The Charlotte News

Monday, August 30, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the President told the American Legion convention this date in Washington that creation of a military reserve as a bulwark against Communism would be a primary item on his 1955 legislative program. He said that for 150 years, the U.S. had prided itself on its refusal to maintain large standing military forces, instead relying on the civilian soldier. But, he said, the country had done so without being fair either to the private citizen or to the security of the nation. The President had interrupted his Colorado vacation for a day to return to Washington to address the convention.

The President this date signed the new atomic energy legislation and said that it would speed up the time when the atom would be wholly devoted to peaceful purposes. For the first time, the legislation allowed for development of private atomic power within the United States, and, subject to certain security safeguards, allowed the Government to share nuclear information with the country's allies. Democrats, led by Senator Albert Gore of Tennessee, had vigorously opposed the private atomic power aspect of the bill, staging a prolonged filibuster to block it.

In Paris, the French National Assembly interrupted its debate on the European Defense Community treaty for a six-nation unified Army, after one of its supporters insisted on immediately calling for new negotiations to amend the treaty. It was countered by opponents to EDC, seeking to cut off the debate. The morning session was devoted to procedural matters and there was no substantive debate on the treaty.

Senator McCarthy said this date that he would not call any witnesses on his behalf before the six-Senator committee set to begin hearings on the censure resolution sponsored by Senator Ralph Flanders of Vermont. Senator McCarthy said that he would testify in his own behalf if requested to do so, but said he had no desire to testify. He regarded the whole matter as "a great waste of time". He said that some of the things alleged by Senators Flanders, J. William Fulbright and Wayne Morse would be admitted, for instance, that Senator Flanders was senile.

In Cincinnati, RNC chairman Leonard Hall provided the keynote address for a party campaign pep rally this date, accusing Congressional Democrats of using "vast cunning" in attempts "to make our anti-Communist legislation unworkable." He referred, without mentioning names, to an effort led by Senator Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota to outlaw the Communist Party, legislation which, after initially passing the Senate unanimously, was eventually amended to provide only for depriving the Communist Party of the privileges normally accruing to political parties in the country. Mr. Hall said that Republicans would not "hang up the gloves" in what the President had said was the "crucial struggle" for control of Congress.

In Phenix City, Ala., an emergency grand jury returned 545 indictments this date, following three weeks of investigation of vice and corruption in the town. Under Alabama law, the names of the indicted had to be withheld until the defendants were arrested or were placed under bond. Scores of gamblers and others identified with rackets already had been arrested by National Guardsmen, following imposition of martial law by the Governor some two months earlier. It was not known exactly how many people had been the subject of the indictments as there would be multiple indictments for single individuals. Teams of National Guardsmen were standing ready to arrest the defendants named in the indictments, probably the most ever returned at one time by a grand jury in the state's history. It was believed that the indictments would not involve the June 18 murder of anti-vice crusader A. L. Patterson, who had been shot to death shortly after winning the Democratic primary to become the next State Attorney General. State authorities searching for the killers of Mr. Patterson had not completed their investigation.

In Lincolnton, N.C., a man was captured by police and arrested for shooting to death another man the previous night, telling police that he had intended "to kill 'em all". He was arrested as he slept on the porch of a cabin 250 yards behind his home. In addition to the murder charge, he was charged with two counts of assault with intent to kill, having also wounded the 21-year old son of the dead victim and his eight-year old nephew, the former having been wounded critically and the latter only slightly in the wrist. The shooting spree had climaxed a six-year grudge regarding the assailant's son having married the dead victim's daughter, after which there had been trouble when the son had gone to the victim's home, had departed around midnight and was later found dead on the railroad tracks where a train had run over him, the assailant maintaining since that time that the victim had killed his son. The assailant was an unemployed textile worker, who had once aspired to the world heavyweight boxing title held by Jess Willard around 1915.

