The Charlotte News

Wednesday, February 2, 1955


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the President, at his press conference this date, said that the cause of peace had been served by the country having made it clear that it did not intend to allow Formosa to fall to international Communism, that the resolution approved the previous week by the Congress regarding Formosa insured against miscalculation by the Chinese Communists regarding American determination. He said that there was no commitment to use U.S. ground forces in the defense of Formosa, but declined to go into details as to how the country intended to protect Formosa and the Pescadores, the focus of the resolution. He refused to say whether the offshore outpost islands held by the Nationalists, Quemoy and Matsu, would be defended if the President determined that a threat to them would pose a threat to the security of Formosa. In so declining, he said that he would not provide a blueprint for the Communists. The press conference, filmed for possible later use on television and in theaters, covered a wide range of topics, including his stalled nomination of Judge John Harlan to the Supreme Court, saying that the delay was unfortunate but that he would not criticize Congress for it. He also touched on the Dixon-Yates utility combine controversy, regarding its contract with the Atomic Energy Commission, saying that he did not intend to withdraw his previous order allowing the contract, despite Democratic opposition in the form of a resolution adopted by ten Democrats of the joint Atomic Energy Committee, calling for cancellation of the contract, with the President pointing out that the resolution had passed on party lines. He also said that he had no present plan to rescind his proposed cut in Army strength, despite misgivings voiced by Army chief of staff General Matthew Ridgway, when the latter had testified before Congress that the proposed cut would jeopardize American security "to a degree". He said that General Ridgway did not have overall responsibility for the nation's defense, as did the President, and that his decision to cut Army strength by 140,000 men had not been altered. Regarding censorship, the President said that he did not see how anyone could call filming of his press conference and subsequently releasing only portions of it for use on TV and in theaters censorship. He said that he understood that about 28 minutes of the first Presidential press conference to be filmed, that of January 19, had been released for public viewing.

Senator John Sparkman of Alabama, chairman of the Foreign Relations Far Eastern subcommittee, said this date in an interview that the U.S. would have to consider the possibility of yielding some small Chinese Nationalist-held islands to Communist China if the country followed through on U.N. efforts to work out a cease-fire in the area of Formosa. He said that if Communist China were to accept the U.N. invitation to participate in the Security Council talks regarding a truce, the least of their demands would be that the Nationalists give up Quemoy, Matsu and the Tachen Islands, all considered covered by the Formosa resolution passed by Congress the previous week. But Senator Sparkman said that the Administration's attitude toward defending those islands remained "foggy". He said that if those islands were necessary for adequate defense of Formosa, then the world ought to be told that the U.S. would fight for them, and if they were not essential, no American blood should be spilled over them. Some Republican members of Congress who had met with the President the previous day came away with the impression that any attack by the Communist Chinese on the offshore islands would result in immediate U.S. counter-moves, and Senator William Knowland of California, the Minority Leader, said that he would fight any move to give those islands, or any other Nationalist-held territory, to the Communists to obtain a cease-fire. He said that an amendment to that effect of a resolution, which would put the Senate on record as backing Administration moves to seek a cease-fire through the U.N., would be proposed should Senator Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota renew his attempts to get the Foreign Relations Committee to approve the resolution, the Committee having delayed the previous day consideration of it for a week on the insistence of Senator Knowland and others. But Senator Humphrey said in an interview that he would bring it up again the following Tuesday and would fight against amendments because they might include reservations that the Administration would not want, saying that the President had proposed the cease-fire and that the Senators had been led to believe that he would not favor appeasement of Communist China, that, personally, he would be willing to trust the President to work out an "honorable cease-fire", but that it appeared that some of the Republicans would not. When the President was asked at his press conference about Senator Knowland's statement that the Humphrey resolution, supported by Senator Walter George of Georgia, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, would constitute a blanket endorsement of appeasement, the President expressed unfamiliarity with the matter, suggested that the Senators were expressing their own personal opinions, and that he desired to think it over before saying anything further about it.

