The Charlotte News

Thursday, January 13, 1955


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the President, in two special messages this date, asked Congress to extend the draft law for four years, provide pay increases to "career" members of the services and create a powerful military reserve against any "aggressor so criminally unwise as to attempt an atomic attack." He said it would provide the country with the "proper military posture" for the first time during peacetime. The proposed pay increases would only be for those men willing to serve longer than the minimum required hitch, meaning no increase for officers during the first three years of their service or for the first two years of service for enlisted men. At present, the Government was paying about 10.5 billion dollars for the pay of enlisted men and officers, with the total proposed increases amounting to about 705 million dollars per year. The present Selective Service law was due to expire at the end of the fiscal year, and the recommended four-year extension was, according to the President, "necessary because experience demonstrates that active armed forces of the size we must maintain cannot be raised by voluntary enlistment alone." The major parts of the planned reserve program had been disclosed to the Pentagon late in 1954, the chief feature of which was a six-month training period each year for about 100,000 young men, who would go directly into the reserve.

From Taipeh, Formosa, it was reported that Nationalist Chinese bombing raids against Communist-held islands, dogfights north of Formosa, and a sea battle between guerrillas and Communist junks were taking place this date, with rumors from Chinese correspondents that U.S. destroyers which were guarding Formosa from invasion had been brought into the conflict, though officially denied. The Nationalist Air Force said that four-engine bombers had sparked big fires in raids on two Communist-held islands, within about 15 miles of the invasion-threatened Nationalist-held Tachen Islands, 200 miles north of Formosa. Later in the day, an undisclosed number of Nationalist propeller planes had engaged in a brief aerial skirmish with Communist fighter-bombers northeast of the Tachens, with no damage reported on either side. The Nationalist Defense Ministry reported that seaborne Nationalist guerrillas had engaged a convoy of Communist supply junks near the Tachens prior to dawn, capturing 12 enemy craft and 14 crewmen after fierce fighting. The U.S. Embassy naval attaché in Taipeh had discounted the rumor, reported by Nationalist Chinese correspondents, that a U.S. destroyer had fired on Chinese Communist planes on Tuesday, 80 miles south of the Tachens.

In San Jose, Costa Rica, a five-nation commission, named by the Organization of American States, had arrived in a U.S. Air Force plane from Panama this date to conduct an investigation of the spreading warfare in the nation. A short time later, the Costa Rican Army command had announced the capture of a man said to be one of the "rebel leaders" who had started the uprising at Villa Quesada, which had started the warfare the prior Tuesday. The announcement said he was captured uninjured after fierce fighting the previous day, providing no detail of his background. A large store of ammunition, including seven Browning machineguns and many Mauser rifles, had been seized from the rebel forces as they retreated. Costa Rica had charged that the warfare was instigated by Nicaragua, but the Nicaraguan Government said that it was instead a rebellion inside Costa Rica aimed at the overthrow of President José Figueres, with El Presidente Anastasio Somoza of Nicaragua contending that he had ordered all rebels crossing the border into Nicaragua detained and all Costa Ricans in his country rounded up for questioning. The State Department announced that it was cooperating by ordering U.S. planes to the area to conduct observation flights, as requested by the OAS, in the hope of deterring air raids on Costa Rican towns.

The "Bulletins" column of the Commie-infiltrated "Street Final" edition of the newspaper indicates that margarine heir Mickey Jelke had been placed on $45,000 bond this date while awaiting his second trial on vice charges related to inducing two women to become prostitutes, after his first conviction had been overturned on appeal because the judge had curtailed his right to a public trial by barring the press from coverage of the "sordid details" disclosed by the prosecution's case; that some chain stores had cut prices on their own brands of coffee, with A&P cutting its 8 o'clock brand from 95 to 89 cents per pound, Red Circle, from 95 to 93 cents, and Bokar, from 97 to 95 cents; that five Democrats, regarded as likely to go along most of the time with the House leadership, had been elected to serve on the Rules Committee this date; that housing officials had reported tentative settlements to recover more than a million dollars from four builders who allegedly had reaped windfall profits from Government-insured housing project loans, with the House Appropriations Committee disclosing the settlement reports but providing no hint as to the identity of the four builders or where the projects had been located; that in St. Louis, Carl Snavely, former UNC head football coach and now at Washington University, said that he was no longer interested in "big time" college football coaching, that he had been approached at the recent NCAA meetings in New York about such a job but had turned it down, declining to name the school; that near Aiken, S.C., the skeleton of a man, who had been sought for nearly a year in connection with the slaying of his wife, had been found in a wooded area near Silver Bluff, with a deputy sheriff indicating that it had not been determined how he had died, but that several shotgun shells had been found in the pockets of the overalls on the corpse. (Shoudn't there be the sound of a teletype machine in the background, with its volume gradually raised in between items, then lowered again, as the "Bulletins" roll by? Commies...)

