The Charlotte News

Wednesday, February 9, 1955


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports from Moscow that Georgi Zhukov, top Soviet military hero in the battle of Berlin in 1945 and wartime acquaintance of President Eisenhower, had been appointed the new Defense Minister of the Soviet Union this date, replacing Nikolai Bulganin, who had become Premier the previous day. Mr. Zhukov had been the Deputy Defense Minister. Immediately following the announcement, the Supreme Soviet was informed that former Premier Georgi Malenkov, who had resigned the previous day, had been named a Deputy Premier and minister of power stations, rather minor posts for someone who had occupied such eminence for the prior nearly two years. But since the Soviet Union was engaged in a vast electrification program, the new ministry of power stations could hold importance. Both nominations had been put forward to the parliament by Premier Bulganin, still wearing his Army uniform at this date's meeting, and both were unanimously approved. Mr. Bulganin then gave his first speech as Premier, pledging that his Government would work unswervingly to expand Soviet heavy industry to build up Soviet armed might and raise the country's living standards.

The President, at his press conference this date, recalled pleasant relations with Marshal Zhukov during World War II, holding open the possibility that he might invite the new Defense Minister to visit the U.S., but also quickly catching himself, after a reporter had posed the latter question, saying he was not so sure, that it was the first time the idea had been put to him and he would have to discuss it with his aides. He related that he had invited Mr. Zhukov to visit America in 1945, placing his own plane at the Marshal's disposal for the trip and suggesting that his son, Major John Eisenhower, accompany the Marshal as an aide. The President also said that the shakeup in Russia reflected internal dissatisfaction and would result in no change in basic U.S. policy aimed at achieving a just and lasting peace, saying that he did not think the developments necessarily meant that Russia had launched a calculated tougher policy against the U.S. He said, however, that the Russians would say anything which suited their purposes and that the U.S. thus had to remain alert. He said there was no proof that Russia had surpassed the U.S. in development of the hydrogen bomb and other atomic weapons, as suggested by the speech of Foreign Minister V. M. Molotov the previous day. He said it would be idle to speculate on the possibility of a cease-fire in the Formosa Straits, in light of the fact that Communist China had rejected a U.N. invitation to discuss the matter and had instead issued a bellicose statement, threatening to take Formosa. He said that the evacuation of the Nationalist-held Tachen Islands 200 miles north of Formosa, with the protection of the U.S. Seventh Fleet, was proceeding according to plan and soon should be completed. He said that a Navy plane which had been shot down by Communist anti-aircraft fire the previous day had gotten lost and wandered off course into a bad area. U.S. officials in the Far East had said they did not regard the incident as a hostile act, because the pilot had apparently gotten lost over the Chinese mainland. Regarding education, the President said that his seven billion dollar program for school construction, which he had outlined in a special message to Congress the previous day, would provide the best way to relieve the shortage of 340,000 classrooms without undue Federal participation, preserving state and local responsibility, as it provided for Federal expenditures of about 1.1 billion dollars over the ensuing three years, comprised of loans and grants to districts which could not afford to float their own bonds to pay for school construction and improvement.

As indicated at the President's press conference, it was reported from Taipeh that Communist Chinese anti-aircraft batteries this date had shot down a Navy plane, the first serious incident occurring thus far in the evacuation of the Tachen Islands, with the Navy indicating that the pilot had gone off course and had flown over the Chinese mainland, that therefore the act did not appear hostile. The pilot and two crew members were rescued by a Nationalist Chinese ship, suffering only minor cuts and bruises.

In London, Premier Nehru of India, at a press conference this date, advised Communist China against any attempt to grab Formosa by force and asked for time to work out a peaceful settlement, saying that Russia and India were secretly exchanging ideas on how to bring about a cease-fire in the Formosa Straits, but indicating that no definite agreement as to approach had yet been reached.

Fourteen Senators, including Senator Kerr Scott of North Carolina, proposed this date a resolution that democracies meet in convention regarding the Atlantic Union nations, with Senator Scott having said that it would lead to a stronger NATO. A similar resolution sponsored by 26 Senators had been presented in 1951.

The Securities and Exchange Commission this date approved financing to begin work on the controversial Dixon-Yates power project in Arkansas, voting four to one to authorize the issuance and sale of 5.5 million dollars worth of common stock, to be issued by the Mississippi Valley Generating Co., set up to construct a private power plant to feed power into the TVA grid as replacement for power supplied by TVA for atomic installations at Oak Ridge, Tenn., and Paducah, Ky., all under contract with the Atomic Energy Commission. The stock would be sold to two holding companies, Middle South Utilities, Inc., and the Southern Co. Members of Congress from the area served by TVA had bitterly opposed the plan, believing it to be part of a program to encircle and damage TVA. One of the two Democratic members of the Commission, Paul Rowen, dissented from the decision, while the other Democrat, A. J. Goodwin, Jr., had voted with the three Republican members. Opponents of the project said in advance of the decision that they would appeal to the courts in an effort to block the financing. The money for the project was yet to be obtained in loans, which large insurance companies had agreed to provide.

