The Charlotte News

Wednesday, February 23, 1955


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the President this date, at his press conference, found the Democratic proposal to cut taxes by $20 per person starting the ensuing January 1, to be the height of fiscal irresponsibility, and criticized the Democratic sponsors of the bill for not putting it forward as a separate measure, instead incorporating it with the President's tax plan to postpone implementation of the scheduled April 1 cuts in corporate and excise taxes, thus presenting ultimately, if passed, a dilemma for the President as to whether to veto the bill. He did not provide a flat answer when asked whether there could be a tax cut in 1956, but said that he hoped that there could be. He stated that he was not insisting that the budget be in perfect balance before any taxes were reduced. As to other matters, he stated that he personally looked askance at the idea of offering surplus American wheat to the Soviets, but that he had ordered a study of the idea. He said that on the basis of prior history, he saw no reason for tremendous optimism regarding disarmament, that first there had to be evidence that each party to any such agreement was acting in good faith, and in that event, the U.S. would go as far as anyone else in seeking that outcome. Regarding Formosa, he said that he was already on record as favoring exploration of every possible means which could lead to a cease-fire in that area, as presently before the U.N.

Senator Harry F. Byrd of Virginia said this date that he was convinced that the President's 101-billion dollar highway program for the ensuing decade was "just pure porkbarrel" politics because 27 populous states would obtain windfall payments from the Federal Government for toll roads which they had already constructed and would be able to spend that money for things other than the superhighway system proposed by the President. He said that he would oppose it as inflationary at a time when the economy was booming, and that he could not understand why the Administration was proposing deficit spending. Senator Albert Gore of Tennessee, in a separate interview, said that the program proposed "irresponsible financing" by earmarking for 30 years a portion of Federal gasoline and diesel oil taxes for construction of the superhighways. But Senator Francis Case of South Dakota, sponsor of the bill, said that the President had an "open mind" on the controversial issue regarding how to finance the plan. Senator Case said that he believed there ought be some amendments made but believed that some form of the bill would get out of the Public Works subcommittee, chaired by Senator Gore, to which it had been assigned. That subcommittee had called representatives of the American Farm Bureau Federation, the National Grange and the AFL to provide testimony this date. Senator Gore had proposed an alternative program under which Federal aid for highways would be boosted from the present level of 875 million to 1.6 billion annually, with Federal and state matching funds being retained. Under the President's program, the Federal Government would pay into the program 31 billion dollars, 25 billion of which would be earmarked for a 4,000-mile network of interstate highways, and the other six billion for improvement of roads connecting major cities, farm-to-market roads, urban streets, and highways on Federal lands.

Senator Arthur Watkins of Utah said this date that Harvey Matusow, the former Communist who had turned paid informant and witness for the Government but had now recanted his prior statements and testimony as lies, apparently was "deliberately trying to destroy" other former Communists who testified for the Government in trials and Congressional hearings, without having "any real knowledge about them". Senator Watkins was a member of the Senate Internal Security subcommittee, which had the previous day ended two days of questioning of Mr. Matusow, amid threats to prosecute him for his admitted prior perjury. Senator James Eastland of Mississippi, chairman of the subcommittee, said that they would seek to have the Justice Department charge him with perjury and had forwarded a transcript of his testimony. The previous day, he had named Elizabeth Bentley, Louis Budenz, Manning Johnson and Paul Crouch as having also provided false testimony before Congressional committees through the years, all having been admitted former Communists and frequent Government witnesses in trials. Mr. Budenz had responded in New York that it was the "second stage of the Communist attack on internal security", that they had planned since 1950 to attack Government witnesses. The others implicated had not been available yet for comment. Senator John McClellan of Arkansas, also on the subcommittee, had asked Mr. Matusow whether he was prepared to pay his debt to society by pleading guilty to perjury, and Mr. Matusow had responded in a loud voice that he would "gladly join" the other four he had implicated "wherever they go—in any Federal prison," adding, however, that he would not go alone if the Government sought to make him a scapegoat, that in that event, he would fight.

