The Charlotte News

Wednesday, February 16, 1955


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that at the President's weekly conference this date with Republican Congressional leaders, the Formosa situation garnered chief attention, but there was no indication of any special development of concern. House Minority Leader Joseph Martin of Massachusetts and Senate Minority Leader William Knowland of California reported that the President had provided the leaders a "general briefing on the situation in the Pacific", but both declined to provide detail. Senator Knowland, who favored vigorous support of the Nationalist Chinese, refused to say whether the briefing had dealt with U.S. policy toward the Nationalist offshore islands of Quemoy and Matsu, whether U.S. forces would defend them in the event of a Communist Chinese attack as part of a general defense of Formosa.

The House faced a decision this date on whether to vote themselves a 66 percent pay increase, with some apprehensions voiced during the limited debate on a bill to raise the pay from $15,000 to $25,000 annually and to provide comparable increases to Federal judges. The Senate Judiciary Committee had approved a bill calling for an increase in pay to $22,500 for members of Congress. Some House members complained of the timing, indicating that Congress should not raise its own pay until it acted on smaller increases proposed for Federal Government workers. There were also proposals to reduce the amount of the increase. The President had urged an unspecified increase in Congressional pay, and leaders of both parties supported the pending measure, and so some increase was likely to pass. House floor manager Representative Emanuel Celler of New York said that he anticipated fewer than 100 votes in opposition. Even Representative Usher Burdick of North Dakota, an opponent of the increase, conceded that there was no doubt the bill would pass, while proposing a cut of the increase to $2,500 and making it applicable only to the following Congress rather being made retroactive to the previous January 1. A list of the proposed increases under the bill is provided.

A report of the Atomic Energy Commission, released the previous day, stated that if an hydrogen bomb of the type the U.S. had tested nearly a year earlier, on March 1 on Bikini Atoll, were exploded over one's house, the drifting poison radiation cloud would kill all exposed persons up to 140 miles downwind. Perhaps 5 to 10 persons would die out of every 100 as far as 190 miles away in the direction of the cloud drift, with the zone of radiation being in the shape of a long cigar up to 20 miles wide, as shown on the page in a diagram superimposed on a map of the Northeast. There would be serious danger in an area of 7,000 square miles, nearly the size of the state of New Jersey. Any form of shelter, said the report, could reduce those perils, with the intensity of the radiation cut in half by being within an ordinary frame house, even more so within a brick or stone house, and containment within a basement area cutting the radiation level by 90 percent. An old-fashioned cyclone cellar, covered with three feet of earth, it claimed, would completely insulate inhabitants from radiation, even in the most heavily contaminated areas. At a distance of 160 miles from ground-zero, contamination might bring death to 50 percent of the people who failed to take shelter, whereas 5 to 10 percent might die in areas as far as 190 miles from the site of detonation. An accompanying statement by AEC chairman Lewis Strauss appeared to dismiss contentions that hydrogen bomb tests were so dangerous that no more should be held, saying that until the threat of nuclear attack were eliminated, it was a paramount duty of the Government to conduct such tests. The report said that there was no evidence that there was lingering dangerous amounts of radiation anywhere in the world as a result of the prior testing, other than in the test area, itself. It said that the total amount of radiation received by residents of the United States from all nuclear testing performed thus far, including that by Britain and Russia, was no more than received from an ordinary chest X-ray. It also reported that the AEC was continuing its tests on long-range genetic effects of radiation, but was thus far convinced by its medical experts that there were no serious consequences. Representative Carl Durham of North Carolina, a member of the joint Atomic Energy Committee, said that the report showed that the hydrogen bomb was not as big a bugaboo as had been reported, that while it was dangerous, its effects could be kept under control through proper protective sheltering. When asked the previous day at a press conference whether Russia and the U.S. had reached a stalemate in nuclear development, Secretary of Defense Charles E. Wilson indicated that he believed the U.S. was ahead of Russia, and that the Russians were aware of that fact.

The House Interior Committee voted this date 19 to 6, in a bipartisan vote including nine Republicans for the measure and only one against, to admit both Alaska and Hawaii as states, clearing the bill for action by the House when and if the Rules Committee provided its approval. The Administration did not approve the bill in combined form for both states, the President favoring immediate statehood for Hawaii but wanting action delayed on Alaska until the territory's "complex problems" had been solved.