In New York, a brief selling flurry brought sharp declines in the stock market this date, but most issues subsequently rebounded from their lows of the day, with some groups higher than at the opening bell, steel stocks showing considerable strength, but weakness becoming apparent in many stocks by early afternoon. Some analysts suggested that the market would test the lows registered during the sharp decline of the previous week.

An unidentified woman had walked onto the floor of the House this date in Washington and asked Speaker Sam Rayburn for permission to make a speech. Turned down, she was escorted from the chamber by the sergeant-at-arms and departed without anyone apparently learning her name. By the time uniformed and plainclothes police officers had arrived, she had already gone. Detectives sought to locate her for questioning. Her name was probably Angel. Try looking up Angel Dusty Rhodes...

In Raleigh, the State Senate was told by the head of the State Department of Tax Research this date of a variety of ways it could boost State taxes to make up for the shortfall of 26 million dollars in revenue versus anticipated expenditures. The Governor's Advisory Budget Commission had proposed a two-cent per pack tax on cigarettes and like taxes on other tobacco products, plus a .75-cent tax on soft drinks, removal of the $15 maximum sales tax on a single article, and other increases in various taxes and licensing fees. The official told the legislators how much revenue could be had from each such additional tax.

In Charlotte, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit was scheduled to hear oral arguments on March 7 in the case of Keith Beaty, convicted in December, 1953 of attempting to evade income taxes amounting to $400,000.

Helen Parks of The News reports that the Mecklenburg Presbytery would discuss and vote the following Tuesday on a proposal for union of the three major Presbyterian denominations of the country, with the pastor of Myers Park Presbyterian Church indicating his full support for the union, the vote to be taken among elders and pastors of 85 Presbyteries in the Southern Church, regarding merger with the Northern Church and the United Presbyterian Church.

In Patuxent, Md., the Navy welcomed home its fighter pilot who had adopted a 17-month old infant in Athens, Greece, after he and his wife had given up finding a suitable adoptee within the United States. The lieutenant had arrived with the infant at the Naval base during the morning after a five-day hitch-hiking flight from Athens, saying that his new daughter had been "a perfect little doll all the way", sleeping through three landings and takeoffs. His main concern, having adequate diapers for her, starting with 48 disposables, had been resolved when he was able to obtain 48 additional diapers during a layover in Morocco, landing with 32 to spare, and the local Moose Lodge ready with 24 dozen more for him, after press reports had earlier told of his dilemma. He said he had changed her about six times per day, using two of the disposables each time. He said that his technique was to catch her when she had her feet in the air, saying that the trip had taught him one thing, "to respect a woman's position."

On the editorial page, "Which Pine St.? Lee, Lee or Leigh?" again looks at the problem in Charlotte of street names which were identical or close in name, troubling to postal clerks, firemen or policemen responding to calls. According to the "Greater Charlotte Street and Business Guide" published the previous summer, there were 172 streets in the greater Charlotte area which had the same names as at least one other street. There were over 300 streets which had names similar to at least two other streets.

Members of the City Council had recognized the need for an orderly system of street names and they had the power to eliminate the duplication, but did not do so because of objections of residents on the affected streets. It suggests that even though members of the Council might lose a few votes of such dissenters, they might also gain some votes in offset, from postal workers, policemen and firemen. It urges that the time to straighten out the confusion was at hand, before it resulted in a major fire loss or failure to interdict a crime, as had occurred in other cities.

