The Charlotte News

Saturday, January 15, 1955


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Democratic Senators had stated this date that their party's future activities in ferreting out Communists would answer a bitter challenge put forth by Senator McCarthy to the sincerity of their leaders, with the Senate, in a unanimous 84 to 0 vote the previous day, having approved a resolution sponsored by Senator Price Daniel of Texas and 53 other Senators, denouncing Communism and endorsing continued investigation of the Communist conspiracy. The vote included 37 Democrats and 46 Republicans, plus independent Senator Wayne Morse of Oregon. Action by the House was not required. Senator McCarthy, however, had questioned the sincerity of some Democrats, saying he believed that some had voted for the resolution to get "the stench from their hands and the mud from their skirts" which had resulted from their prior conduct. Senator McCarthy was required by Senator Russell Long of Louisiana, temporary presiding officer, to halt his speech and be seated on two occasions, on grounds that he had violated Senate rules against imputing "unworthy or unbecoming" conduct to other Senators, each time being allowed to resume. Senator Thomas Kuchel of California had challenged Senator McCarthy on a third occasion, but Senator Long did not sustain that objection. It was Senator McCarthy's first speech before the body since his censure in December by a vote of 67 to 22.

U.S. officials waited this date for the Russians to prove good faith in their belated offer to share atomic technology with other peoples of the world, following the Soviet announcement the previous day of its willingness to share with other nations its experience gained in operating an atomic industrial power plant. Atomic Energy Commission chairman Lewis Strauss said that the offer had gone only part of the way toward the President's atoms-for-peace plan, and had come more than a year after the President had first proposed the plan before the U.N. on December 8, 1953. Senator Clinton Anderson of New Mexico, soon to become chairman of the joint Atomic Energy Committee, said that the offer was "an encouraging sign" but cautioned that the Kremlin's record counseled restraint on the part of the U.S., and that it should wait for "positive deeds" before allowing hopes to rise. Neither the White House nor the State Department had any official comment, but it was apparent that the Government officials concerned in the matter shared the reserve demonstrated by Admiral Strauss, who had stated the contingencies that "if the report is true" and "if it is anything more than propaganda". He reminded that the U.S. had, the prior November 15, translated the President's words into action by allocating 220 pounds of uranium for a world pool of fissionable materials for peacetime purposes, with Britain following the next day with a pledge of 44 pounds of its nuclear material. A meeting would take place starting on Monday in New York of scientists from the Soviet Union, the U.S., Britain, France, Canada, Brazil and India, with its purpose being to recommend to U.N. Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold a time, place and program for an international technical conference which was already authorized by a U.N. resolution, adopted the previous month, recommending the meeting and endorsing the atoms-for-peace program. U.S. officials said privately that one reason for their skepticism was that the Russian offer appeared early in their development of any substantial knowledge from experiments in reactor work, whereas U.S. research in the field had been ongoing for at least three years.

The Organization of American States, without fixing blame on the Government of Nicaragua, had indicated the previous night that the rebellion in Costa Rica had come from sources in Nicaragua. The OAS Council had adopted a resolution which said that its five-nation investigating commission had reported that "a substantial part" of the war matériel had been introduced over the northern border of Costa Rica, Nicaragua being the only neighbor to the north. The commission had reported that a large part of the "military elements" had come into Costa Rica from Nicaragua. The Council, representing the 21 American republics, formally condemned the attack on Costa Rica and asked the Nicaraguan Government to act more decisively to interdict war matériel passing across its southern border to Costa Rica. It ordered the commission to send observers to any place which might be utilized for transport of troops or military equipment to Costa Rica, including establishment of a presence at all airports in the region affected, including within Nicaragua. The commission announced in San Jose, Costa Rica, that it had accepted an invitation from the Nicaraguan Government to visit that country this date. Costa Rica had accused the Nicaraguan Government of taking part in the invasion, but Nicaragua had denied any responsibility for the trouble, contending that it was an internal revolt. A representative of Costa Rica had told the OAS that it should have taken a much firmer stand and called things by their true name, renewing his country's plea for arms with which to defend itself. Meanwhile, Costa Rican forces were reported closing in rapidly on La Cruz, in the northwest tip of the country, where an enemy band had grabbed a small area. A member of the Costa Rican general staff said that he was aware of no major battles brewing and that there had been no reports at his headquarters of any military action except in the northwestern part of the country, that it was difficult to make contact with the enemy because the invaders were scattering rapidly in the face of advancing Government units.

