The Charlotte News
Saturday, February 12, 1955
Site Ed. Note: The front page reports from London that a monitored Moscow radio broadcast had announced this date that Russia had called for a conference, to take place in either Shanghai or New Delhi, regarding the question of Formosa, seeking the participation of Communist China, the Soviet Union, the U.S., Britain, France and the nations of Southeast Asia. Britain was believed to have already rejected the proposal unless the Chinese Nationalists were also invited to participate, and the U.S. had already made it clear that such was their position. The U.N. Security Council would meet the following Monday again to take up the question of a cease-fire in the Formosa Straits, with Communist China having already rejected a U.N. invitation to send a representative to take part in those discussions.
From Taipeh, it was reported by the Chinese Nationalist Defense Ministry that Communist China had massed a fleet of 70 armed motorized junks at Foochow, off the Nationalist outpost island of Matsu this date, posing an ominous new threat just as the Nationalists had completed evacuation of the Tachen Islands with the aid of the U.S. Seventh Fleet.
The State Department announced that the Navy and Air Force would now resume normal operations in the area of Formosa, after the evacuation effort had been concluded, and would be alert to any concentration of Chinese Communist forces obviously undertaking to facilitate an attack on Formosa, remaining prepared to take appropriate military action if necessary. The last U.S. landing craft had departed the Tachens this date, leaving them empty and devastated, after six days of frenzied activity during which 40,000 civilians, guerrilla and Nationalist regular troops had been evacuated. The evacuation had been climaxed the previous night by tremendous demolition of piles of ammunition, the explosions from which had rocked ships off the islands, shooting balls of fire high into the sky. Associated Press correspondent Jim Becker had reported that the rats had taken over the islands this date, with thousands of them scurrying through deserted villages, and Big Hat Village, a thousand-year old former pirate town, left smoking and in ruin, with many stone houses being burned-out hulks, and gaping holes remaining where Nationalist soldiers had blasted their elaborate fortifications into uselessness.
Senate Judiciary Committee aides said this date that they had received "only a trickle" of responses from persons who had asked to testify in opposition to the nomination of Federal Second Circuit Court of Appeals Judge John Harlan, nominated the prior November to the Supreme Court by the President to replace deceased Justice Robert Jackson, who had died in October. Judge Harlan had been invited to audit the confirmation hearings on February 23, when the Committee would meet in executive session to hear protests against his confirmation, but there were indications that the Judge would forgo the proceeding. Committee aides said that more than 50 individuals had originally asked to be heard, but that few had responded to invitations actually to appear. Some members of the Committee had indicated desire to question Judge Harlan about his position on whether a treaty could override state laws and constitutions, a question raised by the previously tabled proposed amendment to the Constitution regarding the treaty-making powers, designed to limit the President's authority, as proposed by Senator John W. Bricker of Ohio, revived in the new Congress.
In the House, a bill to increase 1955 cotton acreage by 3 percent, designed to ease severe individual cuts, was expected to win speedy approval this date, according to Representative William Poage of Texas, the second ranking Democrat on the Agriculture Committee. He said it was urgent to approve the legislation quickly because planting was already underway in some cotton areas. The measure had sped through an Agriculture subcommittee the previous day, and, as proposed, would add 543,000 acres to the national limit of 18.2 million acres set by the Department of Agriculture.
