The Charlotte News

Thursday, July 22, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the U.S., Britain and other allies had agreed this date to call an international conference late in August to form a defensive alliance organization designed to protect the non-Communist nations of Southeast Asia against Communist aggression—to become SEATO in September. The U.S. had originally proposed that ten nations make up the proposed organization, the U.S., Britain, France, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, the Philippines and the three Associated States of Indo-China, Viet Nam, Laos and Cambodia. The British had wanted to include as many additional Asian nations as possible, including India, Burma and Pakistan. The nations to be invited to the prospective meeting had yet to be arranged. American officials said privately that even if the three Associated States could not attend under the provisions of the Indo-China truce concluded the previous day, the defensive alliance could still be written so as to protect them, as well as countries such as Thailand, which would be members of SEATO. The participation of Pakistan had also been considered probable, along with India.

The President announced this date that the Government had "made a better showing than expected" in the 1953-54 fiscal year, winding up with just over a three-billion dollar deficit, 250 million dollars less than the President had predicted for the fiscal year in his January budget message, and 6.9 billion less than former President Truman had forecast for the fiscal year in his final budget message of January, 1953. It was 6.4 billion dollars below the deficit for the 1952-53 fiscal year, which had a 9.5 billion dollar deficit. According to the President, Government revenue during the fiscal year had been three billion dollars lower than predicted, because of cuts in taxes, but, he said, the Administration had cut spending by 3.25 billion below what had been forecast, about 2.5 billion of which had been for national security spending, the largest portion of which was in military cuts.

Senate opponents of the Administration's atomic energy legislation continued making speeches to prolong the debate this date, after an all-night session and being beaten badly on a test vote, 56 to 35, which upheld the President's order for a new private power plant in Arkansas, which would have a contract with TVA, pursuant to the contracting authority of the Atomic Energy Commission, to supply power to Memphis. A test vote on an alternative motion, sponsored by Senator Clinton Anderson of New Mexico, had failed by a vote of 55 to 36. Senate Majority Leader William Knowland of California served notice that he would keep the session going into Sunday if necessary to pass the bill, terming the prolonged debate a filibuster, while opponents denied that characterization. The effort was led by Senator Albert Gore of Tennessee, who told newsmen that he would stump the nation to call attention to the "capture of the Eisenhower Administration by the private power trust". Senator Wayne Morse of Oregon, by 10:00 a.m., was still making a speech he had begun at 5:16, speaking to fewer than half a dozen Senators, with Senator Eva Bowring of Nebraska presiding. (As the following week's issue of Life, to which we linked yesterday, depicted the scene, Senator Prescott Bush of Connecticut also presided over the debate for a time the following early Saturday morning.) As Senators Gore and Lister Hill of Alabama were set to follow Senator Morse with speeches, it was unlikely that a final vote on the measure would take place before late this date at the earliest.

A Los Angeles builder told the Senate Banking Committee this date that Federal Housing Administration officials had taught builders how to profit from a postwar Government-backed housing program without putting up any investment, saying that he could not remember the name of the man whom he said came from Washington to provide them that instruction. He said that he had made more than $387,000 on two projects, by keeping the difference in the over-inflated loan proceeds, substantially beyond the actual cost of construction of the projects, and had later sold his interest in them for an additional profit of $125,000. He said that he believed the builders had been promoted in that direction by the FHA and that their hands "were tied", that he wished he had never heard of the FHA officials.

In Washington, Henry Grunewald, reputed Washington wire-puller, was indicted by a Federal grand jury this date on ten counts of perjury, charging that he had repeatedly lied in denying before the grand jury and before a House Ways & Means subcommittee investigating tax scandals that he had engaged in tax-fixing activities during the Truman Administration, facing a possibility of 70 years in prison and $12,000 in fines if convicted on all counts and the sentences were run consecutively. He had previously served 90 days in jail for contempt of Congress and had testified before the grand jury while he served that sentence, that conviction resulting from his refusal in 1952 to provide the House subcommittee anything more than his name when answering its subpoena to testify. His jail sentence had originally been suspended, until it was imposed after he had violated his probationary terms by leaving the jurisdiction of the District of Columbia without permission, after being found with a female companion in a Jersey City, N.J., apartment in August, 1953, both apparently overcome by gas.

