The Charlotte News

Thursday, July 8, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Secretary of State Dulles had said this date in a press conference that the U.S. would use its veto, if necessary, to keep Communist China off the U.N. Security Council—where, if admitted in lieu of Nationalist China, it would also have a unilateral veto as one of the five permanent members—as would become the case in 1971. The Secretary indicated confidence that Communist China would be unable to gain admission to the body during the fall session of the General Assembly. He denounced Communist China for flouting the U.N. in Korea, supporting the Communists in Indo-China and generally for failing to fulfill its international obligations, saying that there was no occasion, however, which would prompt the U.S. to withdraw from the U.N., as had been proposed by Senate Majority Leader William Knowland in the event of admission of it to the U.N. Secretary Dulles said that instead the U.S. and like-minded countries would present a very powerful case for blocking membership of Communist China.

In Geneva, Soviet Foreign Minister V. M. Molotov had returned to the Indo-China peace conference this date, the fact promising an increase in the negotiations for a cease-fire in the war, being the first of the major diplomats to return after a two and a half week recess during which the military representatives of the powers had been negotiating details of cease-fire areas. New French Premier and Foreign Minister Pierre Mendes-France was scheduled also to return soon.

The President this date named a three-member fact-finding board to investigate the strike of 4,500 atomic energy plant workers at Oak Ridge, Tenn., and Paducah, Ky., to be chaired by former Atomic Energy Commission member Thomas Glennan. The appointment was a major step toward ending the strike at the plants, begun the previous day, threatening production of U-235, vital to atomic and hydrogen bombs. The Government could now seek a court order halting the strike as soon as the board rendered its report by July 20. There was unofficial speculation that the Government might seek an injunction by the end of the present week.

Democrats, led by Senator John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts and Congressman Aime Forand of Rhode Island, planned floor fights this date in both the Senate and the House to try to increase unemployment insurance benefits, but their prospects appeared dim. The Senator and Congressman had prepared amendments to the bills before each body, regarding extension of unemployment compensation coverage to about four million additional workers in small businesses, to add an increase to benefits and longer payment periods for the jobless, with Congressman Forand stating in an interview that the President had called for action along the lines of the proposed amendments but had instead sought to pass the buck to the states to improve the program and raise jobless benefits.

The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia this date upheld, by a vote of 8 to 1, the dismissals of two perjury counts against Owen Lattimore, former State Department consultant on the Far East, including the key count, but ordered two other counts reinstated, reversing the Federal District Court. It supported the District Court's determination that the main count, charging that Mr. Lattimore had sworn falsely when he testified that he was not a Communist sympathizer or promoter of Communist causes, had been invalid as being unduly vague regarding the term "sympathizer", under the Sixth Amendment right to be sufficiently apprised of the charge to enable the defendant to prepare a defense, as well as agreeing that the count charging him with perjury relating to his testimony to a Senate Internal Security subcommittee that it was not necessary for him to have permission of "Communist authorities" to visit Yenan, which had in 1937 been the Communist stronghold in China, and that he had made no pre-arrangements with Communists in order to obtain entry, on the basis that the questions put to him in that regard had been confused as between "Communist authorities" versus the "Communist Party", two different groups in relation to China at that time, Mr. Lattimore having been accused of lying about not having made pre-arrangements with members of the Communist Party, not regarding the lack of necessity of having the permission of "Communist authorities". The two reinstated counts charged that he had lied about not having published, while editor of Pacific Affairs, an article by a person known to be a Communist, other than of certain Russians, and his denial of knowledge during the 1930's that a named individual was a Communist.

In the U.S. District Court in Washington, the four Puerto Rican Nationalists who had been convicted after a two-week trial in June for the shooting of five members of the House of Representatives the prior March 1, all five having since recovered from their wounds, were given maximum prison sentences this date ranging up to 75 years, the reputed leader of the group, Lolita Lebron, having received a sentence of from 16 years, eight months, up to 50 years, and her three male co-defendants having been sentenced to between 25 and 75 years each. The judge indicated that the maximum sentences were justified on the basis of the crime having been "so heinous, so infamous, so daring and so atrocious as to shock the conscience of the nation." The jury had convicted the three men in June on five charges each of assault with intent to kill and five charges each of assault with a dangerous weapon, while convicting Mrs. Lebron only of the five charges of assault with a dangerous weapon, hence the harsher sentences for the three men. The four defendants protested prior to their sentencing that they had only intended a demonstration on behalf of Puerto Rican independence at the time of the attack and did not intend to kill anyone, and so claimed not to be guilty of any crime. The judge said that except for the skillful work of surgeons on the wounded members, especially one member, the defendants would have been facing him on capital charges.

