The Charlotte News

Friday, July 23, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the prolonged debate led by Senators Albert Gore of Tennessee, Wayne Morse of Oregon and Clinton Anderson of New Mexico, in opposition to the President's use of Atomic Energy Commission contracting authority for construction of commercial power plants, in particular to provide a contract for one company out of Arkansas to provide power for Memphis, continued this date. Senator Bourke Hickenlooper of Iowa, floor manager for a bill which would ban use of AEC funds for construction of commercial power plants, was bucking Republican leaders who were seeking desperately to end the talkathon, for which the Democrats and Senator Morse had resisted the label "filibuster", applied to it by Majority Leader William Knowland of California. The debate had begun at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday. Senators Gore and Anderson charged that Senator Hickenlooper's move was an effort to torpedo the major victory they and other critics of the original bill had won the previous day, and said that if that amendment were pressed, debate would be prolonged. By a 45 to 41 vote the previous day, the Senate had adopted an amendment which would authorize the Federal Government to go into the commercial production of atomic power, which the opponents of the original bill counted as a victory in preventing private power monopoly. Senator Anderson believed that the amendment would nullify the previous Senate decision to allow contracting between the AEC and private utilities. Senator Knowland made a formal move to limit debate, but there was little optimism among Republicans that it would succeed. By Senate rules, a vote on the petition for cloture could not be heard until Sunday morning and Senator Knowland believed a vote, requiring 64 votes for cloture, would not occur before Monday.

In the House, consideration began of its atomic energy bill, with Representative Sterling Cole of New York, chairman of the Joint Congressional Committee on Atomic Energy, stating that the House would avoid the Senate example. In the House, each side was limited to two hours of debate, but it could be stretched indefinitely by parliamentary procedures permitting individual five-minute speeches. Representative Chet Holifield of California and other Democrats had prepared a list of more than 30 amendments which they planned to introduce while carrying on the opposition of their Senate colleagues.

Before the Senate Banking Committee investigating the Federal Housing Administration scandals, a New York builder testified this date that he had profited from erecting apartments with Government-insured loans, acknowledging that in 1949, he had refused to indicate before HUAC whether his wife was a member of the Communist Party, as she had also refused to testify. He said that he had obtained $367,000 in profits from construction of the Atlantic Gardens and Chesapeake Gardens developments in southeast Washington.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported this date that rising grocery prices had forced the cost of living up by one-tenth of a percent during June, the second increase in as many months, moving the cost-of-living index close to its peak set the previous October, now at 115.1 percent of the 1947-49 average, while the record had been set at 115.4 percent. The June level was a half percent higher than a year earlier and 13.1 percent higher than the June, 1950 level, just prior to the start of the Korean War. Food prices had risen four-tenths of one percent during the month, mainly because of higher prices for fresh fruits, some vegetables and coffee. Egg, milk and meat prices remained stable, as had most other consumer items.

In Washington, a 14-year old black boy was named a page to the Supreme Court, to begin his duties at the start of the next term on October 4. The appointment had been approved by Chief Justice Earl Warren.

In Hong Kong, it was reported that a British passenger airliner with one of its four engines on fire had crashed this date near the Chinese Communist island of Hainan, and eight of the eighteen persons aboard had been rescued, with the fate of the missing being in doubt.

