The Charlotte News

Saturday, February 5, 1955


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that U.S. F-86 Sabre jets had shot down two of eight attacking Communist MIG-15 jets this date in the largest air battle since the end of the Korean War in July, 1953, the Air Force making a terse announcement, indicating that the attack by the MIG's on a reconnaissance bomber and its covering flight of Sabres had occurred over the Yellow Sea between Korea and Communist China, the announcement not identifying the nationality of the Communist jets, presumably from Communist China. It also did not indicate whether there were any injuries to U.S. personnel in the battle or the exact location, but the Air Force said that no U.S. plane had been lost and that the attack had occurred over international waters west of Korea during the afternoon. It said that the other six attacking planes had returned to Communist territory. A similar incident had occurred over a year earlier, when Sabres escorting a reconnaissance plane over the Yellow Sea had shot down one MIG after a flight of the enemy jets had attacked. The reconnaissance planes had been flying up the coast of Korea outside the three-mile international limit for more than 18 months, having begun the patrols immediately after the armistice in Korea, which barred further U.N. allied flights over North Korea. Another such incident had occurred the previous November 7, when two Soviet MIG's shot down an American reconnaissance plane off the coast of Hokkaido in Japan, with one of the American crewmen killed while parachuting from the plane, the Soviets having claimed that the plane was over Soviet territory, denied by the Air Force, which said that it was strictly on a photo mapping mission.

The President this date, in light of the heightened tensions from the Yellow Sea incident, sought to chart a new course toward effecting a cease-fire in the Formosa area, meeting for about an hour in a breakfast conference with Ambassador to the U.N. Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., who told newsmen afterward that he had reported to the President on the developments at the U.N. and that new steps were being considered regarding a possible cease-fire, which might be announced the following week. Authorities in Washington said that the shooting incident involving the MIG's suggested the uneasy nature of the truces in Korea and Indo-China. The Defense Department said that only bare preliminary reports of the incident had been received and the State Department stated that it might be several hours before there was any possibility of official comment. There was, however, little immediate excitement regarding the incident at either Department, not treating it as a major matter.

Fred Hampson of the Associated Press reports again from Taipeh that Maj. General William Chase, head of the Military Assistance and Advisory Group in Formosa, had said at a press conference this date that American military observers and advisers had returned to the Tachen Islands after having recently departed, but did not indicate whether it meant that an evacuation of the two islands was imminent, saying only that the group would "aid and advise at the command level" any operation which might arise. It had been earlier reported that the U.S. and Nationalist China had nearly reached agreement on evacuation of the islands. Meanwhile, Nationalist fighter-bombers were reported as having gone out in predawn darkness to attack Communist shipping 50 miles north of the Tachens, in the East China Sea, with pilots claiming that they had sunk one vessel and damaged three, seeking to slow the build-up of Communist manpower and supplies preparatory to an invasion of the Tachens, nearby Yikiangshan island, recently taken by the Communist Chinese from the Nationalists, having brought the Tachens within artillery range. While it was reported that the agreement on evacuation might be announced within hours, a delay had occurred because, as also reported, Chiang Kai-shek first wanted assurances from the U.S. that it would aid in defense of Quemoy and Matsu, four to five miles off mainland China.

In New York, the National Council of Churches urged nationwide prayer for resolving the Far East crisis without war.

In Washington, Army counsel John G. Adams, who had been a key figure in the McCarthy-Army hearings the prior spring, resigned the previous day, causing speculation that Secretary of the Army Robert Stevens might also soon resign. Secretary Stevens had announced the previous day that he would accept the resignation of Mr. Adams, who said that projects which had occupied his attention were now well advanced and therefore he desired to leave the post. White House press secretary James Hagerty referred newsmen who sought information on the status of Secretary Stevens to his own statement of January 7, in which he had said that he was not resigning. Pentagon friends of the Secretary, however, said privately that they expected him soon to return to private business following a new Senate investigation of the Army's handling of the case of the Army Reserve dentist who had been promoted and then honorably discharged after he had pleaded the Fifth Amendment before Senator McCarthy's Investigating subcommittee in fall, 1953, prompting Senator McCarthy the prior February to engage Brig. General Ralph Zwicker in questioning regarding who had been responsible for the promotion and discharge, the matter ultimately leading to the hearings of the prior spring, after the Secretary issued an order, backed by the President, that all Army officers should refuse to appear before the subcommittee because of the abuse of Army officers by Senator McCarthy, ultimately one of the counts of censure against the Senator, finally substituted in favor of censure based on his abuse of his Senate colleagues. The Army had contended that the promotion from captain to major of the dentist had been automatic and that it had no choice but to discharge him honorably.