In Southern Pines, it was reported that writer Struthers Burt, 73, who divided his time between the North Carolina town and his ranches in Jackson, Wyoming, had died at a hospital in Jackson the prior Saturday following an illness of several months duration. He had been a ranch hand, instructor of English, newspaper reporter, historical writer and poet. His better known works included Powder River, Philadelphia Holy Experiment, and Diary of a Dude Wrangler.

In Wilmington, Hurricane Carol, packing central winds of 100 mph, moved slowly toward the North Carolina coast this date, as it was located about 100 miles south-southeast of Wilmington, moving north-northeastward at about 5 to 7 mph, with some indications of slowly accelerating. Hurricane warnings were ordered from Wilmington to Manteo on the Outer Banks. The entire North Carolina coastal region was being warned against dangerous winds and high tides. (Some call it "hoi toides" down 'ere.) The storm, if it continued on its present course, would strike North Carolina where it jutted eastward into the sea at Cape Hatteras, but a number of hurricanes earlier had veered to the east when approaching that promontory and then continued northward at sea, either blowing themselves out or striking inland farther north.

For the second year in succession, Charlotte had been named by the American Automobile Association as one of the top ten cities of over 100,000 population in the national pedestrian protection contest. The previous year, Charlotte had tied with Rochester, N.Y., for first place in that category. Kansas City took first place in 1954, while two cities tied for second and four tied for third.

On the editorial page, "North Carolina Should Participate" advocates North Carolina's participation in the implementing decision on desegregation of public schools, set to be heard by the Supreme Court in the upcoming term of court, starting in October. Notice of intent to participate had to be given to the Court by September 15, and the committee studying desegregation, recently appointed by Governor William B. Umstead, therefore needed to come to an agreement promptly on their course of action.

It suggests that the implementing decision might be almost as important as the decision of the prior May 17, holding continued school segregation to be violative of the 14th Amendment Equal Protection Clause. The pattern which would be set would not only impact the five school districts immediately before the Court, out of Kansas, Virginia, South Carolina, Delaware and the District of Columbia, but would impact the entire South, where segregation remained the law. It suggests that North Carolina could not afford to entrust others with shaping that implementation policy.

The UNC Institute of Government had issued an analysis of the Brown v. Board of Education decision, indicating that North Carolina had a stake in the future course of the five segregation cases and that it was at least questionable whether the state's interest would be adequately represented by the other parties to the litigation. It posited that there was no guarantee that they would set a pattern of adjustment which would fit the needs of North Carolina. It recommended exploring the possibilities for action and the possible general principles regarding compliance, and then to ask the Court to sanction those principles which appeared to the state to be both feasible and legal. It also recommended that the analysis be consistent with respect for the law, and especially the Constitution.

The piece regards the advice as good and that it should be taken to heart by the Governor's special committee of 19 persons.

"Joe May Be the Man Who Can Do It" indicates that it would take a skillful demagogue to assign dark motives to the advocates of flexible farm price supports, but that readers should not be surprised if "Public Windbag No. 1", Senator McCarthy, would try to do so. During the agricultural policy debate, most farm state supporters had advocated a continuation of fixed price supports at 90 percent of parity on basic commodities, but Senator McCarthy had favored price supports at 100 percent of parity "or more". He had hinted that the present Administration's farm policies were akin to those of former Vice-President and Secretary of Agriculture Henry Wallace and his "crowd".

An editorial writer for the Madison (Wis.) Capital Times had recently detailed the McCarthy voting record for the Progressive, a magazine founded by Wisconsin's Robert LaFollette, Sr., finding it to contain several paradoxes. The Senator had only recently begun professing concern for farmers, had previously voted for flexible price supports, against soil conservation appropriations and against the Rural Electrification Administration 80 percent of the time. Generally, his votes on foreign policy about six years earlier had coincided with the liberal views of Harold Stassen, whose slate of presidential delegates Senator McCarthy had headed in Wisconsin in 1948. But now Senator McCarthy was far apart in his views from Mr. Stassen, regarding him as one of his favorite targets. The Senator had voted for the Truman Doctrine in 1948, providing for military aid to Greece and Turkey, and for NATO in 1949. But then he denounced the policies and the men identified with them, calling the Marshall Plan an "evil hoax", beginning a series of personal attacks on President Truman, Secretary of State Acheson and General Marshall. He had repeatedly voted for cuts in foreign aid and mutual security, and had been one of ten Senators voting against the peace treaty with Japan.

