The Charlotte News

Thursday, September 16, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Paris, British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden and French Premier Pierre Mendes-France announced in a joint communiqué this night that they had agreed on the necessity for "close cooperation between France and West Germany", but had not said that they agreed on the means for achieving it. Their communiqué followed two days of conferences in which it was determined that a united Europe was desirable, including the full participation of Britain, and development and reinforcement of the Atlantic community. The communiqué indicated that it would be useful to call a conference to discuss political points in common and among the Western nations, with Premier Mendes-France indicating that there would be a conference between the countries within the projected Western alliance to be held in London, probably on September 27. Earlier in the day, Mr. Eden had informed the 14 nations of NATO about his plan during a closed meeting, with no information having issued officially as to the particulars.

Secretary of State Dulles said in Bonn this date that "an alternative must be found" to bring West Germany as an equal partner into the Western alliance. He had arrived for an emergency consultation with West Germany and Britain, and Chancellor Konrad Adenauer of West Germany had arranged for an almost immediate private discussion with him regarding the search for a substitute for the European Defense Community unified Western European six-nation army, recently refused ratification by France. The Chancellor had told deputies before departing for the airport that the talks would be decisive regarding Germany's future. Socialists were attacking the West German Government during a debate in parliament for what they called its "system of secret decisions". Secretary Dulles had stated that he was more interested in what the Chancellor had to say than in setting forth a particular proposal. He complimented Chancellor Adenauer's Government for having consistently followed enlightened policies and the Chancellor, long an advocate of European unity, thanked him for coming during the present crisis.

Vice-President Nixon and House Speaker Joseph Martin began separate cross-country campaign tours in advance of the midterm elections in November, both stressing in their talks the theme that the President needed a Republican Congress to complete his legislative agenda. Mr. Nixon spoke in Columbus, O., and Mr. Martin spoke to a Republican dinner at New Brunswick, N.J., as Senate races in both of those states were viewed as very close. At present, in the 83rd Congress, the Republicans had a one-seat organizational majority, as well as a narrow majority in the House.

Meanwhile, Adlai Stevenson, the Democratic presidential nominee in 1952, spoke at a party dinner in Cincinnati and urged with equal firmness that the Democrats should be given control of the next Congress. He said that the President was delivering "little sermonettes" while Republican "hatchet men … conduct the smear tactics on the flanks." He said that the election on Monday of Congressman Edmund Muskie to be Governor of Maine had confirmed that the people were tired of "this unending diet of equal portions of niceness, nonsense and nastiness." He said that the Republican Party was not a party but rather a "brawl" which was an "awkward instrument of government", "the ugliest of our exhibitionism and the bitterest criticism of public policy in the last two years" having come from the Republicans. The Vice-President had also alluded to the Maine election, saying: "One of our major dangers is disunity in the Republican organization. The Maine organization was fighting amongst themselves." He said that a Democratic Congress would "torpedo" the President's program and urged wariness of Democrats who sought to cling to the popular President's coattails with promises that they would support him, that they should be asked whether they would vote for Republican leadership at the start of the next Congress. At a Democratic rally at Morristown, N.J., Senator Henry Jackson of Washington was critical of the Republican program, saying that it reminded him of an "iceberg" in that it was cold, slow moving, big and dynamic, "but so little of it shows". He said that the Administration talked "tough and carries a golf putter"—a play on words with former President Theodore Roosevelt's enunciation of his Administration's foreign policy of speaking softly while carrying a big stick.

