The Charlotte News

Monday, January 17, 1955


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the President this date recommended a slightly trimmed budget for the coming fiscal year, which he said was designed to guard the nation "against attack from without and undermining from within", while advancing human welfare and economic growth. It contemplated a deficit of about 2.5 billion dollars, a little more than half that estimated for the current fiscal year, the fifth successive year of deficit spending. Estimated expenditures were down by a little more than a billion dollars from that anticipated for the current year, with anticipated income in the coming fiscal year to be about a billion dollars more than in the present year. The defense budget was placed at 40.5 billion dollars, 65 percent of the total, with virtually no change from that of the current year, but six billion less than for 1953-54. The defense budget continued primary reliance on air power to ward off attack and afford retaliation against aggressors. The budget placed new emphasis on a more extensive radar net across the northern continent for early warning of attack. The Air Force received a record two-thirds of the recommended budget for the armed forces, with two-thirds of its money earmarked for procurement of updated jet aircraft. Regarding domestic expenditure, the budget stressed a "policy of partnership" to develop communications and resources between the Federal Government and the states, local governments and private interests, and a call for cost-sharing programs throughout the civilian portion of the budget, including references to roads, aviation, shipbuilding and natural resources. The President also announced appointment of a special commission to study soaring veterans' benefits, which he said needed "constructive reconsideration".

In San Jose, Costa Rica, U.S. Air Force pilots rushed four World War II Mustang fighter planes to the country this date to help the embattled Government challenge rebel control of the air, the planes having reportedly been sold to the country for a dollar apiece, with Costa Rican pilots to man them. The rebels reportedly had an air force of one fighter and two trainers. Prior to the transfer, the Costa Rican air force had consisted primarily of slow civilian transports, hastily armed with machine-guns following the rebel outbreak. The Organization of American States, which had authorized the transfer of the combat planes, had received an urgent appeal from the Costa Rican Government the previous night for further and more effective help. Costa Rica had accused its northern neighbor, Nicaragua, of stirring up the revolt, but Nicaragua had denied the charge. An OAS investigating committee, without naming Nicaragua specifically, had reported that a substantial amount of the rebel war materiel had come from Costa Rica's northern border, which was common only to Nicaragua. The country had no formal armed forces, limited only to a police force. Fighting had erupted again the previous day on the only active front, at Santa Rosa plantation, in the northwest portion of the country, near the Nicaraguan border, suggesting that a decisive battle might be in the offing.

In Groton, Conn., the atomic submarine U.S.S. Nautilus departed from its dock this date to begin its trial run, with a Navy officer stating that it was the first time that any kind of vehicle had moved by atomic power. There were no civilian spectators on hand for the launching, but there were a few observers on the docks in New London, a half-mile away across the Thames River. Navy sources indicated that the vessel could cross the Atlantic submerged at full speed and could circle the globe without refueling. The Navy said that there were over 100 officers and men aboard the submarine this date, as well as 60 civilian experts and technicians. The report compares the sailing to that of the first cruise of Fulton's steam-powered riverboat.

In Corner Brook, Newfoundland, it was reported that a U.S. Navy four-engine Constellation aircraft had crashed in the Atlantic this date and search planes over the area reported no trace of the 13 occupants. The plane had been airborne for less than two hours out of Harmon Air Force Base near Corner Brook when the pilot radioed that one of the two engines had failed, moments later indicating that a second motor had cut out. Search planes reported sighting yellow life rafts in the sea but did not see anyone in them. The plane carried a crew of six and was carrying seven passengers at the time. The pilot had not indicated the nature of the trouble which had caused the engines to fail.

In Waxahachie, Tex., bloodhounds had located a part-time lay evangelist cowering under a church pew the previous night after he had engaged in a shootout with three law enforcement officers, one of whom was struck in the hip, when they had approached the man's home to question him about a traffic complaint. According to a deputy sheriff, when they had walked up to his house, he said, "Hell, I'll just kill all three of you S.O.B's." He had then opened fire with a .410 shotgun, whereupon the officers returned fire, missing the assailant. The wounded deputy was not seriously hurt. More than 50 law enforcement officers, armed with high-powered rifles, upset over the wounding of a fellow officer, had engaged in the hunt for the man.