In Phenix City, Ala., the National Guard was enforcing the law under an unprecedented order issued by Governor Gordon Persons, who had sent in truckloads of National Guardsmen to relieve local law enforcement officials of their weapons and their duties the previous day, after declaring qualified martial law, the first municipality in Alabama's history so treated. The community, known for its shady nightclubs and gambling dens, located across the Chattahoochee River from Columbus, Ga., and Fort Benning, had erupted five weeks earlier when the incoming Attorney General, A. L. Patterson, had been assassinated in an alley below his law office. The Governor said that he was invoking martial law to "suppress the state of lawlessness, intimidation, tumult and fear which reigns" in Russell County, and that the local law enforcement officers had been either "unable or unwilling" to control the community. City and County law enforcement officers, along with private citizens, were ordered to surrender all firearms and other weapons to the military command of the Guard. As nightfall came the previous day, the once crowded streets were almost deserted, and before midnight, Guardsmen had arrested five persons on charges of being drunk, a usual arrest rate under normal circumstances for the community. Twenty-seven firearms of various types had been collected from the 25-man police force, eight from the police chief, including seven revolvers and a machine gun. Governor Persons said that he hoped that his action would reduce fear of reprisals by witnesses called before an emergency grand jury which had been empaneled on Wednesday to investigate the slaying of Mr. Patterson and other wrongdoing brought to light during the investigation to find the assassin. The circuit solicitor had been relieved of all official duties and the circuit judge had been replaced for the grand jury probe with another circuit judge from Montgomery, who was president of the Alabama Bar Association. The Governor promised to maintain martial law in operation in the town indefinitely, if necessary, even for the remainder of his Administration, which would expire the following January.

In Cleveland, O., Dr. Sam Sheppard was returning to the witness stand to testify in the Coroner's inquest this date regarding the murder of his wife during the early morning hours of July 4—this being the first reference to the incident in The News, though other papers in the state had carried the original story on July 5. Dr. Sheppard had spent nearly two hours testifying the previous day, the first day of the inquest. He told a story similar to that which he had related to authorities originally, that after having dinner with his wife and a couple with whom they were friends, he had fallen asleep on the living room couch, then was awakened in the early morning hours by a scream from his wife calling out his name, correcting in his testimony that it was not actually a scream, but something which he could not explain. He then had run upstairs to the bedroom, where he grappled with "a white form of an individual", heard his wife moaning loudly and then felt someone strike him from behind. He had lost consciousness for a period of time and then regained consciousness and saw a "figure in the front door, or on the porch, or possibly beyond", whereupon he pursued the form as best he could, trying to tackle the fleeing suspect, and then "felt twisted or choked", then again being rendered unconscious. He related that he had spent a week the previous March in Los Angeles as the guest of a doctor while taking a postgraduate osteopathic course, at a time when a 23-year old medical technician from California, for whom he subsequently purchased a watch, was a house guest. He explained that the watch had been a replacement for one she had lost while she had attended a wedding in San Diego. At the time, his wife, Marilyn, who was four months pregnant at the time of death, had been staying with friends at a ranch near Monterey, approximately 300 miles north of Los Angeles. Dr. Sheppard denied that there had been difficulties over his staying at the doctor's house in Los Angeles. The couple who had dinner with the Sheppards the night of the murder, Mr. and Mrs. Don Ahern, also testified, Mrs. Ahern stating, as set forth in the subsequent trial transcript during defense counsel's cross-examination at pages 635-636 and also during direct examination at pages 551-555, that Mrs. Sheppard had told her the prior April about the purchase of the watch for the medical technician in California and that she had asked Mrs. Sheppard whether she was upset by it and whether there was anything to it, quoting Mrs. Sheppard as replying that she did not think that there was. At this point in time, no one had been charged in the murder, though police, privately, as subsequent events would show, were considering Dr. Sheppard as the prime suspect. As pictured, the doctor wore a neck brace for the injury he said he had sustained from the murderer striking him in the back of the neck. Originally, he had spent several days in the hospital recovering from his injuries, which included bruises and lacerations to his face and a swollen shut right eye, plus at least subjective indicators of blunt-force trauma to the rear of his neck and injury to his second cervical vertebra.

As previously noted, on July 4, a small item had appeared in the Dayton Daily News regarding Dr. Sheppard, on July 3, having initially revived and then lost during surgery a small boy, 18 months old, after his head had been crushed beneath a utility company truck, which the doctor described at the 1954 trial as having been especially trying physically and emotionally, occurring at between around noon and 1:00, approximately 14 to 16 hours before his wife's death estimated by the Coroner to have occurred between 3:00 and 5:00 a.m., the surgical experience having taken away his appetite both at lunch and dinner.

