The Charlotte News

Friday, September 17, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page indicates that in Moscow, the official Soviet news agency Tass reported this date that the Soviet Union had exploded "one of a type of atomic weapons" with "valuable results", that the test would enable Soviet scientists and engineers "to solve successfully problems of defense from atomic attack", providing no details of the type of weapon or where it had been detonated. In Tokyo, a news service reported that the meteorological laboratory of Kyoto University had recorded unusual instrument readings on August 26, similar to those observed when the U.S. had conducted atomic tests at Bikini Atoll. There was no reaction from American officials to the Russian announcement, with White House press secretary James Hagerty indicating that the President had been advised of the report and that any comment would come from the Atomic Energy Commission, which thus far remained silent along with the State Department. It was the first official word from Moscow regarding atomic tests since August, 1953, when the Russians claimed to have completed a series of tests culminating in the detonation of a hydrogen bomb. The AEC had confirmed at that time that the detonations involved both fission and thermonuclear reactions, the latter indicating a hydrogen device.

In London, Secretary of State Dulles arrived this date for talks with Prime Minister Churchill and Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden regarding Britain's new plan for rearming West Germany. Mr. Dulles had flown to London from Bonn, where he had conferred the previous day with Chancellor Konrad Adenauer on German sovereignty and rearmament. Mr. Eden had told reporters the previous night that he had reached considerable agreement in his talks with the leaders of France, Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg, Italy and West Germany, the six nations which would have been forming the united army of the European Defense Community, which France had recently refused to ratify, considered to have killed that treaty. Mr. Eden added that a good deal of work remained to be done before a solution could be presented to the world. There remained the problem of quelling French anxiety regarding rearmament of West Germany. The British plan for rearming West Germany was to form a streamlined version of the Brussels alliance between Britain, France, and the Benelux countries, to include West Germany, with each ally pledged to aid the other in the event of an attack. His plan also called for giving West Germany full membership in NATO, subject to certain safeguards designed to prevent uncontrolled German rearmament, such as the development of atomic and hydrogen weapons or other weapons of mass destruction, and imposition of limits on the size of German forces, to prevent resurgence of German aggression. Mr. Eden said that details of his proposal would be discussed at a conference to be held in London in about two weeks. If that conference produced an agreement among the seven nations, a special session of the NATO Council of Foreign Ministers would be called to determine whether to admit Germany to NATO. The U.S. and France had not yet openly supported the proposal, though the U.S. fully supported bringing West Germany into NATO. Secretary Dulles had said on Wednesday that he was reserving the American position until more was known about the British plan.

In Indianapolis, former President Truman this date urged, in a letter to DNC chairman Stephen Mitchell, the election of a Democratic Congress to help President Eisenhower "go down in history as a successful President who helped to save the free world." He said that he believed President Eisenhower ought be secretly wishing for a Democratic Congress because he was pledged to a foreign policy of cooperation with other free nations, while a majority of Republican leaders were opposed to it. He also said that a Democratic Congress would restore confidence in economic expansion, shore up the declining earnings of workers, and protect the hard-won rights of the working man from current erosion of those rights. He said that he believed the 83rd Congress, controlled in both houses by Republicans, was even worse than the 80th Congress, also Republican-controlled, which he had dubbed in 1948 to be "the second-worst" in the nation's history, that whereas he had dubbed the 80th the "do nothing" Congress, the 83rd was the "do wrong, giveaway" Congress. The former President said that he would be unable to campaign during the fall because of his doctors' orders, that he anticipated making one speech, while his daughter Margaret would substitute for him in some instances.

In Kincaid, Kans., six elderly persons had died this date in a fire which had quickly engulfed a wooden nursing home on the outskirts of the town, and one other patient had been burned seriously, with three having safely escaped. No cause of the fire is indicated.

In Carson City, Nev., three convicts, holding a guard as hostage, had rammed the gates of the Nevada State Prison with a milk truck this date, as other prisoners watched quietly, the guard having been found shot to death a few minutes later along the side of the road about 300 yards from the prison, apparently shot with his own gun and pushed out of the truck. Tower guards had fired on the truck as it crashed through the iron gate and sped down the dirt road. The Highway Patrol reported that a spotter plane had sighted one of the convicts in a canyon south of Carson City, but no trace had been found of the convict when men were dispatched to the area. All three men remained at large.

Near Elizabeth City, N.C., military authorities reported this date that three Navy airmen had died the previous night in the crash of a plane in the surf about 20 miles southeast of the town, while making a practice bombing and rocket run over a beach target.

