premier, that France would join the united European army.

All of that had not taken place without some unpleasant moments, as the French Premier had issued one of the boldest threats ever served on a recent U.S. Secretary of State, saying that either Secretary Dulles would have to return to the Geneva conference or France would withdraw from NATO and adopt a neutral stance in Europe, an ultimatum conveyed through U.S. Ambassador to France Douglas Dillon, who said that the Premier had not been bluffing, advised Mr. Dulles to make the trip, thus leading to the Paris conference, in which it was agreed that the U.S. would instead send Undersecretary of State Walter Bedell Smith on to Geneva.

Senator Ralph Flanders of Vermont had been visited by many Republican colleagues the previous week, pleading with him not to place the party on the spot by a vote on censure of Senator McCarthy. Among those calling on him had been Senators Leverett Saltonstall of Massachusetts, Irving Ives of New York, and Margaret Chase Smith of Maine. Senator Flanders, however, remained adamant and provided an outline to the Senators of the speech he planned to make, telling them that he was thinking of releasing the speech a day in advance so that the newspapers could publish it in advance of its delivery and thereby permit Senators to read it before the debate would begin, so that they would have a chance to understand it. Senator Smith approved of that idea, to which Senator Flanders responded that he was an inventor with 29 patents and saw no reason why something new should not be invented for the Senate.

Senator McCarthy had suddenly become camera-shy, leaving by the back door to avoid television cameras, because advisers had warned him that his personality was communicated badly via television, suggested he remain out of the limelight for the time being.

Senator Homer Ferguson of Michigan had worked the hardest among Republicans to prevent consideration of the resolution of Senator Flanders, having announced publicly that he did not want Senator McCarthy to come to Michigan to campaign for him, and so would be in a bad position if he now were to vote against the censure resolution, thus asking Senator Flanders not to bring it up, as he would be forced to vote for it.

Carlos Davilla, former President of Chile, who had served for four years as Chilean Ambassador to the U.S., had arrived in New York in 1932 as a penniless exile. He had run an honest Administration and so had left Chile with only the clothes he was wearing. He settled in New York and made a living at his original profession of journalism, becoming one of the greatest interpreters of the U.S. to Latin America, pointing out that crime news did not properly represent the country, that it had idealism, culture, music, opera and literature. He had married an American and sometimes suffered because in Latin America, was considered a "Latin Yanqui", while the State Department thought him too independent. After a year in Chile as editor of La Nacion, he had returned to Washington the previous year to become secretary-general of the Office of the American Republics, potentially one of the most important jobs in the Western Hemisphere, as it entailed welding the Americas closer together. Mr. Pearson indicates that under his direction, it should go forward with vigor.

Paul Green, North Carolina playwright, in an excerpt from his latest book, Dramatic Heritage, indicates that 75 percent of machine age inventions had come from America, and all of them, to varying degrees, had carried the potentialities of greatness of service, enlightenment and inspiration to everyone, as it was the nature of the machine to be universal in its "humility of servitude, its obedience to a master's will and hand." He suggests that of all the machines which had been created, none appeared loaded with greater possibilities than the motion picture, appearing unlimited in its power for progress and good, for entertainment, for inspiration, glory, grandeur, "whatever term you wish to use in interpreting human nature's ideals, its vagaries and vanities." He regards it as a universal and democratic instrument for humans to use, that at present, movies had a part to play greater than ever before, in the order and welfare of the world's future. For the screen appealed primarily to the eye and was able to supersede language barriers more easily than the written or spoken word.

Yet, he suggests, movies were not fulfilling their potential greatness, were stopped and stymied by producers and manipulative money-makers, "traitors and betrayers of the commonweal and the people's heritage" with "cynical and scandalous exploitation of the human weaknesses", flooding the world with "sensationalism, melodrama, novelty, glitter, froth, shine and stuff for sensual appetites." They had continued to portray the U.S. as a land of excess, easy money, poverty and crime, gangsters and tough guys, dull and ignorant politicians, furred and empty-pated women, cheap success, "hokum heroism", easy sex, wastefulness, bad manners and adolescent intelligence. The only honest exceptions of which he knew were the pictures of Walt Disney and Charlie Chaplin.

A group of South American businessmen, artists and journalists of many nationalities were recently visiting the U.S. and had been surprised by what they had seen, as they had only previously viewed the country through the movies, found it quite different from that which was portrayed, finding an intelligent people who were kind and generous, read books, liked music, had writers, painters, singers, statesmen, leaders, theaters, teachers, scientists. They found that it was a great culture which did not place undue emphasis on money, trading and profiteering.