In Little Rock, Ark., a carpenter who had escaped from the Arkansas State Hospital for the insane pushed a woman hostage at gunpoint onto her front porch, then stepped through the door, shouting, "Come and get me, I want to die," at which point an off-duty policeman shot him to death. He had held the woman captive in her home while deliberating his next move and repeatedly shouted to the police: "You'll have to come get me, I want to die. I don't want to go back to that lie-place." The female hostage said that she felt sorry for him and tried to talk him into giving up his gun, that it was better than death, but that he would not listen to her. He had been on his way from his ward at the hospital to the barbershop when he suddenly bolted from the line and escaped. He terrorized persons in West Little Rock by brandishing a .22-calibre rifle, entered the home of another woman, saying that he would not hurt her but that he could not return to the "lie-place", then departed after that woman provided him a bottle of water. He then encountered the final hostage in her backyard and ordered her into the house, saying that he needed a car in which to make a getaway. She began dialing the telephone, and he snatched the receiver from her, saying that he had changed his mind. A neighbor heard the commotion and called the police, and a dozen officers soon surrounded the house, calling for the man to surrender. He began marching the hostage through the house and onto the front porch, where the woman walked calmly out despite having a gun held to her back by the man. She said that she sensed a swift movement behind her and fell to the ground, at which point the off-duty police officer opened fire, hitting the man five times out of six shots fired.

In Winamac, Mich., a former guard at the Michigan State Prison had to serve a 60-day sentence after being convicted of duping employees at the State Game Preserve into providing him "untold dozens" of pheasants bred at the preserve, then dressing the birds and selling them. He had quit his job the previous Sunday.

In Raleigh, State departments, agencies and institutions had requested budget appropriations totaling 458.6 million dollars for the coming biennium starting in 1955, an increase of 59.7 million over the budgets for the current biennium. In addition, State departments requested nearly 35 million dollars worth of permanent improvements. General Fund revenues were expected to run about 25 million dollars below appropriations during the current fiscal year, and by the end of the fiscal year, there would be little or no surplus to begin the ensuing fiscal year operations. If the budget was to be balanced, a tax increase appeared to be indicated. The president of the North Carolina Association of Chambers of Commerce Executives urged the Advisory Budget Commission in hearings to give serious consideration to declining a tax increase, as his organization believed it would retard new industry coming into the state. The State Art Society submitted a budget to the commission the previous day, requesting $90,000 for the first year of the biennium and $93,000 for the second year, compared to $39,555 being spent in the current year.

In Gastonia, N.C., 50 striking black students from Stanley failed to show up this morning at Highland High School after reports had surfaced the previous day that they had chartered a school bus to bring them to Gastonia for classes. The principal of the high school said this date that he doubted that the students would show up, but said they would be accommodated if the school board would allow them to enter the high school. The students had attended the high school the previous year and the principal said that the school was set to take them during the current year, that overcrowding had caused the issue. There were four black high schools in Gaston County, including Lincoln Academy at Kings Mountain, where the students had been assigned because of the overcrowding at Highland. Lincoln was about 14 miles from Stanley, had been condemned by the State but was still in use. The county school superintendent was firmly opposed to the strike, but said that there was nothing they could do about it and they would not force the students to attend school, that they were offering bus transportation to nearby Dallas for the 100 Stanley elementary school students and transportation to Lincoln for the 50 high school students. The Gastonia city school superintendent, speaking for the school board, said the previous day that he did not believe the students from Stanley would come to Highland to attend, that if they did, they would be turned away, that the Gastonia schools had no authority to take students from another school district unless the county board of education requested it.

In Charlotte, Julian Scheer of The News tells of the Thomasboro Terriers having been formed and disbanded within the space of 90 seconds this date at West Mecklenburg High School, after six young would-be initiates strode onto the high school campus ready for induction to the Terriers, before the principal of the school asked them how long it would take them to get off the campus, one responding that it would take five minutes, to which the principal replied, "Make it one minute." He did not like their dress, consisting of Bermuda walking shorts, despite 100 or so students at the high school thinking they were really cool cats. The Terriers was a clean, all-American boys' club dreamed up a few weeks earlier, and when the decision was made for initiation, it was decided that they would go to school in walking shorts. But only one of them wore authentic shorts, while the others donned cut-off dungarees, pedal pushers and assorted misfits. They said that they had organized the club because social life was limited in West Mecklenburg. The principal told them that they would have to go home and change and then have their parents call, at which point they could return, giving them a ride to Thomasboro where they lived. During the afternoon, after a morning spent loafing around the Thomasboro soda shop, they returned to school dressed in conventional garb. They gave no thought to remaining out of school in protest, as three of them said they wanted to play football during the afternoon.

