The Charlotte News

Monday, July 26, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that a White House gathering of military advisers in advance of the visit of South Korean President Syngman Rhee this date heralded a series of conferences expected to have an important bearing on U.S. policy in the Far East. President Rhee was expected to arrive in Washington late this date and would begin talks with the President and other U.S. officials the following day. The President this date held a luncheon meeting with Secretary of Defense Charles E. Wilson and Joint Chiefs chairman Admiral Arthur Radford, as well as with retired General James Van Fleet, who had recently returned from a survey of military assistance needs in the Far East. The three advisers indicated that if SEATO were formed, the President could assemble the individual strategic and supply requirement problems of Japan, Korea, Formosa and the Philippines and begin patterning them to those foreseen for the nations on the southeastern flank of Asia. There had just been a White House announcement of tentative plans for a conference in August or September between the Western and Asian nations on formation of SEATO, the Southeast Asian defense pact equivalent of NATO.

In Saigon, it was reported that the Vietminh forces had moved southward in Viet Nam during the weekend, striking far below the truce-established border between North and South at the 17th parallel, made the previous week, on July 21 and to become effective the following day. The new attack occurred 180 miles northeast of Saigon. Meanwhile, Peiping radio broadcast a pledge from Ho Chi Minh to "liberate" South Vietnam. North Vietnam would formally pass into Vietminh hands the following day under the Geneva agreement, and the French prepared to evacuate up to a million civilians and fighting men from that region, the evacuation set to start on Wednesday. A French high command spokesman said that the attack in the South had begun on Saturday at Nha Trang on the China Sea coast, with the Vietminh having sabotaged several bridges after their artillery had bombarded the coastal town's defenses. The rebels had also attacked French and Vietnamese positions at Qui Nhon, 100 miles north of Nha Trang, and struck at Tuy Hoa, midway between the two towns. Other Vietminh forces had brought pressure on Cheo Reo, a post located 60 miles southwest of Qui Nhon, on central Viet Nam's plateau. French commander General Paul Ely had warned the Vietminh to stop the action or face mass air retaliation.

In New York, Lieutenant Genevieve de Galard-Terraube, the French nurse who had been the heroine of Dien Bien Phu, the French fortress which had fallen to the Vietminh on May 7 after a prolonged siege, told a welcoming crowd this date at Idlewild Airport that she did not deserve the honor of an official visit to the U.S., for she had only been doing her duty at the time. She was met by a reception committee and the French consul-general of New York, who presented her with a large bouquet of roses. She told the crowd, speaking in English while occasionally referring to notes, that her thoughts were still with those who had been killed at Dien Bien Phu saying that she was very grateful for the honor which President Eisenhower and the Congress had given her by inviting her to come to the country. She said the honor was actually intended, through her, for all of those whose lives had been lost at the Dien Bien Phu, and for the nurses who devoted themselves to alleviating the suffering of the wounded. She had insisted on remaining at the fortress until she was forced finally to evacuate, a few days prior to the fall. Because the Vietminh had continually knocked out the adjoining airfield during the siege of the fortress, the wounded could not be readily evacuated and had to remain in the central area of the fortress, comprised of trenches bound by a series of barbed wire enclosures, until after the May 7 fall and eventual agreement with the Vietminh to allow slow evacuation of the wounded by helicopter until the airfield could be repaired.

The State Department announced that U.S. planes in search of survivors of a British airliner which had been shot down by two Communist Chinese planes the previous Friday, had been fired upon by Communist Chinese planes and a Communist gunboat the previous night and had shot down two of the attacking planes, with no U.S. casualties. The announcement denounced "Chinese Communist brutality" in attempting to interfere with the rescue operations, with an admiral, speaking from the Pentagon, indicating that U.S. fliers were under instructions to be "quick on the trigger" in the event of hostile action against them. Secretary of Defense Wilson said that the attack had involved propeller-driven planes on both sides and had occurred more than 12 miles from the coast of Hainan Island, part of Communist Chinese territory.