In Berlin, it was announced by West Berlin police that Dr. Otto John, the West German chief of the anti-espionage unit of the Federal Republic of Germany, had left a note that he was going to East Berlin with a friend and did not intend to return. It was originally believed that he had been kidnaped. He had gone to Berlin the prior week to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the July 20, 1944 plot to assassinate Hitler, in which Dr. John had participated, and to attend the re-election in the parliament of West German President Theodor Heuss.

In Cranbury, N.J., a large explosion had blown a building to bits at the Unexcelled Chemical Co. plant this date, killing at least three workers and injuring nine others. The company was one of the state's largest fireworks manufacturers but had been working on Government munitions contracts exclusively in recent months. It was the third such explosion in a fireworks manufacturer during the previous week, at least 13 persons having been killed in explosions the previous Friday in Chicago and Chestertown, Md.

In New York, a 19-year old Columbia University student was clinging to life after she had entered a suicide pact with a 19-year old friend, both of whom had sought twice to kill themselves during the week, most recently by turning on kitchen gas after a night of wine drinking, having earlier in the week attempted the same thing, only to have the escaping gas cause a small fire, which the fire department extinguished, the young friend having stated that she was reheating a cake in the oven, the firemen, however, having seen no cake. The young friend, who died in the second attempt, left a note hinting at suicide and a taxi driver said that she had told him Monday of her love of art and that she believed she was a failure, school officials indicating that she had never been happy—subsequent reports correcting that both women had been roommates at Syracuse University. The other student, who was unconscious in the hospital, had left a lengthy note, but her father, a Chicago attorney, told reporters that he did not believe she was part of a suicide pact, that she must have fallen asleep, smelled the gas and tried to turn it off before collapsing. The parents had taken up a vigil at Roosevelt Hospital, where their daughter's condition was improving, though she remained unconscious. She would recover eventually, as reported in mid-January.

Cranberry sauce...

In Union Mills, N.C., an oil tanker truck struck a train this date, producing an explosion and fire which killed one man and seriously injured two others, burning down the railroad station and destroying half a dozen freight and passenger cars. The truck driver had burned to death as horrified spectators observed, unable to reach him for the intense heat. Two rural mail carriers who had attempted to save him were burned when an explosion suddenly threw oil in every direction. There was one passenger car in the train, but it had no passengers aboard, and all members of the train crew had escaped.

Two separate cool fronts advanced across the Northern half of the nation this date, depressing the July heatwave, confining it primarily to the southern Plains states, as 100-plus temperatures continued to occur in Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Texas.

In Long Beach, Calif., Miss South Carolina won the Miss U.S.A. beauty pageant, and would participate in the Miss Universe pageant against 32 other competitors from around the globe. Miriam Stevenson, 21, a senior at Lander College in Greenwood, S.C., is quoted as having said of her crowning, "I cain't believe it." She wanted to get married and have a chance to break into the movies. When asked whether she would lose her Southern accent for her movie contract with Universal-International Studio, part of her winnings, she had answered, "Sho nuff." She had also won a new convertible and several other prizes. The finals of the Miss Universe contest would be the following night. Wish her luck.

Presumably, she was "putting on the dog" for those whom Southerners often encounter outside the South, believing that all Southerners talk that way and wear shoes only when necessary, to dress up for church. For we have never heard anyone actually say, in seriousness, "Sho nuff." Though cain't does sometimes show up among those of the lower socio-economic strata, not intending thereby to sound "stuck up" in the Tar Baby.

