The Charlotte News

Saturday, August 7, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Senator Homer Ferguson of Michigan had predicted this date that the Senate would get a chance before the November election to vote on censure of Senator McCarthy, but that Senator Mike Monroney of Oklahoma believed, commenting in a separate interview, that he expected the intensified "political atmosphere" of the campaign for control of Congress to delay the vote until late in the year or perhaps until the start of the new Congress in January. The previous day, the six-Senator select committee chosen two days earlier to consider the censure resolution and report back to the full Senate had chosen Senator Arthur Watkins of Utah as their chairman and decided unanimously to bar television and radio from its forthcoming hearings, the latter move prompting objection from a representative of the broadcasters. On Monday, the special committee would consider the list of 46 specific accusations presented by the resolution of Senator Ralph Flanders of Vermont, and the additional bills of particulars of Senators J. William Fulbright of Arkansas and Wayne Morse of Oregon, concentrating initially on weeding out charges which were either minor or duplicative. The special committee assured that they could make their investigation and report to the Senate in time for a vote on censure prior to the election. Senator Ferguson, chairman of the Republican policy committee for the Senate, indicated that he was willing to interrupt his campaign for re-election to return to Washington to debate the censure resolution during the fall.

Senator McCarthy, speaking before the Illinois American Legion convention delegates in Chicago, said this date that Americans were in a war with Communism and should "face the raw hard facts" that the war was being lost, that the country could "bring the enemy to their knees without firing a single shot", provided the allies who were using U.S. money would stop shipping goods to China until every American prisoner was released, affording the most effective blockade of China obtainable. He suggested that the American people ask every candidate whether they would promise not to vote for aid to any ally which was trading with any nation holding any American prisoner. He said that Communist China held 932 uniformed Americans in "dungeons" and that they were unaccounted for, not classified as missing in action but known to be in Communist hands, including 32 military pilots whom the Communists had admitted holding. He also mentioned a woman who had recently been suspended from her job at the Pentagon and who previously had appeared before the Senate Investigating subcommittee chaired by Senator McCarthy, indicating that the woman had come to the subcommittee's attention when she was suddenly transferred to the Signal Corps from a cafeteria job, the subcommittee wondering why she could suddenly get such a transfer, suggesting what it would mean to the enemy to break the U.S. code during wartime, concluding that the Pentagon had vindicated the subcommittee by suspending the woman.

Also in Chicago, the Illinois American Legion had withdrawn its support, by loud voice vote, from the Girl Scouts of America, charging "un-American influences" existing in Girl Scout literature. Opponents of the resolution had described it as "silly". Its backers charged that the 1953 Girl Scout Handbook gave the U.N. and one-world citizenship precedence over American citizenship and that the writings of unnamed alleged pro-Communist authors had been highly recommended in an official Girl Scout magazine as authentic historic material. The leader of the opposition, who had two daughters in the Girl Scouts, commented, "How screwy can we get?"

In Kansas City, former President Truman, "weak and wan" from illness and an operation, had nevertheless provided the fighting tone to a meeting of Democratic leaders to map money-raising strategy for the coming midterm election campaign, and, suggests reporter Don Whitehead, should the Democrats recapture control of Congress, they would owe a lot of the credit to Mr. Truman. He had urged a fighting campaign, which he insisted would sweep the Democrats back into control of both houses. A few hours later, the Democrats raised their funding goal from $475,000 to one million, as, according to DNC chairman Stephen Mitchell, people from the grassroots had believed their plans had been too modest. He said those elements had disillusion and bitterness regarding the present Administration, placing new value on the Democrats regaining control. Mr. Mitchell again reiterated his decision to resign as party chairman following the midterm elections. President Truman said that he planned to take an active part in the campaign, and was the star of the gathering, with Adlai Stevenson, the 1952 party nominee for the presidency and odds-on favorite to become again the nominee in 1956, appearing pleased to step aside and allow the spotlight to focus on the former President. The latter had displayed surprising vigor in his step and his voice. Mr. Stevenson refused to say whether he would be available for the 1956 nomination, that he did not know yet and that if he did know, he would not tell anyone at present.

In Montréal, it was determined by an autopsy that an epileptic stroke had caused the death the previous day of Emilie Dionne, 20, one of the famed quintuplets. About two months earlier, she had gone to a hostel for elderly people run by a group of Catholic nuns. Her sister indicated that she had been stricken with polio 17 years earlier and had been afflicted with fainting spells since that time, which the sister believed were the result of her epilepsy. A nurse who had attended her during her last hours said that she had not been well during her stay at the hostel, but had been accepted as a prospective member of the sacred order.