Fred Hampson of the Associated Press reports again from Taipeh that Nationalist warplanes had launched new strikes this date at Yikiangshan Island, taken by the Communists the previous week, and that Nationalist refugees had told of how Communist bombers in turn had brought civil activities on the nearby Tachens to a virtual standstill, that the bombs fell all over the islands and there was no place to get away from them. The official Formosan provincial newspaper had said that 40 children who were slated for evacuation had been killed on Sunday when Communist bombers hit one of the Tachen islands with firebombs. A U.S.-built transport had landed 538 civilians this date, many of whom were children, at the northern Formosan port of Keelung, only a small portion, however, of the 15,000-man garrison and 15,000 civilians who remained on the islands enduring the bombings. Nationalist bombers had flown through intense antiaircraft fire in their strike at Yikiangshan, according to official reports, and the Nationalists said that all had returned safely. As the U.N. awaited response from the Communist Chinese Government to the invitation extended by the Security Council for it to participate in discussions of the proposed cease-fire in the Formosa area, Communist Chinese activity in the area of the Tachens continued almost round the clock.

A cluster of tornadoes ripped a swath through the mid-South's "tornado alley" the previous day, flattening scores of buildings, including two schoolhouses, and leaving an unofficially estimated 30 persons dead and 100 injured. The twisters hit five small communities in Arkansas, Mississippi and Alabama, with all of the deaths reported in Mississippi in thinly populated areas of the northwestern rim of the state, 27 having been killed near Commerce Landing, about 30 miles south of Memphis. At least two of the dead had been schoolchildren killed while attending elementary school. A teacher at the school was also killed.

In Raleigh, because of increased enrollment, five State-supported colleges, East Carolina College, Appalachian State Teachers College, Greensboro A & T, Western Carolina College and Pembroke State College, said that they needed more buildings to take care of their students and to meet their needs in the ensuing few years, seeking the previous day from the Joint Appropriations Committee increased appropriations totaling nearly ten million dollars more for the ensuing biennium than that which Governor Luther Hodges and the Advisory Budget Commission had recommended. Of the ten million dollars sought, about 8.5 million would be for permanent improvements and the balance for their operating budgets.

Donald MacDonald of The News tells of Charlotte residents having complained to law enforcement and court officials this date about reports from Raleigh that a local detective had testified before a State House Judiciary Committee the previous day in support of a bill to deal with sexual psychopaths, saying that Charlotte had become a "mecca" for sex deviates. The detective, who headed the Charlotte Youth Bureau, had told a reporter this date that he was misquoted on use of the word "mecca", but continued to insist that sexual offenders created serious problems in Charlotte. He said that now, however, they were doing something about the problem and so it was in the news. Several people had complained to the police chief that Charlotte was being given "a black eye" from the reports, painting a lurid picture of the city. Police Chief Frank Littlejohn said that the city was no worse than any other city of comparable size, and that since it was the largest city in the Carolinas, there was naturally more sexual deviation than in other cities in the Carolinas. He said that the report made it seem, however, that they had a park where such sexual deviates congregated, but that such a notion was ridiculous, that since the formation of the Youth Bureau, they had taken more action in cases involving sex offenses or attempts to commit same than they had ever done before. The local Juvenile Court judge expressed concern about the report that three persons, an oil company executive, a State employee, and an Army Criminal Investigations Division officer, had been, according to the Charlotte detective's testimony, arrested in the previous few days on charges of sexual deviancy and held for arraignment in Juvenile Court, pointing out that three persons had been arraigned before the court in the previous two months on sex-related charges, but not during the prior few days. At least two of the city's psychiatrists also expressed concerns about the reports of the testimony of the detective, one saying that he believed sexual deviancy was no more prevalent in Charlotte than in other cities of comparable size and that sexual deviates were "essentially sick", the other psychiatrist, president of the North Carolina Neuropsychiatric Association, saying that he had not yet been informed of the proposed bill and thus could not comment.

