The Charlotte News

Saturday, August 28, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Paris, the French National Assembly this date began debating ratification of the European Defense Community treaty to establish a six-nation unified army in Western Europe, after 27 months of delay since the treaty had been signed. It remained questionable whether the debate would lead to a scheduled vote during the following week. There was a movement afoot to force another short postponement to permit further negotiations on last-minute treaty changes with the other five prospective members, Italy, West Germany, and the Benelux countries. Negotiation between aides of Premier Pierre Mendes-France and supporters of EDC were in progress to find some compromise to force the postponement. A Socialist who was a foe of EDC and any other form of West German rearmament opened the debate. Among those maneuvering for more time and modifications in the treaty were former Premiers René Mayer, Paul Reynaud, and Robert Schuman. The other five nations had posited three primary objections to Premier Mendes-France's proposals for amendment to the treaty, that the amendments watered down the supranational characteristics of the treaty, discriminated against West Germany, and would require additional ratification by the parliaments of the nations which had already ratified, four of the six having done so, leaving, in addition to France, only Italy, which would likely ratify in the wake of French ratification.

Senator Arthur Watkins of Utah, chairman of the six-Senator special committee considering the resolution of censure against Senator McCarthy, sponsored by Senator Ralph Flanders of Vermont, said this date that witnesses were being subpoenaed for the start of the public hearings the following Tuesday, but declined to name the witnesses. The report by the Senate Investigations subcommittee on the verdict of the Army-McCarthy hearings, which had taken place between April and mid-June, was set to be released either on Tuesday night or Wednesday morning, with the four-Senator majority report having already been completed and the three-Senator minority report to be filed prior to the deadline on Monday afternoon.

Admiral Robert Carney, chief of Naval Operations, said this date, addressing the National Security Commission of the American Legion in Washington, that Russia's developing strength at sea presented a challenge and the U.S. had to exert itself to maintain its lead. He said that 15 Russian cruisers and destroyers had moved from the Bering Sea into the Baltic, a significant development. According to Admiral Carney, the Russians had 750,000 men in its Navy and had an effective building plan underway, greater than that of the U.S. Navy.

Near Rapid City, S.D., a B-36 bomber crashed the previous night, killing 24 crewmen and seriously injuring the other three members of the crew, in an attempted landing at Ellsworth Air Force Base. The plane had taken off from the base the previous day on a routine training mission, and the crash had occurred in "perfect" weather, the plane apparently having struck a small hill as it approached the runway, was broken apart and caught fire.

In Dayton, O., it was reported that Major Arthur Murray, 35, had recently broken the world's altitude record in flight, having flown at around 17 miles up, where, he said, in addressing the press the previous day, trees turned olive drab and dry grass looked like straw, the roundness of the earth showing clearly, and the sun being much brighter, almost blinding. The Air Force had announced that he had flown in a Bell X-1A rocket-powered experimental aircraft, capable of traveling at least 1,650 mph, on a date and precise altitude not disclosed. Informed observers speculated that the new record must have been in the neighborhood of 90,000 feet, as the former record set on August 21, 1953, by Marine Corps Lt. Col. Marion Carl in a Douglas Skyrocket D558-II, had been 83,235 feet. Maj. Murray said that control was difficult in the thin air at high altitudes. The experimental flights had been taking place at Edwards Air Force Base in California, but the major was in Dayton as projects officer for the National Aircraft Show set to occur during the first week of September. The major had ridden horses in the Cavalry as an enlisted man in 1939, then shifted to the Army Air Force during World War II and had flown 50 combat missions in North Africa.

The President had spent most of the previous day fishing in a Rocky Mountain stream at Pine, Colo., 40 miles southwest of Denver, and had good luck in doing so, landing rainbow, brown and so-called native trout. But after his luck subsided in the afternoon, he appeared more completely at ease than at any other time, as other members of the party had wandered off to fish other areas of a South Platte River fork, leaving the President to cast by himself, without a catch during the course of 30 minutes. On a public highway overlooking the stream, a crowd of tourists, residents of the area and newsmen gathered to observe, one person producing binoculars and remarking that the President's face appeared as a study of a man at peace with the world. The binoculars were passed around and all agreed. Earlier in the day, he had a bit of a quandary in determining what kind of dry fly he wanted to use.

