The Charlotte News

Monday, August 23, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in London, French Premier Pierre Mendes-France conferred for more than three hours this date with Prime Minister Churchill regarding ways to salvage the European Defense Community unified army, and departed with the pledge of the Prime Minister that he would do all he could to help. The EDC treaty would come up for debate in the French National Assembly the following Saturday and Premier Mendes-France believed it could not be ratified without amendments which he had proposed at the previous week's Brussels foreign ministers conference of the six nations which had signed the treaty 21 months earlier, ending in rejection of his proposed amendments by the other five nations. Both Britain and the U.S. had been pushing hard to obtain ratification of EDC by the two holdout nations, France and Italy, with Italy likely to ratify after France. It was believed that Prime Minister Churchill had discussed with the French Premier alternative ways of rearming West Germany and restoring full sovereignty to it should EDC fail to win ratification by France. The primary objection by the majority of the French National Assembly to the treaty was the rearming of West Germany, considered vital to the ability of the EDC to act as a bulwark against potential Soviet aggression in Western Europe.

In Bonn, West Germany, it was reported that Karl Franz Schmidt-Wittmack, 40, a trusted deputy of Chancellor Konrad Adenauer's Christian Democratic Party, and who had at his disposal all of the confidential information, according to both East and West German sources, obtained in closed-door meetings of Parliamentary committees on the European army and all-German affairs, had defected to the East German zone the previous Thursday, after ostensibly driving there for a business trip. According to the Communist East German Interior Ministry, he had requested asylum and would continue his "political activity" in the East. East Berlin sources said that he would campaign publicly against Chancellor Adenauer's pro-American policies in the same manner as Dr. Otto John, former head of West Germany's security section, who had defected on July 20. Herr Schmidt-Wittmack had been named to the two most important Bundestag committees after he had been elected the previous September to the lower house, with one of those committees having access to the most confidential plans of the National Defense Commission for raising an armed force of 500,000 men, either for EDC or NATO. The other committee, which dealt with all-German affairs, had been continually briefed on anti-Communist subversion organized by Western agents in East Germany.

The President, vacationing in Denver, vetoed a five percent pay increase for Federal workers because Congress had failed to pass, along with it, an increase in postage rates to help pay for the employee wage increase. Senate Majority Leader William Knowland of California had predicted the veto without the accompanying postage increase. The President, in his veto message, said that since 1945, the accumulated postal deficit reached four billion dollars, and failure of the postal rate increase coupled with the employee pay increase would add more than 200 million dollars to the budget without providing any revenue to offset it.

The President assigned Vice-President Nixon to campaign for Republican Senate and gubernatorial candidates in a series of tours to about two-thirds of the states prior to the midterm elections. The President would deliver an address this night by radio and television, expected to review the record of the 83rd Congress in advance of the start of the fall campaign. The Vice-President was currently taking a ten-day vacation in Maine, and would assess the political situation in conferences with individual members of the RNC during a three-day workshop session at Cincinnati beginning August 30. The plan appeared to be that neither the President nor the Vice-President would spend time campaigning in the South, though the Vice-President would apparently visit Kentucky and possibly some other border states.

Senator Earle Clements of Kentucky, head of the Democratic Senatorial campaign committee, had placed in the Congressional Record a series of tables showing labor surplus areas in 31 states, observing that he believed four million or more persons were presently unemployed, and that during the first five months of the year, business failures had been 39 percent above the same period of 1953, the highest record of business failures since 1941. Senator Knowland had countered that the Administration and Congress had "acted to strengthen the farm economy" through the substitution of flexible price supports for the former 90 percent of parity rigid supports, a matter disputed by Senator Robert Kerr of Oklahoma insofar as it being helpful to farmers.

Senator Karl Mundt, temporary chairman of the Senate Investigations subcommittee which had heard the Army-McCarthy dispute between April and mid-June, announced this date that the four-Republican majority of the subcommittee had reached a verdict in the matter, but did not say what it was. The verdict consisted of about 3,500 words of findings and recommendations, signed by Senators Mundt, Charles Potter, Everett Dirksen and Henry Dworshak. The chairman said that each of the four reserved the right to file a supplemental statement of additional findings and recommendations, with the report anticipated to be filed this date with the secretary of the Senate, but not to be released to the public until after the August 30 deadline for members to report their findings. The three Democrats on the subcommittee, Senators John McClellan, Henry Jackson and Stuart Symington, were expected to file a separate minority report.

