The Charlotte News

Wednesday, August 4, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the President, at his press conference this date, defended, in emotional tones, General Marshall against the attack made two days earlier by Senator McCarthy, seeking to defend himself against censure. The President said that General Marshall had "typified all that we call—or we look for—in what we call an American patriot." He said that, while in the past he had abstained from the controversy regarding Senator McCarthy, he believed that as head of the Republican Party, anything that tended to divide the party concerned him, as the party in power was responsible for harmony in the nation. He declined to express any opinion regarding the resolution of censure sponsored by Senator Ralph Flanders of Vermont, to be assigned to a six-Senator special committee, comprised of three Republicans and three Democrats, to be chaired by Vice-President Nixon. On Monday, Senator McCarthy had placed in the record a letter written the previous June by former Secretary of War Harry Woodring, who had served the Roosevelt Administration between 1936 and 1940, indicating that General Marshall "would sell out his grandmother for personal advantage" and that, while he had respected him at one time, had lost confidence in him after his year as special envoy for President Truman in China in 1946. When a reporter had quoted from the letter at the press conference, the President had spoken for about five minutes in praise of the General, recalling his associations with him, saying that he had seen many things which were proof to him of the General's "selflessness", and finding it a "sorry reward" at the end of at least 50 years of service to the country, for someone to say that he was not a "loyal, fine American".

The President also said that foreign aid cuts which had been voted by the Senate the previous day had been so deep that they would hurt the country badly, but within minutes thereafter, the joint conference committee voted to restore part of the cut. The Senate had voted to cut foreign aid to something less than 2.7 billion dollars, 800 million dollars less than the Administration's proposal, but the joint confreres had agreed to restore the total to three billion.

In East Berlin, Communist Premier Otto Grotewohl told the East German Parliament this date that West German security chief Otto John, who had defected to East Germany on July 20, had been granted political asylum, reading from a letter from Dr. John, stating thanks for granting him asylum. East German radio announced the previous night that the security police had rounded up a large number of persons who had been spying for West German and American "services", not mentioning Dr. John by name. But as the head of the West German internal security service, he had known the identities of hundreds of such persons providing information to the West from East Germany. Since he had disappeared, a man purporting to be him had broadcast three times from East Germany, stating that he had gone to the Eastern sector to work for German unity and because "too many Nazis" had returned to power in the West German Government. Dr. John had been involved in the July 20, 1944 assassination plot against Hitler, and had managed to escape to London, where he served out the war in exile, providing valuable information to the British. British sources in Bonn indicated that Dr. John had been cut off from British intelligence secrets about ten months earlier because of their becoming convinced that he was unreliable, and other Allied officials in Bonn had disclosed this date that Dr. John had been involved in a bitter controversy with U.S. and British intelligence officials in Germany before his defection.

John Hightower reports on Nationalist China, indicating that every top U.S. official willing to discuss U.S. policy publicly or privately agreed that if Communist China were to launch a major attack on Formosa, the U.S. would go to war. But the Administration, at least for the time being, was unwilling to make any pledges of a formal treaty with Nationalist China, and almost no responsible authority wished to discuss that aspect of policy. In trying to build a system of anti-Communist alliances in Asia, the U.S. had been following a course removed from the extremes in Asia, as typified on the one side by South Korean President Syngman Rhee, who wanted the United States to attack Communist China to get the Communists out of North Korea and enable Korea to be reunited, and on the other side, by the neutrality position of Prime Minister Nehru of India. But those opposing extremes exerted constant pressure on the U.S. course of policy. Chiang Kai-shek had dedicated himself to leading a Nationalist Chinese liberation army from Formosa against the mainland, from which the Nationalists had been expelled in 1949 when the Communists took over the Government.

Rowland Evans, Jr., reports that Senator Homer Capehart of Indiana, chairman of the Banking Committee currently investigating the housing scandals, had said this date that the "deep underworld" was "up to its neck" in an organized swindle of thousands of homeowners, who had been talked into shoddy home repairs financed with Government-insured loans. His statement followed the refusal by a Chicago man the previous day to answer questions at a Committee hearing. The FHA announced this date the suspension of its chief Los Angeles appraiser for his refusal to answer questions regarding certain financial transactions involving builders operating in the Los Angeles area.

Three Senators, Matthew Neely of West Virginia, Andrew Schoeppel of Kansas, and Homer Ferguson of Michigan, none of whom had been opposed, had won renomination in four state primaries held the previous day, and Representative Dewey Short of Missouri had overcome a strong primary contender in his race. All except one of the 41 House members seeking renomination had either won their primary races or were leading. Balloting in all four states had been unusually light and campaigning had been listless or nonexistent.

