The Charlotte News

Tuesday, January 18, 1955


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports from Taipeh, Formosa, that a Communist invasion force, backed by 20 warships, had struck strategic Yikiangshan this date, and had apparently conquered the small Nationalist Chinese island outpost. Reliable reports in Taipeh said that radio contact with the island had been broken off at 6:00 p.m. and it was presumed that the Communists had completed their conquest. The island was considered a stepping stone to the important Tachen Islands, and had been garrisoned by "a few brave guerrillas", according to the Nationalist China Defense Ministry. Unofficial reports indicated that the Tachens might be invaded at any moment, and it was reliably reported that the Communist Chinese had shelled the Tachens during the afternoon but had not yet attempted any landing. President Chiang Kai-shek of Nationalist China had called a conference of top level military leaders this night in Taipeh. The U.S. 7th Fleet patrolled the waters of the Formosa Strait, but there was no indication what steps, if any, the U.S. might take. It was committed to defense of Formosa, proper, and the Pescadores, but had never committed to protection of the Nationalist offshore islands. The island in question was eight miles north of the Tachens and five miles south of Communist-held Toumen Island. From it, the Communists could fire 155-mm guns at the Tachens. Yikiangshan had been subjected to repeated bombardments since November 1, when the Communist Chinese had reportedly fired more than 3,000 rounds at it from Toumen.

In San Jose, Costa Rica, the general staff declared this date that the rebel commander, Teodoro Picado, Jr., had been killed on the Santa Rosa front, along with 34 of his men, having received full confirmation of his death. He had led the rebel uprising, which a five-nation commission appointed by the Organization of American States had determined the previous week had been supplied materiel via the northern border of Costa Rica, shared only with Nicaragua, which had denied any governmental input to the revolt, declaring it a civil war within Costa Rica. Nicaraguan strong man dictator Anastasio Somoza had engaged in an ongoing verbal battle with President Jose Figueres of Costa Rica, contending that Costa Rica had been behind the attempted assassination of El Presidente Somoza the prior July, with President Figueres asserting that Nicaragua was behind attempts to overthrow the Government of Costa Rica. The report did not indicate how the general staff had confirmed the death of young Ted, the 27-year old son of a former Costa Rican President of the same name, and a 1951 graduate of West Point. Guess the Mercedes-Benz sales would probably suffer in Costa Rica, or at least in Managua, Nicaragua, as a result.

Federal District Court Judge Luther Youngdahl this date dismissed a new indictment accusing Owen Lattimore, former State Department adviser on the Far East, of perjury for denying that he had ever been a follower of the Communist line or promoter of Communist interests, indicating that to require the defendant to go to trial under charges "so formless and obscure" as those before the court would make a "sham" of the Sixth Amendment, requiring that a defendant be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him, and the Federal rule requiring specificity of charges. The dismissed charge had been returned by a Federal grand jury the previous October, replacing the key count of a December, 1952 indictment, which the same judge had dismissed in May, 1953 for its vagueness, upheld by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. The Government could appeal the dismissal, as it had when Judge Youngdahl had dismissed four of the seven counts of the original indictment, the Court of Appeals having restored two of those counts, which formed the basis for the new indictment. Judge Youngdahl had said that the court could not escape the conclusion that the phrase "follower of the Communist line" was not one with meaning about which men of ordinary intellect could agree, nor one which could be used with mutual understanding by a questioner and answerer unless it were defined at the time it were sought and offered as testimony. He found it "an open invitation to the jury to substitute, by conjecture, their understanding of the phrase for that of the defendant", with the meaning varying according to a particular individual's political philosophy. He asserted that it asked the jury to "aspire to levels of insight to which the ordinary person is incapable, and upon which speculation no criminal indictment should hinge."

In Boston, at the Massachusetts State Prison, four inmates rebelled, seizing five guards at gunpoint, demanding a car in which to escape. They had allowed a Catholic chaplain to enter the isolated solitary confinement cellblock, where the riot had taken place, to hear confessions of four of the guards, the fifth of whom was not Catholic. The warden would not comment when asked whether the prisoners had threatened the guards being held as hostages in bargaining for their liberty. Two of the prisoners were serving life sentences for killing a police sergeant, involved in a riot at the prison in July, 1952, and a third was serving a term for assault, after having been named at one time Boston's public enemy number one.

