The Charlotte News

Friday, September 24, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Los Angeles, the President told the AFL convention this date that organized labor's views would receive "sympathetic consideration" from the Administration. He received a warm welcome from the delegates, admitting that there were differences between his and organized labor's views, but indicating that the right to disagree was an American tradition. The AFL had unanimously adopted a resolution the previous day which stated that two years of the present Administration had demonstrated that "the forces of reaction which that Administration represents are pursuing the same philosophy of government which brought our nation to the brink of economic disaster prior to the New Deal." It accused the Administration of "many crimes of omission and commission … and particularly the promise to remove the union-busting provisions of the Taft-Hartley Act."

Before a cheering audience of 18,000 at a political rally at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles the previous night, the President reviewed the record of the Administration and said that it added up to "compelling reasons why the completion of this great program requires the election of a Republican-led Congress." He said that when Congress was controlled by one party and the executive branch by the other, "politics in Washington has a field day." He did not mention revision of Taft-Hartley, which he had pledged during the 1952 campaign to amend.

At the U.N. in New York, the U.S. put forth new plans to set up an international agency to foster peaceful use of atomic power, with or without Russian cooperation, Secretary of State Dulles providing the four-point proposal in a policy speech the previous afternoon before the General Assembly, indicating creation of an international agency to include "nations from all regions of the world", to begin its operations hopefully the following year, the holding of an international scientific conference under U.N. auspices the following spring to consider the subject of peaceful use of atomic power, the opening within the U.S. early in 1955 of an atomic reactor training school where students from abroad could learn the working principles of atomic energy in the context of peaceful usage, and invitations to be provided a substantial number of foreign medical and surgical experts to work with atomic energy techniques in U.S. cancer hospitals. The proposals were approved by many other U.N. members, and the Steering Committee, which set the agenda for the meeting, scheduled a meeting on the atomic plan for the following day. Russian delegate Andrei Vishinsky declined to discuss the proposal with reporters. Mr. Dulles had stated that the U.S. remained ready to negotiate with the Soviet Union, but would no longer suspend its efforts to establish an international atomic agency, while stressing that the planning excluded no nation from participation in the sharing arrangement. Unofficially, it was reported that thus far, seven countries consulted by Mr. Dulles had agreed to participate, including Britain, France, Canada, Australia, Belgium, Portugal and South Africa. The proposal for an international pooling arrangement for peaceful uses of atomic energy was initially put forward at the U.N. by the President the prior December 8.

In Milford, Del., an ongoing dispute regarding desegregation of the local high school pursuant to Brown v. Board of Education, to which Delaware had been a party in one of the five cases, continued this date, as the State Board of Education prepared to reopen the local high school to both white and black students, following a meeting the previous night at the state capital in Dover with local school officials. The school had originally opened on September 7 with 11 black students registered along with 686 white students, and had since been closed all during the week by the local board of education based on threats of violence from disgruntled white parents who did not want the school integrated. Neither the State Board nor the local board of education had proposed restoration of segregation at the high school, but the local board stepped aside in favor of the State Board. Previously, black high school students had gone to schools in either Dover or Georgetown. Pamphlets had appeared in Milford the previous day, signed by an individual who claimed to have toured the Southern states and found that 99 percent of the black and white people in the region opposed "mixing their children" and that people had threatened to dynamite the schools should integration occur. The Milford mayor ordered investigation of the source of the pamphlets, titled "The National Forum".

In Asheville, N.C., the Western North Carolina Methodist Conference this date overwhelmingly adopted an amended statement condemning racial segregation in public schools and racial discrimination in the country generally. An amendment which broadened the scope of the resolution to favor the elimination of segregation in all fields had received immediate support during a lengthy floor debate. The principal complaint against the final resolution was that it did not go far enough, with the Rev. Charles Bowles, pastor of the Dilworth Methodist Church of Charlotte, having stated that the resolution did not go as far as the Methodist Church general conference statement in 1952 on race matters, stating that segregation had no place in the Church.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics announced this date that the cost of living had dropped .2 percent the previous month because of lowered prices on food, dropping .6 percent, especially meats, as well as on clothing. The consumer price index was at the same level it had been in August, 1953, at 115 percent of the 1947-49 average.