In Petersburg, Ind., a flash grass fire the previous day was started by a discarded cigarette of a mourner during a funeral procession, causing the other mourners to have to flee the cemetery and take refuge in an alfalfa field, after the cigarette caused inflammable weed-killer which had been sprayed on a patch of cactus to catch fire. The burial took place belatedly after the fire was extinguished. The cause of death of the decedent is not mentioned, though perhaps he or she died of excessive smoking and was having a little joke with the bereaved to cheer them up.

In Philadelphia, an 82-year old woman drove a four-cylinder 1932 coupe slowly out of a service station into a busy suburban intersection, when suddenly the little deuce coupe came alive and dashed backward into the four-lane highway, described a 340-foot arc before coming to rest against the smashed windows of another service station across the street, after grazing a sign standard, side swiping a parked car, frightening a score of shoppers and fracturing the nose and inflicting minor chest injuries to the driver. The woman said that the gas pedal must have stuck. She must have been originally from Pasadena.

On the editorial page, "A Glimpse Behind the Curtain", a by-lined piece by News publisher Thomas L. Robinson, writing from Berlin, indicates that after interviewing in Bonn U.S. High Commissioner Dr. James B. Conant, Mr. Robinson had decided to go to Berlin to round out his visit to West Germany and see firsthand what had occurred in the city since the end of World War II, when the Soviets had captured it on May 2, 1945, encircling the city and taking most districts in house-to-house fighting, with an eventual agreement reached between the four Allies to divide the city into four occupation zones, resulting in the U.S. Army taking over one sector of Berlin during the first week of July, 1945.

Allied bombers had left Berlin with nearly two billion cubic feet of rubble and in nine years, despite impressive work of reconstruction, it was still not all cleared away. Modern stores, apartment houses and office buildings had been built, demonstrating a remarkable comeback for the city.

Prior to the war, Berlin had been Germany's political center and heart of its vast commercial empire, and at the height of Nazi power in the country, Berlin's population had exceeded 4.5 million, making it the third largest city in the world. After the war, however, its population had fallen dramatically and there were presently about two million inhabitants.

When Mr. Robinson reached the city, he had called on the noted Boston lawyer, Henry Parkman, who served as U.S. Deputy High Commissioner for Germany, a post he had occupied since the previous November. He had previously advised General Lucius Clay, former military governor of Berlin, and had headed the Marshall Plan administration in Paris. He had told Mr. Robinson in an informal talk that the best way to see all of Berlin was via a tour sponsored by the Special Services Section of the U.S. Army's Berlin Command. Mr. Parkman then commandeered an Army automobile to take Mr. Robinson to the starting point of the tour, placed him on a bus and bid farewell.

In the ensuing three hours of sightseeing, Mr. Robinson, along with several other journalists and some Army officers in the tour group, saw virtually all of the highlights of the four zones of the city. The U.S. sector of Berlin, consisting of six districts, had two, Zehlendorf and Steglitz, which struck Mr. Robinson as both modern and attractive, principally consisting of residential areas with houses containing small gardens and neat front yards, situated on clean streets and close to parks, many of them with small ponds. There were still ugly reminders of war in the upper stories of some of the business buildings and there were vacant lots where buildings had been destroyed during the war and had not yet been rebuilt.

On the way to the Russian sector, he had noted that the scene began to change, as East Germans lived in streets and buildings which appeared dirtier and darker than in the three Western sectors. The Soviets surprisingly had not bothered even to spruce up the areas which were shown freely to visitors from the free world. As they went deeper into the Russian sector and stopped to visit Teptow Park on the River Spree, it was apparent that it had been transformed by the Soviets into a Red Army war memorial which they dubbed "The Garden of Remembrance". They were informed that German laborers, working as virtual slaves to their Russian conquerors, had built the cemetery and the monuments, working around the clock for 18 months. More than 2,600 Communist soldiers killed in the Battle of Berlin were buried in the cemetery, which contained at its entrance a bronze statue of a Red Army soldier, one of the largest statues in the world, situated atop a Hall of Fame, inside of which was a parchment book inscribed with the names of the Russians who had died in the battle.