In Bern, Switzerland, all three anti-Communists holding the barricaded Rumanian legation for 42 hours had surrendered without bloodshed this date, with the commanding officer of the Swiss Army present on the scene saying that they were the only three men in the building at the end of the standoff. Police who entered the legation said that the building was strewn with torn-up Communist propaganda material, but was otherwise not seriously damaged. The names of the three men were not provided. They had taken the legation, killing a chauffeur who had resisted them, vowing to maintain their hold on it until the Communist Government in Bucharest released five political prisoners. Police had given an ultimatum to the three men to surrender or be forced out. They had held several attaches and their families prisoner for several hours before finally releasing them earlier.

In Charleston, S.C., at The Citadel, Cadets would parade in full dress uniform, including a towering plume on their caps, the following Friday for the first time in 12 years, the more elaborate dress having been ordered by new president of the institution, retired General Mark Clark.

Dick Young of The News, as discussed in an editorial below, indicates that nine million dollars worth of bond issues were expected to be approved by the City Council this date for submission to the voters on May 3, providing further detail on the individual bonds, as does the editorial.

The Council was also scheduled to review a revival of the city's smoke abatement program, which had been abandoned in the summer of 1952, with serious discussion having recently taken place over the smoky haze hanging over Charlotte during the cold winter mornings. The previous weekend, the local chapter of the League of Women Voters had discussed the subject and indicated serious efforts would be made to revitalize the program. With the presentation in The News the previous afternoon of two pictures showing the pall of smoke hanging over midtown Charlotte, interest was aroused among members of the Council, and it was reported that Council member Basil Boyd would move for reinstitution of the smoke abatement program, with a separate smoke control division, during the afternoon session this date. Another member of the Council had suggested that it obtain information on the smoke abatement program which had been carried out in Asheville, and indications were that it would invite a combustion engineer who was the director of that program to come to Charlotte for discussion with City officials.

Julian Scheer of The News tells of an artificial artery made of seamless knit orlon providing life-saving potential, having been developed and perfected in the Heineman Foundation Laboratory located in the Charlotte Memorial Hospital, with important implications for relief from hardening of the arteries and for those with injuries to vital arteries. The discovery was just beginning to attract nationwide medical attention after 18 months of intensive work under the direction of Dr. Paul Sanger of Charlotte. More than a dozen successful operations on human patients had used various designs of artificial arteries from the Charlotte laboratory, and the new orlon artery was the latest design, expected to be the best and most practical. The laboratory had received support from the Mecklenburg Heart Association. Dr. Edward McCall and Dr. Giles LePage, along with Dr. Fred Taylor, had done much of the work under the direction of Dr. Sanger. Dr. Michael DeBakey of Baylor University had successfully used artificial arteries developed at the laboratory in more than a dozen patients. The actual arteries were produced at N.C. State, with the help of several sources, including textile firms and individuals. The artery was substituted for a human artery when needed and was expected to reduce deaths from various arterial diseases and in the amputation of limbs often made necessary because of the old method of tying off arteries.

In Raleigh, the State Senate Agriculture Committee this date gave unanimous approval to a controversial bill providing the State Milk Commission with power to set minimum retail and wholesale milk prices.

In Tokyo, eleven Buddhist monks, who would be on a 12 centuries old retreat on election day on February 27, had sought absentee voting privileges because "our souls will be in Nirvana, although our bodies will be here." The request, however, had been denied, as local election officials found no mention of Nirvana in the voting regulations, providing for absentee voting only when a person was away on a trip or far from the polling district.

In Bingham, Utah, a big, shaggy, black-and-brown stray dog had become a familiar sight to miners driving to and from work at a nearby open-pit copper mine. The dog would not let anyone within 25 feet of him, but always stood beside the highway leading to the canyon town, and many miners had saved scraps from their lunchboxes to put into a box at the roadside for him. The prior Monday, he was not at his usual station and the previous day, a group of miners had gone to look for him, finding his body riddled with five .22-caliber rifle bullets, lying in blood-spattered snow, someone having used the dog-without-a-name for target practice.

On the editorial page, "Progress, Pocketbooks and Priority: A Checklist of Urgent Civic Needs" tells of a long list of important community needs presently before the City Council, including water improvements, sewer extensions, the furnishing, equipage, and paving around the new Auditorium-Coliseum complex, additional facilities for black patients at Memorial Hospital, a health center, a west side fire station, street improvements, improvements to the polluted Sugaw Creek, and improvements to the Spastics Hospital.