British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden told Commons this date that Britain wanted immediate measures to prevent a recurrence of the attack on the unarmed British passenger plane over the China Sea, speaking almost simultaneously with the State Department announcement of the firing on U.S. rescue planes, though the Mr. Eden gave no indication that he was aware of that report. He said that Britain was gratified at the cooperation and assistance in the rescue and search operations provided by the U.S. He indicated that the Government believed that disciplinary action should be taken by the Chinese Government against the pilots involved in the action in shooting down the British passenger airliner, referring to the attack as "savage and inexcusable".

The Senate rejected the attempt by the Republican leadership to place a blanket limit on debate regarding the atomic energy bill, but showed a willingness to limit debate on individual amendments. A motion for cloture, requiring 64 votes for passage, was defeated by a vote of 44 to 42 in a roll call, but the Senate agreed unanimously to halt debate on the first amendment after two hours of discussion, one hour for each side. That amendment, introduced by Senator Herbert Lehman of New York, related to the international cooperation provisions of the bill, proposing to delete a provision which he contended tied the President's hands. Senate Majority Leader William Knowland had first sought a 30-minute limit on debate on amendments, but finally proposed the two-hour limit after agreement by Senator Wayne Morse, one of the leaders in the prolonged debate over the President's executive order to the AEC to form a contract between TVA and a private utility out of Arkansas to provide electricity to a portion of Memphis, the opponents contending essentially that the President lacked authority in the matter, as a majority of the AEC had rejected the contract, and that the contract would undermine the very basis of public power provision at cheap cost, the foundations of TVA. Senator Morse said that he was in agreement regarding the limit to debate on amendments because the international situation had worsened, regarding the report of the Chinese Communist planes attacking the U.S. rescue planes. He said he believed that the bill in question, which contemplated some sharing of atomic secrets, should cause the country to go slower than before. Senator Knowland, after conferring with the President, told reporters that there would be no surrender in the effort to pass the Administration bill and that the President agreed with the Republican Congressional leadership that there should be no Senate block permitted of the bill, even if it required that Congress continue in session for several additional weeks, with planned recess being at the end of the present week. Senate Minority Leader Lyndon Johnson of Texas had indicated in brief debate before the vote on cloture that something could possibly be worked out to shorten the debate, saying that he would not vote for cloture but asked his Democratic colleagues to confine themselves to "reasonable discussion" on four or five "basic issues" and allow the matter finally to come to a vote.

The News has a new prefix to its old phone number, so that you will now dial EDison before 3-0303, should you wish to place a classified ad or mouth off to the staff about some pet peeve regarding the reportage or editorialization of the newspaper, its omission or commission, as the case may be. The new phone books, with the three new prefixes, EDison, FRanklin, and EXpress, had arrived on July 20, as one small step for man. —30-30—

On the editorial page, "The Institute?—We're Gonna Start It…" indicates that State Representative Kemp Doughton of the State Budget Advisory Commission had said in Charlotte the previous week that there were no funds available at present for the proposed college technical institute at Charlotte College. It indicates that funds should be made available by the Council of State for the purpose, but finds it not likely that such would be done before the General Assembly would meet in January for its biennial session, even though the amount necessary was relatively small, requiring $87,000 to start the fall curriculum.

It expresses confidence that eventually such funding would be made available, but that it would take time, after more local citizens had expressed the need for such an institute to the powers in Raleigh.

The chairman of the Chamber of Commerce subcommittee on college improvement had said, "We're gonna start it if we don't have anything but a pocketknife and a ball of string." It regards the spirit as representing irrepressible optimism and faith shared by many residents of the community, including engineers, school officials and civic leaders. They believed that the institute would be good for the state and that the sooner funds were devoted to it, the quicker it would become a reality, that, in the meantime, the community would begin on its own until the state could begin to help the process.

"A Fiscal Step in the Right Direction" indicates that there was a note of triumph in the President's announcement that the Government had "made a better showing than expected" financially in fiscal year 1954. It suggests that he had good cause to be proud, as the deficit for 1953-54 had come in at just over three billion dollars, 250 million less than the Administration had predicted, and about 6.9 billion less then former President Truman had forecast in his last budget of January, 1953. The deficit was also 6.4 billion below the 9.4 billion of the previous year. All of that had occurred despite the fact that revenue was down by three billion dollars from that which had been predicted for the fiscal year, because of tax cuts, that because the Administration had cut spending by 3.25 billion below what had been forecast, it had made up the difference.