In Chicago, Senator George Malone of Nevada this date told a rally of conservative Republicans that "our foreign policies are largely dictated by so-called allies." He was to be joined in the Lincoln Day speech by Senators McCarthy and Everett Dirksen, plus three other speakers, on a day-long program of speeches. The overall theme was: "What must the Republican Party do in 1955 to preserve the Republic and itself?" Senator Malone said that no U.S. business or manufacturing interests subject to competition from foreign imports was fully independent, that the State Department, with most of its personnel carried over from two Democratic Administrations, had "destroyed the independence of these enterprises by its foreign trade and foreign aid policies". He stated that the U.S. was the only nation "that fights other people's wars and pays for them, too," that the Republican Party's mission was "to save America by keeping our money and strength at home." He favored extricating the country from all foreign entanglements which the Democrats had involved it in—which, presumably, would have to include NATO and the U.N.—, and to cease "squandering billions on subsidies to foreign competitors for our own markets," instead investing those billions in defense. Most of those attending were conservative rank-and-file members of the party who had supported the late Senator Robert Taft of Ohio, according to sponsors of the event. Kit Clardy, a former Congressman from Michigan who had been a member of HUAC, devoted a good portion of his prepared address to criticism of Americans for Democratic Action and the Committee for an Effective Congress, indicating that as long as the "Stevenson, Reuther, ADA, left-wing philosophy retains control of the Democratic Party machinery—so long as they put up candidates who subscribe to the theory that we have nothing to fear from the Communists within our midst—the hope of the nation must rest with the Republican Party and those Southern Democrats who have not forgotten their heritage." Secretary of Labor James Mitchell would address the group this night.
In other show business news, James Bacon of the Associated Press reports from Hollywood that the movie industry would turn out this night for the first televised Academy Awards nominations ceremony, to be broadcast on NBC, with the network having promised that only the reactions of nominees would be shown on camera. It would begin this night at 9:00 EST from four locations, NBC Burbank, Ciro's, Romanoff's and the Cocoanut Grove at the Ambassador Hotel. Potential nominees would be scattered throughout all four locations. Judy Garland would be with emcee Jack Webb in Burbank, along with Jane Wyman, Ms. Garland a likely nominee for "A Star Is Born" and Ms. Wyman, for "Magnificent Obsession". Humphrey Bogart, a likely nominee for "The Caine Mutiny", would be at Romanoff's, having declined to be at the Cocoanut Grove, where he was initially scheduled to be located, saying that the trip was too far if they did not call his name, and that he was a stockholder at Romanoff's. Katy Jurado, a likely nominee for best supporting actress in "The Broken Lance", would also be at Romanoff's with Mr. Bogart. Bing Crosby, a likely nominee for "The Country Girl", would watch the proceedings on television from his home, having only returned from the hospital a few days earlier after undergoing removal of a kidney stone. There was some resentment among the movie personnel for telecasting the nominations, as many felt that it would take away too much from the main ceremonies of March 30, at which the awards would be announced. Others believed that it was too early in the afternoon, Pacific time, to attend a nightclub, with one top star commenting that it was bad enough to have to show up when the odds against winning an award were 5 to 1, while being nominated had 50 to 1 odds. Marlon Brando, who was certain to be nominated for best actor for his work in "On the Waterfront", had thus far not indicated whether he would show. Grace Kelly, who was likely to be nominated for "The Country Girl", Audrey Hepburn, for "Sabrina", William Holden, for "The Country Girl", and Fredric March, for "Executive Suite", were all out of town. Of all the potential nominees listed, only the latter two did not make the grade in the eyes of the Academy. Don't they have any special category for Senator McCarthy, for best actor in a supporting role playing himself, for the hearings the prior spring?
In Los Angeles, a man, 93, and a woman, 89, celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary this date, the man saying that if they had a quarrel, he had been a patient man, that if things had not gone right, he was patient.
In Augusta, Me., a Boston to Bangor passenger train had plunged off a rain-gorged roadbed bordering a riverbank area during a driving rainstorm the previous night, but none of the 114 passengers and six crewmen had been seriously injured. Two of the train's seven cars had hurtled down a steep, 15-foot embankment into the ice-covered Kennebec River. A passenger said that the most amazing thing had been that no one had screamed.
Near Sauk Centre, Minn., all 12 cars of a Western Star Seattle to Chicago passenger train had been derailed the previous night in subzero weather, injuring 40 of the 190 passengers, but none seriously. Two passenger cars and two mail cars had been turned on their sides and most of the cars which remained standing had been jackknifed to form a zigzag pattern. The wreck had apparently been caused by a rail breakage produced by the subzero temperatures. Eight of the passengers, who were soldiers returning from Korea, had "worked like fiends" to free others from the cars. A railroad ticket agent said that there had been no hysterics among the passengers, and that the eight soldiers had lit matches and told everyone not to become excited, then started to see what was needed. Most of the passengers had remained inside the cars to protect them from the cold weather.
