The Charlotte News

Thursday, February 24, 1955


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the President's Commission on Inter-governmental Relations had received a report this date indicating that Federal aid was not necessary for the construction of new schools to accommodate the need for an estimated additional 300,000 classrooms. The report from the Commission's study group recommended that the Government gradually withdraw from the school lunch program, sharply curtail its aid to vocational education and not participate in assistance to community libraries. It stated that Federal aid was not necessary for either current operating expenses or capital expenditures for new public school facilities, that the states could afford to spend more of their own money for the purposes. The President had proposed a program whereby the Government would offer help to states in floating their bonds, but only 200 million dollars for direct aid to needy school districts, a program which many in Congress believed was too stingy. Representative Cleveland Bailey of West Virginia had stated that the program proposed by the President was "wholly inadequate" and wanted to draft a new bill, while Representative Ralph Gwinn of New York, a Republican, opposed any Federal aid program, saying that the President had been "grossly misinformed" on the need for classrooms in the public schools.

In Bangkok, it was reported that representatives of the eight nations, including the U.S., which had signed the Manila Pact the prior September, forming SEATO, were meeting this date to take specific steps to implement the treaty, setting up a Council of Representatives with ambassadorial status, headquartered in Bangkok, and approving the formation of a committee on military affairs, after which military attaches attending the conference went right to work on the committee as temporary members. The delegates then began discussing anti-subversion action and overall economic problems in the Far East. Secretary of State Dulles told the conference that a general answer to Communist subversion would not be found at the current meeting, but that the U.S. would be prepared to designate a security representative to sit with the representatives of the other nations and work out details of future plans. A working paper submitted to the conference called for mutual assistance, exchange of information on suspected persons and their activities, propaganda, and exchange of information on the movements of known Communists. Harold Stassen, head of the U.S. Foreign Operations Administration for administering foreign aid, arrived at the conference just before the economic questions were discussed. He told the conference that the U.S. recognized the importance of economic work in the SEATO area and would cooperate with the other seven nations. He said that while the U.S. would give preference to the SEATO nations in affording aid, it would also continue to aid such other Asian nations as Japan, Nationalist China, South Korea, Indo-China and India. He said that economic aid in general would be supplied to each member nation, with the emphasis on defense problems. Australia's minister of external affairs said that no country presently was trying to meet the economic needs of Southeast Asia and that SEATO had to consider the countries most directly threatened, Laos, Cambodia and South Vietnam. British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden told newsmen that he expected the question of Formosa to be discussed in a dinner with Secretary Dulles and the Australian minister this night.

The Senate the previous day had passed, by a vote of 62 to 24, an increase in Congressional pay from the present $15,000 to $22,500, after the House the previous week had voted 283 to 118 for the increase to $25,000, with both versions of the measure including increases of $7,500 or $10,000, respectively, for all Federal judges. The five Senate confreres who would sit in the joint conference to reconcile the two bills included several members who had voted for at least a $25,000 salary, making it likely that the figure would be established in the final version of the bill. Senator Estes Kefauver of Tennessee, who headed the Senate group, told a reporter that they would defend the Senate position as strongly as they could, but that the House confreres were adamant about maintaining the $25,000 level and some adjustment would have to be made. Senators Harley Kilgore of West Virginia and Everett Dirksen of Illinois had supported an increase to $27,500, as recommended by a special commission the previous year, and Senator Kefauver said the previous day that he thought the $25,000 salary was fully justified. It would be the first salary increase for the legislators since 1946.

Journalists had discovered that advance copies of special messages from the President to the Congress had been winding up in the wastebasket of Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn, because of a breakdown in Democratic communication lines. Republican leaders in the House and Washington newsmen had been receiving the advance copies, but Mr. Rayburn had not received any directly. He had not complained publicly, but privately had let it be known that he did not appreciate the apparent oversight. A member of the White House press corps had called the matter to the attention of the President at his press conference the previous day, to which the President expressed surprise and said that Mr. Rayburn, as well as other members of Congress, had a standing invitation to consult with the White House at any time. Subsequently, James Hagerty, the White House press secretary, said that advance copies of the messages had been delivered to the office of the House Democratic and Republican leaders as soon as they had become available. House Majority Leader John McCormack of Massachusetts said that he did not know anything about the matter and that he had to obtain his copies from Republicans. An assistant to Mr. McCormack, however, confirmed that bundles of the messages had arrived but had been left undistributed because there was no instruction concerning their distribution, thus had been deposited in the wastebasket.