In Bitburg, West Germany, it was determined that 32 had died and 16 had been seriously injured the previous day when a 120,000-gallon tank of American jet fuel had exploded during a fire-fighting demonstration during which gasoline was deliberately poured on top of the concrete roof of one of the tanks and lighted, with the fire-fighting apparatus supposed to extinguish the blaze almost instantly, instead producing the explosion. Investigators were seeking to determine whether sabotage might have been involved, but indicated that presently available evidence suggested only an accident. Officials speculated that the test fire had ignited fumes in the exhaust pipes of the tank. The demonstration was being staged by an international company engaged in NATO air base work, including the installation of fire extinguishing equipment. There were no American casualties. The large storage tanks at the end of a NATO pipeline from France held six million gallons of fuel for U.S. Air Force jet interceptors and fighter-bombers stationed nearby. The known dead included 22 Germans and eight French, plus two of unknown nationality. It was the second worst explosion in West Germany since the war, following in magnitude a July, 1948 explosion at the I. G. Farben Chemical works in Ludwigshafen, killing 207 persons.

In Benevento, Italy, a nonpoisonous and usually harmless water snake, about three feet long, strangled a five-year old girl to death the previous day while she was playing at the edge of a pond. Workmen heard her screams and were able to kill the snake, but were unable to revive the child.

In Glen Cove, N.Y., a motorcycle patrolman had started to study Russian so that he could at least tell off Soviet citizens who went around speeding, protected by diplomatic immunity. He had given a speeding ticket to the chauffeur of the Russian U.N. delegation the previous week, after which the charge was dismissed based on diplomatic immunity. The patrolman then attended beginner's classes in Russian the previous night, given by the local school board's adult education program, saying that if he could not cite Russians for speeding and running through stop signs, he could at least stop them and tell them that they should obey the traffic laws.

In Mount Vernon, N.Y., two robbers forced employees to open the vault of a branch bank this date and escaped with approximately $100,000, after tying up the manager and three tellers prior to the time of its scheduled opening in the early morning. The manager had been able to roll over onto a floor button and sound an alarm to police headquarters after the robbers had fled with the money, and police and FBI agents began a widespread search. It was the first bank robbery in the history of the town, a suburb adjacent to the Bronx. One of the two men had asked the branch manager when he arrived at the bank whether he knew Fran Warren, the singer, to which he said he did not, and the man replied that it did not make any difference, then pulling a gun and telling him to get inside. Perhaps if he had known Fran, they would have gone on their way, like a variant on a tv quiz show.

For those who have not yet learned to read, the Starship Enterprise was landing in Charlotte this date, as photographed by News photographer Don Martin.

On the editorial page, "The United Way Is the Best Way" indicates that the United Appeal was about to begin its single fund-raising drive for the group of qualified charities under its umbrella, with a $951,000 goal for the year, greater than ever before because the needs of the community were greater than ever and because the Appeal, for the first time, would offer donors the opportunity to contribute through it to the funds for polio and cancer.

It indicates its belief that the idea of the United Appeal was fundamentally sound, as having one drive instead of many drives saved time of volunteers and promoted economy in fund-raising, enabling donors to budget better their donations. It expresses regret that the national organizations of two drives, including the American Cancer Society, had seen fit to divorce themselves from the United Appeal and urges giving to the drive.

"The American Jewish Tercentenary" indicates that had Hitler not stirred up hatred and violence against Jews, the American Jewish community might not have arranged to celebrate its 300th anniversary of the first Jewish settlement within the United States. Free men had learned everywhere in recent years that the only weapon possessed against propaganda of hatred and slavery was the more effective information regarding freedom, decency and the love of God. It suggests that it was in that vein that the American Jewish leaders had established a nine-month program of religious and educational events to mark the September, 1654 immigration of 23 Jews to New Amsterdam harbor, becoming the first citizens of the Jewish faith to enter what was to become the United States.

Carolina Israelite editor Harry Golden, North Carolina chairman of the celebration, had described the observance as being one of "participation" rather than "accomplishment", a view which it finds to be correct for the observance, as Americans of all nationalities, creeds and colors had participated in the experiment in human freedom and individual dignity which was the United States.

