The Charlotte News

Monday, August 16, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Congressional leaders had agreed at a White House conference this date to try to push through Congress a new bill to outlaw the Communist Party, following Senate passage of a bill sponsored by Senator Hubert Humphrey on Friday making membership in the party a crime. The House measure which would be sought would not make membership unlawful, but only the party, itself, as, according to Speaker of the House Joseph Martin of Massachusetts and Senator Homer Ferguson of Michigan, the Government could already prosecute individual Communists under the Smith Act, making it illegal to teach or advocate overthrow of the Government by force. The House measure would be designed to supplant the bill passed by the Senate, making it a crime to belong to the Communist Party, provided a person committed an overt act while a party member. The House plan was acceptable to the Administration, which did not support the Senate bill which had passed unanimously on Friday.

The President signed into law this date the biggest tax revision program in the history of the country, saying that it would help millions of Americans by giving them fairer tax treatment, and boost the economy. The new law involved 1.63 billion dollars in tax reductions in the first year and more subsequently, for millions of individuals and nearly all corporations. It made no major changes in revenue rates but rewrote almost every tax law on the books. Many Democrats had contended that the Republican tax program was slanted in favor of corporations and the wealthy, while Republican leaders argued that the changes would remove many "shackles" from business expansion, encourage growth and create more and better jobs. It was the first major tax revision since 1875. It provided new and larger tax deductions for medical expenses, retired persons, sick-leave pay, for dependent children who earned more than $600, mothers or widowers who paid childcare expenses while they worked, and many others, and included a range of benefits for corporations and other businesses, permitting faster depreciation for new equipment and buildings, a special deduction on stockholder income from dividends, as well as other changes.

Senator Arthur Watkins, chairman of the six-Senator special committee examining the charges against Senator McCarthy under the censure resolution sponsored by Senator Ralph Flanders of Vermont, said this date that the committee would "take every possible shortcut" to enable issuance of a report to the full Senate on the censure prior to the November midterm elections. But Senate Majority Leader William Knowland of California and Senator Walter George of Georgia agreed that unless the findings were ready for Senate action by the first week in October, it might be impossible to get Senators to interrupt their campaigns to return to Washington. The vice-chairman of the committee, Senator Edwin Johnson of Colorado, predicted that a report could issue prior to October 1. Senator McCarthy had demanded that Senator Flanders return from his three-week European vacation to repeat under oath the 33 charges which he had made in his censure resolution, but Senator Flanders said that he would return immediately if asked to do so by Senator Watkins, but not by Senator McCarthy. He said that he had cleared his vacation with Senator Watkins. In all, 46 charges were leveled at Senator McCarthy, including additional charges by Senators J. William Fulbright of Arkansas and Wayne Morse of Oregon.

In Saigon, it was reported that a twin-engine cargo plane evacuating Vietnamese refugees from Hanoi had crashed near Pakse in southern Laos the previous day, killing 46 persons, most of whom were women and children. Three of the four French crewmen and a Vietnamese woman and child were the only survivors. Airport authorities said that the pilot had radioed an hour prior to the crash that one of the engines of the plane had stopped operating and that he was headed for the landing strip at Pakse. The plane had then crashed while making the approach for a landing, a mile short of the runway.

In Evanston, Ill., a leader of the World Council of Churches, a representative from the Netherlands, said this date that the organization could not "negotiate unions between churches" but that it was "committed to the cause" of church unity. The assembly brought together 1,500 representatives of 161 churches in 48 nations and was the most widely representative religious gathering ever held in the United States.

In Cleveland, O., Dr. Samuel Sheppard was released from the county jail this date on a $50,000 bond, shortly after the first-degree murder charge lodged against him was taken directly to the grand jury. He had been in custody since July 30, a few days after the conclusion of the coroner's inquest on July 26 into the bludgeoning murder of his wife on July 4 during the wee hours of the morning. The judge granting bail said that he had no evidence before him which would require denial of bail under the Bill of Rights, despite active protests by the prosecution. He said that bail, under Ohio law, could be denied in first-degree murder cases only where "the proof is evident" or "the presumption is great" that the defendant was guilty. At the State's request, a preliminary hearing in the case had been continued so that the case could be taken instead directly to the grand jury for indictment.

