The Charlotte News

Wednesday, September 15, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Hong Kong, two American correspondents and a ship captain from Brooklyn emerged from 18 months of captivity in Communist China and crossed into British Hong Kong this date. One of the trio, NBC correspondent Richard Applegate, 37, told a news conference that after months of solitary confinement in a Canton jail and long hours of questioning, he had falsely admitted that Americans had waged germ warfare in Korea, stating that he thought they would either leave him in that prison until he rotted or that they would kill him. He said that the first time he was questioned, he became angry and shouted that the germ warfare claim was a lie, that the Communist interrogator had then pounded the desk and yelled at him that he was lying and that if he did not tell the truth, they would kill him, ordering him back to his cell to think for awhile. After long hours of further interrogation, he had confessed, but the Communists then again challenged him for lying, that his confession was different from the American pilots, and he found that he could not please them. Also released were International News Service correspondent Donald Dixon, 25, and merchant mariner Benjamin Krasner.

In balloting in nine states the previous day, Republican Senator Robert Upton, appointed as replacement for deceased Senator Charles Tobey of New Hampshire, lost his Republican primary contest to Representative Norris Cotton to serve out the remaining two years of the term. Former Democratic Representative John Carroll, a former adviser to President Truman, won the nomination for the Senate seat from Colorado being vacated by Senator Edwin Johnson. Other primary races took place in New York, Vermont, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Utah, Minnesota and Washington, for five Senate seats and 92 House seats, plus six governorships. Incumbents had generally kept their jobs.

In Seattle, a dead man received nearly half as many votes as the eventual winner of the state's primary election for Congress from the fifth district, as he had died on August 25, too late to remove his name from the ballots, though his death had been well-publicized.

Three Southern states, Florida, North Carolina and Oklahoma, informed the Supreme Court this date that they wanted to take an active part in the oral arguments regarding the implementing decision of the Brown v. Board of Education holding of May 17, that continued segregation in the public schools was unconstitutional. Three other states, Arkansas, Tennessee and Maryland, notified the Court clerk's office that they wished to file amicus briefs in the matter, and it was not clear whether they would participate in oral argument. This date was the deadline for interested parties to report their desire to participate. In all, there were 17 states plus the District of Columbia impacted by the decision, and these six noticing states were in addition to the four states, Kansas, Virginia, South Carolina and Delaware, plus the District, directly impacted by the Brown decision. Other states had until the end of the day to provide their notices.

In Gastonia, N.C., the school board, facing a mass visit by a group of striking black students the following day, decided this date to deny admission of black students to the Highland High School in Gastonia, and the city school superintendent instructed officials of the school to refuse admission of the group from Stanley. The black students, on strike in protest against having to go to a school in Kings Mountain, had engaged a bus to bring them from Stanley to Gastonia the following day. The students who were residents of Stanley had attended the Highland school the previous year and when county school authorities transferred them to the Lincoln Academy at Kings Mountain because of crowded conditions at Highland, pending the scheduled completion in November of a new consolidated school at Bessemer City, they went on strike. Meanwhile, about 100 black elementary school students at Stanley had continued their strike in protest against attending a school in Dallas, about six miles from Stanley, after their school in Stanley had been condemned by the State and closed, their parents requesting that a new school be built for them.

In Raleigh, the State Board of Education this date asked for 270 million dollars to operate the public schools for the ensuing two fiscal years, approximately 21.5 million dollars more than during the present biennium. The only new item in the budget was for 2.5 million dollars to hire 118 attendance officers to enforce truancy laws and supply clerical assistance for principals.

Also in Raleigh, George Franklin, 42, general counsel for the North Carolina League of Municipalities, had died in a hospital this date, after having been admitted two weeks earlier in critical condition. A graduate of UNC, he was considered an authority on municipal law and had played a prominent role in important legislation affecting the state's cities and towns in several sessions of the Legislature during which he had appeared before committees, and had drafted or assisted in drafting much of the legislation.

