The Charlotte News
Tuesday, December 27, 1955
Site Ed. Note: The front page reports from San Francisco that the flooding Feather River had, for the second time in a week, washed over already evacuated Yuba City, 120 miles to the north, the peach-growing center of north-central California. The river had surged through a half-mile wide break in levees south of the town and several areas where water had receded had flooded again, though the water was not expected this time to rise to the previous heights and little additional damage was expected. In neighboring Marysville, across the river, the Levee Commission estimated that the flood crest would reach the area by early afternoon and that the water would begin receding again. Damage was estimated conservatively at 150 million dollars. Ellsworth Bunker, national Red Cross president—eventually, in 1967, to become Ambassador to South Vietnam under both Presidents Johnson and Nixon, favoring the war effort through the Paris Peace Accords of January, 1973—, predicted that between 4,000 and 5,000 families would look to the Red Cross for "long-time" aid, indicating that he had assigned 115 trained disaster staff persons to the flood district. The delta area—not the Mekong—, where the San Joaquin and Sacramento Rivers joined east of San Francisco Bay, along with Yuba City, were the remaining danger spots. The flood waters pouring into the Bay had caused the Golden Gate to turn brown the previous day. Three islands had been flooded the previous day in the delta, and levees had been sandbagged to save others. Meanwhile, most other rivers in California and Oregon were receding, following the loss of at least 41 lives during the previous week of nearly incessant rain and high water. In California, there were 29 known dead and at least 19 more presumed dead, while in Oregon there were 12 dead and three missing, including an Oregon family of five who had been crushed in a mudslide which had buried their home at the coastal town of Remote. Federal Civil Defense administrator Val Peterson and high Army officials were embarking on a two-day tour of the northern California areas hit by the flooding.
The President's State of the Union message would be sent to Congress on January 5, two days after Congress reconvened following the summer recess. The message, instead of being delivered personally according to tradition, would be read to a joint session by clerks because of the President's continuing recuperation from his September 24 heart attack. The White House announced that the President had conferred this date with Secretary of State Dulles and Air Force chief of staff, General Nathan Twining, but press secretary James Hagerty declined to disclose the purpose of the conference.
Sherry Bowen, Associated Press news features writer, reports that old favorites had dominated the votes of the Associated Press newspaper, radio and television editors for personalities of 1955, starting with the President as man of the year, with his illness being the top story of the year. Although the spirit of the Geneva summit conference of the previous July had not been sustained, the President's personality had dominated that meeting of the Big Four heads of state and it was still regarded as a personal triumph for him. His proposals to exchange with Russia military blueprints of defense bases and permit mutual aerial inspections to serve as a basis for disarmament, continued to be the most important factor in the U.N. debates. His atoms-for-peace proposals, originally put forward before the U.N. General Assembly in December, 1953, had been indirectly promoted at the Geneva atom conferences, and his decisions had been crucial in foreign policy dealing with Formosa, Vietnam, the Middle East and other areas. The editors had voted overwhelmingly that the President should again be the man of the year, a designation he had also garnered in 1952 and 1953. The top ten stories for the year, as determined by the A.P., are listed, along with the top personalities in other fields—including Jonas Salk in science, Herman Wouk in literature and Grace Kelly in entertainment.
The Senate Internal Security subcommittee described the Communist Party of the United States this date as "a Russian-inspired, Moscow-dominated, anti-American, quasimilitary conspiracy against our government, our ideals and our freedoms." It was contained in a 100-page booklet, titled "A Handbook for Americans", published by the subcommittee, with the purpose of exposing what Communism really was. It quoted the Subversive Activities Control Board's findings in 1953 that the American Communist Party was "substantially directed, dominated and controlled by the Soviet Union." The chairman of the subcommittee, Senator James Eastland of Mississippi, stated in a foreword to the booklet that the average American was unaware of the amount of misinformation about the Communist Party in America being stated in the public press, in books and in utterances of public speakers, in part "planted consciously" by members of the party, "using ways and means calculated to have the greatest effect in poisoning the channels of American public opinion." He said that it was in part the result of the country's ignorance of the problem posed by a "mass conspiratorial organization controlled by a foreign power" within the country's midst. He said that the problem was unique in the country's history and that more accurate knowledge regarding the conspiracy would cause fewer Americans to fall victim to it.
