The Charlotte News

Friday, August 6, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Senator McCarthy said this date that a secret Army report provided to the Senate Investigations subcommittee during the Army-McCarthy hearings had been unsealed by the subcommittee and showed that 30 officers, including five generals, had "active" roles in the promotion and honorable discharge of Major Irving Peress, the New York dentist whose career as an Army Reserve officer had been investigated by Senator McCarthy the previous year, declaring him a "Fifth Amendment Communist" when he refused to answer questions before the subcommittee regarding his past subversive connections. The Senator said, without naming any names, that a full general, two major generals, two brigadier generals, three colonels, two lieutenant colonels and a major had been involved, in addition to officers of lower rank, in promotion of the captain to major and then honorably discharging him from the Reserve after he had pleaded the Fifth Amendment before the subcommittee, and that some of them would be called before the subcommittee to testify. He said that the report did not say exactly who was at fault, leaving the implication with him that they all had been at fault. The Senator had tangled with Brig. General Ralph Zwicker during the winter, commander of Camp Kilmer in New Jersey, where Mr. Peress had been stationed, some of the insulting language used by the Senator in questioning General Zwicker having been used as grounds by Secretary of the Army Robert Stevens to issue an order that other Army officers should not respond to subcommittee subpoenas to appear, part of the grounds for the ensuing Army-McCarthy hearings, although principally concerned with the alleged pressure used by Senator McCarthy and former subcommittee counsel Roy Cohn to provide special privileges for Private G. David Schine, drafted by the Army the previous November, a former unpaid aide of the subcommittee, with the threat having been allegedly conveyed by Mr. Cohn that the subcommittee would ratchet up its investigations of subversion in the Army were the special privileges not granted, Senator McCarthy charging in response to the Army's report to the subcommittee to that effect that the report had been "blackmail" to try to get the subcommittee to relent in its investigation of the Army.

Senator Arthur Watkins was chosen this date as chairman of the six-Senator bipartisan select committee assigned to investigate the charges against Senator McCarthy under the censure resolution sponsored by Senator Ralph Flanders of Vermont, and Senator Edwin Johnson was chosen as vice-chairman. It was still not determined exactly how the committee would operate, but there appeared to be a consensus for holding open hearings with some reins imposed to avoid a "vaudeville show", such as had occurred in the Army-McCarthy hearings televised from April through mid-June. Senator McCarthy made no comment on the composition of the special committee, chosen by the respective parties' policy committees and announced by Vice-President Nixon the previous day.

The White House was reported this date to be considering an application for an 80-day injunction under Taft-Hartley to ban a threatened new strike by key atomic plant workers. Preliminary hurdles had been cleared in the same case the previous month, and so the Justice Department was ready to proceed at once, should the strike occur, as threatened at the Oak Ridge, Tenn., and Paducah, Ky., plants, where negotiations to resolve the four-month old dispute had collapsed the previous night. Some 4,500 members at the two plants of the CIO's Gas, Coke and Chemical Workers union had struck for four days the previous July 7-10, in the same dispute, until the President had invoked Taft-Hartley to provide for a 30-day cooling off period during which attempts were made at settlement. A Government panel had recommended two months earlier a six-cent hourly pay increase, but both the union and the rival AFL Atomic Trades and Labor Council, representing another 4,500 workers in other Oak Ridge atomic plants, had rejected the proposal, seeking a 15-cent raise. The AFL workers had not struck, however, in July. Present pay rates ranged from $1.58 to $2.40 per hour.

In Tennessee, Senator Estes Kefauver and Governor Frank Clement easily won renomination victories in the Democratic primary of the previous day. The special counsel for the subcommittee in the Army-McCarthy hearings, Ray Jenkins, was easily chosen, though a reluctant candidate, as the Republican nominee for the fall election against Senator Kefauver. Senator Kefauver outpolled his Democratic opponent, Congressman Pat Sutton, by about 2 1/2 to 1. Governor Clement outpolled former Governor Gordon Browning by more than 2 to 1. While Memphis political boss E. H. Crump, who had sustained his first big political defeat in 1948 when Senator Kefauver had first been elected to the Senate, remained largely out of the Democratic primary race for the Senate, he had actively been involved in the gubernatorial race in Shelby County around Memphis on behalf of Governor Clement during the latter days of the campaign. A third candidate in the gubernatorial race, a judge, attracted less than five percent of the vote with a pro-segregation campaign.