In San Diego, a decorated Navy officer was freed by a court-martial verdict this date, finding no misconduct for his having flown during two wars and 14 years of service under another man's name, and the mother of the man whose name he had used said that she was glad about the decision. He had been a veteran of General Claire Chennault's "Flying Tigers" in China during World War II and had also flown in Korea in combat. He had entered the Navy in 1940 as an air cadet, using the assumed name because he had been dropped from an air force flying school and needed new papers to enter the Navy training. He planned to continue his Navy service under the borrowed name, that of a college friend, but said that his two children probably would resume using their real name. Both he and the college friend were interested in studying law, a fact which had led to the court-martial after the California State Bar had noted the identical names and other information on their applications for law schools. The man whose name he had adopted was attending Loyola University at Los Angeles as a law student, and the pilot was planning to take a correspondence course in law. The court-martial determined that there was nothing wrong with using an assumed name as long as there was no intent to defraud.

In Lexington, Tenn., a former Korean war prisoner had been arrested on a charge of murder after he had begun shooting after coming in a poor third in the election for sheriff, in the process of a gunfight in front of the courthouse where the vote was being tallied, having allegedly shot and killed a patrolman and critically wounded the police chief. Police officers said that the man had been acting "peculiar" since he had been released from the Korean prison camp and found, upon his return home, that his wife, believing that he had died, had remarried. The man's brother had been wounded by two State highway patrolmen during the manhunt and was in fair condition in the hospital, and a third man involved in the shootout, after being promised, after catching a ride with the defendant while hitchhiking some weeks earlier, a job as deputy sheriff in the event the defendant was elected, had surrendered to law enforcement.

In Columbia, S.C., it was reported that state law enforcement officials were leading an anti-vice drive in Aiken County to prevent an influx of underworld figures from Phenix City, Ala., recently placed under martial law and policed by National Guard troops to stop the town's illicit gambling activities, prompting unwelcome newcomers to enter Aiken County, lured by the prospect of easy pickings among workers at the Savannah River Atomic Energy Commission hydrogen bomb plant. Officers had arrested 16 men and women the previous Wednesday night in raids on "honky-tonks" and "juke joints", for prostitution, gambling and illegal whiskey sales, and, according to one of the officers, several of them had come from Phenix City. Governor James Byrnes had ordered the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division to intensify its enforcement as much as necessary to stop the violations, and the Division had assigned five agents to assist local officers.

In Bethlehem, Pa., a four-year old boy who had been abducted by an auto thief on Thursday evening had been found alive and unharmed this date by a man who spotted the abandoned car during a nighttime raccoon-hunting trip, according to State police. The boy was found in the car well and happy, though hungry.

In Grimsby, England, a 20-year old woman wore a filmy chiffon blouse, through which a detective could see a blue slip trimmed with coffee-colored lace, which he recognized as part of the booty from a $220 housebreaking incident, according to the detective's testimony in court, resulting in the magistrate ordering the defendant to stand trial.

On the editorial page, "Curing Charlotte's Hardening Arteries" indicates that sometimes municipal aches and pains required a good operation rather than an aspirin, and that was the case with Charlotte's hardening traffic arteries, that many streets needed widening in the future as the number of cars competing for moving and parking room increased, but engineering field work to plan for setback lines was only proceeding on two streets. It indicates that setback planning was an important part of the overall plan of resolving future traffic problems, as it would permit gradual widening of streets and allowing the cost of land acquisition to be distributed across a period of years. It concludes that the traffic problems in Charlotte would probably get worse before they got better, and so there was the need for surgery.

"Bill Murphy and the Bank Robbers" indicates that bank robbery, although frequently attempted, was quite unprofitable, thanks primarily to the FBI. Since January 1, 1953, there had only been two bank robberies in South Carolina while, during the same period, there had been nine in North Carolina, five during the current year, including the one of June 14 in Calypso by the sunglasses wearing couple from up north in Virginia. Convictions had occurred in five of the cases and arrests had been made in connection with three others, with only one case still unsolved, that occurring in Maiden the previous year.