Near Windsor, Mo., a four-engined Air Force tanker plane on a refueling training mission had caught fire shortly after takeoff the previous night, then crashed and exploded, with nine of the eleven men aboard having been killed and the other two of the crew parachuting to safety. A conductor on a passing Rock Island freight train had observed the crash and stated that "in a matter of seconds, it had burst into a regular torch," then had disappeared behind a knoll, after which he saw a large flash.

In Raleigh, the chairman of the State Highway Commission, A. H. Graham, this date presented to the Commission a two-year program of primary road construction, totaling 97 million dollars, coming as a result of a recommendation by Governor Luther Hodges that the state embark on a primary road construction program in two-year stages. The Commission approved a program for 1955-56 and tentatively approved the program recommended for the following fiscal year. The projects would be subject to approval by the Federal Bureau of Public Roads, where matching Federal aid funds were subject to availability. The total cost of the program for the coming fiscal year would be nearly 49 million dollars, of which a little over 21 million would be from Federal funding, 23 million from State funding, with the balance of about 4.7 million still to be found. About the same amount would be spent in the second year of the program, with an unfunded balance of about 4.3 million.

Also in Raleigh, legislation to allow substantial punishment for sex deviates accused of molesting children under age 16 was given a favorable report by the State House Judiciary Committee No. 1 this date, approving a proposal recommended by a subcommittee as a substitute for a measure originally sponsored by Representative Arthur Goodman of Mecklenburg County. The Committee proposed that a bill, providing for treatment in mental institutions of persons found to be sexual psychopaths after psychiatric evaluation, be re-referred to the House committee on Mental Institutions. Mr. Goodman had originally introduced a single measure providing for both the increased punishment and the referral for treatment in a mental institution of appropriate candidates found amenable to treatment. Meanwhile, a Senate Roads Committee killed a couple of bills and gave favorable reports to a couple of others.

In Charlotte, Donald MacDonald of The News tells of an 18-year old girl who had married an 18-year old boy this date in a ceremony taking place in the County Jail, after which both were escorted to separate cells and the following day would appear in court to answer seven charges of store-breaking and larceny. The couple said that they had sought to get married once earlier but could not, had wanted to go to Chesterfield, S.C., to do so, but were told it would take $10 and they did not have any money. The jailer had arranged for the bride's mother to attend the ceremony, officiated by the pastor of the bride's mother. The bride had worn a navy blue dress trimmed in white with a bridal corsage of white baby carnations—which presumably went together with love and marriage. They had first met the prior September when the male had visited a North Tryon Street grill at which the bride had been a curb girl, the couple informing that he had initially been very impressed by her, but that he had made no impression on her, that he had then been introduced to her on a night in October at a luncheonette and then had taken her to the Southern States Fair, where, according to the groom, they had ridden about every ride on the midway, after which they had begun dating regularly. He said that they began going along with other young people on rides at night and would break into places because they needed the money. He had been working as an assistant to an insurance firm, canvassing customers for an agent.

In Los Angeles, a 73-year old man who had bought a pair of shoes three years earlier claimed that they had begun to hurt his feet, had sought to return them to the store where he bought them, but they had refused to accept them, had sought a refund in Small Claims Court, but had lost. The previous day, according to police, he had returned to the shoe store with a gun and fired six wild shots, but no one was injured. He was booked on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon.