In Columbia, S.C., George Bell Timmerman, Jr., was sworn in as the new Governor. For the previous eight years, he had served as Lieutenant Governor, and at age 42, succeeded the aging Governor James Byrnes, who could not succeed himself and was retiring to private life. The new Governor faced the most crucial period of the state's history since Reconstruction, with the question of compliance with the Supreme Court's holding in Brown v. Board of Education hanging in abeyance, with one of the four state cases subsumed under Brown having arisen out of Clarendon County, South Carolina. The implementing decision in Brown was still pending, with oral arguments being delayed until the Senate would confirm Justice-designate John Harlan, whose grandfather of the same name had been the lone dissenter in the Supreme Court case of Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896, establishing the principle of separate but equal accommodations as satisfying the Fourteenth Amendment Equal Protection Clause in the context of railroad passenger cars, a holding which was overruled in Brown regarding public schools, for the separate-but-equal principle not having ever been satisfied in 58 years. In his inaugural address, Governor Timmerman said that the state "will not tolerate any tampering with the lives of their children" by the Federal Government, that the "only acceptable decree that may be rendered by the Supreme Court in the school segregation cases is one that will recognize the right of individual parents to choose what is best for their own children." He pledged to exert his "greatest efforts to preserve the way of life in which white and Negro have learned to live peacefully in close proximity with an understanding of the problems of each…" He said that the "way of life" was one in which each race maintained "racial integrity" and by which "the white majority has increased its efforts to provide true equality of opportunity to the Negro minority in schools and in all other endeavors, except social intermingling." He heavily criticized the Supreme Court decision in Brown and declared that "the great Constitutional problem facing the American people is how to curb" the Court's authority, that it had "arrogated to itself the power to change the Constitution without consulting the people—a power it was never intended to have and a power that endangers the future freedom of all citizens." He said that it was the responsibility of Congress to curb the Court's power "for the future protection of all citizens" by limiting and exempting its jurisdiction over cases concerning public schools, that the failure of Congress to act would require that it share the full responsibility for the current "judicial infringement upon Constitutional government and upon the freedom of a large segment of citizens of the United States", that the control of education and training of children was a local matter. We do not like the way he is looking at us from his picture on the page. He did not explain how it was that the Plessy Court had not engaged in changing the Constitution from its actual words by implying that "separate but equal" accommodations was the same thing as "equal protection" under the laws. The Fourteenth Amendment says nothing about "separate but equal". Stop looking at us that way. Didn't we see you, once upon a time, outside Memorial Hall, when we were entering for graduation ceremonies from law school, looking at us the same way? If not, you sure look like that individual, whom we shall never forget.

In Raleigh, legislation calling for large appropriations to enforce the state's compulsory school attendance law and to provide paid sick leave for teachers had been introduced in the State Senate this date, with measures proposing to pay teachers in twelve monthly installments rather than in nine, and to elect school superintendents for four-year terms instead of two-year terms. The bill would appropriate more than $474,000 for each of the ensuing two fiscal years to enable local school units to employ attendance officers, the bill's sponsor, State Senator H. M. Moore of Clay County, having stated that there were "too many kids skipping school" and that the State was spending too much money on schools to have that situation continue. The sick leave bill would allow teachers and principals up to five days of sick leave per year, Mr. Moore indicating that present law required teachers to pay six dollars per day for substitutes when they were out sick, resulting in teachers often attempting to work when they ought be home. He said that the change of pay to twelve installments would not increase teachers' overall pay.

In Atlanta, 24 Southern Presbyteries were deciding this date whether they wanted the three branches of the Presbyterian Church to unite, with only ten votes in opposition necessary to kill the proposal. Five presbyteries had voted for union and twelve against thus far, with approval of 75 percent of the 86 Southern Presbyteries required. The issue was whether the United Presbyterian Church would merge with the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., the Northern branch, and the Presbyterian Church in the U.S., the Southern branch, to become the Presbyterian Church of the United States. The three branches had a combined membership of about 3.5 million persons.

