The Charlotte News

Thursday, October 6, 1955


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports from Denver that the President had slept for 8 1/2 hours the previous night, with his recovery from his heart attack progressing to the point where staff began to talk hopefully of the future. The President had awakened feeling refreshed and relaxed. Time for another round of golf.

In New Castle, Ind., a Bible-conscious mayor this date brought warring union-management officials together to try to reach a truce regarding the strike at the Perfect Circle Corp. foundry, a piston rings manufacturing firm. Eight persons had been shot the previous day, as 5,000 UAW sympathizers moved on the small three-story brick building of the foundry, holding about 100 non-strikers. The plant had been closed this date and ringed by 600 National Guardsmen, sent by Governor George Craig after midnight. Mayor Paul McCormack presided at the conference of company officials and UAW representatives, the first formal meeting of the two factions in more than a month, with the strike having begun on July 25. The Mayor told the group that it was his custom to open City Council meetings with a passage from the Scriptures, and he read from the second chapter of Romans: "Therefore, you have no excuse, O man, whoever you are, when you judge another." He said that it was "the darkest day" for New Castle since 1917 when a tornado had hit the town, the last time the state militia had been sent there. In addition to the Guardsmen, two half-tracks with weapons aboard were stationed at the plant entrance and two tanks were in reserve at the local armory. Since the plant was closed, the union made no attempt to place pickets in front of it. The shooting the previous day had occurred when demonstrators gathered from all over Indiana had marched on the plant, which normally employed 260 workers. The union contended that the non-strikers had fired first. The strike concerned wages and a union shop, and tension had mounted steadily since the outset in late July. The dismissal of 35 picketing workers on Tuesday had apparently caused the mob demonstration of the previous day. The former chairman of the board of Perfect Circle was present Assistant Secretary of Commerce Lothair Teetor, who, it had been learned, was resigning his post. He had resigned from the corporation after joining the Administration in 1953. The CIO had been after his resignation because of his public statements antagonistic to labor. He said that he had no direct hand any longer in the management of Perfect Circle and had not spoken with company officials since the beginning of the strike. His resignation had apparently been planned for several weeks. It would appear that Perfect Circle is teeter-tottering on the brink of becoming something less than perfect, a broken circle, producing heavy, oil-filled exhaust and loss of compression, struggling, therefore, on uphill climbs, choking everyone unfortunate enough to be in its wake, likely to stop on a dime when it seizes, even if it hasn't any brake.

In Denver, it was reported that a United Air Lines DC-4, with 61 passengers aboard, had been missing for 3 1/2 hours, according to the airline. The plane had departed Denver in the early morning and had not been heard from since, with search planes having been alerted, looking in the mountain areas of southern Wyoming where the plane was believed to have gone down. The flight had been en route to San Francisco and had been scheduled to make a stop in Salt Lake City, where it was presently overdue. The Wyoming Aeronautics director in Cheyenne said that severe turbulence had been reported early this date at 8,000 feet over northern Colorado and southern Wyoming, an area over which the flight was scheduled to fly. The area where the plane was believed to have crashed was rugged, steep and precipitous. The weather had been clear in Denver when the plane had departed, having originated in New York and made stops in Philadelphia, Detroit, Chicago and Omaha, prior to Denver.

In Greenville, S.C., fire which originated from a neon sign had destroyed a 20-room wing of the Colonial Court Hotel early this date, with damage amounting to at least $150,000. The fire had been discovered in the wee hours of the morning by a Greyhound bus driver who had awakened guests and alerted the night clerk. The fire department's response was delayed by about a half hour because of doubt in the mind of the fire dispatcher as to whether or not the hotel was inside the city limits. "Well, I know it's burning down, but we just can't go to any fire unless it's within the city limits. It's right here in the book I have. Y'all understand, don't you? Well, damn you, too. I got better things to do."