Helen Parks of The News indicates that at the meeting the previous night in Charlotte of the court of appeals of the Methodist Churches Southeastern Jurisdiction, a Georgia Methodist minister had been given a one-year suspension, calling the action "a monstrosity". He had been suspended the previous July 8 after a church trial had found him guilty of "un-Christian tempers, words and actions" and "imprudent and unministerial conduct", the trial having heard from 62 witnesses over the course of six days. The preacher said that the whole thing was an attempt to stop his paper, titled "One Methodist Voice", in which he fought against Communism and published the beliefs of 90 percent of the Methodist laymen, claiming that he could take some of the primary Methodist literature from a period of years and compile from it the basic economic beliefs of Karl Marx. When asked whether he was sometimes called the "McCarthy of the Methodists", he replied that his circumstances might be comparable to the way Senator McCarthy had been treated, catching "the firetruck instead of the firebug", even though the firetruck, he admitted, might sometimes injure someone on the way to the fire; but the end, he believed, justified the means. He had been given a sabbatical leave at the 1953 conference and at that time, his publication was condemned and the conference expressed complete confidence in the Christian integrity and patriotic loyalty of the church brethren who had been attacked by the paper. He admitted to having pointed out some of the churchmen by name whom he claimed taught the economic theory of Karl Marx. Those Methodist radical leftwing Commies support the integration of the poor little schoolchildren. If that ain't Karl Marx, what the hell is it?

Emery Wister of The News indicates that a photographer had crawled into a hole with the groundhog this date and that therefore there were no pictures of the groundhog or the weather man, that the groundhog had come out of his hole and had stayed quite awhile before the sun came out and scared him back in, that there would therefore, according to legend, be six more weeks of bad weather. He relates of having thought that the weather forecaster might call on the groundhog for some assistance this date, and so had picked up a photographer and headed for the weather station at the municipal airport, where they spotted the weather man hoping to get a glimpse of the groundhog. So the photographer, who had hoped to get a picture of the weather man catching his glimpse of the groundhog, prepared to take the photograph, only to discover that he had the wrong shutter in his camera—presumably meaning the wrong lens or film speed as cameras do not have interchangeable shutters—, and so could not take the picture, going back to the airport and crawling into the hole with the groundhog, where he would continue to be for six weeks, regardless of the interim weather. Mr. Wister says that in the meantime, one should look for some warm, cloudy weather for the ensuing two days, with the high this date of 60 and the low the following day of 34.

In Long Beach, Calif., an 80-year old man and his bride were honeymooning at home this date after a 600-mile round-trip by ambulance to Las Vegas to be married, with the man lying on a stretcher during the ceremony after he had suffered a hip fracture a week earlier. He married his 62-year old nurse and housekeeper, after the Long Beach license bureau had turned his application down the previous week, with the chief clerk explaining that the rejection had only been temporary until the man could produce a doctor's certificate regarding his physical condition. Instead of obtaining that certificate, he paid an ambulance firm $300 to obtain the quickie Las Vegas marriage—apparently, at the time, a community not too concerned about the potential spread of social diseases, because, as the saying goes, what happens in Las Vegas stays in Las Vegas.

On the editorial page, "Big Job Ahead for Civic Tailors" indicates that if proposed perimeter zoning and subdivision control bills before the General Assembly at present were not approved soon, fast-growing Charlotte and its suburbs would face difficulties in adjusting, facts of which the planning experts had been aware for many years, while political timidity had prevented progress.

During the week, however, the Mecklenburg County legislative delegation had unanimously approved several bills sent to Raleigh by the Charlotte City Council and the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners. One such measure would authorize the creation of a zoning board of adjustment, with five members representing the City and five representing the County, while the other bill would provide the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Planning Commission supervisory control over the establishment of plats and subdivisions, with transfer of lots in unapproved subdivisions being made a misdemeanor. It finds the two bills to have a commendable purpose in helping to provide for the orderly growth of metropolitan Charlotte and recommends that the Assembly pass them.