In Philadelphia, the VFW, in its annual gathering, adopted a resolution this date charging that "only mild and ineffective efforts have been taken during the present and past national administrations" to dissolve the menace of Communism, that Congress had passed no measures of security against Kremlin plans to conquer the world.

In Raleigh, Governor William B. Umstead announced this date that he would recommend B. Everett Jordan, state Democratic chairman, as North Carolina's DNC committeeman when the state Democratic executive committee would meet on August 12, to succeed Carlisle Higgins of Winston-Salem. Mr. Jordan would be appointed to the Senate in 1958 by Governor Luther Hodges to succeed Senator Kerr Scott at his death. At the meeting in August, the Democrats were expected to choose Senator Sam Ervin as the party nominee for the Senate in the fall special election, Senator Ervin having been appointed by the Governor in June as the successor to deceased Senator Clyde Hoey, who had died in May.

In New York, comedian Jackie Gleason, who suffered many indignities on his television program, returned this date from his first trip to Europe, during which he had undergone an operation, suffered food poisoning and was attacked by an allergy, saying that when one left the United States, "you're camping out". He had spent nine days in Zürich in the hospital where he was operated on for adhesions, had contracted food poisoning in Rome after sampling spaghetti which had been "almost as good as in New York", and his face had swollen up from an allergy after he boarded the liner United States to come home. When asked why he did not have the surgery in the United States, he said that strange things happened to him in the hospital in the U.S., apparently referring to an incident in which he had been hospitalized to recuperate from a broken ankle, during which stay his wife had visited him when Marilyn Taylor, a dancer on his program, happened to be visiting, prompting the Gleasons legally to separate the previous June 22. Ms. Taylor had been aboard the ship and Mr. Gleason said that she had been in London to arrange for the cast of the show to appear the following summer at the London Palladium.

Sweltering 100-degree temperatures returned to the Central and Southern Plains this date, but relatively cool and showery weather prevailed over other large areas.

On the editorial page, "'Amity' Got Decent Burial It Deserved" tells of those who had proposed to form the new municipality in the fringe area of the community, to be known as Amity, having decided at a meeting at a local high school the previous night to withdraw the proposal, permitting the fringe area leaders and City officials now to work together in a calmer atmosphere.

"This Is a Good Time To Start UMT" advocates the beginning of universal military training, which the newspaper had for some time advocated, that while combat requirements at present were virtually nil, resulting from the Korean armistice and the Indo-China truce, it would be a good time to begin UMT, rather than waiting until there was immediate need for seasoned combat troops. The Administration plan proposed during the prior weekend for submission to the 84th Congress in 1955 would do just that. Under the proposal, all qualified young men would be required to serve a minimum period in one of the armed services, thereby correcting a long-standing injustice to World War II and Korean War veterans, who would be permitted under the plan to get out of the reserves if they so chose, as soon as replacements were available from the training program.

It explains that under the proposed plan, five military manpower pools would be maintained, and that the Army and Air Force reserves, as presently constituted, would be abolished, with their personnel subsumed under the National Guard, which would, instead of being strictly under the control of the various states, become the National Guard of the United States, for all practical purposes.

It indicates that reserve leaders might be expected to object to the proposed new role for the Guard, as might also state officials. Those who objected to any form of UMT on moral or religious grounds would probably oppose the plan as much as they had previous such plans. But to the newspaper, the plan made sense, provided safeguards were in place to permit the states to use their Guards on certain occasions, without exercising political influence.

It concludes that the nation had delayed UMT too long already, and if it did not prepare for the worst, the worst might happen at a time when the country would be "woefully unprepared".

"The Great Need for Rehabilitation" indicates that the move to divide the state's prison division from the Highway Department had prompted some State officials to suggest that prisoners and their industries would be more widely employed in jobs presently handled by private enterprise should the division take place. Governor Umstead had said that he would recommend the separation in the coming 1955 General Assembly session.

It was already difficult to find enough road work for all of the prisoners, and a move to increase printing operations in the prison industries, through the purchase of an offset press, had been temporarily halted when commercial printers protested. It finds that any prison labor which would unduly intrude on private enterprise would be imprudent, as private business would then be placed in a position of subsidizing a competitor with tax dollars.

But North Carolina industry was seeking skilled technicians to operate the intricate machinery needed to produce modern products, while the prisons of the state were filled with unskilled, unschooled persons who would very likely return to crime unless they were taught useful skills. It thus suggests that a modest training program in such fields could fill multiple needs, keeping deserving prisoners busy at worthwhile projects while incarcerated, providing them with skills which would serve the business community when they were released. It indicates that not all prisoners would be mentally or emotionally suited for such a program, but the misfits could be assigned to a variety of other jobs, such as beautification of roadside areas or other landscaping and maintenance chores. While such a program would cost some money, it asserts that it should not be judged on budgetary considerations alone, as such a program would help to avoid recidivism and thus benefit society as a whole.