In Santiago, Chile, it was reported that a strong earthquake had occurred early in the morning this date at Talca and Constitucion, cities in the central part of the country, with lighter shocks felt in Santiago and other cities, and no immediate reports of damage. They need to ship some residents of Constitucion to Asuncion, Paraguay, as a special group of envoys to educate deposed former El Presidente of Argentina.

In Zebulon, N.C., five persons had been killed when two cars had collided head-on early this date on U.S. 64, with four young men of the town burned to death when their car had overturned and caught fire following the collision, and a fifth occupant of the car hospitalized with serious burns. The driver and sole occupant of the other car had also been killed. A Wake County law enforcement officer said that the wreck was discovered by a passing motorist a short time after it had occurred shortly after midnight.

In Danbury, N.C., a 73-year old Stokes County man had committed suicide the previous day in an explosion of dynamite, apparently, according to the sheriff, parking his pickup truck in a shed at his home, entering the truck bed and setting off a stick of dynamite near his head. The coroner's jury had ruled the death a suicide. The son of the man said that his father had voiced his intention to commit suicide on several occasions.

In Charlotte, a 31-year old construction worker was pronounced dead of asphyxiation early this date after being removed from a burning trailer at a trailer park off Wilkinson Boulevard. The man had lived in the trailer with his wife and small child, but had been alone when the fire had started. A State Highway Patrolman, who spotted the fire while cruising along the boulevard, had removed the man from the trailer and aroused other residents of the park, then provided artificial respiration to the man. The man's wife was in a hospital in Raleigh and was an expectant mother. The cause of the fire had not yet been determined.

Also in Charlotte, a 15-year old girl had been charged with taking her mother's $65 welfare check and forging her name on it. Youth Bureau officers said that the girl had cashed the check at a local grocery store and was planning to leave the city with friends who were returning to New York. With all of this excitement abounding, elephants running loose around the city and what not, you would, too—just like the lovesick swan of a few years earlier, beaten out of his romance by Elmer.

In Charlotte, minutes of the unofficial meeting which had been held on Monday between the Board of County Commissioners and the officials of Good Samaritan Hospital indicated that it might become necessary to close the hospital if a loss of revenue, caused by paying black patients going to Mercy Hospital instead, was not compensated by the County. Two hospital officials were quoted in the minutes as advising the commissioners that an additional charge of $1.12 per indigent patient per day would be necessary for the hospital to break even on its indigent care. An editorial below explores the issue further, regarding the closed-door Monday session and the resulting confusion produced by reports to newsmen afterward.

Ann Sawyer of The News reports that members of the Mecklenburg Wild Life Club would protest the new County firearms ordinance—on which there is an angry letter to the editor this date—when the matter would come up for a hearing before the Board of County Commissioners the following Monday morning. The club president this date said that its 225 members had been notified to be present for the meeting. The board of governors of the club would meet the following day at Honey's Restaurant to draft a statement to present to the Board. The chairman of the Board said that the hearing had been scheduled at the request of the club and that other written protests regarding the ordinance had also been received by the Board, in addition to a number of favorable comments. The ordinance had been passed the prior Monday, restricting use of firearms in areas of the county outside Charlotte and the small towns within the county. A special act introduced before the 1955 State General Assembly by Mecklenburg State Senator Jack Blythe gave the County authority to pass such an ordinance. Complaints from citizens, who said that people were shooting too near their homes and property, had led to passage of the ordinance. It would become effective after two weekly publications and would regulate the firing of shotguns, pistols and rifles, prohibiting the firing of a shotgun within 200 yards of any home, school, church, barn, out-building, warehouse, store building or highway, or within 200 yards of grazing cattle. A .22-caliber rifle or pistol could not be fired within 500 yards of those buildings and properties. What if you got a beef with the church pastor or the school principal or just the farmer down the road, maybe someone holed up in the outhouse, and they just won't listen? What's the fella to do? You got to roust them some way. Bang, bang… Dang it, they're going to take away all our rights—the gov'ment. What would Davy Crockett say?

