The Charlotte News

Saturday, January 29, 1955


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the President this date signed the resolution for defense of Formosa, asserting that it was evidence of united American determination to "resist Communist aggression" in an area he called "vital to the security" of the country. He signed the resolution less than 12 hours after the Senate had voted 85 to 3 to approve it, it having passed the House the prior Tuesday, also with only three dissenting votes. The resolution enabled the President to use U.S. armed forces against any Communist Chinese attack directed at Formosa. As the Seventh Fleet, inclusive of its 100 ships and planes, was in the area, as it had been since former President Truman had ordered it so positioned at the start of the Korean War, it was the critical front line defense which could be forthwith ordered into action. The resolution also permitted him to use the armed forces to evacuate Chinese Nationalist troops from the Tachen Islands and to defend, if necessary, offshore islands such as Quemoy and Matsu, should the President determine that they were essential to the security of Formosa. Some believed the resolution was broad enough to permit the President to order an attack on the Chinese mainland, but that remained controversial.

In Taipeh, the Chinese Nationalists were reported to be satisfied at the news of the approval of the resolution, with one of the national policy advisers to President Chiang Kai-shek stating that it would safeguard the security of the free world in the Western Pacific.

At the U.N. in New York, Sir Leslie Knox Munro of New Zealand, president of the Security Council during January, said this date that he would press on Monday for an invitation from the Council to Communist China to attend cease-fire debates at the U.N. Britain would support the invitation and the U.S. would not oppose it. Soviet Foreign Minister V. M. Molotov promised to consider a British request that the Kremlin urge restraint on the part of Communist China. The Council meeting had been called the previous day in an attempt to halt the fighting in the Chinese offshore islands north of Formosa. The only previous appearance at the U.N. by Communist China had been in 1950 during the debate on the Korean War. The invitation, according to sources at the U.N., was considered procedural and thus not subject to veto by any of the five permanent members of the Council.

From London, it was reported that a monitored Peiping radio broadcast indicated that Communist China would reject any suggestion of a cease-fire with the Nationalists, warning that it would "strike back with heavy blows" should American forces seek to stop it from taking Formosa, referring to the Nationalists as "Chiang traitors" and that the Chinese people had to "eliminate the traitorous Chiang clique", that Formosa was the territory stolen by that clique and thus had to be liberated, with "no cease-fire to discuss". Chinese Communist Premier and Foreign Minister Chou En-lai had stated the previous Monday that his Government would not agree to any cease-fire, and had stated directly the intent to "liberate" Formosa.

Jim Becker of the Associated Press reports from Taipeh that there was strong feeling in the capital that the U.S. was closer to war that at any time since the Chinese Communists had entered the Korean War in November, 1950, and that the next few days would tell the story, with the decision up to the Chinese Communists as to whether there would be a war. The difference was, according to the general feeling in Taipeh, that there would now be no sanctuary provided by the Yalu River against attack on the mainland by the U.S. It was believed by the Nationalists that the evacuation of the Tachens would begin shortly, with the aid of the Seventh Fleet, and that if the Communists wanted to challenge the evacuation, they could send their Russian-type MIG jets against the U.S. planes and ships, with the Communist Chinese Air Force at its peak in the area of the Tachens, near Shanghai. It was the belief that if war ensued in that area, it would only be a matter of hours before U.S. planes would hit Communist Chinese airbases on the mainland. If the evacuation crisis passed and the Communists did not attack the American planes and ships, the thinking in high places in Taipeh was that the troubled situation would simmer down, at least for a few months. That, however, would only be a lull in the Communist plans ultimately to "liberate" Formosa. A top American official in Taipeh, when asked whether there was any possibility of avoiding war, said that they could only work on the assumption that Communist China did not want a war.

