The Charlotte News

Wednesday, July 28, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the prolonged debate in the Senate regarding the President's atomic energy bill had finally ended the previous night with passage by a vote of 57 to 28. The different versions between the Senate and House would now be taken up by a joint conference committee. The resulting bill opened atomic power to private industry and authorized the release of limited nuclear information to U.S. allies. The bill had been passed after 13 days and nearly 169 hours of debate, supported by 44 Republicans and 13 Democrats, and opposed by two Republicans, 25 Democrats and independent Senator Wayne Morse of Oregon. It left scars from the tactics used by Senate Majority Leader William Knowland of California in breaking the opposition filibuster, and whether those residual feelings would lead to stiffer opposition to other Administration measures, including foreign aid, housing and tax revision, remained to be seen. Senator Knowland said that the President was gratified over the end of the long debate and pleased that his legislative program was now moving along. Republican leaders were pushing for adjournment by August 7.

South Korean President Syngman Rhee, in a speech prepared for delivery before a joint session of Congress this date, proposed that an Asian Army of more than two million men, backed by U.S. guns, planes and ships, launch a counterattack against Communist China. He urged that peace could not be restored to the world as long as it remained half-Communist and half-democratic. It appeared to be the first time he had proposed an all-out attack on the Chinese mainland. He did not call for use of U.S. infantry.

The President said this date at his press conference that the recent Chinese Communist attacks on American and British planes were part of the Communist plan to split the Western allies, stating that the U.S. intended to defend its rights, that the U.S. rescue planes which had been attacked had been engaged in legitimate business. The U.S. aircraft had shot down two Communist planes after the attack over the South China Sea the prior Sunday, as they were attempting to rescue survivors of the British transport plane which had been shot down by Communist Chinese planes on Friday. The President also said that he would be more than bitterly disappointed if Congress were to adjourn without approving such Administration-proposed measures as foreign aid, farm policy, tax revision, housing and Social Security expansion. He said that he believed that an increase in the 275 billion dollar debt ceiling was also unavoidable. He stated his pleasure with the agreement reached between Britain and Egypt regarding settlement of their differences over the Suez Canal Zone. He indicated his continued support of Senator John Sherman Cooper of Kentucky for re-election, despite Senator Cooper's break with the Administration on two votes in connection with the atomic energy bill, stating that the Senator had come to him and was honest about his opposition based on a legal question, and that he had respected his viewpoint. The President expressed the hope that food prices would stabilize if Congress passed the Administration bill calling for flexible price supports for farmers.

The House this date defeated a last-ditch Democratic move to strip a tax cut on dividends from the President's tax revision program. It was anticipated that final passage of a compromise revision measure was forthcoming, which would reduce the nation's 1954 tax bill by an estimated 1.36 billion dollars.

In Louisiana's Democratic primary the previous day, Senator Allen Ellender easily won re-nomination, while in Arkansas, Senator John McClellan won apparent re-nomination narrowly over his first primary opposition in 12 years, against former Governor Sid McMath, with a question still pending, however, as to whether Senator McClellan would achieve the necessary majority to avoid a runoff primary.

