The Charlotte News

Thursday, December 15, 1955


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports from Paris that Secretary of State Dulles had told the NATO Council of Ministers this date that the East-West cold war was on again, following nearly a year of zigzagging of Soviet policy. He said that the Russian policy in 1955 had opened new cold war fronts in the Middle East and South Asia, adding that the 15-nation NATO had overcome greater dangers in the past by remaining ever vigilant and united. He said that the reason for the change in Soviet policy might have been the result of the confidence flowing from a belief in Russia's increased strength, from the Soviet fear that new ideas would affect the compact structure of their system, or that a recrudescence of Stalinism was in process, which the Secretary said he believed was not dead. He said that the Soviets had been able to play on emotionalism within the Middle East and South Asia by offering "apparent aid" with its surplussage of obsolescent arms. It was the first meeting of the Council since the Big Four Summit conference of the prior July at Geneva and the foreign ministers conference of late October through mid-November, the latter having resulted in a deadlock. Defense Secretary Charles E. Wilson and Treasury Secretary George Humphrey also attended the meeting, which was scheduled to last for three days and was traditional at the end of the year.

In Jackson, Miss., the State Legislature would meet on January 3 to consider legislation which would bolster segregation, amid debate as to whether individual states could nullify acts of the Federal Government without seceding from the union. The Legislature had created the Legal Education Advisory Committee to devise a means of circumvention of Brown v. Board of Education, and Senator James Eastland, Representative John Bell Williams, and a state judge from Mississippi had suggested that Southern states should nullify Brown. State Attorney General J. P. Coleman, who would become Governor the following year, said, however, that there was no way to nullify the decision except through secession. The three issued a joint statement saying that "a state has the legal right of interposition to nullify, void and hold for naught the deliberate, dangerous infractions of the Constitution committed by the Supreme Court". Following Attorney General Coleman's statement, the three issued another joint statement saying that they did not want to enter a controversy with the State Attorney General but that they disagreed with him. The nullification proponents had answered that Northern states had nullified acts of Congress or Supreme Court decisions without secession.

Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn said this date that Democratic leaders would press for an early decision in the House on Federal aid to schools, as soon as Congress reconvened in January, predicting that there would be eventual passage of some form of Government aid to the states for construction of more schools. A battle in the House was in prospect regarding disputed features of the bill, which had already been approved by the House Education Committee, with the incipient battle centering on racial segregation in some Southern school systems. Shortly before Congress had adjourned in August, the Committee had approved a four-year program for distribution of 1.6 billion dollars among the states for new school construction, with the bill also authorizing the Government to underwrite state and local financing of additional construction. Some form of Federal school construction aid had been endorsed by a 2 to 1 margin by the White House Conference on Education held in October. The bill would next go to the Rules Committee, which could delay it indefinitely. Representative Howard Smith of Virginia, chairman of that Committee, had said that he had not yet been requested to act by the chairman of the Education Committee, Graham Barden of North Carolina, but said that Southerners would question any inclusion of an anti-segregation amendment which would deny funds to states not practicing racial integration in the public schools. Representative Adam Clayton Powell of New York had drafted a proposed anti-segregation amendment, stating publicly that he would offer it when the school bill came up, saying that he had a bipartisan civil rights bloc of votes to back him. His amendment proposed that for a state to be eligible for Federal aid, it had to practice racial integration in its public schools.

Adlai Stevenson had listed California the previous day as one of four additional states in which he would seek pre-convention voter support by entering the June primary there. A short time afterward, Senator Estes Kefauver of Tennessee had concluded a week-long visit to California by announcing that he also would enter the primary if he decided to run for the presidency, indicating that he would make his declaration formally the following day. Mr. Stevenson said that he would also enter primaries in Florida, Pennsylvania and Illinois, having already said that he would enter the Minnesota primary, having selected the primaries, he said, so that voters could express their opinion in different regions of the country. In Ohio, Governor Frank Lausche announced that he was willing to be his state's favorite son candidate at the 1956 Democratic convention the following summer, not stating whether a favorite son status could become a full-fledged candidacy.

Meanwhile, backers of Senator William Knowland of California for the Republican nomination said that they believed he would become an active presidential candidate early in the following year and that the President would not seek re-election, a decision which they contended he would make known sometime in January. Senator Knowland declined public comment.

