The Charlotte News

Wednesday, October 12, 1955


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports from Denver that the President had taken command anew of the American program for world peace this date, as medical bulletins reflected increasing progress on his slow recovery from his heart attack of September 24. After his 25-minute conference in his hospital room with Secretary of State Dulles the previous day, a new letter on disarmament to Soviet Premier Nikolai Bulganin was issued, containing another warning that the U.S. would not reduce its military power without guarantees that Russia would do likewise. The full text of the letter would not be disclosed until Premier Bulganin had received it in Moscow and the general summary was provided by Secretary Dulles to the press. The letter had been in response to the rejection by Premier Bulganin of the President's invitation in Geneva in July for Soviet participation in mutual aerial inspection and exchange of blueprints of each nation's military apparatus as a means of verifying armament reduction. The Secretary said that he and the President had collaborated in drafting the letter, which might be followed later by a more detailed response. The President had done so well in the conference that his brother, Milton, president of Penn State University, was invited to fly in this date for his first visit with the President since he was stricken.

In New York, one of the best stock market comebacks of 1955 had been launched this date after four straight daily declines, with advances being from around one dollar to four dollars per share, as motors and steels stood out in a general rise in values. The market the previous day had been up and down, closing with a good rally, but at the close of trading, the Associated Press 60-stock average was off by 90 cents at $163.40, its lowest point since the average had reached its record high on September 23, the day before the news of the President's heart attack.

In Decatur, Ill., lights on a withering Christmas tree would remain burning, as they had for nearly five years, when a woman would meet a train at the Decatur railroad station during the afternoon. She had decorated the tree for Christmas, 1950, when the younger of her two sons, then 19, had not returned from Korea for Christmas, vowing to keep the tree up until he returned home, and the Christmas tree had burned constantly since that time. In January, 1951, the Army had notified her that her son had been missing in action since November 30, but sometime later, she had seen a newspaper picture of prisoners in North Korea and thought that she had recognized her son among them. No further word had come, however, until about a month earlier, when the Army informed her that the remains of a soldier killed in the Korean War had been identified as those of her son. A casket containing the remains was due to arrive on the train at Decatur later this date and she said that she would meet the train and attend a military funeral planned for the following Saturday. Nevertheless, she was not giving up hope, saying that she knew that her boy had not been killed in action, but would go ahead and attend the funeral as if it were her son. She said that the Christmas tree would continue to stay up and burn its lights.

In Austin, Tex., the State Supreme Court held unanimously this date that State funds could be spent for schools in which black and white students were integrated, upholding the judgment of a District Court judge in a test case originating in Big Springs, in which the court had refused a request of the Texas Citizens Council to block use of State money for integrated schools. The Council would likely appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Texas Supreme Court had ruled that under Brown v. Board of Education, the sections of the Texas Constitution and statutes requiring segregation were unconstitutional and void. The Council had contended that the Texas laws were not specifically before the Supreme Court in Brown and so had not been ruled upon, that therefore the Texas courts should continue to hold them valid and enforceable. The Texas Supreme Court responded that the United States Constitution was the supreme law of the land and that judges in every state had to be bound thereby, regardless of anything in the state constitutions or laws to the contrary.

In Asuncion, Paraguay, authoritative sources reported this date that deposed Argentine dictator Juan Peron would be interned on a ranch in Paraguay, in response to demands by the new Government in Buenos Aires, which accused Sr. Peron of making political statements while in exile. The sources said that the former El Presidente would probably be sent to a ranch near the town of Villarica, 105 miles southeast of Asuncion, getting him away from the capital which was just across the river from Argentina, causing fear among those now in power that he might inspire diehard Peronistas to make trouble for the new regime. There was no official announcement yet by Paraguay's El Presidente Alfredo Stroessner regarding the internment, but the semiofficial newspaper, Patria, said that it would be done. The complaints by the new regime in Argentina had followed remarks by Sr. Peron the previous week to a newsman that he still considered himself the constitutional El Presidente of Argentina despite his overthrow by a revolt. (We, here, in the U.S., have become gradually inured during the last couple of years to a situacion analoga and might suggest un exilio para El Presidente anterior somewhere south of Florida, perhaps in Havana, where he would obviously feel—¿como se dice?—, mas habituado, o, incluso mejor, si no lo quieren, en Tortuga.)