"It's Not Worth the Risk, at 120 MPH" finds a chase unnecessarily dangerous by local ABC agents of a New Jersey youth who was charged with transporting white whiskey, resulting in the agents capturing him, but only after giving chase at about 120 mph from midtown to about three miles north of the city limits on U.S. Highway 29, ending when the youth had lost control of the car, careering down a four-foot embankment and overturning.

It posits that if a known and dangerous criminal were attempting a getaway, perhaps such speeding to catch the person, endangering lives of law enforcement agents as well as motorists and pedestrians, would be excusable, but that it appeared better to let a person suspected of only a misdemeanor escape rather than causing such danger on the highways. ABC agents usually apprehended their suspects at roadblocks and seldom engaged in such chases. It compliments them on their success in the particular instance cited, but suggests that they refrain from such chases in the future.

Oh no, it provides them a break from the coffee and doughnuts routine, and is the only excitement the poor boys can get.

"Wait and See in Costa Rica" comments on reports of Nicaraguan efforts to invade Costa Rica, with unconfirmed reports of skirmishes from small villages and U.S.-made fighter planes spraying machine gun bullets into the area where the President of Costa Rica lived. El Presidente Anastasio Somoza of Nicaragua, who was said to be an excellent marksman and accused of fomenting the trouble, had suggested that Costa Rican President José Figueres meet him at the border and they settle the matter in a duel.

It finds that the latest trouble in Central America, therefore, had all the earmarks of the traditional "banana republic" disorder, without the specter of Communism being involved—at least not yet. There was the possibility, it finds, of aggression by Nicaraguan forces, but President Figueres had been taking verbal potshots at neighboring military regimes and his welfare state measures had incurred the wrath of wealthy Costa Ricans, who wanted him ousted. Costa Rica had no Army, only a police force of between 1,500 and 2,000 men, and thus its appeals for military help were understandable. But the facts, it concludes, did not warrant such a drastic step.

A committee from the Organization of American States, to which President Figueres had appealed for help, had arrived in Costa Rica the previous night and should be able to make recommendations shortly. Meanwhile, the U.S. observation planes flying over Costa Rica at the behest of the OAS might make stronger measures unnecessary.

"Short, Sober and out of the Gutter" applauds the apparent decisions of both major parties to hold their nominating conventions late in the summer, cutting the length of the general election campaign almost in half. As Senator John Sparkman, the vice-presidential nominee of the Democrats with Adlai Stevenson in 1952, had said: "Six weeks is enough to cover the country, with modern means of communication and transportation. Any longer campaign than that simply wears the candidates out." It adds that it also wearied the voters.

It concludes that the decisions permitted the hope that politicians would refrain from the gutter tactics which frequently characterized the closing weeks of campaigns, and instead conduct an intensive discussion of the issues for six weeks.

Don't bet too heavily on that one. Shortening the gutter means only that more mud and dirt from the streets will have to be shoveled into a larger and more centrally located storm drain—with you know who leading the Republican side in that effort, come 1956.

"Those Liberals, Lewis and Sokolsky" indicates that conservative radio commentator Fulton Lewis, Jr., and conservative newspaper columnist George Sokolsky had become liberals.

Mr. Lewis had taken a trip to Japan at about the same time Wolf Ladejinsky had been fired from the Agriculture Department for being an alleged "security risk", with Mr. Lewis seeing what a good job he had done with land reform in Japan under General MacArthur, therefore coming to his defense.

Mr. Sokolsky had read that one of the reasons Mr. Ladejinsky had been fired was because he had written anti-Communist articles during the 1930's, despite the fact that he had relatives in Russia, with the Agriculture Department having reasoned that he would not have endangered relatives by antagonizing the Communists with such articles, and so obviously was in tight with the Communists. Mr. Sokolsky, who had also written anti-Communist articles and also might have some relatives left in the old country, reasoned that he, himself, might therefore become a security risk and so provided an impassioned defense of Mr. Ladejinsky.

It concludes that travel was broadening and that principle was easy to adhere to, when it coincided with self-interest.

"Save Some More" indicates that the Government was saving $40,000 per year, according to the director of the Budget Office, by issuing passports with fewer blank pages. It suggests working toward real savings by putting the President's request for fewer travel restrictions into practice, eliminating the need for passports.