For those who have not yet learned to read, a photograph appears of a disgruntled shotgun-toter, forcing a local police officer to call the Board on his behalf, protesting the ordinance, saying that either it would be changed to accord the Second Amend-ment, or he was gonna wreak havoc—and probably will vote in 2024 for former El Presidente, whose perfect circle is also broken, regardless of whether he appears on the ballot or is in jail.

Emery Wister of The News reports that the City's parking lot at the new Auditorium on Independence Boulevard had passed its second test the previous night, but the Auditorium had only been half full for a performance by Polgar the Hypnotist, not repeating, however, the traffic snarl which had occurred after the Charlotte Symphony performance the prior Tuesday night. Hundreds of cars streamed into the parking lot from the east entrance off Independence, which motorists had to use and depart via the same access, but this time, coming in quickly and going out quickly. They were practicing the old in-out routine in the one day interim, obviously preparing for the first basketball games in the new Coliseum next door. Practice makes perfect. It might be noted that Mr. Wister has gone from covering the filming of "The Swan" in Asheville at Biltmore House a week earlier, with the presence of such luminaries as Grace Kelly and Alec Guinness—the soothsayer who had predicted a week beforehand to James Dean personally the latter's own death in an auto accident in his new Porsche 550 Spyder the prior Friday—, to covering parking at the Auditorium, indicative of the exciting life of news reporters.

In Paris, actress Rita Hayworth had sent word from her hotel room this date that she had the grippe, canceling a scheduled news conference. She had come to Paris earlier in the week with her daughters, one of whom was to be turned over for a six-week stay with her father, Prince Aly Khan. Ms. Hayworth had been taking the other daughter, whose father was actor-director Orson Welles, to Paris museums and tourist attractions. Enquiring minds want to know.

On the editorial page, "Confusion Flows from a Closed Door" indicates that the prospects for continuing Good Samaritan Hospital's vital community service were now in a state of confusion among the public, caused by closed-door meetings with the Board of County Commissioners the prior Monday.

Reporters had been barred from the meeting with hospital officials, leaving it to commissioners to confront reporters after the meeting, with one commissioner having said that Good Samaritan was in desperate financial straits and might have to close by mid-1956. At that time, the hospital administrator would not comment, but on Wednesday, the hospital had issued a statement saying that the commissioner's report was wrong and that not only was the hospital's treasury in satisfactory condition, no consideration had ever been given to closing its doors. It also clarified that funds provided to the hospital by the County were not contributions but only payments in part for the cost of treating indigent patients sent to the hospital by the County Welfare Board.

It appeared that at the meeting, the hospital had asked the Board for some money and the Board had agreed to provide between $3,000 and $4,000 to cover a deficit occurring during July, August and September. While the Board called it "emergency aid", the hospital considered it payment for services rendered. Both interpretations might be correct because the Board and the hospital disagreed on the proper fee for indigent patient care.

It indicates that the hospital had to continue to function because without it, the inadequacy of hospital facilities for black patients would become even more critical. Citizens also had the right to know how their tax dollars were being spent in taking care of indigent patients. It suggests that taxpayers would prefer to provide adequate medical facilities for all rather than picking over definitions of terms. It also indicates that if hurt feelings resulted from the confusion of statements following the meeting, they could be blamed on the fact that it was a closed meeting to the press and the public.

"A Burnished Theme for 'Mr. Fixits'" tells of former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, during her stops in Charlotte the previous day, having spoken firmly and earnestly of the responsibility for preserving the U.N. in the current era of uneasy calm. She said that the responsibility belonged to all persons everywhere, not just to the leaders.

It suggests that it was a good thought for United Nations Week, presently being observed in Charlotte. It analogizes the U.N. program to what people in Charlotte, Gastonia and Concord might do to help a baffled and needy neighbor, simply on an expanded scale. The U.N. hired experts and sent them around the world to try to fix things, teach better production, locate underground water and other such things. There was no politics in it, just people trying to help others.