Near Sulphur Springs, Tex., two Louisiana & Arkansas freight trains had collided head-on five miles east of the town this date, injuring six members of the crew. One of the injured men had told a reporter that everyone had jumped just before the two diesel engines had rammed into one another. Hours after the wreck, firemen of the town had not extinguished the flames from the wreckage, with diesel fuel burning in right-of-way ditches and one of the diesel engines, still running, resting on its side across the wrecked tracks.

Ann Sawyer of The News reports that nearly half of new non-residential construction in Charlotte for 1955 would not add anything to the City treasury in taxes, as it was tax exempt, including about two dozen churches, half a dozen schools and the new Nike missile plant being built by the Federal Government. Of the total 12.3 million dollars worth of new non-residential construction, only a little over three million of the 6.7 million dollars in taxable property would be added valuation, as property was listed for taxation at about half its market value.

Harry Shuford of The News tells of Charlotte during the morning appearing as a smudge pot, as smoke poured in billows from office buildings, plants and houses, nearly blotting out the skyline. City Manager Henry Yancey continued to search for a smoke abatement engineer to remedy the problem, indicating that few people had expressed interest in the broader job of pollution control. He said that smoke abatement would only be one of the duties of the engineer, that there was other particulate matter within the air regarded as pollution and the new engineer would be expected to eliminate it as well. At a City Council session many months earlier, it had been pointed out that radiation in small quantities was present in the local atmosphere and that the engineer would have to study that issue also. Mr. Yancey said that ordinances were already in operation regarding the problem. The previous day, many residents had noticed an oily odor proliferating in the community. A photograph accompanies the piece.

Also in Charlotte, police had seized an estimated $2,500 worth of punchboards, slot machines, tip boards and pinball machines in a surprise raid early this date at a house in the Elizabeth section of the city, following a search warrant being obtained by detectives for a house on Hawthorne Lane, with another raid conducted at a vending company on Poplar Street. As of early afternoon, no arrests had yet been made.

In Miami, the Weather Bureau reported that a weak low pressure zone in the western Caribbean was forming, with evidence of circular wind motion over a vast area, but that there were no signs yet that a new tropical storm was developing.

On the editorial page, "Gov. Hodges and His Industrial Tune" tells of Governor Luther Hodges having become a virtuoso at the "industrial drums", reliant on his own industrial and governmental experience to set the tune needed for locally owned and operated businesses.

He had explained the previous day, to a group of business, industrial and financial leaders of Charlotte and the surrounding area, the state's Business Development Corp., intended to provide venture capital and sound counsel to small industry. He urged the selling of a million dollars worth of stock in the corporation to banks, insurance companies, building and loan associations, trust companies and foundations.

It hopes that the Governor's audience would be responsive to his plea as it embodied an idea which many economists had advanced after studying the needs and opportunities of North Carolina industry, concluding that a strong state economy could not be formed only from transplants of Northern money, that a variety of small industries based on native raw materials were needed to fill the big gaps in employment and payroll left by the larger plants scattered across the state.

"U.S. Music: Prophets without Honor" indicates that Charles Munch, whose superb Boston Symphony Orchestra had thrilled Charlotte concert-goers the previous night, had paused long enough between conducting chores to issue a jubilant report on the quality of music in the country.

But despite the impressive works from American composers at present, they still had trouble finding an audience and Mr. Munch had not included any American work on the program for Charlotte, and during the entire 1954-55 season of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, only seven works out of 82 performed had been by American-born composers.

Yet the Philadelphia, Chicago, San Francisco, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Dallas, Indianapolis and Rochester symphonies had all performed fewer works by American composers than had the Boston Symphony. The Washington National Symphony Orchestra had led with 29 such performances while the New York Philharmonic had performed 11.

It indicates that it was a shame that a nation which produced so much fine contemporary music was hearing only a small fraction of it being played by its major symphony orchestras. The country's major composers included Samuel Barber, Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland, Henry Cowell, Paul Creston, Norman Dello Joio, David Diamond, Charles Griffes, Alexei Haieff, Roy Harris, Alan Hovhaness, Charles Ives, Walter Piston, Wallingford Riegger, William Schuman, Roger Sessions, and Virgil Thomson.

