The Charlotte News

Saturday, July 24, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Administration, based on statements made by Secretary of State Dulles late the previous day at a press conference, had reached two basic conclusions regarding the Indo-China peace settlement at Geneva, that if the U.S. and its allies acted quickly and decisively, they could take military, political and economic measures which ought save the rest of Indo-China from Communist conquest either by new, open aggression or by subversion, and that just because Russia and Communist China had agreed to an Indo-China settlement, it did not afford the basis for belief that the Communists would now be amenable to desirable settlements regarding Korea, Germany and Austria, or to disarmament and control of nuclear weapons, despite the Russians having said at the conclusion of the Geneva conference that they would like future conferences on those issues. The Secretary stated that the settlement was not one which the U.S. liked, but reflected the military reality of the situation, in which the French forces had been losing and the Vietminh troops winning the war. He said that the important thing henceforth was not to mourn the past but seize the future opportunity to prevent the loss of North Vietnam from leading to the extension of Communism throughout Southeast Asia and the Southwest Pacific. He urged the free nations to work together in that region and form a defensive pact.

Senate Majority Leader William Knowland had pleaded this date with the Senate to work out some "reasonable formula" by which to end the round-the-clock debate regarding the atomic energy bill. The House had completed all of its work except formal voting on the House version of the measure early this date, but there was no sign of a break in the Senate, where debate had been ongoing for ten days in what Senator Knowland referred to as a "full-fledged filibuster", a label resisted by the Democratic leaders of the prolonged debate anent the President's executive order that the Atomic Energy Commission, pursuant to its contracting authority, form a contract between TVA and an Arkansas private utility company to supply power for part of Memphis. Senator Knowland said that he had conferred with the President the previous day and that the latter wanted the Senate to push ahead with the legislation, and to come up with some formula by which the deadlock could be ended. Previously, the Senator had said that there would be no compromise, and did not indicate what now would be acceptable. The Senate was now in its 74th hour of continuous session, with the exception of a couple of agreed recesses to take up other business, with the planned adjournment for the midterm elections set for a week from this date. Senator Knowland conceded that he would probably lack the 64 votes needed for cloture of the debate on Monday. He said that unless an agreement was reached, the Senate would remain in session until about midnight this date, then would take a recess for Sunday and resume day and night sessions at 10:00 a.m. on Monday until a vote on the bill would occur. He vowed that if he had to stay there until winter, he would do so to see that the Senate had an opportunity to operate as a "great legislative body". The record for continuous session had been set in 1915, at 54 hours, 10 minutes.

Senator McCarthy was angry this date, saying that he no longer would ask the Pentagon to approve any of his aides for access to secret information, following the Defense Department having refused again to clear a McCarthy appointee to the staff of his Senate Investigations subcommittee for access to classified documents or to explain the reasons for withholding the clearance. The person in question said that he believed the refusal of clearance came from FBI reports about a Secret Service role he had played in 1943 in investigating an alleged plot against President Roosevelt, that he had performed a role as a playboy so well that it had been misunderstood by investigators. He said that he had a letter from the head of the Secret Service to back up his story that he had gone to Hyde Park to play the role of a playboy to try to obtain information on the alleged plot. He said that his brief association 18 years earlier as a law student with the American Law Students Association, a group which Senator McCarthy had called leftist and sympathetic to Communism, might also have been a reason for denying his security clearance. He also speculated that an automobile accident in which he had been involved at age 17 might have supplied a reason. (Not unless the accident occurred while you were driving the vehicle at the time into a Government building containing classified documents.) This individual and one other on the staff were the only two who had been refused clearance, while a third such person had been switched from the subcommittee staff to the Senator's own office payroll. The Senator said that after the staff member had provided a sworn statement in a closed subcommittee hearing the previous day, the subcommittee had agreed, without formal vote, to retain him on staff, but to assign him to work in which he would not have access to classified documents unless and until he received clearance.

