The Charlotte News

Tuesday, July 27, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that South Korean President Syngman Rhee had said to newsmen this date, after a conference with President Eisenhower, that he saw "no possibility of unifying Korea by a peaceful means." He said that he did not believe that either the Korean armistice conference of a year earlier at Panmunjom or the recent Geneva conference on the Far East had accomplished anything with regard to Korea, that they had only enabled the Communist cause to "grow stronger". He referred to the conference with President Eisenhower as "something like a family discussion" and that neither he nor the President had been fighting for his own cause. He had said upon arriving in Washington the previous day that there would be no unification worries if the allies "only had a little more courage" in driving out the Communists, that the Communists had not been pushed across the Yalu River back into China because "some people had a little cold feet". President Rhee and his wife had been overnight guests at the White House and were entertained by the President and Mrs. Eisenhower with a state dinner, attended by 50 American diplomatic, Congressional and military leaders and their wives.

In Hanoi, it was reported that the French and Vietminh had ordered firing stopped in part of Indo-China this date, seven years, seven months and eight days after Ho Chi Minh's rebels had first attacked Hanoi at the end of 1946. The order was issued pursuant to the July 21 Geneva truce in the Indo-China War, which became effective the previous night in North Vietnam and would spread gradually over the four other sectors, to become effective on August 1 in central Vietnam, (presumably referring to the DMZ), on August 6 in Laos, on August 7 in Cambodia and on August 11 in South Vietnam. The big guns of Hanoi had been fired sporadically throughout the night prior to the cease-fire becoming effective, and the Vietminh had maintained pressure on outlying posts manned by Vietnamese units. In recent days, the Vietminh had concentrated on such outposts in an apparent effort to encourage desertions and prevent the native troops from moving south with the departing French. There were no early reports of any large-scale fights during the final hours before the effective time of the truce. Mines placed along the roads, paths and in the rice fields could continue to take a toll for months ahead, and no one could be certain that all of the Vietminh guerrillas or all of the irregulars loyal to the French-supported Vietnamese Government had received the cease-fire order or would obey it. Many observers believed it would be a matter of only two to four years down the road before Communism would engulf all of Viet Nam and perhaps Laos and Cambodia. The cease-fire provided for internationally supervised elections in July, 1956 to unify Vietnam, but the French commander in the north, General René Cogny, had only shrugged when asked about the political prospects, and many French civilian officials shared his doubts about the future.

Senator McCarthy testified this date before a Senate Rules subcommittee, studying a variety of proposals for revision of the rules for Senate investigations, that he ran his investigations by "almost an ideal set of rules", and expressed "dismay" at the attitude of some of his Republican critics in the Senate. The Senator submitted a 3,500-word statement defending himself and the Senate Investigations subcommittee which he chaired, saying that he did not believe any of the allegations aimed at him or the subcommittee, "calculated to prove that we are in effect demanding equal time in the White House," was grounded in reason. Some of his critics had contended that some of his actions had infringed on the functions of the executive department. He said that he was proud of the opposition which Republican Senators had raised against former President Truman's executive order in 1948 denying, without White House approval, Congressional investigating groups access to loyalty-security information out of executive agencies.

The prolonged Senate debate on the atomic energy bill, led by Senators Albert Gore of Tennessee, Clinton Anderson of New Mexico and Wayne Morse of Oregon, continued this date, but Senate Majority Leader William Knowland expressed optimism that it was coming to an end, that he believed it would wind up this date. But Senator Bourke Hickenlooper of Iowa, floor manager for the measure, said he did not believe it would be finished before midnight. Senator Morse had spoken for 12 hours and 22 minutes straight from the previous midnight, bringing his total speaking time on the bill to 29 hours and 15 minutes since the prior Wednesday. His voice was slightly hoarse at the end but he remained full of vigor as he struck at the tactics of the Republican leadership. Each side blamed the other for the prolonged deadlock. The primary issue was the President's order to the Atomic Energy Commission to form a contract between TVA and a private utility out of Arkansas for supplying electricity to part of Memphis, with the opponents indicating that the AEC majority were opposed to the contract and so the executive order was illegal, and that it also undermined the basic foundation of TVA, as a public utility with the aim of providing cheap electricity. They were concerned that the move would be the first step in promoting a private utility monopoly on electricity in the region, thus raising rates to consumers.