Donald MacDonald of The News indicates that in Charlotte, safecrackers had used nitroglycerin to blow open a safe which they robbed of approximately $300 at the Elmwood Cemetery superintendent's office early this date, having gained entry to the building through a rear window. A detective had indicated that he believed it had been several years since yeggs had used nitroglycerin in blowing open a safe in Charlotte. The stolen money was revenue received for work by cemetery employees on plots and payments for purchase of cemetery plots.

In Akron, O., the national Soap Box Derby champion this date was Richard Kemp of Los Angeles, the first time the champion had hailed from the West Coast since 1946. Charlotte's entry, Sonny Bankhead, 15, had come in second in his heat on Sunday during the first round of competition. Of the six North Carolina entries, only one, from Kinston, got past the first round, and he had been knocked out in the second round. Most of the entries from the South had been eliminated by the second round. The race had drawn 65,000 spectators and the 80 heats had been run in record time because of rain threatening during the entire afternoon. In the oil can trophy race, comedic actor Jack Carson came in ahead of actor Robert Cummings and Lou Costello, with Bud Abbott waving the checkered flag. Who was in second?

On the editorial page, "'The King Can Do No Wrong'" indicates that government, as the representative of all citizens, should never deprive the individual of a fair shake in any relationship. But Charlotte's municipal government had written into its laws the old English principle that "the king can do no wrong", that the government could not be held liable for its acts when it was performing a governmental function, including the services performed by police, firemen and garbage collectors. The City Charter liberalized the principle somewhat by empowering the governing body to pay up to $200 for damages to private citizens by the City when injured in the process of conducting a governmental function and the victim was not guilty of contributory negligence.

It indicates that the principle had some good points in protecting the city against unreasonable and exorbitant claims, but that adequate protection was not given the innocent individual who might become involved in a serious accident with a municipal vehicle. It urges, therefore, further liberalization of the centuries-old principle in Charlotte.

"Civil Service Law Needs Modernizing" indicates that the Civil Service Act of Charlotte needed revision and modernization, and the chairman of the local commission had already suggested as much. Under the present law, the City Council appointed the members of the Civil Service Commission, opening the door to political pressure and discouraging objectivity while inviting favoritism. A more satisfactory system, it suggests, was used by the County Civil Service Commission, where members were appointed by the resident Superior Court judge.

It concludes that in a democracy, public service should be considered a noble calling, as it was and should be a position of high trust.

"Swing's the Thing in American Jazz" indicates that swing was back in vogue in American music, that Count Basie's band had won the annual poll of jazz critics sponsored by Downbeat magazine the previous week, effectively turning back the musical clock to 1938, when Count Basie had been one of the heroes of that era, which included Benny Goodman, Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young and Benny Carter. It had been long before jazz musicians started taking themselves seriously and began enrolling at Julliard.

It suggests that authentic jazz, not to be confused with commercial popular music, deserved greater attention from the culture, but that it would smother to death in the pedantic air of a conservatory.

Since Buddy Bolden had produced his first Storyville stomps in turn-of-the-century New Orleans, jazz had been an enigma to the uninitiated, such that musicologists had never penetrated its secret. "True jazz is the living, flexible personal language of the instrumentalist and this fact has made it difficult to capture within the cold outlines of a formula." Its primary contribution to music was free improvisation, with expert musicianship not being enough, as every soloist had to have the creative instinct and assume the role of composer when he performed.

Modern classical composers had attempted to capture the jazz spirit in their serious works, including Igor Stravinsky, Aaron Copland, Maurice Ravel, Darius Milhaud and Leonard Bernstein. The "jazz phrase" became true jazz, however, only in the hands of such musicians as Art Tatum, Charlie Parker or Benny Goodman, "in an atmosphere of rhythmic, harmonic and melodic freedom." Even veteran jazzmen, such as Lenny Tristano, missed the mark when they sacrificed emotional spontaneity for complex forms and theory.