The piece indicates that the President's budget-cutting in the face of the tradition of big spending deserved a measure of praise. Americans had become accustomed to large debts and deficits while the Communists, rather than the deficit, held the country's attention. Progress in the direction of balancing the budget was, of necessity, slow, as the atomic age placed a high price on survival. Those who dreamed of six straight years of surplus, as had been the case under President Calvin Coolidge during the 1920's, had to put aside their dreams at least for awhile.

President Hoover's reluctant venture into deficit spending had been the first real symptom of national bewilderment over economic calamity during the Depression. FDR had come into office with the spirit of bold adventure regardless of cost, followed by the war, which had transformed the nation's conception of its role in the world and the meaning of a billion dollars. President Truman's desire to return to simpler ways and smaller budgets had been frustrated by the sudden realization that national safety could only be achieved through high costs. And those same problems had to be taken into account in analyzing President Eisenhower's fiscal policy of holding down costs while also protecting the country. It hopes that more progress could be made.

"What Became of the Boy Wonders?" indicates that Admiral Richard E. Byrd was presently 65 and the only American straining at the bit to return to Antarctica in search of the unknown, wonders where all of the adventurous youth were who once had a corner on that realm of human endeavor. Admiral Byrd had been to the South Pole in 1929, 1933 and 1947, and, it suggests, it was time that America was producing a new explorer of that region.

Both Meriwether Lewis and William Clark had been in their early thirties when they formed their team in 1804 to explore the West. Daniel Boone had been 31 when he explored the Florida wilderness, and 35 when he made his way through the "dark and bloody ground" of Kentucky. George Washington had been only 16 when he was roaming the dangerous backwoods of the country as an assistant surveyor. Balboa had been 38 when he discovered the Pacific. Admiral Robert Peary had been 36 when he made his first trip to the Arctic in 1892, and Roald Amundsen had been 39 when he braved the same country in 1926. Stanley had been 31 when he found Livingstone in Africa.

It concludes that new youth was needed in the field of exploration, but all that was being produced was "a generation of raft riders who radio for help when the fish don't bite."

You will get them, in due course, as the new rocket riders, starting in 1958, beginning their bold journey in 1961.

Drew Pearson indicates that it had been carefully covered up, but that a shocking scandal had lain behind the outbreak of "parrot fever" in Texas, that diseased turkeys, which had caused the epidemic, had been dumped on the market, endangering persons who had handled them. In one instance, a 60,000-pound shipment had been rejected by the Army and was later sold for civilian consumption. Public health officials had traced other shipments to Boston, Philadelphia and New Orleans. Some of the turkeys had been found to carry the live virus, which had caused one known death in Texas. The turkeys constituted no danger once they were cooked, but did pose danger to those who plucked or dressed them. The head of poultry inspection for the Agriculture Department had complained of lax inspection methods, and he was promptly removed from duty. His replacement informed employees that he wanted to be fair to the industry, while the former director of the unit was given a meaningless assignment in charge of the state inspection program, of which there were only a very small number in existence. Cuts to the Food and Drug Administration by Congressmen John Taber of New York and Fred Busbey of Illinois had been such that only one inspection every 12 years could be conducted in factories, while Agriculture inspected as well as graded poultry, with the result that only 20 percent of the poultry plants in the country were Government-inspected, while the companies paid the salaries of inspectors, who nevertheless stamped poultry as having been Government-inspected.

The result of the problems was that diseased poultry, often covered with sores and swellings, were thrown indiscriminately into the market where the blemishes were simply cut off and the diseased parts often sold in fancy packages, offering ready-to-cook drumsticks, breasts and other featured parts, while the poultry companies which submitted to inspection were consistently nagging the Agriculture Department to lower its standards. That pressure had caused the former head of the inspection division to complain that his poultry service had "deteriorated markedly".