In Hong Kong, a British Skymaster airliner carrying 18 persons, reported the previous day to have crashed, had actually been shot down off the Communist Chinese island of Hainan, and Britain this date instructed its charge d'affaires in Peiping to protest the attack. The British Foreign Office said that the two aircraft which attacked the plane could not have come from anywhere other than Hainan. Eight of the 18 aboard had been rescued. The pilot had indicated in formal statements that the airliner had been attacked by two fighter planes, the markings of which he could not distinguish and the pilots of which he could not see. There was no explanation as to why he had not initially mentioned the attack in his distress signal of the previous day. The chief stewardess for the airline said that bullets had been removed this date from two of the eight survivors picked up by a U.S. Air Force rescue plane, and two doctors said that one man suffered what might have been a bullet wound but that no bullets had been recovered. A bank official whose wife was rescued, said that a bullet had struck a glancing blow above her ear. He quoted her as saying bullets had spattered among the passengers and that unquestionably a number had been hit.

In West Berlin, a customs guard said that West Germany's missing security chief, Dr. Otto John, had told him the prior Tuesday night at the border with East Germany that he was going behind the Iron Curtain voluntarily. The guard said that Dr. John and a companion, Dr. Wolfgang Wohlgemuth, told him that they were going to the Charity Hospital. Police said that they believed the guard. West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer had ordered a sweeping loyalty investigation of West German officials who were friendly with Dr. John. Since 1950, he had headed the West German Government bureau charged with safeguarding the Republic against subversive activities. Allied officials admitted that they might be forced to revise their intelligence networks as a result of the apparent defection.

In St. Louis, the 32-year old Texas man who had been found by two St. Louis County deputy sheriffs walking on Route 66 the previous day, admitted to being the "dresser-drawer" murderer of a teenage girl in a hotel room in Indianapolis, where he had checked in under an assumed name. He admitted the killing three hours after he had been arrested, saying that he had become enraged when the girl had protested about his drinking, whereupon he choked her "three or four minutes until she was dead". The body of the high school graduate was discovered in a dresser drawer in the hotel the prior Sunday, three days after she was slain, clad only in her underwear. The arrestee waived extradition. Two Indianapolis detectives brought along a hotel bellhop with them to St. Louis and he identified the man as having registered in the room in question. The man said he recognized the bellboy who had been on duty when he had registered. He said that he had picked up the girl on the day of her death at a hamburger stand in downtown Indianapolis, admitting that he had been drinking and that he continued to drink when they went to the hotel room. He said that while the two were in the room, two maids had come in to clean up. The story does not explain how the body of the young girl had fit into a dresser drawer, perhaps somehow substituted for an armoire, as had the press identified the killing as the "armoire murder", it would not have fit neatly into the understanding of the average reader. Perhaps, you can figure it out.

Near Aiken, S.C., an Augusta, Ga., off-duty police officer was shot and killed early this date outside a drive-in restaurant in Clearwater, and Aiken County authorities were searching for his slayer. The man had been shot through the head by a bullet from his own pistol and the weapon was found in the bottom of his car. Investigators discounted the theory of suicide and reported that employees of the restaurant had heard sounds of a quarrel coming from the direction of the man's car before the fatal shot was fired, hearing a feminine voice say, "Don't shoot."

In Long Beach, Calif., Miriam Stevenson, of Winnsboro, S.C., who had just been crowned Miss U.S.A., won the Miss Universe pageant this date. She also had her luggage returned, which had been lost since her arrival in Long Beach eight days earlier. In other words, Friday night, she had arrived without her suitcase—but whether by Sunday morn, she was creeping like a nun, is not indicated. She said that she wanted to thank South Carolina for giving her the opportunity to participate in the pageant, and said to reporters: "If you-all evah come down to South Carolina, I'll cook you the biggest heapin' plate of corn pone, hominy grits an' ham hocks you evah saw." She said that she wanted to take a crack at "this actin' business" and so her senior year at Lander College in Greenwood would have to wait awhile. But did she, in fact, say "South Carolina", or "Sou' Ca'lina"? as most South Carolinians have a tendency to do, unlike North Carolinians who always enunciate fully. And did she say "you-all" or "y'all"? the latter more consistent with the patois of the region. Judges for the contest included actresses Piper Laurie, Julia Adams, and Suzan Ball, plus columnist Earl Wilson and illustrators Albert Vargas and Tom Kelley.