In Panama, the National Assembly this date impeached President José Ramon Guizado and ordered his arrest and trial on a charge of plotting the assassination of his predecessor, José Antonio Remon. The Assembly swore in the 2nd Vice-President, Ricardo Arias Espinosa, as the third chief executive of the republic in the previous two weeks. A prominent lawyer confessed that he had carried out the shooting of El Presidente Remon at a racetrack on January 2, with the full knowledge and urging of Sr. Guizado, then 1st Vice-President, succeeding then to the Presidency. The latter called the story "senseless". He had sought from the Assembly a leave of absence pending investigation of the charges against him, but the Assembly had refused the request after the confession.

In Cleveland, O., three appellate judges would consider on Monday whether to free Dr. Samuel Sheppard on bail pending appeal from his second-degree murder conviction entered December 21, and resulting life sentence, with opportunity for parole after ten years. The doctor was scheduled to begin serving his term no later than the following Wednesday, and would receive no credit for the time he had served in county jail since the previous August. The trial judge had denied a motion for a new trial based on 41 claimed errors, as well as juror misconduct and misstatements during the original selection process. The judge had allowed the doctor, since his sentencing on December 21, to remain in the county jail, but the previous day had dissolved the stay of execution on the basis that the appellate court would now take over jurisdiction.

In Los Angeles, it was reported that the body of world speed pilot James Verdin, 36, who the prior Thursday had bailed out of his bantam jet bomber at an altitude of six miles, had been found after perhaps the largest search ever made in the Mojave Desert. The Douglas Aircraft Corp. test pilot was found 2 1/2 miles from the wreckage of the plane, which had been discovered the previous night, 15 miles northwest of Victorville and 100 miles northeast of Los Angeles. His unopened parachute was still strapped to his body and the plane's ejection seat lay nearby. The surgeon general at Edwards Air Force Base, near the crash scene, said that Mr. Verdin had apparently died on impact. It was not immediately known why he had been unable to open his parachute and it was also unknown whether he was wearing a standard parachute, requiring a manual release, or an automatic parachute set to open at a given altitude in case of unconsciousness upon ejection. The search had involved 2,000 ground and scores of Air Force and Navy personnel, sheriffs and Douglas airplanes, covering a 10,000 square mile area during a 23-hour period, after the pilot had radioed that he was in trouble and was leaving the plane. He did not have time to inform of the nature of the trouble. He was testing the plane, the Skyhawk, capable of speeds up to 600 mph, in the 30,000 to 35,000-foot altitude range. A former Navy lieutenant commander, he had set the world's three kilometer jet record of 753.4 mph on October 5, 1953. He was a graduate of the Naval Academy and had received a master's degree from the University of Minnesota, serving in the Navy from 1941 to 1954, earning the Navy Cross, Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Medal with six stars. He was survived by his widow and three small children, plus a young daughter by a previous marriage.

In Fair Haven, N.J., a wealthy 46-year old woman with a police record had been identified by authorities the previous day as the "principal suspect" in a series of 60 mysterious fires which had plagued the area for almost a year. The woman was the wife of a prominent children's sportswear manufacturer, and was arrested by a State trooper Thursday night, three hours after she allegedly had set fire to a chicken coop. She was charged with "burning a building", a less serious offense than arson, because there were no human occupants. She was freed on $75,000 bail the previous night, about 20 times higher than the normal bail for such cases. The woman had two young daughters. Outside the court building, she denied that she had burned any building. The series of fires had involved barns, tool sheds, playhouses and garages, including four on property owned by the couple, all being of suspicious origin and within a five-mile radius of the woman's home. Her husband stated he was unaware that his wife had been arrested nine times previously on charges of larceny, embezzlement and auto theft, said that he had cooperated with police to establish a vigil to keep watch over her movements for the three weeks prior to the arrest. The State trooper said that he had seen her leave her home clad in a leopard skin coat on a bitterly cold night, driving to the chicken coop and setting it afire, after which the trooper had stomped out the flames as soon as the woman departed.