The U.S. had sent two strongly worded protests to Communist China, denouncing the fighter plane attacks on a British transport plane the prior Friday and the subsequent separate attack on Sunday on American rescue planes seeking to rescue survivors of the shot-down British plane. Both incidents had occurred off Hainan Island, a part of Communist Chinese territory. Three Americans were killed and three were wounded when the British transport plane had crashed into the sea. The messages referred to the "brutality" of the attacks.

In Berlin, an American counterintelligence agent, known to be a friend to missing West German security chief Dr. Otto John, who had apparently defected to East Germany, had committed suicide in his Berlin quarters. Fellow officers had found him mortally wounded in his billet near the American Army hospital the previous Friday and he had been pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital. U.S. authorities denied rumors that he had been questioned regarding suspected disloyalty, stating that he had been completely above suspicion. He had shot himself the day after Dr. John's disappearance into the Soviet sector of Berlin had been made public. Officials discouraged speculation on the extent of his link with Dr. John.

In Los Angeles, a gunman had kidnaped a physician and his wife in their own car the previous night, then ordered them to drive around for about two hours, before wounding the doctor in the arm as he rolled out of the vehicle, and was finally shot and killed by police. The doctor's wife had spent a nerve-racking half hour alone with the gunman while the doctor tried to cash a check to meet the kidnaper's demand for $200. She said that she talked with him about everything she could think of, from religion to books to Senator McCarthy, that the man had taken her engagement ring and told her she could have it back when he received the money. After he had been killed, it was found on his finger. The doctor said that the couple had dined late at a café on Wilshire Boulevard and when they entered their car, the gunman had risen from behind the front seat and ordered them to drive. The manager of a drugstore who provided the doctor with $57 had tipped police and followed their car to a nearby intersection. The kidnaper was killed as he fled after firing a bullet into a police car, inches above one officer's head.

In Washington, a Senate gallery spectator whistled at Senator Margaret Chase Smith of Maine the previous night and got away with it, though Senate rules forbade audible demonstrations. Senator Smith had shown up in an evening gown, with a scarf draped about her neck, one of four Senators who had shown up in evening clothes at the previous night's session, after they had been guests at the White House dinner provided for President Rhee. The other three were Senators Knowland, Lyndon Johnson and Alexander Wiley.

In Omaha, Neb., the old-time iceman could still command attention, as a woman told of her four-year old daughter exclaiming, "Look at that king-size cube," when they passed an ice truck beside of which stood the iceman balancing a 100-pound cake of ice on his back.

Emery Wister of The News reports of Army engineers and representatives of Western Electric Co. and Douglas Aircraft Co. having swarmed over the Charlotte Quartermaster Depot this date, making first plans for conversion of it to a plant for construction of the Nike guided missile. The electronics portion of the missile would be developed and assembled in Winston-Salem at its Western Electric plant and that company would have few persons employed in Charlotte. The plant was a expected to employ 1,500 persons, some of whom would come from Douglas Aircraft in Santa Monica, Calif.

In Charlotte, a geyser appeared in the middle of S. Tryon Street, attracting children this date, but it stopped abruptly when a City worker turned off the water pressure for the block. A bulldozer working to clear the right-of-way for the new western link of Independence Boulevard had accidentally ripped the stem off the valve on a water main running under the middle of the street, sending the tree-top geyser skyward.

On the editorial page, "Some Street Names Should Be Changed" indicates that thousands of residents of Charlotte were becoming accustomed to the new telephone numbers assigned by the three new prefixes, and hundreds of residents of the county had been provided new mailing addresses recently, neither of which changes had occurred through consultation with city and county residents, but nevertheless were being accepted as a necessary part of progress. Sometimes, rows of houses had to be condemned as part of the city's orderly growth.