It finds that the record of speedy solutions to the bank robberies could be credited to Bill Murphy, special agent in charge of the Charlotte FBI office, which had jurisdiction over North Carolina and western South Carolina, and expresses regret that he was being transferred to Dallas, Texas, where he would again be the special agent in charge. More than any other FBI man who had served in Charlotte, with the possible exception of current commissioner of motor vehicles, Ed Scheidt, Mr. Murphy had disabused people of the popular misconception that special agents were stern, tight-lipped and all business, having an engaging manner and irrepressible good humor. It indicates that he would be missed by all who knew him, except Klansmen, as he had been in charge of the arrest of them, and any others who had been unwise enough to tangle with the Bureau, including the outsmarted bank robbers.

Mr. Murphy, incidentally, remained the special agent in charge of the Dallas office for two years and had retired from the Bureau by the time of the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963, but is mentioned in a 1996 book, Assignment: Oswald, by special agent James Hosty, who had been assigned to Lee Harvey Oswald in Dallas in 1963 because of the latter's past renunciation of U.S. citizenship and time in Russia, Mr. Murphy having talked to Dallas Police Chief Jesse Ed Curry four weeks after the assassination, on December 20, 1963, regarding a statement the chief had made to the press on November 23 that the FBI had known that Mr. Oswald was in Dallas and had not warned the Dallas police of the fact, wanting to know where he got the information, Chief Curry indicating to him that it had come from a Dallas police lieutenant who investigated the case and who stated the information came from agent Hosty, a few weeks later producing for Mr. Murphy a memo dated November 22 from the lieutenant to that effect. The point of Mr. Hosty in bringing up the matter in his book was that Mr. Murphy indicated that there was nothing in the memo he read in January, 1964 about Mr. Oswald having any dangerous tendencies or capability of assassination of the President, while a copy of the memo later submitted by the Dallas Police Department to the Warren Commission had such a notation, which Mr. Hosty believed was either subsequently added to the memo by the Dallas police to try to shift blame to the FBI or was a misunderstanding by the police lieutenant of what Mr. Hosty had actually related to him during a brief, incidental police department stairwell encounter amid cacophonous noise, that he had never made such a statement of known dangerous propensities of Mr. Oswald, only stating to the lieutenant about two and a half hours after the assassination that he believed the arrested suspect, Mr. Oswald, to have been guilty of the assassination based on the facts then known to him regarding the opportunity to commit the assassination from the Book Depository building where he worked, his Communist history, and the allegation that he had killed police officer J. D. Tippit a few blocks from Mr. Oswald's Dallas residence about thirty-five minutes after the assassination of the President, leading to his arrest a few minutes later at the movie theater a few blocks away from the scene of the Tippit shooting.

"'The Enormous Flywheel of Society'" finds that there might be more truth than fiction in a Boston business executive's observation that the majority of America's workers were "good-natured slobs" who wanted to be left alone in routine jobs. The individual, speaking at a New England industrial opportunity conference, said that thousands resisted promotion because they did not want to be lifted out of a rut.

It finds it a chilling thought at a time when the Western world needed vision, leadership and ingenuity to prevent civilization from crumbling into mediocrity and chaos.

William James had referred to habit as "the enormous flywheel of society, its most precious conservative agent", and noted that genius was little more than perceiving an unhabitual way. It finds that the most disturbing thing about habit was the fact that it was preserved and increased by corresponding action, that the longer a person remained within the narrow walls of a personal rut, the more difficult it would become for him to escape it.

But it finds that there was likely more than habit at work in keeping people working in routine jobs when they were capable of better things, that reluctance to accept responsibility also probably played a role. It suggests that if all men were willing to follow routine, society would soon grow stagnant. T. S. Eliot, in his new verse play, The Confidential Clerk, had appeared to teach that man should be resigned to his lot in life, accept the terms life imposed on him and adapt himself to the wish that was granted. It counsels that if the whole world followed that theory, there would be no struggle, rebellion or human progress, as it encouraged docility and meek acceptance of established authority. It concludes that when man ceased to yearn for something better, darkness would begin closing around him.

"And He Thought Nazis Were Tough" predicts a dark future for the audacious colonel who had the temerity to tell U.S. Army wives and daughters how to dress in Frankfurt, West Germany, that nothing could match the wrath of 1,000 American females, not even the Nazis. It recommends that the colonel dig himself a foxhole and bury his head in it. His order had caused the women to suggest that their freedom was being threatened.

He may have touched off, it suggests, the opening skirmish in a full-blown battle of the sexes and when the smoke cleared, the world might have a full-fledged matriarchy on its hands. Women and elephants never forgot, an axiom which Dorothy Parker assured had been coined by Anthony Eden and still was true. It suggests that one only had to consider black widow spiders, grizzly bears and Bengal tigers to deduce that the female of the species was often deadlier than the male.

