The Charlotte News

Wednesday, December 28, 1955


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the President had flown from the cold weather of Washington this date to Key West, Fla., for about two weeks of sun, rest and outdoor exercise which his doctors had prescribed, enabling him to get outdoors, in aid of his convalescence from his September 24 heart attack. NATO commander General Alfred Gruenther had been announced during the morning as a late addition to the traveling party, but was not aboard at takeoff, perhaps set to join the President later. The story indicates that the trip might become a factor in the President's decision whether or not to run again. At takeoff, the temperature was 20 degrees. Mrs. Eisenhower was remaining behind because her mother was visiting in Washington during the holidays and because she had a new granddaughter, Mary Jane, who, along with her mother, remained in the hospital.

Arthur Edson of the Associated Press reports that a majority of Republican leaders believed that the President would run again, with 77 of 134 Republican governors, state chairmen, and national committee members having said that they believed he would, while only 17 had said he definitely would not. Nineteen others said that he would run, provided he recovered sufficiently from his heart attack. Of those stating that he would not, ten had said that they believed Vice-President Nixon had the best chance to be nominated. It lists several others whom those individuals thought also had a chance, starting with Senator William Knowland and Chief Justice Earl Warren.

In San Francisco, it was reported that northern California faced the substantial task of cleaning up after the worst floods in the state's history, as threats of further danger diminished before the first generally fair weather in the previous two weeks. The known death toll had climbed to 34 this date and no one could say how many more bodies might be found, estimates suggesting that there might be between 19 and 35 additional missing persons found dead. Heroic work of Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard personnel, who had manned boats, trucks, amphibians, helicopters and planes, had cut the loss of life dramatically. Damage estimates had risen to 150 million dollars. The Weather Bureau had reported the previous night, in its weekly summary, that as much as 31 inches of rain had fallen the previous week in north coastal California and that floods from the Oregon border to Visalia, 500 miles to the south, had been the worst the state had ever experienced. Governor Goodwin Knight the previous day had ordered 300 more National Guardsmen to report to duty and sent them to Yuba City and Marysville, where it was feared that looting and sanitation might become serious problems as waters receded from both towns, which had been evacuated after enduring the worst flooding.

The Public Health Service this date announced the release of another 1,368,306 doses of the Salk polio vaccine, making a total of 3,414,213 cubic centimeters having been thus far released in December, raising the total to nearly 30 million doses released since the April 12 roll-out of the vaccine. The Service allocated 1.355 million c.c.'s of the new supply to the states, territories and armed services for use under the voluntary control program, with the other 12,492 doses reserved for the free program provided by the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis.

In Berlin, it was reported that the Air Force sergeant from Brooklyn who had been held for 24 hours by the Communists in East Berlin following an automobile accident, had been returned to West Berlin this date. Army officials said that while the accident had been initially blamed by the Communists on the "drunkenness" of the sergeant, it had actually been caused only by poor visibility and slippery roads.

The National Safety Council this date estimated that 420 Americans would be killed on the nation's highways during the three-day New Year holiday unless there was a sharp improvement in the driving habits which had set a record death toll for a Christmas holiday weekend between the previous Friday evening and Monday midnight. The record for a New Year holiday was 407, set during a four-day period in 1952-53. It lists all of the grim records by holiday. Your best bet is to stay at home, warm and snug by the fire and not to venture out at all. Watch "Highway Patrol" and vicariously get your highway kicks that way. Remember, only you can stamp out forest fires.

In London, it was reported that Britain's Comet III jetliner had flown nonstop across the Atlantic from Montréal to London this date in six hours and eight minutes, record time for such a flight among civilian airliners. The plane had flown the 3,350 miles at an average speed of 548 mph, with strong tailwinds having boosted its speed periodically to 640 mph. The trip ended a 35,000-mile round-the-world flight which had begun in Hatfield, England, on December 2. The airplane was only a proving model for the deHavilland Aircraft Co.'s bigger and more luxurious Comet IV, and would never actually fly with a payload. BOAC hoped to place the latter plane in service by 1959, but it would not fly across the North Atlantic because its payload distance did not provide the minimum safety margin for long flights, would instead operate across routes in the Far East and South America.

Julian Scheer of The News reports that an official announcement of opposition the following spring to Governor Luther Hodges appeared imminent this date, despite no hint coming from the two most prominently mentioned potential candidates, Dr. Henry Jordan and Terry Sanford, the latter to be elected Governor in 1960, having managed the gubernatorial and Senate campaigns of former Governor and now-Senator Kerr Scott. Dr. Jordan said he would make a decision shortly while Mr. Sanford, former president of the Young Democrats Club in the state and State Senator, had said to the newspaper this date that he did not have anything to report regarding his personal plans, but asserted that it would be dangerous for there to be only one candidate for the office, with few or no questions asked about the issues, that a true contest was necessary to bring out the differing viewpoints.