In Christchurch, New Zealand, two teenage girls, described in court as "dirty-minded little girls", were convicted of murder this date for beating to death the mother of one of the girls, utilizing a brick, and were sentenced to indefinite prison terms. As they were under 18, the crime was not punishable by death. An all-male jury found them guilty after deliberating 90 minutes, following a six-day trial. The girl who had assisted the other girl in killing her mother had sat with her fingers in her ears during the prosecutor's summation, and both appeared dejected at the verdict. The defense had not contested that they had killed the woman, but pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. The mother of the one girl had been found in a public park in Christchurch the prior June 22 with 45 head, face and hand injuries, with the girls initially contending that she had slipped and hit her head. Witnesses described the girls as inseparable companions who dabbled in writing novels and operas, and had schemed to get to America to have them published. The defense attorney contended that when they thought the murder victim would interfere with the plan, they determined to kill her, believing that in doing so they would send an unhappy woman to heaven and protect their "paranoiac delusions of grandeur". The prosecutor contended that the murder was coldly premeditated, committed by two "dirty-minded girls who were sane at the time". Portions of a diary written by the victim's daughter were read during the trial, with one entry stating: "Why couldn't mother die? Thousands are dying daily so why not mother?" Another entry read: "We are both very thrilled with the idea. Naturally we felt a trifle nervous, but the pleasure of anticipation is very great." An entry the day before the murder stated: "We have decided to use a rock and a stocking rather than a sandbag. We discussed the murder fully. The happy event is to take place tomorrow afternoon. The next time I write in my diary mother will be dead. How odd, yet how pleasing." On the date of the murder, the entry read: "Day of a happy event. Felt very excited and night-before-Christmassy last night. Didn't have pleasant dreams though."

In Fayetteville, N.C., the body of a man tentatively identified as an Army captain from Fort Bragg, had been found this date, shot and believed to have been the victim of a robbery. A rusty .45-calibre Army-type pistol and two empty cartridges were found nearby. The coroner said the the man had been dead for at least two days and that there were signs of a struggle, that it did not appear as a suicide. The man's wallet was missing and he had only ten cents on his body. The sheriff said there were indications that he had been hit on the side of the head and shot in the back of the head as he lay in the weeds, but the coroner said that he had been shot in the chest.

In Miami, the Weather Bureau reported that the coasts of North and South Carolina were under a hurricane alert this date as powerful Hurricane Carol was developing about 300 miles east of Jacksonville, Fla., with its winds circling the central eye at a velocity of about 115 mph, while the storm stood nearly still. An Air Force hurricane hunter plane was set to pierce the storm to its calm eye during the morning. Hurricane winds extended outward 50 miles from the center and gales extended out 100 miles. The Bureau said that the storm should intensify some and move slowly during the ensuing 12 hours, probably in a direction between northwest and north.

In London, Britain's churches offered prayers this date for desperately needed sunshine to help farmers bring in their rain-damaged crops.

Julian Scheer of The News reports that former Governor Kerr Scott had breakfast in Charlotte this date and during the meal talked with newsmen, not so much as a Senate nominee, but as a farmer and former Governor. He anticipated a leisurely campaign in the fall, with only token Republican opposition per the usual course in the one-party state. He was strongly in support of parity for farmers, for acreage control, but demonstrated a lack of preparation on other domestic and foreign issues. He would go to Washington without any clear-cut goals, planning to continue the program he followed while Governor, saying that he had been too busy in the spring with his campaign to pay too much attention to the work of the 83rd Congress.

In St. Louis, a 65-year old pharmacist gave a robber the cough medicine he requested, just before he pointed a pistol at the druggist and declared that it was a holdup, whereupon the druggist seized a bottle of medicine and threw it in the bandit's face, causing him to flee with his face bleeding.