As pictured, skin diver Ed Fisher had established the world endurance record for camping on the ocean floor, coming back to the surface the previous afternoon after spending more than 24 hours 30 feet below the sea off Key Largo, Fla., sleeping in a hammock and taking food, bite by bite, by removing his breathing tube periodically, while also equipped with a spear gun to ward off sharks and barracuda.

On the editorial page, "Gasoline Trucks: A Highway Menace" picks up an old theme of the editorial page when W. J. Cash was associate editor, that being the danger of gasoline trucks treading through populated areas, with the threat of having a wreck and exploding. It cites a recent instance in Union Mills in which a gasoline truck had struck a train, resulting in one dead, two injured and substantial damage to a Southern Railway depot. It finds that it called attention to the menace of such "motorized monsters" on the state's highways and urges that something needed to be done to prevent such accidents.

When petroleum tankers were filled to capacity, they were heavy, unwieldy, difficult to stop and steer, and upon any kind of impact, posed a danger of explosion and sudden death. The piece suggests that it was not always the fault of the drivers of those vehicles, though some drove too fast, cut corners or breached the right-of-way. But most were safe, skillful and courteous operators, who took their jobs seriously. It points out that in 1952, only one-fourth of motor vehicles involved in serious accidents were driven by a professional, and though there were fewer commercial vehicles than passenger cars, the average commercial vehicle racked up nearly four times the mileage of the average passenger car.

During the three-year period between 1948 and 1951, there had been 1.21 accidents involving intercity petroleum trucks for every 100,000 vehicle miles such trucks traveled, and if it were not for the tragic results of those accidents, they might have become lost in the large numbers of other highway mishaps. It urges that it was time that the state recognized its responsibility in the matter and considered possible remedies, that the perfect solution would be to exclude intercity tankers from the state's highways. But that would require some new method of delivering petroleum from the coast to inland distribution points, with a pipeline network being the obvious solution, leaving to the city trucks the job of delivering gasoline to individual service stations. Such trucks would not be nearly so dangerous as the high-speed intercity tankers. It encourages careful study of the problem.

"On to the Challenge of a New Unknown" indicates that nuclear scientists were used to startling news in the atomic age, but that even they had been astounded by a report made recently to the American Physical Society by Dr. Marcel Schein of the University of Chicago, who had reported that he had discovered evidence of an entirely new fundamental particle which, if harnessed, might be more powerful than the atom. He and his assistants had sent aloft photographic plates tied to a balloon and at 100,000 feet, the plates had been hit by "something" with an energy of 10 million billion electron-volts, 50 million times the energy of a split uranium atom during an atomic detonation. Scientists believed that Dr. Schein had discovered the long-sought anti-proton, which could solve many nuclear mysteries.

New York Times science reporter Waldemar Kaempffert indicated that the discovery would make it necessary to revise theories of nuclear structure and the way in which the universe maintained itself. It might provide insight to future design of atom-smashers.

The discovery had challenged the imagination even of Dr. Robert Oppenheimer, recently denied further security clearance from the Atomic Energy Commission. He had said that he was going to devote his time to the remarkable discovery which was trying to tell scientists something if they could read and understand it. The piece comments that there were no security checks within the world of science and no ideological conflicts or limitations of the mind. It suggests that perhaps the two scientists and others like them would come up with startling new ideas which would have application in the world for good or evil, according to how they were implemented. It remarks that perhaps Dr. Oppenheimer, by returning to the cloistered laboratory, was "'trying to tell us something, if we could read and understand it'".

"Glad He's Been Here—Hope He Returns" indicates that Fred Turner had been the former manager of Bell Telephone Co. for the state and was now president of the company, and that E. H. Wasson, currently president of the American Telephone Company, had served with Southern Bell in Charlotte. H. Y. Alexander, a native of Mecklenburg County, had been district manager since 1950, serving meanwhile in a number of responsible civic jobs, of which his past chairmanship of the Social Planning Council and present position as chairman of the Mecklenburg American Red Cross chapter were worthy of special note. He, as with the others mentioned, was moving up a notch in the company, to become general commercial supervisor at the company's general headquarters in Atlanta, and the piece expresses sorrow that he was leaving Charlotte and hopes that he might return in the future.