While viewing the cemetery, Mr. Robinson had noticed a lot of tired and ill-fed women from East Germany laboring on their hands and knees, manicuring the lawn and shrubbery, enabling him to see the true Russia, where captives existed only to glorify their masters in the Kremlin.

He wondered why a better solution could not have been found for administration of Berlin, as it appeared as a gruesome nightmare for the countries of the free world to occupy the city with a nation which had demonstrated, in thought and deed, a sinister and wicked way of life.

"Berlin today is a living symbol of the great chasm which divides the Soviet world from the free world. To study Berlin is to realize that we have a long way to go before the bright flame of democracy and freedom burns in every corner of this globe."

"'As Montana Goes, So Goes the Nation'" refers to the piece on the page by Waldo Proffitt of The News regarding the results of the Maine elections on Monday being bad news for Republicans nationally if the same kind of results obtained in the midterm elections in November. But, indicates the piece, the myth that "as Maine goes, so goes the nation" deserved the same fate as the Maine at Havana in 1898, the questionable casus belli for the Spanish-American war.

Regarding Maine as a bellwether for the country politically had begun during the presidential race of 1888 between Benjamin Harrison and incumbent President Grover Cleveland and had considerable validity for the ensuing 40 years, until FDR changed that trend, such that Maine did not follow the national results in presidential elections between 1932 and 1948, and had also been in the minority in 1916 when it voted for Charles Evans Hughes rather than incumbent President Woodrow Wilson, who had won the state in 1912. Thus, in six of 13 presidential races during the previous 50 years, Maine had not forecast national results. The only states with worse records of predicting the national outcome were Vermont, South Carolina, Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama, all of which had supported the losing presidential candidate seven times during the previous half-century, with Vermont being the only state which had voted Republican in every presidential race thus far in the 20th Century, and the four Southern states having voted Democratic every quadrennial except 1948, when they had supported the Dixiecrat ticket of Governors Strom Thurmond and Fielding Wright.

The piece finds that if anyone wanted to argue that one state predicted the national result in presidential elections, it ought to be Montana, Missouri or Idaho, as those three states had voted for the successful presidential candidate each time since 1904. Arizona and New Mexico, not admitted to the union until 1912, had also voted successfully in every quadrennial election for the eventual winner since that time, and California and Washington would have had a perfect record but for having voted for Theodore Roosevelt's Bull Moose Party candidacy in 1912. Illinois, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Utah and Wyoming had also predicted the winner in all save one election since 1904.

It concludes that about the only thing which could be said with certainty regarding general elections in Maine was that they were held prior to elections in other states, but regarding prediction of trends nationally, it urges going West.

Waldo Proffitt, Jr., state editor for The News, formerly city editor and political writer for the Bangor Daily Commercial in Maine, indicates that the Republicans ought be more troubled regarding the races they had won in Monday's Maine election than over the gubernatorial race they lost, that between incumbent Republican Governor Burton Cross and Congressman Edmund Muskie. He deems the latter less significant in terms of national politics than the reduced margins by which Senator Margaret Chase Smith and three Republican Congressmen had won re-election. Republicans could make a convincing argument that Governor Cross had lost because of factors unrelated to national issues. Mr. Muskie was a dynamic political personality and a strong campaigner, and Governor Cross had never been unusually popular with regular Maine Republicans and less so with independents. He had won the governorship in 1952 on the coattails of the Eisenhower landslide, but had received only 51.7 percent of the vote, with two independent Republican candidates having cut into his margin of victory. In Republican Maine, independent candidates did not run against the Republican nominee if that candidate were very popular.

Shortly after Governor Cross had taken office, the Maine Republican Party was shaken by scandals arising from the operation of a state-managed liquor monopoly and though the Governor was not involved, charges of bribery and favoritism in the purchase of liquor stocks had been made and proven, with some embarrassing questions left unanswered. Moreover, the Governor had shown a penchant during his two years in office for saying the wrong things and making the wrong appointments. In addition, Maine had been suffering an economic crisis for several years, as textile industries had moved from the state, the shoe industry was in trouble, some clam flats had been exhausted and some fishing canneries had closed, plus the potato market had gone to seed.