Gian-Carlo Menotti, the Italian-born composer who had lived in the U.S. for more than 20 years, was particularly sensitive to the problem and had recently written that America had to realize that its present civilization would "be crystallized and remembered in the future only as portrayed by its contemporary creative artists. It is the Germany of Bach, Beethoven and Goethe that we love and forgive. It is the Italy of Leonardo and Michelangelo and of the countless architects who have been asked to enrich it with their monuments that is portrayed in every schoolboy's textbook. It is the France of Utrillo and Rimbaud that the American tourist unconsciously seeks in his eternal pilgrimage to Paris."

It concludes that there was high art in much of America's music, that it deserved to be heard and its creators, to be encouraged, requiring the building of a cultural heritage.

"The Myth of Sisyphus Rides Again" finds that efforts of a few sincere public servants to get something done about the problem of internal security suggested the myth of Sisyphus, as revived by Albert Camus. Sisyphus, the king of ancient Corinth, had been compelled by the gods to roll a stone up a steep hill, from which it eternally rolled back down, an allusion to human futility.

On July 25, Senate-House confreres had ironed out differences in legislation creating an impartial Commission on Government Security, and on July 27, the bill had gone before the President, who said that he had "no objection" to the Commission. But there still was no Commission formed, despite the fact that its final report was due in just 80 days.

"Sisyphus, move over."

"The Soil and the Flower of Time" comments on the honoring by City officials the previous day of two couples who had lived the longest in Mecklenburg County, one having lived in the county for 67 years and the other, for 47 years. It suggests that in addition to being presented a key to the community, they had something more precious, the understanding of how things were when the county had been mostly field and flower, "the quiet substance of crowded memories of how things have grown." It posits that the only price of perspective was time and observation, but that unless one were uncommonly smart, one had to grow old to obtain it. It hopes that red roses flourished in the gardens of the two couples.

A piece from the Richmond News Leader, titled "Disthressin' News Frim Dublin", tells of times changing in Ireland—couched in some sort of strange, supposedly Irish-sounding script, no doubt corrupted by a heavy Southern accent—, such that only 1,804 citizens had been "tossed into th' jug" the previous year "f'r breakin' th' public pace". It indicates that Virginia jailed that many citizens for fighting every two months.

It concludes that, as Martin Dooley used to say: "''Twas different when I was a lad. They had wars in thim days that was wars.' Poor Ma-artin Dooley. If he was t' come t' life tidday, he wouldn't ha-ardly be afther ricognizin' th' ol' sod nay more."

Drew Pearson indicates that whenever a President became ill, there was always a power play around the person, such as during the illness of President Wilson during the last 17 months of his Administration, when Secretary of State Robert Lansing, uncle of Secretary of State Dulles, had been forced to resign because he sought to take over some of the powers of the President. Power politics had also taken place during the last year of FDR's Administration, when it became apparent he could not last much longer. The same was now true of the illness of President Eisenhower.

He indicates that the political bickering behind the President's back had been largely kept from the public and had not thus far affected important policy, but that behind the pleasant facade and the trip by Vice-President Nixon to Denver to the President's bedside, the Vice-President had made a bold bid for power, blocked by potent members of the staff and Cabinet, that for a time, Mr. Nixon's attempt to move in as acting president had caused deep resentment among White House personnel, and that he had been told bluntly that the staff and Cabinet could carry on without his officious intermeddling.

He indicates that the Constitution had no clear provisions regarding when the Vice-President ought take over the powers of the President in case of incapacity. Under President Coolidge, Vice-President Charles G. Dawes had missed a tie vote in the Senate because, he said, his alarm clock had not gone off and he had overslept. But it had been reported at the time that his late arrival was deliberate and that he did not get along with President Coolidge. During FDR's first two terms, Vice-President John Nance Garner was likewise completely out of sympathy with much of the New Deal. Under President Hoover, Vice-President Charles Curtis was never close to the President, and Vice-President Henry Wallace, during FDR's third term, though in sympathy with the President and given charge of the Board of Economic Warfare, was in a constant battle with Secretary of Commerce Jesse Jones and Secretary of State Cordell Hull.