Also in Los Angeles, actor Paul Douglas, who had denied saying, as quoted recently by the Greensboro (N.C.) Daily News while he was a member of the road company performing in Greensboro a production of "The Caine Mutiny Court Martial", that the South "stinks" and that it was a land of "sowbelly and segregation", had filed a defamation case in Superior Court, seeking a million dollars in damages against Paul Gregory and Gregory Associates, Inc. The defendants had canceled the national tour of the play, in which Mr. Douglas had starred as Captain Queeg, following the publication of the remarks on January 21. A spokesman for Mr. Gregory said that the company had been doing capacity business in the North but that the play had been practically boycotted in the South following the publicity surrounding the remarks. It had been scheduled to perform a seven-week Southern tour starting on February 14. The executive news editor for the Daily News stated that the newspaper believed that Mr. Douglas had been correctly quoted in the story. Mr. Douglas alleged in the civil suit that Mr. Gregory had used the attributed remarks as merely an excuse to cancel the tour, as previously he had planned to do, that as early as the previous October, he had communicated to Mr. Douglas his desire to close the performances for dissatisfaction with the financial returns. Mr. Douglas said that he had been hired the previous May for 30 weeks at $2,500 per week, later increased to $3,000, and that the statements by Mr. Gregory had damaged his reputation and impaired his ability to obtain future employment. Mr. Gregory said that he did not wish to dignify the "absurd accusations" of the complaint with a reply at the present time, that any losses of the company resulting from the cancellation was caused by the strong reactions in the South to the remarks attributed to Mr. Douglas. Insofar as the "sowbelly and segregation" remark, Mr. Douglas could have sought to resolve the matter by quoting from The Merchant of Venice: "I shall answer that better to the commonwealth than you can the getting up of the Negro's belly: the Moore is with child by you, Launcelot," further explaining that it followed on lines of Jessica, stating: "Nay, you need not fear us, Lorenzo: Launcelot and I are out. He tells me flatly, there is no mercy for me in heaven, because I am a Jew's daughter: and he says, you are no good member of the commonwealth, for in converting Jews to Christians, you raise the price of pork." He could then have suggested that the passage must have simply welled up from his subconscious mind from his days of practicing Shakespearean dialogue as part of his craft, thus excusing the matter in the eyes of the segregationists and Klansmen, who would then obviously surmise that Mr. Douglas was a man after their own hearts, and so forgive the faux pas. Thus, the matter could have been resolved without so much controversy, as no one today can much tell with any certainty what Shakespeare meant by those lines anyway, other than that conversion of Jews to Christians would raise the price of pork because of the resulting increased market for same.

In Norfolk, the Navy had completed its investigation of reported sightings of two unidentified submarines off Nag's Head, N.C., without being able to confirm the sightings. A Navy spokesman said that there was no substantiation for the sightings made by Coast Guardsmen on Tuesday morning, that the shallow water in which the sightings placed the vessels made it unlikely that submarines would be navigating in the area, and that the presence of fishing boats and whales made it likely that the sightings were in error. He said that the Navy received reports of the kind all the time, but were not publicized because of the rash of additional reports they would stimulate.

In Miami Beach, Fla., tobacco heir Richard J. Reynolds and his wife had been forced to abandon their 55-foot yacht, Scarlett O'Hara, this date because of a series of fires which had broken out while it was at sea. The couple entered a lifeboat with the yacht's captain and safely reached the beach by rowing and spreading a tarpaulin as a sail. The Coast Guard said that a fuel leak had occurred, causing the fire, as the trio were sailing from Miami Beach to Nassau in the Bahamas. The captain had extinguished the initial fire and then got underway again, but another blaze occurred and was also extinguished, after which a third fire erupted, by which point the fire extinguishers were exhausted. The yacht had burned and virtually sank, with only its prow extending above the surface. But, tomorrow is another day

On the editorial page, "Income Tax Reduction? Not Now" indicates that there were few phrases with greater appeal to most, if not all, Americans than "tax reduction", and that as a general rule, the newspaper favored it at all levels of government. But it indicates its opposition to the Democratic proposal of a $20 per person reduction in taxes starting in 1956, finding it not to make sense when the Government already had a debt of more than 278 billion dollars, to which the proposed cut would only add another two billion, when the Government was already operating at a deficit. It finds that the reduction, which would amount to only 38 cents per week, would not be worth it.