In Charlotte, a committee of the rabbi and leaders of each of the two synagogues had arranged a program including an art exhibit at the Mint Museum, a joint religious service on Thanksgiving Day, and a concert by the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, with solo violinist Isaac Stern set to perform, sometime in November.

It congratulates fellow citizens of the Jewish faith and wishes them another 300 years of peace and happiness within the country, indicating that President Washington had expressed it best in a letter to the Hebrew congregation at Newport, R.I., in his acknowledgment of felicitations upon his inauguration: "May the children of the stock of Abraham, who dwell in this land, continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other inhabitants, while everyone shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree, and there shall be none to make him afraid."

"Ballots Protect Democracy's Future" indicates that the following day was the last day for eligible voters to register in their precincts for the November 2 midterm elections within the state, and urges voters to do so if they had not already, as the aim of democracy was to help the individual develop him or herself completely within the climate of freedom, a goal capable of being fulfilled only when each citizen shared in determining the policy and destiny of the community, with the first responsibility being to register and the second, to vote.

A piece from the Richmond News Leader, titled "Watermelons: Food for Thought", laments the passing of the last watermelon of the summer season, with one acquaintance gauging the success of his summer by the number of watermelons he had managed to consume. It indicates that no one consciously placed watermelons on their grocery list, that they were bought on sight, on the basis of an overwhelming impulse from the sweltering heat, a childhood memory, the desire to surprise one's children, or just on a whim. In earlier times, melons could be bought from the back of a wagon or truck for a quarter, and even now, the price dropped to 50 cents at the height of the season. It finds it to be a lot to do over a melon which was 93 percent water, but was such that it nevertheless fed the imagination of children and adults.

Drew Pearson indicates that Senator Pat McCarran of Nevada was one of the most blasé members of the Senate and liked to see politics operate on a self-financing basis, the accomplishment of which he maintained by putting state politicians on the Federal payroll despite them doing nearly nothing for the Government, as long as they were doing something for him in Nevada. He provides the example of Governor Charles Russell of Nevada, presently running for re-election, having been maintained on the Federal payroll by Senator McCarran as he prepared to run for governor the first time in 1950, having first encouraged former Governor Vail Pittman to run again, then double-crossed him and backed Mr. Russell, then placing him on the staff of the Marshall Plan administration watchdog committee, the expense vouchers for which were not audited by the General Accounting Office, a loophole arranged by Senator Styles Bridges when he had been chairman of the committee during the 80th Congress. Senator McCarran had used the loophole to pay Mr. Russell $860 per month as a committee consultant, remaining until two months before his nomination for governor in 1950. He continued to draw expenses even after his election, though it was contended that they were for service performed earlier. Mr. Pearson examines the vouchers more closely, since they were not subject to scrutiny by the GAO.

Teamsters head Dave Beck had visited the President recently, telling him that during his recent European trip, he had discussed with Herbert Morrison of Britain the trip of the British Labor leaders to Communist China, asking him whether Labor intended to cooperate with the Churchill Conservatives to promote Far Eastern trade, Mr. Morrison having denied that they would, adding that the timing of the trip was unfortunate. Mr. Beck had also told the President that British atomic energy for peacetime purposes was far ahead of that of the U.S., that they would have an atomic power plant in actual operation within a short time. The President paid tribute to the work of the free-trade unions in stopping Communism abroad.

Marquis Childs indicates that French Premier Pierre Mendes-France and the Deputy Premier had their offices within a handsome Eighteenth Century Paris building which fronted directly on the street and looked out from its rear on a private park and garden, the rooms filled with portraits of the great kings and courtiers of the glory days of France. The Premier looked out of place amid that grandeur, having put aside the empire dreams of France's past. He was practical, quiet spoken, intensely hard-working, exhibiting very little bombast or ostentation. His drama was in action, which he had been demonstrating during his previous two months in office, after so many years of delay and vacillation by prior French Governments, having flown to Tunisia and met with the Bey of Tunis, dramatizing the need to alter the relationship between that colony and France.

He was an intellectual and a patriot to France, had graduated from the French educational system with high honors, and had steadily climbed up the political ladder after having become the youngest deputy in the French National Assembly and, later, Mayor of Louviers. He had been Undersecretary of Finance in Leon Blum's last popular front Government of 1938. He had been captured and imprisoned after the fall of France in spring, 1940, while serving in the French Air Force Reserve, had then escaped through Spain, reaching England where he joined the Free French Air Force as a navigator in a bomber squadron, and, in 1943, had been summoned by General Charles de Gaulle to North Africa, where he became commissioner for finance in the provisional Government headed by General de Gaulle. Thereafter, he remained out of the several increasingly ineffectual Governments following the war.

