The Charlotte News

Wednesday, July 21, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports from Geneva that just before dawn this date, France entered a peace agreement with the Communists regarding the war in Indo-China, agreeing to partition North Vietnam from South Vietnam, leaving 13 million people residing in the North. A truce for Laos was also included, and a truce for the third Associated State of Indo-China, Cambodia, was signed later this date. The truce brought to an end the eight-year war in which 92,000 soldiers of the French Union expeditionary corps had died or disappeared. The partition line for Viet Nam, the largest of the three states, was established across the 17th parallel, and the North would be ruled by Vietminh leader Ho Chi Minh, while the South, to contain 10 million Vietnamese, would be governed by the pro-Western regime of chief of state Bao Dai. All-Vietnamese elections, per paragraph 7 of the accord, would take place in July, 1956, to be supervised by an international commission comprised of Canada, India, and Poland, with consultations on that process between North and South to begin after one year from the date of the agreement, having the design of reuniting the country. Western officials in Geneva, however, generally conceded that the "temporary" partition line probably would become a political and ideological frontier as with those of split Germany and Korea—as the President also insinuated at his press conference this date, in response to a question from correspondent May Craig, stating that the U.S. did not intend to go to war to free North Korea or East Germany, as would be the case anent the new partition of Viet Nam.

Moscow radio, monitored in Tokyo, said this date that the cease-fire agreement would be "a new victory for the power of peace".

The President said at his press conference that the cease-fire agreement indicated that the Communists apparently did not want war at this time, that the agreement contained features which the U.S. did not like, but that a lot depended on how it would work in practice. He said the U.S. was working actively with other free nations to organize rapidly a "collective defense in Southeast Asia in order to prevent further direct or indirect Communist aggression in that general area." (That organization would be formed as SEATO in September.) He said that there might be one good thing to come out of the cease-fire agreement, that it might get the free world to look facts in the face and determine what sacrifices it would be willing to make in the cause of preserving freedom. Otherwise, beyond his formal statement at the beginning of the conference, he declined comment, because of the sensitivity of the continuing negotiations. He said that the U.S. would put out a statement at Geneva to the effect that it would not use force to disturb the settlement, but that it would also say that any renewal of Communist aggression would be viewed as a matter of "grave concern". When asked whether he attached any significance to the fact that for the first time in nearly 20 years, there was no ongoing war at any point in the world, he replied that he had never felt that the Communist world wanted to challenge the free world to a "war of exhaustion" at present except in excursions into satellite countries, adding, however, that he expected the Communists to continue using deceit and subversion, plus secret, well-financed conspiracies, to obtain their ends.

Also at Geneva, the Chinese Communists agreed to release six Americans held in Communist China, and stated that the other cases of detained Americans were still under review. U.S. officials believed that the Chinese held in prison or otherwise detained about 24 additional Americans.

Emery Wister of The News tells of Army engineers arriving in Charlotte on Monday to prepare conversion of the Quartermaster Depot into an ordnance plant for production of Nike missiles. Douglas Aircraft would be more involved in the production than Western Electric, the former holding a subcontract on the Nike project, and the latter having the primary contract. It was understood that the electronic part of the Nike missile would be assembled at the Western Electric plant in Winston-Salem and then shipped to Charlotte for installation—which is why Winston-Salem wound up reportedly high on the Soviet nuclear hit list during the Cold War. As many as 50 families would be brought to Charlotte from Santa Monica, Calif., where Douglas had been doing work in its plant there on the Nike, though the plant in Charlotte would be the first for mass production of the missiles. Much of the work would be technical and had to be directed by experts. The Depot consisted of five large buildings, with 1,200,000 square feet of floor space, the principal building of which had been built by Ford Motor Co. as an assembly plant during the early 1920's, sold to the Government in 1941, at which time the Quartermaster Corps constructed four new buildings.