In Paris, the National Assembly gave a vote of no-confidence, 319 to 273, to Premier Pierre Mendes-France and his Government this date, and began the search for a less controversial leader. Political observers predicted, however, that it would take a long time to find an acceptable successor. It was the twentieth Government of France since the end of the German occupation in 1944. The no-confidence vote was one of the most lopsided of any Premier ousted since the war. It came after a three-day debate on the question of home rule for Tunisia and quick reforms for the rest of French North Africa. Personal animosities and traditional Assembly opposition to any strong leader, however, had played a major role in the ouster. After the vote, M. Mendes-France went to the podium to defend his policy, defying Assembly tradition, eliciting shouts and banging of desktops by the deputies, protesting the speech. He then stormed out of the Assembly, followed by his Ministers, and drove through the rain to the palace of President René Coty to tender his resignation. The ouster was not a surprise as many deputies had been gunning for him for weeks, having accumulated large majorities against him on incidental issues within the previous few days, more in the spirit of opposition than expressing any parliamentary decision. Among the possible successors were former Premiers Antoine Pinay, a conservative, and Edgar Faure, the latter named by Premier Mendes-France as Foreign Minister just the previous week.

In Clinton, N.C., a man was found dead in his bed the previous night, with the coroner of Sampson County having said that he had used a .12-gauge shotgun to commit suicide as his father had done a year earlier, his wife having said that he had been despondent and expressed concern over the difficulty of handling his father's estate, for which he had been appointed administrator.

Robert C. Ruark, appearing on the front page, indicates that when he was a small boy growing up in Wilmington, North Carolina, a "dreadful little girl" who lived next door had kept him in a constant state of contusion, that he would sometimes be rescued by her big brother and that about the time he was old enough to beat up the girl, the brother had gone off to seek his fortune, which he had done by producing a woman's nylon stocking of such tensile strength that he guaranteed 90 days of wear for two pairs, calling it Larkwood X-90, which would soon be on sale in most of the better stores. He relates that the average woman had been going through between 40 and 60 pairs of stockings per year since the war, with a budget of around $100 for the apparel, while the new stockings would sell for $4.95 for two pairs, reducing the annual budget for stockings to about $40. The brother was head of Chadbourn Mills, which had pioneered the sheer stretch and the straight seam so that a perfect fit was guaranteed. Mr. Ruark's wife had been testing the new stockings and was pleased. He indicates that the brother of the rough sister had always made him happy, and was continuing to do so by reducing the household stocking budget.

"Snow and rain put a slippery coating on roads and streets in the middle section of the nation today." Once again, we do not wish to read further of this lurid, salacious material.

In Detroit, a man was fined $120 in traffic court the previous day for reckless driving after he had rammed a police car, injuring two patrolmen, while making a left turn. He was the safety supervisor for a Detroit trucking company and was off duty at the time of the collision.

In Tokyo, health authorities indicated intention to put out 1,000 poisoned buns for five consecutive nights starting the following Monday, in an effort to kill stray dogs. Sounds like another operation orchestrated by Big Louis of Chicaga.

News sportswriter Bob Quincy tells on the sports page of the UNC-Duke basketball game in Chapel Hill the previous night. We saw a UNC-Duke basketball game in Chapel Hill this date in 2022, though not in person, but it is a matter of which we do not wish to write, any more than one would wish to hear of the 1955 result, a Duke drubbing of the Tar Heels, 91 to 68, which had been preceded by a Dixie Classic 13-point UNC win in Raleigh in late December and would be followed by another Duke drubbing in Durham three weeks hence, 96-74, UNC finishing a dismal 10-11 on the season, about as Duke did last year, and 8-6 in ACC play, in coach Frank McGuire's second season in Chapel Hill, with several of the same players as sophomores, however, including star Lennie Rosenbluth, plus several members of the freshman squad, who would go on, as juniors and seniors, to their celebrated undefeated national championship season in 1957. There is always another day…

It appears, incidentally, that the pictures taken by the Life photographers present at the game were not used by the magazine, the editors perhaps not realizing that Woollen Gymnasium some 16 years earlier, in December, 1938, had been the locus for FDR's statement regarding his breakfast not consisting of "grilled millionaire", as some of his critics had suggested, but rather scrambled eggs. (By the way, if the Duke-UNC result was not enough prediction of future occurrence for the day, N.C. State fans might take note on the sports page of the seemingly prescient entry regarding same names of other players in an earlier time, as Presbyterian College coach Norm Sloan was reported to have decided to redshirt one of his prospective star players. Stranger things have happened—for instance, the grandfather of the later player of the same name, who hailed from Shelby, N.C., having been, we are informed, an employee of W. J. Cash's father at one point.)