From Stanley, N.C., a reporter tells of a grandfather whose grandchildren were among the black students of Stanley who could no longer attend the local school and had been transferred to another school in nearby Dallas. He regarded the problem as his own, indicating that people had the wrong impression about the student strike, that it was not because they wanted their children going to school with whites but rather that they did not want them having to attend school outside their community, that they preferred them attending in their condemned three-room schoolhouse. They especially objected to sending the high school students 20 miles away to Lincoln Academy, which had been condemned just as the local school in Stanley. About 150 students were involved in the strike and the parents vowed that they would hold them out of school as long as necessary, with their belief being that a community with no school was not a community. They agreed that the existing school in Stanley had been inadequate, but had been something they could call their own, and they claimed to have one of the strongest PTA's in the county. They were also upset about the way they had been notified of the transfer, having to read about it in the newspaper the day before school had started.

In Yadkinville, N.C., Yadkin County's last former slave had died the previous night at the age of 100 after having been seriously ill for about a month and in declining health for about a year. The woman had been blind for the previous 15 years and was believed also to be the oldest person in the county. As a girl, she had been given as a slave to one of the girls of the Joe Conrad plantation, that girl having married and moved to Iredell County. After the Civil War and the abolition of slavery, she had returned to the Conrad farm and had lived in the community since that time. Until a few years earlier, she had been a seamstress. Her husband had died in 1920 and they had eight children.

On the editorial page, "Mecklenburg Tackles a Tax Problem" indicates that County officials were looking at State files in Raleigh, inspecting income tax returns of local corporations, as part of the county's 1954 drive to equalize tax values and get all of the taxable property on the books.

It indicates that it was too bad that such record-checking was necessary, but it would keep Mecklenburg taxpayers honest and the tax burden fairly distributed, thus deserving commendation. It finds that too many Americans looked on tax evasion as a kind of sport in which the citizen matched his wits against the tax collector to see how much he could avoid, a distasteful game of fraud, deceit, double-dealing and misrepresentation. It finds that being caught was considered no great disgrace, and punishment often amounted to little more than wrist-slapping. It urges that such attitudes needed correction and that the Mecklenburg County tax supervisor was on the right track.

"A Friend of Good Government" laments the death of George Franklin, general counsel for the state's League of Municipalities, considered an expert on municipal law, who had written several pieces of legislation on the subject for various committees of the Legislature.

Mr. Franklin had written an analysis, appearing on the editorial page on August 12, of the problems of fringe areas when they chose to become incorporated towns.

It finds that he had been of great benefit to North Carolina municipalities through his expertise, and that during the 1951 legislative session, had been active in the movement resulting in the Powell Bill, under which municipalities presently received state aid to help them pave and maintain their streets. When Statesville had built a new fire station recently, the city had named one of its guest rooms in honor of Mr. Franklin. It concludes that the state had lost a distinguished friend of good government.

"The Little Man Who Wasn't There" indicates that the Associated Press had informed that the 74-year old secretary of state of Wisconsin, who was a foe of Senator McCarthy, had won nomination to his eleventh term in the office, and that Senator McCarthy had taken no part in the campaign. It also indicated that a frequent critic of the Senator, Representative Stuyvesant Wainwright II of New York, had defeated an outspoken supporter of Senator McCarthy.

It is reminded by the report of a recent editorial in the Washington Star, telling how the press dragged in and built up Senator McCarthy indirectly in such ways, by indicating that some person did not mention the Senator but was known to have intended criticism of him, or by reporting that a speaker who had devoted 5,000 words to the need for a certain program had then added a sentence such as, "You ought to watch stoplights, your wife and McCarthy, too," after which the headline of the story would regard Senator McCarthy. Another way of building up the Senator by such indirection was to mention that a certain group, such as the Daughters of the American Revolution, had completely ignored Senator McCarthy in their opening session, with the headline, "Daughters Ignore McCarthy".

The piece indicates that at that rate, the press would soon have the Kremlin inner circle divided into pro-McCarthy and anti-McCarthy factions. It favors simply ignoring "the little man when he isn't really there."

"Welcome to Kagawa, a Great Christian" indicates that just over 50 years earlier, a Presbyterian missionary from Kentucky had converted a 15-year old Japanese boy, beginning his Christian life. Dr. Toyohiko Kagawa would give a talk this night at the First Methodist Church in Charlotte.

As a youth, preaching in the slums of Kobe, Japan, he had all of his teeth knocked out by ruffians, but had turned the other cheek with a smile and provided his few possessions to even poorer persons, soon gaining respect. After 14 years living in the slums, he came to America, where he obtained three college degrees, then returned to Japan to enter social welfare work, organizing churches, farm cooperatives and labor unions, urging slum clearance and protection of the poor from loan sharks.

