The Charlotte News

Thursday, August 26, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Rio de Janeiro, police had cracked down on the outlawed Communist Party this date following 48 hours of riots and demonstrations which had been touched off by the suicide of President Getulio Vargas two days earlier, after 58 Air Force and Army generals had demanded his resignation following an assassination attempt on an anti-Vargas publisher, in which a popular Air Force officer had been killed, resulting in El Presidente acceding to the demands, four hours after which he shot himself with a pistol. There was increasing evidence that the Communists had stimulated the rioting, much of it having been aimed at the U.S., and 1,000 Communists had been arrested as a result. Copies of the Communist newspaper, which continued to publish despite the ban of the party, had been seized by police in Rio. Relative normalcy had returned this date to the capital city and the patrols which had been heavily reinforced during the previous two days had been withdrawn. El Presidente's old friend, Oswaldo Aranha, former U.N. Assembly president, had resigned as Finance Minister, along with the rest of the old Cabinet.

In New York, the Senate Banking and Currency subcommittee on irregularities in FHA loans heard testimony from a builder of a four million dollar Queens apartment project, insured by FHA, that he and his brother had made $500,000 legally on the deal, that through an appraiser of the project, he increased the book value of the buildings by $937,000 to enable the surplus loan proceeds, which he said was legal under New York corporate laws, enabling him to pay himself and his brother $250,000 each in dividends. He said that the corporation directors had authorized the appraisal, that he and his brother were two of the three directors, and he did not know the identity of the third person.

Republicans and Democrats were getting ready to battle for control of the narrowly divided Senate in 17 states, with the current Senate having 48 Republicans, 47 Democrats and one independent, Senator Wayne Morse of Oregon. In the House, there were 218 Republicans, 213 Democrats, one independent and three vacancies. There were 37 Senate seats up for election. Party leaders said that nine of the Senate seats presently held by Republicans and eight held by Democrats were in varying degrees of danger. Republican incumbents who appeared to face stiff challenges included Senators John Sherman Cooper of Kentucky, being contested by former Vice-President Alben Barkley, Guy Cordon of Oregon, Henry Dworshak of Idaho, Homer Ferguson of Michigan, Karl Mundt of South Dakota, Leverett Saltonstall of Massachusetts and Thomas Kuchel of California. Republican-held seats in New Jersey and Wyoming also fell within that category. Democrats who were likely to be pushed by opponents included Senators Clinton Anderson of New Mexico, Paul Douglas of Illinois, Alan Frear of Delaware, Guy Gillette of Iowa, Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota, James Murray of Montana, and Thomas Burke of Ohio, the latter having been appointed as interim Senator after the death of Senator Robert Taft in July, 1953. The seat being vacated by Senator Edwin Johnson of Colorado was also among those which were vulnerable. The House seats in most of those states would also be hotly contested, and there were additional marginal districts in Virginia, West Virginia, Florida, North Carolina, Maryland, Missouri, Pennsylvania, New York and a Nevada at-large contest.

In Evanston, Ill., the assembly of the World Council of Churches discussed a report the previous day which denounced Communism as the road to "totalitarian dictatorship", while also criticizing democracies to an extent. The report awaited action by the delegates this date. The main theme of the report was "Christ, the hope of the world", and some of the delegates did not believe it stressed enough the second coming of Christ, while others believed it did not provide sufficient emphasis to the possibility of achieving justice with the aid of Christ. Others believed it did not go far enough in condemning Communism as a "false hope".

In Anchorage, Alaska, 21 persons, including 19 exchange students from the Orient, became suddenly ill on a flight from Manila, necessitating their removal at Anchorage the previous night. The plane had departed for Seattle, but had then returned to Anchorage after some of the crew members also became ill. A preliminary diagnosis at a hospital indicated that the problem was food poisoning, and that the most seriously ill persons were the captain, the pilot, and one of the students, none of whose condition was critical. Most of the plane's 50 passengers were exchange students, including Japanese and Filipinos, who had Fulbright scholarships for study and research in the U.S.

In Brainerd, Minn., a woman, 27, told authorities early this date that she had thrown her six-week old baby into a lake, but gave no reason other than saying, "I just knew something was going to happen." She was sobbing as she talked to authorities. She had initially reported the baby missing. She was under guard at a hospital and no charges had thus far been filed.

Harry Shuford of The News reports that the District Highway commissioner had said this date that if certain assurances were given, a half million dollar State allocation would be made available for Charlotte's grade elimination program at railroad crossings.

In Charlotte, the new auditorium, set to open the following year, would be called the David Ovens Hall and would seat 2,500 people, currently in an advanced stage of construction. The story provides a description of the exterior and interior of the building, located next door to the new Coliseum, which would seat 10,000 persons, later, 11,666 for basketball, with workmen presently paving the floor of that structure and concrete being poured for the seating sections. The earliest shows in the new auditorium would not be anticipated until early in 1955. Pictures are provided.