General Motors had been charged by the FTC the previous day with falsely advertising that "genuine Chevrolet" replacement parts were better than parts of competitors sold without the "genuine" label. The complaint said that G.M. bought many Chevrolet parts from other manufacturers, some of which designed the parts themselves and sold them to other manufacturers, and that those parts were at least equal in all material respects to those which G.M. sold, notwithstanding G.M.'s false claim of "genuine" parts.

In Wiesbaden, Germany, Otto John, turncoat former West German intelligence chief, was reported to have been transferred this date from Bonn to the federal criminal police headquarters in Wiesbaden for further questioning, with the head of the criminal police refusing to confirm or deny the report. Mr. John had deserted to Communist East Germany on July 20, 1954 and then had returned to West Germany the previous Monday. Since his return, he had been questioned intensively in Bonn by federal supreme court investigators. He had been held incommunicado since his return. A Government spokesman in Bonn said that Mr. John had known before he fled to West Germany that he would face an accusation of treason.

In Vandergriff, Pa., near Pittsburgh, a lovesick youth, 17, had killed three people the previous night, seriously wounded a teenage girl, and then had shot a policeman when trapped during this morning, before being wounded and captured by State police a short time after the shooting with police. Police said that he had fired once at the officers with one of the two rifles he had taken after the triple slaying the previous night and that the shot had struck a local police chief, who was conscious when admitted to the hospital. The youth had killed the parents of a 15-year old girl in their farm home 30 miles northeast of Pittsburgh the previous night, and had shot the girl, who was admitted to the hospital the previous night in serious condition from her wounds. Her uncle had also been killed as he had run from the house. All of the shots had been fired by the teenager with a .22-caliber automatic rifle. He had also brought a carton of dynamite into the house along with the rifle.

In San Francisco, a Superior Court jury awarded $145,000 the previous day to a 16-year old boy whose legs had been cut off by a Southern Pacific passenger train when he was standing near a coach door at the point when the train slowed for Redwood City, was thrown out and then had his legs severed. The boy and his parents had sued the railroad for $350,000.

Dick Young of The News indicates that a list of 29 industrial plants in the Sugar Creek drainage area had been made public this date by the City Water Department, with the superintendent stating that one or two of the plants had suspended operations and that a couple of others had decided to discharge waste into the Irwin Creek disposal plant instead of the Sugar Creek plant. City Manager Henry Yancey said that pressure was being placed on those firms who were apparently dilatory in their compliance with the law requiring the installation of special filtration equipment before discharging waste into Sugar Creek, supposed to have been implemented by the prior June.

In Santa Paula, Calif., an elementary school had a Thunderjet plane on its ten-acre playground, having just arrived at the school. A second grade school teacher explained that the students in her class had read a story the previous spring about another school being given a jet plane, that the children liked playing in and around it and drawing pictures of it, prompting her students to plead with her to get them a jet plane. With the approval of the principal and superintendent, the teacher had written the Air Force, and the pupils had also written letters, and the Air Force had come through with the Thunderjet, complete except for its engine. One ten-year old boy exclaimed that it was big and wondered whether it could fly, said he was happy and that they had waited a long time for it. The Air Force said that a lot of youngsters across the country had not seen a jet up close and that it would contribute to the education of the youngsters about the world at present. Huh, if the thing won't fly, what the hell good is it? They can't go anywhere in it. Send it back for an engine, and attach a note, "Damn cheapskates."

On the editorial page, "Internal Security: A Return to Sanity" finds that the current year had been quite a departure from the times when Senator McCarthy and his henchmen had been conducting Congressional witch-hunts, which it finds had been a "faintly obscene rite".

But since the 1954 midterm elections, there had been a gradual abatement of mutual mistrust, recrimination and misunderstanding about the security issue, with emotionalism in that area having become as unfashionable as the previous year's Easter bonnet. (It does not mention the censure of Senator McCarthy the prior December as having undoubtedly contributed markedly to the decline of the sport.)