During World War II, he had been branded a "peace worker" and put in jail by the Imperial Government. Since the war, he had been in great demand as a speaker at Christian gatherings throughout the world and was presently on one of his frequent tours. When he was in Japan, Dr. Kagawa usually still spent half of every month traveling among and living with the poor people of the country. Some of the Christian sects of Japan did not agree with his methods, and he readily admitted that some did not like him, but added that he liked them.

The piece concludes that one could not beat such a philosophy and the community was proud to welcome him to Charlotte.

"They Keep out the Fly-by-Nighters" pays tribute to the Solicitations Review Board, which reviewed the qualifications of the organizations which sought permission to solicit donations in the community. The Board had been established by the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce and was aided by the Better Business Bureau. It lists the standards by which it judged the worthiness of charitable organizations before providing its approval, which, if given, meant that the organization had met high standards. It discouraged fly-by-night promoters from coming to the city to solicit donations. It lists the eight men and women who had performed the task on the Board during the current year and provides its thanks to them.

U.S. News & World Report provides an account of bootlegging and moonshine, and the Alcohol Tax Unit of the IRS and its staff of between 850 and 950 investigators assigned to a special task force in Virginia, with orders to break up the bootlegging rackets which were believed to be operating in the Richmond-Norfolk area, thought to be the center of the new bootlegging operations in the South.

After reviewing the past of bootlegging, it indicates that organized syndicates were now moving into the South, flooding the area's new industrial centers with high-potency "popskull", as bootleg whiskey was called. The big operators were using elaborate, massive stills, equal in size and efficiency to the smaller distilling units of legal manufacturers, using sugar rather than corn, and turning out between 1,000 and 2,000 gallons of high-proof alcohol each day. It was usually put in five-gallon cans and sent to "dump" warehouses, where wholesalers of the bootleg trade then took over the merchandising, cutting the raw alcohol once, by mixing in a gallon of water with each gallon of alcohol, then adding color, before putting it in bottles of standard brands with counterfeit tax stamps on the bottles, then sending them to the retailers.

The retailers included "suitcase peddlers" who would find a prospect and offer them some good whiskey at wholesale prices, claiming it was whiskey which had been hijacked from a truck.

Another practice of wholesalers was to bottle alcohol and water in half-gallon jars, to be sold as "moonshine with a kick". That product usually went to city slums or poor rural areas of the South.

The appeal to the drinker was that it was cheap and powerful, and readily available where local laws restricted the sale of legal whiskey. A fifth of moonshine usually sold for about $2.50, whereas a fifth of legal whiskey, 86.8 proof, usually sold for about $4.27. Moonshine was usually 100 proof, that is 50 percent alcohol, or even stronger.

T. Coleman Andrews, IRS commissioner, had stepped up the drive against bootlegging, determined to prevent a revival of the bootlegging of the Prohibition era and the rackets which accompanied its operations. There was also tax collection involved, as the bootlegger was evading the Federal tax on liquor, cheating the Government of millions in revenue each year. Bootleggers were punished as tax evaders.

The legal distillers argued that as long as the taxes on whiskey remained as high as they were at present, the profits from bootlegging would attract the illicit trade, and so made a pitch for reducing the taxes to render that trade unprofitable.

Drew Pearson provides some background regarding the Nationalist outpost island of Quemoy, which had recently been the subject of the President's called National Security Council meeting regarding the Far East situation. On August 3, as the Communist Chinese troops withdrawn from Korea and Indo-China had begun to mass on the mainland opposite Formosa, Secretary Dulles had been asked at a press conference whether the U.S. would defend Formosa, replying that it was committed to use air and sea power to defend the Nationalist island, situated approximately 90 miles from the Communist Chinese mainland, and thus much easier to defend than Quemoy, only about four miles from the mainland.

The following day, Congressman Samuel Yorty of California had told Congress that former Secretary of State Dean Acheson had been severely criticized for omitting South Korea from the defense perimeter in the Pacific about six months before the North Korean attack on South Korea in late June, 1950, the beginning of the Korean War, with Mr. Acheson having been accused of inviting the Communist aggression. He continued that Secretary Dulles, by emphasizing that the U.S. was not committed to defend Quemoy, had done the same thing. On August 7, Senator Thomas Kuchel of California, in a speech at the Republican state convention, said that Mr. Yorty had made a speech about a "foolish island" with a name he could not even spell, prompting Mr. Yorty to put the State Department on the spot by sending a telegram to Secretary Dulles seeking a flat answer as to whether the U.S. would or would not defend the outpost island, the State Department replying that they did not wish to discuss the matter in writing, but would confer with members of Congress in person.