On the editorial page, "If You Don't Want To Be a Dead Hero…" indicates that since the beginning of 1953, there had been nine bank robberies in the state, with a 10th having been attempted the previous Saturday. In addition, five small loan companies in Charlotte had been held up since the previous December. It had consulted the FBI and Charlotte police for suggestions for merchant and bank security measures, which it provides.

It counsels that one should not seek to become a hero in the face of a gun, as that was more likely to eventuate in death or injury. One should procrastinate if possible, but cooperate with a gunman. In addition, alarm devices should be regularly tested, one should become identification conscious, keep only the amount of cash on the premises as absolutely necessary, and recall that most robbers cased their prospective robbery locations before robbing them, and so employees should keep their eyes peeled for loiterers. It reiterates, however, that one should never try to argue with a gun, that even Wild Bill Hickok had been cooperative when someone had the drop on him.

"Fashion Note" indicates that News columnist Josephine Lowman, discussing women in slacks, had observed the prior Monday that women who were overweight or who had large abdomens or large back hiplines should not wear slacks, to which the short piece says, "Hear, hear."

What is a "back hipline"?

"Sensible Solution for an Old Puzzle" indicates that a study conducted by a three-man committee of the City Council had recommended that the old rock quarry be filled and covered with a bulldozer, that it was a laudable plan. But to put it into effect, the landowners who owned the quarry would have to provide permission and thus far not all of them had provided it. It hopes that the plan would be put into effect, as the quarry, being used as a private garbage dump, presented a health and fire hazard, the efforts to extinguish two recent fires having caused water pressure to drop in other areas of the city and become nonexistent in still other areas, costing $3,000 to put out the blazes. It thus suggests that the money to be spent to fill in the hole would be worth it in savings.

"Social Security for City Employees?" indicates that one City Council member's proposal to bring Charlotte's municipal employees under the U.S. Social Security system deserved serious study. Federal coverage had been requested by approximately 200 engineering, sanitation, signal and water department workers, while others had also expressed interest. Until several years earlier, the four million state and local government workers in the country were not able to have coverage under the Federal Social Security system. But in 1950, the 81st Congress had enabled coverage to public employees not already under retirement systems, following voluntary agreement between the state and Federal governments. The present Congress had amended and extended those provisions, permitting states to enter into a voluntary agreement with the Federal Government, provided two-thirds of the employees favored the coverage in a referendum.

It indicates that Virginia was probably the first state to enact a successful plan and suggests that that its framework be studied. The existing retirement system had been repealed and replaced by Federal Social Security coverage, with a new supplemental retirement system established, and a guarantee provided that the benefits under the new system would be no less than those under the old one.

A piece from the Wall Street Journal, titled "The Raising of Children", begins by recalling a general belief held at one point in time that it was dangerous to feed a child bananas after 6 o'clock, though it was quite all right at any earlier time of the day. The International Institute of Child Psychiatry, meeting in Toronto, had heard from two doctors who advocated leaving parents alone to do their own child-rearing, that there were too many books advising on the subject as it was. Dr. Benjamin Spock of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine said that the "best parents" were those who punish "spontaneously, unthinkingly, immediately". Dr. Hilde Bruch of Columbia said that the common factor running through the different approaches to recommended child-care was the recklessness with which the approaches were recommended, and that it was time to leave mother and child alone.

The piece regards it as good news, that parental precept and example might be enough guidance for some children, but for others, some psychology was occasionally necessary, and in its experience, the most effective psychology was that "applied early, often and with considerable vigor."

Drew Pearson, on vacation, has his column written this date by Clark Griffith, president of the Washington Nationals baseball team of the American League. He begins by saying that he was not sure that Mr. Pearson was correct in suggesting that he had known more Presidents than anyone else, but he says he had known every President since Theodore Roosevelt and was proud of the fact that American baseball had played something of a part in the lives of the Presidents. He proceeds to recount baseball anecdotes regarding Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, Warren G. Harding, Herbert Hoover, and Franklin Roosevelt, leaving out mention of Woodrow Wilson, Calvin Coolidge and Harry Truman, as well as President Eisenhower.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop indicate that it was pretty much a foregone conclusion that the European Defense Community was dead, as the French National Assembly appeared ready to defeat its ratification. If that finally turned out to be the case, then there would take place the "agonizing reappraisal" of American foreign policy which Secretary of State Dulles had warned would ensue that event. The question was the type of reappraisal which would take place. For months, hints had been coming from the State Department that there was no alternative to EDC except for German rearmament, and the British and American Governments had agreed on that point, at least in principle. But how such rearmament would actually take place was not clear, as the French, one-third of the occupying forces in West Germany, would likely resist such rearmament, and even if the U.S. and Britain were united, it was by no means clear that the rearmament could take place.

Moreover, Britain was far from united on the point, with both Conservatives and Laborites having reservations on the matter, as rearmament of West Germany was not popular among Britons. While Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden had given to Secretary Dulles his agreement in principle, he would likely be reluctant to take a clear-cut public stand on the issue, and for those and other practical reasons, West German rearmament was not going to be the easy alternative to EDC, as most people appeared to assume. There would be, at a minimum, grave strains and disheartening delays, all at a crucial moment psychologically in U.S. policy-making.