"'Give Us Hope'–The Prisoners' Plea" remarks on the four prisoners in the Massachusetts State Prison who, a couple of weeks earlier, had taken five guards hostage, eventually releasing them unharmed, after they had told their story to Erwin D. Canham of the Christian Science Monitor and to a doctor and two chaplains of the prison, their basic premise having been that they wanted hope that they might achieve release at some time in the future, admitting their crimes and the need to pay their debt to society. They showed Mr. Canham the cells in which they were confined for up to 20 days at a time, receiving only a loaf of bread and some water each day, the cells having a granite floor and walls, and the men forced to sleep on the bare floor without bedding. Each had been sentenced to long terms of imprisonment, in the cases of two of them, to life, and the other two not set to be released until 1998 and 2002, respectively.

It indicates that, periodically, such an outbreak or attempted outbreak would occur as had been the case in Massachusetts, or a mysterious death of a prisoner within the prisons would take place, focusing attention on the ills of the system. But then the press would leave and the prison brutality, homosexuality or hopelessness again would occur, until another death or escape or attempted escape would focus attention again on the situation. It asks what was the answer for providing prisoners with hope and rehabilitation while also providing protection to society.

Ralph S. Banay, formerly in charge of the psychiatric clinic at Sing Sing, had suggested in the current New York Times Magazine abolition of prisons as such, rehabilitating convicted defendants in hospital-like institutions while placing those not receptive to rehabilitative therapy in custodial institutions.

It finds the suggestion overbroad, but also worthy of some consideration at least for some prisoners, finding that there was "too much of the Old Testament idea of an eye for an eye in the present prison system, and not enough application of New Testament philosophy and modern rehabilitation techniques." It indicates that most prisoners in the Federal and North Carolina state prison systems were recidivists, whose first incarceration had usually been a "post-graduate course in crime", learning from the other inmates how to be a more efficient and potentially dangerous criminal. It tells of other countries, such as Sweden, having only a few thousand prisoners because they allowed periodic home leave, enabling prisoners to maintain normal ties to their homes and a measure of self-respect. That, at least, permitted the prisoners to have some hope, and suggests that it was worth trying such a program among the many prisoners whose occasional release would not endanger the public.

"Literary Score Card: One for Three" indicates that the judges of the 1955 National Book Awards had conferred one out of three correct awards, that being in the non-fiction category for The Measure of Man by Joseph Wood Krutch. He had written with considerable eloquence on the subject of what was man, answering the disturbing teachings of some social scientists that man was at best only an animal and at worst an animated machine, by finding that man's consciousness led, through logical sequence, to moral responsibility through choice, not simply rendering him the helpless victim of environment. He suggested that society magnified man's rights but minimized his capacities, asking how there could be objection to enslavement of mankind unless it was assumed that men were capable of freedom.

It finds that Mr. Krutch deserved to win the award, although he had strong competition from Elmer Davis, E. B. White and Carl Sandburg.

But it finds less justification for the awards in the fiction category, going to William Faulkner for A Fable, and in the poetry category, to The Collected Poems of Wallace Stevens. It concedes that Mr. Faulkner was probably the country's greatest living novelist but hated to see him win with an inferior book. e. e. cummings had received few honors for his original and important poetry and deserved the top poetry prize somewhat more than had Mr. Stevens, who had received it once before, with Mr. cummings only receiving a "special citation".

It concludes that few, however, could really complain about such literary stars as Messrs. Stevens, Faulkner and Krutch having won the three awards.

A piece from the Johnson (Tenn.) Press-Chronicle, titled "'Whoopee,' Maybe", tells of an argument transpiring in the letters column of the London Times regarding whether it was appropriate to have two "hips" or three prior to exclaiming "hurrah!"