Thus, it would be supposed that the relatively minor job of eliminating Charlotte's duplicate street names, which had hindered and aggravated policemen, firemen, deliverymen and the general public, would be a relatively simple task, but it was not proving to be the case. News staff writer Harry Shuford had reported in the Friday newspaper that 172 streets in and around Charlotte had exactly the same names as at least one other street, and more than 330 streets had similar names to at least two other streets. Members of the City Council would not make the needed changes because some persons on the streets to be affected would object.

It finds that to be an insufficient reason, however, given the confusion caused by the duplications, for not making the changes, and urges that it be done.

"'A Slow Sort of Country'" indicates that North Carolina was steadily developing new industry, but nevertheless had ranked 47th in the nation in average earnings in manufacturing jobs during 1953, and for the early months of 1954 had been the lowest state in that category. The reason for the disparity was that the state's major industries, tobacco, textiles and furniture, had been suffering economic problems, with many factories and mills working on sharply reduced production schedules, having a depressing effect on weekly earnings of the workers.

It examines March earnings among furniture, tobacco and textile workers, being only about half the average earnings of workers in pulp, paper and paperboard mills, and significantly less than those in printing, publishing and allied industries, primary metal industries, fabricated metal products, and chemicals and allied products. Thus, the state needed greater diversification in industry and a larger variety of higher wage-paying businesses to supplement the traditional three industries.

While new industries were coming into the state daily, it was not getting them fast enough or in sufficient quantity to improve its position nationally. It likens it to the plight of Alice in Wonderland, when she went through the looking glass and found herself in a country cut up into blocks like a chessboard, that although she and the Red Queen had run and run, she had found herself still in the same place, Alice telling the Queen that she certainly would have expected to get somewhere after all of that running, to which the Queen had responded, "A slow sort of country," which took all the running one could do to keep in the same place, that to get somewhere else, one had to run at least twice as fast. It finds it precisely a description of North Carolina's problem at present in terms of its industrial wages.

"Hot Breath from the Cold War" indicates that cool heads and commonsense would be needed to weather the new crisis in the "red-hot" cold war, regarding the Communist Chinese air attacks on U.S. planes seeking the rescue of survivors of the British airliner shot down by Communist Chinese planes the previous Friday. It finds that they were not isolated violations of international law, but part of a pattern of Communist malevolence which could be traced back nine years, since the end of World War II.

There had been at least 33 incidents in non-battle areas involving Communist planes, resulting in more than 65 deaths or disappearances. U.S. aircraft had been involved in at least 16 of those incidents, the first of which had occurred within about 60 days after VJ-Day in 1945, when the Russians had fired on a U.S. Navy plane off Dairen. During the ensuing year, U.S. planes had been shot at seven times in the course of nine months. Another incident had been reported in 1948, and on April 8, 1950, the Soviets had shot down an unarmed U.S. Navy Privateer on a training flight over the Baltic Sea, killing the crew of ten. In 1951, a U.S. Navy Neptune patrol bomber, with ten aboard, had disappeared on a weather reconnaissance flight near Vladivostok after Communist fighters had fired on it, and in 1952, a B-29, with eight aboard, had disappeared off the Soviet-held Kuriles, with radar indicating that it had been intercepted by another aircraft. Four additional shooting incidents had been reported in 1953.

It finds that the newest incidents should have come, therefore, as no surprise, and that the world was already in a kind of undeclared war, which had existed since 1945, though Americans had preferred to call it a cold war or an armed peace, not changing the actual state of affairs. It suggests that the Communist bloc nations would push, poke and prod the West as far as they could and that the free world would be abused as long as it allowed itself to be so treated.

It concludes that the U.S. and British Governments had acted properly in sternly calling to task Communist China for the latest incidents, that the type of "international barbarity" could not be tolerated, but it was to be hoped that the differences would be settled without further bloodshed.