In Washington, a heavily loaded Eastern Air Lines passenger plane landed safely this date after repairs had been conducted in the air on a stuck landing gear in the nose wheel. The flight engineer diagnosed the trouble as a leak in the hydraulic lines and for 90 minutes, he, along with the aid of a flight steward, worked without parachute in the exposed nose-wheel nacelle. The engineer spliced a spare piece of tubing around the faulty line, and the wheel was forced down with an emergency hand pump.

In Philadelphia, the way was cleared at the annual VFW convention this date for election and installation of the national commander-in-chief of the VFW.

In Lexington, Tenn., a Korean War veteran, whose wife, believing that he was dead, had married another man while he was a prisoner of war, had gone on a shooting spree early this date after losing his election for sheriff, resulting in one patrolman being killed and the police chief being seriously wounded. The alleged assailant had received a little more than 200 votes out of the 3,000 cast in the election, and he and a companion fled on foot after wrecking their car in a ditch on the outskirts of town following the shooting, with a posse formed to search for the pair.

In Menlo Park, Calif., a society matron was shot and killed in the driveway of her fashionable home the previous day by a woman who had sobbed hysterically, "She was my best friend." The woman was shot down while preparing to take her two young sons to swim. The woman who had proclaimed the victim to have been her best friend was charged with murder after fleeing the scene in her new Cadillac, police indicating that a commitment to a mental hospital had been recently recommended by doctors, but provided no specific reason for the shooting. The two women had been chatting, when the alleged assailant suddenly withdrew a revolver from her purse and fired three shots, while the two young boys stood nearby.

In Cedar Springs, Mich., State police said that a 38-year old father had killed himself the previous night while apparently playing Russian roulette, as his wife and three children sat in the same room watching a television crime story. According to the police, his wife said that her husband had been drinking and had fired three shots from an automatic pistol into the floor and walls before it jammed and he picked up the revolver, his wife saying that neither she nor the children had ever been menaced or threatened.

The program they were watching at the time is not named, but perhaps it was "Telltale Clue", enough to drive anyone to Russian roulette. Had he simply picked up a knife and stabbed his abusive father, perhaps he might have obtained a sympathetic jury.

In Los Angeles, the wife of Eddie Anderson, who played "Rochester" on the Jack Benny Program, died of cancer the previous night at her home following a two-year illness. One of their sons played for the Chicago Bears professional football team.

On the editorial page, "Governor's Committee Faces Big Job" indicates that Governor William B. Umstead had finally named a special advisory committee to study problems arising from the decision in Brown v. Board of Education, holding continued public school segregation to be unconstitutional. It suggests that the weeks and months ahead would pose immense problems and that the state was on the threshold of an era which was critical in terms of Southern progress, requiring thoughtful study and reappraisals of public policy, followed by momentous decisions, assigned to the committee of 19 citizens.

It notes regret that while North Carolina had delayed, other Southern states had gone into action since the May 17 decision, as special commissions had already been gathering data, evaluating conditions and drafting recommendations across the South, while North Carolina was now just getting started, shortly before the beginning of the new school year. It finds, however, that the committee appeared to be a good one, biracial, representing every geographical area of the state and including laypersons as well as professional educators. It had hoped that there would be a number of classroom teachers in the group, who were lacking, and finds that there should have been more than two from the western part of the state, even though the bulk of the black population lived in the eastern part of the state.

It suggests that the Governor still had to provide detail of what he expected from the committee, that more than cold statistics would be required if its report was to be useful.