The local Cleveland press coverage of the murder, which would later figure prominently in the 1966 Supreme Court reversal of the late 1954 conviction of Dr. Sheppard, depriving him of a fair trial, especially that of the Cleveland Press, which, after the inquest, openly advocated the doctor's arrest, may be accessed here. The transcript of the July 22-26 inquest is available here.

In St. Louis, the sheriff's office announced that a Texan wanted in the "dresser drawer" slaying of an 18-year old girl in Indianapolis, had been arrested shortly before noon this date, picked up by a deputy on U.S. Highway 66 near the city. Police said they were convinced that the man in custody had registered under an assumed name in Indianapolis in the hotel room where the girl's body had been found, that he had been carrying a loaded .32-caliber automatic pistol inside a money bag wrapped in newspapers when arrested. Deputies said that they recognized him by descriptions of the yellow sports shirt and blue trousers he was wearing. The suspect provided no statement immediately and officers said that he would not state whether he had been in Indianapolis. They arrested him when he could not produce any identification, saying that he had lost his papers.

Moreover, he was walking along Route 66...

In Baltimore, the father of a seven-year old girl who had been kidnaped and slain two weeks earlier in Miami, said this date that he agreed with Miami police, that her killer would be found "among their own pet perverts in Miami who are treated so tenderly." He told the Baltimore News-Post that an arrest was expected in the case within the ensuing 24 hours, that a search was underway for a man who had been questioned several days earlier and then disappeared. Two Miami sheriff's investigators had said in an interview that they had given up on the theory that the girl had been the victim of a sex maniac, that instead they believed it had been a kidnaping for ransom which had gone wrong, resulting in the murder. They believed that she had been taken by someone whom she recognized and was familiar with the family and the Miami home of her maternal grandparents, from which she had disappeared. The father, an attorney, said that the theory was ridiculous, as neither he nor his wife had very much money, that he was struggling to build his law practice, and knew of no "sadistic perverts" in labor, having been the head of a local UAW affiliate prior to entering law school. He said further that he had not known until two days before he went to Florida that he was going, and thus no kidnaper could have known in advance that his daughter would be at her grandparents' home.

In Miami, a diver was on his way to becoming the first man to spend 25 hours under water in a diving suit, having camped overnight on the ocean floor, planning to come to the surface in mid-afternoon, with two boats standing by above. He ate by removing his breathing tube briefly and then taking a bite, slept in a hammock, had a hot water bottle filled with hot soup and a spear gun in case of sharks and barracuda.

In Santa Monica, Calif., actress Kathleen Hughes, 25, and film producer Stanley Rubin, 36, obtained a marriage license the previous day and said that they would be wed the following Sunday. Everyone is invited.

On the editorial page, "Medicine for Midtown's Ailing Heart" tells of the need for remedying the problem of Southern Railway track crossings causing bottlenecks to build up in traffic in midtown Charlotte, that Southern had committed itself to pay 1.25 million dollars as a one-fourth share of the project's total cost, and that there was need for matching funds from State or Federal sources to supplement City and railroad funds to begin the work on the first phase.

We hope they get that done.

"Better Liaison Needed in Education" comments on the statement on the page the previous day by UNC president Gordon Gray, in his report to the Board of Trustees of the Consolidated University and to the Governor, providing the facts regarding faculty complaints on unprepared freshmen entering the three branches of the University and making recommendations for remedy of that problem at the primary and secondary school levels. It finds that in his report, Mr. Gray had not used the "gobbledygook" so often heard from professional educators in putting forth the position of the college or university, saying that the University had no right to provide an education which was below generally accepted standards, while also needing to provide young men and women of college ability the opportunity to earn a college education, without penalizing those who had not had the opportunity of adequate preparation because of deficient standards of local primary and secondary schools.

While the University had set up a temporary solution through offering remedial courses for entering freshmen, which would be without credit toward graduation, the overall problem of addressing the gap at the lower schools was the focus of Mr. Gray, admitting that the University system had a major responsibility in that respect, that public education from kindergarten through graduate school was interrelated, and that good schools and good teachers and administrators were needed at all levels, that the liaison between the University and the lower schools had to be improved before public education could be improved generally.

