The Charlotte News

Tuesday, December 13, 1955


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the President had reviewed his foreign and defense policies with Congressional leaders of both parties this date, and had won at least a partially favorable reaction from Democrats. Details of the reviewed programs were not disclosed, but the White House said that Administration officials had put before the legislators a stepped-up program of foreign aid and overseas information. Senator Richard Russell of Georgia, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, told reporters after the meeting that he thought the defense program "looks fairly good", but added that Congressional committees would want to review the Administration proposals in detail before committing to them. White House press secretary James Hagerty said after the meeting that the President had volunteered a statement to be passed to the members who had met with him for more than 2 1/2 hours, that he wanted to give his thanks and gratitude to the leaders on both sides of the aisle in both houses "for the very great contributions they have made and are making too true bipartisanship." Another statement approved by all who attended the meeting was that the subjects discussed had included foreign affairs, the national defense budget, mutual security appropriations, the program of the U.S. Information Agency, policies on the question of disarmament and the organization for cooperation in trade. Secretary of State Dulles had presented a review of world conditions since the conclusion of the foreign ministers conference in Geneva, which had taken place between October 27 and November 16. He said at the meeting that the State Department placed special emphasis on the economic aspects of foreign policy, particularly in view of the increased Soviet campaign in that field in Southeast Asia and the Middle East, also urging approval by the Congress of U.S. participation in the organization for trade cooperation. Secretary of Defense Charles E. Wilson reviewed with the Congressional leaders the program of the defense establishment and the force levels which had to be maintained to protect the nation against attack and to assure the maintenance of peace in the atomic age. The director of the International Cooperation Administration, John Hollister, had outlined the mutual security program, including mutual military support and economic and technical assistance for allies and friends. The President had discussed the program of the U.S. Information Agency, and the deputy director of that agency had stressed the necessity for expanding its program to present America's proposals for peace to all of the peoples of the world.

In New York, the Ford Foundation announced the previous day that it was providing the largest single gift in history, 500 million dollars, to the nation's privately supported colleges, universities and hospitals. The 615 regionally accredited private colleges and universities would receive 210 million dollars, primarily designed to help increase faculty salaries. The 3,500 privately supported hospitals, located in all 48 states and the territories of Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico, would receive 200 million dollars. Privately supported medical schools would receive 90 million. The grant to the colleges and universities was in addition to 50 million dollars which the Foundation had announced the previous spring, also designed to help raise faculty salaries. Thirty-six of the colleges and universities had received more than one million dollars each, with the largest single gift having been five million, made to NYU. Harvard had received 4.5 million, the University of Chicago, 4.3 million, and Yale, four million. The smallest grant to a college was to the California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco, at $31,900. The gifts to hospitals ranged from $250,000, awarded to each of 57 such hospitals, down to $10,000. The contribution to medical schools had not yet been broken down into specific grants. The grants had won approval the previous weekend at a meeting of the Foundation's board of trustees, headed by Henry Ford II, and recipients had been notified by telegram, with a number of institutions across the country having at first thought it a hoax. Harvard president Nathan Pusey said that the grants were a "splendid, imaginative effort to strengthen higher education in America… The special intent—to improve faculty salaries—is unreservedly praiseworthy."

Locally, three colleges, Davidson, Johnson C. Smith and Queens, plus nearby Belmont Abbey, had received a total of $811,300 from the Foundation, with Davidson leading the way at $411,400. Hospitals in the area had received a total of $594,400, with Memorial Hospital receiving $200,600 and Presbyterian Hospital receiving $152,300. There was a condition on the endowments to the colleges and universities that they had to use only the interest on the principal for the faculty endowments during a period of ten years, after which they could begin to spend the principal if they wished. In all, institutions in the area had received 1.4 million dollars of the total 500 million dollar gift by the Foundation.