Harry Shuford of The News indicates that until recent months, not much information had been released by the Army regarding the Nike, a supersonic guided missile which tracked its target. The Army had revealed a year earlier that it had been efficient in its tests, but had given out few details as to how it operated, with about the only thing publicly known being that it was electronically controlled by radar to seek out and destroy the fastest, highest flying planes yet devised. It had been developed in the latter days of World War II by Bell Telephone Laboratories, whose scientists studied German and British experiments with guided missiles and the American tests at White Sands, New Mexico. They called on Douglas Aircraft to help design the aerodynamics of the missile. In 1947, plans were drafted and presented to the Army showing two types of missiles, one having its own radar controls and the other to be controlled from the ground by radar, the latter configuration having been eventually chosen by the Army. The previous year, the first Nikes had been presented to the Army for testing. Launching of the missile was done via rail, raised to point upward, and after takeoff, the Nike reached speeds of up to 1,500 mph, capable of outmaneuvering any known aircraft. Its warhead was so large that any contact assured complete destruction of the aircraft. To prevent accidental detonation during transportation, stockpiling or handling of the missile, its warheads were equipped with special safety devices which prevented detonation until it was airborne. Nike batteries had thus far been installed near the nation's capital and work was proceeding on batteries along the Northern defense system. The Air Force had been impressed by the tests of the Nike but believed that its cost of installation to defend key cities of the country would be extremely high, and that it would be nonsensical to try to transport them around from one threatened city to another, as the amount of time provided by the best nuclear warning system would be insufficient for the task.

Senate Majority Leader William Knowland of California this date called for an around-the-clock session, if necessary, to complete action on atomic legislation—having nothing to do with the "nuclear option" to do away with filibusters. The Senate was beginning its eighth day of debate on the bill and opponents of the President's directive to the Atomic Energy Commission that it sign a contract, pursuant to its contracting authority, with a private utility group to supply power from TVA in Memphis, informally agreed to a test vote on the issue at a meeting late the previous night. Senator Albert Gore of Tennessee, leader of that group of opponents, and Senator Wayne Morse of Oregon, insisted that they would prolong the debate if they did not win the first round. Senator Knowland had recessed the Senate the previous night after receiving word of the understanding that a vote would occur sometime this date on the big issue in controversy. Senator Gore conceded that his opposition forces would need Republican support for them to succeed. The opponents contended that the President's order would be illegal because a majority of the AEC opposed it, and an attack on the foundations of the Government-operated TVA, which, for years, had furnished power in the Tennessee Valley region. Senator Gore described formation of "a gentlemen's agreement" to provide a test vote on an amendment offered by Senator Clinton Anderson of New Mexico to limit the contracting authority of the AEC to the power for its own installations, to be voted on prior to a rival amendment offered by Senator Homer Ferguson of Michigan, which would remove any doubt of the right of AEC to close the deal for unrestricted power in the Memphis area, where 600,000 kilowatts from TVA was to be contracted with the private utility under the President's order, designed to offset power supplied by TVA to the atomic energy plant at Paducah, Ky. The President said at his press conference, regarding TVA, that anyone who accused him of trying to destroy it with the plan was in error.

The office manager for the Senate Investigations subcommittee, chaired by Senator McCarthy, and one of those staff members for whom the Defense Department had withheld a security clearance, said this date that he had once been a vice-president of an organization which Senator McCarthy had termed an "affiliate" of Communist front organizations. He said that he had attended only one meeting of the organization, the American Law Students Association, on the night of December 26, 1936, at which time he was elected its vice-president. He said that at the time he was a student at St. John's University Law School in Brooklyn and had attended the meeting as president of the student council of the law school and at the request of the law school dean and vice-dean. Contacted in Southern Pines, N.C., to which he had retired four years earlier after suffering a stroke, the former dean said that he recalled a student at the law school with a similar name but did not recall anything about a 1936 meeting. The vice-dean had died three years earlier. Senator McCarthy told the subcommittee the previous day that he knew of no other reason for the Defense Department having declined the security clearance. The Pentagon had refused to explain its reasons. In 1950, the Senator had denounced U.S. Ambassador-at-large Philip Jessup as having "unusual affinity for Communist causes" based in part on his relationship with the same law student organization. The staff member in question had his name on the same letterhead as had Mr. Jessup in 1936.