In Columbia, S.C., George Bell Timmerman, Jr., was to be sworn in as the new Governor this date. He had been Lieutenant Governor for the previous eight years. He succeeded Governor James Byrnes, who was retiring to private life. To be sworn in as the new Lieutenant Governor would be future Senator Ernest Hollings of Charleston.

In Raleigh, the General Assembly would be asked to consider a bill calling for staggered terms for Mecklenburg County commissioners, with four-year terms for two of them and two-year terms for the other three. Presently, all four were elected for two-year terms, with only the chairman serving a four-year term.

In Greensboro, an 18-year old Charlotte girl had died this date in the hospital after being struck by a car the previous night near the campus of Greensboro College, where she was a freshman. The driver of the car which hit her was charged with reckless driving and operating a vehicle without a license.

In Charlotte, the Westinghouse Electric Supply Corp. was planning a huge new warehouse and office in the city, expected to cost over $400,000 to build. It would be located just west of and on the same side of the street as WBT and WBTV's new studio and office building on West Morehead Street. A Pittsburgh firm would construct the building, as it had for Westinghouse in many sections of the country.

On the editorial page, "Road Needs Must Not Be Ignored" indicates that whether Governor Luther Hodges would go along with the State Highway Commission's proposals for highway construction or not, the fact remained that the state's primary road system had serious deficiencies and that one way or another, they had to be corrected. The previous November, an engineering firm had announced the results of a 1954 survey of the state's roads, suggesting a ten-year program of modernization. On the basis of that report, the State Highway Commission had drafted recommendations which were believed to include a 150 million dollar bond issue proposal. Some experts had reported that currently available revenue sources would meet most of the costs, but the major portion of the highway deficiencies required improvement during the first six years of the contemplated decade-long program, and during those years, revenues would fall short of the needed expenditures.

It indicates that if the state would proceed with the piecemeal improvement projects, as it was currently doing, it would find old deficiencies piling up while many new needs were going unmet, resulting in additional direct and indirect economic losses to the state and its citizens. It finds that some deficit financing might become necessary, but in the meantime, the state had to make every effort to adopt all possible reforms in the operation of the Highway Department, with a long list of possible improvements provided by the engineering firm. It indicates that some of the more important proposals were reprinted on the page and deserved close scrutiny. It suggests that some slight changes in Department practices might result in millions more in revenue available for the improvement program, and that certain of those changes should be made, that a bond issue was not the only source from which to obtain additional revenue desperately needed by the State Government.

"A Break for State and Taxpayer" indicates that support was growing in the State Legislature for a pay-as-you-go State income tax plan through withholding by employers, indicating that it was necessary as a convenience to harassed taxpayers and to get additional names on State tax rolls. It believes the plan was the only worthwhile, convenient, thoroughly efficient approach to the collection of State income taxes and urges its adoption.

"For Men's and the Nation's Sake" discusses the President's elaboration the previous week on his proposed program for increasing military manpower through a ready reserve. It hopes that it would go beyond the realm of debate and be enacted, finding that the plan would more fully utilize young men than the present system, while more adequately compensating career men.

Under the proposal, young men who reached the age of 17 could either enlist and serve three years in the Army or Marines, or four years in the Air Force or Navy, and then complete their commitment by serving in the reserves until age 25, or they could await being drafted and serve two years, without the choice of service, followed by six years in the reserves. Prior to age 19, they could enlist in the Marines or the Navy reserve for eight years, with the understanding that they might, within two years, have to go on active duty for at least two years. Or they could, between ages 17 and 19, take six months of training, provided the annual quota of 100,000 had not been met, and then spend 9 1/2 years in the reserve.

It finds that those alternative plans would take into account most young men and would fill the reserves with young men, as it should be, instead of veterans, as was currently the case. It would provide young men the opportunity to fit their military training into their own plans for education, marriage and careers. Furthermore, the plan would provide pay increases for career soldiers and provide several fringe benefits, removal of which had been reflected in sharply decreased re-enlistments. There would be increased hazard pay, more per diem pay, more housing for service families where current facilities were inadequate, a special allowance for men who had to move dependents, and more medical care for military families.

It urges passing the plan rather than arguing it to death, as had occurred with previous proposals regarding universal military training, as such a plan was necessary to augment the country's defenses and help deter aggression.