In Dallas, Tex., a mother and her three infant children had been shot and killed in their East Dallas home early this date by the woman's estranged husband, who had been captured several hours later in a gunfight after being shot through the temple by police while he was in a telephone booth at a neighborhood drugstore on the east edge of the city, with the police officer saying that the man had fired a shot from a .22-caliber pearl-handled revolver at officers as they closed in on him. About 50 customers of the large store had screamed and run, as bullets were fired within the store, the police officer indicating that he had fired at least four times. About five hours before the shootout, the man had killed his estranged wife, her infant son and twin daughters, both of whom were also infants, and had critically wounded the dead woman's son-in-law from a previous marriage. The latter could not yet inform officers what had happened. The accused had been talking on the phone to his sister-in-law, telling her of the shootings, stating that he had also used a saber in the attack, when the shootout began in the store. With the cooperation of the sister-in-law, police had traced the call to the drugstore and officers rushed there, finding him still on the phone. A cashier at the drugstore said that one of the man's bullets fired in the shootout had narrowly missed her, and that a few minutes earlier, she had provided him change for making the phone call. A "bayonet-like knife" had been found in the man's car parked near the drugstore. Police officers said that he had worked until the previous Saturday for a trailer equipment company in Dallas before he was fired as a repairman, with a representative of the firm indicating that he had a lot of family trouble and it had gotten to the point where he was not producing.

Donald MacDonald of The News reports that in Charlotte, an automobile driven by a school teacher during the morning had failed to stop for a school bus and had struck and killed a seven-year old boy attempting to board the bus, according to County Police. Police were holding the 38-year old female teacher under a $1,000 bond until a coroner's inquest could be held on December 30. The bus driver told police that the school bus had its stop sign in operation when the automobile had struck the child, but the teacher had told police that the bus was still in motion and that she did not see the child because of a mailbox on the right side of the highway. Police indicated that the accident scene was on a slight knoll in the road, but that the grade was not such as to prevent a driver from seeing a school bus. The teacher also indicated that the morning sun, striking her windshield at an angle, had obscured her vision. The investigating patrolman said that the bus was definitely stopped at the time of the accident, as an automobile behind the bus had stopped when it had opened its stop sign flap. Another child had been boarding the bus at the time from the right side of the highway, and 15 students aboard the bus had witnessed the accident. The struck child had died en route to the hospital.

A story tells of two deaths from starvation in Charlotte during the previous month, according to records of the Vital Statistics Bureau of the City Health Department, one of the deaths having been of a 64-year old man and the other having been of a 32-year old woman, both dying from malnutrition, a form of starvation. There were no circumstances recorded on the death certificate for the man, but the woman was said to have been involved in a psychopathic situation in which her mentally affected mother had refused to permit her to go to the hospital. There had also been 582 births and 114 deaths in the city in November, fewer than the 626 births in October, but more than the 542 in November of the previous year, while there had been 117 deaths in October and 124 in November, 1954. The leading cause of death in November had been heart disease, with 37 such cases, followed by congenital conditions among 17 of the deaths, cancer having killed 16 and vascular lesions, 11, while 10 had died from accidents.

Dick Young of The News reports that a doctrine of gradualism in consolidation of City and County governmental functions had been announced by the City Council this date in response to the proposed merger of all functions offered by Board of County Commissioners member Sam McNinch the previous day. Three members of the Council suggested that consolidation might be gradually worked out by combining certain departments in separate moves. One member of the Council, however, opposed any gradual consolidation and asserted that such piecemeal merger was just fooling the people, that if there were to be consolidation, it ought be total, as proposed by Mr. McNinch.

Ann Sawyer of The News indicates that the City and County Governments would gross over 12.5 million dollars in revenue from ad valorem taxes, the largest amount ever received. Gross taxes for Charlotte had been somewhat over 7 million dollars and those for the County, 5.6 million. An additional $200,000 would come to both governments from other sources of revenue. Countywide valuation had hit an all-time high of 59.5 million dollars, approximately 30 million more than the previous year. It was only slightly above the mark used as a basis for the 1955-56 budget.