In Miami Beach, Fla., negotiating committees for the AFL and CIO this date agreed to merge their rival labor organizations into a single federation.

In Raleigh, a House committee was asked to help correct a "classical clerical blunder" which had resulted in wiping the town of Brookford, near Hickory, off the map 18 years earlier, the error having been discovered the previous summer. It had resulted from an act of the Legislature in 1937, whereby the town was to be annexed by Hickory. We hope they recover their identity.

In Redruth, England, a man, whom income tax collectors claimed owed them nearly $10,000 in back taxes and had obtained a court order to seize his house, had loaded his shotgun and declared open season on the tax collectors, denying that he owed any money, while patrolling with his shotgun in front of a large sign saying, "Income tax: Any persons employed by the above entering on this property do so at their own risk." He declared that they would not get his house. The tax people did not say what they would do next.

On the editorial page, "More Shake-Ups To Come in Kremlin—No Comfort To Be Taken in West" posits, based on historical precedent and news dispatches, that the shakeup at the Kremlin was not complete, that there would be more maneuvering, accompanied by forced resignations and deaths, natural or otherwise, until one man were to emerge as the undisputed ruler, and that the likelihood of settling East-West differences without war was less than it had been prior to the resignation the previous day of Premier Malenkov.

It finds that it would be extraordinary for new Premier Bulganin to achieve the full power possessed by the late Joseph Stalin, especially in light of the fact that far more applause had greeted Communist Party chairman Nikita Khrushchev, when he announced Mr. Bulganin's nomination, than for any other leaders on the podium before the Supreme Soviet. Apparently, Mr. Bulganin would function as a kind of board chairman until the next dictator "liquidates and schemes his way to power", which it finds most likely to be Mr. Khrushchev.

It indicates that Stalin had been a part of a triumvirate formed in 1923 as a common front against Leon Trotsky, after which Stalin had eased the other two out of power and then had them killed. Napoleon had started as part of a triumvirate, but had promptly reduced the power of his cohorts, and both Julius and Augustus Caesar had also started out as part of triumvirates, but because of Cleopatra and some skulduggery in Rome, each had emerged on top of the heap. It suggests that the likely variation on the theme was that none of the original members of the Malenkov-Beria-Molotov triumvirate was likely to gain control in the future, with Mr. Beria having been executed in December, 1953—a fairly determinative reason for not acceding to future power—, and Mr. Malenkov now likely to be lucky to stay alive. Mr. Molotov had the wrong portfolio for power, as he had been busy around the world as the chief puppet of Soviet foreign policy, while others at home pulled the strings.

Premier Bulganin was not an experienced general, was primarily a politician and a good party man who had considerable experience at directing the party line to military experts. His ascendance to power had naturally emphasized the recent swing away from the "liberal" measures of Premier Malenkov, under whom more consumer goods had been manufactured and distributed and some of the most oppressive restrictions on personal freedom partially lifted. It might well be, it suggests, that it was decided that Russia could not afford this policy of a little butter along with the guns, that the aims of world Communism required even more austerity and control, and that the simplest way to emphasize it to the Soviet people was to oust Mr. Malenkov.

It concludes that whatever the motivation had been for the change in power, the sum of recent developments suggested increased difficulty in East-West relations, as a relatively lenient Premier was out and had been replaced, at least nominally, by an experienced director of the military, with the star of the "get tough" policy, Mr. Khrushchev, continuing to rise, all a policy which Foreign Minister Molotov had enunciated in his speech following the shakeup in power the previous day. It finds that there was no comfort to be taken in the U.S. from the developments in Moscow, nor in the Kremlin, itself, where the struggle was likely to continue until one man gained control, as Stalin had done, both of the Army and the party.

It might be noted that when Premier Khrushchev, who would officially become Premier in 1958, was tossed out in 1964, in favor of Leonid Brezhnev as party chairman and Alexei Kosygin as Premier, exactly the same kind of speculation, that the relatively softened policy of Mr. Khrushchev, in the wake of the Cuban Missile Crisis of October, 1962, would be transformed by the harder Soviet leader, Mr. Brezhnev, making diplomacy more difficult, was heard in the U.S. media, speculation running that Premier Khrushchev's backing down two years earlier to President Kennedy during the Missile Crisis, the perception worldwide, had sealed his fate.

It did appear as a kind of cyclical trend within the Soviet Union, that after a few years in power, the Premier, softened in his approach, had to go, to make way for a harder line versus the West. Whether that was an accurate portrayal, however, can only be accurately assessed by those who were living in the Soviet Union at the time, albeit subject to a state-run media and thus not very well informed regarding the reasons for political shakeups in leadership, other than how the resulting policy changes affected their daily lives.