Frank Carey, Associated Press science reporter, tells of the Atomic Energy Commission having stated this date that results of its 1954 hydrogen and atomic bomb tests had steered it into "new areas of research … that hold promise of additional major developments." In its semiannual report to Congress for the last half of 1954, the AEC said it was also moving toward the "stockpiling of weapons, adding large potential to our defensive power." The report provided no details of the results obtained at the Pacific proving ground in the Marshall Islands, where the hydrogen bomb test had been conducted the prior March 1, but it said that the evaluation of the results had confirmed the pre-test promise of significant progress in design and development of the tested weapons. It also said that it was preparing for a new series of tests scheduled for the following month in Nevada, presumably the less powerful atomic fission weapons and their application for tactical use. There was nothing in the report about the direction of research in hydrogen weapons, but it was subject to educated speculation that new and cheaper techniques for making hydrogen bombs, including dispensing with the atomic bomb trigger, plus new varieties of hydrogen weapons, including warheads for intercontinental guided missiles, were among the things being researched. Only a small portion of the report was devoted to military applications of nuclear energy, to avoid divulging of military secrets. It provided more detail on other phases of its work, the development of new types of atomic reactors, medical developments, research activities and its administration of the program which had cost the Government more than 13 billion dollars to date.

In Washington, tests with mice had caused the AEC scientists to revise upward some earlier estimates of the long-term hereditary hazards to man of atomic and other radiation.

The Navy planned to build a fifth supercarrier, which would have a formal hearing before the House Armed Services Committee for its requested funding, according to two members of that Committee, chairman Carl Vinson of Georgia and ranking Republican member Dewey Short of Missouri.

In Stockholm, Danish Premier Hans Hedtoft had died of a heart attack this date at a hotel. He was the leader of Denmark's Social Democrat party and was in Stockholm to attend the third session of the Nordic Council, which had opened the previous day. He had begun his present term as Premier in September, 1953, following his party's victory in a parliamentary election, having previously served as Premier on several occasions.

In Houston, two men were charged with murder in the slaying of a wealthy West Texas ranch woman, one of the men having been her former son-in-law. Law enforcement officers said that the woman had been killed by mistake when a bomb planted in the car she had started had been intended for her husband, a noted architect. Police had refused to discuss details of the plot against the architect, but talked freely of that which informers had told investigators about the attempt to set up the architect's murder the previous March by hiring two other men. One of the men arrested, the former son-in-law, had been an unsuccessful candidate for county commissioner in 1948 and 1950 and had once been charged on three counts of terrorizing the architect and his wife with two guns and a knife.

In Lewisville, Tex., Federal bank examiners were looking over the books of the closed First National Bank this date, checking closely the accounts from which $253,000 had already been found missing. Just three days before the bank had been closed by examiners the previous day, a cashier who had been employed by the bank for 16 years shot himself to death.

A broad stretch of land from the Western plains to the Atlantic was suffering from freezing and subzero temperatures, although temperatures had increased some since the previous day. In Chicago, the temperature was 8 degrees below zero, and in Nashville, Tenn., it was 8 above, the lowest temperature in that city since February 19, 1951. It was 15 in Memphis, the lowest temperature recorded there in three years, and at Muscle Shoals, Ala., it was 10 degrees with a trace of snow. At least 11 persons had died from causes attributed to the cold and snow since Thursday, when the winter's worst widespread cold wave had begun. It was 28 in El Paso, 19 in Birmingham, 25 in Atlanta, 21 in Richmond, Va., 4 in Louisville and 2 in Salt Lake City.

On the editorial page, "Talk Is No Cure, but It's Palliative" comments on the events of the week regarding the President's proposal to Congress to grant him authority to order military action in defense of Formosa and the Pescadores, should they be attacked by the Communists, that coming in the wake of the Communist Chinese having threatened to attack Formosa. The U.N. Security Council had called a meeting for Monday, at which time the Communist Chinese had been invited to participate in a conference on the Formosan situation.

It finds that there was no denying the gravity of the matter, with both China and the U.S. building up their naval and military strength in the Formosa Straits area, with the potential for an impetuous move leading to general war. It did not appear thus far, however, that there had been any misstep by the U.S. during the week which had led to the situation, as the repeated threats by the Communist Chinese against Formosa and their successful attack on the Nationalist-held island of Yikiangshan, considered a stepping stone to the Tachens, required firm and quick counter-action. The President had chosen to go to Congress, though not required to do so, and seek the consent in advance to use force if necessary.

The Democrats in Congress had fortunately gone along with the President, but the newspaper's primary concern remained that there was the possibility of being thrust into a war by defending untenable and strategically unimportant islands off the coast of China, such as Quemoy. The President had referred to that area as "one of the natural approaches to Formosa", but had not been specific about defending the offshore islands, limiting his specific area of defense to Formosa, itself, and the Pescadores. To try to defend the offshore islands, within a short distance from the mainland, could easily trigger general warfare with Communist China, as it could be perceived as a threat to the mainland.