A piece from the Hollywood (Fla.) Herald, titled "Who's Driving?" indicates that it had seen a fellow driving a streamlined sports car up to a parking spot recently, alight from the vehicle, walk around and drop a nickel into the parking meter, which it regarded as a letdown because it had never imagined having to pay to park "one of those underslung beauties." Such cars were made for the open road, with the wind in one's face and bugs in the eye, and should never be used for such mundane things as purchasing groceries or mailing a letter. "Paying a parking meter for sports cars is like tying Pegasus to a hitching post. It just oughtn't to be done."

Drew Pearson tells of interesting things going on inside the IRS, which might merit another Congressional probe of how the taxes were being collected. During the closing days of the Truman Administration, there had occurred serious tax scandals, first revealed in Mr. Pearson's column, which had led to the resignations of the IRS commissioner and its counsel, plus the prosecution of a former commissioner and his assistant. Those scandals had supplied Republican campaigners with some potent political ammunition, with the assumption being that when they took over the IRS, it would be run with spotless integrity. Politics, however, had crept into the IRS once again. When Coleman Andrews had taken over as commissioner, he inherited a case involving a top Republican leader from West Virginia, R. J. Funkhouser, manufacturer of O'Sullivan heels, sometimes referred to as "America's No. 1 heel". A career agent, whom President Truman had appointed as commissioner to clean up internal revenue, not only was preparing a fraud case against Mr. Funkhouser but was also checking transfers of funds to South America because of rumors that Mr. Funkhouser planned to depart the U.S. Now, however, the tax case against the O'Sullivan heel manufacturer had been virtually put on the shelf, the agent who had been handling it having been called off the case and promoted, with the commissioner's office having settled fraud cases against three of Mr. Funkhouser's top executives, implicated in providing him with kickbacks. Meanwhile, another tax case against a Maryland Democratic political leader, E. Brooke Lee, previously settled, was reopened. Thus, a case of a leading Republican of West Virginia had been put aside, while the Democrat's case had been reopened. Mr. Pearson provides some additional facts on Mr. Funkhouser and his taxes.

Joseph Alsop, in Bangkok, tells of the "plot of the grand future drama of South Asia" being easily summarized, that being whether world Communism would be able to cross the divide separating the Chinese Communists and their Vietminh allies from the rest of the region, or whether the Communist advance would be halted at the natural border which Thailand, Cambodia and/or Laos represented. The questions would be answered in large part by U.S. policy, determining not only the future of Thailand but also of the whole trend of history in present times. He stresses that the "Great Divide in South Asia" first had to be understood.

The Vietnamese who inhabited the coast of Indo-China could properly be regarded as southern Chinese, differing in language and race less from the Cantonese across the border than the Cantonese differed from the people of Peking. Their culture since ancient times had been imported from China and for more than 2,000 years, they had usually been either subjects or dependents of Peking. Thus, the Vietminh conquest of the Vietnamese states of Indo-China, Tonkin, Annam and Conchin China in the South, could be regarded as a return of Chinese power into regions where Chinese power had always predominated. The other nations of South Asia, Laos and Cambodia as the other two Indochinese states, plus Thailand, Burma, Malaya and Indonesia, had a completely different character, with Chinese imperialism having often in the past been felt by those peoples as it was being felt at present. The culture of those nations, however, was basically Indian, imported at different times during the remote past, beginning perhaps with the missionaries whom the Emperor Asoka had sent to all quarters of the world to spread the holy word of Buddha. The peoples of those nations also differed from the subjects of the Vietminh by not only lacking racial links with the Chinese but also by being, for good reasons, bitterly anti-Chinese.

The history of the Thai people had begun 2,000 years earlier in central China, with the expanding Chinese having pushed them first into South China and then, about a thousand years later, from South China, by another wave of Chinese expansion, into the fertile valley of central Thailand. The frontier running along the Chinese border and down the borders between the Vietnamese states and Laos and Cambodia became a major dividing line, something recognized by India's Prime Minister Nehru and emphasized during his visit with Ho Chi Minh, telling the latter, in effect, that the Vietminh victory on the Chinese side of the great South Asian divide was natural and acceptable to India, but that India would take a dim view if there were further advance into the culturally Indian area, such as into Laos and Cambodia.