On the editorial page, "Breaking the Metropolitan Bottlenecks" indicates that it appeared that progress was being made by the fact that the State Highway and Public Works Commission spokesman had announced that the Commission had earmarked four million dollars for a new Highway 29 bypass around Charlotte, and by plans for Charlotte's 1.6 million dollar railroad crossline to eliminate midtown grade crossings. It provides detail, indicates that a healthy, thriving midtown was a major source of revenue to Charlotte, especially given its tight geographical boundaries, tied to limited needs and vision of years earlier, and that the bypass and crossline would help protect that important area.

"He Says So, but Will He Do It?" indicates that the President had announced that the Administration planned to press for tariff cuts the following year, but that its record on tariffs suggested that compliments should be withheld until the talk would be translated into action. General Eisenhower, before his election, had spoken forcibly of the need for drastic reductions in tariffs, and after his election, he took the position that the Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act should be renewed for one year, pending completion of a commission report on the subject, an understandable position, it finds, based on a desire to have plenty of facts before taking action. The commission had made its report in 1954 and the President adopted the majority recommendations, in favor of substantial tariff reduction. But, under pressure from Old Guard protectionists, the Administration had backed down from its original position, agreeing to another one-year extension, instead of the three-year extension and additional executive powers to cut tariffs as the Administration had originally sought. The President then decided to increase the tariff on Swiss watches.

It indicates that it hated to drag out an old cliché, but that actions spoke louder than words.

"A Salute to the Charlotte Hornets" indicates that the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce would pay tribute to the Hornets this night at Griffith Park, to pay homage to individual players and to express civic pride about having a Class A professional baseball club in the city. The Hornets would then play Columbia, to resume their quest for fifth place in the league.

It adds its own salute to the Hornets, indicates its pride in having them in the city, and says that it would be joining the spectators this night. It suggests that there was a need in urban life for such recreation, not only because the population had grown, but because people appeared to have a greater need for release from nervous tension and the busy routine in present times, with modern citizens living longer and having more time to themselves. It urges that a hometown ball club promoted civic pride, local loyalties and a healthy appreciation for sportsmanship, lending prestige to the community, giving thousands of citizens a sense of identification with a cause. It urges, therefore, wide support for the Hornets.

A piece from the Fort Myers (Fla.) News-Press, titled "Easy as Pi", indicates that Branch Rickey, general manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates, had developed, with the aid of the country's top mathematicians, a formula for determining the factors which won or lost baseball games. It used at-bats, homeruns, bases on balls, and earned runs, plus other factors in box scores, to develop measurements of a team's offensive and defensive powers, relating them by an equation which provided an answer to overall performance, useful by baseball managers in analyzing their teams, while telling the public nothing they did not already know.

It indicates that a simple glance at the standings after the season was well along would determine which was the best team in each league, as well as the relative standings of the other teams. The proof provided by Mr. Rickey that his formula was accurate was that it coincided with the results in the standings over the previous 20 years. It indicates that the fans did not need to reduce that to a mathematical formula.

It suggests that it would be helpful, however, to have such a formula for determining foreign relations and who was ahead in the cold war, suggests something like the Rickey formula to determine where the strong and weak points were in foreign policy, recommends nomenclature such as BS for billions spent, AB for allies bought, PSD for planes shot down, PN for protest notes, and other such terms. The end result would be an equation equaling P for peace. At that point, it suggests, the public could work out a solid basis as to whether Americans or Russians were ahead, where the British, French and Chinese stood, and whether the President and Secretary of State Dulles were better or worse than former President Truman and former Secretary of State Acheson. It adds that the public could swap off the weak in such an analysis, whereas in baseball, the fans were stuck with the bums.

Eddie Try, a member of the newspaper's advertising staff, was traveling in Central America on his vacation, and writes from San Salvador that his three-day visit to Guatemala was complete, having spent 1 1/2 days in the Mayan Hills, north of Lake Atitlan, reputed to be the world's most beautiful lake. He found the grandeur of the natural mountain scenery and the colorful native costumes to have created an atmosphere of constant fascination. He tells of Guatemala being the cradle of the ancient Mayan civilization, that of the three million people in the country, about 65 percent were Indian, directly descended from the various Mayan tribes which had first settled in Guatemala around 1500 B.C. The Mayans continued to be a proud, resourceful and independent people. Each village had a different design of costume, and the Indians maintained their ancient customs and languages.