"Attlee Had a Point Worth Raising" indicates that the leader of the British Labor opposition, former Prime Minister Clement Attlee, was often attacked in the press and by Congress as nearly being a Communist whenever he disagreed with Prime Minister Churchill on foreign policy. The previous year, Mr. Attlee's charge, in a debate with Mr. Churchill, that the Eisenhower Administration had its hands tied in Korea because of "elements in the U.S. that do not want peace", had prompted a great stir in the American press, as had Mr. Attlee's call for the seating of Communist China in the U.N. after an armistice, as well as after he had made some remarks against Senator McCarthy. Typical of the Congressional response had been Representative Dewey Short, who indicated that Congress was "tired of taking dictation from the so-called allies." Majority Leader William Knowland said that in view of the remarks: "We must be prepared to go it alone. So be it!"

Following the most recent debate, Mr. Attlee was chastised for his remarks about Guatemala, with one newspaper accusing him of either "vindictive hostility" toward the U.S. or an "incredible ignorance" after he had said in Commons that the recent revolution had been a "plain aggression" by the U.S., when, in actuality, he had said that it was a "plain matter of aggression, and one cannot take one line on aggression in Asia and another line in Central America", expressing shock at the "joy and approval" of Secretary of State Dulles at the success of the coup in Guatemala. He had not intimated that the U.S. had been the aggressor, although he could have truthfully indicated that the U.S. had provided aid to the insurgents. He had made it clear that he had no sympathy with the ousted Government, but that what concerned him was the duality of attitude of the free world toward aggression, depending on whose friends were getting hurt. It concludes that the free world had hopefully not become so cynical and so unmindful of the U.N.'s high purpose of restraining aggression that the question should be left unraised.

A piece from the Gastonia Gazette, titled "A Slight Oversight", provides a hypothetical obituary which is best read rather than summarized, including such things as that the deceased played a little golf, but never more than nine holes, never smoked or drank, never lost his temper, had eight hours of sleep every night, was survived by 17 specialists, six psychiatrists, four health farms, three gymnasiums, and several manufacturers of health foods and antiseptics, but concluding: "He had forgotten that cars don't stop on green lights."

It never indicates that he read The News, however—oh boy.

Mary Hornaday, writing in the Christian Science Monitor, indicates that in the wake of the Federal Housing Administration speculation scandals, people were turning to a successful experiment in New York City in consumer-sponsored non-profit housing, that is housing co-ops, most of which across the country were co-ops in name only, catering to wealthier tenants. She proceeds to explain the New York City experiment, which had begun 3 1/2 years earlier with the construction of Queensview, a seven million dollar project, located 20 minutes from Times Square, in Astoria, Long Island, where, after a down payment of $2,500 to $3,500, a tenant had average carrying charges of only $75 per month for a two-bedroom apartment, including gas and electricity.

Problems of integration had been avoided, as the Queensview board of directors made it clear from the beginning that black families would be admitted on the same basis as white families. There were only a dozen black families, however, among the 728 families in the co-op, as they were the only ones who could meet the financial requirements.

That begins to sound like de facto segregation.

She concludes that the FHA scandals pointed to the need for more attention on that "middle way" competition, from which the public would gain.

A piece from the Moose Jaw Times-Herald of Saskatchewan, tells of the annual exhibition in Moose Jaw typically resulting in the picnic being postponed because of rain. The popular ice cream cone was celebrating its 50th anniversary, having originated at the World's Fair in St. Louis in 1904, at the Centennial of the Louisiana Purchase, at which someone had bought a penny waffle, twisted it into a cornucopia, filled it with ice cream, giving birth to the cone. It quickly caught on and St. Louis remained one of the greatest ice cream cone production centers in the world, was one of the few places where one could obtain an old-fashioned cake cone. The cone had spread to all parts of North America, and eventually to Latin America, Japan and Europe. Cones were of two types, the rolled cone, a modification of the original waffle, and the cake cone, which was baked in a mold. Handmade in early days, cones were now produced by machinery.