J. A. Daly of The News reports that C. Stowe Moody, president of the Interstate Milling Co. of Charlotte, would likely be elected to the presidency of the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce, when the directorate would meet in special session during the afternoon to elect officers.

In Hollywood, actress Irene Dunne had fallen in her home the prior Friday and had to eat her Sunday Christmas dinner from a wheelchair, stating that she feared at first that she had seriously injured her hip, but X-rays had disclosed no broken bones. That's a relief.

In San Diego, a South American screamer bird, owned by the San Diego Zoo, had laid two eggs in three days, and the curator said that he believed it was the first time such a bird had laid eggs in captivity.

The only screamer bird egg laid this date in 2022, by the way, was the baseball field in San Diego, improperly used as football grid—the turf-covered infield having failed in its mission to provide footing for footballers, not to mention spatial alignment. Next year, we recommend to San Diego having it on an aircraft carrier, as the effect on play would be about the same.

On the editorial page, "Sugar-Coating the Same Bitter Pill" tells of Senator John W. Bricker continuing his crusade to curb the President's treaty-making authority with an amendment to the Constitution. Repeatedly, the public and Congress had repudiated the attempt, but the Senator continued in the same vein, with encouragement from right-wing extremists.

He had first proposed the amendment in September, 1951 and now his 20th version provided that no treaty or other international agreement would be law within the U.S. or would enlarge the power of the Congress to enact law. The phrasing was different but the intent remained the same, to tie the President's hands in a way that could lead to chaos in dealing with other nations.

In Article VI, the Constitution provided that all treaties were the supreme law of the land, and the Bricker amendment would only confuse the issue with conflicting language to destroy what the Founders had intended, that the treaty-making power should not be exclusive to either the executive or the legislative branch, thus giving the President power to negotiate treaties and then requiring that two-thirds of the Senators present for a vote concur in their ratification.

Senator Bricker's amendment would require treaties to win not only two-thirds of the Senate but also then win majority approval of each house.

Despite the Senator's optimism that it would pass, the piece believes that it would not and that the American people did not want it, that the President had spoken correctly the previous April when he had said that the Constitution had as one of its principal reasons for coming into being the conduct of foreign affairs of the United States as a single unit, and not as 48 separate states, and that the country should never agree to any type of arrangement which would weaken those provisions.

"Dr. White and the Political Quacks" indicates that the President's illness had put a great many Republicans in jeopardy of going to jail for practicing medicine without a license, that the "pompous political quacks" had been uniformly simple in their prescriptions, suggesting that the President might cure his heart trouble with a special order or proclamation.

Dr. Paul White, the Boston heart specialist who had been periodically seeing the President, had provided precise medical advice, permitted by White House press secretary James Hagerty to be supplied openly to the press and public. The doctor had explained his medical terminology to the public and made clear and concise predictions for the President's recovery, paying no heed to the political advisers. Initially, he had said that if he were in the President's shoes, he would not run again, but also said that he doubted that the Presidential duties had caused his heart attack. The piece finds that he had violated all the rules of "bafflegab" by giving simple, honest answers to simple questions.

It agrees with Russell Baker of the New York Times when he had said: "Washington can cope with guile, deceit, quackery, buffoonery, intrigue, double-dealing and double-crossing, but confronted with candor, it is as helpless as a burlesque barker before Immanuel Kant."

"Didn't Anyone Remember the Machine?" finds certain common denominators in the stories which had made the top ten stories of the year as voted by newsmen in the annual Associated Press poll. Each story had been part of a significant pattern of events, impacting millions of people, such as the heart trouble of the President, the polio vaccine, Princess Margaret finally deciding not to marry divorced Group Capt. Peter Townsend, and the fall of dictator Juan Peron in Argentina, etc.

Each of the stories had been personified by a person or group of persons, such as the Supreme Court, having issued its Brown v. Board of Education implementing decision the prior May, and Gilbert Graham, having blown up a commercial passenger plane carrying his mother and killing 44 persons to collect her insurance money. Even the hurricanes of August and September had been personified, although traveling under assumed names.

Each of the stories had grown out of elements that were too large for the average person to control, such as the Big Four Geneva summit conference of the prior July.

It finds that the list was as appropriate as any would be, making good reading during a slack news season and offering some perspective on the year's events. But it wonders why the machine was neglected, as it could kill all of those saved by the Salk vaccine and make the Graham murders appear as a parlor game. The machine was personified, with the Univac computer predicting the elections, and the hydrogen bomb having been given a personality by the cartoonists. It was also too large for man to control. It suggests that the satellite should have been within the list, as it was out of this world or soon would be, having been announced on July 29.