As pictured on the page, three members of a flight crew of United Airlines were awarded a $22,500 bonus for their superb flying in saving 39 persons in an emergency landing near Dexter, Iowa, on January 19, with the pilot and copilot being awarded $10,000 each and a stewardess, $2,500. The plane had lost all elevator control, but the crew was able to maneuver it into a level position before gliding it into a belly-landing at 300 miles per hour.

On the editorial page, "Diplomats Must Have Things To Swap" indicates that when Communist China had said two days earlier that it would attend the U.N. Security Council talks regarding Formosa only if Nationalist China were replaced as one of the five permanent members of the Security Council by Communist China and that, even in that event, would only discuss the charges made by the Soviets of U.S. aggression against China, it apparently had engaged in a boycott of the U.N., not an unexpected development.

It suggests that Communist China might be negotiating for favorable conditions under which to discuss Formosa at the U.N., but the history of the regime indicated its preference for a conference outside the U.N.

It finds that the important thing was that the U.S. had, according to the President, "been as exact as it seems possible to be, and we have certainly tried to avoid being truculent… The purpose is to make certain that no conflict occurs through mistaken calculations on the other side as to our concern about Formosa and our determination to defend it."

It suggests that there were several practical reasons for defending Formosa, that it was of great strategic importance, as shown by a map beneath the editorial, with planes and ships from its fields and harbors capable of resisting any Communist attack on the Philippines, and, to a lesser extent, on Japan, as well as affording the U.S. the capability of reaching the Chinese mainland with short-range fighter planes 200 miles away in the event a war with China were ever to arise. It asserts that the legal case for the position of the Nationalists on Formosa was not airtight but good, and the moral position was unassailable, as the Nationalists on Formosa bitterly opposed Communism. The U.S., therefore, had drawn a line around Formosa and the Pescadores, indicating that aggression against those areas, or areas and territories immediately posing a threat to Formosa, would mean war. U.S. policy toward the offshore islands, such as Quemoy and Matsu, had remained murky, and it suggests that was as it should be, as those islands were not worth fighting for but were negotiable with the Communist Chinese.

It finds that the danger in the present situation with respect to Formosa was that the Chinese Communists, drunk with the power recently gained in the truces in Korea and Indo-China, might deliberately provoke war in the area. It suggests that the U.S. still had much to learn from the British in the area of diplomacy, by being talked out of two conditions which ought to be negotiable with the Chinese Communists, diplomatic recognition and admission to the U.N. alongside Nationalist China. It posits that such stances, in exchange for the American prisoners being held on alleged espionage claims by Communist China, would enable the U.S. to enhance its position throughout the world. The Chinese would find it hard to refuse such an offer, enabling the Americans to be returned home, without giving up anything substantial at the U.N.

"But, as one sage has remarked, campaign oratory, most but not all of it emanating from Republicans, has produced a situation where Franklin D. Roosevelt can be referred to as a 'cripple in mind and body' and Harry Truman can be called a traitor, but Chiang's shortcomings are glossed over and willingness to negotiate recognition or admittance of Red China is equated with treason."

"New Hope for Judicial Re-Alignment" urges passage of the legislation put forward in the General Assembly the previous day, co-sponsored by 80 members, to realign the judicial districts of the state to increase the number of resident Superior Court judges from 21 to 32, dividing the state into 30 districts, with Mecklenburg and Guilford Counties each having two such judges under the proposal, and also reducing or eliminating special judges, which were old political plums in the state.

It finds that the plan would help break the logjam of civil litigation within the state's most populous counties, indicating that the Mecklenburg dockets had been congested for years. It suggests that a speedy trial was just as desirable in a civil case as in a criminal case and that the wheels of justice needed oiling to facilitate that speed.

It might be noted that speed in hearing civil cases is not so urgent as in criminal cases, where often the defendant is incarcerated pending trial, the reason the Constitution only recognizes the right to a speedy trial in the criminal context.

"Crisis in France" indicates that the allies were still clinging to the hope that France could discipline itself, but that the fall of the Mendes-France Government had cast a shadow over that hope and illustrated again the bankruptcy of the French political elite. It finds that France's split into many political factions produced trouble whenever a crisis arose, such that citizens of the country thought as members of groups rather than as responsible individuals. It suggests that France had to face the kind of world in which it was living, made more tenuous by technical complexities of the cold war, and adjust to it, or keep on cutting its lifelines until someone would come riding in on a white horse.