A piece from the Monroe County (Mo.) Appeal, titled "That First Automobile", indicates that its first car had scared the daylights out of horses, in both town and country, that on one Sunday afternoon near the county infirmary, the writer had seen a horse which was kicking, plunging and bucking as a man and a woman rolled out of their buggy, that as the man had struggled with the horse, the woman took her stand in the middle of the road and waited for the car to arrive. She had been mad and made no effort to conceal the fact, asking why they did not turn the car around and go back to town where they belonged, suggesting that there ought to be a law against such things on country roads. Later, she had forgiven them, and eventually the couple had a car of their own. In that county, farmers had petitioned the Legislature to prohibit the operation of automobiles on public roads, gathering more than 300 signatures in support.

It relates that not every mule in the county was afraid of cars, that one driver was heading from Paris to Santa Fe in his car, encountered a mule on the road near the Gleason schoolhouse, slowed down as the animal walked slowly and defiantly across, and just as it was about to clear, suddenly paused and kicked the radiator off the car.

Drew Pearson relates of the difficulties encountered by U.N. Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold during his recent visit in Peiping to discuss with Premier and Foreign Minister Chou En-lai of Communist China to try to obtain the release of 11 U.S. airmen and other U.N. Command personnel who had been imprisoned for alleged espionage during the Korean War, pursuant to the U.N. resolution which had condemned the imprisonment as a violation of the Korean War Armistice of July, 1953, requiring that all prisoners of war be repatriated to the country of their choice. The Secretary-General had arranged the meeting through a relative who was attached to the Swedish Embassy in China, and before leaving, had telegraphed Premier Nehru of India that he would stop there for important talks, with the hope of getting Nehru's cooperation, on the belief that the latter would have persuasive influence with the Chinese Communists. In New Delhi, however, Prime Minister Nehru refused even to go to the airport to meet the Secretary-General, but later outlined his own terms for the release of the 11 airmen, refusing to cooperate unless he was able to control the negotiations. The Secretary-General thus departed with no help from Nehru, and it was no consolation that the latter's sister, Madame Pandit, had later bawled Nehru out and told him he was becoming increasingly anti-American.

When he reached Peiping, the Secretary-General found Chou in no mood to negotiate easily, wanting too much for the release of the 11 airmen, with one in particular, a lieutenant colonel, who had signed a "confession", possibly not to be released at all. Chou had shown to Mr. Hammarskjold the confession and other supposedly "incriminating evidence", which purported to indicate that the lieutenant colonel was over Communist China when he had been shot down. He had also appeared in a Communist propaganda film which would soon be released throughout the Communist world, designed to prove U.S. espionage.

In summary, the Secretary-General obtained a tentative agreement that the U.S. airmen would be released piecemeal, depending on how the U.S. complied with Communist demands, that in return, China wanted the U.S. to address the presence of the Seventh Fleet in the Straits of Formosa, protecting Nationalist China, the lack of U.N. recognition of Communist China, the freezing of Chinese funds in U.S. banks, and the return of the 35 Chinese students being held in the U.S. because of their technical skills which could prove useful to the Communist Chinese. Regarding the latter, Chou had indicated that the U.S. should grant exit visas to the students whom China would name, though seeming to consider that a comparatively minor issue. The meeting had ended when the Secretary-General made it clear that he had no authority to bargain for the United States, was only representing the U.N., and so no final agreement could be reached.

A piece, as indicated in the editorial above, which appears to be an extension of that editorial, discusses the changes in policies, practices and tax rate structures of the North Carolina State Highway Department recommended by a New York engineering firm, indicating that by instituting those reforms, the state could tighten up the Department's financial structure considerably, and revenues might even be increased to the extent that only a small bond issue or no bond issue at all would be necessary to correct the inadequacies of the state's highway system. It indicates that there were additional important recommendations made by the experts, beyond the editorial's stated recommendations, including: consideration to be given to establishment of a diesel fuel tax rate of approximately 11 cents per gallon to provide equivalency between the charges levied on gasoline-powered trucks and diesel trucks of the same weight classification; if present refund privileges were to be retained, quarterly publication of the amounts and percentages of refunds according to type of user—and so on and so forth down a list of 12 such recommendations, of which we are sure you will wish to read thoroughly to become an adept at the coming improvements to the state's highway system, so that you can write your State legislator and urge adoption of the engineering firm's recommendations.