It concludes that an academic approach to jazz always failed, causing it to lose its identity, suggests that maybe with Count Basie back in the mainstream, it would not happen again.

A piece from the Greensboro Daily News, titled "Dinner Party Near Moscow", indicates that British labor leaders had met with Russian Premier Georgi Malenkov and others in the Russian Government, and so many toasts had been drunk with vodka that the Labor Party's secretary, Morgan Phillips, could not remember what had been said. The Associated Press reported that the party mood had been topped after dinner when Premier Malenkov had taken Dr. Edith Summerskill out into the garden and personally picked for her a bouquet of phlox and gladioli as the delegation watched.

It prompts the piece to lapse into poetry, concluding: "Sweet and good and roly-poly,/ Plucking phlox and gladioli."

The late owner of the home where they had gathered, Maxim Gorky, had once written to Anton Chekhov that there were nightingales in every garden but police spies only in his, that he believed they sat under his windows in the darkness and tried to obtain a glimpse of how he tried to spread sedition in Russia.

It suggests, however, that the spy in Mr. Gorky's garden was nothing compared to Premier Malenkov, who would remember what had been said. It hopes that former Prime Minister Clement Attlee and the Labor Party members had a copy of Aesop's Fables handy and would read two, among others, "The Wolf and the Goat" and "The Mole and Her Mother", each of which it proceeds to describe: the Goat being invited by the Wolf to dine on the sweeter and fuller grass at the low side of a hill, but realizing the Wolf was inviting it to dine not for its own dinner but for the Wolf's; the Mother placing a lump of frankincense before the young Mole to test its senses, asking what it was, to which the Mole replied, a stone, causing the Mother to declare that her young Mole could not only not see but also could not smell.

Drew Pearson relates of Dr. Otto John, who had defected from West Germany, where he had been the security chief, to East Germany on July 20, indicating that the back story as to why he had defected could now be told. He tells of Dr. John having long been a double agent and that the U.S. Army had suspected it, was trailing him during his recent visit in the U.S., one reason he decided to defect when he did. Mr. Pearson indicates that had more care and coordination been exercised regarding Dr. John's past, the psychological victory for the Communists would not have occurred and priceless Western European defense secrets would not have been lost.

Dr. John had been one of the top agents of the Gestapo during World War II, while pretending at the same time to the British that he was working for them. He had always convinced Westerners of his loyalty by the fact that his brother had been involved in the July 20, 1944 plot to assassinate Hitler with a bomb. It now turned out that it was Dr. John who had tipped off Hitler just before the plot was initiated, causing it to fail, selling out his own brother in deference to his loyalty to the Gestapo. Two days after the failure of the plot, Dr. John had left Germany for Madrid, making him acceptable in the eyes of the British. But he had left on a regular Lufthansa flight, and so he had to have been helped by the Gestapo as they were keeping a close watch on all of the flights. He had contacted the British in Madrid, posing as an anti-Nazi, and began an association which would gradually lead to his appointment as the top security officer in West Germany after the war.

But when the Russians had taken Berlin, they had seized Gestapo records, while the U.S. Army got the general staff records and those of the Foreign Office. The Russians were thus able to obtain the truth about Dr. John regarding his past association with the Gestapo and blackmail him with it, as exposure of his past meant imprisonment and perhaps death. He was always in need of money and the Russians supplied the money, and he had long previously gone to work for them.

The U.S. Army had become highly suspicious of him during the time when General Lucius Clay had been the U.S. commander in Germany and had nearly fired him. Despite those suspicions, the CIA had championed him and given him a great deal of confidential information, even arranging for a meeting with CIA director Allen Dulles. When Dr. John visited the U.S. recently, not long before his defection, Army suspicions led to trailing him with a counter-intelligence agent, continuing after he returned to Germany. The agent, an acquaintance from school of Dr. John, finally informed him that he was being trailed, then committed suicide one day after Dr. John had defected. The information of the tail was one reason why he had fled.

The Russians admitted him because they believed the defection might lead to the downfall of the Government of Chancellor Konrad Adenauer in West Germany and upset thereby the rearming of West Germany under the European Defense Community.