Julian Scheer of The News reports that former Charlotte Mayor Ben Douglas was undecided whether he would run for lieutenant governor or Congress in 1956, that he had told the newspaper during the morning that he was being encouraged by friends and supporters to seek one of those offices. He was leaving as director of the State Department of Conservation and Development the following Thursday and would return to Charlotte from Raleigh. He said that he intended to go back into his business but that he had not closed the door on future plans for public life, as he loved public life or he would not have been active in it for so long. He said that he appreciated the confidence placed in him by his friends and supporters.

The Mecklenburg Baptist Ministers Conference issued a resolution this date backing completely Dr. Harold Tribble, president of Wake Forest College. His administration was currently under investigation by a special committee of trustees appointed by the Board of Trustees, following a demonstration by students at the school after athletic director Pat Preston and head football coach Tom Rogers had resigned under pressure nine days earlier. The investigation was primarily regarding rumors of poor morale generally among the faculty and staff, which had preceded the student protest over a rumor of de-emphasis of athletics at the school, denied by Dr. Tribble at the student protest. The Mecklenburg meeting was attended by 33 Baptist ministers, 14 of whom were graduates of the Wake Forest School of Divinity. The special committee would provide its report on morale at Wake Forest at a meeting of the Board of Trustees on December 22. The incoming president of the Board had said to the press the prior week that he believed a certain degree of tension among faculty and staff was normal under the circumstances of the prospective move of the College, with everyone having to find new housing and relocate. Wake Forest was in preparation for the move of its entire campus to Winston-Salem the following spring. That's a lot of dirt which has to be hauled about 100 miles. It will probably take more than a couple of dump truck loads. And then there are the buildings which have to be moved on large trailers, probably some of them in more than one part. They had better get on the road.

In Phoenix, Ariz., a man arrested for public drunkenness, according to officers, had picked the lock on the rear door of the paddy wagon and jumped out, fled down an alley.

In Pasadena, Calif., a man who could not stand the crunching of three people eating popcorn in a movie theater, had pulled a gun on them. Police had taken him into custody and revoked, at least temporarily, his gun permit. He told police that he had not pulled the gun until one of the men jumped him and tried to wrestle it from his holster, after he had asked them to put their popcorn aside so that he could hear the dialog of the movie characters. What was the movie?

On the editorial page, "Consolidation: File for the Future" finds that the plan to merge the City and County offices completely, as proposed the previous day by Board of County Commissioners member Sam McNinch, had been "like a shotgun blast in a cornfield", stirring up the county's political birds, who had, after all, not gone south for the winter.

Mayor Philip Van Every had hastily labeled the plan impractical and unfeasible and several of the members of the Board had also objected, and so the prospect for such a merger appeared dim for any time in the near future, as it was too mired in political prejudice for any objective consideration. Mr. McNinch had also not prepared the community for his announcement, and thus there was no organized support for the move.

Such merger would undoubtedly eliminate a lot of duplication and be much cheaper for both the City and County to operate and, as the column had advocated before, the City and County, it urges, ought provide careful and creative consideration to such a move.

It indicates that Oswald Spengler, in his The Decline of the West, had posited that metropolitan supremacy had passed and democracy was on the way out, but the piece ventures that he had overlooked one of American democracy's most important sources of strength, flexibility, the power to improvise, to accomplish revolutionary things in an orderly way, to alter government and to make it serve the changing needs of the people. It concludes that the scoffers who damned the merger idea ought mark that concept well, that government improvement was needed and the public would demand that it be done, which, in time, would have to be answered.

"TV Goes to Court: Outcome Debatable" wonders whether the trial judge in Waco, Tex., who had allowed television coverage of a local murder trial for the first time in history had gone "hog wild", as Chief Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court, W. H. Duckworth, chairman of the Conference of Chief Justices, had opined.

The ABA opposed television coverage of judicial proceedings, viewing it as "calculated to detract from the essential dignity … distract the witnesses … degrade the court..."