In Raleigh, legislators listened to budget facts and figures during the week and prepared to begin work in earnest on the state's money problems, with public hearings to start the following Thursday on recommended tax increases and spending for the ensuing two fiscal years.

In Charlotte, News reporter Helen Parks tells of evangelist Billy Graham having alternately posed for a News photographer during the morning, laughed at bandleader Kay Kyser's capers on the WBTV set and discussed his upcoming six-week revival in Glasgow, Scotland, just prior to his appearance for the filming of one of a series of safety films for the state's Traffic Safety Council. He said that the Church of Scotland had invited his upcoming crusade, but that all denominations were cooperating in the meetings, indicating that some of his best friends were now editors of the London newspapers, who had initially been skeptical of their crusade the previous year in England. The safety film series was designed to cure the causes of accidents rather than acknowledging the effect. The Reverend Graham was emphasizing the Golden Rule as applied to driving. He was in Charlotte for two days to visit with his parents and have dinner with his friend, Mr. Kyser, and the State Highway Patrol officials who were assisting in making the film. He would speak in Charlotte on September 11 on a broadcast of the "Hour of Decision". Nothing had been definitely arranged for a revival in Charlotte, but such a meeting might be held in the ensuing few years. He also was planning in the ensuing two years, a world tour, with appearances in major cities of most nations. This night, he would address the Charlotte Executives Club.

On the editorial page, "Tolls for Blue Ridge Parkway" indicates that the National Park Service had planned to charge tolls on the Blue Ridge Parkway, finding it improper and impractical and that North Carolinians ought continue to make every effort to persuade the Federal Government to abandon the scheme. Toll fees were presently being charged at 15 of the country's national parks and monuments, with some having been in effect since 1908, and admission and guide fees in effect in about 40 other NPS areas.

It finds, however, that the Parkway was primarily a scenic public highway, built with public money and not as a toll road, questioning why North Carolinians should pay tolls on land which their taxes had purchased. Such a toll would also deter thousands of people currently flocking to North Carolina and Virginia for mountain sightseeing afforded by the Parkway. Tourism was one of the state's biggest industries, essential to its economy, and collection of tolls would be a constant source of exasperation to people willing to pay the dollar for a ticket good for 15 days. About 326 of the planned 485 miles of the Parkway were completed, from Shenandoah Park in Virginia to the Great Smoky National Park in North Carolina, and the Parkway was connected by 25 U.S. highways and about 100 state roads, with over 600 entrances. The NPS had planned only 20 collecting stations and the addition of only 30 new employees for collecting the tolls, appearing inadequate without repeatedly interrupting the flow of traffic and creating a nuisance.

Moreover, the Parkway had not been entirely the creation of the Federal Government. In 1939, for instance, the North Carolina General Assembly had appropriated $450,000 for the rights-of-way, despite sharp cutbacks on other outlays for the ensuing biennium. In dealing with landowners from whom rights-of-way had been purchased, officials contended that the Parkway would not be a toll road, would be open to everyone.

The recent NPS concessions included free rides to North Carolina travelers to the Mt. Mitchell State Park and to property owners who had let their land go for what they thought would be a free road.

While it was costly to operate national parks, the NPS had no right to attempt to bail itself out of its financial troubles at the expense of two accommodating Southern states. There was also no assurance that the tolls would go toward operating expenses of the parks, as they were funneled into the Treasury, where they were available for re-appropriation.

It urges that the state and nation had more pressing needs at present than completion of the Parkway, with more than 300 miles open, enough for awhile, certainly enough, given the economic pinch in both Raleigh and Washington.

