The Charlotte News

Tuesday, August 24, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Secretary of State Dulles had said at a press conference this date that he still held out hope that France would follow its great tradition of idealism and ratify the European Defense Community unified army, but added that his hope was not to be equated with expectation. He expressed regret that at the Brussels conference of the six foreign ministers of the EDC signatory nations the prior week, France had not agreed with the other five, but had instead put forward amendments, which Premier Pierre Mendes-France had said were mandatory to obtain ratification by the French National Assembly. Secretary Dulles said that Congress had given the President discretion to take steps should France fail to ratify EDC, such as an amendment to the foreign aid program which would channel European aid into the EDC. He declined to speculate on what the U.S. would do, however, should France refuse to ratify, but said that some steps had to be taken to restore West Germany's sovereignty and to integrate it with the Western defense of Europe.

The Secretary also said that U.S. forces would be justified in defending some Chinese Nationalist-held islands between Formosa and the Chinese mainland from any Communist attack, that it would be up to U.S. military leaders to decide which islands, in addition to Formosa, they would defend as part of the overall strategy of aiding the Chinese Nationalists. The President had previously said that the U.S. Seventh Fleet would protect Formosa from a Communist attack, and Secretary Dulles appeared to be extending that notion to include some of the smaller Nationalist-held islands near Formosa—Quemoy and Matsu, later to become the central focus, not being mentioned. He said that he tentatively planned to depart the following Tuesday for Manila to represent the U.S. at the Southeast Asia Alliance conference, aimed at forming SEATO. He said that two treaties, one dealing with military problems and the other with economic issues, might be possible to enlist nations which would not join only a military alliance.

The President this date signed the legislation outlawing the Communist Party, despite the fact that he had opposed that legislation as making the Communists into "propaganda martyrs" and driving them further underground, making it harder for the FBI to locate them. The passed bill did not make party membership a crime, but only provided that the party would be denied legal rights available to all other political parties.

Democratic Senators Richard Russell of Georgia, Mike Mansfield of Montana and Henry Jackson of Washington said in separate interviews that the apparent collapse of EDC and an unfavorable result in the Indo-China war might be the primary focus of voters in the midterm elections. Senator Russell said that a few months earlier, the Republicans had been saying that it might be necessary for the U.S. to send ground troops to Indo-China, but now were claiming that the President had kept the country from a shooting war there, as stated by Senate Majority Leader William Knowland in a statement inserted in the Congressional Record.

The previous night, in his televised and radio broadcast address regarding the accomplishments of the 83rd Congress, the President had said that the war "has ceased under circumstances that are certainly not satisfactory to all of us, and in some respects they are disappointing."

The special six-Senator committee, set to examine the charges in public hearings to begin the following Tuesday anent the resolution calling for censure of Senator McCarthy, sponsored by Senator Ralph Flanders of Vermont, indicated through its chairman, Senator Arthur Watkins of Utah, that it had determined that five categories of charges were the most important among the 46 charges filed. The five categories were the alleged incident of contempt of the Senate or a Senatorial committee by Senator McCarthy by his failure to testify before a Senate elections subcommittee investigating his finances in 1950, incidents of encouragement of Federal employees to violate the law and their oaths of office or executive orders by turning over to him classified information about alleged Communists or subversives, incidents involving receipt or use of confidential or classified documents or other confidential information from executive files, incidents involving alleged abuses of other Senators, and the charge that he had abused Brig. General Ralph Zwicker, commanding officer at Camp Kilmer, N.J., while investigating alleged subversives at the facility during hearings held the prior February, resulting in the Army-McCarthy televised hearings between April and mid-June—albeit focused on whether the Army was using, as charged by Senator McCarthy, its February report to the Investigations subcommittee, chaired by Senator McCarthy, that the Senator and then-chief subcommittee counsel Roy Cohn had sought to pressure the Army with more intense invesitigation of subversives unless the Army agreed to demands to provide special privileges to Private G. David Schine, drafted the prior November after being an unpaid aide of the subcommittee, to "blackmail" Senator McCarthy into relenting in his investigation, while the Army maintained it was being threatened by Mr. Cohn on behalf of Senator McCarthy.