Since 1945, conflicts had been prevented or stopped in Iran, Indonesia, Palestine, India-Pakistan, and other places. There had been some situations in which success had not been obtained, but something important had been achieved in those instances anyway.

It indicates that it was not an expensive project, particularly for Americans, and was a bargain. The American Association for the United Nations, the organization which helped make Charlotte's United Nations Week observance so successful the previous day, reported that a single dollar given to UNICEF could provide 50 glasses of milk, cure a child of yaws, a crippling skin disease prevalent in the tropics, or protect 24 children from tuberculosis. It suggests that it had been too easy in the past to speak of U.N. "failures" and that it was time for Americans to learn to recognize the successes, of which Mrs. Roosevelt had helped to point out to residents of Charlotte the previous day, a "useful and hopeful lesson".

Shoot, she prob'ly just come down heyere from up 'ere to support that gun ord'nance, givin' all our rights away to them Commies at the U.N.

"The Municipal Team Couldn't Wait" indicates that more than 1,400 City employees had participated early in their "united giving" to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg United Appeal, with the formal campaign not opening until October 10.

It indicates that they were a group of dedicated citizens of whom Charlotte could be proud. They exhibited great faith in the future of the city, in its growth and prosperity, and it salutes them for their participation in the campaign.

They're prob'ly Commies, too.

"Charlotte's Golden Age in the Making" indicates that Charlotte had opened a promising new chapter in its cultural history during the week, with the performance at Ovens Auditorium of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony by the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, a premiere which was notably successful. In addition to the Symphony Orchestra, there were four local church choirs and four guest soloists, all of whom had performed admirably and the hundreds of concertgoers expressed their complete approval. It suggests that it augured a good season for the Symphony and an auspicious beginning for the Auditorium, in what it predicts would be long service to the city.

When they gonna get Arthur Smith and his Crackerjacks down 'ere? Then we'll go. Don't wanna go see all them longhairs.

A piece from the Asheville Citizen, titled "Down, Boy, Down!" indicates that when the Duke of Windsor had stepped behind the steam table at Washington's Union Station lunchroom, the waitress had been horrified and told him he was not allowed behind there. He had thought it was a cafeteria.

It indicates that it could hardly blame him, as in some restaurants, one could not tell the difference.

It reminds of an old English proverb: He also waits who only stands and serves.

It was also sympathetic with the waitress and hopes that she emerged from the situation with a certain measure of fame, as it was a reminder that in democratic America, there were no special favors conferred on royalty other than queens of the May, monarchs of Dairy Week, and some 500,000 other festive events.

It concludes that the Duke of Windsor would be "honi-soit-qui-mal-y-pensed" before he would try that again.

What does that mean? They gonna kill him with a shotgun? Serves him right for tryin' to get special privileges down 'ere.

Drew Pearson indicates that there had been so much confusion over the freedom-friendship balloons launched from Germany to Iron Curtain countries that it was time that the public received the full facts. Premier Nikolai Bulganin of the Soviet Union had recently taken aside Chancellor Konrad Adenauer of West Germany at a Moscow garden party and shown him a balloon which had landed over Russia, carrying anti-Communist propaganda, asking the Chancellor to stop launching them. Chancellor Adenauer appeared upset about the matter, and the U.S. Ambassador, Charles Bohlen, was upset because Mr. Adenauer was upset. Ambassador Bohlen cabled the State Department that Chancellor Adenauer appeared weak-kneed and had not stood up to Premier Bulganin.

Mr. Pearson notes that Mr. Bohlen believed that the balloon propaganda was effective. He also indicates that he had made the original arrangements to launch the balloons from West Germany and that neither the German Government nor the U.S. Government had anything to do with it, except in a negative way. It had been entirely conducted through private enterprise, chiefly by the Crusade for Freedom, and, with one exception, had remained so since.