A piece from the Greensboro Daily News, titled "Public Men and Poets", suggests that the trouble with Secretary of Defense Charles E. Wilson was that he was a frustrated poet, specializing in double-edged metaphors, such as "bird dogs" and "ripples". General MacArthur was another such frustrated poet, with his specialty being blank verse. It observes that Americans expected a certain amount of concealed poetry from their greatest leaders, for instance, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson and FDR, that the greatest leaders were pretty good at it but could also cause themselves and others considerable trouble by it, exampled by Mr. Jefferson's "all men are created equal", Mr. Lincoln's "a house divided", Mr. Wilson's "open covenants openly arrived at" or "peace without victory", and FDR's reference to the start of the military build-up for World War II in 1940 as the conversion from "old Dr. New Deal" to "Dr. Win-the-War", as he characterized it in late 1943.

It suggests that Adlai Stevenson was the most expert exponent of such hip-pocket poetry in public life at present, handling it with the finesse of Pope, Dryden or Swift.

It indicates that lawyers used words as if they were bricks, that poets used them as if they were flames, while leaders of the people used them as if they were flaming bricks. But Republicans in modern times appeared to have little or no poetry in their souls. "President Eisenhower eschews the concealed poetry approach in favor of pedestrian prose, which is why his speeches pall on his public."

It might be added that not all lawyers used words as bricks, as, for example, not only Adlai Stevenson, but even more notably, Wallace Stevens.

Drew Pearson tells of there being much more than met the eye by the sensational admissions recently of former Communist informer for Senator McCarthy, Harvey Matusow, who had said that he had been told how to testify against Communists by Roy Cohn, former counsel of the Senate investigations subcommittee, formerly chaired by Senator McCarthy. Mr. Pearson suggests that if Congress were to get to the bottom of the matter, they would find some things which Mr. Matusow had done to cover up secret contributions made to Senator McCarthy.

He indicates that the column could reveal that Mr. Matusow had been ordered to secret a witness who had been scheduled to appear before the Senate Rules subcommittee during the winter of 1952 when the subcommittee was investigating Senator McCarthy's finances, that witness having been the former wife of Congressman Alvin Bentley of Michigan, who would be forced by documentary evidence to testify that she had used $7,000 in funds contributed to Senator McCarthy for his fight against Communism, to speculate in the soybean market on behalf of the Senator. Mr. Pearson provides the detail, whereby Mr. Matusow had accompanied her out of the country, to the British West Indies, to get her away from the reaches of the subcommittee. From the Bahamas, she had written to her lawyer in Washington and to her bank, providing careful instructions regarding her bank records, so that they would not be made subject to subpoena by the subcommittee. Mr. Pearson provides the verbatim contents of the letters.

He concludes that it was part of the strange life of Mr. Matusow, who had gone to Utah in 1950 to defeat Senator Elbert Thomas and tried to defeat Congressman Mike Mansfield of Montana in 1952 in his ultimately successful race for the Senate. He notes that later, Mr. Matusow had married the former Mrs. Bentley.

General Douglas MacArthur, in an abstract from a speech delivered in Los Angeles the previous week on the occasion of his 75th birthday, states that with modern warfare presenting no option of victory in war, but only defeat, regardless of technical victory, with annihilation resulting to both sides, the only resolution was to outlaw war. "War has become a Frankenstein to destroy both sides. No longer is it the weapon of adventure whereby a shortcut to international power and wealth—a place in the sun—can be gained. If you lose, you are annihilated. If you win, you stand only to lose. No longer does it possess the chance of the winner of a duel—it contains rather the germs of double suicide."

He finds that such a war could be avoided only by outlawing the modern weapons of mass destruction, with self-interest on both sides governing the issue, as the public would ensure the matter, not so much therefore requiring international inspection of relative armaments.

He indicates that present tensions were kept alive by two great illusions, a complete belief on the one hand in the Soviet world that the capitalistic countries were preparing to attack them and would eventually strike, and, on the other, a complete belief by the capitalistic countries that the Soviets were preparing to attack and sooner or later would do so. He posits that both were wrong, that each side, insofar as the masses, were equally desirous of peace to avoid the inevitable disaster which war would bring. "But the constant acceleration of preparation may well, without specific intent, ultimately produce a spontaneous combustion…"

He urges new thoughts and concepts for the new age, that the U.S. should be the leader in that regard, proclaiming its readiness to abolish war in concert with the great powers. "The result would be magical."