In New York, an Austrian-born woman, identified only as "Madame X", testified from behind a screen concealing her identity, before a subcommittee of the House Committee on Communist Aggression investigating the Communist takeover in Hungary, that seven Russian soldiers had ravished her in Hungary in 1944 during the war, that the Russians had come to the farm where she and her husband were living at the time and they had given them food and drink as the soldiers had demanded, whereupon two of the Russians had drawn their guns and herded the couple, her parents, two maids and a Jewish woman they had been hiding from the Nazis into the kitchen, at which point one soldier took her to another room and raped her, then telling her, before taking her back to the kitchen, that the others were going to be killed. Another soldier had then taken her out and done the same thing, as did the remaining five soldiers. She commented that after they had raped her, they appeared to have gotten over their obsession to kill, asked her husband to play his accordion for them and then asked her mother and the maidservants to dance with them. They had returned the next day and raped her again about two or three times. She said they were busy going through the house stealing coats, fountain pens, watches, food, wine and even apples from the yard. She said that she had gone to Hungary in 1940 to attend the University of Budapest and there met and married her husband, an engineering student. They had taken up residence in 1944, knowingly, in the path of the Russian army, based on the belief that it was better to be near "liberating" forces than Nazi troops. The previous day, a famous Hungarian-born actress, Ilona Massey, had testified before the subcommittee regarding the degraded conditions in Hungary under Communist rule.

In Rio de Janeiro, El Presidente Getulio Vargas, former dictator, committed suicide this date after 58 generals had forced his resignation. He left a note saying, "To the wrath of my enemies, I leave the legacy of my death." He said also that he regretted not being able to give the humble all that he had wished to provide them. His chief of military staff was with him at the time of his death and police said that he had suddenly taken a pistol from his pocket and shot himself, dying almost instantly. He had promised the prior Sunday night that he would leave office only under arrest or dead, after 26 general officers of the Air Force had demanded his resignation, with 32 general officers of the Army having joined them in that demand this date. He had come to power in 1930 and had been in power all except five years since that time, had agreed to ask the Congress for a leave of absence, but committed suicide four hours later. The crisis had begun on August 5 with the slaying of a popular Air Force major during an attempt to assassinate an anti-Vargas newspaper editor, the killing arousing widespread indignation in both the military and the press, increasing when it became evident that members of the bodyguard of El Presidente had been involved, despite El Presidente subsequently dissolving the guard. The crisis had developed into rioting on August 11, with crowds demanding El Presidente's resignation. The military had acted quickly to prevent further disturbances and the armed forces had issued a joint declaration pledging support to the Constitution, until the final formal demands were issued for El Presidente's resignation. Secretary Dulles, at his press conference, had expressed regret at the news.

In Amsterdam, search crews combing the stormy North Sea sought the remains from the Royal Dutch KLM airliner crash, carrying 21 or more persons, but thus far had found only bits of wreckage and the body of one child, one of two five-year old twins, Peter or Richard Yarrow of Connecticut.

Another hot and humid day was anticipated for most of the middle of the country this date, with highs of 99 degrees recorded in Nashville and 95 in Chicago, and the hottest weather being in the Southwest, with temperatures of 100 and higher.

In Beech Island, S.C., 17 women were facing vice charges before a magistrate, who said that the trial would be moved to the community center building if the crowd of observers became too large. All of the women had been arrested by the State Law Enforcement Division in raids on two clubs recently, some of them facing as many as five charges each, with the charges including prostitution and vagrancy.

In Charlotte, less than two hours after a young gunman had held up a midtown finance company clerk, robbing him of $232, police said that they had arrested the culprit and obtained a positive identification of him by the clerk. The man thus far had denied culpability.

In Hollywood, a woman dressed in black who had visited the crypt of Rudolph Valentino annually since his death in 1926, said that she would cease the visits henceforth, appearing this time in white because she said she was a member of the Rose of Sharon Evangelical Missionary and had decided that rather than weep for those who were dead, people should weep for "lost souls". Each year she had placed red roses in two vases and helped to conduct services for Mr. Valentino.

