The Charlotte News

Wednesday, September 29, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in London at the nine-nation conference, agreement on a compromise plan had been reached whereby West Germany could be rearmed and made a part of NATO, designed as a replacement for the European Defense Community treaty which proposed a unified six-nation army, ratification of which had been rejected recently by the French National Assembly. Top sources close to the conference said that the agreed plan called for a new seven-nation alliance and for NATO to share the job of safeguarding against unlimited German rearmament. It was said that France had consented to the simultaneous entry of West Germany to NATO at the creation of the seven-nation pact, the latter to consist of West Germany, Italy, Britain, France and the Benelux countries. (Opponents of EDC in France believed that Britain could keep German rearmament in check, whereas Britain had not been a member of the proposed EDC.) Sources indicated that French Premier Pierre Mendes-France was now willing to go along with the idea that some of the safeguards against runaway German rearmament and control over the European continental troops and supply of weapons would be within the province of NATO, whereas West Germany had preferred to have all of the controls under NATO. Previously, Premier Mendes-France had demanded that the controls be exercised completely by the new seven-nation pact. It was indicated that the conference had turned over the work of formulating the details of the agreed compromise to committees of experts.

In the Senate, there were signs of a bitter fight ahead regarding the proposed censure of Senator McCarthy, following the unanimous report on Monday of the six-Senator select committee, recommending three grounds for censure. Senator William Jenner, chairman of the Rules Committee, disclosed that he intended to call the chairman of the select committee, Senator Arthur Watkins of Utah, before his committee for questioning, to find out whether Senator Watkins had conducted a one-man closed hearing at which Senator Watkins had questioned the Senate parliamentarian about the validity of the Senate Elections subcommittee of 1951-52 which had investigated Senator McCarthy's finances in late 1952, before which the Senator had refused to appear, one basis for censure having been that he stood in contempt of that committee. Senator McCarthy had challenged the legal status of that subcommittee because the chairman of the parent committee had appointed himself to be a member to fulfill the quorum requirement, after three of the five Senators on the subcommittee had resigned, the parliamentarian having ruled that it was appropriate under the rules for the chairman of the parent committee to have done so. Senator McCarthy's attorney, Edward Bennett Williams, had agreed to submit a set of questions in writing for the parliamentarian, but the parliamentarian was then questioned in the office of Senator Watkins, prompting protest from Mr. Williams that the questions asked by Senator Watkins had gone beyond the scope of those agreed in advance, Mr. Williams then seeking permission to cross-examine the parliamentarian, a request which had been granted.

Among four rules changes recommended by the special committee on the censure resolution, was one which would provide that no witness would be required to testify before fewer than two members of a committee unless the committee, by majority vote, authorized such a one-man hearing. Senator McCarthy, himself, had, on occasion, conducted such one-man hearings of the Senate Investigations subcommittee which he chaired.

Officials in Washington said this date that chances of winning the release of Hermann, Noel and Herta Field from Communist Poland and Hungary had been greatly increased by facts regarding their disappearance, provided by a refugee from Poland who was a secret police official, Jozef Swiatlo, who, according to Attorney General Herbert Brownell the previous day, had been granted asylum by the U.S. after defecting the prior December and then working undercover with U.S. intelligence agencies, providing useful information about European satellites of the Soviets. Mr. Swiatlo had arrested Hermann Field in August, 1949 and had also interviewed the other two family members, husband and wife, in 1949 at Budapest, to try to obtain evidence of espionage or conspiratorial work, in which the Communists had alleged they been involved for the U.S. The State Department had sought the earliest possible release of all three from Poland and Hungary. Mr. Swiatlo said that Hermann had been held in a Polish prison and Noel and his wife, Herta, were assumed to be in Hungary. Previously, it was not known whether the three remained alive. In earlier cases of the type, once information had been received on their whereabouts, the responsible governments had dropped the pretense and begun negotiations, and so it was hoped that at this point Hungary and Poland would do so regarding the three family members.