Regarding recent political trouble, he reports that the man in the street was happy that the Communist-aligned Government had been overthrown, but that the cost of living remained high, while gasoline had been reduced by twenty cents down to thirty cents per gallon since the new Government had come into office. Most of the cars were American and of the latest vintage, and American household appliances filled the stores and shops, but there was no television. The people of Guatemala City had been courteous, alert, industrious and efficient, and the Indians were reputed for their kindness and their honesty.

One of the many tasks confronting the present Government was the establishment of a system of legitimate voting, and the Indian appeared as a silent pawn in the political maneuvering.

The national symbol was the Quetzal, a long-tailed bird with brilliant plumage, which by tradition would not live in captivity, thus signifying love of liberty.

Drew Pearson, on vacation, has his column written this date by actor Clifton Webb, who seeks initially to lay to rest the canard—to be distinguished, though he does not say so, from the Cunard Line which owned the R.M.S. Carpathia, the rescue ship of the survivors of the Titanic, a representation of the sinking of which he had starred in the year before—that all comedic actors were dissatisfied unless they had an opportunity to play Hamlet, indicating that he preferred to play himself.

He relates that the opportunity to play Olympian Zeus for Mr. Pearson in writing the column this date was akin to his recent role in "Woman's World", in which he played a president of a motorcar company which was seeking a man to fill a $125,000 post, for which there were three competitors, each of whose wives were seeking to influence the choice, with one wife, being played by June Allyson, having suddenly developed, at a company dinner important to the choice, a case of hiccups from one too many martinis, at which point the character played by Mr. Webb said that they would all have a much better time if they forgot that he was president of the company, at which point Ms. Allyson's character again hiccupped. He then thanked her, saying that was what he had meant. He adds: "Webbian, pure Webbian."

"Naturally, only the pervading genius of Webb, to whose screen personality all things are possible, keeps this shining assemblage and its shiny surroundings out of the realm of fairy tales. I play Jove, I look down from Olympus, even as Mr. Drew Pearson. If I were not enchanted with the role and did not feel competent to portray it, I would not be doing it. I enjoy my sublease on the mountain, as who wouldn't?" He concludes by asking whether he heard a hiccup and thanks his reader very much, saying that was what he meant.

Doris Fleeson, in London as a part of a month-long tour of England, France and West Germany, indicates that in Britain, as in the U.S., the election was the payoff for actions of politicians, as the Conservative Government would exercise its prerogative of calling an election at a time most favorable to it, which was not expected to be before the spring. Thus, there would be at least six months before the electorate would pass judgment on the controversial visit which leaders of the Labor Party had made to Russia and now to Communist China, with the British being told that the U.S. was angered by the pilgrimage. There were now signs that the Churchill Government was retreating from its original sympathetic attitude, appearing to result from the Chinese Communists swiftly and arrogantly attempting to capitalize on the visit, claiming that they were being helped by strategic supplies being traded from NATO countries, including Britain. That had played into the hands of Senator McCarthy and thus had become an embarrassment to the Eisenhower Administration.

The McCarthy hearings on traded strategic supplies with the Communists had been thoroughly prepared by Robert F. Kennedy, presently counsel to the Democratic minority of the Senate Investigations subcommittee, and had received, therefore, more credence than usually anything attached to Senator McCarthy's name because Mr. Kennedy was the brother of Senator John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts.

Ms. Fleeson observes that had the Chinese Communists sought to cooperate with Senator McCarthy, they could not have done it better. Prime Minister Churchill still remained sponsor and spokesman for coexistence with the Communists and the visit of Labor leader and former Prime Minister Clement Attlee and Aneurin Bevan was a logical extension of that policy. It was said in London that the Prime Minister had not only not objected to the visit but had favored it. It was a fair guess that the people therefore also had favored it and were generally closer in viewpoint to that of Mr. Attlee than to his critics.