On domestic issues, he had voted for Taft-Hartley in 1947 and against minimum wage increases, had voted against any public housing or, in some years, for less public housing than the Administration had sought, had voted against Federal aid to education, for the restrictive McCarran Immigration Act, and against 15 of the 21 Governmental reorganization plans submitted by the Hoover Commission to reorganize the executive branch to make it more efficient and prevent waste. He had voted against economic controls, generally for tax relief for the wealthy and had been opposed to increases in personal exemptions, had voted three times for the eventually successful bill to turn offshore oil lands over to the states, had regularly opposed efforts to reduce the depletion allowance for oil drillers. He was the only Senator from his region to vote for the Kerr natural gas bill to deprive the Federal Power Commission of authority to regulate natural gas rates.

It indicates that in view of that record, it was surprising that Senator McCarthy had decided to be the most radical member of Congress on farm price supports. It supposes that it might be a way for him to get at the "old Wallace crowd" and thereby sow distrust and suspicion among the people, while hindering the work of the Administration.

"Aid the Disabled" finds that the state's workmen's compensation law was woefully inadequate because when a worker became totally disabled, he could receive no more than $30 per week, up to a maximum of $8,000, meaning that such a disabled worker could not support his family decently, and after five years on such meager subsistence, would often become totally dependent on charity and public welfare. It thus finds that liberalizing the workmen's compensation law was one of the most important tasks facing the 1955 General Assembly, and indicates that one of Mecklenburg's legislators, Arthur Goodman, had pledged his support for liberal changes in a letter contained in this date's letters column. It hopes that other members of the Mecklenburg delegation would do likewise.

A piece from the Asheville Citizen, titled "On the Superstitious Side", indicates that psychiatrists stated that the superstitious who had to follow an established routine had an anxiety complex which stemmed from dealing with the unknown. In ancient times, Roman urchins had played a game called touch-wood or touch-iron, depending on which substance happened to be available, and the youngsters were only safe when they touched that material. It posits that the game undoubtedly had been the origin of the superstition of touching wood for good luck. It finds it comparable to baseball and the strange incantations of Brooklyn Dodgers fans.

It finds, however, that modern technology was ruining the superstition of knocking on wood, as one could not do so in an automobile. The same was true of iron, as now everything was aluminum, duraluminum, or tin plate, and, like the trumpet, gave an uncertain sound.

It concludes: "Superstitious? Not us. (Knock, knock.)"

Ethel Merman and Marilyn Monroe separately take turns at writing Drew Pearson's column this date while he remained on vacation, Ms. Merman setting forth a series of things which she would enact into law regarding men, if she were in a legislature. As examples, she advocates political and business talk be banned at dinner tables, that men wear blinders at the beach, that morning papers be delivered only after breakfast, that men dress more sensibly in hot weather, that they should not be allowed to listen to Eartha Kitt, that they should be compelled to take courses in the care and changing of babies, and also courses teaching the difference between cotton and silk and regarding coiffures, so that they would understand the difference between a pompadour and a Roman cut. She goes on in that vein, concluding by admitting that she was just kidding, that she loved men, especially Bob Six.