It finds that it could understand the colonel's reservations about mature women in blue jeans, but also realizes that women not only had taken over men's trousers, they were on the march everywhere, streaming into industry by the thousands, gaining a foothold in practically all of the masculine professions, grabbing control of most of the wealth of the nation and entering the political arena. It finds that the sky was now the limit and that in another decade or so, there would be a woman in the White House with a cabinet of ten females. The men, meanwhile, would become the future baby tenders and kitchen slaves. It recommends to the colonel that he watch his step or he would be blamed for the whole "ugly business".

Thomas J. Evans, chairman of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, writing in the Pittsburgh Automobilist, describes the turnpike, how its construction was funded, and indicates that it was paying for itself and contributing an average of 1.25 million dollars per year from gasoline taxes to the automobile licensing fund of the state for the building, maintenance and repairing of state roads. He indicates that at least 30 states were following Pennsylvania's pay-as-you-go example and were planning their own super toll roads.

The editors offer the piece as North Carolina was considering establishing such a turnpike—though it never would, instead having its superhighway needs met by the toll-free interstate system.

Drew Pearson indicates that the latest incident regarding Senator McCarthy had Senate wives as mad as some of their husbands. Seats in the family gallery of the Senate were not reserved, but there was a long-standing rule that no one except a Senator's wife could sit on the front row of the gallery, not even daughters of Senators. Notwithstanding that informal rule, three wives of Senators had been barred from sitting on the front row because the seats were said to be reserved for four friends of Senator McCarthy and Mrs. McCarthy, at the time of the debate on the censure resolution sponsored by Senator Ralph Flanders. The sergeant-at-arms had been insistent, despite the protest of the Senate wives. Mrs. McCarthy then walked in, accompanied by the wife of a Washington Star columnist and sat down in the front row seats, along with a bulky man, appearing as a bodyguard, and two elderly ladies, neither of whom was a Senate wife.

There had already been five investigations, directly or indirectly, of Senator McCarthy or his charges, and Mr. Pearson presents the list, starting with the investigation of the 1944 Malmedy massacre at the time of the Battle of the Bulge, resulting from the Senator's charges that the Nazi SS troops who had shot down the unarmed American prisoners in cold blood had been coerced and tortured into their confessions by U.S. Army interrogators. Though the Democrats had been in power in the Senate at the time, they made Republican Senator Raymond Baldwin of Connecticut chairman of the committee, which ended with Senator McCarthy walking out and charging his colleagues with deception, after the probe showed that the American officers had not tortured the Nazis, though the Senator's charges had played into the hands of German Communists who charged that the U.S. had committed murder and torture.

The second investigation involved Anna Rosenberg, nominated by President Truman to become Assistant Secretary of Defense, in which Senator McCarthy was one of the few Senators who helped cast suspicion on her, sending his chief investigator to New York along with a member of the staff of conservative commentator Fulton Lewis, consorting with anti-Semitic conspirators against Mrs. Rosenberg. Further investigation by an impartial Senate committee showed that she had been just the opposite of a Communist, winding up overwhelmingly confirmed for her post.

The third such investigation involved the Maryland Senate election of 1950, in which Senator McCarthy had campaigned for Republican challenger John Butler against incumbent Senator Millard Tydings, raising money from the Chicago Tribune and Texas oil millionaires, and later faking a photo of American Communist leader Earl Browder, supposedly with Senator Tydings.

In February, 1950, the Senator had begun his charges of Communists in the Government by claiming first that there were 205 card-carrying Communists known to Secretary of State Dean Acheson, then, shortly thereafter, changing the figure to 57 and then to 81, all in the course of one week. He then claimed he had never made the charge of 205 Communists, despite the staff of a Wheeling, W. Va., radio station where he had spoken having subsequently sworn under oath that he did make such a statement. That Senate investigation had ended with the majority voting that Senator McCarthy could not substantiate his charges, although Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., had voted for Senator McCarthy's position.

The fifth such investigation involved the Senator's finances, lasting 18 months, confirming that a $10,000 fee, previously exposed by Mr. Pearson's column, from Lustron Corp., builders of prefabricated housing, had been advanced to the Senator for a short booklet he prepared on prefabricated housing, the Senator then having used the funds to fight Communism and for Congressman Alvin Bentley of Michigan and his wife to speculate for him to the Senator's profit in the soybean market. The investigation also showed that he had owed more than $170,000 to a bank in his native Appleton, Wisc., when he was first elected to Congress in 1946, but had managed to wipe out the indebtedness while in the Senate with unidentified cash deposits of $19,000 and unidentified other deposits of more than $59,500.