A piece from the Sanford Herald, titled "Man Who Didn't Like Dogs", indicates that a story had appeared that a California Congressman had discovered a trick by which social climbers crashed Washington parties, by simply accepting invitations which they had never received or expressing regrets to an unreceived invitation, resulting in the person being added to the list the next time.

The piece indicates that it had known a bachelor Naval officer assigned to the Pentagon, who obtained Washington invitations by purchasing a cocker spaniel and providing it a collar inscribed with the bachelor's name, address and phone number, then driving into a neighborhood where high officials and members of embassies lived, kicking the dog out of the car and speeding away. In due course, someone in a big house would find the dog and call him. The officer would express appreciation, promising to pick up his pet immediately, and when he would arrive, would speak so engagingly of the dog that the person who greeted him would inevitably invite him in, whereupon his charm would enable him to obtain a return invitation. He had remained, however, at last check, a bachelor, as the women who had responded regarding the stray cocker spaniel were wild about dogs, whereas the officer could not stand them.

Drew Pearson indicates that the mistakes in handling Indo-China were many, that the Republicans had inherited some Democratic mistakes and made a lot more on their own, that he wishes to examine some of them to avoid those mistakes in the future. The first, he posits, had been made when Secretary of State Acheson, during the Truman Administration, had not demanded that France provide independence to Indo-China within the context of the French Union. Mr. Acheson had been tough with the Dutch in Indonesia, but not with the French, because the U.S. wanted bases in France and in French colonial holdings in North Africa. In consequence, the Communists could use the lack of independence as propaganda. In early 1954, the Eisenhower Administration had proposed doing something definite about Indo-China, leaving, per the usual course, the decision to the foreign policy advisers rather than to the President, and it was decided to make a drive to educate the American public regarding the importance of Indo-China and the prospect of possible war there involving the U.S. But so soon after the Korean armistice of late July, 1953, the public was not ready for another war, and also became increasingly confused by the effort at education.

Secretary of State Dulles had called the Geneva conference "the world's best hope", but it had ended in disastrous retreat. The Secretary had told the American Legion in St. Louis that China would suffer "grave consequences" if it continued aggression, but the Communist Chinese nevertheless continued their aggression. Mr. Dulles, on January 12, 1954, had spoken of "instant retaliation by means and places of our own choosing", and that the U.S. would not become bogged down in little wars. But on April 16, Vice-President Nixon had told the American Society of Newspaper Editors in Washington that the U.S. would send troops to Indo-China in the event the French withdrew, which meant getting bogged down in a little war. On April 21, Mr. Nixon had told an audience in Des Moines that U.S. policy was to avoid sending soldiers to Indo-China or anywhere else.

Adding to that confusion were the statements of the President, telling the newspaper editors in April, 1953, that any armistice in Korea, which merely released aggressive armies to attack elsewhere, would be a fraud, referring by name to Indo-China. The following August, he told the governors at their conference in Seattle that Indo-China was indispensable, that if it were to go to the Communists, "the last little bit of land hanging on down there would be indefensible", that the tin and tungsten so valuable to the U.S. would cease being available, that India would be outflanked and Burma would be in no position for defense. But at a February 10 press conference, the President had said that no one was more bitterly opposed to getting the U.S. into a hot war in the Far East than he was.

Meanwhile, Joint Chiefs chairman Admiral Arthur Radford was talking about hot war and preparing to send U.S. aircraft carriers to Indo-China, subsequently making a definite proposal to Congressional leaders to send the Air Force and the Navy into Indo-China, as Secretary Dulles, at the same time, asked Congress for a blanket resolution to permit the President to take any steps necessary in Indo-China. And the President, when asked about those steps, had been vague, saying that there was fighting going on and that everyone would like to see it stopped.

Finally, after months of indecision, the Geneva truce had been reached, which pleased no one except the Communists, and was least of all acceptable to the U.S.