In Charlotte, Helen Parks of The News tells of the Mecklenburg Presbytery being deadlocked in its discussion this date of the union of the three branches of the Presbyterian Church, delaying a vote on the matter. During the ten minutes allowed by the committee, Dr. Warner Hall, retiring moderator, had been the first speaker for the union of the churches, quoting the Reverend Billy Graham, as a person detached from the Presbyterian problem, as having interpreted the church as one from Scriptures. An elder of the Church was the second speaker, the first to speak in opposition, saying that he was neither a pessimist nor an optimist to think that "folks will be changed for or against union", expressing the belief that most present had made up their minds.

On the editorial page, "'The Stark Reality of Responsibility'" provides a quote that the taxpayers were spending too much for Government services which were neither practical nor necessary, that the obligations of the Federal Government suffered if the Federal budget was not balanced, particularly where the deficit of one year was not cleared up in the succeeding year, indicating that it was a quote from FDR during his first run for the presidency in 1932. President Eisenhower had made similar statements during the 1952 campaign, indicating that by 1955, he had wanted a 40 billion dollar budget.

But his budget package submitted to Congress the previous day called for 40 billion in defense spending alone, out of the 62.5 billion dollar budget, the President indicating that defense needs continued to remain high because of the threat from world Communism. The result was a 2.5 billion dollar deficit.

After quoting from Adlai Stevenson in 1952 regarding the "stark reality of responsibility" preventing less spending for services and defense, it indicates that while perhaps Congress could be persuaded not to appropriate more than the President had requested, not the usual case, or perhaps to make a few cuts here and there to the proposed budget, the fact remained that the "business" Administration, after two years in office, had found that it could not safely reduce expenditures very much. Any substantial tax reduction was also unlikely any time soon. As long as the cold war continued, with its end nowhere in sight, Americans had to pay for what was primarily a military budget. It concludes that as onerous as the burden was, it was light by comparison to the cost of a hot war, which might be averted by the actions made possible by present tax dollars.

"Inspection Law Is No. 1 Safety Need" indicates that a new inspection law for motor vehicles was a primary need for the 1955 General Assembly to pass. A previous inspection law enacted in 1947 had been repealed in 1949 because of its cumbersome nature, limiting the number of inspection stations such that people had to sit in long lines to have their vehicles inspected.

But with one person being killed in a traffic accident in the state every eight hours, and one injured every 34 minutes, with an accident reported every 11 minutes, and 30 percent of those accidents involving only one vehicle, such a law, to get rid of the rattletraps on the road, was necessary. Department of Motor Vehicles head Ed Scheidt had the task of taking the old system and eliminating its flaws, to make it convenient and effective, which the piece indicates could be done in a way that would garner public support. It urges its passage.

"'Ready' Reserve" quotes a paragraph from a personal letter, telling of a farmer's good-humored reaction to his son's return from the Army, but prompting a frown when the realization hit that similar statements had been received just prior to Pearl Harbor and before the Korean War. The paragraph had said that with the son back from the Army, he was so lazy that he moved in slow motion, had not even offered to milk a cow, was "flabby fat" and short-winded, the father saying that he would sure hate to think of the country getting into a war if the soldiers in reserve were all of the same type.

"Thoughts at a Mecklenburg Crossroad" comments on thoughts coming to mind as one looked into the morning sun while stuck in a traffic jam at an intersection, or, when coming home, at the same location, staring into the afternoon sun, prompting question as to when the scientists would produce a substance which would easily and cheaply reduce highway glare.

A piece from the Shelby Daily Star, titled "Had Your Jowl Today?" tells of there being different pronunciations of words in different parts of the country, using "jowl" as an example, it being pronounced in some sections, as in Shelby, as rhyming with "owl", while in Georgia, it was pronounced as rhyming with "bowl".

It indicates that generally speech sounds were often peculiar to a particular region, with the coldness or warmth of the climate being partially responsible, theorizing that the amount of moisture in the air might contribute to speech tones. Practically everyone in Boston was afflicted with respiratory ailments, which provided the Boston and Harvard accent its adenoidal quality. The hurly-burly of life, plus the atmosphere, probably contributed to the way residents of Brooklyn said "boid" rather than bird. It suggests that a Brooklyn resident might pronounce "jowl" as "joil".

It offers that the New Year was probably the time to realize that people everywhere spoke differently, but that the observations had no bearing on the merits of hog jowls and black-eyed peas as a protection in warding off evil.