On the editorial page, "Will the Free World Learn Its Lesson from Indochina 'Munich of 1954'?" begins by quoting from an editorial by W. J. Cash, which had appeared in The News on September 19, 1938, 11 days prior to the Munich Pact, indicating that giving Czechoslovakia to Hitler would only serve him Eastern Europe "on a platter" and encourage further his megalomania, convincing him that he was "resistless, that the democracies are as decadent and as contemptible as he says they are, and may be safely defied at will." The editorial had indicated that "Bumble", Cash's Dickensian pet name for Britain's then-Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, would get in return an "agreement" under which Germany would engage with him never to attempt to change the boundaries of what would be left of Czechoslovakia, which Cash had reasoned Hitler would not need employment of force to effect under the Pact, as its terms would provide Hitler with control of the Czech economy such that he could make the leaders of Czechoslovakia agree to anything he wished, concluding that "[t]he deal promises nothing but the postponement of war, and places Hitler in a far stronger position to wage it when it comes." (Cash had delivered a similar sentiment eleven days earlier, on September 8, and again on September 17, which had appeared as two of ten Cash editorials chosen for a 1,500-page volume of editorials on the war and other topical subjects during the period 1938-40, from newspapers all over the country, titled What America Thinks, published in 1941.)

The piece indicates that the prior editorial illustrated the parallel between somber events then and presently, that by substituting Europe for Asia and the Communists for Hitler, Indo-China for Czechoslovakia, France for England, the picture emerged of the settlement reached during the week at Geneva, as well as the newspaper's attitude toward it. As in 1938, the U.S. had eased itself away from France and England just before the "coup" had been accomplished by their common adversary. At the earlier time, Secretary of State Cordell Hull had been proclaiming the "moral solidarity" of the Big Three allies, just as Secretary of State Dulles had been doing just prior to the conclusion of the truce at Geneva, with his meeting in Paris with French Premier and Foreign Minister Pierre Mendes-France and Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden of Britain.

After the Munich Pact, President Roosevelt had explained that no agreement had existed between the three powers, just as President Eisenhower, Secretary Dulles and Undersecretary of State Walter Bedell Smith had done during the week with respect to the truce in Indo-China, while stating that future Communist aggression in Southeast Asia would be treated with "grave concern".

It indicates that Indo-China afforded an excellent example of Western errors in Asia and Communist exploitation of same. The French had entered Indo-China in force in 1858, angered by the slaughter of French missionaries, and, within a few years, began colonization, enabling Frenchmen to make fortunes while putting down native aspirations for independence and a better living standard. Not long after the Russian Revolution of 1917, the Bolsheviks had chosen Ho Chi Minh for special study in Moscow, then assigned him to organize the Indo-China Communist Party in 1927. The Allies during World War II had aided Ho in the war against the Japanese occupation of Indo-China, and after the war, when the French returned, they had set up a puppet regime in southern Viet Nam, headed by Emperor Bao Dai, "the Riviera playboy". Native political leadership had been discouraged by the French, and non-Communist nationalist leaders, the type of people with whom the West should have been working, were virtually driven into Ho's sphere.

The truce, it suggests, had purchased time for the West, but at an awful price, as time was cheap to the Communists. The President had said at his press conference of the previous day that he did not believe the Communists wanted war at the present time, the piece indicating that of course they did not as they had no reason to do so, in light of the fact that they were achieving their major goals at the conference table. It asserts that the Communists were inexorably following the pattern formed by Hitler.

It states that it would not be so concerned were the need for drastic shifts in Western policies and international relationships at least recognized, seriously considered and proposed to the national legislatures and the people for their reaction, but that there was only talk of more conferences, more pacts and more guns. It posits that it was not enough and wonders whether the democracies would continue to refuse to profit from their World War II experience with totalitarianism and continue along their separate ways, "seemingly unmindful of the desperate need for common policies and, if you will, a common government for free countries". It wonders whether they would continue to be oblivious to the urgency of guiding the revolution in Asia, instead of permitting it to go by default to the Communists, and whether they might back down again at another Geneva.

Query whether that occurred in the 1973 Paris Peace Accords and the "peace with honor" finally arranged by the Nixon Administration, following Mr. Nixon's promise made in the 1968 presidential campaign of a "secret plan" for ending the Vietnam War, which "secret plan", for some reason, took just over four years, until the 1972 election was safely in the bag, finally to complete, just after inauguration day for the second term. Will wonders never cease? Those of you who credit the Nixon Administration and President Nixon with such wonderful results in foreign policy need, quite frankly, your collective heads examined for possible defect in reasoning capability beyond the end of your nose, that which is put on the plate immediately in front of you to eat, without reference to the rest of the world or its time and place in the grand sweep of history. What, precisely, of any lasting significance, beyond 1975, did his Administration achieve in foreign policy? Detente? "Ping-pong diplomacy"? Think again. Certainly the Paris Peace Accords proved a meaningless debacle by April, 1975, 27 months after the ink was dry.