The questions, of course, for the au courant, are who twisted Roy Cohn and did he waffle. In any event, never consume a butterscotch sundae on a Monday.

Drew Pearson indicates that 18 months earlier, the most dashing and debonair Governor to arrive in Washington for the inauguration had been Texas Governor Allan Shivers, a Democrat, who had supported General Eisenhower during the 1952 campaign, helping to swing Texas for a Republican presidential candidate for only the second time in history, thus being granted an honored place at the inauguration. Now, in contrast, the Governor faced the fight of his life to be renominated in Texas for a fourth term. Texans were reluctant to elect any Governor to run for four terms, and segregation was another issue which had backfired against Governor Shivers in a peculiar way because President Eisenhower had given his support to the desegregation decision of the Supreme Court, after which Governor Shivers had begun making strong statements for continued segregation and against Brown v. Board of Education. Then it leaked that the Governor's eldest son had been attending one of the few non-segregated schools in Texas, a parochial school in Austin.

There had also been a revelation that the Governor had made a profit of $425,000 on a land deal, reported by Mr. Pearson in October, 1952, but ignored by the Texas newspapers at the time, until the current spring when the Governor's primary opponent, Ralph Yarborough, forced attention on it from court records, showing that Lloyd Bentsen, father of the Texas Congressman of the same name—who, after becoming a Senator, would become the vice-presidential nominee for the Democrats in 1988 with Governor Michael Dukakis, and, later, in 1993, would become Secretary of the Treasury in the Clinton Administration—, had provided Governor Shivers, when he had been Lieutenant Governor, an option on 13,000 acres of highly speculative land in the Rio Grande Valley for $25,000, and six months later, Mr. Bentsen had arranged for the repurchase of the option for $450,000, waiting just long enough to repurchase the option to allow Mr. Shivers to pay only the lower capital gains tax on his $425,000 of profit. Meanwhile, the Bentsens were anxious to obtain precious water and irrigation rights in order to sell a big development scheme, making the arrangement appear as a political bribe. Texans did not like it.

Another problem for the Governor was that a former campaign manager had received $1,000 per month from a discredited insurance company, which should have been put out of business by the Texas Insurance Commission, but was temporarily maintained in business, thanks to the influence of the former campaign manager.

All of those facts, Mr. Pearson indicates, were now known to Texans, but what was not generally known was that an insurance official who had known about certain insurance companies from the inside, had presented the facts to both present-Senator Price Daniel, then Attorney General, as early as July 20, 1952, and later to Governor Shivers on April 1, 1953, never receiving any answer, possibly because the former campaign manager was embroiled in the insurance problem. The same person had been appointed by the Governor to a $8,400 per year executive secretarial position with the Good Neighbor Commission, but found it more profitable to resign in 1951 and set up his own public relations firm, which had handled public relations for the group known as "Democrats for Eisenhower" during the 1952 campaign, also thanks to the influence of Governor Shivers.

Mr. Pearson concludes that some Texas voters recalled the Governor having stated during the 1952 campaign that, "Instead of the American Eagle as our emblem, we have the fur-bearing mink, the deep-freeze and the red herring," a swipe at the Truman Administration internal scandals involving officials' receipt of gifts in exchange for exertion of influence, and the President's alleged statement about the HUAC investigation into Alger Hiss and Whittaker Chambers in August, 1948 being a "red herring", the President having corrected the previous January that misimpression through Mr. Pearson.

Doris Fleeson tells of Senator John Sherman Cooper of Kentucky being the only Republican from the Tennessee Valley area and facing a tough fight for re-election in the fall against former Vice-President Alben Barkley, while being confronted with the President's controversial executive order that TVA make a contract with a private utility, via the Atomic Energy Commission's contracting authority, to supply electricity for Memphis. That position isolated Senator Cooper from his fellow Republicans, with the exception of Senator William Langer of North Dakota and former Republican, turned independent, Senator Wayne Morse of Oregon. Otherwise, Democrats were the only Senators opposing the President's order.