The result of the defection was a complete compromise of the West, making Europe realize that the Western European defense system had been infiltrated for years.

It should be noted that Marquis Childs, on August 3, had reported a very different characterization of the original escape from Germany by Dr. John via Lufthansa in 1944, aided in escaping detection from the Gestapo by his having been counsel for the airline, leading then to very different conclusions about Dr. John and the sincerity of his anti-Nazi stance. It had also been reported consistently that Dr. John had, himself, along with his brother, been involved in the July 20 plot to kill Hitler, and, indeed, the suggestion that Hitler was tipped by Dr. John flies in the face of the fact that Hitler was nearly killed in the blast at the Wolf's Lair, that only by the happenstance of a stout conference table had Hitler been saved from sure death, the fate of three others in the blast positioned nearby Hitler. Thus, it makes no sense whatsoever that there was a preliminary tip on the attempt, as a bomb contained in a briefcase set underneath the conference table did in fact detonate. Additionally, Dr. John had defected on the tenth anniversary of the July 20 plot. The only way to make sense of the version of the story told by Mr. Pearson would be to assume that Hitler was not at the conference table at the time of the blast or that his place was taken by one of his rumored doubles, neither of which scenarios has ever been plausibly suggested, though, given the history of the Nazis and their little tricks, it is not beyond the realm of reasonable conjecture, yet conjecture, by the nature of the case, not subject to verification.

Senator Warren Magnuson of Washington occupied a front-row desk in the Senate between Senators Harley Kilgore of West Virginia and Burnet Maybank of South Carolina, and the latter had disclosed that sometimes Senator Magnuson had trouble understanding the two colleagues in between whom he sat because of their Southern accents. Senator Magnuson, talking to Senator John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts, explained: "Sitting up there is like being in a foreign country. I can't understand a word they're saying." Senator Maybank had leaned over to Senator Magnuson one day and, pointing to Senator Kilgore, stated, "I cain undeh stan what that fella's tryin' to say."

Joseph & Stewart Alsop examine various Southern primary races, finding that the Dixiecrats and Eisenhower Republicans were having a difficult time, that if the challenger for the Texas gubernatorial nomination, Ralph Yarborough, were to beat Governor Allan Shivers, they would be done for the time being at least.

In North Carolina, former Governor Kerr Scott, a moderate, had easily beaten interim Senator Alton Lennon in the Senatorial primary, despite Senator Lennon's attempt to campaign on the race issue, which had worked for the late Senator Willis Smith in 1950 in beating interim Senator Frank Graham, but had failed this time.

In Alabama, Senator John Sparkman, who was predicted to have trouble because he had run as the vice-presidential candidate with Governor Adlai Stevenson in 1952, easily beat Representative Laurie Battle.

In Tennessee, incumbent Senator Estes Kefauver, who was called a "known Communist" by his opponent, Representative Pat Sutton, had also easily won renomination.

In Arkansas, there was a more complex situation, whereby in the first primary, the relatively conservative Senator John McClellan had barely defeated liberal former Governor Sid McMath, largely winning on the basis of his record in the Army-McCarthy televised hearings of April through mid-June. In the gubernatorial primary, a not very well known highway official, Orval Faubus, had forced a runoff with incumbent Governor Francis Cherry, and the contest had been bitter, with Governor Cherry having all of the more conservative elements behind him, while Mr. Faubus was supported by the friends of Mr. McMath. Mr. Faubus was accused of being a "subversive" for having attended the left-wing Commonwealth College for a few weeks during the 1930's. But those charges had apparently helped Mr. Faubus to win the runoff primary easily. (As indicated, Governor Faubus would become known as an ardent segregationist during the Little Rock school desegregation crisis of 1957-58, anything but a subversive or liberal. Such characterizations and counter-characterizations and apparently sudden changes of direction up or down river in the middle of the stream make the study of Southern political history a minefield ripe for misunderstanding by those who did not grow up around it or during the time when the Democratic Party was effectively the only party in the South. It is not a subject which can be understood through labels, whether of party or left or right, but typically having been the result of stances formed by expedient response of the moment to the whimsy of voters on the part of politicians who sought to exploit the visceral reactions, especially regarding the old inextricably intertwined Civil War states' rights and race issues, as against other politicians who sought to lead and educate the voters to their actual interests, economically and socially. Often, the same politician might embody an amalgam of stances, some more progressive on certain issues while retrograde on others, for the sake of survival in the political theater, more on the notion of serving the constituencies economically by leading through gradualism away from the ancien regime, the traditional stances to which adherence was maintained largely by emotion and superstition, toward the new ways born of educated rationalism rather than being steeped themselves, personally, in the old ways, though often supplying such rhetoric to the cause that it could hardly be distinguished from personal alignment. The Mind of the South by W. J. Cash is a good point to begin that journey of understanding.)