In Rio de Janeiro, Brazilian Army tanks came to the defense of embattled President Getulio Vargas this date as the Air Force sought his resignation, which, according to the National Radio the previous night, had been rejected by El Presidente. One newspaper had quoted the former dictator as saying that he would leave his palace "only dead". Amid mixed reports, it was difficult to know what the status was, with the National Radio having reported earlier that El Presidente had been holding a midnight conference with military and civilian leaders. The crisis had developed out of charges that members of the Presidential guard had been involved in an assassination plot against anti-Vargas editor Carlos Lacerda, with that attempt having resulted in the killing of popular Air Force Major Rueben Vaz, causing resentment among the Air Force leadership, culminating in the demands for El Presidente's resignation. The pro-Vargas Continental Radio had declared the belief that the situation was under control. Six persons had been arrested in the assassination case, including several members of the palace guard, which El Presidente had since disbanded.

In Evanston, Ill., the meeting of the World Council of Churches sought to answer questions regarding the church's role in the East-West conflict between the free world and Communism, the capitalistic, free enterprise system and racial and social problems. There would be six reports made to the full plenary sessions of the assembly, which would eventually be adopted for guidance by the more than 60 denominations represented. Two of the reports would be problematic, regarding international and social problems. Bishop K. O. Dibelius, of Berlin, president of the Evangelical Church in Germany, appealed to the delegates for continued aid to the churches of East Germany, where he said the 15 million Protestants in the zone were in a continuous struggle for survival because the East German state was based on the materialistic outlook which opposed all kinds of religion.

In Amsterdam, it was reported that a Royal Dutch KLM airliner from New York had crashed in the North Sea off the Dutch coast this date, and that all 23 persons aboard, 12 of whom were believed to be Americans, were feared lost. (By coincidence, among those who had been passengers, was one Peter Yarrow, age 5, of Woodbury, Conn., and his presumed twin brother, whether related to the famous Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul & Mary, being unknown. The latter had attended the Interlochen Music Camp in Michigan during the summers of 1951 and 1952, Interlochen having been the inspiration for the Brevard Music Camp, on which appears a piece on the editorial page this date. Perhaps, one might attribute such rationally inexplicable coincidences to Puff, who, apparently, at times, can become a tough nut to crack.)

In Norfolk, the battleship U.S.S. Missouri, on the decks of which the formal surrender of the Japanese had occurred on September 2, 1945, was preparing to depart this date on a leisurely voyage which would end in its retirement to the mothball fleet. For the prior eight years, it had its home port in Norfolk. It had been commissioned in 1944 and would be mothballed in the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard at Bremerton, Wash.

In Raleigh, the 30th "Old Hickory" Infantry Division was slated to become an all-North Carolina division, plans for which had been approved by Governor William B. Umstead to make the North Carolina National Guard support the entire division instead of sharing it with Tennessee. The plan called for formation of 19 new Guard units. The 51 units presently in Tennessee would go to the 44th Infantry Division, which had been assigned to Tennessee. The 30th Division had been formed during World War I, but some of its units could trace their history back to the Revolution. During World War I, the Division had been credited with breaking through the Hindenburg line, and earned the nickname during World War II from the Germans, "Roosevelt's Storm Troopers", and the head of the historical section of the Army's European Theater of Operations rated it the top division in that theater.

In Selma, N.C., a herd of 30 goats and their vagabond driver had drawn crowds estimated to number 50,000 to the town during the weekend, while the driver of the goats rested his flock in a grove off U.S. 301, leading to Virginia from the driver's native Georgia. The previous day he had taken a battered Bible from his wagon and preached on "Brotherhood in Kindness". The police chief said that the crowd of onlookers was the largest ever to visit Selma, and police officers and Highway Patrolmen sought to deal with backed up traffic for ten miles in each direction, with traffic having to be routed around the town to avoid the traffic jam. During this morning, the driver hitched up his goats again and started northward, making a few miles per day, set to spend several more weeks still in North Carolina. We hope that he makes it out by mid-October, as we can fairly well predict that a tremendous hurricane will hit the eastern part of the state at that time. Having been born under the sign of the goat, we know whereof we speak.