During the previous 24 hours, 31 persons had lost their lives in fires, including 21 men who had perished in a crowded Skid Row hotel in Chicago, the latter having occurred early this date in subzero weather, some of the dead having succumbed to smoke inhalation and exposure, while others had been burned beyond immediate recognition. Fourteen others had been injured, including two firemen.
In Kennebunk, Me., a flash fire in a small cottage the previous night had taken the lives of three children and seriously injured their father, the dead including, believe it or not, four-year old twins, Robert and William Barr. The fire had apparently been caused by a gas furnace.
The most widespread cold wave thus far of the winter season continued across the eastern two-thirds of the nation, with little immediate relief in prospect. At least 28 deaths had been attributed to the cold weather and snow, the latter having hit much of the Midwest on Thursday, sweeping into the eastern third of the nation the previous day, with snowfalls measuring more than a foot in upstate New York and much of the Southeast recording zero temperatures and below in mountainous areas. About two inches of snow had fallen in New York City, quickly turning to slush in rising temperatures, but nearby counties had recorded as much as eight inches, producing traffic jams in surrounding counties.
In Charlotte, in the early morning hours, the record low temperature for the date of 11 degrees, set on February 12, 1899, had nearly been eclipsed, when the thermometer reached 14, the low so far for the winter. It was expected to reach 12 the following morning. The previous day's high of 58 would drop to 28 this date, and was predicted to reach a high of 37 the following day, while Monday would likely produce a low of 25. The forecast for this date and Sunday was for mostly fair and very cold weather. The low at Mount Mitchell, in the extreme western part of the state, was 15 below zero, with 8 to 10 inches of snow on top of the mountain, the highest point in the state. Towns nearby Charlotte had recorded similarly low temperatures. Rainfall for the week was 3.24 inches, with the total for February thus far being 3.37 inches, 1.93 inches above normal for the first 12 days of the month. Florida was concerned about preservation of its citrus and vegetable crops because of the cold weather extending throughout most of the Southeast, with temperatures having reached lows of between 8 and 15 degrees in Mississippi, and not much better in neighboring Louisiana.
In New York, Consolidated Edison Co. reported this date that it had assigned an engineer to measure the power of a pat on a cat, finding that to light a 75-watt light bulb for a minute would take 9.2 billion such cat pats. But how many cats would it take to screw in the bulb? Would they need a pole? Would it have been the same number in Big Hat Village, overrun by rats?
On the editorial page, "Secret Sessions: An Inherent Right?" finds it refreshing to see that the State Association of County Commissioners had provided support of a bill requiring county commissioners in the state to transact the public's business in public session, which had been repealed inadvertently by the General Assembly in 1951, with the State Association wanting it restored. There had been no mention of the "inherent right" of a public body to hold secret sessions. Yet, such a right had been claimed by those in the General Assembly favoring executive sessions, supporting a rules change in both the State House and the State Senate to permit committees to hold such sessions, except as to final committee recommendations.
It indicates that those legislators who had supported the rules change had chosen to ignore more than 150 years of progress in the battle for freedom of information, that the people had an inherent right to know facts about their government, subject only to security concerns.
For centuries, no one who was not a member of the British Parliament had been allowed to attend a session, with publication of the proceedings punishable as contempt of the legislature, with the rationale having been that it was necessary protection against interference with Parliamentary proceedings by the Crown, and later justified as a means to conceal statements and votes by members from their constituents. Nevertheless, violations of the rule had become commonplace, and with the push for freedom of the press, enforcement soon had broken down completely. But as late as 1874, "strangers" to the Parliament or reporters could be and sometimes were excluded, upon the request of individual members.
Colonial America had been afflicted by similar infringements on freedom of the press, with redress of that grievance being one of the main objects of the Revolution. About 150 years earlier, on a straight party vote, the press obtained access to both the Senate and the House. While both bodies continued to hold executive sessions, there having been 1,357 such sessions in 1953, the campaign for the elimination of them was gaining support. In a recent poll, 25 Senators said that they were for open meetings in all except matters concerning national security, which the piece regards as reasonable. Thirteen other Senators said they had favored open committee hearings with certain reservations, such as protection of witness reputations. Seven Senators said that they were open-minded on the matter and would be willing to discuss it reasonably with the press. Only 11 Senators had said they favored executive sessions.