U.S. participation in the war, itself, we hasten to add, was not in vain, as it communicated to the Communist world the commitment of the U.S. to halting any aggression by the Soviets or Communist China, even if that perception, in the cases of Cuba and Vietnam, were understandably somewhat skewed apparently by the common experience of the times, as the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong were determined to fight against any perceived "imperialist", the Vietminh having formed under Ho in 1941 at the outset of the Japanese occupation of World War II, as was the nationalistic contention of Cuba under Fidel Castro, at least as later related by the leaders of those nations. It also bought time, as had the Korean War, exhausting Communist resources in fighting a war and thus keeping those resources for a time from being utilized in other areas of the world, such as toward Western Europe, while diplomatic channels could be pursued in effecting rapprochement to some degree over time between the Communist world and free world. To that extent, the Nixon Administration only continued the policies of detente, actually begun in earnest during the Kennedy-Johnson Administrations, though attempted without much success during the Eisenhower Administration, the 1960 U-2 incident having caused cancellation of the planned meeting between President Eisenhower and Premier Nikita Khrushchev at Paris in May, planned as follow-up to the meeting at Camp David the prior September, followed up by President Kennedy in 1961 and afterward. But that is for another day to consider more fully, the point being that foreign policy is a continuum, of necessity, from one Administration to the next, at least when practiced responsibly.

Incidentally, the above piece is one of the last editorials to be written for The News by editor Pete McKnight, who would, at the end of the month, go on a leave of absence, which eventually would become permanent, subsequently becoming editor of the Charlotte Observer in 1955. But there will be more on that a week or so down the road.

"A New Economic Boost for Charlotte" discusses the selection of the Charlotte Quartermaster Depot as the site of the first mass-production facility for the Nike guided missile, finding it to have both national and local significance, indicating that military planners had "snapped out of their lethargy" to bolster the continent's sagging anti-aircraft defenses, while locally, the selection would afford a solid boost to the city's economy, as there would be an estimated 1,500 workers at the new facility, and possibly more in the future, compared to 150 at the Depot.

That good news came amid concerns about fluctuations in the labor market, as the previous May, the North Carolina Employment Security Commission had estimated that there were 96,400 people employed in Mecklenburg County, including 80,800 in non-agricultural wage and salary groups, 12,400 self-employed persons, unpaid farm workers and domestics, and 3,200 agricultural workers. Experts believed that total employment had perhaps dipped by as much as 2,000 during the previous few months.

It concludes that the Nike facility would be the first major addition in the manufacturing field in Charlotte in many years, and, even should it subsequently become obsolete, the facilities and assembly lines could conceivably be converted for other aircraft projects. "Then, by extension, Nike might once again become the symbol of success in 'all human undertakings.'"

Now, of course, and for several decades, Nike represents a $100 or more pair of sports shoes, made by exploited slave labor overseas, which proceed to explode on you at critical moments before hitting their target.

"Russell Snook" tells of the sudden death of Mr. Snook, a "worthy citizen" of Charlotte and the Carolinas, whose place would be hard to fill, having contributed to the civic progress of the city and the Carolinas, as well as being known and respected for his business success and integrity. He had been a leader in establishing the annual Carolinas Carrousel, taking place each Thanksgiving in Charlotte, and had worked as president of the Charlotte Merchants Association and, during the current year, as president of the Charlotte Lions Club.

Gordon Gray, president of UNC, presents a portion of his five-year report to Gov. William B. Umstead and members of the Board of Trustees of the Consolidated University, in which he stresses the condition of inadequate preparation of many entering University freshmen, challenging educational policy, stating that there was no right on the part of the University to provide education below generally accepted standards, while also not depriving any young man or woman of college ability the chance to earn a college education, so as not to penalize a student who did not have the opportunity to secure adequate preparation for college, in a state where high schools varied markedly in size, quality and curricular range.