Ho Chi Minh's degree of respect for Prime Minister Nehru's warning had been indicated by the violent Vietminh push now ongoing in Laos. Notwithstanding that advance, however, world Communism had now reached the borderline where it was no longer possible to exploit the colonial issue, as the Laotians and Cambodians hated the Vietnamese more than they hated the French. World Communism in that part of the world was more generally regarded as a Chinese product, which set the other peoples of South Asia naturally against it.

In theory, therefore, he posits, it should not be impossible to halt world Communism at that Great Divide, but there were three practical difficulties of great magnitude. First, Thailand, Cambodia and Laos, most immediately threatened by the Communist advance, were all soft and easily penetrable or at least easy to bully. In Thailand, for instance, an amiable, money-loving junta presently ruled, with a kind of benevolent police state, without unity between the Government and the people and little unity within the Government, itself.

Second, the keys to the Thai position were the even weaker nations of Laos and Cambodia, with Cambodia being absolutely vital. The French had naturally attached Laos and Cambodia to the rest of Indo-China, and if either Cambodia or Laos was to be saved, a major coordinated effort had to be undertaken to make those two countries independent of both Saigon and Hanoi, in South Vietnam and the North, respectively, and to reorient their communications, economies and other aspects of the society toward Thailand. But no such effort was being made.

Third, all three nations were presently apt to fall before military menaces, with the only safeguard against it being provision of the countries with a Western guarantee, sufficiently strong to enable them to feel secure against the danger of attack. But the Thais and Cambodians were astute enough to realize that SEATO, as presently constituted, was "the emptiest sort of fraud and fake."

Mr. Alsop concludes that the first of the three difficulties could only be surmounted by time and that the other two, by current U.S. policy wisely undertaken. But at the moment, there did not seem to be any U.S. policy in the area "except to float, to drift, to talk big, and to hope for the best."

Julian Scheer of The News indicates that during the 1955 biennial session of the General Assembly, the talk would be money, with Governor Luther Hodges having submitted his proposed budget for the coming biennium, with some new tax recommendations, that budget revealing how money was to be raised and how it would be spent, indicating the intent of the piece to explain to the public where their tax money would be going under the Governor's proposed budget. He then proceeds to do so—and if you are particularly concerned about where your tax money might be going in North Carolina in 1955 and 1956, you can consult the chart and the list provided.

A letter writer indicates that the mayor of Miami, Fla., had come up with the answer for cutting down on reckless driving, that according to a story in the newspaper appearing January 10, he had suggested that a "psychological approach" be used on traffic violators, requiring that they carry little flags on their cars for a period of time after being convicted of a violation, with different colors employed to indicate whether the driver was a one-time offender or a repeat offender, and a red flag indicating a conviction for drunk driving. Once the offender reformed, the flag could be removed. The writer thinks it a good system to deter violation of traffic laws.

But what if you are color blind?

A letter writer from Marshville comments on an editorial of January 8 and its statement that there was no reason to prolong the agony of the Army-McCarthy feud of the prior spring or to kindle a new controversy, then praising Army Secretary Robert Stevens for emerging from the prior hearings as a "symbol of sincerity and earnestness". The writer suggests reading the newspaper's front page before writing such editorials, as there was a front page article suggesting that the new Democratic Investigations subcommittee had reason to doubt the sincerity and earnestness of Secretary Stevens, for the fact that he was withholding evidence. He concludes that when the newspaper indicated that its own opinions were in the columns to the left of the editorial page, no one would doubt that they were "to the left".

The editors respond that the "evidence" to which the writer apparently referred was a chronology, reported on the front page of the same date, released by Secretary Stevens anent the case of the Army Reserve dentist who was honorably discharged after refusing to testify regarding alleged prior associations with subversive organizations when he had appeared before Senator McCarthy's Investigations subcommittee, relating to who had been responsible for his promotion from captain to major and honorable discharge. Secretary Stevens had furnished a copy of the chronology to Senator Leverett Saltonstall of Massachusetts, after which the Army had published the document.

A letter writer thanks the newspaper for its swell story regarding two City Council members trapped into admitting that they planned to run for re-election, indicating that he could never figure out why they always horsed around for so long before making such announcements, when most of them knew all along what they were intending to do. He also compliments the two members, Herbert Baxter and Claude Albea, for having the courage to state their intentions when the question had been put to them.

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