On the editorial page, "Usher L. Burdick and Abraham Multer" indicates that 76 years earlier, Mr. Burdick had been born near the little town of Owatonna, Minn., then moved with his parents to the prairies of the Dakota Territory, where he helped on the farm and learned the Sioux language, had then attended college at the University of Minnesota where he played for the football team in 1903 and 1904, when they had won the Big 10 championships, then earned a law degree, and by 1907 was in the North Dakota State Legislature, wrote books about the Sioux, range cattle and farm political action, finally entering Congress in 1934, where he still served.

Abraham Multer had been born in New York City, attended night school at City College and then obtained his law degree at Brooklyn Law School, had been a joiner, active in the affairs of his synagogue, Tammany Hall, the Flatbush Boys Club and many civic and philanthropic organizations, serving as counsel to many city, state and Federal committees, before entering Congress in 1947, where he also still served.

It indicates that the careers of the two men were thus quite dissimilar, but they, alone, among members of Congress, had shown the courage to express their convictions regarding the proposed bill to outlaw the Communist Party, voting against it, after Mr. Multer had said that if they did away with the Communist Party, they next might do away with the Democratic or Republican Parties, or religious or social or business groups, and Mr. Burdick had said that he was for freedom of speech, freedom of the press and was opposed to silence from fear, instead of reason.

Most members of Congress were aware that there were sufficient laws already on the books regarding Communist espionage and subversion, that the contrived bill for the midterm elections was likely to hinder more than help in ferreting out actual subversives, as well being of questionable constitutionality and posing a threat to non-Communist organizations. But rather than try to explain that to the electorate, they had taken the easy way out so that they could brag to their constituents that they had voted against Communism.

It finds a measure of poetic justice in the fact that Democratic liberals, led by Senator Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota, had decided to sponsor the anti-Communist Party bill and thus cut the ground from under Republicans who had charged that Democrats had been involved in "20 years of treason" during the Roosevelt and Truman Administrations. As Senator Walter George had explained, the Republicans had brought in a political bill and they were just adding some more politics to it. But, it finds, the members of Congress who yielded to that temptation had also yielded on principle, and when the election was over, many of them would feel deservedly ashamed of their action. But Congressmen Burdick and Multer would not be among them.

"On to the Televised Convention" indicates that the American Legion convention would gather in Washington the following week. Editorial writers had been exercised regarding the President having sought from Congress an appropriation of $103,000 to maintain "public order" during that convention. The Government wanted the Legionnaires to parade down Constitution Avenue, where they would not tie up too much traffic, but the Legion had insisted on marching down Pennsylvania Avenue. In addition, the Legion and the Government were at odds over the question of giving Government workers half a holiday for attendance of the Legionnaires' parade, with the Government insisting that it was not consistent with the Administration's efficiency and economy program.

The piece suggests that in the future, Legion conventions should be conducted only by television, consistent with the practice of Westinghouse, which had its 2,000 delegates visit the nearest CBS studio, where, by private telecast, they were able to view the latest lines of Westinghouse products and listen to the top personnel of the company provide pep talks, then went home.

"A Name Is a Name Is a Name Is…" tells of dean Arthur Hughes of Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., having collected and catalogued 20,000 strange and exotic place names in Connecticut, such as Obtuse, Gadpouch, Lull and Wallop. The piece suggests coming to the South, and particularly to North Carolina for the nation's strangest nomenclature, such as Salvo, Heartsease, Toddy, Alert, Bug Hill, Pongo, Waterlily, Topsail, Beargrass, Stumpy Point, Waves, Cash Corner, Askewville, Duck, Turkey, Sans Souci, Speed, Bachelor Bay, Calico, Gum, Calypso, Supply, Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hill, Hexlena, Old Trap, Ivanhoe, Nags Head, Oriental, Deep Run, Sealevel, Hog Island, Scuppernong, Falcon, Swanquarter and Bath, all in the Eastern part of the state, proceeding then to name others in the Piedmont and in the mountain areas.

It leaves out, however, from its list of strange names, Fuquay and Varina, which, at some point, conjoined. Perhaps it found it too racy in its potential for malapropian cacoepy for a family newspaper. Nor does it even include Lizard Lick, in Wake County, possibly the strangest name of all. Nor does it even mention Transylvania County, highlighted on this date's page, perhaps saving it for All Hallow's Eve, when all hell is apt to break scotfree.