Those primary contests appeared to the Alsops to present a pattern, which was exemplified by the Texas race. The previous year, House Minority Leader and former Speaker Sam Rayburn had gone home after the session with the grim announcement that he was going to see whether he could put a Democratic Party together again at home. He raised $70,000 for the DNC by stumping the state and urging rebellion against the Texas faction of Eisenhower Republicans, headed by Governor Shivers, urging them to return to the home fold. As a result, there were two recent upsets in House races, including the defeat of ultra-conservative Wingate Lucas by James Wright, future Speaker, in the Fort Worth district.

Dr. Harold W. Wess, a professor of business administration and retailing at American University in Washington, writing in We the People, indicates that profit was not a "naughty" word, that capitalism was not "filthy", that Wall Street was not "predatory", that bigness in business was not "evil", that the New Deal was not really "new", or the Fair Deal "fair". And finally, he avers, a mistake was not "treason". But those ideas had crept into American thinking over a period of time and had been accepted by a large cross-section of the people. The concept regarding profits was, he finds, encouraged by a college textbook on economics used in 21 colleges, from which he quotes at length.

He cites the book Management and Morale by Professor Jules Roethlisberger of the Graduate School of Business at Harvard, which he regards as a good book, who had said that it was a curious fact that there were certain areas of endeavors where those who taught did not practice and that those who practiced did not teach, that in general, skillful practitioners of business did not teach economics or business in the universities and, likewise, those who taught economics in the universities did not practice business.

He urges that to make the free enterprise system work, there had to be a concept of profit to provide the spark for the spark plug of the economy, as it provided the impetus for business to produce things which the public wanted, while competition forced production at the price the public was willing to pay, also based on the profit principle. Industry also had to find ways constantly to reduce its costs, acting as an incentive for the development of new processes and new machines, something which did not exist in a dictatorial, non-profit system.

Profit was a useful tool to measure able and efficient management and, he indicates, it was not true, as textbooks on economics taught, that a profit was an accidental residuum, that the firms with able, far-seeing, well-trained management made a much better showing under the same conditions, be they prosperous or periods of recession, than did their less able competitors.

Murray D. Lincoln, an official of the Farm Bureau, CARE and the Co-operative League of the United States, writing in Minutes, discusses cooperatives and why they made sense, that in his 30 years of experience with them and other institutions of the people, he had been impressed by the fact that they had saved more money than concerns which started out to make money, though the cooperatives had never really sought to make money as a business.

In the early days of the country, the farmer had been his own boss, but now was subject to the vagaries of a complicated political and economic system over which he had little or no control. But when given a definite financial interest in the institutions which served him and a voice in running those institutions, the heritage of being one's own boss could be preserved through cooperatives. While the country had found out how to produce food faster, it had not found out how to distribute the produce, with the consequence that storage warehouses bulged with food and farmers were facing drastic reductions in their income.

He proposes a solution to the plenty rather than to scarcity, that study was needed of ways to expand the food market at home and abroad, while cutting distribution costs so that Americans could buy more and better food. Cooperatives, he indicates, were ideally suited to the job of fulfilling farm and consumer needs, as they were basically democratic people's institutions, owned, operated and controlled by the people who used them.

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.