From Las Vegas, it was reported that atomic scientists would consult weather charts this date to determine whether a third test detonation in a series of nuclear tests would go forth as scheduled the following morning, with unfavorable winds possibly again postponing the test. The flash from the second test, which had occurred at Yucca Flat the previous early morning from atop a 300-foot tower, had been observed in San Francisco, Sacramento and Los Angeles, as much as 500 miles away.

In London, a Russian airliner with Soviet Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko aboard, had overshot the London Airport twice this date, but had finally landed safely. The plane had flown from Moscow to London, where Mr. Gromyko would represent the Soviet Union at a U.N. disarmament subcommittee meeting scheduled to start on Friday.

In New York, the Eastern Sea Frontier Command would continue to search for any evidence of two submarines reported observed off the coast of Nag's Head, N.C., but that thus far, there had been no trace found of the reported submarines, which coastal residents claimed to have seen 3 to 5 miles offshore, heading south. The Coast Guard had relayed the report to the Navy the previous day, whereupon an airplane had been dispatched from Norfolk, along with a blimp from Weeksville, N.C., to engage in the search. A spokesman for the Frontier Command said that there were no U.S. submarines in that area, and that the part of the shore at the location was only 50 feet deep, that submarines operating in that depth did not make sense. He theorized that fishing boats in the area might have been mistaken for submarines when seen at a distance. It could've been a con job.

In Charlotte, 28 defendants cited for speeding, caught by the newly deployed "whammy" speed-detection devices in the city, had failed to appear and thus forfeited their bonds, all having been caught since the device had been deployed for the first time the previous day. The City will thus have its bond, a pound of flesh, no more, no less. But we warrant you: lay off the Porsches, as they are only VW's in disguise.

Dick Young of The News reports that the first major change in the city's five-million dollar railroad grade separation program had been recommended, according to City Manager Henry Yancey this date. He provides details in case you are insatiably curious about the matter.

In the first part of a report by Associated Press correspondent Austin Adkinson regarding the recovery of the eastern Carolinas beaches from Hurricane Hazel of the prior mid-October, he quotes a man in a service station at a South Carolina beach, who had commented that he did not want to be a "Gloomy Gus", but did not know whether the beaches would ever be like they had been. He was the only person, however, of some 200 questioned during a tour of the beaches who thought that Hazel had amounted to more than a temporary setback for the area, which had adopted the slogan "bigger and better" for its rebuilding effort. Mr. Adkinson found no trace of bitterness or self-pity in the area, though there was considerable grumbling about insurance settlements, but not about the storm, itself. Most of the victims four months after the storm were taking a philosophical attitude, that it had happened only once in their lifetimes and probably would not ever again occur. A wife of one of the developers of Surfside, S.C., and a former Florence schoolteacher and social worker, typified the attitude when she expressed optimism about the development and brisk rate of property sales, saying that when one had lost everything, they had to be optimistic. Officials at Myrtle Beach predicted a 50 percent increase in demand for rentals during the current year, with the head of the Chamber of Commerce saying that he would not advise anyone to come to the area without a reservation after June 1, that his office had received some 3,000 inquiries in January, compared to only about 4,000 the previous June.

On the editorial page, "Mopping up a Fiscal Mess" begins by quoting from Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice: "The sins of the father are to be laid upon the children." It proceeds to explain that Charlotte Mayor Philip Van Every, in discussing the previous day the pensions for Charlotte's firemen, had said that the present firemen should not be made to suffer for past mistakes, that it would be "like visiting the sins of the fathers upon the third and fourth generations."

The Fire Department had inherited a retirement plan which was actuarially unsound, after City authorities had foolishly permitted the system to be installed years earlier without expert guidance or advice, resulting now in a large unfunded accrued liability. The City thus had to bail out the Fire Department, while the firemen were willing to help themselves by increasing their contributions from 5 to 6.48 percent.

It indicates that it would take time and money to straighten out the problem, but as the Mayor had said, the governing authorities had both a moral and financial obligation to the firemen to see that their retirement program was placed on a workable and sound footing, urging that the new plan be endorsed by the City Council and sent to the General Assembly for the necessary State legislative action in approving it.