In New York, actress Josephine Hull, star of "The Solid Gold Cadillac", had broken two ribs and had to drop out of the long-run hit play for a second time.

On the editorial page, "Death Behind Bars: The Rush Case" tells of the death of a female inmate at Woman's Prison in Raleigh and questions why discipline had been so lax and supervision so careless that a 3 1/2 hour riot could occur during the recreation time.

Eleanor Rush, 18, had been found dead on the floor of an isolation cell, her neck broken and her hands trussed behind her back. She had been "restrained" by the prison superintendent, two prison guards and a nurse 25 minutes earlier because her "hollering, banging on the door" had caused a disturbance, necessitating, they said, placing leather handcuffs on her wrists "to prevent her from banging on doors and so forth", leaving her in solitary confinement. Prisons director William Bailey told the press afterward that the prison doctor had believed Ms. Rush had run into a wall of the cell and broken her neck, but there were no marks to indicate that her head had hit the wall or the cell floor.

It questions why, if she was actually violent, she had not been maintained under closer surveillance, and that if prison officials had not harmed her, why an inmate who was suspected of being a mental case was left alone in quarters where she could be fatally injured, questioning whether the facility did not have any padded cells. It finds that even if there had been no actual brutality inflicted by the prison personnel, it appeared that they were guilty of some negligence.

It indicates no recollection of any occurrence of the type during the administration of Ronie Sheffield as director of Woman's Prison, as she had known how to handle women and understood discipline and the fine line between coddling and rehabilitation. But in the end, she had become the victim of political chicanery and had been removed from her job following a whispering campaign which started in Raleigh and spread across the state. Later, Mr. Bailey had commented that running Woman's Prison had been no job for a woman.

It finds that the events of the weekend had served to reinforce the newspaper's doubts about the validity of that latter opinion and urges that the investigation presently underway ought penetrate to the heart of the matter to get at the complete truth about the death of Ms. Rush.

"Score Sheet on the 83rd Congress" finds that the Congress had not been a "do-nothing" affair, as President Truman had called the 80th Congress in 1948, also controlled by Republicans in both houses. It had been slow to start, which was understandable after the Republicans had been out of power for 20 years in the executive branch, and as a result had accomplished little in the first session in 1953, with many of the issues deliberately postponed until the second session. Most of those issues, it opines, had been satisfactorily resolved, with the exception of foreign policy and control of the external Communist menace.

It regards institution of flexible farm price supports, approval of construction of the St. Lawrence Seaway, provision of more opportunities for development of private industry in atomic energy, a major overhaul of the tax code, the extension of Social Security to cover an additional ten million persons, plus increases in benefits and Social Security taxes, removal of economic controls, decentralization of governmental controls in several areas, and reduction of Federal spending, all to be major and desirable accomplishments.

It indicates that the Administration had fulfilled its pledge to give control of offshore oil to the states, but had not been able to obtain statehood for Hawaii and Alaska, revise Taft-Hartley, or deliver the health and housing programs sought by the President. The veterans obtained their share of legislation, although not as much as they wanted. The biggest Administration victory had been a negative one in foreign policy, the defeat of the Bricker amendment to the Constitution regarding the treaty-making power. The reciprocal trade act was extended for one year, but had not been liberalized as sought by the Administration. Appropriations for foreign aid and U.N. technical assistance were sharply cut. The Administration made little attempt to change restrictive immigration laws.

It finds that the most important and disturbing failure of the Congress had been its ignoring of the external menace of Communism while instead concentrating on much smaller threats of internal subversion and espionage, permitting its "character assassin", Senator McCarthy, to continue his machinations without censure thus far. Laws had been passed requiring the licensing of printing facilities used by Communist front organizations, prohibiting Communists from being officials of labor unions, granting of immunity to witnesses invoking the Fifth Amendment in national security cases, voiding of citizenship of those convicted of advocating the overthrow of the Government, stripping pension rights from Government employees and officials convicted of felonies, and outlawing of the Communist Party at the end of the session.