In Cleveland, Admiral Richard E. Byrd, 65, addressing the Poultry and Egg National Board at a breakfast meeting, said this date that he was planning to return to Antarctica as soon as he could get an expedition together. He said that further exploration of the South Pole was important from both the military and economic standpoints, that if the Panama Canal were knocked out by an atomic bomb, there would be need to get U.S. ships from the Atlantic to the Pacific through the Strait of Magellan or between Antarctica and South America via the Drake Passage, for which it would be essential for the U.S. to have control of that part of Antarctica which was nearest Cape Horn, and of the islands between the Cape and Antarctica. He said that from an economic standpoint, the country would be in need, for the foreseeable future, of coal, uranium, oil and other minerals which were untouched in Antarctica. Admiral Byrd had first explored the South Pole by airplane on November 29, 1929 and had made other expeditions in 1933 and 1947.

In Hartford, Conn., police said that a man had complained the previous night about a peeping blonde at his window, indicating that she appeared to be about 18, wore a white blouse and full skirt, could run very fast, as he had chased her for 50 yards, but could not catch up with her.

It may have just been a deer or perhaps an Afghan hound, which he mistook for a girl.

On the editorial page, "Charlotte Can Cure Parking Headache" indicates that Coleman Roberts, president of the Carolina Motor Club, had pointed out that a survey by the American Automobile Association had indicated that 19 American cities were on their way toward ridding their downtown areas of parking congestion by constructing municipal offstreet parking facilities. It provides an example from Jacksonville, Fla., which it believes might offer a plan for Charlotte, lists other cities across the country which had also successfully remedied their problem of midtown congestion. It urges that the city had to come to grips with the problem through a comprehensive program of action and that it could not afford to dawdle any longer.

"Some 'Most Unscientific' Remedies Work" tells of the doctors in Middletown, O., who had, according to a front page report of the previous day, planned to use a "most unscientific" remedy of moccasin snake venom as "a shot in the dark" to try to encourage coagulation of the six-year old boy's blood following his tonsillectomy and the discovery that he suffered from a rare disease, not hemophilia, which caused his blood, under certain conditions, not to coagulate properly. After he had received several blood transfusions, however, coagulation had begun to occur naturally and the folk remedy was not needed.

It finds that some home remedies used by the Indians and early settlers had fixed aches and ills and were now used by reputable physicians, such as the moccasin snake venom as a coagulant. Mary C. Wiley, in the current issue of The State, had told of remedies used by the early Moravian physicians in the state, and poisonous snakes had figured prominently in that practice. Rattlesnake fat was used as a salve for pain in the limbs, and rattlesnake skin was used for the same purpose. A drink made from the skin was given to persons suffering from fever. Frontiersmen generally had carried a piece of snake root in their pockets for chewing in case of snake bite. It suggests that if anyone doubted the efficacy of those treatments, it could only indicate that frontiersmen and Indians of the state had survived to recommend them, and the Moravian physicians had done a thriving business with such remedies.

It adds that grandma had recommended cornstarch for athlete's foot, which, though "most unscientific", beat all the fancy powders which some of the modern podiatrists recommended.

But will a little snake help the parking headache?

"The Need for a Technical Institute" indicates that within a 50-mile radius of Charlotte, about 25 percent of which area was in South Carolina, lived approximately a million people, the great majority of whom resided in the rapidly growing urban areas of North Carolina. Within the area there was an ongoing vast expansion of established industry and location of new industry. Yet, there were hardly any technical training facilities in the area and none of the state's 12 State-supported higher educational institutions. It indicates that most of the private, state and community colleges in the area were small and concentrated on non-technical courses. For many years, groups and individuals had urged the establishment of a State-supported technical school in the area and a recent Chamber of Commerce survey taken among several thousand workers indicated widespread interest in general mechanics, mechanical drawing, sheet metal, carpentry, plumbing, electrical and electronic and automotive mechanics classes, as well as there having been high interest expressed among graduating seniors from high school in Mecklenburg County, nearly one-fifth of the 705 who had responded to a poll having indicated an interest in taking technical courses at Charlotte College.

It informs that in light of the recently approved two-cent tax levy for Charlotte and Carver Colleges, the former planned to start a technical institute in the fall, but that the new revenue would not be sufficient to provide the kind of technical training facilities which the region needed. It urges a substantial appropriation of State funds for the purpose of construction of a genuine technical institute in the area.