Meanwhile, anti-secrecy statutes had been passed in a number of states, including California, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Ohio, South Dakota and Washington.
A North Carolina proponent of executive sessions had cited the fact that the U.S. Constitution had been written in a session so bound by secrecy that no minutes had been kept and members had been enjoined by their own honor not to reveal the way they had voted. But, the piece indicates, a wave of criticism had swept through the colonies when it was discovered that the constitutional convention had met in secrecy, such that in August, 1787, Thomas Jefferson had written to John Adams that he was sorry that they had begun their deliberations with such an "abominable" precedent as "tying up the tongues of their young members", that nothing could justify that example except "the innocence of their intentions and ignorance of the value of public discussion". In response, a number of the states, including North Carolina, had indignantly refused to ratify the first draft of the Constitution, and amid that controversy, the Bill of Rights was then drafted and passed, then submitted to the states for ratification.
It concludes that public opinion had been overruling the politician in the country ever since, and that in the end, it always would.
"'Things That Go Bump in the Night'" indicates that to the accompaniment of cries of "Socialism!", members of the City Council had hastily buried urban development during the week, having voted unanimously to take no action if they heard nothing more about it. They had apparently, opines the piece, given themselves up to ghosts and goblins, or what James Thurber had called "things that go bump in the night".
"Socialism" had become a dirty word, but it appeared strange that public officials should allow themselves to be buffaloed by such words alone. Just because Socialists or Communists, or even Fascists, favored a certain policy, did not mean that the policy, itself, was necessarily bad, such as public housing, the income tax or slum clearance.
The Council had brushed aside the advice of the City-County Planning Commission, which had advised seeking legislation to authorize the right of government eminent domain in blighted areas of the community, with the Council having decided on January 27 that an informal hearing would be held on the proposal on February 9, at which point, no member of the Council could recall having ever called a hearing despite opponents of the plan being on hand and heard.
The piece indicates that workable urban redevelopment legislation was badly needed, that thousands of community residents lived in miserable conditions, breeding disease and crime, weakening the entire social and economic fabric of the community. It posits that the choice was between progress and decay. It says that it does not know whether the support of the Council would influence legislators in the General Assembly to any significant degree, but that it would help and that certainly legislation in the field would not occur unless there was a demand for it at the local level.
"This Loophole Should Be Plugged" indicates that when the General Assembly had passed the Motor Vehicle Safety and Financial Responsibility Act of 1953, it had left a major loophole in the law as a concession to opponents of the measure, that being to allow automatic restoration of a suspended license for want of financial responsibility, while an appeal in an accident case was pending in the courts.
The piece indicates that the loophole had weakened the effect of the law and contradicted its purpose, and ought be plugged. A bill to do so had been introduced by a State Representative of Robeson County, providing for license suspension during an appeal. Opponents of that bill argued that a person should not be deprived of rights without finality of a finding by a court. The piece thinks the argument sounded good, but that the Financial Responsibility Act was not designed to penalize a driver for having had an accident, rather was intended to penalize the motorist who could not demonstrate financial responsibility for the consequences of driving by demonstrating liability insurance coverage or depositing up to $11,000 with the Motor Vehicles commissioner. Furthermore, it comments, the "right to drive" was at best a restricted right—actually a "privilege", as is anything subject to licensure by the states, not a true right at all, the ability to travel interstate generally being a right, but not to drive in pursuing that travel. It concludes that one test of fitness to operate a motor vehicle was that the driver have financial responsibility for the results of actions while driving.