The trial judge had said that critics would not object if they understood how the trial was being handled. Neither the prosecution nor the defense had objected to the presence of television cameras in the courtroom, as had not the defendant, who was ultimately convicted. The public also appeared to approve, as 200,000 viewers watched the trial.

But Justice Duckworth had said, "A murder trial is no bullfight." The piece asserts, however, that any argument against the practice was running ahead of the facts available to support it, that the discussion should be whether television cameras could carry proceedings from a courtroom without interfering with the processes of justice, whether political ambitions would produce violations of good ethics and conduct injurious to the right of the defendant to a fair trial, and whether public opinion aroused, but largely uninstructed, might seep into the jury box. It finds those questions thus far unanswered but that at least some information had been gleaned from the fair trial which had occurred in Texas in front of a television audience with unobtrusive cameras present in the courtroom. It urges that such an experiment should continue to be conducted, particularly where the judge, defense and prosecution could agree that televising the proceedings did not offend justice.

"How 'Naughty' Is the Dope Problem?" finds duplicity in the Hollywood Production Code, censoring Otto Preminger's "The Man with the Golden Arm" because it dealt with drug addiction, while approving of all manner of films dealing with alcoholism and allowing some of the "gamier onscreen antics of Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell." It finds drug addiction and alcoholism to stem from the same vine with identical human factors involved in both. When newspapers, magazines and television programs dealt with the subject, it sees no reason why it should be verboten in Hollywood films.

It views it as possible that an honest study of the subject could steer some away from the horrors of drug addiction and regards it as an urgent topical theme which ought be allowed to be viewed.

A piece from the Alabama Journal, titled "Leave Well Enough Alone", says that it was a relief to see that tradition-bound England was having trouble over the Santa Claus myth, that on a recent BBC discussion program, the rightness or wrongness of permitting children to believe in Santa Claus, who was called "Father Christmas" in Britain, was being debated, with the question being at what age children should be encouraged not to believe in Santa or whether they should ever be allowed to start believing.

One of the participants in the debate, Dr. Jacob Bronowski, scientist and father of four, had said that he would allow his children to go on believing in Father Christmas as long as they wanted to do so, while others took the opposing view. The fact of the discussion had prompted thousands of complaints from parents who said that the broadcast had ruined Christmas for their children.

It indicates that in the U.S., only a few voices had been raised publicly against Santa in recent years, perhaps based on the realization that in the event the belief were eradicated, there were heirs-apparent to the status who might be more troublesome than Santa, not the least of whom was Rudolph, whose popularity had begun with the song as sung by Gene Autry but now had been firmly established in the lore of children.

"Imagine the complexity of explanations to young fry if a bibulous reindeer should become the symbol of Christmas largesse: How would he get down the chimney, what would he eat, how would he make toys with his non-prehensile hooves, how could he enforce discipline among the beast-of-burden reindeer, Donner, Blitzen, et al."

Not to mention the Donald Clan, probably seeking to interfere with his chimney mischief, shooting off his horns with their brass.

Santa never had no British accent up at Sears, speaking more like a man o' the people. "What's you want?" They can have their old stuckety-uppity, wino "Father Christmas" over 'ere in limey-town, demanding from ev'ry household he visits a glass of wine and a mince pie. No wonder he's a fat, old souse. And then the greedy children want such things as a traffic light, a motorcar, an Army lorry, a princess with whom to play and a gun. It's no wonder. We'll stick with our Santa who don't need no wine or mincemeat to get through Christmas and brings only standard little toys for all the little girls and boys.