"Who Ever Heard of Hominy Grits?" indicates that something ought to be done about Vice-President Nixon. (Boy, you can say that again) It goes on to state that something must be done also about Miss Universe, or the reporter who had put words into her mouth, as both Mr. Nixon and Miss Universe had reportedly been talking about "hominy grits", while every Southerner knew that there was no such thing, that grits were cracked corn, a little coarser than table meal.

It realizes that it had been quite awhile since Mr. Nixon had attended law school at Duke, which, it posits, might be "too highfalutin' to serve either anyhow", and so he had probably forgotten that hominy and grits were different articles. But it finds that Miss Universe, Miriam Stevenson of Winnsboro, Greenwood and Union, S.C., should know better, especially as she had a 4-H and home economics background, and so ascribes to her the statement "hominy and grits", assuming some Yankee reporter to have omitted the conjunction.

It indicates that Webster's had incorrectly defined grits as "coarse hominy", and that some food company was selling grits packaged under the label "hominy grits". But, it insists, Southerners did not cotton to either hominy or grits with the zest which had been ascribed to them in the North, that many youngsters rarely ate them because their elders took the attitude of the soldier about which Bill Polk's Aunt Lina related, as recorded in Mr. Polk's book, Southern Accent: "All I've had to eat for years, lady, is grits, grits, grits. I'd just as soon lie down and let the moon shine in my mouth."

Drew Pearson indicates that odds were that Congress had not seen the last of the record-making 13-day filibuster regarding the future control of atomic energy, that another filibuster might be just around the corner. He indicates that the bill was of great importance, as it set a pattern for the energy which would turn the factory wheels and power plants of the nation beginning perhaps in less than 25 years into the future. The reason for the new filibuster was that the Congressional confreres were haggling over adjusting the differences between the House version and the Senate version of the bill, especially the important amendments which the Senate had added as a result of the harassing force of the filibuster, which the House was determined to eliminate. The predominant majority of the Senate confreres were old-school reactionaries whose hackles were up regarding the Senate amendments, the most important of which he proceeds to explain briefly.

Regarding water power sites and atomic energy, one vital amendment had been introduced by future Vice-President and 1968 Democratic presidential nominee, Senator Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota, applying the rules of the Federal Power Commission to the leasing of Federal fissionable materials, meaning that since falling water which generated water power was regulated by the Government, the atomic power developed by the Government at a cost of 12 billion dollars was likewise to be regulated under the same rules as the leasing of water power sites. The FPC had built up through the years a set of rules for leasing dam sites to private utilities, under which power rates were based on costs, with the rules designed to prevent the padding of the costs. The private atomic plants would sell plutonium back to the Government, and the price they could charge was all-important, and so it was important to regulate the padding of the costs, for if they were permitted to charge a high price, they could pay for the entire cost of their plant within a few years while using a Government-developed patent. The House confreres and some Senators wanted to eliminate the Humphrey amendment, not wanting big business firms which would generate atomic power bogged down by FPC rules.

Regarding Government construction of atomic reactors, Senator Ed Johnson of Colorado had introduced an amendment to permit the Government to build an atomic reactor for generation of peacetime atomic power, while in contrast, Representative Sterling Cole of New York had introduced an amendment on the House side providing that the Government could not build an atomic reactor, as the latter wanted no public competition to private atomic plants.

Regarding anti-monopoly legislation, Senator William Langer of North Dakota, the only Republican to introduce a modifying amendment successfully, had provided for a safeguard against violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act, whereunder if a private company producing atomic energy were convicted of violation, its license would automatically revert to the United States.

Insofar as patent protection, Senator Robert Kerr of Oklahoma had provided for the compulsory licensing of patents for a period of ten years. The Administration's bill had provided that new patents developed by private companies would have to be in the public domain for five years, extended by the Kerr amendment to ten years, the same period provided in the automobile industry, wherein patents were pooled, with each company having the right to the patent of their competitor, considered a major reason why the automobile industry had made such progress. Thus far, atomic patents were owned by the Federal Government, and it had led to rapid progress in the field since 1946, as new processes were available in the public domain. The rationale for Senator Kerr's extension to ten years of the public domain provision was that it would take 4 to 5 years to build a reactor and the patent pool ought extend for another five years afterward.