It thus urges neutralization of the offshore islands, which might be negotiated in the U.N. as a means for exchange of the Americans being held as prisoner by the Chinese Communists, claiming that they had been guilty of espionage during the Korean War. It indicates that it was not optimistic about the prospects for agreement on either of those issues but believes they ought to be discussed, nevertheless, in the U.N., that it might reduce present tensions. It finds that prolonged discussions by all of the parties involved was the next and logical step, and the technique, successful in other crises throughout history, might render unnecessary the use of force.

"Sugaw Creek: Full Speed Ahead" indicates that the City Council ought resist efforts to scuttle an ordinance which provided for diverting industrial waste from the infamous Sugaw Creek in Charlotte, the law set to go into effect on June 1 at the point when a three million dollar addition to the Sugaw Creek sewage disposal plant was expected to be completed, the law providing that dumping of trade waste into open streams would be prohibited and that waste would be discharged into the municipal sewage system, provided that certain standards were met by the industrial plants discharging the waste.

It indicates that given the long-term nuisance presented by Sugaw Creek for local residents faced with its odors, it needed to be cleaned up forthwith. The next step would be the improvement of Irwin Creek, where a 2.5 million sewage plant addition was being constructed.

It urges that residents should not rest easy until all the streams in the area ceased to be menaces to the health and welfare of the community.

"Inflation Note" tells of the 1955 dollar purchasing about 56 percent less than the 1929 dollar, instructive, it suggests, on concerns about the high stock prices of late portending another crash and resulting depression in the manner that the 1929 high stock prices eventually had done, indicating that it had consulted an underwriter for mutual investment companies, who advised that if a person in 1929 had appeared with a 1955 dollar, he would have been asked to supply 56 percent more to make up the difference in the price of the stock he wished to purchase.

A piece from the Washington Post, titled "Knock on the Dior", tells of Christian Dior, the Parisian fashion designer, having decided that female elbows and knees were unesthetic and should be, in consequence, veiled.

It also remarks of M. Dior having, the previous summer, developed the "flat look", obscuring the female breasts. "The general effect, as we gather from the pictures of the Parisian models, and from our attempts to translate the lush lingo of the fashion reporters, is rather like that of a pleasantly rolling landscape after it had just been methodically worked over by a bulldozer." Overall, M. Dior appeared to be seeking to render the female form as plain without show.

In reaction to the flat look, actresses whose anatomical endowments were important parts of their art had strongly objected and photographic studios were kept busy making up fresh prints of photographs illustrating the subject in controversy, while the clipping services were kept equally busy cutting them out of newspapers and sending them back from whence they came.

A similar type of reaction was now taking place in response to the covering of knees, forcing re-examination of whether the legs of Betty Grable ought be banished forever from sight, finding it, however, to be as aesthetically shameful as hiding the Discobolus in the storeroom of the museum at Montréal. It remarks that, given the hypnotic influence on females by M. Dior, it anticipates a sagging market in fingertip skirts and Bermuda shorts.

It notes that there had been a time when special value had been placed on misshapen or calloused female knees, as it indicated that a considerable portion of time had been spent on them, "either in meritorious labor or in humble prayer."

That latter sounds perhaps as good ground for covering the knees. Whether similar rationale for hiding of elbows is also justifiable might best be left to the reader's imagination.

The Sanford (N.C.) Herald, in an editorial, tells of having written recently a review of the play, The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial by Herman Wouk, and then having written an editorial about six young soldiers accused of mutiny at Fort Bragg, convicted and sentenced to seven years of hard labor. It was reminded from that writing that the Navy had never had a real mutiny, though on occasion there had been some attempts.

It proceeds to tell of the November, 1842 attempted mutiny aboard the U.S. brig Somers by three seamen, who were found out in the middle of the course of their plans and reported to the captain of the ship, who, after a trial onboard which found them guilty, ordered them hung from the yardarm, at which point the captain called for the crew to deliver three cheers, with which they complied in hearty fashion, according to the ship's log.