Drew Pearson indicates that the long-concealed irritation of the Republicans, who had previously supported deceased Senator Robert Taft, regarding the delay in the President's decision as to whether he would run again, was now coming into the open. Such former supporters of Senator Taft as Congressman Carroll Reece of Tennessee, formerly RNC chairman, and Walter Hallahan of West Virginia, had not attended the recent rally in Chicago put on by RNC chairman Leonard Hall. The irritation had become even more evident when Senator William Knowland of California, who had become Republican Leader in the Senate after the death of Senator Taft, had left a recent conference with the President saying that he was not at all sure the latter would run again. It was now certain that Senator Knowland would run for the presidency, should the President decide not to announce his intention to run prior to February 1. Mr. Pearson says that behind those determinations were the convictions that a political party is like a ball team, with its strength dependent on farm teams and its development on young players, as the Republicans viewed the Democrats as suffering from a lack of young talent during the FDR years and the Taft wing now seeing Republicans in the same position because of their concentration too much on a single person. They also still had a strong resentment against former Governor Thomas Dewey of New York and a conviction that he was trying to control the next nomination.

Governor Dewey had always been one of the most powerful men inside the Eisenhower Administration, despite his not being in Washington. His old press secretary was James Hagerty, now White House press secretary and one of the men closest to the President, and his former campaign manager was Attorney General Herbert Brownell. Mr. Dewey had also picked two other members of the Cabinet, Secretary of State Dulles and Secretary of Labor James Mitchell, and had selected Leonard Hall to be the RNC chairman. That had caused the Taft wing of the party to be upset. They were also suspicious about the medical report on the President being delayed until February or March, too late for other candidates to enter the race, with the Dewey people able then to place one of their own men, possibly Mr. Dewey, himself, into the nomination. Mr. Pearson indicates that it was why there was such slow-developing anger within the Taft wing of the party and why Senator Knowland had called for a showdown on whether the President would run again.

Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn of Texas and Senator Mike Monroney of Oklahoma had returned to Washington for the "bipartisan" conferences with the President, upset because the President had talked about a bipartisan approach and then taken a strictly partisan tack, specifically regarding the filling of Democratic positions on quasi-judicial agencies with Democrats who were supportive of the Eisenhower agenda. Under law, those appointments had to be filled by members of the opposite party from the President, but most of those appointees presently voted with the Administration. Mr. Rayburn and Senator Monroney were upset at the firing of John Lee from the Civil Aeronautics Board after many years of faithful service. Mr. Lee had served with Mr. Rayburn in the House and later had served as a Senator from Oklahoma. He had fought against the two largest airlines, Pan American and American, and had now been replaced by G. Joseph Minetti, a Dewey Democrat from New York, with his appointment having been pushed by the vice-president of American Airlines, giving the major airlines another vote on the CAB. On November 15, the CAB had voted three to two to strengthen the small non-scheduled airlines, allowing them to operate as "supplemental air carriers", with Mr. Lee having voted for it. The chairman of the CAB, Ross Rizley, a Republican from Oklahoma, who had also voted for it, was now slated to become a Federal judge in January, reversing the balance on the Board and making it favor the large airlines.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop indicate that there had been much self-congratulatory talk among Democrats regarding their achievement of party unity since 1952, but that the issue of whether to deregulate the natural gas industry under a bill slated for the next session could hamper or destroy that unity at the outset of the election year.

The bill would be sponsored by Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, but the real force behind it was Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson, probably the most powerful man in the Senate, who would use all of his power to push the bill to passage, having said that he would fight for Texas oil producers just as hard as Senator Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota fought for the dairy farmers of his state.

The enemies of the bill claimed it would cost consumers as much as 800 million dollars per year and would increase the proved gas reserves value by 20 billion dollars.

Initially, Senator Johnson believed, as of September, that he had more than enough votes for passage and to withstand any filibuster, with 58 votes. But since that time, utilities from all over the country had banded together to oppose it, as they feared that their business would be hurt by higher consumer rates for natural gas. And the utilities wielded great power, though not as much as the major oil companies, pushing for the bill.

Senator Johnson and his allies had been warned of a pending fight, to be led by Illinois Senator Paul Douglas, who said that he already had 70 pages of a speech ready for delivery on the floor, and was only halfway through it, with the Alsops commenting that such a speech could constitute a mini-filibuster, before a real one could start.