In Berlin, an American Air Force sergeant from Paris, who had visited Berlin during Christmas, had disappeared in the Soviet sector after an automobile accident, according to U.S. officials. He had been involved in the accident the previous night and was last seen being taken from a hospital by Communist police. Preliminary inquiry had failed to locate his whereabouts and a request was being sent to the Russians to examine the case. He had been on duty at Orly Field in Paris and was visiting has Berlin-born wife during the holidays, driving with her to visit friends in East Berlin in his car at the time of the accident. The East German Government news agency said that he was "drunk" and had driven through a stop sign, causing a collision with an East German car. An Army spokesman said that East Berlin Communist police had told the soldier that he could recover his car by accompanying them to police headquarters, and he had not been seen since that time.
In Chicago, the youngest son of Adlai Stevenson, age 19, had his shattered right kneecap removed the previous day and had to remain in the hospital for up to two weeks, but was told that he could resume normal activities, including tennis and skiing, after he recuperated. The brief story does not indicate what led to the necessity of removing his kneecap. We hope it was not the result of some goon in Chicaga with a crowbar, confusing Mr. Stevenson with Senator Kefauver.
We used to encounter occasionally such characters around our old neighborhood, in the Village, once having been approached by some fellow with a bullwhip, who insisted that we go to some door down the way and cuss out an old lady for him, specifying exactly what we should say to her. You had to learn to walk tall and carry a big stick. We just told him, "Sure, we can do that," and then walked on down the road in the direction of the door to which he had pointed, but instead of turning to the right, where the old lady lived, turned left, smiled back at the would-be bullwhipper, and proceeded on home, as he yelled, "We'll get you, kid," while cracking his whip again. We waved to him again.
In Los Angeles, it was reported that a Charlotte resident's son, Capt. Dwight Cook, Jr., 31, a veteran Air Force jet pilot, had died the previous night from injuries following a crash in Los Angeles, when his jet trainer failed to brake to a stop in a landing at Los Angeles International Airport, the plane plunging through a fence onto busy Sepulveda Boulevard before becoming involved in a three-car collision. He had been on a cross-country flight from the Niagara Falls, N.Y., Air Force base. One of the persons in the automobiles was hurt, but otherwise all occupants had been uninjured.
In Brooklyn, Johnny Podres, pitching
star of the Brooklyn Dodgers in their World Series victory, had been
reclassified 1-A and was now subject to the military draft, according
to the Dodgers
Next year, maybe Elvis will make that list. You just wait.
In North Bay, Ontario, the parents of the Dionne quintuplets said this date that they had not received even a Christmas card from the four surviving girls, that all of their other children had either come home or called them on Christmas Day. The parents indicated that they suspected that "outsiders" were trying to influence the girls some years earlier and that they were certain of it by the way they had behaved after they had left home, more so when they reached their 21st birthdays the prior May and came into their money, $250,000 each. They declined to identify the "outsiders". Two of them were training as nurses in Montréal and two others were undergoing hospital checkups recently, but their father said that he was informed that they had fully recovered. Enquiring minds want to know…
The National Safety Council announced that there had been 597 deaths from traffic accidents during the 78-hour holiday weekend, breaking all previous holiday records. There had also been 67 accidental deaths from fires and 105 from miscellaneous accidents, with the overall total being 769. The old record for traffic deaths during any holiday period had been established during the longer four-day Christmas holiday of 1952, at 556. The record also beat the overall death record for a Christmas holiday, which had been established in 1950 at 734. The record for any holiday period had been set the previous Independence Day weekend, lasting three days, at 805 accidental deaths. The Council had predicted that 560 Americans would be killed in traffic accidents during the long holiday weekend. The president of the Council expressed the hope that the shock of the needless toll would have a sobering effect on New Year's holiday motorists and throughout 1956. Weather conditions at the start of the weekend had made driving hazardous in many parts of the country.