The Airline Pilots Association announced this date that it had called a system-wide strike against American Airlines for midnight on July 15 to force an eight-hour limit to pilots' continuous flying time.

In Miami, homicide detectives continued to hunt for a suspect in the kidnaping and murder of a seven-year old girl, whose body had been discovered raped, bludgeoned and strangled to death the previous day, four hours after she had been discovered missing from her grandparents' home in the wee hours of the morning. The head of the homicide bureau reported that more than 30 suspects had been held by the police, but that no definite suspect had yet been identified, that the office still had about 40 men listed for questioning, including all known sex perverts and child molesters, promising to work around the clock until the vicious killer was in jail.

Dick Young of The News reports that in Charlotte, Mayor Philip Van Every this date had called a meeting of the Chamber of Commerce representatives at his office for the following Tuesday morning, in the continuing effort to undertake the City's program of elimination of railroad grade-crossings.

In New York, entertainer Arthur Godfrey announced on his weekly television show the previous night that the program would take an eight-week hiatus following the next week's broadcast, denying rumors that the show was permanently leaving the air. The Boston Record carried a story by its television editor saying that Mr. Godfrey would break up the troupe because of dissatisfaction with soprano Marian Marlowe and because of personal plans of another singer on the program, identified by the newspaper as Lu Ann Sims, whose engagement had recently been announced. There is plenty more to the rumor, should you be interested, the Godfrey show having been in the limelight since the previous October, when Mr. Godfrey had publicly fired singer Julius La Rosa during an airing of the program, the latter having since appeared on his own in stage shows, nightclubs and on television. Now it appeared that Miss Marlowe was not taking orders, refusing to sing further duets with Frank Parker, despite fan mail requesting those duets, the fans believing that Mr. Godfrey had stopped them, the Record reporting that an unidentified CBS executive had said that he had not done so. So there, you stupid ignoramuses. Mr. Godfrey is, was, and always will be king.

On the editorial page, "Punches Can't Be Pulled on U.N. Issue" indicates that the President had stated before the U.N. the previous December, when he had proposed the international atomic energy pooling arrangement, that the great tests and accomplishments of the U.N. still lay ahead and that the U.S. Government would remain steadfast in its support of the body. He had so stated often during the 1952 campaign as well, but the previous day, at his press conference, that unwavering support appeared to waver.

After telling newsmen that he was completely and unalterably opposed to allowing Communist China to be admitted to the U.N., he indicated that he was not ready to say that the country should withdraw from it if China were admitted, the implication having been that he would at least consider U.S. withdrawal in that event. By so stating, intentionally or not, the President had played into the hands of the U.N. foes, "those bitter men, many of them in responsible positions in his own party, who want to wreck the world organization", having chosen the emotional issue of the potential admission of Communist China to the U.N. as their means.

It regards it as regrettable that their chief spokesman was the Senate Majority Leader, Senator William Knowland of California, and urges that because of the strength of that opposition, the supporters of the U.N., which it regards as including the President, would have to use their utmost power to defeat the move quickly and soundly. The President's criticism of Communist China had drawn praise from Senator Knowland as a statement of "no equivocation, no reservation and no pulling of punches." It urges that support of the U.N., by the President and others, had to be equally unequivocal, that the U.S. was mature enough not to run away from the rest of the world "like a spoiled brat" if things did not go its way insofar as the membership issue of Communist China, that the U.S. was in the U.N. to stay and that there could be no compromise on that issue.

"An Old Refrain Has New Urgency" indicates that as grumbling about Charlotte's rock quarry nuisance had increased, City Council member Herbert Baxter had proposed the solution that the City place its refuse in the hole and cover it each night with a layer of dirt, such that it would not be long before the problem would be gone forever, the same solution proposed by City Manager Henry Yancey three years earlier and the same plan which the City Council had rejected when residents in the area had complained.

It suggests that the proposal of Mr. Baxter be given careful consideration as the quarry had been a source of irritation and expense to the city for years, with the recent blaze erupting therein having only been one incident in a long chain of events. The people who lived nearby were concerned about the unhealthy odors emanating from the quarry by regular, unsupervised dumping of debris, and the solution of covering the supervised dumping of debris each night with dirt would take care of that issue and prevent it from being a continuing fire hazard during the summer months into the future.

"Ervin Went Wrong Place for Advice" indicates that recently, the column had expressed surprise in an editorial that North Carolina Senator Sam Ervin had voted against the three-year extension and liberalization of the Reciprocal Trade Act, voting instead for the one-year extension which had eventually passed, the newspaper suggesting that he provide an explanation of his position.