It indicates favoring economy and time-saving in all things, and so suggests that two such hips would be sufficient, or they could just say "whoopee" and let it go at that.

James Rathburn, former member of the now-defunct Charlotte Redevelopment Commission in 1952-53, writing from San Juan, Puerto Rico, tells of currently performing a similar planning task for San Juan, involving slum clearance, says that the slums of San Juan were far worse than the slums of Charlotte, but that positive action had been undertaken in San Juan toward slum clearance, while his recent visit to Charlotte had revealed that little had yet been done in the task of clearance of the worst of the slums, with the same creek running beside the Brooklyn neighborhood, serving as both a playground for the children and an open sewage dump.

He suggests that the spirit afoot in San Juan might serve as example to Charlotte, San Juan's efforts being almost wholly based on basic ingenuity, ability and the moral fiber of the people, lacking the financial resources available to Charlotte.

He had sensed a "quiet sureness" among the people of Charlotte and had witnessed some construction downtown which showed some inclination toward slum clearance, hopes that the sureness was of being "up to great things" and "not an absorption in the daily routine which had resulted from the answers which our predecessors had given to their challenges. Each age has its own problems. Ignoring them is worse than not solving them."

Drew Pearson relates of a few ways the Administration could cut costs, starting with renewal of the Renegotiation Act, which Secretary of Commerce Sinclair Weeks had convinced the President not to submit for renewal after it had expired at the end of 1954, despite the fact that former President Truman had sought renewal each time the Act expired. The Act permitted the Government to renegotiate contracts when defense contractors were shown to be profiteering, but with the expiration, that was no longer available, such that defense contractors could collect from the Government if their costs were to run higher than expected but not the reverse, should their costs run lower.

Another potential area for savings was the elimination of family air rides on Government planes, citing the example of Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Anderson, who had arranged to fly his son to Williams College in Massachusetts aboard two Government planes, which were flying to the areas in question anyway, and, Mr. Anderson indicated, his son had two large trunks. Mr. Pearson said that the facts were true, but that other college students could not avail themselves of Government planes just because they had two large trunks to transport to college.

A related area of potential savings was in spousal trips along with members of Congress or other Government representatives, citing an example of a woman who worked as Scott McLeod's assistant in the State Department security office and was a contact of Senator McCarthy, and had accompanied her husband, publisher of American Aviation, on a trip to Paris on the pretext of investigating the American Consulate there, believing that they were displaying pictures of former Presidents Roosevelt and Truman, which she wanted removed. She found no such pictures, but did find a picture of Beirut and that there was no flag in the room where passport visas were issued, and no rug on the floor, because of the tight State Department budget. She thus ordered a rug from the already scant Voice of America budget, removal of the picture of Beirut, and that a flag be placed in the passport room. She was writing a 40-page report on her findings, but it had not been finished despite the trip having been completed four months earlier, at a time, he indicates, when vacations in Paris were sought.

Another area was the elimination of brothers-in-law from the Government payroll, citing the example of an 18-year veteran of the Civil Service, the regional Western administrator for the Bureau of Land Management in Salt Lake City, having been transferred despite being protected by civil service regulations from such movement, and, when he complained, Secretary of Interior Douglas McKay had told him to move anyway and threatened to demote him, at which point he had resigned. It turned out that his replacement in Salt Lake City was the brother-in-law of Senator Herman Welker of Idaho, who had served as an office boy for the Senator and had only been in the Interior Department for 90 days.