Unfortunately, for whatever reason,
"Highway Patrol" does not appear to have aired episodes
during this holiday period, perhaps so that Lt. Matthews could get rid of that fever blister on his lip, but we shall endeavor to dip back into
the stacks here from the fall for one more for the road, just for
you. Here is one
Donald MacDonald of The News reports that the City Police were planning three days during the week for special bicycle registration, to afford an opportunity for the estimated 3,000 new bikes received at Christmas to be issued a license plate, on Thursday through Saturday. No re-registration of bicycles was necessary. A City ordinance passed two years earlier required the registration, designed to reduce thefts and enable the return of stolen bikes to their rightful owners after being found by the police. The registration would cost a quarter, with second-hand bicycles to receive new registration to the new owner for a dime. Boy, they get you going and coming, don't they? Perhaps, some valiant young person will ask the officers what would keep a determined thief from simply removing the tag and then going to another locale with it or to the Department and re-registering it as a second-hand bike. The story does not say that a sales receipt or bill of sale was required for the registration. It sounds like a gimmick to raise revenue. Next, they will charge parking fees for bicycles. Just turn the bike upside down and make a scratch in a distinctive pattern with a screwdriver on the bottom, out of sight, then photograph it, checking it every six months or so to ensure that it has not been changed by wear. Tell the cops to go hang with their quarter radiator fees, that you don't need no stinking license tag for your bike.
On the editorial page, "Sound and Fury Signifying Nothing" tells of everybody wondering whether the President would run again or not, but that all of the efforts to discern the crystal ball represented only a classic study in desperate futility, as the argument at present was largely academic because the President would not be giving the slightest hint of his intentions at present, and to do so, it opines, would be unwise in any event.
It finds that there was good reason for his silence on the issue, as a hint at present that he was not going to run would immediately render him a lame duck leader with Congress and the longer he delayed the decision, the pressure would increase for his being drafted for the renomination while also reducing the chance that others would build support for the Republican convention.
It concludes that while the President had entered the White House as a "wide-eyed rookie in the great game of politics", he was now in every sense a "big leaguer" and would not muff the play. "And the sound and fury from the bleachers signifies precisely nothing."
"Tar Heel Taste: Safe and Sane?" tells of the Greensboro Daily News assuring that there was no truth to the report that the State's million dollar art collection was created under a law barring paintings of naked women and work done later than 1800.
Selections made by Robert Lee Humber and associates, who stocked the galleries which would soon be opened in Raleigh, had drawn criticism from art connoisseurs who believed that there was neglect of the previous 150 years in art. The Daily News, which was a foe of modernism in art, believed that such criticism was poppycock, that the selections had to be on the "safe and non-controversial side" and have "some relation to the artistic taste" of North Carolinians.
It suggests that the world of art would never be "safe and non-controversial" and should not be, that art was too personal and stocked with emotion, that the growth of Western painting was really the story of the birth of modern man and his subsequent development through the centuries, as well as the story of the development of the human spirit, something which had always been controversial.
El Greco had once been damned as a mad mystic. Rembrandt's famous "Night Watch" had been rejected by the Dutch, accustomed to being painted in photographic fashion, with everything clear-cut and straightforward. Pieter Brueghel had endured criticism in his time when he refused to prettify the natural behavioral crudities of his favorite peasant subjects.
It suggests that a collector who wanted to be "safe and non-controversial" in the mid-17th Century would have passed up the "Night Watch", and thereby deprived himself of a distinguished example of high art, and urges that the present "artistic taste" of North Carolinians was something which could hardly be restricted to particular centuries or techniques of painting, that such taste ought be cultivated as an art museum was not merely a place of quiet, well-bred amusement, but should also educate. The State's art museum had a remarkable opportunity to do so, and if it occasionally strayed from orthodox zones of safety and exhibited great and controversial works, only the mossbacks would grumble.
"The Generalissimo Strikes a Pose" tells of Chiang Kai-shek's Christmas boast that a Nationalist counterattack on the Chinese mainland was drawing nearer to have sounded more like wishful thinking than an announcement of any concrete plan, as the Nationalist leader knew better than anyone that such an attack would have no chance of success without large-scale military support from the U.S., the only source available for such support. And the U.S. was not in the mood to support any such military action or to provoke a situation which could easily develop into a third world war.