In Cleveland, the County prosecutor this date said that a 24-year old hospital technician from Los Angeles had voluntarily returned and provided a statement the previous night that she had been intimate with Dr. Sam Sheppard, 30, prior to the murder of Marilyn Sheppard, the doctor's wife, which had occurred during the wee hours of July 4 morning. The young woman said, according to the prosecutor, that they had been intimate during a trip to California by Dr. Sheppard the previous spring, and on other unspecified occasions as well. The prosecutor quoted her as saying that she had received a gold ring and a jacket from the doctor, in addition to a watch which had been mentioned during the Coroner's inquest, concluded the prior Monday. She would not reveal when she received the ring, but said that she had received the jacket more than a year earlier. Early during the year, she had left the hospital where Dr. Sheppard practiced to take a job near Los Angeles, and said that she had exchanged letters with the doctor since departing, the prosecutor refusing to disclose the contents of the letters. He said that she indicated that the intimacies had occurred while both had been house guests at the Los Angeles home of another osteopath, while Marilyn Sheppard had stayed north in Monterey with friends of the Sheppards. At the inquest, Dr. Sheppard had denied any intimacy with the technician, but had acknowledged buying her a watch to replace one she had lost when they went to a wedding with some friends in San Diego. (Pages 9-c, 98-b and 103-b of Vol. II of the inquest transcript) The Coroner indicated that he did not plan to reconvene the inquest to hear the young woman's testimony. According to the Associated Press story, Dr. Sheppard's father had testified at the inquest that Marilyn Sheppard had been "disturbed" about the young woman. (As an early example of inaccurate reporting biased against Dr. Sheppard—, which ultimately, along with biased editorials and other extra-courtroom problems which turned the late 1954 trial into a carnival-like farce and tainted its fairness to the extent that the Supreme Court found it a denial of due process and reversed the conviction on habeas corpus in 1966—, the elder Dr. Sheppard did not testify to that at all, in fact said the opposite, that Mrs. Sheppard was not disturbed by the young woman, "not upset" and "not alarmed", after briefly objecting that the assistant district attorney conducting the examination was trying to put words in his mouth by asking whether his daughter-in-law had been "disturbed" by rumors that Dr. Sheppard was seeing another woman. (See page e26 of Vol. III of the inquest transcript)) Nancy Ahern, who, with her husband, had shared dinner with the Sheppards on the night of July 3, having departed late, with Dr. Sheppard having fallen asleep earlier on the living room couch and last seen asleep in the same location when the couple departed at around midnight, (pages 7-10 of Vol. I of the inquest transcript), had testified at the inquest that the prior April, Marilyn Sheppard had commented to her about the young woman and the fact that Dr. Sheppard had given her the watch, but said, upon questioning by Mrs. Ahern, that she was not concerned about it, saying that the doctor had been "interested in a young lady in California", but that it was "all over" now. (Pages 16 of Vol. I and h-9 of Vol. III of the inquest transcript)

Whether, incidentally, the prosecution's nearly obsessive preoccupation in the Sheppard case with watches, rings, gifts and trinkets had anything to do with the premiere of the short-lived 12-episode summer replacement tv series on July 8, "The Telltale Clue"—which, of course, was only an outgrowth of other such police and detective melodramas of the time placing undue emphasis, for the sake of sale of its dedicated sponsor's widget, on such microbial catch-as-catch-can moments intended for high dramatic impact, usually, as in the linked instance, employing such strained devices by the rushed writer as to wind up unintended self-mockery, the seeming work of a dipsomaniacal, stumbling aspirant to the legitimate stage after having spent too much time writing for vaudeville, aiming for the moon, stranded on the commuter train from Hoboken—, has to be left to the imagination to determine.

On the editorial page, "The Problem of Getting at the Truth" indicates that some 20th Century Americans held the view that history, like truth, was purely subjective, being a "reinterpretation" of the past in terms of prejudices and passions of particular historians. Others maintained that there was a certain "obstinacy in facts" and potentially a desire for truth in the human mind, that those two things combined with man's insatiable curiosity to know what had occurred and why to produce a considerable amount of accurate knowledge of past events and their causal connections.

Dr. Hugh T. Lefler, history professor at UNC and author, had discussed this problem the previous week in an address before Greensboro's Rotary Club, relating of the difficulty of getting at the truth about history, citing as an example the conflicting views about consolidation of the University, finding later, however, as stated in a letter to the editor this date, that what he had said was one thing and what had been reported in a North Carolina newspaper was another.

The piece indicates that he had not fired "a double-barreled blast at … the Consolidated University", as one account had it, and neither had he portrayed the University as a failure, as a headline in the Raleigh News & Observer had stated. His remarks had raised some serious questions about consolidation of the University 23 years earlier and deserved thoughtful consideration. As UNC president Gordon Gray had said in his recent five-year report to Governor William B. Umstead and the University Board of Trustees, the University system had grown, but not from a blueprint, that blueprints, plans and dreams had never been lacking, but usually resources had been, with the result that there had been "an opportunistic and bold expansion, wherever possible, with administrative and faculty people often going well beyond the call of duty to take advantage of opportunities." By 1950, however, the University had been in need of organizational changes to provide significant growth, changes which Mr. Gray had made with good results.

It finds that under consolidation, the University, to meet important needs, had expanded in students, faculties, buildings and service to the state, but that if there were any serious problems in the system, they should be brought to light, that it was never out of place to raise questions regarding higher education, as observed by Dr. Lefler. "It all fits neatly into the potential desire for truth in the human mind."

"Why Gov. Lodge Let Simpkins Go" tells of a news dispatch from Hartford, Conn., informing that Governor John Lodge of Connecticut had refused to grant North Carolina's request for extradition of a prisoner, Floyd Simpkins, who had been caught in Connecticut after escaping from a North Carolina prison farm, indicating objection to the manner in which he had been treated. Mr. Simpkins had been serving six months on a larceny charge.