Meanwhile, the Communists appeared to be in as much of a quandary regarding the matter as Congressman Yorty, leading to the Denver meeting of the NSC. A group of U.S. naval and military men, including General James Van Fleet, special adviser to the President, and Joint Chiefs chairman Admiral Arthur Radford, were convinced that the U.S. sooner or later had to face a showdown in the Pacific with the Communists, and that it would be better to have a preventive war at present rather than later. A group of Asiatics led by Dr. Syngman Rhee of South Korea, Chiang Kai-shek of Formosa, plus the China lobby, wanted to see the U.S. go to war against Communist China.

Despite the Denver meeting, the situation as to whether the U.S. would defend Quemoy remained vague, except that it appeared that the U.S. Seventh Fleet would continue to protect the supply line to the Chinese Nationalists on the outpost island, providing logistical aid, with Pentagon officials saying that the island was well-garrisoned and that it would be a long time before the Communists could take it, even without U.S. protection.

But the omission of mention of Quemoy by Secretary Dulles from the areas which the Seventh Fleet would defend remained unchanged, as far as the Communists knew, appearing to be in the same category as South Korea had been prior to the invasion of June, 1950.

Mr. Pearson indicates that the most interesting development inside the six-Senator special committee considering the censure resolution against Senator McCarthy was that the Senator might not be censured for having taken to task Brig. General Ralph Zwicker in hearings before the Senate Investigations subcommittee the prior February, despite the fact that it was his treatment of the General which had started the entire matter which had led to the Senator's potential censure. That treatment had caused Secretary of the Army Robert Stevens to issue an order to his officers not to respond to future summonses before the subcommittee, ultimately leading to the Army-McCarthy hearings of late April through mid-June. During their executive sessions, the special committee, chaired by Senator Arthur Watkins of Utah, had decided to recommend censure on four of the five categories to which they had narrowed the 46 charges, the one exception being the mistreatment of General Zwicker, as they believed that the General had been evasive and should have answered Senator McCarthy's questions in a more forthright manner regarding the issue of the honorable discharge of the Army Reserve dentist whom Senator McCarthy regarded as a "Fifth Amendment Communist" because of his having taken the Fifth Amendment in refusing to respond to the Senator's questions regarding his past subversive associations.

Stewart Alsop tells of finding a trend toward Democrats in the midterm elections, following his travel through five states in 17 days, but being unable to discern how strong the trend would be or whether it would hold through election day. Republican politicians locally were more scared than usual and Democrats were a little more confident than usual, while local newspaper reporters believed that the Republicans were in trouble, all signs pointing to a Democratic trend.

In Kentucky, hardly anyone believed that the Republican incumbent, Senator John Sherman Cooper, had much of a chance against former Vice-President Alben Barkley, and reporters in that state were guessing that the latter would achieve a majority of between 60,000 and 100,000, with Senator Cooper only saying that they would find it harder than they believed.

In West Virginia, Senator Matthew Neely, 80, indicated he had never been more confident in his life, and West Virginia newspapermen agreed with him.

In Ohio, where no Democrat had been elected to the Senate for 20 years, Republican Representative George Bender was considered the favorite over the interim Senator Thomas Burke, appointed as a Democrat to succeed deceased Senator Robert Taft, with Republicans betting 7to 5 on Mr. Bender.

In New York, Averell Harriman, who appeared certain to get the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, was an unknown quantity as a candidate but was much admired, and, unlike his rival, Congressman Franklin Roosevelt, Jr., had few political enemies. Mr. Harriman was given at least a chance of achieving victory for the Democrats after 12 years of Governor Thomas Dewey, who was not a candidate for re-election, deferring to Senator Irving Ives.

Robert C. Ruark tells of receiving from his most recent safari the heads and hides of the animals he had killed, including a big buffalo, some Grant gazelle, three golden impala, several zebra skins, a little dik-dik mounted whole, some dirty great elephant feet, plus a warrior's shield which his guide had made for him from buffalo hide. He regarded every trophy which had come so painfully to mean something special to him, admits that he was a child about it, but a happy child. You may read all about his happy second childhood.

He concludes: "I feel today exactly like a kid at Christmas. A few dead heads come from Mombasa, and suddenly I am back again in the place I love best, with the people, black and white, I respect most and love best. I hope I can go back some day and see them again."

We hope so, too, and soon.

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