In any event, it suggests that North Carolina would put its collection of strange names up against those of New England any time.

A piece from the St. Louis Post Dispatch, titled "Tedium of a Hog", finds that hogs got bored, according to an authority on them, which it finds amazing, considering that they wallowed around interminably during the summer afternoons. But a swine researcher at Michigan State had said that the reason pigs bit off each other's tails when crowded together might be from the fact that they were bored. He had not explained how that practice alleviated the boredom, the piece suggesting that perhaps it only expressed irritation. But it now knew that a hog was not as contented as it looked, that such an impression had been "a lot of hogwash".

Drew Pearson indicates that the most important development from the just concluded session of Congress had not been the legislation passed but rather the education of the President, who had now learned the technique of being President. He had been inexperienced in politics at the beginning of the first session of the 83rd Congress in 1953, but now understood how Congress worked, how to crack the whip and push his program through despite opposition. He understood how to let his lieutenants slug it out in the trenches, something which FDR had practiced to perfection but which President Truman had never learned, never being able to resist going into battle himself, not allowing his Cabinet members to take the punishment for him. Some of President Eisenhower's front men had been battered and bruised, with their political future dubious, while the President remained popular with the people. Senate Majority Leader William Knowland had been so tough and aroused so much antipathy in the process that he might be ditched by the next Congress, and House Majority Leader Charles Halleck had cracked the whip so hard that some of his Republican colleagues hated him, while the President remained aloof from the fracas. The President had not collected his fee from his proverbial client while "the tears were hot" during the first session of Congress, but had learned to do so during the second session, learning to capitalize on his popularity to get his program passed. Most of his program had been postponed until the second session, resulting in a logjam at the end. The President knew that he would be regarded as a mediocre occupant of the office unless he achieved results by the end of the second session, coloring his entire place in history, regardless of his past military record.

He had developed an efficient and ruthless machine to influence votes in Congress, utilizing as liaisons Maj. General "Slick" Persons and Gerald Morgan, once paid $10,000 per month to lobby for private business, contrasted with the single person used by President Truman. In addition, various members of the Cabinet had backed up those liaisons, including Secretary of the Treasury George Humphrey, who had pulled wires to get the St. Lawrence Seaway bill passed, and Postmaster General Arthur Summerfield, who was the most heavy-handed operative in trying to obtain an increase in postage rates, including the firing of a postmaster who was a friend of Congressman Otto Passman of Louisiana, the latter having disfavored the postal rate bill, Mr. Summerfield then reinstating the postmaster after Mr. Passman agreed not to block the bill.

Francis Church, writing in the Winston-Salem Journal, discusses Brevard's Transylvania Music Camp, which some had called the "Interlochen of the South", while others had called its Music Festival which followed the camp, "Berkshire of the South". It indicates that the camp-festival was neither, having developed its own individuality after nine years of the festival and ten of the camp. The National Music Camp in Interlochen, Mich., had a camp but no festival, while the Berkshire Festival at Tanglewood, Mass., had a festival but no camp. Brevard also had a Southern accent which was missing from the Northern locales. Mr. Church regards that Southern accent as important, as the South, in the past, had been nearly a cultural stepchild to the major cities of the North, and the desire of Southerners to change that situation provided Brevard with a dedicated spirit.

Students who attended the camp were in every symphony orchestra in the Southeast, including the major ones in Atlanta, Birmingham and New Orleans. People from all over the Southeast came to the camp to acquaint themselves with good music, expertly played. Music was being performed by Southern composers, and recently, "The Marshes of Glynn", by Winston-Salem composer Charles DeLaney, had been presented by the camp orchestra and chorus. The director of the camp, James Christian Pfohl of Charlotte, was encouraging North Carolina composers to send their music, which the Festival would then try to perform.

Other sections of the country were learning about the Brevard Camp and Festival, as network radio broadcasts and other publicity had reached other regions and Transylvania-trained musicians were on the faculties of large Northern schools of music and in major symphony orchestras. Dick Plaster, a native of Winston-Salem, performed in the Boston Symphony, while others were in the Cincinnati, Baltimore, National, NBC, Kansas City, Rochester and Houston Symphonies.