The Senate Judiciary Monopolies subcommittee this date approved a motion to request that the Atomic Energy Commission delay signing the controversial Dixon-Yates power combine contract until the subcommittee completed its investigation, the motion for the delay having passed with only two of the five members of the subcommittee present, the chairman, Senator William Langer of North Dakota, and Senator Estes Kefauver of Tennessee. It was the subcommittee's second request for such a delay of the contract which would turn over to the private power combine an area currently served by TVA, West Memphis, Ark. The President had directed the AEC to proceed with the negotiations on the contract and Congress at its last session had approved such an arrangement, following a filibuster of the bill by the Democrats, contending that it would set a precedent for providing cheap public power to private utilities, enabling them to profit at taxpayer and consumer expense, with Senator Kefauver indicating that the project would cost the Government from 90 to 150 million dollars more than TVA power utilized for the same purpose. There was also a dispute over lack of competitive bidding on the contract, as another power combine out of New York had charged that it was brushed off when it sought to bid, the leader of that group having contended that their proposal would save the Government 150 million dollars over the Dixon-Yates contract. Congress had rejected TVA proposals to build its own steam plant to replace power supplied by TVA to atomic installations at Paducah, Ky., and Oak Ridge, Tenn. Signing of the contract was expected shortly, as AEC chairman Lewis Strauss had predicted nearly two weeks earlier that it could be ready probably within a couple of weeks.

Senator Pat McCarran of Nevada, 78, had died the previous night, just moments after a vigorous speech aimed at strengthening his slipping grip on the state Democratic Party in Nevada. He had collapsed as he walked up an aisle surrounded by well-wishers, following a Democratic rally in Hawthorne, and was pronounced dead 20 minutes later of coronary occlusion after two doctors had sought to revive him with a respirator. It was the ninth death of a Senator during the current 1954 session of Congress, leaving the Republicans with 48 Senators and the Democrats with 46, plus independent Senator Wayne Morse of Oregon. The Governor of Nevada, Charles Russell, was a Republican, and would not discuss his choice for a successor, presumably to be a Republican. Senator McCarran had served in the Senate for 22 years, and had been planning to run for his fifth term in 1956. He was regarded as a conservative by many of the younger elements of the Democratic Party. He had been elected as part of the 1932 Roosevelt landslide, following an unsuccessful attempt at election to the Senate in 1926. He had often been at odds with both the Roosevelt and Truman Administrations and his fellow Democrats. The previous day, he had attacked the Senate select committee for recommending censure of Senator McCarthy, whom he strongly supported. He had said that Senator Edwin Johnson of Colorado, the vice-chairman of the committee, was prejudiced against Senator McCarthy.

In Leonardtown, Md., a 21-year old Navy airman from Rocky Mount, N.C., accused of killing a Navy Wave, was facing the death penalty in a trial in which the prosecution was expected to complete its case-in-chief this date, following the start of the trial the previous day. The victim had been stationed at Patuxent Naval Air Test Center the previous May 29, when she died, as had been the defendant. Her battered body had been discovered partly submerged on a lonely Chesapeake Bay beach at nearby Point Lookout, having been beaten with a soft drink bottle found near the body. Medical authorities testified, however, that drowning was the cause of death. A toxicologist had testified the previous day that she had not been raped and that stains found on clothing worn by the defendant and later discarded by him were of Type O blood, the same as that of the defendant, with the victim's blood type not having come into evidence at that point in the case. The local sheriff, who had traveled to Rocky Mount the day after the slaying and arrested the defendant, testified that the defendant had said he had cut his finger on a knife while opening a can of roast beef and had bled onto his clothing, then removed it and had thrown it away. The sheriff confirmed that the defendant had a deep gash on his right index finger, also indicating that he recovered the clothing about 12 miles north of Leonardtown. The defendant denied killing the victim, told police that he was with her the night before her body was discovered but that she had been alive when he let her out of his car at the beach with an unidentified hitchhiker they had picked up at her suggestion. The defendant was married and his wife attended the proceedings, along with the defendant's father and brother-in-law, both of Rocky Mount. All 12 jurors were male and each had indicated he did not have any moral objection to capital punishment. The defense would present no evidence, contending that the prosecution had failed to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt, the court rejecting a defense motion for a directed verdict on that basis, and following an hour and fifty-five minutes of deliberation the following day, the jury would convict the defendant of second degree murder, immediately after which the court would sentence him to 18 years in prison.