Ms. Monroe indicates that she wanted to be taken seriously as an actress and so had given up her career as a pin-up girl, though still wanted the men in service to be able to see her photographs. She says that not being either a natural-born actress, a singer or a dancer, she still pinched herself as she drove to work on the lot in a very nice automobile and went into a singing, dancing and dramatic routine in Irving Berlin's "There's No Business Like Show Business". She had been able to work with such talented people as Ethel Merman, Donald O'Connor, Mitzi Gaynor, Johnnie Ray and Dan Dailey, and felt warm all over when Mr. Berlin had told her that she was a fine performer, as distinguished from a "pin-up personality". She indicates that in her next picture, on which work would start soon, "The Seven Year Itch", she would have a wonderful opportunity to show her improved acting since her first small part in "Ladies of the Chorus". She indicates that as to the future, there was a black cloud hanging over her because of fashion designer Christian Dior's preference for females with flat chests, that she would be a "dead duck" and people would be speaking of her in the past tense should he get his way, "because no matter what Dior decrees come out of Paris, I just don't qualify."

Joseph & Stewart Alsop indicate that Secretary of State Dulles would depart on Tuesday for Manila where he hoped to build a dike of international guarantees to hold back the Communist tide in Southeast Asia. The Department was hopeful, publicly at least, that SEATO would emerge from the conference. But only the Philippines and Siam at present, among Asian nations, were prepared to join with the U.S., France, Australia and New Zealand to form the new treaty organization, comparable to NATO. Theoretically, the organization would cause China and Russia to think twice before starting any further aggression in Asia, but practice would be something else again.

The most dangerous and urgent problem would be to build up the bulwark against Communist aggression while it was still running very strongly.

The assumptions behind the Geneva agreement on Indo-China were already beginning to look somewhat phony, the main assumption having been the same which Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain of Britain had made in 1938 at Munich, that it was possible to placate a determined aggressor by allowing it to have the first bite. With North Vietnam having been given to the Communists by France and Britain, with the tacit approval of the Eisenhower Administration, the Geneva agreement was hardly dry when Ho Chi Minh promised over the radio that all other Indochinese would soon be "liberated". Since that time, Ho had made considerable progress toward making good on that promise, with his immediate target being South Vietnam, the most vulnerable of the three regions of Indo-China which the Geneva agreement had supposedly denied to the Communists, including Cambodia and Laos.

They indicate that South Vietnam was worse than chaotic. Saigon still had a large French garrison and some French administration, which only served to influence the already violent Nationalist feelings of the Vietnamese population. The French influence did not extend more than 30 kilometers beyond Saigon, and even in the immediate suburbs, there were many centers of Communist power. The parallel Vietnamese administration of Premier Ngo Diem, whom the French regarded as being too nationalist, also appeared to be powerless to cope with the many problems. The Vietnamese Army remained large but was widely disaffected. The two large religious groups with private militias, the Bao Dai and Hao Hoa, had turned against the Government. The Vietnamese administration had no more authority than the French beyond the suburbs of Saigon.

The mass of the people in the countryside had been convinced by the Geneva surrender that the Communists were bound to win in the long run, and so the people had hastened to come to terms with the future by going over to the Communist side. If they did not do so voluntarily, the Communist guerrilla forces, which had come out of hiding, were there to force the issue. The promised withdrawal of Communist troops from the French side of the line had turned out to be a farce, and there were good reasons to believe that the troops in the South were being reinforced by new Communist contingents released for that duty by the cease-fire in the North.

They indicate that by a series of miracles, the position of South Vietnam might be brought under control, but that on the face of it, it would likely be the next explosive spot in the Southeast Asian chain reaction.

In addition, the position in Laos, with its long common border with Thailand, had also badly deteriorated, and it could not be held if South Vietnam were to fall to the Communists. Even in Cambodia, where the outlook was still not too bad, the loss of South Vietnam would have an explosive effect. Leading State Department policymakers confessed that Thailand would also be in grave peril if Laos were lost.

Thus, they conclude, were the circumstances in which the conference in Manila to establish SEATO was beginning, with the aim of guaranteeing South Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, with Thailand as one of the guarantors.