For nearly three years, he had urged the State Department, the Army and the Air Force to cooperate in launching the balloons. The Army had some surplus weather balloons which were only going to deteriorate with time—aside from getting the flying saucer people stirred up—, and which could have been used to distribute the propaganda. They received, however, no cooperation, and some officials were even quite opposed to the effort. The State Department neither approved nor disapproved, and Germany, being under military occupation at the time, had remained subject to State Department decisions, such that no balloons could have been launched by the West German Government without U.S. approval.

The first balloons had been launched only in Czechoslovakia and were such a success that they had been continued by the Committee for Free Europe and Free Europe Press ever since, but only to Czechoslovakia, Poland and Hungary. The balloons had been greatly perfected since the first ones had been launched over Czechoslovakia four years earlier, such that it was now possible to send them all the way to Russia, though that had not yet been undertaken. The balloon which Premier Bulganin had shown to Chancellor Adenauer, containing propaganda depicting Mr. Bulganin as an ape, had been launched by a Russian émigré group, not by the Committee for Free Europe or Free Europe Press.

Mr. Pearson indicates that the latter organization had launched 342,700 balloons over Poland, Czechoslovakia and Hungary during the previous year and a half, carrying 200 million leaflets, but had confined the propaganda to news of the outside world and reminding people behind the Iron Curtain of Western friendship toward them and their lost freedoms.

Walter Lippmann indicates that White House chief of staff Sherman Adams and Attorney General Herbert Brownell had returned to Washington the previous week, after which a decision was made to delegate the President's powers and duties during his recovery period from his heart attack, such that the ceremonial functions would be carried on by the Vice-President while the substantive powers of the office would be exercised by White House officials. Thus, the dispensation of patronage and the administrative decisions of the office would not be delegated even temporarily to Mr. Nixon, but rather were retained by the White House.

The decision confirmed a point which some experts had been making, that prior to the illness of the President, he had not made up his mind about a successor in case he decided not to run again in 1956, despite his high regard for the Vice-President. The action by Mr. Adams the previous week kept the President uncommitted to Mr. Nixon or anyone else. There would be no impression created that Mr. Nixon was the acting President and thus the evident successor to President Eisenhower. (Bear all of this in mind, regarding ill feelings generated between Mr. Adams and Mr. Nixon, when we get to the point in 1958 when Mr. Adams would be forced to resign over the vicuna coat received by his wife, not a proper cloth coat. Had Mr. Nixon been less worried about the type of coats wives wore and who would coat his fence for him, and more concerned about what his understrappers were planning for his coronation ceremonies in 1972, the country might have been spared its "long national nightmare".)

The Constitution at the time was considered unclear as to the performance of the President's functions in case of partial disability, whereas when there was a total disability, the Vice-President would act in the stead of the President until the disability ended.

In the 35 years since the illness of President Wilson, the White House and the office of the Presidency had changed from a personal office into a virtual department of the Government, to which had been delegated a great part of the President's functions, up to the final stages of executive decision. The White House was as well-qualified as the Vice-President to act for the President as long as the President was capable of giving formal assent to acts performed in his name.

Mr. Lippmann indicates that Mr. Adams had done an admirable job in filling the vacuum since the President's illness began, and the authority assumed would not be challenged as long as he and the White House acted with reasonable candor, letting it be known who was responsible for the important substantive decisions. (This whole idea may have spawned in former Nixon chief of staff Al Haig, Secretary of State under President Reagan in 1981, his infamous comment in the immediate wake of the 1981 assassination attempt on the President, that "I am in control here at the White House," made the worse by its having been stated in a somewhat shaky, if imperious, voice, suggestive in the minds of some as indicative of a coup.)

He ventures that the problem of the President's successor would have to be faced by the Republican leaders, with the issue being that there was no Republican at present of national reputation who had the confidence and could command the support of the Eisenhower voters in 1952. That problem had been present ever since the President had voiced some doubts about running for a second term, and was only now compounded by his illness.