"Two Views" indicates that Senator McCarthy, according to Drew Pearson, had suddenly become camera-shy and exited through the back door to avoid television cameras, after his publicity advisers told him to keep out of the limelight for awhile because his personality was conveyed badly on television. The piece finds it strange, as it suggests that candid cameras portrayed the man's personality exceedingly well.

Kermit Hunter, author of the outdoor North Carolina pageants "Unto These Hills", staged in Cherokee, and "Horn in the West", staged in Boone, in an abstract from an article appearing in the New York Times, tells of the four outdoor dramas currently running, the two he authored, relating the stories of the Cherokee Indians and Daniel Boone, respectively, plus "The Lost Colony" by Paul Green, staged since 1937 at Manteo, N.C., and "The Common Glory", at Williamsburg, Va., the latter telling the story of Thomas Jefferson. The four plays were presented each summer for six days per week, having been seen at this point by nearly two million people. He indicates that in each case, the officers and directors of the local producing corporations were farmers, housewives, merchants and small town businessmen who obtained a large amount of inner satisfaction from what they were doing for their towns, their states and their nation. The four small towns were helping to perpetuate history and traditions, using their own local backgrounds to typify all of America, with the dramas' sense of moral and intellectual integrity being characteristic of the American mind. The plays furnished summer jobs to more than 700 young actors, technicians, managers, promoters and theater-minded people, those who emerged from drama schools only to find a great chasm between the campus and Broadway. More than 250,000 people annually attended the dramas, reaching people in small towns and villages in a manner which New York commercial theater could not.

He regards it as a challenge to the notion that Broadway was "the American theater", the idea that unless a playwright, actor, director or technician was operating on or near Broadway, the person was "hardly more than a meaningless ripple in the vast 3,000-mile desert south and west of Manhattan, a tiny voice in the theatrical solitude of the hinterlands." Only about five percent of the nation's population lived in or around New York and fewer than half attended theater performances in that region, leading to the conclusion that if there were an "American theater", it existed in community theatrical groups all over the country, in colleges and universities where drama was taught and practiced, and in the outdoor dramas, not on Broadway. Compared to the New York theater, "so often strangled by soaring production costs, petulant audiences, pseudosophisticated playwrights and general cannibalism, the outdoor drama is, like its locale, a breath of fresh air."

He indicates that the outdoor drama was still in its infancy, still experimental and flexible, with each year bringing some new twist in writing or production, and that those involved in it were anxious to keep it that way because it contained "a native bigness and freshness, a sense of change and growth so typical of American idealism." Those who delivered it believed that a great national drama could rise only from the people themselves and that in the summer presentations was being born the "greatest and newest and most important movement yet seen in the American theater."

The three North Carolina outdoor dramas are still being presented each summer, as of 2021. "The Common Glory" ceased production in 1976.

Drew Pearson indicates that more facts had been learned about Governor Dewey's important conference with Senator Irving Ives of New York, that it appeared that Governor Dewey genuinely wanted to retire to private life and had insisted to Senator Ives that he should run in his stead, that the Republican Party needed a strong candidate and that he provided the strongest available, that the last thing the Republicans wanted was another FDR in Albany, who could then obtain a leg up to the White House, that such had to be blocked at all costs. Senator Ives had reminded Governor Dewey that he had served about half of his life in the New York Legislature and had fulfilled his obligation to the party, that he had not wanted to run for the Senate the last time and had every expectation of withdrawing from public life entirely at the end of his present term. Governor Dewey argued with him further but got nowhere. Mr. Pearson notes that Republican leaders agreed that Senator Ives would have the best chance of defeating Franklin Roosevelt, Jr., as Senator Ives had garnered more than a million more votes than General Eisenhower in the 1952 election.