Drew Pearson indicates that only three times since the Civil War had Pennsylvania elected a Democratic governor, but had elected a 36-year old chicken farmer, a Democrat, George Leader, by a margin of 280,000 votes in 1954. Mr. Pearson had interviewed Governor Leader at his farm recently, and found that he loved farming, unlike some of the gentleman farmers who had been Governors, such as Thomas Dewey of New York, or President Eisenhower and his two Black Angus heifers on his farm near Gettysburg—not mentioning former President Roosevelt's Christmas tree farming operation at Hyde Park in New York. There were not too many politicians in high office who relied on farming as their sole source of income, but Governor Leader had indicated that the only money he had ever made outside of farming was the small salary he had received as a State Senator. He said that if the price of eggs dropped, he would, therefore, be out of luck, having to wait until they rose again. Nevertheless, he did not believe that the Agriculture Department should support the price of eggs, with the farmers of Pennsylvania having always opposed it, even though the price of grain fed to the poultry was supported by the Government. He blamed Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson for favoring the big farmer and not doing enough to encourage small farmers. Mr. Leader operated a farm of 110 acres, purchased through a G.I. loan, making it pay only through specialization in baby chickens. He indicated that the average family farmer who did not specialize could not make a living from 100 acres any longer and so more were drifting to the city, which he regarded as one of the serious problems facing the nation.

Mr. Pearson describes his farmhouse as small and neat, not the type of residence one would expect of the Governor of a major state. Mr. Pearson had learned that poultry farming required more skill than the skilled business of dairy farming, describing some of the process of inbreeding chickens, as former Vice-President and Secretary of Agriculture Henry Wallace had been doing since his retirement from politics, having developed hybrid corn before entering government, which had led to the doubling in size of the U.S. corn crop, now trying the same thing with chickens.

Most political observers in the state had not given Mr. Leader any real chance to win the election, with some believing that he had been picked as a throwaway Democratic candidate by the big wheels of Pennsylvania. Mr. Pearson suggests that as a political novice, Governor Leader might have a tough time around shrewd Democratic politicians, or might surprise them. Pennsylvania had nearly the highest unemployment rate in the country and the coal fields, which had once been the backbone of its industry, were now facing the competition of oil and eventually atomic power. He concludes that if Governor Leader was successful as Governor, he would go places in the Democratic Party, which was looking for new young blood.

Joseph Alsop, in Jakarta, discusses Indonesia and its progress as an independent republic, as well as the danger of Communism to it, not so serious as had been portrayed during the prior year. He indicates that in Indonesia, everything happened slowly and was indeterminate. A crisis which would tear another country apart in the course of a week could last a couple of months and produce no clear result when concluded, making analysis difficult. Still, there was nothing to justify the pessimism about the future of Indonesia, as often heard in Washington. If world Communism was not permitted to take over all of Asia, there was every reason to have hope regarding Indonesia and its 80 million people.

Ninety percent of the people were devout Moslems, and the Communists had not been able to attain a mass base except in the labor unions in the largest towns. They were tolerated and Communist political support was accepted by the Government, but had not gotten their hands on the police, the Army, or any other vital lever of power.

When Mr. Alsop had been in Jakarta a little more than a year earlier, the Army appeared in danger, with the current defense minister having sought to get the Army under his personal control, causing a major crisis. But that had ended with the semi-retirement of one of Indonesia's most impressive leaders, the former chief of staff of the armed forces, and the way was still not open to the Communists for penetration of the armed forces, the factions within the Army having drawn together because of the efforts to play one faction off against another, leaving the Army a powerful anti-Communist force.

Meanwhile, the Government was preparing for the first national election, with both Prime Minister Ali and President Sukarno formally pledged to holding it during the year, probably in the summer. In that event, the present Parliament, with its arbitrarily appointed deputies, would come to an end and the people would have their chance to speak.

There were still great difficulties ahead, as there were major economic problems in the country to be solved as well as the need for much better education, as the former Dutch imperialism had severely restricted education, with the result that 93 percent of the people had been illiterate when the Indonesian Republic had been established, with those with a full Western education numbering no more than a few thousand. Illiterates would not be able to administer one of the largest nations of the modern world, with the task of those who were educated in consequence being especially strenuous, accounting for the slow progress of the country. Those facts meant that any judgment had to be sympathetic to be realistic. Just because the beginning of the Republic had been slow and faltering did not mean that the prediction for the future had to be necessarily pessimistic, and the Prime Minister and President Sukarno ought not be judged pro-Communist because their present attitudes toward Indonesian Communism appeared alarmingly amiable to many Americans.