"What the Bangkok Meeting Means" indicates that rival games of pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey were shaping up in global hotspots around Soviet Russia, with the Southeast Asian defense conference getting underway this date in Bangkok, working on the premise that Communist expansion was the chief threat presently facing the world, and the Afro-Asian conference being scheduled for the coming April in Indonesia, probably set to consider the notion that the Western white man's imperialism was what Africa and Asia feared most. It indicates that both meetings were important and could affect the balance of world power and prestige, with the U.S. having an obvious stake in the outcome given the possibility that failure of the conferences could set the stage for the extension of Communist domination to broad areas of the free world, inside and outside the immediate Afro-Asian target area.

The conference at Bangkok had as a goal making the Manila Pact, establishing SEATO the prior September, a living thing, to provide organizational substance and precise military commitments under it, thereby erecting a military barrier against any overt aggression from Communist China and North Vietnam. Among other things, the establishment of police training programs would be required, along with a system of exchange of information useful in combating Communist subversion from within. An additional task would be to cut the ground from under the Communists by fostering the economic development of Asia, thus raising the standard of living of the Asian people. The economic challenge would thus be as serious as the military challenge.

The Communist world was providing economic and technical assistance to Afghanistan, offering to build a steel mill in India, and dangling trading bait for the Japanese. Communist China also was being rapidly industrialized. The problem facing the Western democracies was to provide millions of Asians outside the Communist sphere some hope of relief from suffering, a guarantee of freedom, and a promise of progress and happiness, thus, in so doing, assuring the survival of the U.S.

"Cavaliers, Carolina, & Common Sense" indicates that while there was never any place so humble as Virginia, Virginians were not humble and never had been. Two Virginia officials, who had introduced themselves grandly as "ambassadors of the State of Virginia", had visited Raleigh the previous week, and before mounting white stallions and galloping back to the plantation, they had managed to put in a bad word for North Carolina and a good word for Virginia. One of them, H. H. Purcell of the Virginia House of Delegates, in discussing segregation, stated that he was "alarmed at somewhat of a defeatist attitude" detected in North Carolina, saying that in Virginia, they believed that where there was a will, there was a way, and that they had the will and believed they could find the way to keep Virginia as Southern as it had always been.

It responds: "Well now, suh, we all in No'th Carolina can be just as suth'n as cawnbread and chittlin's when we take a notion to be." It goes on that being Southern did not mean, however, that the state had to be blind to the political, social and economic realities of the age, that the atmosphere in the state was not one of "defeatism" and never had been, that rather it was one of energy and ambition, setting the state apart from some of its Southern neighbors, enjoying a national reputation for progressive outlook and action, particularly in industrial development, education and race relations.

It indicates that North Carolina's segregation problem was as complex as that of any other Southern state, and that it was attacking the problem with "cool wisdom, common sense and discretion." There was hardly any of the "sulky arrogance" evident in some other states, that while North Carolina had differences of opinion on the subject, it also had a Governor in Luther Hodges who was the voice of moderation and reason, as were others. It concludes that it would solve the problems as it had problems in the past, with intelligence, hard work and patience, remaining "Southern" without "defeatism".

A piece from the Plainview (Tex.) Evening Herald, titled "Desire To Get Ahead", indicates that even before the Horatio Alger books had become popular, the desire to get ahead had been a well-respected quality in the country, but that on the highways, it was something else. When someone tried to get ahead of the traffic line by sneaking into a small gap ahead of another car, only to wind up, miles down the road, still in the same position, no time at all was saved.

Employers Mutual of Wausau had reported that after two cars had been driven the same 300 miles of highway in a special test, one driven at a top speed of 65 mph and averaging 46 mph, passing 126 other vehicles, and the other driven at 50 mph top speed, averaging 43 mph, and passing only 62 other vehicles, the faster vehicle was found to have made the trip in six hours and 25 minutes, while the slower had completed the course in six hours and 50 minutes, the faster vehicle utilizing 11 percent more gas and 50 percent more oil, plus an unquantifiable amount of additional risk, just to save 25 minutes.

Well, why doesn't Mutual of Omaha do a study measuring the speed of the wildlife observed each week by Marlin Perkins?