Drew Pearson comments on the visit to Washington by South Korean President Syngman Rhee to confer with President Eisenhower. He indicates that while he was aging and cantankerous, Korea would not even be half alive at present but for his stubborn patriotism. But that same stubbornness could upset the precarious peace of the Far East or prevent the orderly reconstruction of South Korea. At 79, he was about the same age as Chancellor Konrad Adenauer of West Germany, on both of whom the U.S. was relying, along with aging Chiang Kai-shek in Formosa and 79-year old Winston Churchill, the best champion of the U.S. in England, the latter certain to step down soon. It left realistic diplomats wondering on whom the U.S. would lean after the octogenarians were gone. Each of them could remain on the scene only for a few years longer, and it was difficult to train successors because of the dominating dispositions of the elder statesmen.

In South Korea, President Rhee had fired 200 ministers of his Cabinet, demonstrating that he controlled the show and without him, there would be no South Korea. His refusal to cooperate with others might tear down that which he had built. The man most likely to succeed him was Lee Bum Suk, a fascist-minded, undependable person who could embrace Communism with the same facility with which he embraced republicanism.

Mr. Pearson regards, therefore, U.S. diplomacy as looking to the past rather than the future, the basis for U.S. policy in an area "drenched with American blood".

President Rhee had been beaten with bamboo rods daily for seven months of captivity at one point in his life, had oil paper wrapped around his wrists and set on fire, his fingernails mashed so horribly that even at present, he blew on them to keep them warm, and had to wear a 20-pound cone around his neck and sit with his feet and hands locked in stocks. He had spent, in all, seven years in prison and 41 years in exile, had a $300,000 Japanese bounty placed on his head. He had been rebuffed and disheartened, but had never ceased fighting for the liberty of Korea. Those experiences made it easy to understand why he talked about resuming war against North Korea if necessary to gain independence for Korea. Despite the fact that the U.S. Army had cut off his gasoline, he had carefully hoarded gas and stored it in secret caches until he had enough to permit the well-trained South Korean Army to resume war for perhaps a month or more.

Mr. Pearson regards him as just being stubborn enough to precipitate such a war, for he had been promised the unity of his country and only on that condition had agreed to the armistice formed a year earlier. But the Korean peace conference at Geneva had now passed without anything of substance being done with regard to Korean unity. He had been told by Assistant Secretary of State Walter Robertson, who had persuaded him to accept the truce, that Korea would be united and that the real danger was not in Korea but that China would turn its attention to what it really wanted, the vast riches of Southeast Asia. President Rhee had now seen that prediction come true and had seen China now divide Viet Nam along a line of "military expediency, which was sure to become a line of political inexpediency. Yet the line across Korea still remains."

Representative Carl Durham of North Carolina, a member of the Joint Atomic Energy Committee, has excerpts printed of a speech delivered before the Greensboro Jaycees, in which he had advocated passage of the amended Atomic Energy Act, saying that he believed it would produce greater atomic progress in both peacetime and military areas, that while the 1946 Act had done a superb job, progress and atomic development in the U.S. and abroad had moved forward so fast that the legislation needed revision to meet the realities of atomic energy in 1954. He cautioned, however, that the amendments could not, of themselves, guarantee the nation the type of bold atomic progress needed by increasing basic scientific knowledge in the area.

He indicated that the establishment of the National Science Foundation was an appropriate step in that direction and he hoped that Congress would give that program strong support, but that more was needed, that a nation which not only tolerated but positively encouraged novel ideas would be where science would most easily flourish, not in a totalitarian state such as the Soviet Union where intellectual conformity was required.

Soviet hostility required that safeguards be maintained on atomic energy information, but it could not be used to quash dissent, that the line between wise and foolish security practices was a fine one, requiring wisdom and statesmanship to draw it properly. He assured that the members of the Atomic Energy Commission and those of the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy were keenly aware of the difficulties of striking an appropriate balance in that regard, so that classified information did not result in "intellectual paralysis among the members of our scientific community." He stressed that scientific advancement rested on more than the mass output of PhD's, that it required researchers with unique insights into the nature of the universe, the great discoveries having been made not usually while researchers were working in large laboratories but rather in isolation. He thus encouraged search for rare inquisitive minds and creation of a national environment in which bold scientific theories were not simply tolerated but positively welcomed.