Don Whitehead of the Associated Press provides the first of a series of reports on the operation of the Weather Bureau in Washington, having a budget for weather research of only $500,000 out of the 24.75 million dollar total budget for the Bureau, one of the more modest of all of the Federal budgets. The largest part of weather research and operations money was spent by the Air Force and the Navy, primarily based on military needs, with some of the information thus produced being classified weather secrets, to which even Weather Bureau officials did not have access. Nevertheless, the Air Force, Navy and the Bureau worked together on many projects and shared most of the benefits of their collective effort. The Air Force had about 12,000 officers, noncoms and civilian personnel in its weather service, and the Navy had another 3,000, while the Weather Bureau had only about 3,800 personnel plus some part-time workers on their forecasting payroll. The Bureau was correct on about 85 percent of its forecasts, but a wrong forecast could mean death and suffering, with losses in property damage running into many times the amount of money which the Government spent on the service. The assistant director of the Bureau was optimistic about the chances of predicting weather accurately for an entire season and for longer range predictions through a span of years, while experts admitted that, except for short-range forecasts, they were still in an early stage of trying to match theory with fact on a longer-term basis. There was a promising new method of pinpointing the paths of tornadoes, to provide adequate warning for same, a new method of making more accurate forecasts on the basis of a mathematical formula fed through a computer, and progress in long-range forecasting. Aristotle, in 600 B.C., had done the first meteorological writing with any authority, and no one improved much on his thinking until the first thermometer and barometer were invented about 2,000 years afterward. Slowly through the years, forecasters pieced together the records of storms and their movement from west to east and the violent reactions which came from masses of cold air moving from the North into warmer air from the tropics, to develop the first weather forecasting, set up in Cincinnati in the mid-Eighteenth Century by Cleveland Abbe, who specialized in probabilities of rain or shine, becoming known as "old Probs". By 1869, with plentifiul shipwrecks on the Great Lakes occurring from storms, shipping interests, farmers and others combined to urge establishment of a Federal storm-warning service, and in 1870, Congress passed a joint resolution giving storm-warning duties to the Army Signal Corps, the start of the Weather Bureau, eventually headed by Mr. Abbe for 45 years, moving out of the Signal Corps to the Agriculture Department in 1890, and then transferred by Congress in 1940 to the Commerce Department, where it remained in 1954. Radar and electronics developed during World War II had enabled new knowledge in weather forecasting.

In San Francisco, an electronic monster had gone berserk the previous night, giving television viewers a picture from one network and sound effects from another simultaneously for one minute and seven seconds. "Truth or Consequences" disappeared from the NBC network picture screens, replaced by "Life with Father" from CBS, while the sound continued from the NBC programming. The Pacific Telephone & Telegraph Co. said that a relay machine at the main switching point near San Francisco had malfunctioned, but engineers had quickly flipped some switches and corrected the problem.

On the editorial page, "A Solution for Senate Problem" indicates that because of one of the state's laws being outdated regarding elections, there was a possibility that Senator Alton Lennon would represent the state during the first part of the Senate's forthcoming special session and that Senator-nominate Kerr Scott, the Democratic nominee who was certain of election in November in the one-party state, would replace him no earlier than November 23, before the session ended, during the debate on the censure resolution of Senator McCarthy.

It indicates that the situation had arisen during horse and buggy days when it took a long time for votes to be counted, and so elections were not formally certified until three weeks after election day, meaning that former Governor Scott would not be eligible to assume the Senate seat of Senator Lennon until November 23. The Senate was scheduled to be convened on November 8 to begin consideration of the censure resolution, and possibly other matters. State Attorney General Harry McMullan had issued an opinion saying that Senator Lennon could serve until his successor was qualified. Because Senator Lennon had been appointed by the Governor as an interim Senator, in the wake of the death of Senator Willis Smith in June, 1953, Senator Lennon was appointed to serve only until the general election in November.

It indicates that it was impossible at this point to determine how long the special session would last, but suggests that both sides' desire to present their arguments would likely prolong it beyond just a few days.

It suggests therefore that a practical solution to the problem would be for Senator Lennon to resign his seat and allow Governor Umstead to appoint Mr. Scott, effective on November 8, at the start of the special session. It urges Senator Lennon to consider that approach, as it would also enable Senator Scott to have a couple of weeks of extra seniority, which Senator Lennon had emphasized during his campaign in the primary the previous spring.

It expresses appreciation for the work done by Senator Lennon, and urges the 1955 General Assembly to change the law to enable the State Board of Elections to qualify the choice of the people within a few days after an election.