Recently, during Senate hearings on constitutional rights, conducted by a subcommittee chaired by Senator Thomas Hennings of Missouri, there was some scarcely reported theatrics attempted by Assistant Army Secretary Hugh Milton as the subcommittee counsel pressed him about the Pentagon's ridiculous system of branding draftees as security risks for life if they would not sign a loyalty oath, with it having been reported that Mr. Milton appeared uncertain of how to respond, finally saying, "My country first." His phony histrionics, however, had fallen flat.

It finds it a major contrast with the McCarthy era when such false patriotism and emotional grandstanding were commonplace, as had been the roar of approval in response. The quiet, businesslike way in which the subcommittee chaired by Senator Hennings was proceeding had contributed to the new sanity, focusing its attention on a wide variety of possible violations of civil rights, from the State Department self-defeating passport policies to misuse of the Attorney General's list of subversives. It had gotten to the bottom of some popular myths about the security risk figures and had scrutinized the absurd extremes to which loyalty oaths had been taken, such as requiring them from professional wrestlers and prize fighters.

A start had been made toward correcting some of the abuses, with the Pentagon having announced some reforms. A 12-man Federal commission had been established to look at the loyalty-security program and make recommended improvements. But most importantly, the fears and excitement which had surrounded such issues in the past, had begun to fade away. There were still conflicts between personal freedom and internal security, but people were now breathing a little easier, with a return having been made to reason and balance characteristic of a free and liberal democracy.

"Ford's in the Future of Education" finds that the Ford Foundation's gift of a half billion dollars to private colleges and universities and private hospitals, breaking all previous records for philanthropy, was praiseworthy and noble for its size, though the private institutions received benefits in aid from many of the 7,000 other foundations in the country.

It indicates that private colleges and hospitals made incalculable contributions to the national well-being, and were in grave financial trouble arising from increased costs, demand for more services and the consequent difficulty in adequately compensating and retaining their staffs. The Foundation had thus made a great contribution toward helping to eradicate that problem, focusing on faculty salaries, devoting about half the endowment to that purpose, with few strings attached. It concludes that the benefits to health and education from the gift would be greater than the tremendous size of the financial contribution.

"Kerr Scott and the Lady Fingers" tells of Senator Kerr Scott's secretary, Bill Whitley, in his "Washington Reports", appearing to be obsessed to the point of gluttony in preserving the Senator's country boy reputation, associating him in his most recent report with country ham, grits, hard-fried eggs, barbecue, chitterlings, hush-puppies, corn pone and cornbread, and implied that ignorance had been manifested across Iowa because of Senator Scott's alleged queries about those items on a visit there having failed to produce hunger among Iowans whom the Senator encountered.

It indicates that it shared the Senator's appetite for country cooking, but had observed that people who ate it talked little about it, causing it not to be surprised if the Senator, in moving to the city, had developed a taste for tutti-frutti, ladyfingers, crêpe suzettes and pheasant-under-glass, and so it says that in the future, it would take Mr. Whitley's reports with "a mite of 'bakin' sody'".

A piece from the Sanford Herald, titled "Party Spoilers", tells of having had nine country ham biscuits and being warned by the doctor's wife that the writer of the editorial was a candidate for a gallstone job as a result. Then, as the writer had raised a cup of coffee, the doctor asked why the writer's hand was shaking, with the writer indicating that medical people were the worst party spoilers.

Once in a parlor, the outer spaces were being contemplated, with the conversation having become somewhat silly, reminding the writer of a dream in which, he related to the group, he "had seemed to float just above the ground, reaching down with our toes now and then to effect a casual but wonderfully effective spring upward, and at last found ourself perched upon the radar antenna of a ship, which we shared with a large gooney-bird such as one encounters off the Pacific atolls." It says that some had laughed at the story or else scoffed or made some other comment in the spirit of the evening, but one had not, that having been a doctor who had served in the Navy as a flight surgeon and was continuing to pursue psychiatry. He had only scowled and said, "Very revealing, very revealing."

Drew Pearson tells of Nicolae Malaxa, a millionaire Rumanian industrialist and refugee seeking readmission to the U.S. during the week. He had been partner to Hermann Goering's brother and had once given jewelry to Rumanian Communist Premier Ana Pauker. He had also hired Vice-President Nixon's law firm and made the Vice-President's law partner, Thomas Bewley, secretary of his corporation. After that point, his troubles seemed to disappear, having gotten a special bill introduced by Congressman Pat Billings of California, a close friend of the Vice-President, permitting Mr. Malaxa to remain in the U.S. The bill had never passed after Congressman Francis Walter of Pennsylvania had intervened to stop the bill and had made a thorough probe of the entire matter. Mr. Malaxa was presently in Paris, having gone there from Argentina, and was set to re-enter the U.S. this date or the following day, as his temporary re-entry visa would expire on December 16.

