The Charlotte News

Saturday, January 22, 1955


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports from San Jose, Costa Rica, that a Costa Rican general staff spokesman had said this date that the country's rebellion was over, with the Government scheduling a victory parade for the following day. The spokesman said that all except around 150 of the rebels had fled back to Nicaragua, from which President José Figueres claimed they had come 11 days earlier. In Managua, the rebel radio declared that more than 1,000 revolutionary soldiers remained in Costa Rica and that the revolution was "still alive", that the insurgents hoped to adopt guerrilla tactics to continue. It said that the rebels would soon have new planes with which to fight the four Mustangs which the U.S. had provided for a dollar each to the Costa Rican Government, previously with a scant air force, the rebels indicating that those airplanes had turned the tide against them. El Presidente Anastasio Somoza of Nicaragua had, however, apparently written off the rebellion the previous night, saying that the rebels would accept a truce, provided the Costa Rican Government allowed its exiles to return and promised free elections. El Presidente expressed his views on the fighting in an interview granted after the Costa Rican general staff announced in San Jose the capture of the last two rebel bases in the northwest tip of the country. Sr. Somoza said that the rebels appeared to be in bad shape, with no defense against the fighter planes provided by the U.S. Rumors circulated that the "very important person" whom the Costa Rican general staff had announced the previous night had been captured, was the rebel leader, Ted Picado, Jr.—who, on the prior Tuesday, was said to have been killed and confirmed by Costa Rica as dead. Viva Mercedes sales!

In Taipeh, Formosa, it was reported that a U.S. Navy fast carrier task force had left Manila Bay early this date and was headed toward Formosan waters, though the report had not been officially confirmed. The 33,000-ton U.S.S. Essex, Yorktown and Kearsarge had pulled out of Manila Bay for what a Navy spokesman said were exercises at a regular operational area. But a well-placed Navy source at the Pacific Fleet Headquarters at Pearl Harbor said that it would be a "safe assumption" that the carriers were headed for the area of Formosa. Each carrier had 100 planes aboard. Nationalist warplanes had struck back the previous night and this date at Yikiangshan Island, which had been invaded on Tuesday by the Communist Chinese and won from the Nationalist guerrillas defending the island.

House Republican Leader Joseph Martin of Massachusetts said this date that the President would send to Congress a message the following Monday, seeking authority to define and hold the line of U.S. defenses in the Far East, making the announcement after a breakfast conference at the White House with the President. Mr. Martin said that he had assured the President of overwhelming Congressional approval of any request for authority to defend Formosa against Communist aggression, which he believed would be virtually unanimous. He said that he believed the President already had sufficient power to act without going to Congress, but wanted the support of Congress so that the world would know that the country was united in its determination to defend the area of Formosa. He said that the President did not believe the U.S. was justified in fighting for minor outlying islands off the coast of mainland China, but would probably define in his message the area which the Government believed it was justified in defending.

Rowland Evans, Jr., reports that Senator Charles Potter of Michigan had said this date that proposed legislation to pay expenses for relatives to visit the 17 Americans imprisoned in Communist China, as had been proposed in a bill the previous day by Representative Kenneth Keating of New York, would serve only to "flame the fires of vicious propaganda". Senator John Sparkman of Alabama said that he was thinking along similar lines. Thus far, the families of only two of the Americans had accepted the offer made by the Communist Chinese to visit, while others had hesitated because of the expense and yet others had taken heed of the Air Force warning that the Government could not assume any responsibility for their travel in Communist China, which would have to be undertaken at their own risk, as the U.S. did not recognize Communist China diplomatically and so had no embassy in the country. The U.N. was reported ready to make the travel arrangements for the relatives, but a spokesman said that it had no funds to pay their expenses, a round-trip plane ticket costing nearly $2,000. The American Red Cross had said the previous day, however, that it would provide up to the full amount of the cost of the trip to any next of kin who might be authorized by the U.S. Government and desired to visit but for the cost. Mr. Keating had said the previous day that he would introduce legislation to pay all reasonable transportation, subsistence and other expenses for the visits.

A lieutenant colonel in the Air Force, whose parents resided in Charlotte, had been accidentally killed while cleaning a gun the previous night in Puerto Rico, where he was stationed. He had attended UNC and had been a highly decorated combat veteran during World War II. He had been recalled to active duty with the Air Force during the Korean War.

In Raleigh, the administrative assistant to Governor Luther Hodges, John Larkins, believed that the Governor would bat better than .500 on his legislative program during the ongoing biennial session of the Legislature, an average which Mr. Larkins said was good. The preliminaries for the session had ended, after the Governor had indicated his stands on every major issue, and now the hard work would begin. Reaction to the Governor's program had been good, with the exception of his favoring a statewide liquor referendum and the abolition of absentee ballots for all except the military. Were he to lose on the redistricting of the State Senate, it would also not be a crushing defeat. The Governor's Advisory Commission on segregation had made far-reaching recommendations on schools, asking the General Assembly to provide city and county school boards with more power.