In Charlotte, Harry Shuford of The News reports that a judge pro tem this date turned down the plea of television actor and producer Ralph Serrano to have his 1935 Charlotte conviction for larceny set aside so that he would not face deportation because of that conviction and one other suffered in Los Angeles, for petty theft, in 1942. He faced deportation to his native Dominican Republic, having been in the country since 1933 when he was 14. He had suffered other convictions, including a narcotics possession conviction in 1950, but only the two larceny convictions were considered by immigration officials to involve moral turpitude and thus constitute grounds for deportation. The judge had originally vacated the judgment based on the affidavit of the petitioner that he spoke so little English at the time of the conviction that he did not understand his entry of a guilty plea, but then reversed himself because of facts brought out the previous day at the hearing regarding his other prior record.

In New York, a heavyweight title fight between Rocky Marciano and Ezzard Charles was postponed for 24 hours this date because of weather conditions.

In Vienna, Austria, it was reported that a Hungarian had written to a Budapest newspaper that he had lit a cigarette recently and immediately felt such pain that he could not find words to describe it. Similar complaints had been registered by readers in Poland, Rumania, Bulgaria, Hungary and East Germany. Communist official newspapers admitted that Hungarian cigarettes were often found to contain no tobacco at all, and in Poland, smokers complained that they discovered pieces of rags among the state-produced tobacco products. In Bulgaria, smokers claimed that the state sold them cigarettes sometimes which were completely rotten, and in Rumania, readers of newspapers wondered why there were sometimes only 15 cigarettes in a package supposed to contain 20.

On the editorial page, "West Germany Faces Tomorrow", a by-lined piece by News publisher Thomas L. Robinson, writing from Bonn, West Germany, on September 7, indicates that the collapse of the plans for the European Defense Community treaty, with the defeat of its ratification by the French National Assembly, had left the world wondering how the broken pieces could be picked up and put back together in some practical and enduring fashion. Mr. Robinson had reached Bonn just as U.S. and German government officials were wondering what steps ought be taken next in the wake of the refusal to ratify, with a deep-seated sense of disappointment and frustration prevailing at the result.

West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer was not going to hurry his nation into a makeshift agreement based on immediate exigencies, rather desiring a reappraisal of the entire situation in light of West Germany's future and the future of European unity. He was discussing matters with Dr. James B. Conant, the U.S. High Commissioner for Germany, and some of his political and economic aids, and Mr. Robinson had gleaned the impression that the situation might remain in a stalemate until the nine-power conference proposed by the British, scheduled for October.

Secretary of State Dulles and Chancellor Adenauer were, it appeared to Mr. Robinson, in a perplexing dilemma because there was no alternative plan proposed in lieu of EDC. Efforts would be made to integrate West Germany with the Western powers in a way which would resemble the same objectives outlined by the EDC treaty, but the continuing problem of rearming West Germany with 12 proposed divisions while Berlin remained controlled by four powers, had to be determined to the satisfaction of all of the nations involved.

It raised again the question of whether or not it would be possible to reunite Germany. Reliable information presently indicated that the Russians would soon approach the West with a definite proposal for unification, likely again to insist that the East German Government, representing about 18 million people, would have to have parity with the West German Government, with its 50 million people, a proposal which the West had hitherto firmly rejected, but in anticipation of the prospect of ratification of EDC.

Another influential factor was the drive for trade between East and West. The U.S. Foreign Operations Administration, under the direction of Harold Stassen, had cut the embargo list in two. Britain was doing its best to trade liberally with the East from Berlin to Moscow, and the French Government was interested in expanding its trade with Russia. Premier Pierre Mendes-France had stated that his country was interested in putting its economic house in order before indulging in all of the problems associated with integration of Germany within the Western bloc.

West Germany might build its own army and its own economy as if division between East and West Germany would be permanent, a path leading to all-out nationalism and a complete reversal of Chancellor Adenauer's policies to the present. But France could prevent that with its veto as a member of the Allied High Commission. An alternative would be for West Germany to exert influence among the Western powers to take a chance on the outcome of the all-German talks with the Russians, designed to bring unity. The talks would inevitably center, however, on neutralization of a unified Germany so that it would be permitted to have a minimum military force for defense and nothing usable for aggression. That would provide the solution for the problem of a divided Berlin.