"Men, Get Out the Knives and String" indicates that the previous July, the State Budget Advisory Committee had visited Charlotte, after being asked to budget $87,000 for a college-technical Institute in the city, and had gone away impressed by the spirit of the backers of the project who wanted to start it, even if they had nothing but "a pocket knife and a ball of string" with which to do so. After hearing from the backers and inspecting the site which could initially accommodate the facility, the committee promised thoughtful consideration for the proposal. But, pressed for funding for State Government obligations, it did not appropriate any money for the planned facility, leaving it, therefore, to local residents.

It suggests that it was time to fund the Institute, listing some companies which had donated equipment, finding that it was growing from a dream into a reality. At present, it and the associated community colleges were supported only by a two cent per hundred dollar property valuation tax, plus their modest tuitions. That provided scarcely enough revenue to maintain an existing school, let alone the initial outlays for equipment which the Institute would have to have to train youths for industry. It commends those listed companies which had donated equipment.

"Starlings Don't Bother Country Boys" urges giving a medal to birdwatchers of the Hotel Charlotte, who had done what learned scientists had long attempted but sometimes failed to accomplish, having scared away the starlings with a scarecrow. Starlings had been plaguing building managers and city officials nationwide. At State College, Pa., professors had tape-recorded a scared starling's squawk and amplified it, which had disturbed the starlings, but then attracted pigeons. In Detroit, supersonic "silent sound" was tried, and in Cincinnati, chemists had sought to develop a compound which would irritate the feet of the birds. In St. Louis, pigeon slides had been developed, with people then gleefully watching the birds slide off the roofs.

But in Charlotte, a country boy had simply remembered his training on the farm and erected a scarecrow on the hotel roof, and the starlings had not returned. It finds it proof of its contention that the simple, old-fashioned home remedies were the best, even in the atomic age.

A piece from the Asheville Citizen, titled "Hands Across the Seize", indicates that some handshakers took Shakespeare too literally, when he said: "There's no better sign of a brave mind than a hard hand."

It describes the aggressive style of handshaking, which could cause momentary paralysis and retreat, with the shaken hand left limp and numb. It wonders whether handshaking was a lost art or one never properly learned. It finds that sometimes the smallest individual could be the biggest brute when it came to shaking hands, seeking to break all 27 hand bones in one operation.

The other side of the coin was the cold and moist "fish hand", soft and sickly, with rigor mortis setting in if it could get hold. There was also the handshake which touched the fingers hurriedly and then passed on to the next customer, usually from dowagers in receiving lines. Then there were handshakes which never were, where one stuck out all five fingers to the lady, smiled in anticipation, at which point nothing happened, leaving the offeror embarrassed.

There was also the type who reached out to meet your hand, then jerked back his hand, thumb up, over his shoulder, and bellowed with laughter. Then there was the two-hand shake, sometimes from an old friend, or from someone who wanted a loan, more often the latter.

It concludes that in the wrong hands, the hand could become an instrument of torture, of which all politicians were aware. It urges one of them to introduce a bill to institute standardized handshaking, without bone-breaking, fishy shakes, just a moderate, uniform brotherhood clutch. "A handshake is something to get in office on but also a way to elbow yourself out of a tight Senate debate with."

Julian Scheer of The News, in the third of a series of articles on the proposed fiscal budget for the state during the ensuing biennium, indicates that income tax dollars went to the General Fund, most of which was earmarked for education, but also supporting health and welfare, mental institutions and penal operations, with a nickel of every tax dollar going to health and welfare, four cents, to mental institutions, and three cents to the prisons. The proposed General Fund appropriation for the coming biennium was 423 million dollars, of which 7.52 percent would go to welfare activities and health activities, or a total of 32 million dollars, roughly divided in half between the two types of activities. He provides detail for each, as well as the breakdown for mental institutions and prisons, in case you are particularly concerned about where your tax dollars will be going under the Governor's and the State Budget Advisory Commission's proposed budget for 1955 and 1956.