Drew Pearson indicates that the President had expressed the view regarding the recent shakeup in Moscow that, on the whole, he did not believe the replacement of Premier Georgi Malenkov by the new Premier, Nikolai Bulganin, was a harbinger of war, that on the contrary, he believed that the opposite might be true and that the new leadership in Russia might be embarking on a stronger policy of coexistence. He based that belief on his notion that Mr. Malenkov was relieved as Premier because he was committing Russia to too much support of the Chinese Communists, the bellicosity of whom had been inconsonant with the Russian "peace" propaganda of late. The President also believed that the Russian leaders were satisfied with the territorial conquests they had made during the previous decade and probably believed they had nothing to gain from being too closely associated with the action around Formosa, or any other events which might lead to a general war. He believed that because the Soviets had enslaved 800 million people during the prior decade, utilizing the cold war technique, they were not apt to adopt a new policy which would lead to a general hot war.
The power struggle within the Kremlin, as put together by the CIA, was a story of double-cross. For example, Premier Malenkov had once come to the rescue of Communist Party chairman Nikita Khrushchev, who had promptly then turned on Mr. Malenkov, shortly after the death of Premier Joseph Stalin, a story which Mr. Pearson details. The late L. P. Beria, head of the secret police, had chosen to take out the weakest member of the triumvirate of the post-Stalin leaders, and thus had turned his secret police loose on Mr. Khrushchev, initially going after his trusted lesser henchmen, at which point Mr. Malenkov had intervened to save Mr. Khrushchev, realizing that otherwise Mr. Beria would emerge all-powerful. Mr. Malenkov made a secret pact with Mr. Khrushchev, according to the CIA, whereby the two men joined forces to overthrow Mr. Beria. Backed by Red Army troops and tanks, Premier Malenkov had Mr. Beria arrested, accused him of treason, and eventually consigned him to summary execution, the same fate which Mr. Beria had apparently planned for Mr. Khrushchev. The latter then immediately set out on a plan to unseat Mr. Malenkov as Premier, first strengthening his hold on the Communist Party by shaking up the personnel within the Soviet republics. Meanwhile, Premier Malenkov appointed Ivan Serov to head the secret police, but the latter had been bought off at some point by Mr. Khrushchev, and as a reward, was elevated to Cabinet rank almost at the same time of Mr. Malenkov's resignation earlier in the week. To offset Mr. Malenkov's influence within the Red Army, Mr. Khrushchev had made overtures to the political generals as opposed to the fighting generals, and, as the Defense Minister, Mr. Bulganin, had always sided with Mr. Malenkov while he had the inside track with the Army, when Mr. Bulganin showed signs of shifting his allegiance to Mr. Khrushchev, it became the tipoff that the latter had overcome Mr. Malenkov's influence with the Army.
Mr. Pearson indicates that intelligence showed that Mr. Malenkov had recognized he had been caught in a squeeze-play long before he submitted his humiliating resignation, full of self-confession of failure in policy. For months, Mr. Khrushchev had been overruling Mr. Malenkov's policies, most obvious of which had come in a public speech by Mr. Khrushchev, providing heavy industry priority over consumer goods, completely reversing the Malenkov policy of August, 1953, of supplying greater consumer goods to the masses.
Stewart Alsop indicates that the the majority view, among those best qualified to interpret the meaning of the shakeup during the previous week in Russia's leadership, was that the ruling faction at the Kremlin had concluded that even a partial settlement with the West was out of the question and that war was probable, if not inevitable, with Soviet policy henceforth to be based on those assumptions. He finds that there was a lot of evidence to support that interpretation.
The nature of the difference between Mr. Malenkov and Mr. Khrushchev, their disagreement about the degree of emphasis on arms production, had been only a symptom of a more basic difference, whether war with the West or "coexistence" with a long period of stalemate was the more probable outcome. Party chairman Khrushchev had made a belligerent speech in Prague in June, 1954, though much of its belligerent tone had been carefully edited out when it was published in the Soviet press. Also, a conversation had occurred recently between Messrs. Malenkov, Khrushchev and a diplomatic representative of one of the neutral powers, with Mr. Khrushchev announcing that if the Paris agreements to rearm West Germany were ratified, then "there was nothing more to be done." The statement carried the implication that there was no hope of avoiding war if West Germany were rearmed. But Mr. Malenkov had hastily added that there was always hope, that "there was always something to be done," to avoid war.
