The Charlotte News

Monday, January 24, 1955


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the President this date had submiitted a special message to Congress seeking authority to use the armed forces if necessary to assure the security of Formosa and the Pescadores against Communist attack. He said that, based on the air situation, redeployment of Chinese Nationalist forces from other islands "would be impractical without the assistance of the armed forces of the United States." He said that in the interest of peace, the U.S. had to remove any doubt regarding its readiness to fight, if necessary, to preserve "the vital stake of the Free World in a free Formosa, and to engage in whatever operations may be required to carry out that purpose." He said that the situation was one for appropriate action of the U.N. under its Charter, "for the purpose of ending present hostilities in that area." He warned that the U.S. would need to be alert to any concentration or employment of Chinese forces obviously undertaken to facilitate an attack on Formosa, and "be prepared to take appropriate military action" in response. He said that the policy of the U.S. was not changing, that he only sought clarification by Congress in the hope of avoiding a confrontation with the Communist Chinese over Formosa.

In Taipeh, Formosa, it was reported that Vice-Admiral Alfred Pride, commander of the U.S. Seventh Fleet, had said in a press conference this date that the President was consulting Congress regarding the use of the Fleet in the Nationalist-held Tachen Islands off the mainland of China because "it would be a very grave move and a change in national policy", and he supposed that in a democracy, it was the proper thing to do. He said that if the Fleet were called upon, it could cope with any eventuality.

The Chinese Nationalist Air Force had reported heavy losses inflicted on Communist Chinese troops the previous night in an air raid on Yikiangshan Island by Nationalist four-engined bombers, the island, eight miles north of the Tachens, having been taken by the Communist Chinese the previous week, affording a potential staging area for an attack on the Tachens, within easy artillery range of the island. Another communiqué had stated that Communist Chinese artillery on Toumen Island, 13 miles from the Tachens, had fired on the latter but the shells had fallen harmlessly into the sea. A dispatch from Taipeh indicated that some civilians were being moved from the Tachens to Formosa, with no word being given as to whether the U.S. Navy was participating in the transport.

Chinese Communist Premier Chou En-lai this date accused the U.S. of stepping up "military operations to make war provocations" following the seizure by the Communist Chinese of Yikiangshan.

Relatives of Americans jailed in Communist China on charges of espionage, invited by the Communist Chinese to visit their imprisoned relatives, were considering whether to accept the invitation, necessarily without the ability of the U.S. to protect them, as there was no diplomatic recognition by the U.S. of Communist China and thus no embassies or consulates within China. At least one family had determined to make the trip. A spokesman for Secretary of Commerce Sinclair Weeks had announced the previous night that parcels had been going to some of the approximately 50 Americans being held under house arrest in Peiping. But there was no definite information on how many of those parcels had been allowed through the American embargo on exports to Communist China, permission having been granted to send the parcels the previous July through the Chinese Red Cross.

Relman Morin of the Associated Press, in the first of a five-part series, tells of the stock market in the past, present, and the prospects for the future. He indicates that between eight and nine million Americans, according to estimates, participated in the stock market, and tells of one schoolteacher, some years earlier, who was on the fence about participation after receiving unexpectedly $5,000 from the sale of a family farm in California as she approached retirement, that with her pension and insurance, plus some savings, she had expected to be comfortable in her old age. The windfall therefore presented an opportunity to bolster her fixed income and so she invested it in stocks, taking the advice of a friend of a friend, with the result that four years later, her portfolio had a net loss of $1,100. At that point, she consulted a broker who told her that four of the seven stocks she had were very dubious and speculative, and after an analysis, recommended a list of new stocks, which the teacher accepted except for one, and during the ensuing four years had received dividends and reinvested them in the same stock, such that her present holdings were estimated at nearly $20,000, from which she hoped to begin taking out about $100 per month in dividends. Mr. Morin indicates that it happened to be a success story, but that in a different market at another time, the ending might have been very different. The schoolteacher was one of thousands of new investors in the market, with some analysts estimating that more than half a million people entered the market every year, many with annual incomes under $5,000. Americans were putting about 20 billion dollars per year into savings. A major attraction of the stock market was the booming progress of American business at present, with corporations showing an estimated total profit of over 17 billion dollars in 1954, double what they had earned in 1929. Nevertheless, at the end of the year, the stock market was beginning to worry many people regarding whether it was too high, triggering wild speculation which might ultimately result in another crash and depression as in 1929. Analysts, however, had pointed to sharp contrasts between 1954 and conditions 25 years earlier, primarily that the present market was one of investment while the 1929 market was primarily one of speculation. But indicators were approaching the all-time highs which had been set in 1929. The Associated Press had reported on September 3, 1929 that the average of 60 leading stocks had reached 157.7, a point it had never reached since that time, but had reached 156.4 on the previous January 3. Also, the Dow-Jones Industrial Average, based on different components, had gone past the 1929 peak of 381.17, surpassing the 400 mark for the first time in its history.