But the present net bonded indebtedness of the city stood at 23.6 million dollars and its debt limit under North Carolina law was limited to eight percent of the assessed valuation, amounting to 30.6 million dollars, leaving only a little more than 7 million dollars left at present. The proposed 6 million dollar bond issue for water improvements would not be charged against the bonded indebtedness as it produced revenue to retire its bonds. But all other bond issues proposed would be included, and the remaining amount totaled 8.45 million dollars, thus rising above the limit. The most urgent of the matters was the sewer improvements, the need for a 12 million gallon filter plant and extension of sewer lines, amounting to a total of 6.5 million dollars. It finds that the money had to be allotted for that purpose.

While the hospital bond issue for five million dollars, to add facilities for black patients, was one of the community's most pressing needs, the reasonable answer was the addition of a new wing for Memorial Hospital, with the newspaper convinced, however, that there were other ways to finance it than only through a City bond issue, and that the costs were still under review. It suggests that Mecklenburg County ought pay a portion of the cost, as it was also paying a portion of the cost of the new library and other facilities which county residents used. Lawyers had raised the possibility that a special act of the Legislature might be required before the hospital bonds could be issued, to enable the City to go above its bonded indebtedness limit. Some communities had sought Federal funding for hospital construction when a hospital served several counties, and suggests that surrounding counties utilizing the city's medical facilities might be asked to contribute from their available funding.

It finds the other proposals to be needs with varying degrees of urgency, some of which could be postponed given the fiscal necessity, none having the importance of water, sewage, the completion of the Auditorium-Coliseum complex or the hospital projects. It concludes that if a bond election for the additional hospital facilities was not approved at present, it would be wise to retain enough leeway under the debt limit for possible use later, when all of the financial issues were determined.

"A New Kind of Bulletin in Georgia" indicates that twice in recent years, the newspaper had confessed surprise at some of the statements found in the Georgia Farmers' Market Bulletin, such as that 90 percent of Hawaiians were supposedly Communists, that the Democratic Party was supposedly "the chief advocate of godlessness", and that one who believed in non-segregation was supposedly "allied with the Communists". It makes special note of an earlier headline in the publication, which had illogically stated: "All Communists Are Internationalists, All Internationalists Are Communists". It indicates that its surprise had stemmed mainly from the fact that it was an official Georgia Department of Agriculture publication, paid for by taxpayers and sent free to many thousands of readers, supposedly as an agricultural information service, with its editor having been commissioner of Agriculture Tom Linder. The newspaper had not been surprised when Mr. Linder had announced his candidacy for the gubernatorial nomination the previous year, which he had lost and also, in the process, his job as commissioner of Agriculture.

The new commissioner, Phil Campbell, had changed the Bulletin, announcing that it would be devoted to agriculture and not politics, and the first issue had borne him out. It finds that, happening in a state where fulmination had frequently been politically advantageous, the change was worth noting both outside Georgia and outside the South.

A piece from the Wall Street Journal, titled "Scientific Cooking", indicates that technology was emancipating women from the kitchen and other household chores, with the pre-cooked meal now joining the electric iron, the electric dishwasher, the electric washing machine, and the electric freezer. It finds, therefore, that the old saw about man's work from sun to sun but woman's work is never done, was now as outdated as McGuffey's Reader.

It says it was all for the 25-minute pre-cooked meal, requiring no washing of pots or pans or even dishes afterward. That would provide more leisure time around the house for the female to visit, play bridge, or engage in other social or educational activities. There would also be more time for television and radio, though it doubts it would ever supplant the telephone as a source of amusement. It finds that the scientific trend might eventually lead to so much boredom that one day, the lady of the house might decide to try her hand at cooking meals.

It had tried the pre-cooked meals and found them fine, and had heard that they were selling like the hotcakes which mother used to make.

Drew Pearson indicates that some Republican members of Congress were getting cold feet about passing the pay increase for Federal judges and members of Congress, as recommended by the President, with some worried that voter reaction at home would be adverse, while others had law practices or other private sources of income and did not need the money. Despite the fact, therefore, that the Republican Congress had initiated the pay increase the previous year and the President had consistently urged it, the proposal might be defeated.