Roy Cohn would probably miss Washington, its glamour, the privilege of rummaging through income tax returns, the power of subpoenaing anyone in the country and hauling them before television cameras. And, to an extent, Washington would also miss him, "though not always with regret." The press would miss the "brash, bumptious, brilliant youngster who made news headlines whenever he opened his mouth." Most of all, Senator McCarthy would miss him, as the television cameras had not been focusing on the Senator lately, following the end of the "big show", after which the Senator was avoiding the limelight at the behest of his advisers who indicated that he did not come across well on tv. But Mr. Cohn was still influencing nearly every move the Senator made. At a press conference the previous week, the Senator answered most of the questions on his own, but whenever he had faltered, Mr. Cohn was right beside him to whisper the answers, in one instance telling him to indicate that he did not know how long his planned hearings in Boston would last, a reply then echoed by the Senator.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop indicate that the settlement of the Indo-China war at Geneva had, as expected, turned out to be a "new Munich" in the Far East, providing the "ruthless totalitarian aggressor" a vital strategic position. They predict that, as with Germany after Munich, the power balance had shifted decisively toward the Kremlin and away from the free nations, and the result would inevitably be more aggression by the Communists in Indo-China, though the Alsops find that the process would be slower than it had been in Europe during World War II. They find that almost every factor in the cease-fire would work in favor of Communist capture of the remaining territories of South Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.

They indicate that in Asian countries, political opinion was influenced by the way the bandwagon was moving, that the French had suffered a shattering defeat, inevitably demoralizing, and that the Vietnamese, Laotians and Cambodians could no longer regard the French as reliable protectors. Communist infiltration was already well advanced in many of the areas which were supposed to have been forbidden to Communism. They indicate that until 1954, southern Indo-China had been believed to be almost wholly pacified and cleansed of Communism, but the crisis at Dien Bien Phu had revealed the weakness of the French, as guerrilla activity had immediately broken out throughout the southern provinces. Even in Saigon, grenade nets, which had not been used for years, had to be brought out again. The provisions of the agreement for "regrouping" of troops were nearly unenforceable except against the French. The Vietminh troops were regulars, but the great bulk of those regulars were also trained to imitate the simple peasants and to live as guerrillas. The Alsops question whether they would peacefully march away and abandon the territory which they presently held. By the cease-fire, the French had laid down their arms and, they posit, the Communist high command would let them become accustomed to peace for a considerable period of time, doing nothing drastic to disturb the settlement for many months. But if and when the French found themselves with a new civil war in South Vietnam, it was unlikely they would take up arms again after eight years of war.

Thus they find that the Geneva settlement had to be regarded as a mere prelude to further Communist aggression to take the rest of Indo-China, unless and until subsequent events provided proof to the contrary. It would also have far-reaching results in Asia, beyond Indo-China. While the strength of leadership shown by French Prime Minister Pierre Mendes-France would be beneficial to the stability of France and hence Western Europe, an extant drift toward neutrality in Japan could become uncontrollable in the wake of the Indo-China settlement, and there would likely be demoralization in Formosa, strengthening of the Communists in Indonesia and Malaya, a threat to the pro-Western Government in Thailand, and increased difficulties for the Government of Burma.

They conclude that the settlement was a "huge political-strategic disaster", upsetting the precarious balance of power in Asia, probably beyond repair by the prospect of formation of SEATO. The disaster would likely have incidental gains for Europe, but the Government of the United States could not "dissociate" itself from it, as sought by the Administration, as the U.S., as leader of the West, had failed to act when there had been available time to act.

Doris Fleeson indicates that the President had raised another momentous question regarding the controversy over the private utility contract he had ordered formed by the Atomic Energy Commission and TVA with an Arkansas company to supply power to southwest Memphis. The President, at his press conference the prior Wednesday, had been invited to discuss his attitude toward the question of whether the President had the power to order an independent agency to take action which its administrators or a majority of the commissioners opposed, reminded that the current opposition to his order stemmed largely from the fact that a majority of the five AEC commissioners opposed the contract in question. The President had responded that he was not aware of that latter fact and described the information as "a premise". Ms. Fleeson indicates that it was not a premise but rather a fact, on which testimony had been received in public hearings and reported on the front page of the Washington newspapers. She points out that if a majority had not opposed it, it would not have been necessary for the President to issue the order in the first place. The AEC already had two contracts with private utilities. Two of the three dissenting commissioners described their reservations in a formal letter to the Budget Bureau, saying that the contract appeared "incongruous", "roundabout" and a perversion of their "sober primary mission".