It thus regards Chiang's statement to be an attempt to forestall Communist attacks on the offshore islands during the spring, as the Communists had been building up large concentrations of men and matériel in several areas along the coast for several months, with recent reports from the Far East having indicated that an attack on the islands of Quemoy and Matsu might possibly come during the spring. His statement might also have been designed to bolster the morale of his aging Army and the civilian population on Formosa, as the primary reason for Chiang's Army existing was to return to the mainland, a hope becoming increasingly faint after six years since the Communist takeover of the mainland.
It suggests that the greatest mistake which Chiang could presently make would be to fulfill his promise of a present invasion, for if he were to mount such an attack, it would certainly mean the end of Nationalist China, with the Communists taking advantage of the act as a pretext for taking over Formosa. It thus finds that his only hope would be to sit tight and wait until the Communists made an initial move, the only event which would assure him of receipt of the aid necessary to meet the Communists effectively.
"Bumpkins" tells of the State Department taking a dim view of agricultural attaches being maintained abroad by the Department of Agriculture, with one official of the State Department saying, according to U.S. News & World Report, that a lot of the attaches knew farming well, but that it was all they knew, appearing to be interested only in farming, while boring foreign dignitaries, forgetting proper dress and giving the impression that the U.S. was crowded with "country bumpkins".
It concludes that one found bumpkins all over the place, foreign and domestic, as well as "solemn asses. And in the final analysis who plows whom?"
A piece from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, titled "Badges for Everybody", tells of the Kansas City Star having reported an argument between two men regarding a parking space, during which one man had flashed a badge and threatened to arrest the other, but when the second man demanded to see the badge, the first had departed the scene in a hurry, as the skeptical driver had been a badge salesman.
Since the St. Louis School Board members had ordered gold-plated badges at $69.50 apiece, it had wondered what made people wear badges. One reason, it suggests, was that people thought badges made them important, with many organizations having discovered that badges assured the success of their ventures, while others believed badges entitled them to special privileges, not necessarily the case, in fact rarely so, as badges were for sale to anyone, coming in several hundred designs, in many metals, and costing from two dollars on up. It was possible even to buy a blank badge.
The most popular badge was that of a private detective. In Missouri, anyone could purchase a detective's badge of some sort, but a private investigator derived no authority from his badge unless legally deputized.
It indicates that juveniles, naturally, admired badges and that the best guess on the mystery of badge-wearing was that many people never outgrew that urge. "Anybody can wear a badge. But badges do not have to cost $69.50 to make the urge official."
Drew Pearson tells of Congressmen returning from almost every part of the world, most of them having traveled at taxpayer expense. But grandmotherly 70-year old Congresswoman Frances Bolton of Cleveland had just finished a 20,000-mile trip through Africa at her own expense. While in the Belgian Congo, a charging bull elephant had almost put an end to her trip, though her only injury had been a broken finger caught in a car door. She had traveled by plane, steamer, railway and caravan through 20 African countries, colonies and protectorates, on behalf of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Mr. Pearson comments that as a Republican, she had years of experience with Republican elephants, but was not prepared for running into the real thing on a dim jungle trail, where the enraged bull elephant had charged her party as if they were all Democrats. While they had been moving through the Congo by auto caravan, they had been surrounded on three sides by the elephants. He supplies her verbatim description of the incident, which she said caused "a breathless few seconds".
Before departing the Belgian Congo, Mrs. Bolton had met another female politician, the queen mother of the Watusi tribe. She said that they had spoken of the vastness of Africa and of the future "which we, as women, have in common although we live across the world from each other", that she had offered the other woman a small present consisting of an attractive printed cotton scarf, which the queen mother had taken with great dignity and a smile, mostly from her eyes.
She had discovered in Nigeria that the natives liked the President, whom they saw in movies exhibited by two American Embassy units sent into the heart of the country, with the most popular films being those ten which showed the President's press conferences, drawing people from distant parts to see them, regarding him as "the king of the United States" answering questions from anybody.