It also finds that it was imperative that Congress continue the corporate and excise taxes without the scheduled April 1 reductions, until such time as the budget was in better balance, as that reduction would cost three billion dollars in lost revenue. It asserts that the President and Senators Harry F. Byrd and Walter George were correct that there should be no tax reduction during the current year, that with no prospect in sight of materially reducing defense costs, it would be "financial irresponsibility" to do so. It concludes that the taxpayers had to keep on paying for the sake of the national welfare.

"Adult Education: Filling a Vast Need" tells with regret of the retirement from Queens College of David Pugh, who had arrived four years earlier to establish the Evening College and had made many friends in the process, helping to fill a gap in the community regarding adult education. Queens was Charlotte's major institution of higher learning, but was a small college primarily for women, many of whom were from out of the area or out of state. There had once been little personal or direct contact between the average resident of Charlotte and the College, but by establishment of the Evening College, a link had been established between Queens and the city's general population.

During the present school year, at least 600 persons had taken courses through the Evening College, ranging from "How To Select an Architect" to "Management Problems". Prominent businessmen of the city had voluntarily served on the faculty of the Evening College and many more had monitored courses in their areas of interest. It finds that the program had been good for Charlotte and for Queens, helping the city become well-rounded, and that Mr. Pugh deserved much of the credit.

"Six Feet Six, and Wearing Wedgies" indicates that one could excuse a short fellow for wearing wedgies, the elevator shoes enabling him to look his dancing partner in the eye, and that a case could be built for Senator McCarthy's admitted use of wedgies, even though he stood 5 feet 10 1/2 inches tall, for, it suggests, he wanted so badly to be a big man.

But a basketball player for Los Angeles State College, who stood 6'6" tall had been given a pair of shoes with six-inch rubber soles by his coach, when the team had played Utah, resulting in the player not scoring a point or grabbing any rebounds, his team losing 77 to 38. It finds it remindful of a time when the manager of the St. Louis Browns had put a midget in the batting rotation, good for a laugh and some publicity, but not a recipe for winning ball games.

It indicates that it gave an excuse for promoting its favorite proposed rule change for basketball, raising the goal to 25 feet, giving extremely tall players only a small advantage. It suggests, however, that in that event, some teams would equip their players with pogo sticks, and so also proposes that the basket be lowered to about two feet to give the shorter players a break. Anyone who would complain that the sport would then resemble hockey would have to have it pointed out that there was already such similarity.

A piece from the Richmond News Leader, titled "Pay Them What They're Worth", tells of one of the newspaper's correspondents having proposed that members of Congress be paid what they were worth, a revolutionary concept, that the pay be based on merit, with conspicuous merit rewarded with increased pay and conspicuous inability penalized, based alternately on saving the taxpayers money or cluttering up the Congressional Record with worthless bills and worthless speeches.

It finds the proposal breathtaking, suggesting, for instance, that one Senator Harry F. Byrd of Virginia was worth 10 Senator Hubert Humphrey's of Minnesota. It suggests that an apprentice system could be established with one rate for a member of the House who was in their first four years of office and a higher rate thereafter, proposing other like plans. It finds that such a system would have salutary results and from what it was hearing of public reaction to the bill in the House to raise the pay of members, voters in 1956 would express themselves based on such a rating system anyway.