The final area of suggestion of which he relates involved the sending of the aircraft carrier Midway to South Africa, "the most segregated anti-Negro nation in the world", it having been strict Navy policy previously under the Truman Administration for the Navy to avoid ports in segregated countries. The chief fixer for the Administration, Max Rabb, called in a reporter from a black newspaper, the Chicago Defender, and another reporter from the Associated Negro Press, seeking to explain the incident by indicating that it was a good demonstration to the South Africans of how non-segregated democracy worked, that the South Africans had been able to come aboard the ship and see how white and black sailors shared the same quarters. Mr. Rabb had put out the same explanation generally and later inspired a story in the New York Times. But the reality had been that when the black and other non-white sailors had gone ashore in South Africa, they had been ordered to visit only carefully segregated areas, and black personnel had been ordered to mingle only with other blacks, arranged in advance by the captain of the Midway, in cooperation with the U.S. consul, again in contradiction to previous Navy policy during the Truman Administration. Mr. Pearson notes that there had actually only been 60 black sailors among the 600 non-white sailors, that the others had been Filipinos and Japanese Americans, all of whom had been segregated, which U.S. diplomats felt was not the best appearance to present just as the Afro-Asian conference to stop Communism was about to get underway.

Joseph Alsop, still in Rangoon, reports of the optimism and pride apparent in the people of the city, confident in a new way of life in Free Burma, if only the rest of world would leave them alone, as one wise physician in the city had related to him.

The latter conditional statement implied something important for Americans to realize, that there were things about which to worry in Asia other than the future of Formosa. The greatest concern in the long run was the political chain reaction which had started after the surrender of the French in Northern Indo-China, spreading to South Vietnam and if not halted at the border, would spread next to Laos and Cambodia, and if those states were to fall to the Communists, next would come Thailand and the rest of South Asia.

Despite Chinese Communist Premier and Foreign Minister Chou En-lai's "smooth professions" to the Burmese Government, the Communists had already prepared instruments of pressure for future use in Burma, having established "Autonomous Federations" to stir up the Kachin and Thai peoples on the frontiers, their "progressive" front organizations which the Chinese were financing in Rangoon, and their remaining insurgents. While those things did not matter much at present, if Thailand were to fall, leaving the Communists on three borders of Burma, and if the timid and doubtful were to be swayed by new Communist triumphs, then the situation would come to pass, as Burma's Premier U Nu had warned India's Prime Minister Nehru, that the fall of Thailand would render Burma's position "untenable", even without armed aggression.

But neither the Asian nor Western leaders were doing much to avert such a tragedy, despite India's and Burma's futures being at stake. The leaders of Burma and India were reluctant to commit themselves to any substantial effort to stop the chain reaction in Laos and Cambodia, where it presently could be halted. And American leaders were preoccupied with the Formosan situation, to which the Burmese demonstrated a blasé attitude, while the Americans appeared to forget about the potential loss of all of South Asia and its impact on the balance of world power.

A letter writer wonders whether families with broken homes had parents who had read the Bible and prayed in the home, and whether they lived a clean, Christian life so that their sons and daughters would follow in their footsteps, whether there was kindness and love in the homes, whether the mother was making a home or "off playing cards and drinking beer". She warns that someday, their sons and daughters would face them at the judgment and that they would be required to answer for how they had raised a child God had entrusted to them.

A letter writer indicates that all war, with its false values, was the "apex of evil", that each person was endowed with some aspect of the "Divine Spirit", and collectively, all persons were sacred, that to destroy human life thus violated moral law. He indicates that with the advent of nuclear weapons, war, as an instrument of national policy, had become obsolete, and that conflict, which was inevitable, could be resolved by civilized, nonviolent means. He favors mediating and arbitrating international disputes, that any other method was "tragic folly", finding the U.N. to be the best hope for peace.

A letter writer from Rockville, Md., indicates that he had been a reader of The News for some time and thoroughly enjoyed the newspaper, but had found a recent letter, regarding objection to white taxpayers having to pay for a black hospital in the community, to communicate hatred and jealousy for black persons. He wonders if the previous writer had closely examined whites, indicating that there was good and bad in every race. He is thankful for the Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education, saying that education covered a lot of ground, but that it did not necessarily cultivate it.

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