But the Germans were opposed to a neutralized Germany for obvious reasons, and Western politicians who believed that they needed an armed Germany to resist Soviet aggression in Europe would also be opposed to that status, while the Russians and their satellites favored neutralization, along with the bulk of Western European nations who believed that German rearmament might revive past problems with German aggression.

Mr. Robinson concludes that there was no U.S. pat solution being proposed, with its policy having been to align a strong and armed West Germany with the Western powers for the defense of Europe, such integration, however, not providing solution to the problem of a divided Germany, as neither did the plan for neutralization and unification of Germany, leaving it without the ability then to resist potential Soviet aggression. That was the dilemma the U.S. faced while it was formulating a new foreign policy regarding Western Europe.

"The Firm Stand" indicates that the week's most fascinating example of political doubletalk had come out of Raleigh, with the Highway Department chairman, A. H. Graham, having told newsmen that he favored separation of the Prisons Department, while, as a private citizen, he told them that he believed the idea was faulty, both statements occurring at the same sitting and both sounding sincere. "Nothing like taking a firm stand on public issues."

"Let's Not Invite Trouble over Quemoy" indicates that the Nationalist Chinese outpost island five miles from the Communist Chinese port city of Amoy enabled the Nationalist troops on the island to stage guerrilla raids against the mainland. The previous month, the Communists had raided the island, taking a prisoner, and during the current month, the Communists had been shelling it, prompting the Nationalists to return fire and send U.S.-made jets over Amoy harbor, destroying hundreds of junks. That situation, plus the recent shooting down of a U.S. Navy patrol bomber near Siberia by the Russians, had precipitated another of the continuing crises in the Far East, with Secretary of State Dulles having stated the prior Monday that "the defense of Quemoy is primarily related to the defense of Formosa and is being considered in that light." The New York Herald Tribune the previous day had reported that the U.S. Seventh Fleet had been ordered to give "full logistics support" to the defense of Quemoy. The President had been vague in his public statements, refusing to indicate whether the U.S., committed to defend Formosa, would also defend Quemoy.

The piece indicates its opinion that the U.S. should stay out of Quemoy, while continuing to aid the Nationalist forces, because coastal waters of a hostile nation were no place for U.S. ships to sail or U.S. planes to fly, as the Chinese would view such actions exactly as Americans would view Chinese activity close to the U.S. mainland or one of the U.S. territories in the Pacific, and it would likely result in casualties and precipitate the danger of a war over a small island, which, unlike vital Northern Indo-China, was not strategically or psychologically important. It concludes that there was trouble enough in the world without inviting more through provocation.

A piece from the Dahlonega (Ga.) Nugget, titled "Way the Wind Blows", indicates that the hot, dry weather had caused some older folks to recall the time many years earlier when a meeting had been held at Siloam Church to pray for rain at a time when it had been desperately needed. They had gathered at the church and prayed, but nothing had been said regarding rain. After the services, while those attending were standing around outside the church, one curious person asked the prayer leader why nothing had been said about rain, to which he replied, "Wind was out of the north."

John Gould, writing in the Baltimore Evening Sun, from Lisbon Falls, Maine, finds it intriguing to read the comics in French, as published in a newspaper in Québec, relates that the popularity of American comics in Germany, where they apparently did not have a native comics artist, appeared curious as American newspaper cartooning owed much to German-American artists, including the master, Thomas Nast. The major German newspapers did not find the comics sufficiently edifying culturally to include in their newspapers, but they had become popular in the afternoon boulevard newspapers. Blondie was a favorite in Munich, which did not make any sense, as German women were not emancipated and Blondie's frank approach was beyond the comprehension of the locals, when she walloped Dagwood with a mop or told him to remove his feet from the sofa, bearing no resemblance to any actual behavior of women in Germany—and to no one but psychopaths in the U.S.