Mr. Pearson concludes that all of that and a great deal more could be explored by the new committee looking into censure, as all of it had been sworn under oath in previous hearings, and so the new investigation should not take too much time to complete.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop indicate that, no doubt, there had been uncowardly men among the 75 Senators who had voted the prior Monday to duck the issue of censuring Senator McCarthy by creating the special committee to study the matter, but that the 12 Senators who had refused to duck the issue and fought to the end had certainly not been cowards. They regard as especially courageous Republican Senator John Sherman Cooper of Kentucky and Democratic Senator Paul Douglas of Illinois, as both faced tough re-election campaigns in the fall, and Senator James Duff of Pennsylvania, a conservative Republican with excellent integrity, probably deserved honorable mention, as did Senator Flanders for sponsoring the censure resolution.

They find the most interesting figure in the battle to have been Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, the floor manager and major strategist for the resolution. From the very beginning, he had never surrendered any ground to Senator McCarthy, having been the only Senator to vote the previous spring against a large appropriation for the Senate Investigations subcommittee which Senator McCarthy chaired. Senator McCarthy, they posit, was powerful because he accurately reflected the sense of insecurity of the times, but Senator Fulbright considered him to be, in his own peculiar way, an authentic genius, as Senator McCarthy had a peculiar sense for exploiting the reactions of others.

They cite as example of that sense his ability to paralyze some adversaries by perceiving their anger and creating in them a sense of furious frustration, reducing them to "inarticulate splutterings". Senator Fulbright had admitted to being so upset after Senator McCarthy had referred to him as "half-bright" the previous Monday that he left out half of what he had intended to say in his reply. Senator McCarthy was also able to paralyze some with fear and had a genius for rendering himself invisible to those who did not want to see him, especially true, according to Senator Fulbright, of the older men in the Senate who had been around for a long time, had a reverence for the institution and could not stand to see it defiled or brought into disrepute, so had begun pretending that Senator McCarthy simply did not exist.

They indicate that partly because of that myopia, Senator Fulbright considered the battle over censure to be almost certainly lost for the time being, despite promises of a vote before adjournment of the Congress. Senator Fulbright indicated that Senator McCarthy could buffalo any committee on earth, could go on calling witnesses ad infinitum and then refer to anyone who objected as being soft on Communism. Senator Fulbright was nevertheless convinced that the battle ultimately had to be won, that it was the single most important issue before the country, as Senator McCarthy had prevented "all rational discussion or consideration of all the great national issues". Senator Fulbright therefore believed that McCarthyism was the central issue which had to be settled one way or the other, and soon.

A letter writer indicates that the newspaper had been as friendly to blacks as any other and that it was time for its help, as Governor William B. Umstead was running true to form for not having appointed a single teacher or any principal to his 19-person committee to study the issue of school desegregation in the wake of the May 17 Brown v. Board of Education decision. He wonders why the Governor had appointed a home agent, who saw the schools about 6 to 9 times per year, rather than a teacher. He says that he was ready for a new gubernatorial administration.

A letter writer thanks the newspaper for the publicity attendant the recent arrival in Charlotte of foreign students sponsored by the American Field Service, of which the writer was a representative. He indicates that during the fall, Charlotte would have its first foreign student, a Norwegian boy who would study at Myers Park High School, hopes that it would be the first step in the city's adoption of the scholarship service with its accompanying goodwill, notes that Minneapolis had begun with one student in 1952, had four in 1953, and now had over 100. He suggests that as the movement began in Charlotte, other Southern cities might decide to follow suit.

A letter writer indicates that a news item out of Shreveport, La., reported that the City Council there had adopted a resolution authorizing fluoridation of the public water supply, whereupon a group of citizens petitioned a court to issue a preliminary injunction against it, contending that the Council had no authority to introduce fluoridation to the water supply, a claim which the court upheld on the basis that no statute or constitutional provision conferred the authority, and concluded that personal dental health and hygiene was for each individual to decide, that the powers of government did not extend to such matters. He also indicates that it was encouraging that in San Diego, after fluoridation had been used for three years, the city's residents had voted against it. He finds that there were still some intelligent Americans left.

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