Mr. Pearson indicates that he had been directly or indirectly responsible for putting four Congressmen in jail for augmenting their incomes with kickbacks or bribes, usually through putting members of staff on the payroll with insignificant or nonexistent duties. He says he did not like to brag about that record and would rather have Congressional pay raised to the point where such temptations would not occur. Because of the cost of living in Washington, the cost of campaigning at home and the cost of travel, members of Congress were generally divided into the categories of bachelors who did not have to support a family, wealthy persons who did not have to worry about low salaries, those members who were subsidized by lobbies or law firms, or, as with former Senator Nixon, those who had a personal expense fund, plus honest members of Congress who scrimped and saved, almost starving in the process, sometimes giving up the struggle and leaving Congress. He offers as illustration Senator John W. Bricker of Ohio, opposed to the increase, but having a law firm back home which received an average of about $50,000 per year from the Pennsylvania Railroad since Senator Bricker had become a member of the Interstate Commerce Committee, able to oversee railroad problems, voting consistently against the St. Lawrence Seaway, opposed by the railroads. Another example was Congressman Kenneth Keating of New York, a conscientious member who was a bachelor and received an income from a successful law firm. Congressman Clarence Brown of Ohio, another opponent of the pay increase, was honest and forthright, but was also personally wealthy.

Congressman James Roosevelt of California used one of the non-scheduled airlines to fly home to make a speech in Los Angeles, as he could not afford to take a regular airline, as few members could based on their salaries. Mr. Pearson cautions that if one saw their Congressman coming home frequently to a locale a great distance from Washington, they could rest assured there was something phony about the Congressman's income.

When Perle Mesta, Washington socialite, had seen "Call Me Madam", accompanied by Bess and Margaret Truman, the Trumans had considered the Irving Berlin take-off on Mrs. Mesta's diplomatic career shocking. But Mrs. Mesta, who had been appointed by President Truman as the Minister to Luxembourg, had been such a good sport about the caricature that recently she had given a tea for Russell Nype, the actor who played the part of a young State Department diplomat opposite Ethel Merman, who had played Mrs. Mesta. He notes that Luxembourg residents were now nostalgic about Mrs. Mesta's time as minister and frequently wished she were back in the role. G.I.'s in Frankfurt, Germany, were also nostalgic, remembering the large parties she had given on weekends, to which they had been invited. General Eisenhower had come from Paris during his time as supreme commander of NATO, to cook in Mrs. Mesta's kitchen, and was now also a bit nostalgic about the time.

Congressman Robert Kean of New Jersey, unlike most of his colleagues, was known to have a large bankroll, but it was not so well known that he had a large heart also. He had gotten to know a female constituent in February, 1953, who was a widow with two small children to support on a $40 per week salary and had lost her cash savings in a fire. Her 12-year old son had muscular dystrophy, and the $1,600 lost in the fire had been needed for his medical expenses. Mr. Kean had gone to bat for her in expediting a refund by the Treasury Department of the charred money. Then in April, 1954, multiple sclerosis had forced the widow to leave her job, and without fanfare, Mr. Kean had promptly sent her a substantial check. The previous October, Mr. Kean had been instrumental in getting her a spot on the "Strike It Rich" television program, where she had won $500.

Dr. Horace Hamilton of N.C. State, writing in the UNC News Letter, tells of the state having lost a net out-migration of 261,000 residents, 6.8 percent of its population, during the decade between 1940 and 1950, resulting not only in the loss of their billions in income to the state but also the four billion dollars or so it had taken to raise and educate them. It represented more than three times the amount of net out-migration of any other previous decade, with a net loss of 80,000 having occurred in the immediately preceding decade. It might be noted, parenthetically, that the previous decade, coinciding with World War II, had seen the most extensive travel of any previous decade in history generally, with people having access not only to international travel and travel within the country via the armed forces, but also by means of more modernized roads than ever before, more pervasive commercial airline travel and the general invitation of substantially higher wages, occasioned by the war, in the larger cities of the country, attracting vast segments of the Southern rural population to other places.

He indicates that the natural increase of the state's population during the 1940's had been a little over 750,000, 19.7 percent of the main population during the decade. Births within the state amounted to a bit more than one million, while deaths accounted for 301,000, the difference being the "natural increase".

The net out-migration of non-whites, most of whom were black, amounted to a bit more than 162,000, relatively four times greater than that of the white population, at a bit more than 98,000. The ratios of the net out-migration to the white and non-white mean populations were 3.6 percent and 15.6 percent, respectively. There was no important difference found in the net out-migration when adjusted for sex in either the white or non-white populations.