A political battle was brewing in Delaware, where the Du Pont family, which controlled General Motors, controlled the politics. The family also controlled Du Pont Chemicals, United States Rubber, operated an hydrogen bomb plant and owned half a dozen other industries. It was understood that they were satisfied with the current, likable Democratic Senator, Allen Frear, who was seeking re-election, but were less satisfied with the uncontrollable Republican Senator John Williams, who had been re-elected the previous year. Some of the Democrats, however, were not satisfied with their fellow Democrat, Senator Frear, one of the nicest and least cantankerous members of the Senate, but having attracted little attention in Congress except for voting Republican on certain issues and obtaining the nickname, "pay-toilet Senator". The latter had developed during price-control days during the Korean War, when Senator Frear had introduced a bill permitting railroads to raise the price of pay-toilets from a nickel to a dime, after the Office of Price Stabilization had ruled that they could not. Democrats were trying to draft Justice James Tunnell, Jr., of the Delaware Supreme Court as a candidate. He was the son of a distinguished Democratic Senator who had served during FDR's Administration and was willing to accept a draft. Of the three counties in the state, two had endorsed Judge Tunnell, while only the smallest county, home of Senator Frear, had endorsed him. A lot of money was pouring into Delaware in support of Senator Frear, however, and it was shaping up to be a highly contested battle at the Democratic state convention on August 10. Mr. Pearson notes that Republicans were certain to nominate Representative Herbert Warburton, a liberal Eisenhower Republican and former president of the National Young Republican Federation, but conservative Republicans did not like him.

Doris Fleeson tells of Democrats not being as confident of having an overwhelming victory in the House and a narrow victory in the Senate as they had been a few months earlier, having banked on the low farm prices and general decline in the economy to generate votes for them. They did not even anticipate benefit from the unfortunate trend in the foreign policy, and did not believe it would benefit the President either, that instead it would favor right-wing isolationist Republicans.

Meanwhile, Republicans were increasingly optimistic about their chances of retaining control of both houses.

The most articulate spokesman for the Democrats, Adlai Stevenson, was being urged to undertake great responsibility, as only he and Senator Stuart Symington of Missouri, the latter popular in the South, had been named at the recent governors conference as potential presidential nominees in 1956. But former Governor Stevenson, who was without any public position or national forum, was more inclined to attend to his long neglected law practice.

Two ambitious Governors, G. Mennen Williams of Michigan and Frank Lausche of Ohio, were both in hard campaigns for re-election and their prospects for the Democratic nomination in 1956 would depend on the size and dimensions of their victories, assuming they could be achieved.

Robert C. Ruark provides a succinct letter written by a young friend to his mother from camp, in which he had thanked her for the present, imparted that he was having a lot of fun, that the water was cold and they could not go swimming, that they "whent" fishing but did not catch "anythin". He finds it quite apropos, not embellishing on the summer vacation, suggests that the boy's mother, who was in Europe with his father, write a reply in equally simple terms. He thinks it would be more in keeping with what actually occurred on the average summer vacation, rather than "those windy things you get about the colorful natives and the simply divine time with the Thuggs in Venice." He finds most people turning into "awful liars" by the second day of the vacation and believes that his young friend had started a vogue, which he intends to follow himself by writing a report on his last vacation, guaranteed to curdle the blood, in "simple, short curdles."

A letter writer comments on the Kiwanis Classic All-Star basketball game, which had first occurred the previous March, with its proceeds going to the Spastics Hospital of North and South Carolina. He tells of long time Charlotte resident F. C. Abbott having been in attendance for six months at the Springfield College YMCA training school in 1891, when Dr. James Naismith had invented the game of basketball to provide boys with an indoor sport during the winter and avoid thereby tendencies to engage in troublemaking. In 1892, for the benefit of the health of members of Mr. Abbott's family, Dr. Naismith had sent them to Asheville, and Mr. Abbott then went to Henderson County, and in 1897, with his health recovered, moved to Charlotte, then with 17,000 people, and began a real estate business. He provides the further history of Mr. Abbott, indicates that he was currently 92 and delighted to see the game in which he had played a role in inventing by being on one of the original basketball teams, now becoming very popular and being used for the benefit of spastic children.

A letter writer thanks the newspaper on behalf of the Charlotte Business and Professional Women's Club for helping to make their recent state convention and the previous year of the club a success. She especially thanks Marie Adams, Elizabeth Blair and Tom Fesperman for their reporting efforts.

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