In June, 1953, he had given a speech to the Assembly, at the point when he sought to form a government, indicating that France could not go on fighting an endless war in Indo-China and at the same time build up military strength in Europe which would give the French the necessary confidence to stand up to a rearmed West Germany within the context of the European Defense Community. On that occasion, he failed to form a new government, but the same theme had carried him into the premiership a year later.

Mr. Childs finds that his greatest asset was his own character and personality. He had caught the popular imagination and if he could hold it by moving with the same swiftness going forward, he might do what he had pledged, though he was aware that the odds were against him. But, concludes Mr. Childs, he specialized in long odds.

Doris Fleeson indicates that Senator McCarthy, in not participating in the midterm elections campaigns, was gambling on a hunch that the Democrats would regain control of the Congress, sources having indicated that position as explaining his decision to absent himself from the campaign, maintaining only one political engagement. It made sense, as no matter what he did henceforth, he could not claim that the results would be any of his doing, even if the Republicans managed to retain control. Vice-President Nixon was already identified as the point man of the campaign and the President was about to move into it in a major way. They would be provided the credit if the final results were favorable to the Administration.

He also realized that the President and Vice-President would get the blame if the Republicans lost control, provided he did not move in to share it with them, a move which his friends believed would constitute a major risk for him, quoting him as predicting privately that the Democrats would win.

Two days after the recent election in Maine, where Congressman Edmund Muskie had defeated incumbent Republican Governor Cross in an upset, the Senator had declared his intention not to participate in the campaign. Moreover, two Republican Congressmen from Wisconsin were believed to be in danger of defeat in that normally Republican state, and two Wisconsin newspapermen had quoted statistics showing that more votes were cast in the Democratic primary than ever previously, and that Senator McCarthy had always enjoyed an excellent private polling system which proved invariably correct. Republican state officials were calling for him to return home for the campaign, and how he might respond to that entreaty would be illuminating.

If the Republicans were to lose control of the Senate, he would no longer be chairman of the Investigating subcommittee, where he had been able to hold such sway. Ms. Fleeson suggests that he might not mind that too much as he had never been consistently a worker and had lost his chief counsel, Roy Cohn, who had resigned in the wake of the Army-McCarthy hearings. The Senator might also believe that the force which had made him powerful, the chasing and investigating of domestic Communists, was beginning to fade away. He could salvage his personal following, which would regard him as a martyr, and would be free to criticize foes in both parties and the President. If the Democrats did not regain control, he would retain the chairmanship of his subcommittee, provided he survived censure. He could also excuse himself for not taking part in the campaign because of the censure inquiry.

Congressional Quarterly indicates that foreign agents representing both the Chinese Nationalists and the Chinese Communists were working within the U.S. to influence opinion and policy, while other persons and groups were promoting trade and undertaking business transactions for the Nationalist Government on Formosa, though most of those representatives denied engaging in any political activity.

Senate Majority Leader William Knowland of California and Senator Styles Bridges of New Hampshire had both been reported on September 10 as favoring U.S. action to help to defend Formosa and its surrounding islands in case of a Communist Chinese invasion, and a similar position had been taken on September 13 by Senator Alexander Smith of New Jersey, chairman of the Foreign Relation Committee's panel on Asian affairs.

According to Justice Department records, there were eight organizations and three individuals registered as agents in the U.S. for Chinese principals, with two groups and one individual being aligned with the Communist Chinese and the others affiliated with the Nationalists. Both groups had a total of more than 20 agents within the U.S. since 1942, based on their registration as foreign agents. It lists those various organizations and individuals.

A letter writer from Asheville suggests that people, though they would try to deny it, would be quite different were they born on the other side of the tracks or in different countries, where different values and opinions prevailed, that one's background was responsible for one's ideas, for making value judgments of right and wrong, and if people would allow the other person the benefit of that difference in dealing with them, there would be "more friends, more tolerance and understanding, and a broader outlook on life itself."

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