He concluded that, in that light, it was clear that the inherent advantages in the race for scientific supremacy were overwhelmingly on the side of the West if it would seize them.

Arnold Heidenheimer, in Munich, indicates that on a side-street in the city, a block from the bombed out old opera house, next door to a newly opened Italian coffee bar, there was a local institution dubbed, in English, "The Small Freedom", neither a newspaper, nor a political group, nor a shop selling daring perfume or lingerie, but rather a showplace for sophisticated entertainment, home of one of the few German political cabarets which could claim to perform in the proud old Central European tradition. Its steadiest customers were usually students, who received cut-rate tickets, but they had not been able to obtain tickets to the latest production, a revue titled "Beer under Palms", as prosperous citizens were clamoring to buy the tickets at premium prices.

The show purported to demonstrate what happened when a group of Germans set out to found "the New Germany", modeled on the hopes and ideals of the classic German poets and philosophers. The opening scene showed the good ship Germania setting sail with its cargo of hopefuls, escorted by blocks of red, black and golden birds, representing the colors of the German flag, with its ornaments consisting of a beat-up World War I helmet and a rusty World War II machine gun.

He goes on to provide the further settings of the revue, the last scene showing a South Sea isle which appeared more like Germany than Germany, itself, where the Germans efficiently divided the labor, while one of the group laid plans for where the new Rhine was going to flow and another supervised the construction of the new police headquarters, as a third projected blueprints for the new army barracks. Thus, with forceful emphasis on the theme "Once German, always German", the show ended, leaving the viewer to apply the skits to current affairs, while having laughed at his own national weaknesses, which Herr Heidenheimer regards as a healthy practice in which many Germans had engaged too infrequently.

A letter writer from New York indicates that when James Wolfe, a concert pianist, had played in Charlotte, he had set the stage to explain Americans to the French, utilizing Charlotte as an example, as Mr. Wolfe had recently given over 30 concerts in the heart of France as the American artist in the exchange between the Jeunesses Musicales de France and the National Music League, that in each town he had played, he was questioned regarding reactions in the U.S., and it had been a revelation to the French to learn that the average American citizen listened to Handel and Haydn with the same enthusiasm as the French. The prevailing feeling in France had been that music within the U.S. was confined to Carnegie Hall concerts or bebop, but that notion had now been dispelled and the friendly relations between the two countries had been furthered by the exchange. She relates that Charlotte had played a role, for it was difficult for the French to believe that there were places where enough people would sit still for serious music to fill a concert hall, that they had believed that Americans preferred only jazz or to remain at home watching crime plays on television. But Mr. Wolfe had told them about Charlotte, as it had struck him as being typically American, telling his backstage questioners in Toulouse that Charlotte audiences had enjoyed and applauded Tchaikovsky's Concerto in B-flat Minor, surprising and pleasing the French.

But did he inform them that a large part of the rest of the city's residents who were not at the concert, those who did not stay home watching television, were down at the racetrack watching the cars go round and round?

We made that up, as we have no idea of what they were actually doing. Perhaps, they were sedulously spinning platters containing Beethoven, Bach and Bartok. But, W. J. Cash had lamented in The Mind of the South that in a town as large as Charlotte, the proprietor of its largest record shop told him that he had only four customers who regularly purchased classical music, some 15 years earlier. The new sophisticated age of television, however, may have begun to change that dearth of culture, the "Sahara of the Bozart", as H. L. Mencken had cynically termed the South many years earlier, or may have also reinforced some of the lower common denominator tastes in the process. Time will tell… Will Charlotte have a NASCAR Museum or a Museum of Fine Art in the future?

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