The North Carolina Press Association issued its annual awards for newspaper writing for 1954 the previous night, and The News had won for best editorial in a daily newspaper of more than 20,000 circulation, the editorial being reprinted on the editorial page. The awards had been presented by Governor Hodges the previous night at Duke University. In addition to the winning editorial by associate editor Vic Reinemer, four other members of the staff of the newspaper had also won awards. Sandy Grady, sportswriter, had won third place in feature writing for his story, "The Coach's Wife", which had appeared in the newspaper on October 1, also sharing third place for spot reporting with reporter Julian Scheer and sportswriter Ronald Green for their story about the "Beast of Bladenboro", which had been published on January 7, 1954. Photographer Jeep Hunter had received an honorable mention for his photograph published on May 4, above the caption "Half of Eddie Goes to Bed"—which sounds rather gruesome, maybe a shark story. Kays Gary of the Charlotte Observer had won first prize in the feature story category and Hal Tribble of the Observer had won third place for an editorial, with a fourth place spot reporting award having gone to Harry Golden, Jr., of the Observer, son of the editor and publisher of the Carolina Israelite of Charlotte.

In Chapel Hill, an exploratory convention to determine the merits of a federal union of Atlantic countries was recommended by News publisher Thomas L. Robinson during the morning, speaking before the past presidents' breakfast to mark the closing session of the annual Press Institute. He relied on his observations made during a recent six-week tour of seven European countries, having interviewed many military, political and economic leaders in the process, saying that he had concluded that no military alliance, such as NATO, was going to solve the pressing problem of uniting the political and economic strength, as well as the military resources, of the free world. He had concluded that the free democracies had to unite to win their fight against the steady encroachments of the Soviet Union.

On the editorial page, "A Fine Phrase, but a Faulty Issue" reprints the February 22, 1954 prize-winning editorial by associate editor Vic Reinemer, awarded by the North Carolina Press Association for best editorial in a daily newspaper with over 20,000 circulation. Mr. Reinemer, originally from Montana, had won honorable mention for prior work three times in his three and a half years with the newspaper. He would leave the newspaper in March, 1955 to take a job as executive secretary to Montana Senator James Murray. The newspaper had won the best editorial award for four of the five previous years, with editor on leave Pete McKnight having won for the years 1950, 1951, and 1953.

"Roads Are Not Built by Rhetoric" tells of a conflict between Governor Luther Hodges and the State Highway Commission chairman, A. H. Graham, with each of them leading competing factions. Governor Hodges had disapproved of the Commission's plan for improvement of primary roads and suggested that the highway plan be re-examined because of a proposed 150 million dollar bond issue which went along with it. Mr. Graham favored the bond issue.

The piece regards the Governor's urging that the highway fund be handled as an integral part of State Government and not as a separate, unintegrated enterprise to be sensible, suggesting that one part of the state's government could not be developed apart from the total system. The Commission was presently spending 200 million dollars every two years, a third of the entire cost of State Government, and thus ought be subject to as much supervision and control as any other State agency. The state was suffering from the lack of coordination, and the members of the Commission had made recommendations which the Governor now refused to approve. The Governor had said he would support a highway program which he believed was satisfactory, but then did not say what such a program would be like, confusing to members of the Legislature. Almost everyone agreed that the primary road system was in bad shape.

It advises that the Governor, leaders of the Legislature and highway officials ought sit down and work out a sensible solution to the problem, with compromises obviously needing to be made, indicating that it would not be an easy task, as the state had the most extensive highway system under state jurisdiction in the nation. But there were glaring deficiencies to be corrected and vast improvements to be made, which had to be done.

"Curtain Going Up on Phase No. 2" indicates that the atomic submarine U.S.S. Nautilus, on its first test run in Long Island Sound during the week, had ushered in a new era in development of nuclear energy, also signaling that the U.S. had won another significant victory in the atomic power race, one which could revolutionize naval warfare. It finds the Nautilus important because shipping was so important, and unless the next war ended in one blinding cataclysm, millions of tons of war materials and supplies would have to be shipped across the seas for U.S. land and air forces, many of which supplies could not be shipped by air, as proven during the Korean War. Thus, unless the Navy controlled the seas, a powerful enemy could defeat U.S. military forces based overseas without firing a shot. A submarine such as the Nautilus would, however, make it difficult for any enemy vessel to venture out of port.

The submarine also represented a forward step in the development of atomic energy for peacetime purposes. American engineers and scientists had known for some time that they could build a huge stationary nuclear power plant capable of supplying whole cities with electricity, but now they were proving that a relatively small, compact power plant could be built for moving vehicles.