It indicates that in the midterm election campaign, candidates should not be permitted to let the record against domestic Communism obscure the fact that the Congress and the Administration had failed to stand up to the danger presented by the external menace of totalitarianism, finding the Administration's record in foreign policy to be "poor indeed", a factor which might in the end outweigh in the voting public's mind the other laudable gains by the Republican Congress and the Administration.

"A Place To Sit Down Is Needed" indicates that Charlotte's tree-shaded Old Settlers' Cemetery in the downtown area was an island of tranquility apart from the hustle and bustle. Tombstones had been repaired, grass had been planted and walks had been renewed, with lights installed, after the City had spent $10,000 on a beautification program. The only thing which was missing was a place to sit down, as there were no benches. A committee headed by former Mayor Victor Shaw was studying what further improvements could be added, and it strongly urges that benches be installed as soon as possible. It was one of the few peaceful spots in the whole city and, it suggests, ought be a place for undisturbed thought and meditation after time spent shopping or a day spent at work.

A piece from the Carolina Israelite, titled "How Do You Feel?" regards the subject of the title's usual greeting, with the usual response being, "Fine." Perhaps, if the inquirer was a good friend, the questioned might think that he had seen something in the face, walk or eyes which perhaps indicated to the friend that the object of the question was not up to par, prompting a look in the mirror to see if everything appeared all right.

It indicates that such a question was pertinent under certain conditions, such as when visiting a close friend in the hospital, but if the person was walking around or working at his desk, it was a silly question to pose.

When George Bernard Shaw had been in his eighties, someone had asked him the stupid question and he responded: "At my age, you either feel all right or you are dead."

Drew Pearson indicates that Congress had been in a dither the previous week regarding the bill to outlaw the Communist Party, which developed out of the Administration's request for a bill to nullify Communist-dominated labor unions. Meanwhile, the NLRB had been dragging its feet on permitting non-Communist unions to oust the Communist-dominated unions. Certain big manufacturing firms, primarily International Harvester, had been making various moves to prevent the Communist unions from organizing in their plants. The move to get rid of the Communist-dominated unions might have been eliminated had the President's appointees on the NLRB and certain industrial leaders acted. He provides the detailed facts.

Marquis Childs, in Fez, Morocco, tells of the strife-ridden land appearing to be practically at war. The French had sent in 2,000 troops of the Foreign Legion to carry out a bloodless subduing of 250,000 Arabs to prevent new outbreaks of violence, an effort which had been successful. The French governor of the region believed he could withdraw most of the troops, leaving only small contingents around certain critical areas, while acknowledging that many of the extremists of the independence movement, the fanatical Nationalists and killers had not been captured in a series of arrests made immediately following the occupation. He said that the latter groups were mostly taking refuge in the Grand Mosque. But the occupation had quieted the general populace.

The scene of greatest activity was police headquarters, where interrogations were taking place of those who had been arrested. The troops could not enter the Grand Mosque or there would be violent reprisal, and so soldiers and police were warned to stay away, though a considerable contingent had been placed at the entrance of the Mosque to make sure that no more than enough bread to keep them alive went to those sheltered inside, in the hope that the hungry would leave to seek food and could then be arrested.

It was costly to transport 2,000 troops to the remote city to restore order, and France could not afford it over any long period of time. The resident General, Francis Lacoste, was reported to be departing for Paris in mid-September to discuss the matter with Premier Mendes-France, favoring a series of reforms to be instituted as quickly as possible. If any basis of agreement could be negotiated, such as that worked out in Tunis, then it might be possible to proclaim the kind of change which would have a chance of acceptance. But if there were more violence, encouraged by certain upcoming important religious and political anniversaries, it would not be possible much longer to keep the anachronistic past held in check within the ancient walls of the Medina in Fez simply by the use of force.

Doris Fleeson tells of neither Democrats nor Republicans being optimistic about the midterm elections and their separate chances of regaining control of Congress. Both sides said that for the first time in years, the President would not be an issue, as there was no war and no striking innovation in domestic policy at stake. Democrats contended that while the President was a fine, honest man, he would not become a great President, and they did not need to fear him on the campaign hustings.