The President had pressed the same silver button to light the White House Christmas tree, albeit from Gettysburg this time, which former President Calvin Coolidge had pressed to light the first outdoor tree in 1926, in the latter instance a gift from Middlebury College in Vermont, the native state of President Coolidge, and was, as with the current year's spruce from South Dakota, displayed on the Ellipse to the rear of the White House, rather than on the White House lawn. He imparts that most of the trees since the time of President Coolidge had been living, planted in the ground on the White House lawn or in Lafayette Park across from the front of the mansion, so as not to disturb the roots, then replanted elsewhere following Christmas. It was being said that the current year's tree, though not planted, was the most beautiful in the 30 years since the tradition had begun. The 1954 balsam, a gift of Michigan State University, had been, however, three feet taller. FDR had initiated the remote-control lighting from his home in Hyde Park, N.Y., in 1944, his last Christmas. President Truman had followed the same course, lighting the tree remotely from Independence, Mo., in 1951.
His illumination of the Christmas tree history at the White House betrays a mistake by the Gerald Ford Library and Museum in misidentifying the year of Congressman Ford's Santa Claus drawing, which was actually in 1954, not this year—causing his comments about the coming session of Congress promising differences between Democrats and Republicans, in the immediate wake of the takeover of both houses by the Democrats in the midterms, to make more sense. But it does not really matter much historically, as it is the beneficent spirit of the holiday season which counts, with that sparkling ebullience being timeless for all and every day of every year. The photograph, however, which Mr. Ford proudly displayed in the film, was of the 1954 balsam donated by Michigan State, displayed, as he said, on the White House lawn, not the 1955 spruce donated by South Dakota, displayed on the Ellipse—unless, of course, Congressman Ford made the mistake himself and was actually recalling the previous Christmas
It brings to mind, incidentally, that the Herblock for Christmas Eve lacked a caption, inviting the reader to supply their own. That which comes to mind, for some reason: "When You've Got Them by the Bells
Walter Lippmann tells of the President's illness having posed in a new form the old problem of the President's powers, that since the early days of the Government, Americans had possessed differing opinions about how much power should be vested in the Presidency and how much in Congress. The question now was where that power should be allocated and how much power of the President, versus that of Congress, could be exercised efficiently, responsively and without subjecting people and the offices to an intolerable strain.
By coincidence, both the President and the Senate Majority Leader, Lyndon Johnson, had been stricken with heart attacks at the same time, Senator Johnson having suffered his on July 4, coming at the climax of a hard legislative session, while the President's had occurred on September 24, not long after the crisis in the cold war had been at least temporarily resolved following the Big Four summit conference of July.
The country had been made aware of the new dimensions of the jobs because of the wars of the century, the huge growth in the U.S. population and the economy, as well as the increased American responsibilities on the world stage. The country had seen Presidents Wilson, Roosevelt and now Eisenhower break under the load. That load had to be carried by someone and could not be lightened, would likely continue to grow larger. The Presidency was adapting itself to those greater burdens by becoming a very different office than it had been in the past, no longer consisting of just the President, his secretaries and a few assistants, but now having become a large department of the Government, which, by the fact of the increasing load, would become impossible to administer otherwise.
Former President Hoover spoke with special experience and great authority in that field, suggesting that the load borne by the President could be lightened if Congress would create a new office, that of "administrative vice president", which would handle more than half of the administrative duties of the executive and would be accountable to the President. Mr. Lippmann believes that much could be accomplished by such a new administrative office, making the Presidency into an organ of Government, but that it was not clear how much it would actually lighten the load of the President, even though he would have fewer people to see and less paperwork to read and sign, thus saving his time and energy. He questions whether the strain on the Presidency was from the fact that the President was overworked or because there was so much responsibility now reposited in the Presidency, often matters of life and death involving national security. He suggests therefore that it might be the extra worry carried by the President which made the job so difficult.
At least twice during the current Administration, the President had to work too many hours each day, first in the Indo-China crisis of 1954 and then during the previous winter in the crisis over the Formosa Straits, forcing in each case the President to make difficult decisions of war and peace. Added to that strain was the "harassment of McCarthyism", which must have taken its toll. Such decisions could not be delegated, as the President had to stay in close touch with events as they transpired to make those difficult decisions, meaning long hours of hard work.