Drew Pearson indicates that seldom had an international organization acted with such decisiveness as the Organization of American States had to head off the Nicaraguan invasion of Costa Rica, that its forthright action illustrated what the American nations could do, in contrast to Asia, to maintain the peace. When the news had first broken that a Nicaraguan-inspired group of rebels were active inside Costa Rica, the Council of the OAS, informally known as the Pan American Union, had called a special session and remained in session for three hours, when, by a unanimous vote, it was agreed to send the special five-nation investigating commission to Costa Rica, with the Council then meeting for an additional four hours, until midnight, producing detailed plans for stopping the fighting. Four hours afterward, the special commission members were en route to the airport, for a flight to Costa Rica, and 11 hours later, less than 24 hours after the Council had met initially, the commission held its first session inside Costa Rica. Mr. Pearson ascribes this efficiency to the cooperation developed among the Americas, plus the brilliant leadership of Uruguayan Ambassador José Mora, and the complete support by the U.S. State Department. Assistant Secretary of State Henry Holland had been careful not to get the U.S. involved in the matter, wanting it to be the intervention of all the Americas this time, unlike the situation had been in Guatemala the previous year. Had he been more alert, observes Mr. Pearson, he might have avoided the entire mess, however, as several months earlier, Hector Castro, the Ambassador to the U.S. from El Salvador, had warned the State Department that trouble was brewing between Costa Rica and Nicaragua, urging the Department to use backstage maneuvering to induce the Central American republics to clean their own house. But Mr. Holland had hesitated, while in heavily armed Nicaragua, El Presidente Anastasio Somoza, the dictator-general whom U.S. Marines had built up three decades earlier, had developed a substantial hatred for President José Figueres of Costa Rica, an MIT graduate, a liberal who governed one of the few nations without an army and which was a true democracy, seeking to improve living standards without confiscating foreign property, but also being a pain in the neck to certain neighboring countries. He had not loved El Presidente Rafael Trujillo of the Dominican Republic or El Presidente Perez Jimenez of Venezuela, refusing to allow Costa Rica to attend the Pan American Conference in Venezuela because he claimed it was being held within a dictatorship. He especially disliked El Presidente Somoza, and the feeling was reciprocal, with the mutual dislike being more personal than political, one reason it was so bitter. The OAS, however, had picked some of its best ambassadors to mediate the situation, from Brazil, Ecuador, Paraguay, Mexico and U.S. Ambassador John Dreier. Mr. Pearson notes that the five representatives had the power to order Pan American troops into battle immediately to stop the war, and so it would be an extremely important test of American efforts to maintain the peace.

John Roosevelt, son of the late President, apparently did not want his name too closely connected with a uranium stock deal, as he had changed his address on the stock registration. He was nevertheless head of a uranium company which was offering stock to the public under conditions which would not have pleased his father, who had cleaned up the stock market. The Colorado company which he headed had soaked the public for 90 percent of its capitalization, but issued the public less than 30 percent of its stock, 600,000 shares out of 2.1 million total.

Doris Fleeson indicates that when Secretary of Health, Education & Welfare Oveta Culp Hobby had taken office two years earlier, a survey had been prepared at the behest of Congress regarding U.S. educational needs, showing that a substantial shortage of classrooms and teachers existed and would continue to exist short of immediate steps being taken to relieve it. Now, that survey had been updated, showing that despite effort by most states, the shortage had grown, with more than a million children entering school for the first time in 1954 and census figures showing that the influx would continue for at least six more years.

Secretary Hobby's solution thus far had been plans to call a White House conference in 1955 to discuss the problem, when the facts to be obtained from that conference could be gleaned from a single telephone call, as they were well known to educational authorities. The cause of the increased school enrollment was the increased rate of birth during and after World War II, with the children being deprived of free public education belonging to the men and women whom the President and Secretary Hobby, when she had been head of the Women's Army Corps, had commanded during the war.

The President had recently stated in the 1955 State of the Union message that his heart and conscience had been touched by the situation, that the "unprecedented shortage" of schools required "positive, affirmative action now", promising to submit a program on February 15 to Congress. That represented a change of mood at least on his part, but the various commissions and committees thus far appointed to make recommendations appeared on their records opposed to anything resembling a school aid program financed by Federal funds.