When the ship reached port, however, one of the three dead seamen turned out to be the son of John Spencer, Secretary of War in the Cabinet of President John Tyler, prompting protests on behalf of the executed son, and the captain was then tried by court-martial for murder, eventually acquitted, a verdict approved by President Tyler.

The Navy was specific in making the point that there had never been a mutiny in its history, though Navy records indicated the cited case as an attempted mutiny.

Drew Pearson tells of the backstage story which had occurred during the debate in the hearings before the Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services Committees, meeting jointly, regarding the President's proposed resolution to grant him authority to undertake military action, if necessary, to protect Formosa and the Pescadores. Secretary of State Dulles, in his testimony, testified effectively in support of the resolution, after which Senator William Knowland of California recommended voting on the resolution immediately. But then Senator Alben Barkley of Kentucky, the former Vice-President under President Truman, spoke up and asked the Secretary whether the resolution was not a predated declaration of war, to which Secretary Dulles admitted that it was. At that point several members of the committees took heed and began asking more pointed questions, including Senator Harry F. Byrd of Virginia, who had previously been completely in support of the resolution.

When Joint Chiefs chairman Admiral Arthur Radford testified, the Senators were aware that he had previously advocated preventive war against China through a blockade of the Chinese coast, and was adamant that the U.S. should defend the offshore islands near the mainland, including the Tachens, Quemoy and Matsu. Much of what he had said during the hearings could not be published as it involved military secrets, but he had made it clear that he still supported defending the offshore islands, saying, in response to questions, that he did not believe it would lead to war with the Communist Chinese, and that Russia would mind its own business and not intervene in any event. Some Senators expressed distrust of Chiang Kai-shek, believing that his impetuousness might precipitate a war into which the U.S. would be dragged, but Admiral Radford said that the U.S. could control Chiang because it could control his gasoline, supplies and arms.

Army chief of staff General Matthew Ridgway, who had previously vehemently disagreed with Admiral Radford on the necessity of defending the offshore islands, believing that it would precipitate a war with Communist China, for which the country was not prepared, testified that the U.S. should not help Chiang hold either Quemoy or Matsu for that reason.

The testimony, in the end, had not resulted in drawing of any firm line of defense, and whereas the Pentagon believed that the U.S. should defend Quemoy and Matsu, the State Department took the contrary viewpoint, and the question had not been resolved, with the line remaining fuzzy as to where the U.S. would begin its defense of Nationalist Chinese territory.

Stewart Alsop discusses the upcoming book, to be published shortly, by Harvey Matusow, False Witness, the title apparently meant as a play on that of the Whittaker Chambers book, Witness, published in 1952. Mr. Alsop had obtained an advance copy of the manuscript and shares Mr. Matusow's candid admissions of having lied as a professional former Communist witness, having also been an aide to Senator McCarthy.

In the book, he admitted to having lied regarding former State Department Far East adviser Owen Lattimore, saying that his books had been used as the official Communist Party guide on Asia when nothing of the sort was true. Mr. Lattimore, says Mr. Alsop, remained under indictment by the Justice Department for perjury, with his second indictment pending after the heart of the first indictment had been dismissed as unconstitutionally vague by U.S. District Court Judge Luther Youngdahl and subsequently upheld in part, with the exception of two counts, by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, with the two counts on which he was subsequently indicted also subject to a motion to dismiss—which, in fact, had been granted on January 18. (The piece mistakenly states that the second indictment was still pending, when Judge Youngdahl had dismissed the second indictment also as being unduly vague under the Sixth Amendment. The Government appealed the decision, which was then affirmed without opinion the following June by default by the D. C. Circuit Court of Appeals, because the Court was equally divided, 4 to 4. Whether the censure of Senator McCarthy by the Senate in December, 1954 and the subsequent publication of this piece and then the book by Mr. Matusow figured into the decisions informally cannot be known.)

Mr. Alsop indicates that legal lying by such professional former Communist informers as Mr. Matusow had been tolerated by all three branches of the Government and had done irreparable harm to individual citizens who had been the target of the false accusations. It had also done irreparable harm, he ventures, to the whole American political process.