It finds it unlikely that Americans would be driving atomic automobiles any time soon, as the heavy shielding necessary for protection against lethal radiation would present serious obstacles—not to mention the fender benders, producing a broken reactor instead of just a broken radiator. But until the current week, the world had only witnessed the first phase of atomic energy, the nuclear bomb, and now the second phase was beginning. It suggests that if the lessons learned were adapted and extended to peaceful channels, the opportunities for the betterment of mankind would be limitless—potentially melting all the way down to China.

Drew Pearson tells of an important, bitter debate taking place inside the White House and the State Department regarding the future policy toward China, the outcome of which could determine whether the U.S. became embroiled in a shooting war with China. He indicates that the chief participants in the debate were Senator William Knowland of California, the primary champion of President Chiang Kai-shek of Nationalist China, Secretary of State Dulles, and Joint Chiefs chairman Admiral Arthur Radford. Senator Knowland had breakfast the previous week with the President and had argued with him over the issue of whether the U.S. should intervene in the event of an attack by Communist China on the Nationalist-held Tachen Islands. Secretary Dulles opposed Senator Knowland on the issue, but Admiral Radford supported the Senator, contending that if the Communists took the Tachens, Formosa would be next. The previous summer, the Joint Chiefs had recommended U.S. intervention to aid Chiang Kai-shek in his defense of the island of Quemoy, three miles from the mainland, with Army chief of staff General Matthew Ridgway having been the lone dissenter among the Joint Chiefs, fearing the U.S. would become dangerously embroiled in China. Since that time, the Seventh Fleet had supplied Chiang's forces on Quemoy with food and munitions, with a state of indecision occurring as to whether the U.S. would defend Quemoy, the President indicating that he would decide the matter when the time came.

Possible defense of the Tachens, about 200 miles up the China coast from Formosa and about 12 miles from the mainland, was also later under consideration by the Joint Chiefs, with the argument being that they were "necessary for the defense of Formosa", General Ridgway not dissenting on that issue. The Joint Chiefs believed that the Tachens were vital because the U.S., working through the Nationalists, had a radar facility there which could spot approaching Chinese planes headed for Formosa, and because Communist China wanted the islands as a jet base, potentially giving the Communists a strategic base for launching an attack on Formosa. Communist jets presently operated from about 50 miles south of Shanghai, the nearest hard-surfaced airbase to Formosa in Communist hands, and the Tachens had such a hard-surfaced airfield, albeit small, from which they could launch an attack more readily.

Yikiangshan island, captured earlier in the week by the Communists, was considered important at the Pentagon, as it was the first island outside the 12-mile limit which the Communists had been able to take from Chiang Kai-shek, and the Communists had captured it despite rough water and the fact that it was defended by about 1,000 Nationalist troops, taking the island a month ahead of schedule. Having gained control of it, the Communists could now easily reach the main Tachen islands with their artillery fire. When the attack on the islands began, Chiang Kai-shek immediately cabled Washington, requesting supplies from the Seventh Fleet, and Admiral Radford had gone to the White House to support that request. Secretary Dulles, however, again opposed the request, with the State Department worried that the Nationalists had already lost two ships supplying the Tachens.

Stewart Alsop examines the race to develop the intercontinental ballistic missile, a race in which, until recently, the Soviet Union appeared to have a decided edge, now, according to the experts, the race being about even. He indicates that such a missile, combined with a hydrogen warhead, would be the true ultimate weapon, capable of being fired from one continent to another to destroy a great city, "in much the way that a murderer fires a bullet through his victim's head," the difference being that the man could hide whereas a city could not. There was at present hardly even a theoretical defense against such an intercontinental guided missile, except to develop the weapon first, make it better and produce it in greater numbers. Until recently, the effort of the U.S. to develop the ICBM had been snafued by red tape and lack of funding. Now a greater effort was being undertaken and it was beginning to pay off.

He indicates that if the U.S. were to beat the Russians to development of the missile, a California engineer-businessman, Trevor Gardner, would be due a good portion of the credit. Mr. Gardner had been brought into the Air Force by Secretary Harold Talbott to get the long-range missiles into the air. In the process, Mr. Gardner had stepped on a great many toes, so many that his appointment as Assistant Secretary of the Air Force had been held up in the Senate. Secretary Talbott and Air Force chief of staff Nathan Twining had supported him, for which they also deserved credit. Much had been accomplished, with Pentagon red tape having been cut and able Air Force man, Brig. General Bernard Shriever, having gone to the West Coast to ride herd on the big companies, such as Northrup, North American, Convair and Lockheed, doing the actual work on the missiles.