Mr. Attlee was not at all close to Mr. Bevan of the far left of the Labor Party and they accompanied one another only because of party politics. It appeared to Labor Party leaders that Mr. Bevan had a good idea regarding potential trade benefits with the Communists, which would appeal especially to the unions, an integral force within the party. Most of those British unions more resembled the AFL than the CIO in the U.S., but had the same spotty unemployment problems which plagued labor in the U.S., especially in textiles. Thus, Mr. Attlee had gone along on the trip, his colleagues indicating that he had to do so to be able to lead the next Labor Party conference at the end of the ensuing month.

The Congressional Quarterly indicates that the vetoed Federal pay increase would be a political hot potato in the midterm election campaigns, the President's veto having occurred because the Congress had refused to pass also a postal rate increase to help pay for it. The Quarterly's survey of the postal and employee unions showed that their leaders would press for a better bill the following year and some of the officials said that it would be a top political issue in the fall campaigns. Members of the postal-Federal workers' unions contended that a larger pay increase was needed to enable thousands of underpaid employees to escape from debt, that the last Federal pay increase had occurred more than four years earlier, since which the cost of living had increased by about four percent.

Opponents of the bill, including Postmaster General Arthur Summerfield, other Administration leaders, local chambers of commerce and some banking interests, had argued that it disregarded principles of sound personnel management and ignored the need for revenue to offset the pay increases.

The postal-Federal workers bloc had a strong grassroots organization which could deliver postcards to Congress and had a rotating group of people who would make direct contact with the lawmakers. The National Association of Letter Carriers had 4,000 locals and 103,000 members distributed all over the continental U.S. The National Federation of Post Office Clerks had 115,000 members. Another union expected to be involved in the pay increase fight was the American Federation of Government Employees, with 60,000 members. All three unions were part of the AFL, the latter union advocating a somewhat smaller pay increase than the other two. The three unions could probably expect support from most of the two dozen smaller unions in the bloc.

The bloc workers anticipated more opposition from the Administration and some private lobbies, its leaders being bitter over the lobbying of Postmaster General Summerfield. The leaders were determined to achieve the pay increase.

A letter from Nat Hentoff, associate editor of Downbeat magazine, compliments the newspaper on its August 16 editorial, "Swing's the Thing in American Jazz", finds it to have been "articulate, challenging" comment about jazz, particularly invigorating to find on a regular editorial page.

A letter writer comments on an article which had appeared in the newspaper about the circus and schools competing with each other on the morning of September 2, suggests that the American Legion Post No. 9 could arrange with the King Brothers Circus to delay the start of the parade until 10:30, so that more schoolchildren could get downtown in time to see it. He says that if it were anything like the old time parades at the turn of the century, with the horse-drawn wagons, animal cages and elephants, the adults would not want their children to miss it.

A letter writer from Pinehurst responds to another letter writer who had taken him to task for opinions which the previous writer had erroneously implied that he had expressed in a prior letter, in which he had congratulated the newspaper because it had, at long last, seen fit to criticize the President because of his refusal to take an open stand against Senator McCarthy and his cohorts, and had commented on the fact that during the 1952 campaign, General Eisenhower had shown a lack of intestinal fortitude when he had deleted from his Wisconsin campaign speech, at the behest of Senator McCarthy, a laudatory reference to General Marshall. He indicates that the prior letter writer had put words in his mouth which he had not stated and had also introduced a number of extraneous ideas not regarded in his letter.

A letter from the director of the Education Research Bureau, responsible for the "How's Your IQ?" column which appeared in The News, thanks the previous letter writer, Mary Idol Breeze, for questioning whether "was" had been appropriate in a sentence presented in the column for correction, as opposed to "were", says that, indeed, the corrected sentence had been incorrect, as was the title of the feature, itself. He indicates that the criticism which Ms. Breeze offered shocked him into complete future alertness insofar as the correctness of the feature was concerned.

A letter from former News columnist Dorothy Knox indicates that she had been reading The News on August 24 while changing buses in Raleigh and read with great pleasure the editorial recommending benches be placed in the Old Settlers' Cemetery. She said that many people from the county and out-of-town visitors wrote her saying that Charlotte invited them there to shop while offering no place to sit and wait for friends or family to pick them up for a ride home, suggests that placing benches in the cemetery would provide an excellent place for them to wait, urges continuing to plug the project.

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