Mr. Lippmann thus concludes that while the office of the Presidency could be made more efficient by administrative reform, it would always require the complete energy of a very energetic man.
The irony of his statement, of course, should not be lost on students of modern history, from the fact that the Vietnam War, starting with the Gulf of Tonkin resolution of August, 1964, and beginning full bore the following winter, became such an immense burden to President Johnson, virtually overshadowing all of his many domestic accomplishments, requiring him to maintain a keen watch on the progress of that war, daily waking in the wee hours of each morning to get the latest casualty reports from the war, and, ultimately, becoming the decisive factor in his determination not to run for another term in 1968, instead focusing on the Paris peace talks, ongoing in that year. Though President Johnson was much maligned, then to a degree, especially in 1967-68, and since, historically, for his decisions undertaken between 1965 and 1968 regarding that war, it is highly questionable whether anyone else in the office would have been able to perform any better. Certainly, President Nixon, despite running in 1968 on his "secret plan" to end the war, performed no better at the task, even if achieving, right at the beginning of his second term, some semblance of a "peace", meaning, in the end, only that U.S. troops ceased to be involved in the war, while South Vietnam eventually fell to the Communists after the gradual withdrawal was finalized in April, 1975. As far as the home front was concerned, the relief to the U.S. population was in the fact that no more young men were being drafted and sent to Vietnam after fall, 1972.
No one really had any solution for that war, as it was being fought largely on conventional terms, adopted through World War I, World War II and the Korean War, while the Communist forces of Ho Chi Minh were fighting primarily a guerrilla jungle war, to which American forces were as ill-adapted as had been the British fighting the Americans during the Revolutionary War in this country, which Ho had carefully studied as a blueprint for his plan of action. All of the technological know-how which had been developed by the U.S. was of only transitory effect in given actions against the people fighting on their home turf for their own independence and for their own families and homes, something against which military might proved ineffective in the long scheme, as the Soviet Union eventually found out later in Afghanistan.
At the same time, the U.S. action in Vietnam, as in the Korean War, served to deplete the Communist forces in their ability to advance elsewhere in the Cold War, and so served its purpose, despite the "defeat" in the end. One could, of course, find that the armistice of July, 1953 in Korea, arranged by the Eisenhower Administration, was just as much of a "defeat", as many of the columnists of this time had observed, with the threat of Communist aggression against South Korea still lasting to this day. But the Korean War, because it was not coping with a jungle guerrilla action, was a very different affair from the Vietnam War, the battles of which were so ill-defined and amorphous as to provide no coherent daily understanding to the homefront of any real progress, as had been demonstrable, battle by battle, in earlier wars, a problem which had been experienced prior to the debacle in 1954 at Dien Bien Phu by the French in their war with the native population to hold Indo-China following World War II, when it had been occupied by the Japanese.
Joseph & Stewart Alsop tell of Nelson Rockefeller being the most important casualty to date of the peculiar policy-making process of the Eisenhower Administration. The future Governor of New York and Vice-President under President Ford had written President Eisenhower that family business required him to leave the Government, and the President had replied affectionately, with many deep regrets, regarding his departure.
The Alsops indicate that Mr. Rockefeller would never have left his key post as the President's adviser had the advice he had given during the recent struggle over the following fiscal year budget not proved unpalatably insistent and forthright.
Mr. Rockefeller had caused great offense to Secretary of the Treasury George Humphrey and the Administration's other advocates of placing budget balancing ahead of defense. His efforts were also far from well received by Secretary of State Dulles, who guarded his prerogatives with some care. The position of Mr. Rockefeller as an adviser to the President, "an official fifth wheel", had always been an inherently difficult one.
It did not much matter whether Mr. Rockefeller, himself, had decided that he had worn out his usefulness, as appeared most likely, for he was leaving actually because his usefulness had finally worn out, even if there was no shortage of family business to which to tend. His insistence on a new type of national policy priorities had worn out his usefulness, as he counseled that balancing of the budget and cutting of taxes had to yield to providing first priority to meeting the double challenge of the progress of the Soviet arms program and the extension of their political offensive in the Middle East and the Far East.