He indicates that roughly 30 percent of the high schools did not teach plane geometry and foreign language, both of which were required for entrance at one or more of the three units of the University, the Chapel Hill campus, N.C. State in Raleigh, and Woman's College at Greensboro. Many of the high schools emphasized vocational rather than college preparatory courses and many students of great native ability were not as well-prepared as they might have been by dint of family and community situations, students to which the University could not shut its doors.

He encourages generally accepted college and university standards for work by University students, while also admitting many students who were not fully prepared to measure up immediately to those standards, affording them the opportunity to remedy the gap.

Each year, between a fourth and a third of the high school graduates of the state who attended college entered one of the three institutions of the University, with most of the remainder attending in-state schools. He thus believes it a proper question for consideration by the North Carolina College Conference.

He stresses that between 60 and 70 percent of the entering freshmen were either adequately or very well prepared for college work at the time they enrolled, having had good schooling and reflecting annual progress within the public school system.

There was a need, in the first place, for adequate primary schools, which needed well-trained teachers and administrators, and thinking had to be adjusted to that overall concept, as the three University faculties had stated. They had also indicated that the University had lost contact and rapport with the elementary and secondary schools, while scolding the lower schools and persisting in aloofness, finding that sins of omission were predominant in that regard on the part of the University. The faculties had recommended that the schools of education and subject-matter departments reach better understanding and pool their efforts to supply teachers, services and materials for the primary and secondary schools, that socially minded, superior students be guided into teaching, with intelligent placement, follow-up and replacement as growth took place, that regular staff members in pertinent University departments would be freed to teach from time to time in off-campus centers and to work with teachers on the job, thus taking the University campus to the school and bringing the school problems back to the campus to leaven the campus courses, that pamphlets be produced by the three faculties to be used by the public school teachers in solving critical problems such as intelligence guidance or school government, that kinescopes, films, slides, recordings and the like be produced in appropriate subject matter areas for use in the elementary and secondary schools, that institutes, clinics and demonstrations be arranged for the service of teachers, that subject matter departments would report the grades of students to the high schools from which the students came, and that a committee would be appointed from members of the three faculties and charged with the task of studying, in cooperation with the State Department of Public Instruction, the problems of teacher education and certification.

Mr. Gray also indicates efforts by the University to be of assistance to the State Department of Public Instruction in establishing a state-wide testing program in the public schools, measuring the progress of the students, enabling comparison of them to other students across the nation. He recognizes that tests were only one measure of capacity and knowledge and had to be used in connection with other factors.

Drew Pearson suggests that members of Congress who were planning to give atomic secrets to private industry under the President's proposed new atomic energy act take a look at the records of the Justice Department and the Senate to see what private industry had done in the past with important secrets, that they would find that the record, as shown by the Truman Committee and Munitions Committee, demonstrated that potential enemies obtained access to priceless military secrets, some of which were the property of the Government. He provides several examples, beginning in 1914 and proceeding through World War II and afterward. While it was to be hoped that U.S. industrialists had attained a higher standard of ethics, atomic energy secrets which would be provided them under the bill were the most valuable in the world, having cost the taxpayers 12 billion dollars to develop.

The basic trouble with the Federal Housing Administration was the fact that the agency had been set up by the builders and realtors, administered by them and run for their benefit. Mr. Pearson asserts that Democrats deserved plenty of criticism for that setup, but it was no reason for the Republicans to repeat the same mistake. Yet under the new proposals of the Administration, such could take place, with the proposed health insurance bill, which had recently been defeated by the Democrats, having been set to operate on the same principle as the housing administration, with Government guarantees, which had produced irresponsible loans in the housing field and "would probably make for irresponsible loans in the health field". Likewise, under the President's order to the Atomic Energy Commission to subsidize a private utility for 25 years, at the end of which period the private utility would own the plant built under Government contract and guarantee, while the Government had paid the taxes for the private company, the same kind of irresponsibility could occur.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop tell of the Pentagon having convincing evidence that the Soviets were producing an efficient guided missile, capable of being fitted with an atomic or hydrogen warhead, in quantity, and with enough range to hit any U.S. overseas airbase, except those in Spain and the Mediterranean. There also appeared to be evidence of a larger Soviet guided missile, with a range of 1,800 miles, which would bring U.S. trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific airbases within its range. Recently, information had been received of a large order placed in Eastern Europe for special rail cars, apparently designed to transport missiles of the larger, longer-range type, suggesting that those missiles were entering production in quantity.