"It Won't Be Long" indicates that in Charlotte, a shopper had walked through a plate glass window, that in Nebraska, 16 candidates vied for a two-month term in the Senate, even though the winner would not be sworn in at all, that in Washington, a Senator had suggested the employment of a condenser to "condense the condensation" of the Army-McCarthy hearings, that in Battle Creek, Mich., a battle was taking place between a preacher and nudists, that in Italy, legislators had been debating a proposal to penalize men for infidelity, against which many women were writing to editors in protest, while in the newsroom, the poetic weather reporter was outdoing himself, viz., "Fish are griping and the cotton is dry/ So hush little baby, it'll be cool by and by."

"And in Ivory Towers, editorial writers turn out stuff like this." It concludes that the dog days would soon be over.

"Another Investigation Gets Under Way" comments on the bipartisan group of six Senators announced the previous day by Vice-President Nixon, chosen by the respective party organizing committees in the Senate, to consider the resolution sponsored by Senator Ralph Flanders, along with the bills of particulars presented by Senators Fulbright and Morse, and amendments proposed to the resolution, regarding censure of Senator McCarthy for conduct tending to bring the Senate into disrepute. It indicates that three of the six, including Senator Sam Ervin of North Carolina, had judicial backgrounds and that none had been directly involved in the McCarthy fight, and so could bring objectivity to the matter. Nevertheless, it does not expect much to be accomplished by the committee, as its investigation would run simultaneously with the election campaign, and Senators would remain faithful to their parties in a campaign in which McCarthy and McCarthyism was bound to become an issue.

Senator McCarthy would continue to be himself, "weaving, dodging, smearing, raising side issues."

It posits that in the end, a mass of conflicting data and opinion would be compiled, condensed and likely then pigeonholed. It indicates that it was not being cynical, but that previous experience with the Administration and a majority of the Senate indulging Senator McCarthy, against whom action should have been taken at the current session, required that conclusion.

The editors would not be disappointed, come December, when the Senate would finally vote to censure Senator McCarthy. It might be noted that it would be 20 years plus two days hence that President Nixon would make his decision, faced with certain impeachment in the House and conviction in the Senate, where he was informed by Senate Republican leaders, including Barry Goldwater, that he had at most about a dozen votes in his corner regarding the obstruction of justice charge, to become the only President in U.S. history to resign the office.

"Getting Crowded" indicates that while K2 was being conquered by an Italian expedition and Sir Edmund Hillary of New Zealand was planning another assault on Mount Everest, which he had conquered in May, 1953, this time from the Tibetan side, provided he could obtain Chinese Communist permission, it says it would try to tackle a nice quiet mountain in the Smokies.

"Watch Prices Up—Tobacco Exports Down" indicates that many watches for sale in Charlotte would soon rise by between two and three dollars while major overseas markets of North Carolina tobacco would soon shrink, resultant of the President's decision to permit a 50 percent increase in the tariff on Swiss watches, a move which it believes was unnecessary and unwise.

The President had justified the action on security grounds, that purchasers of watches had to subsidize companies whose workers' skills would be needed in the event of war. The piece finds the rationale questionable, because other industries had technicians who could perform the same labor. The move would force Switzerland, which had been the country's largest cash customer in Europe, with U.S. tobacco a major import, to develop new markets, some of which would be with Communist countries. It would also raise doubt about the country's intentions in the minds of foreigners, who would hear the Administration talking free trade while practicing protectionism.

A piece from the Asheville Citizen, titled "Ladies' Day", tells of Esther van Wagoner Tufty telling the President that he was having too many stag dinners and should invite women, including Ambassador to Italy Clare Boothe Luce and professional golfer Babe Zaharias, who could break 80 on a regular basis, and, it suggests, the Administration needed that.

It hopes that such female invitees would be more successful at a luncheon than some women had been with former President Calvin Coolidge, known popularly as "Silent Cal" for his laconic nature, to whom one of the women had stated that another woman had bet her $50 that she could not get as many as four words from the President, to which the President had responded, "You have lost."

Drew Pearson indicates that the inside story of the maneuver to turn the big German chemical companies back to their former Nazi owners was one of the most amazing in Washington, involving lobbying and public relations costing around $200,000 per year, which he proceeds to relate in detail, finding several links to the Senate committee, headed by Senator Everett Dirksen, which was supposed to make an unbiased study of whether German property should be returned, while actually appearing about as "one-sided as Hitler's invasion of Poland" in 1939.