Unrealistic requirements, such as limiting the margin of permissible error in an intercontinental missile to only 1,500 yards, had been rescinded, and funds for the development had been sharply increased, though the exact amount was hidden in the overall Air Force budget. As a result of the effort, the timetable for development of the long-range guided missile had been shortened. The State Department and the British Foreign Office were presently negotiating for a 5,000-mile missile firing range, extending into the Atlantic from Florida to the Ascension Islands. The immediate reason for the negotiation was the Snark, a jet-propelled, pilotless aircraft guided by the stars, which flew just under the speed of sound. It was only the forerunner, after which would come the Navaho, a ramjet which was a true guided missile, flying more than twice the speed of sound. After that would come the Atlas, the true ICBM, which could climb as high as 600 miles into space before plunging back to earth for the kill. At some point would come the first man-made artificial satellite. But for the immediate future, the Atlas was the decisive weapon.

Mr. Alsop indicates that there would be a further report by him on these gadgets, but for now, it was enough to say that in each case, the prospects for early success were measurably brighter than they had been a year earlier. There was still no cause for complacency, but the chances of winning the race to develop the intercontinental ballistic missile had improved. Those who were in a position to know the realities asserted that the nation could win the all-important race on condition that there was a national sense of urgency, leading to a major effort on a wartime scale to accomplish it. That race would involve greater expenditures, but the concentration of energy and talent which a national sense of urgency brought was a more important element in the equation. The sense of urgency, however, was presently lacking for the reason that the Administration made the ICBM an unmentionable subject, making it impossible to acknowledge that the problem of winning the race for it really existed, or even allowing for credit to be taken for the genuine advances which had been made.

Paul A. Rockwell, writing from Washington in the Asheville Citizen-Times, tells of William Chapman White of the New York Herald-Tribune having devoted a recent column to the raccoon, in which he called it a "ring-tailed scoundrel" and declared that it had to go. He said that up north, from the apple orchards of Nova Scotia all the way across New England and New York to the Great Lakes, the raccoon had thrived, having become an abominable pest, causing him to lament the passing of the fad of the 1920's when college boys donned large raccoon coats.

Mr. Rockwell suggests that if people knew how good raccoon meat was when properly cooked, the numbers of the animals would decline rapidly everywhere, without the need for coonskin coats coming back into fashion. He says that in reading the article of Mr. White, he was reminded of a bear and wild boar hunting expedition on which he had been taken nearly 21 years earlier by two men of Salisbury, into the Snowbird Mountains in Graham County, of which he recounts in some detail. It was the first time he had ever eaten raccoon and had found it delicious, copying down the recipe used by the woman who had cooked it, of which he also provides the detail.

He says that the proper accompaniment of raccoon meat ought be baked yams, preferably shipped from Tabor City, N.C., the nation's greatest sweet potato market, but that boiled Irish potatoes, old-fashioned water-ground grits and pickled green beans would suffice also.

He provides an alternative method of preparation of raccoon meat as well.

He says that when he was a boy in South Carolina, there had been plenty of raccoons in the swamps and woods, which had been frequently hunted for sport at night, called "shining 'coons". He had seen in winter at the Savannah City Market dressed raccoons offered for sale, having been killed in the swamps and islands of the lower Savannah River, the only place where he had ever seen raccoon meat sold, despite his visiting such markets in every city and town he visited at home and abroad.

Given the juxtaposition of this latter piece with that of Stewart Alsop on the ICBM, and not forgetting that the Government's new hydrogen bomb plant was being built on the Savannah River in South Carolina, the careful reader might glean that the "raccoon" is really code from some Commie operation and that the piece is engaged in recruitment for setting up some kind of infiltration ring by "cooking" the raccoons, with "yams" on the side, calling upon the reader to do his or her patriotic duty and contact the FBI to intercept the operation before it obtains a foothold and possibly halts the progress toward development of the Atlas, upon the shoulders of which rests the fate of the free world, hence the name, before the Rooskies can launch Sputnik—that is their own earth angel which they will hide, as will the farmers and businessmen of this country be called upon to do, the farmers, as a means to control the growing non-perishable crop surpluses in lieu of artificial acreage control, which had always smacked of that Commie socialism, even reaching the backwaters, as Truman and Roosevelt were inveigled to go along with by the Commie Henry Wallace, but for which Eisenhower and Ezra Taft Benson are too stalwartly smart to fall, the one trained as a military leader and the other a Mormon.

Disregard the reference to the Commie nomenclature as an inadvertent bumbling on our part. We have no foreknowledge of it, "Sputnik" being chosen ramdomly as example of Commie-speak under Nikita Khrushchev, who will soon ascend to replace Malenkov. We direct you to disavow same, should you or any of your iron force be caught during your mission to disrupt the Commie plans for raccoon cooking. You will know the infiltrators, incidentally, by their manner of speaking, as if robotically from a lousy script of some tv program, their ability to think independently and creatively having been eradicated through the careful brainwashing by the Commies, utilizing Uher tape machines out of Germany, producing gaps in memory of the unwittingly induced to the plot.

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