"A Thought" indicates that Britain's Labor Party leader, Clement Attlee, had said that Formosa should be united with Communist China "after a period", and that Chiang Kai-shek had wanted to continue holding Formosa, and, if he could, win back the mainland from the Communists. A few Senators, while not advocating statehood for Formosa, had shown more affinity for that island than for the territories of Hawaii and Alaska.

It asks whether anyone had given any thought to providing Formosa to the Formosans.

"This Is the End of the Beginning" indicates that Winston Churchill had coined the expression, "the end of the beginning", in relation to his World War II leadership, and the piece finds it fitting for the present state of affairs regarding the planning program for Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, following the inception of the City-County planning commission. It finds the choice of J. Spencer Bell as chairman of the commission to have been an excellent one, as were the other members of the commission.

It indicates that the end of the beginning was not a point at which work would stop, but rather where the real work would now commence, planning for civic growth and progress in the community. It echoes the words the previous day of former Mayor and member of the City Council, Herbert Baxter: "Let's not wait for our future—let's make it."

"James Street—Writer" tells of Mr. Street of Chapel Hill having died untimely at age 50 the previous night, leaving behind a great body of work of novels and historical novels, with many more planned for the future. He had once been a Baptist preacher but had quit because he believed he did not fit and had suddenly realized that people listened to what he was saying when he did not know what he was talking about.

He planned another historical novel for the following year, regarding the War of 1812, and wanted to work his way through the Spanish-American War eventually.

He had been a delight to know, could tell stories from various parts of his past, about growing up in the Deep South, regarding his old newspaper days in New York, or about the voyage of Columbus, gleaned from the research for one of his finest books—presumably referring to The Velvet Doublet, published in 1953.

It concludes that there was a large void in the life of the South and particularly Chapel Hill with his death, and that no one would be able to fill it.

A piece appears on the page by Mr. Street regarding the South, the editors noting that it was one of the last he had written.

A piece from the Nashville Tennessean, titled "Light from Darkest Africa", indicates that an African expedition which had just ended had as its purpose a search for the mechanism in giraffes which maintained their heads uniform while nibbling grass or leaves at high altitudes, in the hope of applying the science to prevent pilots from blacking out when pulling out of dives.

It concludes that on that basis, they would have either to teach the giraffes to fly or tell pilots to stay out of dives.

Drew Pearson indicates that Secretary of the Interior Douglas McKay was one of the most friendly and talkative persons in the Administration, but there was one thing about which his aides would not discuss, the manner in which a choice section of the Rogue River National Forest had been cut off and given away for only five dollars per acre to the MacDonald family of Mobile, Ala. The land had some of the finest Douglas fir in the Northwest, which would now be subject to being cut. The MacDonald's had been seeking for six years to persuade the Interior Department to let them obtain the timberland, but Democratic Secretaries of the Interior had refused. Alabama Congressman Frank Boykin had frequently pestered former Secretary of Interior Oscar Chapman regarding the matter on behalf of his constituents, but had gotten nowhere. Things had changed under Mr. McKay, as the family utilized Congressman Harris Ellsworth, a Republican from Oregon, and also got support from Senator Eugene Millikin of Colorado, with Mr. McKay having finally acquiesced.

Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson, in addition to the Democrats, had been against the transfer of land, as had Congressman Clifford Hope of Kansas, an important Republican who had introduced a bill in 1953 seeking to plug National Forest giveaway loopholes. That bill had specifically pointed out that the Rogue River National Forest was an area with exceptionally fine timberland and negligible mineral value, that a single 20-acre tract was worth $25,000 in timber value.

Despite that Republican opposition, Secretary McKay had allowed 454 acres of that National Forest to be sold off to the MacDonald family for five dollars per acre, when it should have brought $170,000 or not been sold at all, as Democrats favored. Mr. Pearson explains in detail how the MacDonald family had arranged the deal.