It had to be realized that the American branches of the German cartels, after having been seized by the Justice Department at during the war, had been built up and increased in value until they were reputed to be worth about 500 million dollars, the amount American taxpayers would lose if the German industrialists had their way and had the cartel properties returned.

The Swiss were also in on the deal, along with certain powerful groups of Americans, as Swiss bankers stood to make a large profit by selling GAF back to American bankers, as American investment bankers planned to float stock to the American public, while the bankers maintained control of the insurance, banking fees, legal fees and the company, itself. Thus, the German people would obtain no help at all from the return.

A public relations firm had been paid $50,000 plus expenses by the Swiss-German combine, along with others making profits, whom he names.

The American Legion had become confused and supported the plan because they believed it would help the German people, confused by its former commander and recent Republican candidate for the Senate from Illinois, Ed Hayes, a friend of Senator Dirksen, who had long been friendly with the former American head of GAF, arranging for the appointment of a Senate subcommittee to study alien property shortly after the beginning of the Eisenhower Administration, making Mr. Hayes chief counsel.

The Arkansas Gazette, in a piece probably by Gazette editor Harry Ashmore, formerly associate editor and editor of The News, regards the South and its vast changes since 1930, indicating that Dr. Howard Odum, professor of sociology at UNC, had asked representative Southern public officials and newspaper editors what they considered to be the most significant changes in the South in the prior 25 years, a period during which, according to Dr. Odum, there had been advancement which was unprecedented in any culture of which he was aware, an assessment with which the piece agrees, finding that the South, by most measurements, bore little resemblance in 1954 to the region of 1930.

The environment of most Southerners had markedly changed in the interim, with poverty having been a dominant characteristic of the region a quarter century earlier, as pellagra, an indicator of dietary deficiency, had been a pressing health issue, whereas in 1954, the economic status of all classes, even if still below national averages, nevertheless was affording a decent minimum standard of living for all but a few. The region, which had been predominantly rural in the 1930's, had since seen a great migration to the cities, and if trends continued for another decade or so, would have a rural-urban ratio equivalent to that of the nation at large.

The decline in farm population had produced changes in the traditional agricultural patterns, with King Cotton no longer enthroned and grass, which had once been the greatest plague, having become a major money crop in new uplands pastures, while crop diversification and soil erosion control, once only urged by agricultural experts in the 1920's, now had become realities.

The region had also become industrialized as it had become urbanized, with all its attendant social and economic change, including new and expanding markets for goods, the rise of labor unions, and a new rootlessness among the people of the region, who formerly had been conditioned by the stability of the family farm.

The racial components of the South, which had determined so many of the patterns in the past, had also been sharply altered, with a heavy outmigration during the prior 25 years, with far more blacks having left the region than whites, with those blacks remaining having enjoyed a rising status, regaining the franchise, such that for the first time in 50 years, black voting had become a factor in state and local politics. The rigid structure of legal segregation which had prevailed in the 1930's was breaking down under various court decisions and from the social forces at work during the prior 25 years.

Rising educational standards and improved communications had also impacted the region greatly, as the automobile, the radio and now television had eliminated the remoteness of the farm and small town, enabling national concepts to compete everywhere with special traditions of the region, even impacting the now disappearing soft Southern accent. A generation of Southerners had experienced great dislocations from World War II, which had sent most able-bodied males to far places of the world. The isolation of the South, which had given it its special identity, was no more, and the great forces which held it together and set it apart, were now diminishing.

The one-party political system was also slowly disintegrating, along with the changes in agricultural patterns and industrial growth and the elimination of legal segregation. Only the intangibles of tradition remained, while time was dimming the memories of the Civil War and tempering the defensive attitudes which came from that heritage.