As a result, 30 Senators had sponsored a bill to appropriate 500 million dollars annually for the ensuing two years for school construction, while the states and localities would retain full control of all aspects of public education. Those 30 Senators anxiously awaited the President's program, hoping that he would treat the school emergency as being as significant as his highway program, for which he had recommended a ten-year, 100 billion dollar building program. Whether he would or not, the Senators would fight for their bill, proposing to make it known to the American people that educational standards in the country were steadily dropping at a time when demands of society for public education were greater than they had ever been.

Senator Lister Hill of Alabama, one of the sponsors of the bill, was chairman of the Labor and Public Welfare Committee, which would conduct hearings on the bill, and he was joined by Northern Democrats, the Democratic Whip from Kentucky, Senator Earle Clements, and seven other Southern Democrats, with Republicans William Langer and Milton Young, both of North Dakota, also joining. They had given up expectation of help from Secretary Hobby, finding her bright and charming but politically, a states' rights budget-balancer. They had anticipated having to restrain her female emotions as a defender of the rights of women and children, the sick and the aged, expecting to have to suggest to her the limits of her Cabinet authority, as they had to many of the male members of the Cabinet, but that had proved unnecessary.

John Umstead, North Carolina State Representative, writing in the Chapel Hill Weekly, indicates that they were hearing increasingly about whether a certain member of the General Assembly was a liberal or a conservative, that he had been accused occasionally of being an ultraliberal, and so for the previous several years, had given some thought to what was meant by the two terms.

He had observed that those who were called liberals had been the members most apt to recognize necessary services which the State should render to its citizens and were willing to raise the money to pay for those services, even if it meant increasing taxes, while those who were called conservatives were those representatives who minimized the necessary services and wished to raise only the taxes absolutely necessary, despite sacrificing many services which made life worth living in the state.

He indicates that the real attitude of those groups had appeared when a 1949 bond issue for secondary roads and school buildings had been passed by the voters, with the liberals supporting the bond issue because they saw it as a means to a better way of life for those who lived in rural areas, while conservatives believed that neither the proposed roads nor the school buildings were necessary and cautioned voters about going into debt. The program was completed for the most part within a three-year period, and now, there were few North Carolinians, even those who were ultraconservatives, who would not admit that the bond issue had greatly improved the state's economy.

He finds that the attitudes were also demonstrated by agricultural developments during the previous 15 years, that machinery coming to the farm had produced a conservative attitude that the mule and plow were good enough and that no farmer should go into debt by purchasing a tractor. But now the mule had nearly been forgotten, while the most prosperous farmers looked for the most improved machinery, despite having to go into debt to buy it.

After giving the matter due consideration, he had concluded that a liberal was a person who believed that money should be spent for necessary services despite the cost, placing human values above monetary values. Irrespective, therefore, of the truth of the allegation that he was too liberal, a matter of opinion, he would continue his firm belief in the Golden Rule and during the 1955 biennial session of the Legislature, would be in the camp of the liberals.

A letter writer from Cheraw, S.C., wishes to call the attention of the newspaper to the unfair Wage and Hours Act presently in effect, unfair to such industries as textiles and hardwood lumber plants, saw milling and other industries exempted from it. There were employers who would not pay a cent more than the required minimum wage, and the writer indicates that he was aware of some families in the county and state who had as many as eight family members and who received no more than 75 cents per hour, with most only able to work half-time. The employers, meanwhile, could build fine houses and have two or three nice cars, while their employees could not pay their debts to the doctor, drugstore or grocer. He urges the government to provide every citizen with a decent living wage, agreeing with a statement made by the late Henry Ford some years earlier that a satisfied employee was a productive employee, as well as a statement from the late President Roosevelt, that if a man operating a business could not pay his employees a decent wage, he should let someone else run the business. He believes that there were too many people nowadays who cared only for themselves. There were businesses which had come from the North, as well as from the South, but that if they came into exploit the working people for the purpose of fattening their own bankrolls, it would be better, he opines, if they would never come.


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