He had now explained in a letter to the Raleigh News & Observer why he had so voted, that it had been based on information provided him by Senator Walter George of Georgia and others in whom he reposited great confidence, indicating that because the House had rejected the proposed three-year extension by an overwhelming majority and had approved the one-year extension by an overwhelming majority, the Senator, who had been personally in favor of the three-year extension, was advised by Senator George and others that the House would not accept it and that there might not be any extension at all unless the Senate agreed to the one-year extension. He noted that his position was identical to that of Senator George and his fellow Georgian, Senator Richard Russell.

The piece indicates that it was glad that Senator Ervin had clarified his position, but finds that the best thing which could be said about it was that he had received some poor advice, that the House had not rejected the three-year extension by an "overwhelming vote", as it had not even voted on it, having voted for the one-year extension under a "closed rule" procedure which precluded offering of amendments other than those proposed by the Ways & Means Committee, whose chairman, Representative Daniel Reed of New York, had not wanted any extension at all. It finds that Senator Ervin had also relied too heavily on the advice of the two Senators from Georgia, disregarding the advice of all other Southern Senators, who had stood solidly for the extension and liberalization of the Act. It hopes that in the future, Senator Ervin would place more faith in his own judgment and that of the great majority of the people of the state which he represented, who had long fought for freer trade and would continue to do so.

"'The Type of Fellow I'd Like To Be'" tells of Harold Smoak of Charlotte, who had received a check for $500 for directing the 1954 local Soap Box Derby race, but would not accept the check, asking that it be turned over to a charity, suggesting the Optimist Park, Inc. Mr. Smoak had, several years earlier, decided to be a friend of boys, as the Optimist Club's slogan went, being chairman of the Boys' Work Committee of the Charlotte Optimist Club, which operated the park, and now as president of the club, carried out the program of recreation and guidance which had wiped out juvenile delinquency in a section of the city where it once had been rampant. Mr. Smoak had also been named recently by the Jaycees, in which he had long been active, as one of the ten outstanding young men of the city. His college career at Furman had included winning the sportsmanship trophy in college football and election as president of the student body.

Those who had worked closely with him had stated with unanimity that he was the type of fellow they would like to be, and the piece indicates that the community could use a few more like him.

Drew Pearson nominates several people whom he regards as seeking to carry out the ideals celebrated on July Fourth, including August Dietz, Jr., patriotic printer of Richmond, Va., who had printed three million copies of the Declaration of Independence and was circulating them across the country in schools; a patriotic coal miner of Morgantown, W. Va., R. M. Davis, who owned his own coal mine, with one of the best safety records in that state, and had contributed $300,000 to a youth recreation center in Morgantown and more recently had been pushing the idea of creating a department of peace in the Government; the Crusade for Freedom, which, three years earlier, had picked up Mr. Pearson's idea of sending balloons with messages of friendship and freedom from the West across the international border from West Germany to Czechoslovakia, and had repeated the gesture the previous May, sending sample ballots outlining ten points of freedom plus accompanying stickers to be pasted onto the ballots instead of the rubber-stamp Communist Party candidates, sent just before the elections in Czechoslovakia, having had such an impact that the Communist Government officially protested to the U.S.; the Lions Clubs International, which had discussed in their current convention how to make the world a better place in which to live and achieve the goal of peace; and Rotary, which sponsored a scholarship exchange between foreign countries to help supplement the Fulbright Scholarships under the Smith-Mundt Act, which, despite having done more to build up American friendship than almost anything else, shortsighted Republican leaders in the House had wanted to cut to the bone.

He finally cites dean Erwin Griswold of the Harvard Law School, who had demonstrated how the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination had been woven into the fabric of the fundamental rights of the Constitution, going back even to the 16th Century when it had been used to prevent self-incrimination by torture, also showing how the other sections of the Fifth Amendment had been used to protect against the seizure of private property and double jeopardy. He had quoted from the trial of William Bradford, who had first introduced printing to Pennsylvania and had printed copies of the charter of the province so that the people could see what their rights were, then was taken before the Council of Pennsylvania by the Governor in 1689, a partial transcript of which Mr. Pearson sets forth. Therein, Mr. Bradford had told the Council that it was by Governor Penn's encouragement that he had come to the province and by his license that he printed, to which it was inquired as to the license by which he had printed the charter, Mr. Bradford responding that it was an impracticable thing for a man to accuse himself, then upon being told that it would be better for him to confess, replied that he desired to know his accusers, at which point he was asked whether he denied having printed the charter and told that if he refused to confess it, would have the matter proved against him and would "smart" for being so stubborn. At that juncture, one of the Council said that he was informed that 160 copies had been printed the previous day and that another man had said he had paid 20 shillings for his part toward the printing of it, to which Mr. Bradford had replied that the individual making the charge meant nothing, still demanded to know his accusers so that he might better prepare his defense.