Robert C. Ruark indicates that there appeared to be a popular American suspicion that everything foreign was dirty, inferior and deliberately designed to defraud or otherwise maliciously intended, with constant criticism of other people's working habits, food, drink, transportation, culture, doctors, communications and folkways in general. He had met an American woman in Europe not long earlier who had asked him if he had used boiled water in the ice cubes, and when he said that he had not, that it had come out of the tap, she produced a miniature chemical set to purify the water. She proceeded to tell him that all of the people were liars and thieves, that the servants were stupid and that the food was unfit for human consumption in Barcelona, a city which had been old in culture, science and creature comfort "when this dame's ancestors were still painting their faces with blue clay and hiding behind trees for fear the Druids would get 'em." He found that city cleaner than anything in Europe or America, with better shops than Paris, the best restaurant in Europe and a median standard of living which made a New York millionaire appear to be camping out.

The previous year when he was having coffee in Tangier with an old friend who was an Arab, a person passed by the café and called to him, asking him who his "raghead friend" was. The person was the prince of an Arab house which had been around for about 5,000 years, had been educated at Oxford, and his castle was filled with awards from Queen Victoria and personally signed photographs from the royal family up through the present Queen Elizabeth's deceased father.

A gossip columnist had printed a letter from an American friend recently, from Istanbul, which had said that the city was hot and dirty, that most of the buildings appeared as if they were built during the Roman occupation, that its food was strange, that the writer would give five dollars for a Lindy sandwich, and that the Turks appreciated the Marshall Plan. He supposes that it did not cross that man's "minuscule brain" that there was no hotter, dirtier place in the world than his beloved New York at the present time of year, and that it was not odd to expect to find Turkish food in Turkey, and the buildings probably did date to the time of the Roman occupation.

He indicates that there were hundreds of thousands of such ill-willed American ambassadors abroad, regularly embarrassing the United States. He finds that Americans were the kindest, most generous and often the politest people in the world when they were at home, but did not carry those qualities with them abroad, commenting that it was strange because there was no overweight charge for politeness.

A letter from Arthur Goodman, a member of the Mecklenburg delegation to the State House, as indicated in the above editorial, addresses the previous editorial on the Workmen's Compensation Act in North Carolina and agrees with the editorial's assessment that something ought be done to improve the inadequate compensation. He indicates that he had introduced a bill in the 1953 session to remove the $8,000 maximum limit for compensation for the totally disabled, to enable payment for life. The bill had been sent to committee and it was reported to the full committee that the additional insurance cost to employers for the additional compensation would be about three percent annually, causing the bill to be killed. He assures that he would continue to do everything he could, however, in the 1955 session to change the antiquated compensation benefits.

A letter writer from Micro says that she spent many hours observing and meditating about folk and things, as she relaxed on the veranda of her modest white-paneled house with green-shuttered windows beneath a canopy of pecan trees, which her children called "Shady Nook". She saw license plates passing on Highway 301 from everywhere, from Florida to New England, prompting her to believe that people were restless and undecided. She wonders what was the matter with the folk or whether it was her. Then had come the story about the man leading his goat caravan from Georgia to Virginia through eastern North Carolina, while throngs of people had come out to observe as he rested his goats, creating traffic hazards which she found obnoxious. In their recent Farmers Day event, a lucky number would win a Ford, and they had been told that only farmers would be eligible, but in the end, the Ford had gone to someone other than a farmer. She indicates that when she watched television shows, she was in a nervous frenzy, waiting and hoping for soft, sweet music and professional drama from Perry Como, Julius La Rosa, and Sophie Tucker, while the applause was deafening for all the funny acts. She again wonders what was the matter with folk or whether it was her.

A letter writer suggests that Charlotte was going to keep building new streets, boulevards and driveways, spending the people's money, until the town was going to do what Asheville had done in the 1920's and "go busted all to h—..."

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