A piece from the Greenville (S.C.) Piedmont, titled "Dictionary, Please", wonders how a foreigner ever learned to speak English, learning how to pronounce "cough" and then being confronted with such words as "tough" or "through" or "though" or "thorough". It finds that the foreigner should be insane by the time he realized that those words were all pronounced differently. (Once again, the derivative piece leaves out such words as "plough" and "bough", not to mention "cow" and "trow", or French derivations as "trou-de-loup".)

It presents other such examples, but then indicates that those were just within American English, that English as pronounced in Britain was even worse, as Cholmondeley, pronounced "Chumley", and Ruthven, pronounced "Riven", being only minor examples.

It concludes by wondering how the English ever had come to speak English.

Drew Pearson tells of there being, within the files which the Budget Bureau had delivered to Senator Estes Kefauver during the previous Dixon-Yates probe, some key documents, one showing that Atomic Energy Commission chairman Admiral Lewis Strauss and Budget Office director Rowland Hughes had not told the truth when they denied that Adolph Wenzell had a secret part in the Dixon-Yates deal. Admiral Strauss had denied that he had any knowledge of Mr. Wenzell's conflict of interest in that he had represented the bank which had financed the deal while also working inside the Budget Bureau as an adviser on the deal.

He prints a memorandum written by a a person within the Bureau in January, 1954, which stated the opposite, showing that Admiral Strauss and Mr. Hughes had both been aware of Mr. Wenzell. But Mr. Hughes had written Senator Lister Hill of Alabama in February, 1955 that Mr. Wenzell had participated in only a few of the conferences regarding the deal, advising on "technical aspects". Earlier, however, Mr. Hughes had withheld Mr. Wenzell's name from Senator Hill and had denied knowledge that Mr. Wenzell's firm had planned the financing for the deal.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop indicate that atomic bombs about the size of a grapefruit could be fitted as warheads onto small rockets, three or four of which could easily be carried within a jeep, enabling the same firepower as 200 World War II blockbuster bombs.

The Big Four summit conference of the previous July had resulted in a tacit agreement between the Western powers and Russia that they would not resort to nation-destroying intercontinental weapons. If that agreement would be honored, then the U.S. ought be preparing ground forces to fight localized wars with revolutionary means, but instead, the Army remained the stepchild of the services, essentially still in the World War II mold, despite great advances having been made by Army researchers.

They cite as example the "space-linked track" and the "terradynamic vehicle", developed by the Army's Land Locomotion Research Laboratory in Detroit, with the "space-linked track" being promoted by enthusiasts as being as much of an advance in land locomotion as had been the jet engine in aviation, and that the "science of terradynamics" would do for forward movement on the earth's surface what aerodynamics had done for movement in the air. Great advances had been made in that area, such as the experimental "Groundhog", which could go virtually anywhere, and the successful M-59 troop carrier, an early prototype of which had been credited with winning the battle of Porkchop Hill at the end of the Korean War.

"Automation artillery" made it possible for heavy artillery to fire one shell per second and needed only three men to operate it, instead of thirteen. "Burnable case ammunition", the case of which was burned up in the firing, enabled simplification of supply problems.

Other advances, such as the gas turbine tank engine, developed by Cadillac, made it possible for an unprecedented fuel range of tanks.

Major breakthroughs in electronics had provided the means for sure communications at very great distances, enabling a commander to maintain control over even his smaller units when they were dispersed over hundreds of square miles.

Thus, an atomic-age Army was now possible, with defensive protection against nuclear heat, blast and radiation as well as the mobility necessary for the U.S., with oceans on both sides. It was the type of army which the Russians were building, having placed emphasis on armor and mobility. Nineteen of the 20 Soviet divisions in Europe and 75 of their total 175 divisions had been fully or partially prepared in that mode for modern warfare, while the U.S. was not at the present time building such an Army, except in the blueprint stage. A start had been made on making two of the nation's 19 divisions, of which seven were not fighting divisions, into such modern units, but air transport remained inadequate.

During the Guatemalan crisis, the possibility had arisen of armed intervention on an emergency basis, but it had turned out that there was hardly transport enough for a single regiment.

The West Germans planned to have 600 vehicles similar to the M-59 in each of their new divisions, giving every soldier protection from nuclear weapons, while U.S. infantry divisions were provided with only seven such vehicles.

The Alsops conclude that given the supremacy of the U.S. in the automotive and communications fields, it ought to be able to beat the Communist world, despite its unchallengeable manpower superiority, but the U.S. was not doing so. The primary reason was money, as experts estimated that it would cost about three billion dollars to make the 12 fighting divisions into such modern units. While the Alsops recognize that it was a lot of money, they also warn that losing wars, even small wars, or being unable to fight them at all, could also be very costly.