Mr. Pearson concludes that it represented the tough caliber of men who fought for the country's liberties, which still deserved fighting for, "despite the oratorial gymnastics of some senators"—referring to the "Fifth Amendment Communist" label popularized by Senator McCarthy for those whom he regarded as using the Fifth Amendment to avoid admission of prior or current membership in the party.

The person who takes that attitude, incidentally, that a person who pleads the Fifth Amendment is concealing negative information, with the implication that the answer might prove incriminating, that the person is thus presumed to have stated an answer to the question, to which the privilege is invoked, which would admit guilt of any criminal misconduct which the question on its face sought to elicit, is not only making a statement antithetical to a principle of our founding as a nation, the Fifth Amendment, and a critical principle of its jurisprudence, that a person is presumed innocent before the law, regardless of evidence to the contrary, until a ruling is made by a qualified finder of fact and then upheld on appeal, but also ignores the notion of imperfect memory regarding events which occurred, as was usual in these McCarthy and HUAC inquisitional interrogations, many years earlier, regarding specific information, and the consequent chance of inadvertent and honest misrecollection of events, potentially leading to a perjury indictment for innocent misstatement. Whether a more general question, such as, "Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?" could be answered truthfully "yes" or "no", was often subject to clarification, both as to temporal context of the membership and whether attendance of one or two meetings might have been the equivalent of membership, to the point of supplying details years old, which again might later be subject to such microscopic analysis by the witch-hunters that an ostensibly honest statement could be turned on its head to appear false and deceptive, leading, if not to indictment, at least to political destruction of reputations when an answer was attempted but conveyed unfavorable information, as in the case of Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer in 1953-54, regarding his dabbling in Communist ideology during the 1930's as an answer at the time to the anti-Semitism of Nazism, leading to the denial of his continued security clearance with the Atomic Energy Commission despite the executive loyalty review board and the AEC having found him to have been completely loyal during his work for the AEC during and since World War II. Inducing such testimony, leading to the Hobson's Choice of either taking the Fifth Amendment or becoming subject to some form of public disgrace by testifying truthfully, with the hazard in tow of testifying falsely by inadvertent misrecollection, was a sinister design conceived for political advantage of the questioner, having nothing to do with national security or any genuine concern for infiltration of the government by subversive elements, which, when carried to extremes, could apply to any Republican during a Democratic Administration, seeking to undermine and prevent the success of Administration policies, and vice versa, through legitimate political activity and exercise of free speech. The point was that Congressional committees and executive committees should not have been engaged in pointed inquiry into an individual's past, so remote as to be irrelevant to that which was germane to the particular inquiry into which the committee was authorized to probe.

It also led to illegal, covert snooping and wiretapping in the name of "national security", a rationalization for getting the goods on political enemies of the opposing political party, as well as perceived enemies within the public and press, circumventing in the process both the Fourth and Fifth Amendments by the convenient handy-dandy of "executive privilege", employed to protect against disclosure of operations, however illicit, conceived to protect "national security", i.e. Administration policy, when Congressional inquiry was frustrated after the abuses of the McCarthy era gave such inquisitional techniques a bad name, the ultimate exponent of which was to become the Constitutionally unauthorized Plumbers Unit of the Nixon Administration, conceived as the intelligence-gathering arm of the White House, distinct from the regular, Congressionally authorized executive department intelligence gathering agencies, the CIA, FBI and military intelligence agencies, ultimately placing the Nixon White House in an "us versus them" mentality, engaged in a virtual war on any and all who did not support the President and were openly critical in the process, the Constitution be damned as an inconvenience to be cynically talked around by phraseological invention.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop regard the "irresponsible", violent and irrational "extreme right-wing" of the Republican Party and the extent to which it might go to damage the President and Eisenhower Republicans, reporting that recently Representative Carroll Reece of Tennessee, former RNC chairman, had approached Representative Franklin Roosevelt, Jr., with an offer that he and other like-minded Republicans, former supporters of Senator Robert Taft in 1952, would be prepared to help the Congressman in a run against Governor Thomas Dewey in his bid for re-election in New York, which Representative Roosevelt had declined to accept.