In Raleigh, the 1955 biennial session of the General Assembly continued this date, in a week which would include further hearings on spending and tax proposals for the following biennium, and possible State Senate action on the secrecy law and rules, with the new rules having been passed by the State House the prior week while the previous secrecy law, passed in 1953 permitting executive sessions in the Appropriations Committee, had been repealed. The new rules permitted executive sessions in all committees, except regarding the final vote on a measure.

In Durham, N.C., a 31-year old hemophiliac who had been watched by the entire nation as he battled for his life, had died during the morning in Duke Hospital, after having bled for more than 425 continuous hours since a tooth had been pulled on January 6, not being given much of a chance to survive as his condition had worsened the previous day. Until the previous night, he had received 380 pints of blood, of which 164 had been plasma, and had, according to doctors, received every known medical treatment available to them to arrest the bleeding. The previous week, to complicate matters, he had begun bleeding from a gastric ulcer which had troubled him earlier.

In Gastonia, N.C., after the fire chief, a member of the fire department for 34 years, had been arrested by the State Highway Patrol the previous day on a charge of drunk driving, a Civil Service examination was held this date for seven candidates to replace him following his voluntary resignation during the morning. He had been stopped while driving down the wrong side of a dual-lane, divided highway. Oh, that is bad. That is way past just being tipsy. He had perhaps seen one too many fires, including those produced by the old fire-water and exploding stills.

In Charlotte, the weather forecast indicated that the temperature would rise to 38 or 39 degrees this date, falling to near 30 during the night, with mostly cloudy skies for the following day, and possibly some snow in the mountains during the night, though no more snow was predicted for Charlotte, after it had snowed 4.3 inches yet again the previous night, after it had snowed 4.1 inches on the prior Tuesday night and into Wednesday. Fog had kept motorists off the roads in Charlotte, thus acting as a safety measure.

On the editorial page, "A Foot in the Door of Consolidation" indicates that consolidation of City-County government functions was the most sensible solution to the problem of the city's rapid postwar growth, but that the transition could not be made instanter, that it would have to be gradual through time. It suggests that proponents of consolidation might look toward the Toronto plan, whereunder the central city and 12 suburbs had united to perform common functions while retaining autonomy over local affairs. A property tax levy and provincial grants supported the Metropolitan Council, the governing body which supplied the metropolitan area with services designated in enabling legislation.

It provides more detail of that plan and suggests that time would only tell whether it was the most feasible solution to the problem of Charlotte, in which the suburban population had increased dramatically during a relatively short number of years, suggesting itself, or at least something similar, as a compromise to complete annexation of the surrounding suburbs.

"Tax Dodgers Don't Like Publicity" indicates that since the Charlotte City Council had announced that the names of personal property tax delinquents would be published, the revenue collector had been besieged by citizens anxious to pay their property taxes, with the official weekly reports showing that payment of 1953 taxes had almost doubled in the seven days after the Council adopted the measure.

It finds it another example of effective social pressure, as no one liked to be labeled a tax-dodger in public. It thus applauds the City's action.

"Fine Print and Mumbo-Jumbo" indicates that North Carolina legislators had gathered in huddles to discuss proposed insurance legislation, providing a new slant on an old problem, prompted by Rhode Island having passed a bill requiring insurance companies to print their policies in type no smaller than the capital letters of an average typewriter.

It indicates that while it was true that the fine print in insurance policies could be confusing, the real source of confusion was the legalese employed in setting forth the terms of many policies. It suggests that a typical example of such "mumbo-jumbo" was in a hospitalization policy which provided that a patient was not covered unless spending at least a day in the hospital, a reasonable provision, but then going on to define a day in the hospital as "the period of time between two successive calendar days." It asks what it means and invites the readers to tell them.

Well, it obviously means, were we arguing on behalf of the insured against a reluctant insurer, that the insured who entered the hospital at 11:59 p.m. one night and relaxed in a hospital bed until being discharged at 12:01 a.m. the following morning, had obviously, under the precise wording of the policy, fulfilled the requirement of having spent a day in the hospital and was covered. They call it being hoist by one's own petard.