He concludes that the war had changed many things and there was hope that such negative perceptions conveyed by the movies, and the movies, themselves, might also be changed by it, that the time had come to release motion pictures from their enslavement and let them begin to show the true heart and nature of the country, "something of its real inner dynamic soul and idealism", which Americans knew it had and which was at one with the true heart of men everywhere.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop indicate that while the world was awaiting the outcome of the Geneva peace conference, it was time to face the central fact of the situation, that whatever happened to Indo-China, U.S. foreign and defense policies of the previous 18 months had not worked. Some of the Administration's catchwords and phrases, such as "liberation", "recaptured initiative", "the New Look", and "massive retaliation", had no more practical value than "an old country-woman's runes to cure warts." No one had been liberated, the Communists had regularly taken the initiative everywhere, the New Look had only turned out to mean new weakness, and there had been no serious, decisive effort to prevent appeasement in Asia.

There were some hopeful things, such as the recent coup in Guatemala, improvement in Iran, and the prospect of settlements soon between the Italians and Yugoslavs in Trieste and between the British and Egyptians over the Suez Canal zone. Those situations were not as dangerous as they had been and in each of them, U.S. diplomacy had helped to lessen the danger.

But those local gains had not counteracted the fundamental and all-important tendency, which Geneva symbolized, that with increasing speed and gathering momentum, the world balance of power was tending in favor of the Russians and against the West, without check. It had taken three different forms, the first being the developments in Indo-China, which Prime Minister Churchill had described as a smashing victory for Russia, with the outlook appearing to be appeasement, followed by a guarantee to Southeast Asia in the form of SEATO, being pushed by Secretary of State Dulles.

The Alsops suggest that though the containment policy which had been followed by the Truman Administration may have been static, undynamic and otherwise problematic, it would be better than the passive sacrifice of strategically vital Indo-China, having repercussions throughout Asia.

The second form of the tip of the world balance toward Russia was their rapid growth in air-atomic power, as demonstrated by their atomic and hydrogen bomb technology and the new Soviet long-range bombers, the TU-37 and TU-39, tending to exceed the U.S. air-atomic superiority, in which it had placed its major military effort since the war.

The third form was the disintegrating influence from the growth of Soviet air-atomic power, with the British having done everything they could to encourage appeasement in Asia simply on the basis of their fear that a war there could turn into a world war in which the British Isles would be exposed to total destruction, such that the peril experienced by the major allies was beginning to cripple and even perhaps break up the Western alliance.

That unfavorable shift in the balance of world power would likely produce other unpleasant results in the near future, such that a Communist triumph in Indo-China would prepare the way for other Communist triumphs elsewhere in Asia, and within 2 to 3 years, when the U.S. would be exposed to total destruction in the way that Britain already was exposed, U.S. policy would also begin to be enfeebled by the consciousness of that peril. They conclude that those were the hard, basic realities of the present world situation.

The Congressional Quarterly indicates that the American people had paid more than 70 billion dollars of their national debt to veterans, and a drive was on in Congress to add another 230 million dollars per year to those benefits. The Veterans Administration and predecessor veterans agencies had, by the end of fiscal year 1953, spent more than 70 billion for such benefits as compensation and pension payments, insurance, vocational rehabilitation, education and training, and medical and dental care for veterans. The estimate for VA spending in fiscal 1954 was 3.9 billion, the lowest amount since 1945. The major part of VA spending each year, amounting to 2.4 billion in 1953, was for monthly compensation and pension payments to veterans and their dependents.

Congress periodically had granted a cost-of-living adjustment to the compensation and pension rates, the last one having occurred in 1952, and a bill pending presently would increase further the rates by an average of 10 percent, costing 231 million dollars in the first year of operation. That bill had been favorably reported on May 28 by the House Veterans Affairs Committee, although the VA administrator had said its enactment would not be in accord with the program of the President. The measure, however, had not been cleared by the House Rules Committee, and Representative Edith Nourse Rogers of Massachusetts, chairman of the Veterans Affairs subcommittee, had charged that Congress was treating the veteran like a "stepchild". A drive had been initiated to force that bill from the Rules Committee and onto the floor for debate and a vote. Representative Edmund Radwan of New York on July 2 had offered a resolution calling for House consideration of that bill, and said on July 14 that an attempt would be initiated to obtain signatures of a majority of House members to force a vote on the resolution. There were 246 veterans in the House, enough to petition for removal of the matter from the Rules Committee, assuming most voted for it, requiring a simple majority of 218 votes.

At present, there was a record 20.7 million living veterans, most of whom had served in World War II or the Korean War, forming, in consequence, an important political, economic and social group.

During fiscal 1953, the VA had spent 4.5 billion dollars, including, it notes, 102.5 million in North Carolina—the piece indicating $102,524, surely a misprint, leaving out the extra set of zeros. VA benefits programs had centered on three major problems, readjustment from military to civilian life, physical and financial difficulties of disabled former servicemen, and the needs of dependents of deceased veterans. To aid in solving those problems, the VA spent several billion dollars per year for disability compensation and pension payments. There were 170 VA hospitals, in which each day more than 103,000 veterans received free care, as well as more than 100 outpatient clinics. In addition, the VA would pay up to $1,600 of the cost of a special automobile for eligible disabled veterans and up to $10,000 of the cost of special housing for paraplegics. It would also provide care and housing for disabled veterans incapable of supporting themselves.

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