In New Jersey, the same phenomenon appeared in potentially a considerably more dangerous form, where the Republican extremists were seeking to defeat the Republican Senate nominee, Clifford Case, a moderate candidate, whom the right-wing Republicans regarded as a "liberal" creature of the CIO and Americans for Democratic Action. Mr. Case was supported by the White House political strategists and so the attack on him was worrisome to them. There was a plan to persuade him to offer a public eulogy of Senator Taft, whom he had strongly opposed during the latter's lifetime, but it was hoped thereby that he might appease those who were former Taft supporters. The Alsops regard it, however, as hollow optimism as the Republican extremists could not be appeased by amiability, seeking party control at any cost, including destruction of the party if they could not achieve control of it.

Robert C. Ruark indicates that he had been blackballed in high school in Wilmington, N.C., prevented from membership in the Hi-Y Club because of what he describes as moral turpitude on his part, since he had recently been kicked out of the Boy Scouts for smoking and was in bad ecclesiastic odor at the Church of Saint James because of some participation in crap games in the cellar following Sunday school.

He joined what he regards as a subversive society at UNC, the Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity, which had a bar in its basement and forbade girls upstairs. It had an insignia with a skull and crossbones and he recalls vaguely that the initiation ceremony had to do with overthrowing the Fascist reign of the local bootlegger. During his membership in the brotherhood, he was responsible for the theft of an umbrella and table from the Carolina Inn and of a rustic bench from the yard of then-president of the University, Frank Porter Graham, the bench having wound up in the fraternity saloon room. During college, he had mingled freely with the members of two sororities, Chi Omega and Pi Beta Phi, secret societies composed entirely of girls, the former such secret society having had a house mother presumed to have been a Fascist, kicking the boys out of the house at 10:30 p.m., except on Saturdays.

During college, he had also been a member of an unofficial secret society called The Awful Four, whose other three he names, saying that they had plotted about whose car to borrow and whose money to use to visit the Fascist bootlegger who sold "plot-fuel" for 50 cents per pint.

Some years later, he had joined the Navy, under duress in that the local draft board, whom he regarded as another subversive group, had been blackmailing him at the time. He had never been made a lieutenant commander in the Navy during his three-year stint and and accumulated only area ribbons, with no act of individual bravery listed on his record. He had once headed for Russia in a convoy, but the Krauts had sunk so many ships that they wound up in Scotland.

Since the war, his association with groups had been confined to the National Press Club in Washington, the Literary Guild, the Dutch Treat Club, the journalism fraternity, the Skeeters, and the Chuck Wagon Glee Club, the latter two of which were largely located in the "21" Club and Toots Shor's in New York, with extensions in the Pump Room of Chicago and Owen Brennan's Old Absinthe House in New Orleans.

He concludes that it represented his whole "sordid history" and that it was good to have it off his chest, that he would feel much better in jail for contempt of Congress.

A letter writer comments on the water rate issue in Charlotte, with the Water Department having raised the rates substantially, as covered on the previous day's front page, this writer indicating that the rates outside the city had been raised punitively, which he believes to have been the result of premature objections to extension of the city limits by well-intentioned suburban dwellers, which had caused upset to the Mayor and City Council, resulting in the vindictive result of taxation without representation "in its vilest form."

A letter writer from Pittsboro addresses the crisis of potential loss of Indo-China to the Communists, indicates that if he were in charge of negotiations at Geneva, he would make sure that as a condition of peace, Indo-China could not be used as a springboard to recruit for future attacks against Communist China, as would the U.S. do under similar circumstances, as it had recently done in Guatemala when that country had been threatened by Communist influence. He urges thinking in terms of reality to eliminate confusion in the world, with the U.S. appearing as the most confused of all. He regards U.S. thinking as static, talking in terms of force as the only language which Russia and Communist China could understand, utilizing the Pacific as the testing ground for the hydrogen bomb, intending thereby to intimidate Russia and Communist China, though the results had been negligible in that regard, while scaring the country's allies and infuriating its potential friends in Asia, with Prime Minister Nehru of India wanting to know if the U.S. intended to blind the youth of India by contaminating the atmosphere with fallout from the hydrogen bomb tests. He says that the U.S. was generally considered to be the most disliked of all of the Western powers by those in Asia and that it should not be the case, as the U.S. was the only one of the Western powers which had derived from a colonial background, and so should have appreciation for the efforts of Asians toward self-determination and ridding themselves of colonial rule, as in the case of Indo-China versus the French.

A letter from the director of the Youth Bureau of the Charlotte Police Department thanks the newspaper and its staff for sponsoring and covering the 1954 Soap Box Derby, which he regards as a service to the youth of the community, finding that the reduction in juvenile crime could be attributed to such activities, and so congratulates the newspaper for a job well done.

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