"Who Said Dixie Lost the War?" suggests that the South had actually won the Civil War because of the Washington scene 90 years later, with a Texas-born President and the Congress run almost entirely by Southerners, with the Senate leadership in the hands of Senator Lyndon Johnson of Texas, and the House leadership in the hands of Sam Rayburn of Texas, along with the most important committee chairmanships also in the hands of Southerners, whom it lists in both houses.

It concludes by exhorting readers to save Confederate money, as the South would rise again.

"Names, Names" indicates that the Charlotte Park & Recreation Commission had stated that when it rebuilt the burned down Armory-Auditorium, it would call it the "Park Center", to which the piece objects for there being "park centers" already in abundance in the community, naming three, suggesting that a bright and imaginative new name ought be adopted to avoid confusion, if they did finally decide to rebuild the facility.

A piece from the Daily Tar Heel, UNC student newspaper edited by Charles Kuralt during the school year, titled "Familiar Misquotations", tells of having consulted Bartlett's Familiar Quotations the previous day to settle an argument regarding what Hamlet actually said, finding that it was not, "Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him well," but rather, "Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio."

Likewise, Thomas Jefferson had never said in the Declaration of Independence that man was endowed by his Creator with "inalienable rights", that it was a 20th Century corruption of "unalienable rights".

Ogden Nash had not written, "Men seldom make passes at girls who wear glasses," but rather it was Dorothy Parker. She had not written, "Candy is dandy but liquor is quicker," but rather it was Ogden Nash.

Admiral Farragut had never said: "Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!" Rather, he had said: "Damn the torpedoes! Go ahead!"

General Nathan Bedford Forrest had not said, "I git thar fustest with the mostest," or anything so rustic, as he was an educated man.

Drew Pearson relates that Senator John McClellan of Arkansas had been invited to dance at the White House recently by nightclub singer Hildegarde Loretta Sell, who simply went by the stage name "Hildegarde", and during the dance, which took place in front of the Senator's wife seated nearby, Hildegarde had whispered sweet-nothings in his ear, complimenting him on his dancing ability and asking him if he was married, where was his wife, and whether they could team up together rather than him returning to the Senate. After he had pointed over his shoulder to his wife, she relented, indicating that normally she would kiss such a handsome man after a dance, but did not, perhaps in deference to the Senator's wife.

During the evening, the President had proposed a toast to the guest of honor, Speaker Sam Rayburn, Mr. Pearson pointing out that two days earlier, a dinner given in honor of Vice-President Nixon had not included such a Presidential toast. The President said that it was the first time that an official dinner had been given in honor of Mr. Rayburn and thus he was breaking precedent from the usual reservation of toasts for foreign dignitaries. He said that Mr. Rayburn was Congressman from the same district in Texas where he was born, but that he was not implying that Mr. Rayburn had been in Congress when he was born. He also said that he was glad that Mr. Rayburn was back as Speaker, not noticing a wry smile from former Speaker Joe Martin, with the President adding "almost glad". Mr. Pearson indicates that at the dinner two days earlier, the President knew that the 13 Democrats present would have choked on their champagne had he toasted the Vice-President.

A mysterious thief had swiped the nameplate from Senator Alben Barkley's door, causing him to remark that someone either liked him or hated him.

The President had confided to visitors that one of his pet peeves was the 16th hole at the Augusta National Golf Course.

Parsimonious chief of staff Sherman Adams had glanced furtively both ways before ducking into a shoe repair shop in Washington.

Newly elected Senator Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, after having won through a write-in campaign, had been the lone dissenter in a vote on a resolution commending the Democratic Senatorial campaign committee.

The new Government budget called for five million dollars just for paperclips and towels for Government washrooms, taking 10,000 average taxpayers to pay for them.

The Atomic Energy Commission had prepared a movie on the problems of radioactive fallout, to be released to the public to relieve apprehension over radioactive poisoning from the skies.

Joseph Alsop, in Singapore, relates of a visit to the city in 1941, finding the current attitude of the British authorities much less complacent than at the earlier time, with the able soldiers and civilians at the head of affairs in Malaya having a lot to do with waking up the British and Americans to the danger that Malaya could fall to the Communists.