The dispatch had prompted question as to whether in fact he had been mistreated and if so, how Governor Lodge had ascertained that fact. The assistant Attorney General of Connecticut had responded to the newspaper's inquiry about the matter by saying that a hearing convened before the Governor had determined that Mr. Simpkins had served four months of his six-month sentence prior to his escape, that he resided in Hartford with his wife and two children and if returned to North Carolina, Connecticut would have the burden of supporting them during his absence, that furthermore he had been incarcerated in Hartford for two months, equivalent to the balance of his North Carolina sentence, and thus, because his charge was considered to be a misdemeanor, Governor Lodge had decided that the interests of justice would best be served by allowing him to remain in Connecticut.

The president of the Hartford NAACP had told the newspaper during the week that Mr. Simpkins had contended that he was roughed up and given castor oil for a toothache on one occasion, while being denied medical treatment at another time. A North Carolina official who had gone to Connecticut to bring Mr. Simpkins back, contended that those claims were untrue.

It indicates that it was convinced there was no serious mistreatment of Mr. Simpkins and that Governor Lodge had not acted capriciously on the basis of undocumented charges, but finds in the process increased distrust of "Yankee reporters", as the dispatch out of Hartford had indicated falsely that the Governor had based his decision against extradition on the alleged mistreatment.

"Kefauver Can Be Proud of His Label" indicates that Senator Estes Kefauver of Tennessee was being challenged in the upcoming primary election by Representative Pat Sutton, that the Senator was going through the routine of shaking hands and making speeches, while Mr. Sutton proceeded with talkathons and drop-ins by helicopter. Both had favored TVA, including TVA steam plant construction, as did practically every successful Tennessee Valley legislator. Both also favored high agricultural price supports. Senator Kefauver was recounting his formidable record against sin and corruption, via the Kefauver Crime Committee of 1950-51, while Mr. Sutton was championing his Americanism and questioning his opponent's "internationalism".

It indicates that on the latter point, the campaign became the concern of all Americans based on those differences in foreign policy. Senator Kefauver had been a regular supporter of the U.N., reciprocal trade, the Marshall Plan, Point Four, and an advocate of U.S. leadership in world affairs. Mr. Sutton, by contrast, had been one of the few Democrats who had consistently opposed foreign aid, having voted against aid to Korea and Yugoslavia, and was apparently undecided on reciprocal trade, having voted for the program in 1951, voted "present" the previous year, and did not vote or declare his position during 1954.

It finds that Senator Kefauver's internationalism was a distinct asset to the nation and to his state, not a liability, that foreign policy transcended all domestic issues in the current era, and that the Senate needed persons who would continue to face and study the grim facts of world affairs and shape events abroad instead of letting the world go by default to the Communists.

A piece from the Richmond News Leader, titled "One Foot, Likewise", indicates that Princess Margaret had been reported to have attended a ball recently at Bad Eilsen in Germany following a hard day of diplomatic duties, and when it had come time for dancing, the Princess politely asked to be excused because her feet hurt. The story had recalled an old story of a young lady who had been tutored by her mother in genteel behavior, being told that as a general rule, it was not considered proper to discuss one's anatomy or ailments in mixed company, but that on occasion such could not be avoided, that under those circumstances, however, one should never complain about one's feet hurting, but rather only tell of one's foot hurting, and that in the case where her feet actually did hurt, the mother counseled that she make an appropriate gesture and say that her foot hurt, and then say that her other foot hurt also.

It indicates that it would prefer to believe that Princess Margaret's escorts had been told by the Princess that her foot hurt, and that so did the other one.

If that is all you have to write about, you need to find a new job. No one should be paid to write even a short piece about the feet, or one foot and then the other foot, of British royalty. It is neither entertaining nor humorous. What is the point? A foot is a foot, and, on occasion, everyone's hurts, or hurt, as the case may be, especially if you step on a nail or piece of glass, or one's glass slipper breaks—as, eventually, would befall one of the three men pictured together on the front page this date, with two being imposters to the imposture of the American "throne", the obvious hint as to the real imposter being the ice-cream suit he was wearing at the time the photo was snapped.