The Alsops suggest that, in light of that intelligence, the type of information being fed to the American people by its leaders, and which most Americans believed, was so much "fiddle-faddle", citing a statement from the Joint Congressional Committee's report on the new atomic energy bill, that "America's preponderance in atomic weapons can serve emphatic notice on the Soviet dictators that any attempt … to push further anywhere into the free world, would be foredoomed to failure." They emphasize that the words had been written when the Soviet dictators were finishing their most successful push in Indo-China. The implication that large numbers of atomic and hydrogen bombs would always provide the U.S. control in the world struggle simply did not obtain in the face of the facts, that the atomic and hydrogen bomb stockpiles were only one part of the balance of air-atomic power, as such bombs without capability of being delivered were merely "expensive toys".

Nearly a year had passed since the Soviets had tested their first hydrogen bomb with a lithium hydride core, capable of being produced with rapidity and in large numbers. There was no doubt that the Soviets already had enough atomic bombs to cause terrible destruction in the U.S. and, within between 18 months and three years, would have a sufficient stockpile of both atomic and hydrogen bombs to be classified as plentiful. They would also have the two guided missiles with long range to go with them, placing approximately 60 percent of the U.S. Strategic Air Command bases within range.

SAC, commanded by General Curtis LeMay, had been planned to be just large enough to do its job from the overseas bases, and the previous year, the Administration had reduced the growth of SAC on the basis that it did not need extra long-range air groups. The force presently relied on its super medium-range bomber, the B-47, but those would only be able to reach Soviet targets from American bases via the time-consuming and dangerous process of double air-refueling, causing them to be able to run only about 40 percent as many sorties as they could from overseas bases, effectively cutting the number of available aircraft.

Marquis Childs, in Geneva, indicates that Premier Mendes-France had to make up in a hurry the tragic errors of policy to which successive French Governments had clung for years, both before and after World War II, down to the present. It was not only the outcome in Indo-China which concerned him, but also the situation in North Africa, where terrorism was daily increasing. As a result, the Premier had brought to Geneva those members of his Cabinet most concerned with the North African crisis, conferring at length with the minister of Tunisian and Moroccan affairs and the president of the Assembly of the French Union. Should the Premier not stay in office long, he was aware that his successor would have to deal immediately with the rising tide of revolt within the African colonies. He wanted to give the Moroccan and Tunisian nationalists enough independence that they would be persuaded to remain within the French Union as autonomous states. He had thus met in Paris with the Tunisian nationalist, Habib Bourguiba, who was imprisoned on the tiny Atlantic island of Groix, to discuss statehood for Tunis within the framework of a French Confederation.

Premier Mendes-France had realized for a very long time that unless steps were taken to satisfy reasonable demands for independence, all would be lost. The economic ties with North Africa were considered vital to the French economy, and if they were abruptly severed, it would be a blow from which France would be long in recovering. The Premier had also been aware of the urgent need for reforms in Indo-China so that the peoples of the three Associated States would understand that they were fighting not for a colonial power but for their own statehood.

Former Emperor of Viet Nam, Bao Dai, currently the French-backed head of state, still lived on the Riviera, and the new Government of Viet Nam under Prime Minister Ngo Dinh Diem, represented scarcely more than a change of faces "in the long charade" which had never really concealed the fact that the Vietnamese Governments had been "uneasy and often unwilling puppets of France."

The most which the Premier had hoped to obtain in the last days of desperate negotiation in Geneva was a promise that the governments of the Associated States, each of which was represented by a delegation in Geneva, would not upset the settlement which he hoped to obtain from the Communists. His last-minute negotiations with the Cambodian delegation served as example, during which he had begged them to make an unilateral declaration to the effect that they would accept a status of neutrality to the extent that no foreign power could establish bases on their territory, indicating that French instructors could enter Cambodia, whereas Communist Chinese Premier and Foreign Minister Chou En-lai had already told them that they could have British instructors but under no circumstances, American instructors.

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