Drew Pearson indicates that after nearly two months of having called no meetings of the House Labor and Education Committee, except one to organize it, the chairman, Congressman Graham Barden of North Carolina, was this date holding hearings on the school construction bill. Ordinarily, Mr. Barden, being a former schoolteacher, would be strongly supportive of helping education, but intended to block any school bill which would ban segregation as a condition for receipt of Federal aid. Republican Senators Irving Ives of New York and George Bender of Ohio had also attacked the segregation ban, thus harming chances of the bill getting out of the Committee. Mr. Pearson comments that the condition would win votes in Harlem and Cincinnati, but would never get the bill through Congress. Congressmen Cleveland Bailey of West Virginia and Carroll Kearns of Pennsylvania, the former a Democrat and the latter a Republican, were arguing that non-segregation was already the law of the land and that the Supreme Court therefore needed no additional legislation for support of its ruling, thus persuading Mr. Barden to proceed with the school bill hearings. Mr. Bailey had urged passage of the bill sponsored by Mr. Kearns, rather than supporting the Democratic bill, obtaining thereby more Republican support and enabling a better chance of passage. Mr. Pearson concludes that it was a safe bet, however, that the President's school bill, providing for aid in the form of enabling bond issues for poorer districts which could not afford them or were already bonded to the limit, plus only a small amount, 200 million dollars, of direct aid for the poorest districts, would not pass, as both Democrats and Republicans considered it inadequate.

RNC chairman Leonard Hall might not still be chairman by the beginning of the 1956 campaign. Despite the fact that the President liked him, he felt happier with Jim Murphy, head of the Citizens for Eisenhower Committee, and so Mr. Hall might receive a prize appointment in the Government, the law business of GAF, the big German company seized and operated by the U.S. Government after the war. He would thus receive a salary of $75,000 per year. For awhile, it appeared that former Governor Thomas Dewey of New York would receive that position, but word had gotten to the Justice Department from Mr. Dewey several months earlier that his old friend and gubernatorial and presidential campaign manager, Attorney General Herbert Brownell, should clean all the Democratic holdovers from GAF management, which was why Jack Frye, a Republican appointed by former President Truman, had been ousted as president of the company. Mr. Dewey apparently was not seeking the legal business for himself but rather as an easy way for Mr. Hall to retire as RNC chairman. Mr. Pearson notes that the top jobs in U.S.-seized foreign companies had usually become political appointments, such as that of Louis Johnson, former Secretary of Defense under President Truman, who had been the former counsel for GAF. Mr. Frye was an old friend of former Attorney General and now-Supreme Court Justice Tom Clark, who had gotten him the GAF job after Mr. Frye left TWA.

The strategy behind the Republican plan to hold their national convention at the latest date ever, after Labor Day, was based on two reasons, that those around the President understood that he did not like a long campaign, that it wore him out, made him nervous, interfered with his doctors' orders to take regular rests, and that if they imposed a three-month long campaign on him, he might refuse to run. In addition, the Republican campaign experts also believed that by astute use of their advertising friends on Madison Avenue in New York, they could accomplish the same political results in six weeks which they could during the customary 12 weeks. Mr. Pearson describes the process of the 1952 Republican presidential campaign, when a major advertising agency was employed to make one-minute television and radio spots featuring the General answering supposed questions of voters, then persuading the large advertisers to relinquish network time to air them, and because those advertisers were Republicans, with only one major New York advertising agency being Democratic, it had been simply a matter of obtaining the television and radio time. The strategy had worked so well in 1952 that they intended to repeat it in 1956.

Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., in an abstract of a piece from Partisan Review, examines the term "egghead" as it developed in usage during the 1952 presidential campaign, starting with Stewart Alsop consulting his brother, John, active in Connecticut politics, who had said in September that the intellectuals who had deserted General Eisenhower for Governor Adlai Stevenson could be dismissed as the "egghead" vote. Stewart Alsop then used the term in a September 26 column, after which it came to mean a group of amiable intellectuals surrounding Governor Stevenson and those who had flocked to his support on the notion that the Governor, himself an "egghead", was one of them, a man of ideas, different from FDR, who had only superficial notions of art and literature and, though having eggheads around him, diluted them with professional politicians and military men less given to ideas about public policy than to practical retail politics. Governor Stevenson, by contrast, was literate, urbane and gave the impression of being of a more humane culture.