Long before the illness of President Eisenhower, Mr. Nixon had staged an adroit and partially successful drive to become part of the executive branch, managing to get himself photographed as presiding over a Cabinet meeting while the President had been at the Big Four summit conference in Geneva the prior July. Observers could not recall another time when that had occurred, certainly not in recent history. And as soon as the President had been stricken, Mr. Nixon had moved in, proposing, along with his advisers, that he become effectively the acting president. That attempt had been denied and would again be denied, with Mr. Nixon's friends not wanting it to appear that he had tried to move in, now that the President was recovering. Mr. Nixon's close friend, William Rogers, Deputy Attorney General, had denied that he telephoned Attorney General Herbert Brownell in Spain to ask him for a ruling to give Mr. Nixon presidential powers. Other Justice Department officials said that a more accurate version would be that he "communicated" with Mr. Brownell. (Mr. Rogers would, during the second Eisenhower term, become Attorney General, and would become, during the first Nixon term, Secretary of State.)

Joseph and Stewart Alsop assess the outlook for the presidential nominations of both parties in 1956, starting with the Republicans, indicating that every Republican leader in the country had been calling Vice-President Nixon of late to sound out his intentions about entering the presidential election, on the assumption that President Eisenhower would not run again after his heart attack. They indicate that Mr. Nixon had handled the response with dignity, saying that he hoped that the President would be well enough to run, himself, but that even if he decided not to do so, the party should defer to his wishes as to who would be his successor. He said that, otherwise, he would have nothing to say about the matter.

They indicate that it was nevertheless obvious that the Vice-President would in fact be a candidate for the nomination should the President decide not to run, a decision which they regard as a virtual certainty at this point, given his health. Thus, they go into great detail about the political intricacies arising from that contingency, indicating that Mr. Nixon was well positioned to become the nominee, although he had the great drawback that many Republicans did not like him. He also faced the detriment that Governor Goodwin Knight of California, who would head the California delegation at the 1956 convention, did lot like Mr. Nixon and would make sure the delegation would not support him for the nomination. The Vice-President, however, had something which Governor Knight did not have, the ability to gain support in other states outside California. He had developed a close personal link with Governor Thomas Dewey through Deputy Attorney General William Rogers, chief assistant to Attorney General Herbert Brownell, the latter having been a campaign manager for Governor Dewey in his presidential and gubernatorial campaigns, and so Mr. Nixon would be able to cultivate the large New York delegation at the convention. In addition, almost all of the members of the party who had supported the late Senator Robert Taft in 1952 regarded Mr. Nixon as acceptable, although probably being more supportive of Senator William Knowland of California. Only Senator McCarthy and two or three of his fellow extremists were unable to forgive the Vice-President for standing by the President in the showdown over the censure of Senator McCarthy the prior December. The President also liked the Vice-President, but whether the President would give him wholehearted support for the nomination remained to be seen.

Most of those who knew the President best believed that the Republican leaders would be unable to persuade him to designate his successor.

They conclude that Mr. Nixon had an impressive list of assets, considering the relative sparseness of his competition, and so most would be inclined to suggest that he would be the nominee but for one key drawback, that he had appeared to the public as a politician, doing the political work which the President had asked him to do, and in current times, giving the appearance of being a politician was not popular. That weakness was showing up in public opinion polls indicating that Adlai Stevenson, while he would lose again by a considerable majority to the President, would easily beat Mr. Nixon.

They posit that the Republicans, if such polling continued, might turn to a dark horse, such as Milton Eisenhower, the President's brother, or Secretary of the Treasury George Humphrey.

Regarding the Democrats, they indicate that six months earlier, Governor Averell Harriman of New York was not considered a serious contender for the nomination, while now almost everyone believe that he was, even though he continued to say that he supported Mr. Stevenson. They go into detail of how Tammany boss and New York Secretary of State Carmine DeSapio was professionally handling Governor Harriman and his potential for a candidacy behind the scenes, being much more adept at politics than the entourage surrounding Mr. Stevenson.

They suggest that by the following spring, after the primary season would get underway in New Hampshire, California, Wisconsin, Nebraska and Oregon, if, as had occurred in 1952, Senator Estes Kefauver of Tennessee swept those primaries, beating Mr. Stevenson in one or more of them, the Democrats might turn to Governor Harriman at the convention. In that event, New York's 96 delegates would be key, but would go to Mr. Stevenson on the first ballot in the event that in one or more of those primaries, he faced off with Senator Kefauver and was successful. No one believed that Senator Kefauver, despite his following among the people, could land the nomination, but a Harriman-Kefauver ticket might become formidable.

They conclude that Mr. Stevenson remained the front-runner in the race for the nomination, with solid popular and organizational support and proven ability as a speaker and party leader. But they also remind that front-runner status was perilous in American politics and that it would take until the following spring to know what might occur.

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