She indicates that the real surprise was that Republicans were not more confident, as most of the big guns were on their side, as they had most of the money, the support of most newspapers, tax cuts and the absence of war and depression. They also had plenty of experts in radio and television to help put their story across. The Democrats were not as strained for money as they contended, but did not have the kind of money necessary to reserve costly radio and television time and had no striking figure to put across their message to the whole country, with Adlai Stevenson limited to his own small staff and personal budget, whereas the President had the White House at his disposal. Furthermore, Democrats were on the defensive regarding the issue of Communists in government, despite the slippage in popularity of Senator McCarthy.

But the Democrats had some advantages in that they had better candidates and a strong bloc of junior Senators who would campaign for those candidates.

A letter writer takes issue with the August 19 editorial, "Preparing for the Last Reader", indicating that From Here to Eternity, for instance, had sold 1.7 million copies the previous September and October, and some 260 million paperback books had been printed in 1953, with book clubs having a large membership and plenty of books being published and read.

The piece, however, had qualified its criticism on the basis of "serious books" and trends toward less reading through time, not popular novels deriving their readership from a current film, producing sudden spikes in book sales. Nor does purchase of a book ensure that it is read or comprehended well. Maybe you do not read very carefully, having had your attention span reduced by radio, television and motion pictures.

A letter writer from Monroe discusses the Illinois American Legion convention's criticism of the 1953 Girl Scout handbook because it equated the U.N. and one world citizenship with American citizenship, and compared the U.N. Charter with the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence. He wonders whether the Legion was wrong in their criticism, asking that the Constitution and the Declaration take precedence over the Charter, given that the Charter had to have Communist approval in 1945 for adoption, refusing to allow mention of God. He believes that it was correct to posit the education of American youth on American principles rather than "on the sand of the United(?) Nations". He thus disagrees with the editorial of August 10 and the Herblock cartoon of August 13.

For your information, the Constitution, being essentially an outline for the form of Government of the United States, also does not mention the word "God" or make reference to any deity, the Founders having had quite enough experience with state religion to recognize its evils and to realize that worship of a deity or not was intrinsically an individual and private choice, to be made quite apart from the government. The U.N. Charter, with the exception of the Security Council and its unilateral veto power for each of the five permanent members, was modeled on the Constitution.

A letter writer from Lincolnton finds shallow the editorial writing of the newspaper, as exampled by the editorial criticizing the Senate for deferring action on the McCarthy censure resolution. He thinks the newspaper would deprive Senator McCarthy of his right to have the facts fully developed before a vote on the resolution, and that such a position denied the Senator the rights the newspaper accused him of denying to others. He asserts that many of the charges were old—never once taking into consideration that nearly all of the charges alleged against others by Senator McCarthy had been prewar in their origin and primarily involved guilt by association rather than hard facts, virtually all of it consisting of pure fantasy, "moonshine", as aptly described by Owen Lattimore, serving as a basis for politically expedient perjury charges on a highly selective basis when anyone did have the temerity to appear and deny the charges rather than pleading the Fifth Amendment, in the latter event being labeled "Fifth Amendment Communists" by the Senator and sometimes then becoming the subject of contempt proceedings—, and questions why if the charges had not deserved censure earlier, they should at present. He finds that the Senate had done no wrong in postponing action on the resolution and that Senator McCarthy deserved every opportunity to disprove the charges against him.

A letter writer from Hamlet indicates that he had been a subscriber to the newspaper for 15 years and had never previously written a letter to the editors, but is prompted by having read of the recent Federal tax revision bill passed by the Congress and subsequently signed into law by the President. He indicates that it relieved corporations of tax so as to enable them to expand as never previously, to provide more employment and thereby produce more revenue for the Government, as the bulk of the Federal taxes came from wage earners. It had also kept in mind the wage earners, having moved the traditional date for filing returns from March 15 to April 15. President Truman, he recounts, had sought from Congress a bill to reduce Federal taxes by $40 for every individual, rich and poor alike, a bill which did not pass, in favor of a bill which allowed only for a few dollars of savings to wage earners while providing for thousands of dollars in savings for the higher bracket taxpayers. He urges other wage earners to investigate the tax revision bill and ask themselves what benefits they would derive from it when they would file their income tax returns in 1955.

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