The country had been placed on notice by the President that if he did run again, they might be voting actually for Mr. Nixon as President, and it was also axiomatic that if he did not run, there was a substantial question whether Mr. Nixon could win or whether, as according to the Gallup poll, he would divide the Eisenhower voters. Until the President's illness, it was possible for Republicans to ignore the problem and concentrate on drafting the President, but that was no longer possible if the President could not be drafted. The question now was what role the President would have in choosing his successor, and the action by Mr. Adams the previous week would hold that choice open for him.

Mr. Lippmann concludes that the President did not need to make the choice presently, but that if the President decided not to run, the decision should not be delayed very long, as it would take time for those half dozen or so Republicans available for the nomination to prove themselves to the country.

The Congressional Quarterly indicates that when the question had been posed in the House in late July as to what the Democratic policy would be on the question of exemption of natural gas producers from Federal price regulation, a majority of Democrats having voted against it, while a majority of Republicans had voted for it. The bill had barely passed by a vote of 209 to 203, and would not have passed but for the votes of 73 Southern Democrats.

The issue would be revived in January when the Senate would take up the House bill. There were 26 Southern Democratic Senators, more than half the total of the 49 Democratic Senators. If the majority, as in the House, voted for exemption, the issue would make poor campaign material for the Democratic presidential candidate, as his arguments would be weakened by a lack of solidarity on the matter.

Republicans also had problems regarding unity, with a minority of Republicans also pursuing their own interests in Congress. A recent Quarterly study had shown that votes in both houses indicated that party labels rarely told the full story on leading issues. In the case of the natural gas measure, pressure had come for exemption from producers while opposition had derived primarily from urban consumers, fearful of possible rate increases. Members of the House had been influenced more by what they believed would be the economic impact of the legislation on their own districts than by the position of their party's majority.

Of the 35 Republican members who had voted against the bill, 76 percent of the districts they represented were urban, while in the 28 districts where members voted for the bill, the constituencies were only 63 percent urban, compared to 64 percent for the nation as a whole. The average urban population for all 209 districts whose Representatives had voted for exemption was 55 percent, and for the 203 opponents of the measure, the urban population was on average 69 percent. Thus, the vote involved a clash between urban and rural interests, without regard to party lines.

A similar clash had occurred when the House passed a housing bill without provision for public housing, with Southern Democrats providing the margin of victory, siding with the Republican majority against the Democratic majority. Eastern Republicans were divided.

Splits among Republicans and Democrats had their greatest political impact when the two party majorities were opposed, giving the dissenting minorities an opportunity to determine the fate of legislation. The inter-party struggles in 1956 would tend to encourage greater intra-party unity, but on many issues, each of the two parties would face rebellious minorities within them.

A letter from A. W. Black suggests that the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners had shown how "ridiculous, unreasonable and dictatorial" public servants could become when they passed the resolution prohibiting the discharge of any rifle greater than .22-caliber within the county, without the written consent of the Board, or on a range certified by it. He regards the resolution as forcing rifle owners to discard their weapons and desert a sport in which the weapons were used. He says there was no substantial evidence of rifle accidents in the county justifying the charge that there was a constant danger to the residents from the discharge of firearms. He finds that the fact that the Board had given in the ordinance tacit approval to firing of .22-caliber rifles, which, according to reports of the National Rifle Association, were responsible for more accidents than any other caliber, had shown their lack of knowledge of the issue.

Good, you just made the argument for banning all of them—a great day in America if so.

Incidentally, we did not wish to make a point of the fact in the previous day's summary, for fear that it might somehow cause bad luck in the midterm elections yesterday, but the tanker which had hit the Ashley River Bridge in Charleston, causing commuters to have to venture out of their way by 50 miles to reach the city from West Ashley, was named the Fort Fetterman. Whatever that might mean to anyone curious of coincidences should suggest absolutely nothing in 2022. Somewhere over the rainbow...

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