Miriam Rabb—wife of former News associate editor, Stuart Rabb, immediately succeeding W. J. Cash for a year in May, 1941—, writing in State magazine, tells of the most visited national park in the country in 1954, the Great Smoky Mountains, dedicated by President Roosevelt on September 2, 1940—five years to the day before the unconditional surrender of the Japanese formally to end World War II—, after having been enabled by legislation of Congress in 1926 and by the legislatures of North Carolina and Tennessee the following year, with land acquisition having begun with state funds, matched by a donation from John D. Rockefeller, Jr., with Federal funds used to complete the project, consisting of more than 500,000 acres. During the previous year, the Blue Ridge Parkway had joined the National Park, making it possible for motorists to reach Heintooga Overlook via 12 miles of smooth, paved highway connecting with U.S. Highway 19 southwest of Asheville.

She continues with a description of some of the highlights of the park, in case you have a mind to visit.

We may have related previously that we were on the Parkway on Sunday afternoon, August 5, 1962, when the news came over the radio that she was dead...

Robert C. Ruark indicates that he had seen where they were thinking of establishing a drive-in traffic court near a particularly deadly highway in Westchester County, New York, seeming to him a brilliant idea in the automotive age, already explored in such places as Georgia and South Carolina, which he recalled as a marvel of efficiency, whereby a couple of cops at a speed trap would pull over the motorist, haul him into the county seat, consisting of one street and a feed store, tell him to "pull up yonder" at a corner, whereon was standing "a character in a hickory shirt and seersucker pants", formally introduced as the local justice of the peace, at which point court was convened, with the jaypee asking how fast the defendant was going, while "killing a June bug with a swift stream of tobacco juice", to which the cop would say 82, that he reckoned it was more like 85, to which the jaypee would then ask what the defendant had to say, and as soon as the defendant sought to open his mouth, the jaypee would pronounce him guilty and direct him to appear at the next general session of court on Shrove Tuesday in 1976. When the defendant offered the excuse that he had to be in Washington to appear in "the summer replacement of the McCarthy-Army show", the justice of the peace would say that it was jail or bail, and when the defendant asked how much, the jaypee would respond with a sum which one thought would have been demanded "for Hitler's release if the B'nai B'rith had caught him", further stating that only cash would do, asking the defendant how much he had, the reply being $23.73, whereupon the justice of the peace would reduce bail to $22 for "extenuating circumstances", indicating that if the defendant missed court, he would forfeit bail, then pronounced the case dismissed.

Mr. Ruark indicates that he had never figured out who got the money, but that chances were that it changed hands in a craps game or was swapped for five gallons of home-cooked whiskey, but finds that having court on the corner was a powerful deterrent to swift driving.

He concludes that being in the drive-in age, he was heartily in accord with the notion of drive-in traffic court.

As we have previously indicated, a few decades past, while we were cruising through Texas one evening, when the speed limit changed on the highway from 75 to 65 at 10:00 p.m., it having been about ten minutes after the hour, we were pulled over for speeding, taken to the justice of the peace of the burg, to a little room off the side of his garage, informed by the very polite patrol officer that the justice of the peace would be in directly, shortly thereafter, arriving in his courtroom dressed in overalls with grease stains still on his hands, stating that we were in his court, asking how we would plead, with a sufficiently threatening tone behind the inquiry such that, naturally, we responded "guilty", paid the fine, were politely directed back to the highway by the patrol officer, who wished us a good evening, and thanked us for our patronage. Had we said otherwise, we had the feeling we might have been stuck there for a few days working on the jaypee's customers' cars. And, after all, we were guilty.

Just as Mr. Ruark describes his experience, it was all very quick and efficient: 81 in a 65 zone, by ten minutes. Unfortunately, at the time, North Carolina had a law whereby if one were cited for speeding, even in another state, for being more than 15 mph over the speed limit, one lost one's privilege to drive for 30 days—by 10 minutes and one mile-per-hour. All very efficient.

"Fork her over," as Mr. Ruark quotes the jaypee with whom he had contact.

A letter writer indicates that the extended debate in the Senate on the atomic energy bill had represented the fight of honest Senators against the organized attempt of big business to take control of all power sources, eventually to be directed at every publicly owned power project, not just TVA, against the international-minded rulers of the financial world, one of whom, according to the writer, the President appeared to have become. He believes that the country should leave well enough alone and let TVA be as it was and retain atomic secrets in U.S. possession.

A letter writer from Lowesville indicates, as chairman of the Mecklenburg County recreation division of the Social Planning Council, thanks to the newspaper for its editorials helping to obtain the necessary money for conduct of a recreation survey in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, informs that the survey should be underway within the ensuing few months.

A letter writer indicates that business leaders and professional personnel were concerned with substantial needs of the community, and hopes that their influence, skill and best thinking could result in expansion of evening college facilities which were vitally needed in Charlotte.

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