Southern communities, which contributed many of the musicians for the Brevard Festival Orchestra, were expressing their gratitude, as most of the practice cabins at the facility had been built with funds made available by Southern state music clubs or community music clubs such as those in Winston-Salem and Raleigh, or by individuals.

The 1951 North Carolina General Assembly had appropriated $30,000 so that the Brevard Music Foundation, which sponsored the camp and festival, could pay off its debt on the camp. Southern sources had provided for the bulk of the 80 scholarships which went to campers, funded by 52 communities.

He provides a physical description of the camp, which had 200 students during the current summer, equally divided between boys and girls from 25 states, 30 of the students having been between the ages of 10 and 12, with their own musical organizations and program, including an operetta. The programs played by the campers included such pieces as Rimsky-Korsakov's "Rhapsodie Espagnole", (confusing a piece by Maurice Ravel with "Capriccio Espagnole"), and Ralph Vaughan Williams's "Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis" for double string orchestra. Some 200 works were performed, including five premieres and 50 works by Americans. Seven young American artists were afforded the opportunity of solo appearances. Fourteen of the most talented campers were selected to perform in the Brevard Festival Orchestra which began rehearsals the day after the end of the camp on August 8, the largest number of campers ever to play in the Orchestra, which contained 84 musicians from symphony orchestras in the South.

The absence of commercialism made Brevard click, according to visitors such as New York Times music critic Olin Downes and CBS music commentator Jim Fassett. Instead, at Brevard, camp and festival participants dined together, played together and worshiped to gather, forming a musical community. It had 19 professional musicians, six of whom were veterans of the Festival, and they worked with the camp faculty to produce the orchestra. The youngsters tried to show up the more experienced members of the orchestra, setting up healthy competition.

Mr. Pfohl had developed the idea for the Camp and Festival in 1936, three years after he had become music director at Davidson College, getting the idea from attendance of the National Music Camp at Interlochen. It was originally established at Davidson, until the war caused it to have to move to Queens College in Charlotte, at which point girls were admitted to the camp for the first time. Then Mr. Pfohl and his wife happened to be visiting the Brevard area in 1945 and saw the site of Camp Transylvania, which had closed because of the war, and he and three other men arranged for the purchase of the camp, which then began operating at Transylvania in the summer of 1945. The Festival began the following summer.

Mr. Pfohl said that he hoped to expand the facilities to add more practice studios, another rehearsal hall, additional library space and better accommodations for faculty and staff. While camp enrollment would be limited to 200, there would be no limit on quality.

Someone should set to notes for it a "Count Dracula Suite", replete with a Wolfman Overture and Frankenstein Interlude for Strings, composed by an anonymous prodigy, based on a conception by an unknown, immanent entity self-dubbed Invisible Man.

Robert C. Ruark indicates that one of his great frustrations was the inability to play a musical instrument and so was determined by the end of the year to find a music teacher so that he might at least learn how to play drums. He owned a piano and could whistle a tune, could reproduce in his head nearly the whole score of a musical comedy, but had never learned to play "Chopsticks".

He indicates that "all sorts of idiots, panhandlers, reefer smokers, booze fighters, wife beaters and other assorted jetsam" could play various musical instruments. Yet, he could not figure out what a chord was. When he had a music course in grammar school, the woman in charge had talked about so many beats to a measure, while, as a country boy, the word "beet" meant to him a red vegetable with a green top, and a measure was a round wooden bowl with a narrow iron band around the top, with which one doled out oats to the cow. The "sharp" and "flat" never meant anything to him except the description of the edge of a knife, and what everyone else except Columbus had thought the world had been prior to 1492. When it came to having the class sing "do re mi fa so la ti do" backwards and forward, he thought the lady was nuts.

He had tried to make some sense of the piano recently, but had found it impossible to string one note after another, could not figure out where to put the fingers. The best musicians he had ever heard had never taken a lesson, could not read music, but could orchestrate, syncopate and play anything which had a key or reed or a plunger on it. He could not figure it all out.

Nevertheless, he was determined that during 1954 he would study hard, and soon would turn up on "Talent Scouts", stunning Arthur Godfrey into giving him a contract. He would not seek to contest Mr. Godfrey on the ukulele as he considered it an inferior instrument which his dog also disliked. He had narrowed things down to studying either the French horn or the zither, but would first practice on the mouth organ.

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