Mr. Alsop observes that every new nation had two traits, being irrationally sensitive and suspicious, as had been the early American republic, needing time to develop its own national identity and method of doing business with the world. If those things were kept in mind and Indonesia given time and sympathy, the country could one day become one of the great powers of the free world. He cautions, however, that whether that time would be allowed would depend on what responsible leaders of the free world did about the Communist advance in the rest of Asia.

Doris Fleeson indicates that a black correspondent, Louis Lautier, was seeking admission to the National Press Club, amid some controversy, as heretofore it had been only for white males, resistant to both women and minorities. Mr. Lautier, a correspondent for the National Negro Press Association and the Atlanta World, had become the first black member of the press galleries of Congress about eight years earlier and belonged also to the President's press conference. Recently, he had approached friends in the press corps and said that he wanted to belong to the Club so that he could attend its luncheons, at which world figures made speeches and answered questions, such as its recent guest, French Premier Pierre Mendes-France. The request appeared reasonable to columnists Marquis Childs, Drew Pearson and Lee Nichols of the United Press, and the membership committee, chaired by Lewis Schollenberger of CBS, had approved. The board of governors of the Club had voted 6 to 4 to admit Mr. Lautier, and the rules required that his name then be posted on a bulletin board for 15 days before the final vote for admission by the members.

It so happened that the annual meeting of the Club would take place during that 15-day period, and opponents of the admission were preparing for a vigorous debate during the meeting. The Club's membership standards referred only to "duly qualified men", not mentioning race, creed or color. The NPC had 4,000 members, half of whom were active residents, and of that half, about 900 were working journalists from editorial rooms of all kinds, trade publications, radio and television, business and circulation departments, with many of the remaining active members being lobbyists, most of whom were lawyers.

Female journalists had long pointed out that those lobbyists could hear the Club's guests make their major pronouncements and reply to questions, while the female journalists were refused admittance. Meanwhile, by contrast, the Women's National Press Club admitted all journalists to cover their speakers. At a recent speech by Ambassador Clare Boothe Luce, the president of the National Council of Negro Women had been present at the head table. The WNPC had not yet received an application for membership from a black female journalist, though there were several in Washington.

Robert C. Ruark, in Havana, tells of the new Hilton Hotel being built, with its basic financing coming from the powerful syndicate of waiters and bartenders, frightening to Mr. Ruark, as he believes that once the waiters and bartenders became stockholders, they would become too grand to fetch the extra cup of coffee, wondering what Conrad Hilton would receive in the way of room service, were the staff to become displeased with the way he ran the establishment.

In times past in Cuba, he had experienced the pundonor of service staff when their sense of dignity became infringed, then becoming haughtily resistant to service, aloof to the world, looking the other way when implored to perform their accustomed duties. He says he had spent the previous 20 years trying to attract the attention of Cuban waiters and bartenders who suddenly came down with pundonor. One could scream until the lungs ached, gesture and whistle, snap fingers and rattle glasses, but the pundonored Cuban was "off on cloud six" and returned to reality only by self-motivation, even then appearing to walk away and not listen when summoned.

He concludes that he had heard it would be a fine new hotel when completed, but still was wondering about poor Mr. Hilton.

A letter from Bob Cherry, Jr., responds to the editorial titled, "Those Liberals, Lewis and Sokolsky", indicating that a passage from Shakespeare's Coriolanus had come to mind: "I can't say you have delivered the matter well, when I find the ass in compound with a major part of your syllables…" He finds that the editors must be in a bad way for something on which to write when it became necessary to disparage George Sokolsky or Fulton Lewis, Jr., for their favorable opinion enunciated of the former Agriculture Department employee, Wolf Ladejinsky, especially given the fact that the editors agreed with that favorable opinion. Mr. Cherry found it ground for a toast, as it was rare that "you so-called 'liberals' of today are capable of rising to the analytical and common sense level of such eminent, traditional American reporters as George Sokolsky and Fulton Lewis, Jr."

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