The intellectuals wanted a victory for the Governor, not to attain policy objectives, but to affirm "an interior sense of admiration and of belief", especially in light of the anti-intellectualism at work at the time in the country, stirred always by the business community and in no small part since February, 1950 by Senator McCarthy who distrusted intellectuals and branded them as sympathizers to the Communists.

The support of the Governor by the intellectuals was not, in itself, a major segment of the electorate, but Republicans became irritated by the literary and academic ranks closing around the Democrat. In the closing weeks of the campaign, the Republicans made a calculated effort to exploit the accumulating exasperation, at which point "egghead" began to take on a negative, even sinister, connotation, with Senator McCarthy taking on the subject in two nationwide broadcasts, though never using the term, per se, attacking those around the Governor as elitists. Others, such as Louis Bromfield, an admirer of Senator McCarthy, proclaimed that "egghead" meant "a certain shady element of our American population … a person of intellectual pretensions, often a professor or the protege of a professor … superficial in approach to any problem … feminine … supercilious … surfeited with conceit … a doctrinaire … supporter of middle-European socialism … a self-conscious prig … a bleeding heart."

The resounding Republican victory on election day had given license to those sentiments and, in a sense, established them in power, even though President Eisenhower, himself, was not anti-intellectual and had appointed three other college presidents, as he had been at Columbia, to his Administration. But those within the Administration were less admiring of intellectualism. And many Republican members of Congress sought to take advantage of their victory by tracking down intellectuals within academia and accusing them of Communist sympathies. (Mr. Schlesinger does not mention the fact that the trend had actually begun during the 80th Congress in 1947-48 with the HUAC and Senate Internal Security Committee investigations, interrupted after the unexpected re-election of President Truman and return of Congressional control to the Democrats for the ensuing two Congresses.)

Now, as a consequence of the 1952 election, the intellectual in the country, he posits, was in a position not known for a generation, since the 1920's, when there was a streak of anti-intellectualism at work. But then the intellectual could turn to satire as a refuge to escape the social pressures. Now, however, the cold war and the Soviet threat had narrowed the available avenues of escape such that freedom had to take second place to the requirements of security and survival.

He suggests that intellectuals had, in some cases, forfeited respect or sympathy because of arrogance and egotism displayed when riding high, often accompanied by "political imbecility". Yet, the rightist demagogues had narrowed the alternatives far beyond necessity, such that intellectuals were receiving far more than deserved at the hands of Senator McCarthy and his followers, becoming the scapegoats for every ill of society.

The intellectual was now on the run in society and could not escape through silence or offering service to the country, and he suggests that they ought at least be willing to recognize their class interests and realize that they could not escape politics, even if having an aversion to it. If intellectuals withdrew from it all, as appeared to be the trend, then they had no one to blame but themselves should Senator McCarthy become the "Commissar".

A letter writer indicates that he had been astonished that a State Senate committee had reported favorably a bill which fixed the price of milk, favoring the milk processors and distributors, while hurting consumers. He says that he had an investment in a milk processing plant and so the law could benefit him, but finds it nevertheless to be legislation in the interest of a restricted class and surprising therefore that the General Assembly would pass it. He says that members had reasoned that the bill treated milk as a public utility and therefore that the price-fixing was justified, but that normally when the State fixed public utility rates, it fixed the maximum, rather than the minimum, whereas the present bill authorized the Milk Commission to fix the minimum retail and wholesale prices, while not instructing or authorizing the Commission to prevent unreasonably high prices to protect the public, directing the processor to charge at least the fixed price. He finds it a "monstrous thing".

A letter writer from Laurinburg indicates that as a farmer who had lived his entire life on the farm until his health had failed and he was required to give up the farm, he now could no longer find work because employers did not wish to employ people as old as 69. He is thankful for Social Security, however, now helping the older farmers.

A letter from the executive secretary of the Mecklenburg Unit of the American Cancer Society thanks the newspaper for its help in promoting the recent Cancer Forum, which had such favorable public reaction that they believed it ought be made an annual event.

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