The "Fortress America" isolationist idea had been gaining traction at the Pentagon and in certain other important Administration quarters for at least a year, thus far maintained in secret, and, no doubt, the problems with West German rearmament would greatly increase that tendency. The reason for the trouble was the immense expense for minimum defense in the age of the hydrogen bomb.

Providing the country with adequate air defense could add up to 5 or 6 billion dollars to the defense budget in the ensuing couple of years, and another two billion dollars for producing an effective intercontinental ballistic missile to carry a hydrogen warhead. Until the latter was developed, the country would need a more effective Strategic Air Command, to compensate for the increasing unreliability of SAC's overseas airbases. The first two of those three requirements were already being debated in the National Security Council and all three would impose a major economic burden on the budget, which the Administration was determined to balance. There was a tendency to find money for those defense requirements by canceling other expenditures, particularly those involving foreign aid.

Since Western Europe could not be defended without the help of West German divisions, if the Europeans did not want those German divisions, the argument was being made that the U.S. should not spend billions on NATO, but rather should spend it at home on defense. But that simple argument for the "Fortress America" would turn out to be for a totalitarian state or a defeated America or both, as had been made clear by the President. Yet, the double pressures of the budget and allied doubts abroad were going to make the time of appraisal agonizing.

General Carlos Ramos, the Philippine delegate to the U.N. who had been a Pulitzer prize-winning editor and aide-de-camp to General MacArthur, discusses, in the New Leader, the trends in Asia and the need for the West to understand and respect those trends. He says that he was neither an expert on nor a spokesman for the Asian peoples, but that everyone agreed that there were ten basic factors involved in analyzing the situation.

First, the Asian peoples would no longer tolerate colonialism, desiring an equal partnership and voluntary cooperation with others; that they aspired to human dignity and economic well-being; that they would not fight for the vague concept of the free world but only on the side of the free world if they were given a stake in the freedom; that the West had to work with and through the responsible nationalist movements in Asia rather than through puppet regimes without popular support; that military measures were at best a short-term device for staving off the immediate threat of Communist aggression, and that long-term efforts against that aggression required economic and financial assistance to enable the people of Asia to raise their standards of living; that assistance should be offered on the basis of equality and mutual respect and not as special favor with political strings or disguised colonialism attached; that there could be no world peace without Asia and so ensuring its economic stability was necessary; that Asian political, economic and social organization was predominantly on an authoritarian pattern such that it was not automatic that it would adopt democracy of the Western type; that Asian neutralism had to be recognized partly as a result of a genuine desire for peace, partly as dictated by the serious internal problems of many of the countries in the region, and partly inspired by a lingering distrust of the motives of the colonial powers; and that the Asian peoples would not give their support to any program, policy or course of action affecting Asia which would be undertaken without consulting them.

A letter writer from Richmond, Va., indicates that he had been elected as spokesman by truck drivers who ate in his restaurant and numbered in the thousands, to advocate for equalized speed laws in all of the states. Truck drivers could lose their licenses with two speeding tickets, and thus lose their jobs. If conditions did not change, some of the older drivers would be forced off the road because of hardship. He says that it was not easy to hold a 200 horsepower diesel engine down to 45 mph on a straight stretch of road, that most speeding tickets received by truck drivers were for doing 50 mph to 55 mph and very seldom more. If the older drivers were forced off the road, they would be replaced by young boys who did not have the full sense of responsibility and would be inclined to be a little wild. He wonders why, if a car could travel at 55 mph, a truck could not.

A letter writer from Maiden congratulates Bob Cherry, Jr., on his letter of August 10 regarding General Marshall, that he had always wondered how a man could become a five-star general without ever having commanded any forces in wartime, that the only reason for the rank and distinction of General Marshall had been political. He indicates that when someone was condemning Senator McCarthy, that person's Americanism was not up to par and the person might be a little dangerous, recommends taking a look at the record of Senators Ralph Flanders, J. William Fulbright, and Wayne Morse, and not through the "eyes of a prejudiced New Dealer, a sore Democrat, or a wobbly Republican", but rather as a good American citizen, that he is sure in that event, they would be ashamed of the stand they had been taking against Senator McCarthy, and would decide to help to ferret out the country's "enemies, subversives, and fellow-travelers."

If you are waiting for the punch line, there is not one. He was quite serious, testimony to the times, which were slightly nuts. We suppose that he also believed that the Girl Scouts were infiltrated by Commies.

A letter writer indicates the need for correction of a statement regarding the West Fifth Street Cemetery, which had appeared in the Saturday newspaper, saying that he had the tombstones repaired in the cemetery two years earlier, before the City had moved in and paid the bill to an outstanding marble firm of the city. Also, he indicates, the cemetery had always been known as "The Old Cemetery" on West Fifth Street.

Is that because there is a New Cemetery on West Fifth Street?

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