But those local factors did not explain why Senator Smith had received only 58 percent of the vote in her race, as she was extremely popular with voters, having received 71 percent in 1948, when the Democrats nationally had done so well, defying pollsters. Since then, she had been an able advocate of the interests of the state and a strong supporter of the President, winning easily her Republican primary over a candidate backed by Senator McCarthy. Her opponent in the general election was a college professor whose views only differed slightly from her own. Many believed that he had entered the race only to provide a "liberal" alternative had Senator Smith lost her primary. Throughout the campaign, Republicans had stressed the idea that a solid victory for Senator Smith would give the Republicans a major boost in their drive to maintain control of Congress, and when Vice-President Nixon had campaigned there, he had sought from voters margins of victory "greater than ever" to send that message for the general midterm elections. Yet, her margin was surprisingly small.

The simplest explanation was that Maine voters wanted more Democrats in Congress, and that was hard not to accept. The results in the three Maine Congressional races also pointed in the same direction, despite Republicans winning all three, as the margins of victory were lower than in several years, receiving between 52 and 61 percent of the vote, whereas in 1952, the Republican candidates received 76 percent of the vote in one Congressional race and 62 percent in the district where they had fared the worst.

Those who knew politics best believed that the Congressional races were more important nationally than the gubernatorial races, and with the Maine Congressional races ten to fifteen percent below 1952 levels, there was reason for concern, that if anything comparable occurred in other Republican strongholds, the Republicans would lose Congress. Thus, aside from the gubernatorial results, the Democrats had reason for jubilation after the Maine elections.

Mr. Proffitt's piece proves more perspicacious than the preceding editorial in the column regarding Maine not auguring national trends.

Drew Pearson indicates that despite the President's efforts to balance the budget being upset by the trouble in the Far East, the secret letter from the Budget Bureau director to Cabinet officers urging reduction of budgets for the next fiscal year deserved a high grade for effort. The previous day, Mr. Pearson had published a large portion of that letter and completes the publication this date. The memo contained 13 points for reduction, including curtailment of loans and guarantees of loans to rural electrification cooperatives, veterans housing, Federal housing, and less aid to airlines and shipping lines.

Doris Fleeson, in Paris, indicates that the Western alliance needed to face the fact that as long as French Premier Pierre Mendes-France was in power, he would put his internal reforms ahead of international planning, explaining, in lieu of some sinister conspiracy with Communists, his controversial attitude toward the European Defense Community treaty. He had bought some time with respect to his domestic policy by refusing to stake his Government on EDC, with no one disputing that urgent reforms were necessary in France. But whether time would wait on him remained to be seen.

Ms. Fleeson ventures that while he understood the reactions in America and Germany to the failure of France to ratify EDC, he probably did not realize the depth of U.S. disappointment and the pitfalls for France in Congressional cuts of future aid. President Eisenhower had acquired a genuine understanding of France during his time as NATO supreme commander and would not be stampeded into anger and threats, but Congress had repeatedly been assured that EDC would be ratified and now might react adversely.

When Premier Mendes-France was reproached for his France-first attitudes, he had replied that the best contribution his country could make was to restore its economy and thereby remove the reason for the existence of French Communism.

A letter writer responds to another letter writer who had called the United Appeal "autocratic" because it responded to the request of its contributors who wanted to have one campaign per year instead of numerous charitable fund drives in Mecklenburg County. She wonders how the previous writer could call the United Appeal autocratic when her own letter had stated that the American Cancer Society could only operate effectively under the national program, which forbade more than a single drive in April. This writer finds that edict of the American Cancer Society to ring of dictatorship from its headquarters in New York. She informs that other communities were not letting the American Cancer Society get away with such autocratic rule, quoting from a story from the Twin City Sentinel in Winston-Salem on August 23, that the Forsyth County unit of the American Cancer Society had voted to withdraw from the state and national organization and set up a local cancer unit as a member of the United Fund. There were approximately 400 county cancer units across the nation, 12 of which were in South Carolina, affiliated with federated fund raising. The letter writer concludes by asking whether the American Cancer Society was any better than the Boy Scouts, the Salvation Army, the Red Cross, the Blind Association and all of the other local groups which believed in working together for the good of the community through the United Appeal.

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