The Sanford Herald, in an editorial, assures that there would be a banner crop of red bugs in Sanford in 1954, as friends had informed the newspaper that they were getting chigger bites around their homes, and the editors had also had some of the same experience the previous weekend. If you want to know all about the chiggers in Sanford, and how to get rid of them by dousing oneself with kerosene, you may do so. It concludes with the recitation of a limerick: "There was a young lady from Natchez/ Whose clothes were in tatters and patches./ When asked to explain,/ She replied with disdain,/ 'Why, you see, when Ah itches, Ah scratches.'"

Ditto, regarding the Richmond piece.

Drew Pearson indicates that the inside story of the greatest filibuster in modern Senate history could now be told, that it concerned one of the most important bills in modern times, the atomic energy bill proposed by the Administration. A group of Senators had met ten days earlier to pledge to do battle against the bill to the bitter end. Senator Lister Hill of Alabama had been appointed head of the group, with Senators Albert Gore of Tennessee and Clinton Anderson of New Mexico having been the lieutenants in charge of amendments. It was agreed that there would be a carefully arranged schedule of speakers, with each man taking his turn. Senator Gore had said that he was prepared to speak six hours per day and that they could carry on until Christmas if necessary. But Senator Gore, despite his enthusiasm and ability, had been the first to crumble when the fighting got tough.

For three days, the filibuster had operated with precision, with every speaker in his place at the correct time, speaking for the allotted duration, and it appeared that the filibuster could continue indefinitely. But the previous Friday night, three things had occurred. First, Senator John Sparkman of Alabama had said that the Republican leadership might better consult those who were doing the real fighting against the giveaway of atomic power rather than consulting with the Democratic leadership, referring indirectly to the fact that Senate Minority Leader Lyndon Johnson was not leading the filibuster, but was sitting on the sidelines. Senator Sparkman thus was suggesting that the Republican leaders should consult with the leaders of the filibuster rather than Senator Johnson, something which got under Senator Johnson's skin, to the extent that he approached Senator Sparkman and was observed to wave his arms, at which point Senator Sparkman pounded his desk in Senator Johnson's face. Both men carried great prestige within the party.

Later that night, Senator Johnson was heard telling Senator Gore that they were going to find out who was going to stand up and vote for his leadership rather than that of Senator Wayne Morse, the independent from Oregon.

At the same time, Senate Majority Leader William Knowland needled the Democrats regarding Senator Morse, saying that he was really their leader. At a meeting of the opponents in Senator Hill's office late on Friday, Senator Gore had told Senator Morse that he had to withdraw his amendment, referring to the ban on letting Admiral Lewis Strauss become sole spokesman for the Atomic Energy Commission, that if he did not withdraw it, many Democrats who had been voting with the opponents of the bill would desert, reminding Senator Morse that Senator Knowland had been saying that he was the leader, something which the Democrats did not like hearing. Senator Morse had responded to Senator Gore by asking why the Democrats were letting Senator Knowland run the party, that they should run it themselves; but, nevertheless, had withdrawn the amendment.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop indicate that realities had to be faced with respect to the Far East, that the U.S. had accepted a "new Munich", with "accept" being a new term of art used in the Eisenhower Administration to mean "flabbiness in the face of danger".

Contrary to common report, the Joint Chiefs had been unanimous in their agreement that U.S. interests demanded intervention in Indo-China, with the report that Army chief of staff General Matthew Ridgway had dissented having been false, despite his having made intervention appear very unattractive. In addition to the assent to intervention by Admiral Arthur Radford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, chief of Naval Operations Admiral Robert Carney, and Air Force chief of staff General Nathan Twining, Secretary of State Dulles had insisted that Indo-China had to be saved, as had Vice-President Nixon, who had made a trip to the Far East. Opposed to intervention were Secretary of the Treasury George Humphrey and the President's brother, Milton Eisenhower, the latter being the Administration's "power behind the scenes". Mr. Eisenhower had argued that the country would not stand for intervention so soon after the end of the Korean War. That advice plus Secretary Humphrey's budget concerns had caused the President to follow the recommendations of those favoring intervention.

The Alsops find that a balanced budget was poor protection against the consequences of a Munich, something which every high U.S. official in close touch with foreign and defense problems believed would occur in the Far East. The Administration was also tacitly accepting certain other risks which were perhaps even more serious, including impairment of the country's basic military asset being tacitly tolerated, that being General Curtis LeMay's Strategic Air Command, which was not being cut, was receiving better planes, but also was having its striking power imperceptibly reduced by the growing political and military threat to overseas airbases. New Soviet guided missiles could bring those bases under fire, as the Alsops had described the previous week in their column. The political threat lay in increasing unrest of the country's allies who owned those bases, loss of which would be the equivalent to the loss of 60 percent of SAC's bombers, as it would reduce by 60 percent the sorties which they could fly.