Mr. Alsop indicates that it was not to suggest that Mr. Malenkov was any pacific idealist or a friend of the West, but that the difference was in the emphasis being placed on war or avoidance of war, as suggested by the decision to increase arms spending significantly, announced days after the resignation of Mr. Malenkov as Premier, with Mr. Khrushchev operating as the new strong man, even if Nikolai Bulganin was the titular Premier. Experts were comparing that decision to that of Joseph Stalin to rearm at all costs following the Munich Pact in September, 1938, and that it was a sign that the Kremlin was now expecting war.
Similarly, Foreign Minister V. M. Molotov had made a tough speech immediately following the resignation of Mr. Malenkov, with the experts comparing it to Stalin's speech immediately after the end of World War II, in which he had foreshadowed the hard policy toward the wartime allies of Russia. The shift to such a hard policy based on the expectation of war was no great surprise to the U.S. Government, as Ambassador to Moscow Charles Bohlen had reported in January to the State Department that there was a sense of tension in Moscow which had measurably increased during the few days since he had departed. Thereafter, Mr. Bohlen had reported that the tension derived from a power struggle which was based on a basic policy disagreement, that Mr. Khrushchev, the proponent of a get-tough policy, appeared to be winning the struggle. Thus, concludes Mr. Alsop, the evidence was that the power struggle began to come to a head in the late fall of 1954, soon after Mr. Khrushchev had returned from his trip to Communist China. It was believed that during that trip, Mr. Khrushchev had become convinced that the Chinese Communists were prepared to take major risks of war, and on his return to Moscow, had taken the position that the Soviet Union had no alternative other than to support China if it came to a showdown, and that the Russian arms industry had therefore to be greatly expanded at all costs.
Mr. Khrushchev had been fighting for more arms production and a tougher policy even before he had left for China, but the beginning of the China crisis had strengthened his hand, as had the West German rearmament pact, such that the Red Army leaders had finally sided with him, with the issue thus settled in his favor in late December or early January, at least according to the belief of the experts.
Mr. Alsop indicates that the triumph of Mr. Khrushchev did not mean that the Kremlin was getting ready to start a world war right away, that, to the contrary, there was evidence that Moscow was seeking to restrain the Communist Chinese from going too far toward war during the Formosa crisis. Ambassador Bohlen and other experts remained convinced that the Kremlin did not want war. But all-out rearmament and a hard policy based on the assumption that war was probable obviously increased the danger of war. According to one experienced policymaker, that which had occurred in the shakeup in Moscow had multiplied the risk of world war by a factor of about four. Yet, finds Mr. Alsop, there appeared to be no disposition at all within the Administration to take a new look at the state of U.S. defense policy.
Marquis Childs finds that the confession of untrue testimony by former Communist, turned professional informer, Harvey Matusow, had created an embarrassing dilemma for the Government, which had used him as a witness in numerous prosecutions of American Communists, as well as for Congressional committees before which he had appeared on numerous occasions, helping to document charges of Communist affiliation or association. It was of concern that if one such informer could recant his testimony and statements, then there might be others who would do likewise.
Mr. Childs indicates that he had an encounter with Mr. Matusow the prior summer, when the latter had telephoned him to say that he wanted to apologize for lies he had told about Mr. Childs, and in the subsequent conversation, had said that he was writing a book, False Witness, in which he was going to confess to all of his lying before Congressional committees, within the Federal courts and when he had campaigned in 1952 at the instigation of Senator McCarthy. He said that he needed money to have the leisure time to finish the book, implying that if Mr. Childs could provide him several thousand dollars, he could complete it and thereby do the world a service. After about an hour of conversation, Mr. Childs had felt that as a newspaper reporter, he could not believe him under any circumstances on any subject, and yet, he had been the witness on whom the Department of Justice and the FBI had depended for much testimony and who had spent days testifying before a Senate Internal Security subcommittee and HUAC.
The new chairman of HUAC, Congressman Francis Walter of Pennsylvania, had said that Mr. Matusow's recantation meant that he had always been a "Communist plant", intended to discredit Congressional committees. But, posits Mr. Childs, that raised more questions than it answered and opened up a hornet's nest of doubts and suspicions.