Mr. Matusow was supposed to testify before the Senate Investigations subcommittee, chaired by Senator McCarthy, at hearings held in Salt Lake City, and, as he related in his book, he had determined to make the statement that there were a number of Communists working for the New York Times and Time Magazine and had previously discussed the matter with Senator McCarthy, obtaining his approval to do so. As both publications regularly inveighed against the excesses of Senator McCarthy, such testimony would serve his purposes. His statements regarding supposed Communists on the staffs of the two publications, however, had been completely false.

Senator McCarthy had sent Mr. Matusow to Montana in 1952 to attack Senate candidate Mike Mansfield, and as Mr. Matusow talked, he pulled out of his briefcase an old copy of the Communist Party publication, New Masses, giving the impression that it contained a by-lined story by then-Congressman Mansfield, when in fact it was merely a reprinted publication of his remarks contained in the Congressional Record.

Mr. Alsop indicates that there was inadequate space to provide a full exposition of the number of falsehoods admitted by Mr. Matusow, and ventures that some might suggest that since he had lied before, he was still lying in his memoir. But he had carefully documented the admissions against himself and they were inherently credible for the fact that he was admitting having committed perjury on more than one occasion and thereby subjecting himself to criminal prosecution.

He concludes that the revelations could not be ignored, either by Congress or by the Justice Department, and that by making his admissions, Mr. Matusow might more than compensate for the harm he had done. He finds that some former Communist informers had performed a useful service, but that in the years since the trial of Alger Hiss, the "cult of the ex-Communist, as the undisputed arbiter of the loyalty of other citizens, has grown like a cancer." He believes that the admissions in the book likely would prompt a serious investigation of the new postwar profession of the informer, and that such an investigation could have salutary results for the political health of the country.

The National Geographic Bulletin tells of Americans growing taller by the generations, but still in need of greater stature to equal the Nilotics of Africa, the world's tallest people, with an average height of 5'10", two inches taller than the typical American male, with some of their number growing to seven feet.

Anthropologists agreed that Americans were growing taller and scientists offered several educated guesses for the reasons. A scientist at the Smithsonian Institution identified two indicators from studies made of soldiers and college students, that of the soldiers having shown that those of World War II stood an inch above the veterans of World War I, and the data on college students at Harvard, Wellesley and Vassar some 20 years earlier showing that they were taller than their parents. Economic factors, enabling a better diet, contributed to the generational increase in height.

The Nilotics were noted for a number of characteristics, carrying their babies on their backs and enormous loads of brush wood on their heads, enjoying leaping and stamping during dance ceremonies, jangling ankle bells and engaging in high-jumping, able to clear the bar at 6'6" after a take-off from a foot-high termite mound, and were also skilled hunters. While those factors did not account for their greater than normal height, they were cattle raisers and beef eaters, and it was believed that the high-protein value of the meat accounted for their lanky height. Anthropologists also indicated that long, thin bodies appeared better adapted to dissipation of heat in dry tropical areas, such as the upland home country of the Nilotics.

A letter from the president of the North Carolina Industrial Union Council thanks the newspaper for its editorial regarding the inadequacy of the state's workmen's compensation payments, agreeing that liberalization of the law would benefit not only the workers but also the employers and would be less of a burden on the welfare system of the state. He indicates that the Council strongly favored amending the law in the General Assembly to provide greater benefits.

A letter writer from Hamlet comments on the 1954 editorial by associate editor Vic Reinemer, which had recently been reprinted after winning first prize from the North Carolina Press Association in editorial writing for daily newspapers of more than 20,000 circulation, pertaining to the availability of VA hospitals for non-service related medical issues. He indicates that shortly after he had arrived home following World War I, he had begun reading in the newspapers that the Government was going to build veterans hospitals and that it was his understanding then and that it still was that veterans hospitals were to be at the disposal of all veterans at any time they needed medical treatment, that no mention had been made of non-service related hospitalization as an exception. He says that he could not recall that the veterans demanded that the Government build the hospitals, that the Government appeared to feel that it was obligated to do so because of the veterans' service to the country. He believes that former Governor, now-Senator Kerr Scott had been correct when, in early 1954, he had spoken to veterans in Laurinburg, and did not believe that free hospitalization of veterans for non-service related medical problems shocked any good citizen, even among the wealthy, as that veteran had paid for the treatment by his service to his country. Thus, he disagrees with the editorial, believes that if there were an issue, it ought go before the Congress for determination.

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