The Administration was also tacitly accepting the inevitability of total peril, as the Soviet Long Range Air Army, in contrast to SAC, was rapidly improving its striking power, and the Soviet stock of atomic and hydrogen bombs was continuously growing.

"A Munich made already; our chief military assets being demonstrably devalued; the time of total peril not very far in the future; and even grimmer developments that may follow after that—these are the main features of the situation now confronting us." They conclude that an emergency existed which was not being treated as an emergency, prompting the question where the emergency would lead.

A letter, as indicated in the editorial above, from Dr. Hugh Lefler, UNC professor of history, indicates that garbled news stories, misleading headlines and slanted editorials afforded a perfect illustration of what he had been talking about at the Greensboro Rotary Club recently, the difficulty in getting at the truth. He explains the two conflicting views on consolidation of the University, that during the Depression, the Legislature of 1931 had passed the legislation on consolidation after Governor O. Max Gardner had proposed it, indicating that it would achieve three objectives, saving money, preventing overlapping functions, and preventing each of the three schools, the Chapel Hill campus, N.C. State in Raleigh and Woman's College in Greensboro, from becoming a full-fledged university. The late Edgar Knight, "the greatest educational historian" North Carolina had produced, had expressed the view that consolidation was the greatest blunder in the history of higher education in the state. Dr. Lefler had posed to the Rotarians that the problem of the historian was to determine the truth between those two views and that in the 23 years of consolidation, not one of the three original objectives, as enunciated by the Governor, had been achieved. He indicates that it was all he said anent consolidation, but the reporters and editorial writers had put words in his mouth, raising the question of what could be trusted in the newspapers, a more important problem, he asserts, than the merits or demerits of consolidation. He stresses that the University had not been the subject of his talk, that he had taught in all three of the branches and had not intended to portray the Consolidated University as a failure, as the Raleigh News & Observer had proclaimed in a headline. He indicates that he believed the state had missed an opportunity when it failed to follow the advice of the experts and rejected physical consolidation, that millions could have been saved in that way and a very great university built up, saving considerable bickering, distrust and suspicion. He believes that the "greater university" had an opportunity to display educational statesmanship and had dropped the ball, but that it was water over the mill, that one could not unscramble the eggs, but that it was never out of place to raise questions regarding higher education.

A letter from a member of the Charlotte College Advisory Board and Chamber of Commerce Education Committee praises the newspaper for its coverage of the meeting of the Board, and indicates that the newspaper had done an excellent job, both editorially and in its reporting on the subject. He finds the editorial by associate editor Vic Reinemer and the articles by Dick Young and Harry Shuford to have been superb.

A letter from the former director of the Lenoir Hall dining room at UNC, Leigh Skinner, who had been stricken with polio five years earlier and been forced to spend much of his time since then in an iron lung, indicates from Chapel Hill that a polio victim was not only a sick person but a badly worried one, with the questions of when he would get well and how long he had to remain in the hospital being only part of his troubles, also asking how well he could expect to become and how he could afford to pay for the expense of the illness. He was told that through the generosity of millions of Americans, the expense would be met by the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis. The knowledge that there was such a fund which could be used in the patient's behalf relieved to a great extent the mental strain under which he suffered, enabling his energies to be devoted to the lengthy and arduous task of getting well. He informs that the services provided by the Foundation meant the difference between disaster and hope of recovery for the patient and his family, that all polio sufferers were most grateful for the attention which they received and were living testimonials to the good which had been done by contributions to the polio fund.

A letter writer indicates that the reason the dry Christian citizens of the state could not get a bill through the Legislature was because the "hatchet-swinging Committee on Counties, Cities and Towns sees to it that any bill calling for a statewide vote on liquor is defeated and is not allowed to come out of committee." He finds it shameful when the citizens of the state were denied their constitutional rights by the liquor interests who could buy off the public officials, says that it appeared that the only way the drys of the state would ever have a chance to have a liquor referendum was to march on Raleigh a hundred thousand strong when the Legislature next was in session, and force a bill through it.

He does not mention that the local-option system in place meant that each county and city in the state, through local referenda, could determine for themselves whether they would allow the sale of liquor through the ABC system.

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