At the same time that Mr. Matusow had approached Mr. Childs, he had also gone to see Bishop G. Bromley Oxnam of the Methodist Church, telling the latter that he was very sorry for what he had said about the Bishop, adding that his motive for confessing was a religious experience. Thereafter, the Bishop, in a speech, had repeated Mr. Matusow's contrite expressions and at that point, HUAC had called before it Mr. Matusow to inquire of him under oath whether he had made such a statement to the Bishop. At that time, Mr. Matusow claimed never to have lied under oath. Then-chairman of the Committee, Representative Harold Velde of Illinois, believed the testimony. At the same time, Mr. Matusow had consulted with former Attorney General J. Howard McGrath during the Truman Administration, and had told him the story of his proposed confession, and Mr. McGrath had written a letter which he authorized the Bishop to make public, in which Mr. McGrath had said that Mr. Matusow had warned him against believing anything he said since he, himself, could not tell when he was lying.
The record showed that Mr. Matusow had testified on three separate occasions before the Senate Internal Security subcommittee, that his testimony had been used to help document the charges against Owen Lattimore, the former Far Eastern consultant to the State Department, who had been indicted for perjury, having his second and last indictment dismissed the prior January. At a committee hearing in Salt Lake City on Communist domination within the Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers Union, Mr. Matusow had been an important witness. His most significant testimony had been given in the course of hearings on Communist infiltration into youth movements, testifying as a former member of American Youth for Democracy, an organization affiliated with the Communist Party. It was during that hearing that he had made the statement, unchallenged by members of the Committee, that he knew by sight probably 10,000 members of the Communist Party in New York. At the time, the party had a registered membership of something over 11,000. Mr. Matusow had also testified for three days at four closed sessions of the Senate Committee, in preparation for his public testimony.
In at least one court case, against an official of the Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers Union, the U.S. Attorney had said that a conviction could not have been obtained without the testimony of Mr. Matusow. But the latter had recently signed an affidavit saying that his testimony in the case was false, now being used by the convicted defendant to appeal his conviction.
Senate Democrats, especially Senators Henry Jackson of Washington and Mike Mansfield of Montana, who had been attacked by Mr. Matusow's false statements during the 1952 campaign, were watching to see what the Administration would do. Mr. Mansfield, then a Congressman, had said that in the course of his political career, he had never before been subjected to such below-the-belt tactics. Democratic Senators would now insist that an investigation show who had paid Mr. Matusow and who had sent him to make the attacks during the campaign in a half-dozen states.
Mr. Childs concludes that whether the truth could ever be discovered was the tragic question to come out of the long nightmare of fear and suspicion which had developed around "security" and the threat of the Communist conspiracy.
Margaret Romer, writing in Natural History Magazine, indicates that if one walked among the sand dunes near the seashore or on the desert in a region where thunderstorms were frequent and violent, one would find a piece of "petrified lightning", probably protruding an inch or so from the sand at the top of a hillock, possibly mistaken for a piece of root and thus ignored. But if, upon inspection, it turned out to be a rock-like formation rather than wood, one would have discovered a scientific treasure. It was natural glass, very fragile, which would extend into the sand between a few inches and about six feet, from a fraction of an inch to four inches thick, apt to taper to a point, probably branching underground like an upside down tree. It would probably be grayish-white in color and translucent, but also could be yellowish, greenish, reddish, or black.
It was called fulgurite, derived from the Latin word for lightning. As lightning tends to strike in high places, it was more likely to be found at the top of a dune than in the lower ground in between. Sand was largely a non-conductor of electricity, offering much resistance, and when lightning struck, the heat melted the sand for a second and then quickly cooled, resulting in the hollow glass tube. The fulgurite, if not found, would often be covered by wind-blown sand and remain untouched for years, until later uncovered by wind or a storm. In the U.S., the Carolinas had probably yielded the largest number of such formations, but many had also been found in Nevada, Utah and Michigan.
Parenthetically, if you find that the fulgurite has formed in the shape of a bottle and contains liquid contents, looking like clear water, you best leave it buried in the sand for the sand crabs to imbibe, should they be so foolish.
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