There had been great and important differences in the net migration among the counties of the state, with 14 counties, most of which were urban, gaining from migration, and the remaining 86 counties losing. He lists the ten counties which had lost the most through migration, none of which had any urban population. He also provides the ten counties which had gained the most through migration, all of which had substantial urban populations, including Mecklenburg, Durham, Wake, and Guilford, leaving out only Forsyth among the most populated counties of the state. Each of the top three counties in that category, Onslow, Craven and Cumberland, had large military installations.

He tells of a more detailed analysis of migration, regarding rural-farm and rural-nonfarm areas of the state, being in progress, with preliminary estimates indicating that about 500,000 people net had left farms during the prior decade.

He finds that the major factors responsible for the net migration from the state and between the counties of the state were population pressure, particularly in rural areas where a surplus of children had been produced; population vacuums in urban areas because of relatively low birth rates; continued growth of urban industry, business, and service, enhanced by wartime production demands and postwar prosperity; location of military installations and war industries in certain areas; mechanization of agriculture and changes in the types and amounts of agricultural production; and the continued drift of black residents from rural areas of the South, movement which had been ongoing for the previous half-century, accelerated by the war and its aftermath.

He goes on to suggest some of the problems associated with the net out-migration of 261,000 persons to other states and countries, the transfer of real economic wealth directly or indirectly; indirect economic loss from the cost of rearing and educating those people, estimated to be $7,766 in a family of five persons with an annual income of $2,500, increasing as income level rose; resulting personal and social problems of a pathological nature from having to form new social ties in other areas of the country, taking a generation or more to become firmly established in a new community; and, finally, the need for establishment of public and private institutions within the communities to which migrants went, for development of programs to aid people in making proper social and economic adjustments, particularly needed in the fields of new housing, vocational guidance, recreation, health services and public welfare.

He estimates that at present price levels, it probably cost between $15,000 and $30,000 to raise a child from birth to 18 years of age, depending somewhat on incomes and standards of living of the families, bearing in mind that most of the out-migration had come from low income rural families of the state, migrating for the most part to urban industrial areas. Thus, the economic value of North Carolina's contribution of the out-migrants had to be based not only on the cost of living within North Carolina but also on the cost of living in the urban areas to which those people migrated, as well as their productive capacities within an urban environment.

He concludes that allowing for inflation and other factors, it could be assumed that the migrants represented an economic contribution of at least $15,000 per capita, amounting to 3.9 million dollars in lost productivity for the state. He indicates that if that amount were returned to the state in the form of Federal aid for education, social and health services, it would enable the state to export a more productive, healthier, and better educated human product.

A letter from a member of the State Stream Sanitation Committee, writing from Burgaw, finds it gratifying to see so much interest in stream sanitation on the part of the public and members of the General Assembly, indicating that his Committee in the 1947, 1949, and 1951 biennial sessions had endeavored to get a law passed on the subject, finally succeeding in 1951. He could sympathize with the impatience of people who resided in the areas where streams had become so polluted that there was not only a stench but also a menace to health involved. He stresses that there was no magic formula for relief of the problem because many years of pollution of the streams could not be cleaned up overnight. He indicates that in 1954, the Committee had completed the classification of the Yadkin River Basin, informing each industry, municipality and agricultural land owner within the Basin of the standard of purity at which each part of the river and its tributaries would have to be maintained, having taken two years to accomplish the field work and complete that classification. In 1955, the Committee would classify the White Oak River Basin, including Morehead City and Beaufort, as well as the Chowan and Roanoke River Basins. During 1954, the Committee's chemists and technical people had begun the field work on the Cape Fear River Basin, the Neuse River Basin and the French Broad River Basin, expected completion of which would occur during the year and classification of them during the following year. Sometime during 1956, the Committee expected the field representatives to move into the Catawba and Tar River Basins. That work would complete the major part of the classification of the state's streams, with the minor river basins to be classified immediately thereafter and all of the major and minor classifications to be completed by 1960. He indicates that once the Committee had become a legal entity within the State Department of Health, no agency had been provided greater cooperation in the state, both from within and without the government. They had been given funds with which to acquire competent personnel and had received the loan of equipment from the State Department of Health and the Federal Government. But, he cautions, the public had to understand the nature of the job, requiring meticulously thorough work, taking time to accomplish. He informs that "Progress Report No. 2" from the Committee would soon issue, providing detail of what the Committee had thus far accomplished in cleaning up the state's streams.

Framed Edition
[Return to Links
Page by Subject] [Return to Links-Page by Date] [Return to News<i><i><i>—</i></i></i>Framed Edition]
Links-Date Links-Subj.