September 15, 1954 – Keys To The Capitol – Red China/Quemoy – Sen. McCarty censure vote – NBC Radio – Gordon Skene Sound Colletion.
September 15, 1954 – A week’s worth of politics on Capitol Hill, this day in 1954. Foremost on everyone’s minds was the issue going on between Red China and Taiwan over the tiny island of Quemoy off the Chinese Coast. Not much, on the surface, but more symbolic than anything. Quemoy represented another thorn in Mao Tse-Tung’s side because Quemoy was part of Taiwan and Taiwan was (and still is) not part of mainland China and it has been a bone of contention ever since 1949 when the Communist forces swept over mainland China, forcing Chiang-kai Shek to flee and set up the Nationalist government which is still maintains.
In 1954 there was talk of American involvement; of a pledge by the U.S. government to protect the interests of the Nationalist Chinese to the exclusion of the Communist Chinese, even to the point of not allowing Red China a seat at the United Nations, but rather Taiwan. Needless to say, the debate over whether Quemoy, a rather tiny island that had literally no economic or strategic importance was a bit hard for the Eisenhower government to justify going to war over. So it seemed unlikely anything other than diplomacy would be out of the question.
But also on the list of hot-topics was the upcoming vote to censure Senator Joe McCarthy over his somewhat circus-like hearings that dragged on for months, producing literally no results other than a lot of interesting TV viewing (the hearings were televised) and a general dislike for McCarthy and his bullying tactics. The general consensus of opinion was that a censure was very likely but it would large a symbolic one with no real consequences for his actions.
And since it was an off-year, that meant it was an off-year election and speculation was high the Republicans would roundly lose several seats which were up for grabs. The reporters taking part in this roundtable discussion all pointed to the historic leanings of politics and the whys and wherefores of off-year elections being what they are and always have been – with few exceptions. It was predicted 1954 would be by-and-large no different.
And that’s just a slice of what was being discussed during this episode of Keys To The Capitol from NBC Radio, broadcast on September 15, 1954.
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