The Alsops regard the decision to neglect that double challenge as fateful, as the new policy now relied primarily on luck. But if Mr. Rockefeller's factually justified forebodings proved correct, as was possible, his departure from the Government might later be remembered in the same way in which people now remembered the departure of British officials during the 1930's after they had warned of the dangerous neglect to the challenge posed by Adolf Hitler.
Mr. Rockefeller, and his "senior partner" in the struggle, Vice-President Nixon, whom the Alsops regard as having shown "quite exceptional courage", had achieved some results after their fight for different policy priorities, with the budget balancers not getting everything they wanted, as the increase of Soviet power and intensification of their effort had not been answered by a considerable reduction of American power and effort, the U.S. policy decision having been to carry on as before. Yet the departure of Mr. Rockefeller left almost no one except the Vice-President who would be likely to speak for a change in policy priorities if and when carrying on as before would prove acutely dangerous.
Secretary Dulles was heavily overburdened with the endless intricacy and constant movement of daily diplomacy, rather than with questions of U.S. power and effort, having mainly to do with the defense and foreign aid programs, which Mr. Dulles delegated to his two subordinates, Undersecretary Herbert Hoover, Jr., and Foreign Aid administrator John Hollister, both of whom leaned heavily toward balancing the budget as a major priority.
Defense Secretary Charles E. Wilson was no longer willing to reduce the defense effort, a stance which the Alsops also consider to be courageous under the present circumstances, but he had also seen no reason to increase the defense effort to balance off the increase of Soviet strength.
Treasury Secretary Humphrey and Budget Office director Rowland Hughes could, they opine, almost be described as notorious, leaving no one, following the departure of Mr. Rockefeller, other than Mr. Nixon, beyond the President himself, to signal a change of policy. The Alsops conclude that if the President ever decided that a change of course was needed, he would have to overrule most of those who held key positions in the Administration, and that now all hope was vested in him.
A letter writer from Whiteville indicates that "some character" had written a previous letter stating that God had "short-changed" black people and that they were of Hamitic origin. He believes that the previous writer had never been a very diligent student either of biblical lore or ethnology and that his so-called "'Scripture'" was strictly homespun, that his interpretation of Genesis, chapter 9, verses 25 through 27, could not be regarded by intelligent people as authoritative, and that the Hamitic and black people were separate and distinct races. The same individual had claimed in a more recent letter that while all "righteous" white people had been feeding black people, his sympathy had now turned to resentment, nonsense which this writer had heard before, finding that most whites who made such ridiculous claims were too poor even to feed themselves. He says that he was a white man, but had not been feeding any black people and professed no friendship or sympathy for blacks as a race. But he also bore no grudge against those who desired to improve themselves and finds that black students were, on average, quite superior to whites. He wonders why he should hate blacks merely because so many of his fellow Anglo-Saxons were "too trifling and lazy" to study even when they went to college, that white skin did not endow Anglo-Saxons with any degree of superior intellect, that the illiterate white man was just as illiterate as the illiterate black man, with both on the same level culturally and socially. He does not see any reason to maintain segregation any longer, asks whether the typical high school or college "'cat'", with his "turned-up collar, pegged pants, Harlem boogie haircut and be-bop talk" was a white boy, as the only music he knew was African jazz and the only dances he knew were black dances. He wonders whether that person's parents knew anything about the history of Anglo-Saxon culture and civilization or had any knowledge of Anglo-Saxon grammar, finds that they did not, but that they could recite the names of all of the top black entertainers and sing the latest black hit songs.
He sounds a bit torn between the Klan mentality and that of a progressive, trying to undo the damage done by 90 years of post-Civil War segregation in the society. He does not reveal his age, but we would guess that he was somewhere north of 50, appearing to hold it against young people that they liked the new "hip" sounds emanating from the radio and television. He is, of course, quite correct on the previous letter writer's bizarre interpretation of Genesis. Perhaps, he needed a course in music appreciation, geared to modern music, to adjust his ears accordingly. He is going to have to get used to it as time goes by...
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