While the sentiment is appealing, outlawing of war had been tried with the Kellogg-Briand Pact of 1928, and the results were not so good, albeit before the existence of the U.N. and NATO, with only the weak League of Nations as an enforcement mechanism, devoid of U.S. participation, thanks to the Republicans and their desire to "return to normalcy" under President Warren Harding after World War I. Effectively, the U.N. Charter does outlaw war which threatens the peace and security of other nations.

The Congressional Quarterly indicates that after two years in office, the Eisenhower Administration had given deserving Republicans no more than 10,000 of the 2.3 million Federal jobs, according to an informed guess by Chauncey Robbins, the RNC's patronage director. He said that he had a backlog of 3,000 job applications, but was becoming discouraged.

After being out of power for 20 years, the Republicans naturally were hungry for patronage jobs in the new Administration in 1953, only to find out that 99 percent of the Federal jobs were covered by the Civil Service system or other merit systems and thus not available for patronage. Complaints came at the Cabinet level when the new Administration officials found themselves surrounded by top officials appointed under their Democratic predecessors, many of whom had protection by the Civil Service system. As a result, the Civil Service Commission was induced to reclassify about 1,000 of those jobs, permitting agency heads to bring in persons in sympathy with their program. But it still did not afford very many patronage positions.

Partly to meet criticism from the grassroots and partly to derive the maximum fruits from normal Federal job turnover, the White House in 1954 began a job referral system, which the press quickly dubbed "Jobs for Republicans". The program was directed by White House assistant Charles Willis and was designed to keep Republican officials at all levels fully informed regarding job openings. The jobs referred under the system were those which the Civil Service Commission had reclassified as non-merit positions, those with an annual salary of more than $9,600, and those which were hard to fill and thus open to direct recruitment by the agencies concerned. The program was voluntary and there was no guarantee that Republicans referred to the agencies would be hired, even with the 30-day grace period provided for political job seekers. The program had gotten underway in June, 1954 and had been somewhat more successful in finding job openings than in filling them, with more than 20,000 jobs located through the first few days of 1955, according to the White House, but placements having numbered only 274.

The piece notes for local consumption that of the openings located under that program, only 178 were in North Carolina and placements made in all states except New Hampshire and Wyoming had numbered only 18 in North Carolina.

A letter writer responds to the letter of Charles Crutchfield, executive vice-president of Jefferson Standard Broadcasting Co., seeking to justify the change of a street name from Henry to Jefferson Place, whereon the company was building its new facility, and taking the street number out of order to be number 1, this writer wondering what would happen if other firms mentioned by Mr. Crutchfield were to ask the City Council for such special favors, suggesting that Fourth Street in Charlotte might become Bankers' Row or American Trust Street, or that the 400 block of South Church Street might become Duke Street, that Fifth Street east of Tryon, might become Belk Boulevard, and the western part of it, Ivey Lane. She concludes by asking whether the street on which the News was located should not become News Alley.

Any self-respecting newspaper would not opt for such an obvious, pedestrian street name change, rather, in the case of The News, would choose something like 30303 Mirror Circle, thus spawning questions as to why "Circle", why "Mirror".

A letter from a black woman refers to a letter which was published on January 25 regarding the black citizens of Charlotte supposedly cutting, shooting and killing each other every weekend, indicating that if blacks bought as much whiskey as the writer had claimed, then they would pay sufficient taxes from the purchases to entitle them to the benefits derived from those taxes, and that, furthermore, such cutting, shooting and killing during the weekends went on just as much among whites. The writer also indicates that there were many black employees of the white hospitals who were aware of such incidents among whites, that the reason they were not so well publicized was because they were not reported to the public through the newspapers of the community. She recounts that recently, one of the local newspapers had reported that there were no murders among whites in Charlotte during 1954, but that she had remembered one wherein the defendant was ruled mentally incompetent. She also recalled an incident in which a man had admitted killing his wife, both white. She agrees that quite a few black citizens parked their cars in the alleys, but that the previous writer should have called it to the attention of city officials, pointing out that so few black neighborhoods had paved streets that one could not tell the street from the alley.

A letter writer expresses pleasure in seeing praise in a previous editorial, "Literary Score Card: One for Three", for poet e. e. cummings, finds that he had done much during the previous 30 years or so to "extend the limits of language and feeling" but had received nothing but abuse from the "Philistine press and bitter writer-critics like Robert Hillyer and Louis Untermeyer."

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