Politicians wanted to know how someone aligned with the President, as Senator Cooper was, could find himself in such a predicament without having been consulted prior to the issuance of the order. As a result, the Senator had gone to the White House to plead with chief of staff Sherman Adams and Budget director Roland Hughes for explanations or adjustments of the order, or at least postponement of it until after the election, but got nowhere. At that point, Senator Cooper joined the Democrats in fighting the order and the contract.

Democrats charged that the contract, itself, was rigged in favor of one bidder and was improvident, that the President was misusing the 25-year contracting authority of the AEC to help a private utility raise funds, while that utility would have to put up less than ten percent of the capital, that it was an underhanded assault on the foundations of TVA.

The predicament of Senator Cooper provided former Vice-President Barkley with an ideal situation in the coming election. The problem appeared to stem from the guest lists of the Eisenhower stag dinners, which were loaded with tycoons from New York who dominated utility boards of directors, while the other problem was Mr. Adams, a former Governor of New Hampshire, who had suffered while cheap TVA power and low wages had attracted textile industries from New England to the South during the Roosevelt-Truman Administrations. The only region of the country which could not obtain public power was the Northeast, and their leaders had for a long time blocked the St. Lawrence Seaway, until the present session of Congress. Senators not on the side of Senator Cooper were uneasy about the manner in which the matter had developed, were wary of "invisible government at the White House", knowing from experience that it cut both ways.

The Congressional Quarterly addresses the battle between rigid and flexible price supports for the farmers, but indicates that the real keys to the farm income problem was probably in the commodity set-aside, diverted acreage, storage facilities, and surplus disposal. Flexible supports, as supported by the Administration, would rise as supply declined and vice versa. Some commodities had large surpluses which would squeeze supports close to the minimum under a fully flexible formula, whereas supply did not affect rigid supports.

Under the pending set-aside, however, up to 2.5 billion dollars worth of surpluses would be counted out of price-support computations when statisticians applied the flexible formula. Wheat, for example, without a set-aside, would go close to the minimum support level of 75 percent of parity, under the Administration's proposal for the flexible formula—though the House had recently passed a floor of 82.5 percent. But with the proposed set-aside, up to 500 million bushels of the surplus wheat would not be included, cutting the downward squeeze on supports approximately in half, meaning that wheat would actually be supported at about the 80 percent level, assuming a 75 percent floor, higher under the House-passed bill. Other than wheat, the Administration would permit set-asides of cotton, cotton-seed oil, butter, non-fat dry milk solids and cheese. The House bill would add corn. The President had proposed the set-aside as part of his policy of gradualism in converting to flexibility from rigid supports at 90 percent of parity, to avoid sharp adjustments for the farmers. Although the set-aside would prevent flexible supports from having much immediate effect, the Administration had fought hard against rigid supports.

Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson had said that he would be satisfied to make a start toward flexibility.

John Lynn of the American Farm Bureau Federation had said that the set-aside was just a gadget, that it would help to achieve a semblance of flexibility while easing the transition. Some opponents of the set-aside apparently believed there were ulterior motives at work, with Representative W. R. Poage of Texas telling the House on June 30 that the Secretary's position was that he was willing for the farmers to get 90 percent without admitting that it was right, and that the set-aside was a face-saving device. Representative Harold Cooley of North Carolina referred to the set-aside as "fanciful, foolish, and fraudulent and fallacious", afflicting the nation with a type of amnesia or blindness, pretending that the Government did not have 2.5 billion dollars worth of commodities in storage.

The Government would seek to insulate the set-aside, so that it would not affect the market, but both sides indicated that the 2.5 billion dollars worth of surpluses could not be sealed off completely. Representative Karl King of Pennsylvania said that the set-aside could not be removed as a depressing factor in the market, "unless it were set aside at the bottom of the sea".

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