There had been more than 300 cases of "parrot fever" in the Texas poultry plants during May, and veterinarians had quickly traced the problem to diseased turkeys. Most of the plants did not close down, but continued to ship turkeys to market from the diseased flocks.

In 1959, there would come the tainted cranberry problem, from the combination of which problems we might glean that the Eisenhower Administration was generally opposed to Thanksgiving. Well, had it happened on the Democrats' watch, you know that would have been the standard conclusion by the Republicans—as with the Republican-dubbed "Franksgiving" controversy when FDR moved Thanksgiving from its traditional designation since 1863, on the fourth Thursday in November, to the third Thursday in 1939, to accommodate commerce, moved back in May, 1941. And so what is good for the goose is good for the gobbler.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop report that the Pentagon had estimated that in 1960, the Soviets would fly their first intercontinental ballistic missile, an accurately guided rocket, capable of carrying a hydrogen warhead across a range of between 4,000 and 5,000 miles, against which there was no current defense or warning of its approach. As a caveat, they advise that U.S. officials had consistently underestimated the development of Russian weapons, which had beaten U.S. forecasts by at least two years in each instance, starting with the atomic bomb, and there was no reason to believe that forecasters had not done so with respect to the ICBM—the first successful launch of which, the Soviet R-7 rocket, would occur three years hence, albeit without successful return into the atmosphere, and the first launch of a satellite, the Sputnik, would occur in October, 1957, with poor little Laika to go into the great realm of doggie heaven the following month.

The Alsops indicate that the most significant problems in ICBM technology were accurate guidance and atmospheric re-entry, in which great strides had recently been made as to solving both problems. Both the U.S. and Russia had been working on such guided missile technology since the end of World War II, but the U.S. had not been devoting full attention to such development. The total budget at present for the Atlas program—eventually to become the propulsion modality for the first manned orbital U.S. mission into space in 1962—was reportedly not to exceed 50 million dollars, and such projects were entangled in Pentagon red tape. The National Security Council was presently considering the question of whether to make a total effort at the development, but the budgetary constraints made it just as likely that they would negate the prospect as to provide approval for it. Thus, it was likely that the Soviets would have the ultimate weapon before the U.S.

The previous week, Senator Stuart Symington of Missouri had made a speech on the subject, warning from the perspective of a former Secretary of the Air Force that there was danger in that prospect. His speech had received far less attention than the recent "didoes" of Senator McCarthy and his subcommittee—of which Senator Symington was a member.

The Alsops posit that it was time for the American people to realize that the country's traditional invulnerability would not last forever, or even for very long into the future. The ICBM would present the final stage of the "journey into danger", but there would first be an intermediate stage during which the Soviets' stockpile of atomic and hydrogen bombs would be growing. The Soviet long-range Air Army was also growing in size very rapidly, while U.S. air defense and guided missile development were proceeding at only a moderate pace. It had been four years since the NSC had provided highest priority to continental air defense and two years since the Lincoln Project had proposed a design for an effective air defense. It had been a year since the NSC had received a report urging immediate and energetic action in that field. They suggest that if those things had been done or were being done, the country might not be entering a time of total peril regarding the ICBM technology, but as it was, the time of total peril would be upon the country within a couple of years. They indicate wonder at the system of logic which would explain that neglect and the persistent concealment from the American people of the facts by the Administration.

The Congressional Quarterly discusses the American merchant marine facing a crisis, according to shipbuilders, and indicates that their efforts to stimulate construction and maintenance proposals were building up late-session pressure for action in Congress. Spokesmen for the industry indicated that domestic shipbuilding was in a bad slump, with the merchant marine growing smaller yearly and no immediate relief in sight.

The problem had been discussed at the White House on July 21, when Congressional and labor leaders had met with the President to seek his support in finding a remedy, as the problem was causing increasing amounts of U.S. trade to be carried in foreign vessels and threatening defense. Following that meeting, Senator John Butler of Maryland had said that the President had pledged his full support to the critical situation in the shipbuilding industry, and had approved proposed legislation to convert 205 ships presently in mothballs to naval auxiliary vessels and for private construction of 20 tankers for charter to the Navy. It reviews some of the powerful lobbying organizations behind the effort, which included former Senator Herbert O'Conor of Maryland.