The piece concludes that in a material way, it all added up to tremendous net gain for the region and for the nation, but in terms of spirituality, it is not so sure. For if the Solid South of the past had been the nation's number one social and economic problem over the years, as FDR had described it in 1938 after reading Dr. Odum's Southern Regions, it had also been a bastion of internationalism, without which the nation might have turned down the "blind alley of isolationism". The changes of the previous 25 years had been so vast that it would not be inappropriate to write an epitaph for the region, "but if this is so, there are reasons other than the sentimental for a certain amount of decorous mourning."

Robert C. Ruark has considerable misgiving over a report of planned installation of hydrogen bomb raid alarms in the homes of private citizens, indicating that he did not want such a device in his bedroom. Civil Defense administrator Val Peterson had suggested that a device might be installed in the home whereby a lowering of the cycle of the electrical circuit would produce an alarm.

He finds some sense in the notion of traditional types of civil defense preparedness, but thinks it would be easy enough to short out the block's electricity in the event of an actual hydrogen bomb attack. Too much noise already existed in the average home and he kept returning to the Orson Welles Halloween Mercury Theater radio program of 1938 based on War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells, causing pandemonium in certain locations on the belief that there was actually a Martian attack ongoing in New Jersey, as well as the fact of frantic phone calls to newspapers when a slight catastrophe occurred in the local power plant. He also considered the fact that the average citizen became bored with any precaution after it had failed to produce disaster, winding up either ignoring it or failing to heed it after it became the equivalent of a cry of wolf under false alarms.

He indicates that he had slept through air raids in London and was still alive, while other people had crushed themselves, mistaking a sound in the night for a new visitation by the Luftwaffe. "I think actually I would rather cop the Big Casino than awake in a sweaty panic every time a peanut vendor's whistle, fetched in by a vagrant breeze, might lead me to believe that where I was at was about to melt down into glass. Seems to me we got enough trouble without a special air-raid siren in the boudoir."

A letter from Bob Cherry, Jr., indicates that the newspaper's regret that the Senate had failed to censure Senator McCarthy reflected "another of your many futile efforts to assassinate politically a man who has done more than all our public servants combined in making the American people more vigilant and security conscious (with respect to internal communism in this case) than they've been in the Republic's history. And, never before in our history has this prudent attitude been so needed as in this hour." He believes that the Senate would never censure Senator McCarthy, finds that the shame was on the editors of the newspaper "for again lending yours to the cacophonous voices of a handful of half-baked Republicans and Democrats (no offense toward 'well done' ones) and, of course, every Communist that breathes." He concludes that many who had sought to blacken Senator McCarthy's work and character were "totally unfit to blacken his shoes."

You sure don't mind kneeling down and shining his shoes, do you?

A letter writer from Myrtle Beach, S.C., comments on the editorial, "The Senate Has Done a Shameful Thing", finding it wonderful and is glad the editors had the guts to write it, regarding the failure of the Senate yet to censure Senator McCarthy. He finds that all of the "grimacing and lying" done in the Army-McCarthy hearings had shown the failure of the Senate and the entire Congress to live up to their standards of conduct, generating distrust among the people in government. He indicates that in days of old when people did not take baths and instead bathed themselves in musk and strong scents, "they still smelled bad." "That's the way of whitewash cover-up like the one adopted by the Senate smells—awful bad."

You haven't smelled anything yet. You're going to have to start holding your nose pretty consistently starting around 1971.

A letter writer, "Pink Michael", indicates that he had read in the August 2 edition of the newspaper a story of the Spartanburg Peaches quitting baseball because one black player of the Knoxville team had played against them the prior Sunday, and because of the attitude taken by R. E. Little, Jr. He is certain that at least 75 percent of the baseball fans would agree with him that it was a disgrace to Spartanburg and a disgrace to baseball, and that if he had won, it would not have mattered too much. Presumably, the "he" to whom he latterly refers was Mr. Little, presumably the pitcher or manager of the Peaches. (It turns out that his name was actually Littlejohn, the owner of the club. Regardless, the stupidity he demonstrated is accurate by the writer's record, claiming the breaking of a "gentleman's agreement" by the Knoxville team that no black players would participate in the league during the season, a "promise" the owner had made to the people of Spartanburg.)

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