When Judith Coplon had been arrested by the FBI in 1949 for delivering Justice Department confidential papers to a Russian U.N. representative with whom she was having a love affair, in her purse had been found a secret CIA report on Mr. Malaxa from CIA assistant director Alan McCracken to the assistant director of the FBI, D. M. Ladd, a document which was made part of the court record at Ms. Coplon's trial and was therefore privileged. The document provided a detailed account of the way in which Mr. Malaxa had managed to obtain advantages in Rumania through bribery and how he had cooperated with either the Communists or the Nazis. It also told of how he had come to the U.S. originally, as part of a Communist trade mission, the only industrialist whom the Communists had favored by returning his property. Once back in the U.S., he had received the support of Senator Nixon, who had made his reputation fighting Communists. That was in 1951, after he had made Mr. Nixon's law partner secretary of one of his corporations, which had proposed building a plant near Mr. Nixon's hometown of Whittier.

The previous month, Congressman Walter had sent an investigator to Whittier to report on the progress made by the corporation since it had been established in 1951, and the investigator reported that no building had been erected and that a concrete foundation had been removed. Construction of the factory had been predicated on the approval of a loan from the RFC of approximately 30 million dollars, but the loan had finally been denied, according to the investigator. He also discovered that the corporation had never maintained an office in the Bank of America building but used that address for receipt of mail, the address having been that of Mr. Nixon's law partner. Despite Mr. Nixon having claimed that he had severed relations with the law firm, the building directory, as of 1952, still showed that Senator Nixon, his law partner and the Malaxa-owned corporation occupied the same offices, and the Whittier phonebook for that year showed the same phone number for the three. Mr. Nixon had signed a letter dated September 14, 1951, addressed to defense production administrator Manly Fleischmann, asking him to provide a quick tax write-off to Mr. Malaxa's firm, and Mr. Pearson had obtained a photostatic copy of that letter.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop tell of Air Force chief of staff, General Nathan Twining, having been very dissatisfied with the allotment to the Air Force in the proposed budget for the next fiscal year, after attending the National Security Council meeting at Camp David a few days earlier, at which the President had approved the decision to hold the defense budget to around 34 billion dollars, about the same as that appropriated during the current fiscal year.

Shortly after the meeting, General Twining met with a number of important businessmen at a club near Pittsburgh and spoke his mind, criticizing the decision to favor economy over the nation's essential defense. He said that 140 to 150 air wings were absolutely necessary for defense, with the Air Force presently having not much more than 50 wings of truly modern aircraft in top shape. He stated that the problem lay in the fact that influential men such as Treasury Secretary George Humphrey had always been able to get to the President first with their arguments for maximum economy and that thereafter it was practically impossible to reach the President with the arguments for the other side. He said that he was deeply worried not only about the Air Force, but also about the other services. The Russians were building 100 submarines per year while the U.S. Navy was being held down, as was the Army. He said that he would not take his case to the public on his own, but would, if asked, speak his mind before a Congressional committee.

The Alsops suggest that it was inevitable that the General would be asked his views on the proposed defense budget, and that when it occurred, there would be an explosion, with considerable political implications.

They indicate that it was widely believed in the Air Force that a "stretch-out" program on new spending was already in effect so as to produce the politically desirable balanced budget, and that the stretch-out delayed procurement, operations, maintenance, the modernization program and research and development.

In addition to the problems with the Air Force, the Army had 19 divisions, but only 12 of them were actually capable of fighting. Most of those were already committed to Europe or Asia and much of the remainder were under strength, leaving a weak service ready for combat duty. Moreover, the new nuclear weapons had transformed ground warfare far more completely than generally realized, but the task of equipping and training ground forces for nuclear war was only going forward on a token basis in the U.S., whereas the Russians had approximately 200 combat-ready divisions which were rapidly being trained and equipped for atomic warfare.