James Street, in one of his last pieces, written for Holiday magazine, prior to his death the previous day in Chapel Hill, discusses the South and the myths about it, starting with the notion that "a band of Spanish transgressors, heroic but greedy, started the South 441 years ago while seeking a fantasy that would let them live forever with little work; and it is astounding how many northerners think the South hasn't changed since then, and how many southerners wish it hadn't." He goes on to describe Florida's Ponce de Leon as the South's first "pitch man", using the Fountain of Youth as his commercial, and Virginia's John Smith using, similarly, the "faire meadows and goodly Tall trees" to promote the territory he sought to settle, finding that people could not agree whether the South was "a land of moonlight or moonshine, Tobacco Road or tobacco factories, Texas Cadillacs or ox carts, Uncle Remus or George Washington Carver, Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black or Senator Claghorn, hydrogen plants or hot air, R.F.D. or TVA, hospitality or hostility, violence or tranquility, Miami or mud, Li'l Abner, Prince Valiant or Pogo."

He decides that the South was or had been all of those things but that it was "national nonsense" to accent any of them, for it was not true what they had said about Dixie, and it never would be as long as Southerners held to the mores which made them different from all other Americans.

He finds that the South gave the rest of the nation something about which to talk and suggests some of the topics which provoked sure conversation in any region. He starts with the South's inferiority complex, a defensive attitude which had it that one's father could whip the other's father and the subject could therefore whip the listener, never minding that he could not, but never learned. He proceeds to the Southern accent, "somewhere between the phony mush of the honey-chile buffoons and the careful enunciation of Edward R. Murrow", indicating that there was nothing more ludicrous to Southerners as Northerners trying to imitate Southern speech.

He next regards Shintoism, that other regions of the country were just as sectional and provincial in nature as was the South.

Southern music, spirituals, blues, jazz and country or folk music, also extended to symphonic music. Although the region did not have great orchestras, it had pretty good ones, and Southerners were a musical people, "from Debussy to Jelly Roll Morton."

Southern hospitality could be real as long as one did not go looking for it, but was not automatically rolled out.

Southern women were no different from any other women in the world, despite the myth, except for certain speech patterns, but, he concludes, as long as others preferred the myth, they could pursue it, as it distinguished Southern women from their sisters. He finds that the South tried to laugh at such nonsense, but really squirmed at movies and in reading books and plays which made Southern women seem so silly. At the same time, he recognizes that the South invited some of that stereotyping, as one could not go on bragging of "Pure Southern Womanhood" and talking big about Atlanta or Kentucky having the most beautiful women in the world, without some retort.

"And yet the South is female. Our rivers are male—Old Man Mississippi and all his sons. Nothing down here is neuter, thank the good Lord. The South herself is a she. Like ships. Like France. Like cats. Like railroad trains.

"And there is one truth about the South that is not a myth at all: the South—she endures."

Robert C. Ruark writes of the World Series and his former sports writing days during the 1930's, enabling him to rub elbows with the greats of baseball for a week during the Series, while otherwise writing about the Washington Senators for a newspaper which thought a sports page was only a necessary evil. He tells of there being a kind of acute tension about the Series, not possible of explanation to an Englishman. "It is a unique climax of a unique sport, a sport so endlessly inventive that even a game between the Athletics and Nats would show you something new and delightful."

"There is enough stuff left over to write about and talk about until spring training starts again next year, and the hot-stove arguments eventually make legend. It's the best time of the year and the best spectacle and the best sport, and I personally am glad the Russians invented it."

A letter writer urges all eligible voters in Charlotte to take notice of works of the City Council, a meeting of which she had recently attended, opening her eyes to some conditions which she did not know existed in City Government. She heard a debate about opening of a street in the city, with people appearing on both sides of the matter at the meeting, immediately after which the Council voted, without any discussion regarding the debate, making it obvious to her that the Council had already decided the matter before the hearing and simply was putting on a show. At the end of the meeting, the Mayor, Philip Van Every, had declared that it was their government in action, but she indicates that if that was the case, it was time for a change.

A letter writer from Morganton indicates that a large number of patients and employees at the hospital where he was purchased copies of the newspaper, and he exchanged his Asheville newspaper with subscribers of Charlotte newspapers. He believes they were fortunate to have the privilege to read some of the very best dailies, as well as good weekly and monthly magazines, also having access to television and radio programs. He had read with pleasure three letters to the editor the previous day, finding one letter, regarding "carpetbagger politics", to be about 75 years too late to appeal to broad-minded men and women of the present progressive age, favoring forgetting about carpetbagger politics and being good Americans regardless of political party affiliation. He also says that he bitterly opposed smoke-filled rooms where small committees chose candidates for public office, thus depriving the voters of the choice.

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