Julian Scheer of The News, in the fourth of a series of articles on the recommendations by Governor Luther Hodges and the State Budget Advisory Board to the General Assembly regarding the state budget for the coming biennium, tells of 23 cents of each tax dollar in the state going for highway construction and maintenance, the second largest proportion of the proposed budget, next to the 47 cents for education. It would require over 167 million dollars to maintain the 67,000 miles of primary, secondary paved and secondary unpaved roads in good condition during the ensuing two years, according to the budget recommendations. He goes further into the breakdown of the costs, indicating that Federal funds were not included in those amounts, which should be about 42 million dollars for construction of highways.

Again, we are certain you will wish to read all about it.

A letter writer comments on open letter of sportswriter Bob Quincy to Cal Griffith, finding it the best of the year for having "put it on the line, just the way it should have been." He indicates that he was a fan of the Charlotte Hornets baseball club from 1946 to 1953, but could not support a Washington-owned club. He urges having a local owner who was a sports lover and not a money lover. He finds that Mr. Quincy had forgotten to tell Mr. Griffith that the seats at the park were terrible to sit on and that the restrooms were out of style. He advocates selling the park to a real estate broker and that the local residents could then support the textile mills' ball clubs, which would "give you the game of your life."

A letter writer from Bennettsville, S.C., comments on a previous letter writer who expressed views on the May 17 decision in Brown v. Board of Education, indicating that he had believed in a "pure race". This writer says that as a former resident of the state, he had seen more white people who looked like black people and more black people who looked like white people and more Indians who looked like a combination of the two than in any place he had ever been, and he had been in a lot of places. He thinks that the previous writer could not claim that such was the result of mixed schools or lax Jim Crow laws, that North Carolina's Jim Crow laws were enforced as far as possible within the power of the law, and "like all good Southerners, North Carolinians preach racial purity but never practice it."

A letter writer from Laurinburg, N.C., comments on the same previous letter writer, indicating that he lived in the state and had heard the statement about wishing to maintain a "pure race" more times than he could remember. He says that he had an employee who was black with blonde hair and fair complexion, an Indian with red curly hair, and a white with kinky hair and a very dark complexion. "Yes, we may believe in a pure race. We may want it but we doggone sure don't have it—not in North Carolina."

A letter writer from Cheraw, S.C., asks a previous letter writer from Sacramento, Calif., "Who is my neighbor?" She then cites Luke 10:29 from the Bible. She does not see how the previous writer could be a true citizen of the country and try to make others believe as he did, that it was more like Russia or the Devil, that the Lord did not have everyone do the same thing, did not force anyone to serve Him, that it was up to each person. "The red birds go together, so do the blue. The black and other kinds keep to themselves, as God made them do. God has blessed us above every nation on earth. We have won every war. He must have liked our way of life best or He would not have blessed us." She adds a P.S., that they had the white men and boys and girls and women separate in hospitals and a lot of public gatherings, and asks what was wrong with "Negroes keeping in their place".

"God", we are sure, is very pleased with your attitude.

It is worth remembering on this Martin Luther King Day in 2022, amid cynical efforts to curtail the right to vote among Americans by certain groups, that Dr. King had only just turned 26 two days earlier in 1955, would begin his journey in the national spotlight in the latter part of that year, at the start of the Montgomery, Alabama, bus boycott, initiated by Rosa Parks refusing to surrender her seat on a municipal bus to a white passenger when instructed by the driver to do so. He would have only a little over 12 years to accomplish the work which chose him before having his life cut short by an assassin in Memphis on April 4, 1968 at age 39, but in that short span had accomplished more than any other single civil rights leader before him to bridge the gulf between the black and white communities in the country, not just for members of racial and ethnic minorities but for all people, to act as the conscience for the nation on justice and equality of opportunity for everyone. He was not merely a civil rights leader, but a man of the cloth who spoke with the authority of the ages behind him, and thus an educated wisdom which was far beyond his years. Rather than lionize Dr. King in words too puny to express fully the inspiration he gave to the part of the country who listened to him during those brief years, we defer to those who were present at the time of his speech before the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963, the eighth anniversary of the killing of Emmett Till, in Money, Mississippi, that which had inspired the Montgomery bus boycott. Those of us who heard it live on television that summer day can never forget it or fail to be continually inspired by it.

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