Drew Pearson indicates that on Saturday, February 12, a special prosecutor for Attorney General Herbert Brownell had gone into court in Houston and asked a Federal District Court Judge to dismiss criminal charges against five men indicted for secretly mixing frost-damaged Canadian wheat, graded as hog feed, with good Government-owned American wheat, and then selling it as edible wheat. In the meantime, they had collected wheat subsidies from the Government, resulting in being charged in an indictment with defrauding the Government of 1.7 million dollars. But the Attorney General had ordered that the indictments be dismissed, despite there having been clear evidence of guilt, as shown by the fact that the Argentine Bunge Corporation, for which most of the defendants worked, had pleaded guilty and been fined $5,000. One of the indicted men was the son of the highway commissioner in Texas, who was also the campaign manager for the re-election of Governor Allan Shivers, who had been a supporter of General Eisenhower in the 1952 presidential campaign, despite the Governor being a Democrat. The prosecutor sent to dismiss the indictment was the same who had sought the indictment of the five men initially on June 10, 1954, and had gone to court on a Saturday because trial was scheduled to start within a week. The prosecutor did not wish to speak with the press about the matter as he departed the court. It was known in Washington that Governor Shivers had lunch with the President shortly before the indictments had been dismissed, having declined to disclose to the press what he had discussed at the luncheon, and the Justice Department and White House officials had refused to comment on the conversation.

The dismissal of the indictments followed a pattern set a month earlier in Kansas City when another special prosecutor for the Attorney General had gone to a Federal court and moved to dismiss a criminal indictment against the publisher of the Kansas City Star, Roy Roberts, a close friend of the President, which had occurred on a Friday before the start of trial was set for the following Monday. Mr. Roberts had also called at the White House shortly before the dismissal, and had brought along his attorney to Washington for a series of conferences in mid-December. Mr. Roberts had been one of the first to urge General Eisenhower to run for the presidency and was one of his unofficial advisers during the campaign. It had been known that the Assistant Attorney General in charge of the antitrust division of the Justice Department, which had brought the case in Kansas City, had been under pressure for months to drop the case, but had refused.

Mr. Pearson indicates that he had been among the first to expose influence-peddling around the White House during the Truman Administration, relates that in the case in Texas, the grain adulteration had been one of the worst cases of cheating the Government in the country's history. Before a Senate Agriculture subcommittee, the man whose son was one of the close friends of Governor Shivers had admitted that on foggy days, the windows of the elevator would be conveniently left open to permit moisture to enter, thereby increasing the weight of the wheat, that the elevator, during a five-year period, had accrued a profit of over a million dollars in such consequent overages. The elevator, owned by the City of Galveston, had been managed by that individual, who made no apology for cheating the Government, indeed complaining that the Government inspection had been too strict, saying that he had pleaded over a period of time with the Department of Agriculture for less supervision at the elevator and more inspection at other elevators. But in the subcommittee's resulting report, it was stated that "a woeful lack of inspection" had occurred at that elevator.

Doris Fleeson tells of Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona, recently named chairman of the Republican Senatorial campaign committee, having prepared a study of the problems which might be met in 1956, reporting to a secret meeting of the RNC the previous week that the study had shown that ten Republican Senate seats were "in great danger" while only two Democratic seats were similarly threatened. His analysis of voting trends at the grassroots substantiated the contention of Democrats that they had been steadily gaining important courthouse and state strength, while Republican gains had been in areas like the South, where they were not likely to win seats.

The Senator explained that he was not really so pessimistic but had only wanted to shock the party into action. Nevertheless, his figures were indisputable and he had only described a situation which had led some experts to forecast that while the President might win re-election in 1956, so would another Democratic Congress.

Senator Goldwater had appeared, in his choice of forum, to hold the apparent assumption that anything said to an audience of 200 people in Washington could be maintained in secret. Though the party strategists needed to face up to its problems, whatever their public optimism might have been, the RNC members were fatcats and friends of fatcats who raised money for the campaigns, and so it was unwise to suggest to them that their money might be wasted.

Marquis Childs indicates that Secretary of State Dulles was in Asia at present working to firm up SEATO, signed the previous September but thus far primarily a paper pact only. Meanwhile, the Western alliance in Europe was again gravely threatened by the governmental crisis in France and a rising tide of neutralism in West Germany. In France, there was a widely repeated report of U.S. responsibility for the fall of the Government of former Premier Pierre Mendes-France, that during his visit to Washington the prior November, his one major request regarding the Western European Union agreement, providing for sovereignty and rearmament of West Germany, had been that the allocation and distribution of U.S. arms for the six nations of the pact be carried out through a centralized agency rather than on an individual basis to each nation. He wanted to allay fears in France that the U.S. intended to build up a German military force as the predominant power on the Continent. For since the defeat of France by the Germans in 1940 and the four-year occupation which followed, a rearmed Germany had been the French nightmare.