Attorney General Herbert Brownell had said on "Meet the Press" on July 11 that he had not given his approval to the contract, but, nevertheless, the President had said at the press conference that he believed he had received the approval of the Attorney General in issuing the order. He also said that he did not believe the AEC was an independent commission in the same sense that the Interstate Commerce Commission and Federal Communications Commission were autonomous, that he believed, as President, he was compelled to take action in the matter.

Ms. Fleeson points out that the AEC had been established by Congress with the hope and aim of making the agency more independent than any other because of its peculiarly sensitive role.

Robert C. Ruark discusses lie detector tests and their lack of infallibility when testing a pathological liar, while someone innocent but emotionally unstable or very excited could become tripped up by the test and appear deceptive. He suggests that when a machine determined guilt or innocence, the courts could go out of business. In the meantime, he was not too disturbed about the "percentage of error in what is called 'police brutality' in exacting confessions", despite once in awhile an innocent man becoming coerced into confessing to a crime of which he was innocent. He believes that about 98 percent of police interrogations involved people who were not commonly thought of as "nice", as the nice people were rarely suspected of crimes so serious that it took many detectives to obtain the truth.

He thinks that the police generally dealt with "criminal scum", men who had reason to be suspected and were picked up for that reason. He suggests that if rough handling got at the truth, it made little difference and, in the case of the innocent bystander, it was very sad.

That is, unless you happen to be the innocent bystander, in which case you are going to yell bloody murder. Mr. Ruark had a lot to learn about crime and detection of crime, police misconduct, especially in the area of extraction of confessions and admissions, and the law. While a lie detector test is not generally admissible as evidence in court as being deemed too subjectively determined to be worthy of admission as a scientific test verified by expert witnesses, as well tending to offer itself as substitute for the traditional role of the human fact-finder in assessing witness credibility, it may prove an effective investigative tool, when coupled with other exculpatory substantive evidence, to convince a prosecutor to drop or significantly reduce serious charges when based either on wholly circumstantial evidence or on the testimony of one eyewitness only, either the alleged victim or a lone bystander. In any event, Mr. Ruark's conception of the law would stand the presumption of innocence on its head and suggest that the accused has the burden to prove his or her innocence, not that the state has the burden to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the guilt of the accused, starting with the presumption of innocence. Mr. Ruark's inquisitional star chamber conception of interrogation and confession would fit best in Nazi Germany or Fascist Italy or Communist Russia.

A letter writer from Gaffney, S.C., indicates that in the July 21 issue on page 2-B, in the "How's Your I.Q.?" box, question number two, it had asked, "What is the name of the musical scale that includes half notes?" He wishes to inform that the question, itself, was entirely incorrect, that it should have been stated as the musical scale which includes half steps only, as there was no name for a scale which contained half notes, never had been and never would be. Any scale could contain half notes. A half step was the next closest tone above or below a given note and did not have to be the next note in a scale. He explains that he was the first chair, first oboe player in the Gaffney High School Band, which had claimed all first ratings in all events it had entered during the previous year, and that he had been taught under its director that a half note received two beats in 4-4, 2-4, 3-4, and fast 6-8 time, received one beat in cut time, and four beats in slow 6-8 time. So, he concludes, the question was very confusing. He also wants the editors to unscramble the word "TOLIVE", as he was unable to understand it even after looking at the answer.

It is "LETDIE", in 4-4 time, with half-notes aplenty.

A letter writer from Laurinburg indicates that she had seen the picture of Martha Dean Chestnut of Conway, S.C., in the newspaper several times as having been crowned queen of something, but that the reporters had never given the name of her parents or anything else about her, says that she did not know the girl, but might if she knew her parents' name. She would like a full write-up on the girl, finds her to be a "pretty young lady", and that she and her friends were looking forward to seeing more of her and learning more about her.

What do you have in mind for her?

A letter from a couple in Matthews indicates that they appreciated the help from each member of the Mint Hill Volunteer Fire Department given them when lightning had burned their hay barn and threatened other buildings, explaining that they could not thank them individually and so wanted to let them know of their appreciation, stating that they were at the location within 14 minutes and stayed for 4 1/2 hours to extinguish the fire.

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