Doris Fleeson indicates that Democrats welcomed the decision of Ohio Governor Frank Lausche to run for the Senate against incumbent Senator George Bender, as they believed he could win, and that without him in the race, Senator Bender would likely be re-elected. The Democrats also believed that the incumbent was vulnerable in Maryland, Indiana, Illinois, California, Idaho and Wisconsin, but they had not yet developed candidates who had wide voter appeal or prestige in those states.

Two Democrats were retiring from the Senate in 1956, one being Senator Alan Bible of Nevada, the successor to the late Senator Pat McCarran, and the other being Senator Price Daniel of Texas, who had told friends he would leave the Senate to run for governor. Senator Bible had given the public explanation that he had no taste for Washington, while Senator Daniel preferred to return home for continuation of his political life rather than exist in the shadow of Senator Lyndon Johnson and House Speaker Sam Rayburn in Washington. The DNC was hoping that Senator Bible would change his mind and Senator Johnson, who had developed a liking for the Senator, would also apply pressure in that direction.

The Democrats were assured that Governor Allan Shivers of Texas did not want the seat of Senator Daniel, and the DNC was grateful for that, as he had supported General Eisenhower in 1952 and his relations with the DNC were thus shaky. They believed that Lt. Governor Ben Ramsey might be a possible candidate.

The election of Happy Chandler as Governor in Kentucky presented another headache for Senator Johnson, since it put in jeopardy Kentucky Senator Earle Clements, the Democratic Whip and an old foe of Mr. Chandler, who would seek to have another Democrat fill that seat, one who would put Mr. Chandler's interests above those of Senator Johnson.

In Georgia, Senator Walter George, on whom Senator Johnson had greatly relied, was being strongly challenged by former Governor Herman Talmadge.

Ms. Fleeson concludes that on the face of it, the situation favored the Democrats for holding the Senate in 1956, as most of the incumbents were Southerners who would unlikely be replaced by Republicans, but that present trends did not suggest that the present two-vote majority could be increased even if control would be maintained.

Robert C. Ruark, in Djakarta, indicates that all he had seen of Indonesia during his brief time there were the docks. He did not like being arrested every hour and Sten guns made him nervous, especially when everyone had one except him. It was possible to go ashore for a few hours to see topless women and to be run over by American automobiles. But Indonesia was having growing pains as a democracy and a white face "may just as well be Dutch as North Carolinian."

Although nearly every country in the world allowed its visitors to have a short visit and spend some money, the Indonesians seemingly were averse to the practice, as one needed a visa and medical certificates to go ashore, and had to accept whatever Indonesian currency one needed in the form of vouchers. Thus, one did not venture from the ship.

On an earlier trip, several Australians whom he knew had been stripped naked by strangers wearing machine guns, and on the current trip, one of his Australian friends had been stopped and searched three times by men with guns, the last one strongly suggesting that it would be a good idea if his friend sold him his camera, while pointing at him a Sten gun. The coercion by men who possessed machine guns was highly organized. One man who was selling wooden snakes from dock to dock, receiving cigarettes as payment, had been approached by such a gun toter and the man with the cigarettes had given them up before the man with the gun even raised it.

Mr. Ruark says that he had noticed in Africa and India that it was characteristic to throw out the former colonists by use of such guns, rigged elections and a general black-market policy with regard to currency, as well as the coercion which he had described.

A letter writer says that she wishes to answer the question which had been posed by other letter writers as to what blacks wanted, suggesting that they did not wish to socialize with white people especially, did not any longer consider it an honor to be in the company of a white person just because that person was white, that they came into contact with white people out of necessity and not necessarily desire. They did wish to be respected, such as in the form of address, wishing to be referred to as "Mr.", "Miss", or "Mrs.", just as everyone else was, not necessarily by employers but by people in general dealings with the person, such as while shopping, that people should not address another by their first name unless they were a personal friend or a servant, and that even children should be addressed in letters as "Miss" or "Master". She concludes that the most important thing was that the black man would be able to get any job for which he was qualified and would receive the same salary as white men in such jobs.

A letter writer from Monroe indicates that Christianity and segregation based on race were incompatible and that any church which advocated racial or class distinction was not an assembly of God's people, but rather "a social klan of first magnitude pagans."Any such church paid homage to the vices of hell and mocked the Holy Spirit with cardinal sacrilege, was tantamount to a pagan temple of idol gods, an abomination and the vilest sort of stigma upon the community to which it ministered. He concludes by asking how an hypocritical, church-going nation of "pseudo-Christians and self-righteous heathens" could condemn the Soviet Union for its atheistic ideology when they had exceeded the savagery of the physical destruction of the church.

Fourth Day of Christmas: Four grapefruit warheads.

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