When an American asked why they did not get native Germans busy writing their own comic strips, there was no answer provided. In Québec, he had inquired about editorial difficulties of the comics not originating in Franco-Canadian form, and the editor of La Tribune which published them, said that they were very popular and that he gathered that his readers accepted Joe Palooka as he came to them. Mr. Gould explains how the French was substituted for the English words in the balloons.

He concludes that the comics might have an international value which was not being exploited by U.S. diplomats, finds it a great shock to have discovered Dick Tracy exclaiming, "Mon dieu!"

Drew Pearson indicates that the Budget Bureau had sent out one of the toughest letters in its history to every member of the Eisenhower Cabinet, ordering further reductions for the next fiscal year, a copy of which he had obtained. He concludes that it meant that the President meant business when he said that he was determined to proceed to balance the budget despite advice from some of the staff that it might lead to a recession, and that there would be less Government spending and less easy money in 1955-56. The letter had warned Cabinet officers to eliminate virtually all civil construction projects, which would mean tough sledding for such proposals as new school facilities and the President's own highway program, as well as some of the proposed Western irrigation and flood control projects debated in the recent session of Congress. It also demanded cuts in loans, mortgages and the guarantees or insurance of loans, meaning curtailment of loans to such organizations as rural electrification, veterans housing and the Federal Housing Administration. He proceeds to publish the letter in full because of its importance to Americans, leaving, for its length, a portion of it for the following day.

Doris Fleeson, in Paris, tells of the U.S. military being convinced that all was not lost in France in the wake of its refusal to ratify the European Defense Community treaty, that NATO forces were firmly entrenched in the countryside, as a tour of French defenses with Maj. General Robert M. Lee, commander of the 12th Air Force, had demonstrated, with Sabre jets, fighter-bombers, and troop carriers evident across the old battlefields of World War I and World War II.

The worst problem for the Americans was housing, as the French would not build quarters so far from the cities, and the social facilities of French villages were few.

She suggests that when Americans grew angry with the French for the rejection of EDC, they should consider Chaumont, where General Pershing had made his headquarters during World War I and had refused to break up his Army for use with other forces. Now, it had been turned over to the Americans by the French for use by the 48th Fighter Bomber Wing, a unit available to NATO and commanded by Colonel Chesley Peterson, a former Spitfire pilot during the Battle of Britain.

At NATO headquarters outside Paris, two experienced Americans, General Alfred Gruenther, supreme commander of NATO, and General Lauris Norstad, his air deputy, carried on with the dull tasks of making a nation and an alliance strong. That they had handled NATO so well had brought optimism that it was the best way to bring Germany back into the community of free nations, a matter on which they would not comment, while it was understood that they believed it could be done.

She concludes that the argument of the military was the map, that there was no solution to Western defenses against Communist aggression without both France and West Germany participating.

Robert C. Ruark finds it cheering that the gangsters were again knocking off other gangsters, proceeds to tell of how thrilling it had been and healthy for society to have had the St. Valentine's Day massacre in Chicago in 1929 arranged by the late Al Capone, and how his use of a baseball bat to kill one of his business associates had been salubrious to the national health.

He goes on in that vein, concluding: "We have idolized the crook in this country, and sympathized with him, which might be one of the troubles with the young idiots today. They may feel the lack of heroes. But to me a crook was always a bum, whether he was a crook like Alger Hiss, a crook like Frank Costello, a crook like Serge Rubenstein, a crook like some tax collectors, a crook like Capone, or a crook like some congressmen. A crook is a crook, and the record says that nothing makes a crook of him except inclination, because a lot of people aren't. Crooks, that is."

A piece from the Lancaster (S.C.) News relates of a piece from The State newspaper regarding "pluff mud", which, according to the South Carolina commissioner of agriculture, gave Charleston a peculiar odor. The black mud in tide water basins had been dubbed "pluff mud" by local residents in coastal areas, probably, he speculated, "from the fact that it makes a pluff-like explosion when it is stepped in and the foot pulled out. It also pluffs up between the toes and is otherwise very pluffy."

The piece concludes that it thought the smell had come from decaying aristocracy.

It always smelled like sulphur to us.

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