On the other side of the equation, it was well known that the military always overestimated their requirements, and the President was well aware of that situation from his military experience. The Alsops conclude, however, that it would be better when the concealed bitterness at the Pentagon was aired openly and the Administration defense policies publicly debated. "Indeed, the sooner the better, in view of the frightening way in which the world situation is deteriorating."

Doris Fleeson tells of the President's staff having cut out Republican Senate Minority Leader William Knowland in the latest maneuver of its campaign to convince the Eisenhowers and the country that the President was indispensable. The previous Thursday, Senator Knowland had said that the President ought disclose his 1956 intentions not later than January and that if he was not going to run, other aspirants to the office should be given the opportunity to enter the primaries, starting in New Hampshire.

Within 48 hours, reporters were summoned to the Gettysburg farm of the President for a press conference with the President's personal physician, Maj. General Snyder, who said that if he were in the President's shoes, he would wait until mid-February before making a decision on whether he was physically able to run again. Ms. Fleeson indicates that it was not a medical opinion which he ventured, but rather a political opinion. Since Dr. Snyder was the President's personal physician, a long-time Army associate and friend, it stood to reason that it represented the type of advice which the President was receiving and that it would likely be followed by the Eisenhowers.

While the President was following a schedule which was somewhat arduous for someone recovering from a heart attack, there was no evidence that it typified the load which a President usually shouldered. Yet, only the President's staff and close associates presently saw the President and talked with him, with reporters and photographers allowed only to access the President on selected occasions, with no press conferences or questions. Comments by the President's visitors were uniformly optimistic, discrete and generalized, but in the absence of press conferences, no independent check was possible regarding the amount of information received by the President.

Ms. Fleeson concludes that it was a propaganda campaign, with the effort to engineer the re-election of the President being shrewdly conceived and executed with attention to detail.

A letter writer from Lancaster, S.C., responds to the editorial, "Just What Do You Do about Dixie?", regarding the playing of "Dixie" by the Scots Guard at the Coliseum recently and the puzzlement on the part of the editorial writer as to how to respond at the time. This writer says that he was a former Yankee, from New York City, who had come to the South while in the Army during World War II, had met his wife and settled down. He found the editorial to be stimulative of thought and he offers the suggestion that whenever "Dixie" was played, men should doff their hats and stand at reverent attention until the completion of it, as should women and children, in honor of those "'gallant men in gray'" who had fought for a cause which they had thought was right and had the courage of their convictions to assert themselves for that cause.

Gettin' down 'ere in Mississippi, goina secede if they don't play it right and you don't stand up to it. You know?

A letter writer suggests that the editors were under a misimpression regarding Ambassador Clare Boothe Luce and her supposed banning of the film "Blackboard Jungle" from the Venice Film Festival, saying that instead, she had looked at the list of films and believed that her attendance at the festival would suggest approval of the movie, which she believed provided a false impression of U.S. education, and so chose not to attend, making her attitude known several weeks before the festival. He indicates that one of the films which had been shown, "The Kentuckian", had been loudly hissed by Europeans for it drawing unnecessary attention to brutality, an event which he believes showed that Europeans might have been equally repelled by the brutality depicted in "Blackboard Jungle".

The editors respond that the Associated Press, at the request of the newspaper, had checked its records and found that Ambassador Luce had been in Venice as the official U.S. representative at the festival at the time "Blackboard Jungle" had been withdrawn, and that State Department officials had said that the film was withdrawn after Ambassador Luce had made clear her opposition to the film on the ground that it did not typify life in the U.S. or advance understanding of America abroad.

Those Europeans did not understand the average American's Sunday afternoon pleasureful undertakings.

A letter writer, chairman of the Voice of Democracy contest, expresses to the newspaper gratitude for the coverage of the contest, sponsored by the Charlotte Jaycees, with the purpose of giving youth an opportunity to consider seriously and to speak in behalf of the blessings, freedoms, and opportunities traditional to the nation.

A letter writer comments on a newspaper account that National Guard officials in Philadelphia had sent four jet planes, costing $165,000 each, to the South, with one having run out of fuel while visiting relatives of a pilot in Charlotte and was destroyed. The writer finds it amusing and urges abolition of the National Guard as being inefficient.

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