Following the "Asian Munich" at Geneva the prior summer, with the surrender by the French to the Vietminh of North Vietnam, there had been both direct and indirect effects, the direct effects being that the guerrillas in the jungle were now willing to hold out for a longer period of time until "Father Mao" would come to their rescue, the events in Indo-China having reaffirmed their faith. Additionally, a new zone of complete Communist control had been established over a 20-mile wide area just across the border in Thailand, and the Vietminh triumph had assisted the Communist effort in underground infiltration.

In Singapore, more than half of which was Chinese, 60 to 80 percent of the Chinese students were being influenced strongly by the Communist Party, and half of the city's population was under age 21. The newspapers also, controlled by the Chinese millionaires, were leaning toward Communist China.

The indirect effects of the Vietminh victory in Indo-China included the assessment by the British that if Thailand were to fall to the Communists, Malaya would be next in line, on the present basis. Even if no Communist forces were to cross the borders aggressively, the minimum needs to avoid such a result would be a rectification on the Malayan-Thai frontier to produce a defensible line on the Kra Isthmus and at least three more divisions of ground forces brought from Britain, Australia and New Zealand.

Doris Fleeson tells of the President having shifted to the left in his policies, not all the way to the Fair Deal, but leftward of the Republican platform and of the campaign of 1952. That shift had Republican conservatives grumbling, but House Republican leaders Joe Martin and Charles Halleck were insisting that the President had to be supported. And the fact that Republicans no longer controlled chairmanships in the Democratic House meant that they could not thwart the leadership.

In the Senate, Republican conservatives had been quiet about the change to the moderate-progressive course of the President, with veteran Senators having put down an attempt by Eisenhower Republicans to share the leadership and receive better committee assignments, but since that point, had been noticeably relaxed.

The RNC meanwhile was aggressively building another campaign around drafting the President for the nomination in 1956, planning a late convention in September, which would very nearly rule out any contest for the nomination, as a new candidate would not have enough time to campaign in the general election.

Conservative spokesmen were starting to complain about the new trend but ran into difficulty because there was no longer anyone capable of the same type of leadership as the late Senator Robert Taft. The successor as Republican Leader, Senator William Knowland of California, was preoccupied with the Administration's policy toward Nationalist China. Senator Eugene Millikin was in poor health, and Senator Styles Bridges had acquired seniority without national prestige. Ms. Fleeson indicates that it was not easy to acquire the influence in Congress which enabled battling successfully against any President, that it took drive and intellect, plus a capacity for hard work to do so, as the President always began with a "fistful of trumps".

She concludes that many leading Republicans during the 20 years of Democratic control of the White House appeared rigid and inflexible, and were now being asked to change their attitude, which appeared to be the way to victory in 1956. She indicates that they could always remind themselves that they were born the radical party and had survived.

It might be suggested to the American people at present in 2022, especially to "independent" voters, that they should cut some slack to the present President in their assessment of his job thus far, as he began his time in office just a year ago with fewer than normal trumps in his hand, his successor in the White House having stolen most of them, perhaps both the quiver's arrow quills and the branch's olives he ate for fill, when he departed—not unlike the fellow who left unceremoniously by helicopter one hot August afternoon in 1974, leaving behind a mess for his two successors to try to clean up, never really accomplished until the Clinton Administration.

A letter from Bill Williamson of Prescott, Arizona, tells again, as he was wont to do every now and then, of his fondness for hiking into the backcountry and prospecting for gold, a hobby which permitted him to get away from the city and live out under the stars amid the coyotes, deer and antelope, away from blaring jukeboxes, the roar of elevated trains and heavy motor traffic. "Out there in the great open spaces where God looks down and is pleased with what he sees. That is one reward that a prospector is sure to have and no one can rob him of it." He indicates that as a peace officer in Arizona, he had seen the bones of perhaps some old prospector who could not make it in, and there were many lonely graves in the desert and hills, but that if one could have heard their story, no doubt they would have heard no regrets. He suggests that most prospectors left in the West were better than he was at it, but it did not keep him from prospecting when the urge struck him about twice per year. "Will be seein' you when my grubstake runs out."

By the way, because some numb-brained low-life at YouTube, probably the part-time holiday hired help, had nothing better to do around or shortly after Christmas than to shoot Santa Claus dead yet again, we provide it anew, albeit chopped into parts, as it was originally linked, whole, under "low-life" in the December 13, 1954 edition, posted just before Christmas, when we were catching up from being two weeks behind. Why don't you ignorant morons get a life, or at least a law degree, if you are going to try to set yourselves up, alternately, as the moral or copyright po-lice, in the end, only setting yourselves up...

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