Those groups were supporting a "ship American" law providing that half of all trade would be carried in U.S. vessels, a bill providing which having been passed by the Senate, while the House had, as part of its foreign aid authorization, stipulated that half of foreign aid shipments would be carried in U.S. bottoms.

Robert C. Ruark suggests that there would need to be a revision of the seasons and to the delusions that summer started in June and winter in December, and that there was such a thing as spring, as all over the world, the weather had "gone crazy", with freezing temperatures in Spain and France during the spring and all of the current summer thus far, and frosts in England. The previous summer had lasted into December, followed by one of the worst winters on record. He says that oranges were growing in his front yard in Barcelona when he left for Australia in December, and snow had fallen just a few days later. In Kenya, one rainy season had been missed entirely, a tragedy in a locale which depended on two full seasons each year, and the year before, when he had visited Africa for a considerable time, there had been no rain in the southern Masai, where it traditionally rained at that time consistently, while it had been pouring in the Northern Frontier, where it never rained at that time.

Until just a couple of days earlier, his family had been lighting fires every night where they lived in New York, and he had read that all over the world, vacationers were having it rough, winding up in summertime blizzards.

He concludes that something "definitely odd" was happening to the world in terms of its weather patterns, says that he has to go and cut some more firewood, that they had a little sun during the morning, but it had clouded up again and looked like another cold night ahead.

Mr. Ruark does not suggest it, but scientists were beginning to express the belief that above-ground nuclear testing was affecting the global weather pattern, in addition to the global warming trend from unregulated industrial wastes being belched into the atmosphere, which some scientists had also begun to note. Now, 67 years on, the problem has reached critical mass, such that either we collectively change on a global scale or life will become virtually intolerable on the planet within a few years. The first and last "fix" is to take individual responsibility for the problem of emission of the greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and contribute far less to it. Denying that the problem exists or placing blame for it on others, whether individuals, voices of denial in high places, or noncompliant nations abroad, does not cause it to go away or make life better into the future.

A letter writer from Hamlet indicates that he had read several letters recently complaining about WBTV and its rerunning of films and "local yaak-yak" as summer programming, also joins the chorus to find it "disgusting", finding only one good sports program during the week, the Wednesday night fights. He wonders why they could not see some baseball, as broadcast of football and basketball had been plentiful during their seasons, wonders whether the latter sports paid more or whether the station managers had not been told that it was baseball season. He suggests televising some of the Charlotte Hornets minor-league baseball games when they were out of town.

A letter writer from Cheraw, S.C., indicates that the majority had "reared and snorted" regarding the Brown v. Board of Education ruling of May 17, that continued segregation of public schools was unconstitutional under the 14th Amendment Equal Protection Clause. He suggests that the poor white people and the poor black people come closer into harmony and look ahead for "our side of life, as we know that the money-power doesn't care anything about our affairs, or how we get along in life." He suggests that all the majority of the big money-power cared about was what they could get out of the poor whites and blacks in terms of cheap labor. He suggests joining of their interests on election days to elect those to public office who would enact laws for those who were being oppressed, and then ensure that those laws were enforced. He finds that the only people in Washington at present were those who promised the voters "this and that", but had not given the people "this" and had left "'that'" out, an attitude which he suggests existed among both Democrats and Republicans. He indicates that the laws were on the books but were not being enforced, and that most of those in office should be sent home the following November, as they were doing nothing for the poor people, "letting them down, driving them around like cattle in most places where they work, and if they say anything about it, or don't vote in an election like they want you to vote, why it won't be long before you are out of a job." He again reiterates his call to join forces to look out for their own financial interests "in this day of greed".

Framed Edition
[Return to Links
Page by Subject] [Return to Links-Page by Date] [Return to News<i><i><i>—</i></i></i>Framed Edition]
Links-Date Links-Subj.