The request of the former Premier had been refused by the U.S. and it was that, according to his admirers, which had been the primary factor in his downfall, that he had lost 40 votes in the National Assembly at the center when he returned without the promise. He had lost by a vote of 319 to 275 three weeks earlier, with the vote of confidence coming on the issue of the Premier's North African policy, but the opposition having represented a combination of the forces which had brought down other premiers in the past.

A letter writer indicates that she and her husband had five children, two of whom were in their teens, and so were interested in children and young adults, finds that the story regarding a young boy accidentally shooting another boy while they were delivering newspapers had caused her to reflect that they had no more business with a gun than a two-year old. There were also stories of boys and girls going around Charlotte robbing people just for the lack of something else to do, and she had seen that the latest craze for boys in high school in the city was to carry a switchblade, which were not unlawful to sell but resulted in a fine of $100 to anyone possessing one. She finds the law nonsensical, especially since the sale of fireworks in the city was prohibited, while a dangerous weapon could be purchased by young boys. She urges passing legislation to stop the sale of switchblades.

A letter writer from Asheville comments on another letter writer who had written in criticism of a previous letter writer who wanted to hang sexual deviates, finding from it that Southern chivalry and ordinary human decency appeared to be on the wane. As a Northern man, he wished to support the previous writer's contentions, which he indicates she had full right to express without being regarded as a moron or moral leper. He indicates that an English jurist had recently commented that the treatment of sexual deviates as sick people had been overdone and that sympathy for them should be qualified by stating frankly that society condemned their departure from basic morality. He thinks that the attitudes expressed against the previous letter writer's sentiments did not arise from any profound knowledge of the philosophy of Jesus, but rather from "persistent perusal of the journals and books that have dragged the once noble word 'liberal' to such low repute, the self-same journals that once shared such a sympathetic interest in Soviet culture." He thinks that part of the reason such champions of human weakness had turned their backs on Russia was not the result of newly discovered patriotism but rather the fact that Russia would not take a kindly attitude toward sexual deviates or those believers in "free love and the other queer notions that constitute the repertory at [sic] the present-day liberal." He thinks it was high time that someone made such a statement as that by the previous writer regarding hanging sexual deviates "before the Hollywood scum, the so-called stars, corrode the whole fabric of American life." He thinks it was hoping for too much to have them hanged, but would be gratified if someone took the trouble to tell American mothers that sending their children to see Jerry Lewis wear girls' clothes was hardly the type of thing which made for the education of a robust young man. He favors placing in the libraries copies of Otto Weininger's Sex and Character, which he finds the most penetrating study of sexual deviation during the previous 50 years, showing what had brought to weakness and insignificance the once proud Austrian Empire. He says that after reading the book, he had realized the degree to which homosexuality was pervading the culture presently by way of Broadway plays and movies such that "no man can help but agree that the lady wants the sex-deviates to get off altogether too light."

Mr. Fallersleben appears to favor castration.

A letter writer from Huntersville comments on a letter published February 21 from Bob Cherry, Jr., indicating that diplomacy equaled appeasement, this writer wanting to discuss the letter with him, and in the meantime suggesting that someone ought teach him the facts of life.

A letter writer indicates that as principal of Sedgefield School, she wished to thank the newspaper for a splendid story by Carolyne Wallace and Tom Franklin, featuring the school's young first grade teacher, which had appeared in the February 14 edition. She indicates that the teacher featured was ideal and that no one could have been chosen who was better suited to portray the life of a beginning teacher, well equipped with natural ability and good background. She also expresses appreciation for the publicity given the children of the first grade at the school, indicates that their slogan for the year was, "Better Schools for Better Communities", finds that they could not have better friends than the men and women of the press.

A letter from the president and secretary of the Travelers Aid Society expresses appreciation for the coverage given their annual meeting in Charlotte recently by the newspaper.

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