Senator Douglas had the support of Senators Harry F. Byrd and Willis Robertson, both of Virginia, and Senator Richard Russell of Georgia was said to be wavering. The proponents of the bill needed the Southern Senators aboard. Senator Douglas also expected the support of at least 15 Republicans, though Republicans were divided on the issue also, but without the same passion as exhibited by the Democrats. Moreover, they would be pleased at the prospect of a division in the opposing party in an election year.

While the bill still would likely pass, the prospect of a party schism over it in debate was increasingly likely, and some Northern Democrats were threatening in response to push civil rights legislation, which could further divide the party along regional lines.

Adlai Stevenson would badly need the Southern delegates for a first-ballot victory at the convention the following summer, and with a split party, could have trouble. He would have to take a stand on the issue, just as Democrats had to do in 1952 on the controversial tidelands oil bill, turning tidelands oil over to the states, an issue which had divided the Democrats four years earlier.

The Congressional Quarterly examines the great influence of Southerners in politics at present, having done so by emerging from their 1952 "Eisenhower romance", not only within the Republican Party, which they had befriended, but also within the Democratic Party, which they had spurned.

The Republicans had rewarded the South by increasing its 1952 convention delegation from the region, from 225 to 325 votes, increasing its share of the total 1,323 delegates from 19 to 25 percent. At the Democratic convention in 1952, the Southern delegates were increased from 340 to 392 votes, and their percent of the total had been increased from 28 to 29, giving the South a larger number than any other section by percentage. North Carolina would receive a four-vote bonus at the 1956 Democratic convention and two additional votes at the Republican convention. North Carolina Democrats had 32 votes in 1952 and would have 36 in 1956. North Carolina Republicans had 26 votes in 1952 and would have 28 in 1956.

It indicates that the South had achieved its new eminence in both parties by providing the heaviest Republican vote in history and still furnished the bulk of the 1952 Democratic electoral vote to Adlai Stevenson, with the Republicans providing their appreciation to the Southerners for going as far as they did, while the Democrats did so for their not going further.

Southern Republicans had once been solidly behind the late Senator Robert Taft, but were now being led by President Eisenhower. With the 1956 convention under the control of the President and his supporters, there were no signs of any Southern credentials fights like those which had occurred in the 1952 Republican convention.

The Democrats hoped that they had quelled the traditional North versus South feud by abolishing the "loyalty oath" to the party, that is a pledge that delegates would support the party nominee in the general election and would use their influence to place the name of the nominee on their state ballot as a Democrat. But the Democrats who had bolted to the Eisenhower camp in 1952, such as Texas Governor Allan Shivers, had been put on notice that they might be challenged at the Democratic convention in 1956. The Democratic nominee would need the support of at least 13 states in 1956.

A letter writer from Cheraw, S.C., urges readers to give thanks toward the end of the year to the continued progress of the nation in many areas. He focuses on the criticism by some Republicans, led by Senator Barry Goldwater, whom he does not name, of the newly merged AFL-CIO, taking to task its inevitably expanded role in the political process, urging that it should not support individual candidates for public office. The writer objects to that criticism, finds that no one should be telling workers that they had no right collectively to support someone for the presidency or any other office. He questions whether the critics were afraid that labor would have a large voice in what was done in Congress. He says that labor had not yet begun to fight and that the collective voice of 16 million workers would be heard and their votes counted in the next election, and that those votes would not be for the present Administration. He asks what the Administration had done for labor during the previous three years. He says that textile workers had been asked by textile leaders a few months earlier to petition Congress to oppose lowering of tariffs on foreign textiles to avoid curtailment of domestic operations which would produce great unemployment, that the workers were glad to respond to that call, but he also indicates that, meanwhile, the textile industry was installing machinery which would put people out of work. He wonders why no one was asking labor to petition Congress over that prospect, as he could see not much difference, as it put people out of work, just as with Japanese imports cheaper than domestic products.

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