"Sound, Fury and Job Classification" indicates that during the closing minutes of debate before the City Council regarding job classification, Council member Herbert Baxter had stated that any time there were four votes on the Council, it could do anything. For 45 minutes, Mayor Philip Van Every had "snapped and crackled" with arguments over a bundle of readjustments which some of the members wanted in municipal employee salary schedules, weighted heavily in favor of employees of the Fire Department, which the Mayor considered "rank favoritism", objecting to the proposals as being completely unfair. But on a test vote, the newly revised job classifications had passed 6 to 1.

It indicates that it was not going to judge whether the additional increases in the pay of firemen was justified or not, that it was a job for the experts, but it suspects that there were inequities in the schedule, and that many inequities also existed in other departments. It suggests that there had been an imperfect job done in altering the job classification machinery and that some adjustments had needed to be made before finally passing it, and that further adjustments would still need to be made to keep peace within the municipal family. But it finds that it was good to see job classification being passed, a sign of political progress.

"That Evening Sun Go Down" indicates that a Charlotte movie critic, who had reviewed "Carmen Jones", the musical film adaptation of the opera Carmen, complained that the score by Georges Bizet was not "Negroid and to have Negroes suddenly burst into operatic arias is … unnatural…"

The piece indicates that it was also "unnatural" for Caucasoids and Mongoloids to burst suddenly into operatic arias, that opera, as a form of communication, could hardly be described as natural for anyone. But as a means of artistic expression, it had certain aesthetic values, transforming the "rawest nature into ordered beauty, significant form, emotion, poetic power and all those things which raise the senses to a condition of insight."

It concludes that opera is high art and that race "is the most superficial and unsatisfactory basis for the judgment of art."

Of course, the adaptation was essentially Porgy and Bess meeting Carmen, but much of art is just that, a mixture of some of this and some of dat.

The review of the review, incidentally, may have been unduly picky, as, overall, the reviewer had highly praised the film, making the stated exception only to the "musical expression" of the adaptation, not the film, itself, finding de dat's of some of de songs condescending as well as nonsensical, given the absence of such patois from the spoken dialogue of the characters. This was 1955, not 1935, deary.

A piece from the Kingsport (Tenn.) News, titled "Not Upper House", indicates that one should not call the U.S. Senate the "upper House", as members of both the House and Senate did not like it. Recently, the House Democratic Leader, John McCormack of Massachusetts, had complained to many, especially newspaper people, that some were wrongly referring to the Senate as the "upper House". He said that the two bodies were coequal and that the House was second to no other legislative body in the collective ability of its membership.

It indicates that a few years earlier, former Senator Kenneth McKellar of Tennessee, in his book, Tennessee Senators, had said much the same thing, indicating that the Senate was sometimes spoken of as the "upper House", when in no sense was it so, that each house possessed exactly the same powers.

It tells of Mr. McCormack having said that when Congress had first met in Philadelphia, the Senate had met in a room which was above the House chamber, providing the origin of the "upper House" or "upper chamber". But in the Capitol in Washington, they were both on the same level, in different wings.

Drew Pearson indicates that the President had about made up his mind that when the time was ripe, he would recognize Communist China, though noting that it would not be announced for some time and might even be denied. The fact that the Communist Chinese had overwhelming control of the mainland, plus the shaky Nationalist leadership of Chiang Kai-shek and the dubious policy of risking a major war for the sake of Formosa, had all contributed to the President's thinking. Secretary of State Dulles had been inclined toward that view for some time. The President had been of the opinion, even before becoming President, that the country could not afford to get bogged down in a war with China. The President's strategy would be to grant recognition if the Communists would end their propaganda attacks against the U.S., agree to a cease-fire in the Formosa area and respect the right of the Nationalists to maintain a separate Chinese Government on Formosa.

In a paragraph which the editors note had been written prior to the shakeup in Russia the previous day, Mr. Pearson indicates that U.S. observers in Moscow had reported that the battle for power inside the Kremlin had reached such a bitter level that both Premier Georgi Malenkov and Nikita Khrushchev, his principal rival, were afraid to leave town. Mr. Khrushchev had been lining up a lot of support among the secret police comrades of the late L. P. Beria, summarily executed in late 1953 for treason, and had canceled a trip he was intending to make to the Ukraine. The U.S. Embassy in Moscow had warned that the situation was tense and that new, sweeping purges were being planned which might cost Mr. Khrushchev his head.

The high collars worn by Pat Nixon, wife of the Vice-President, were the talk of Washington, the explanation being that she was self-conscious about her prominent collarbones.

A hair-pulling fight between two socialites, Ruth and Beverly Woodner, wife and sister, respectively, of millionaire Ian Woodner, was also the talk of Washington, the story having leaked after a grand jury investigation of Mr. Woodner's Federal housing windfall profits from overstated valuation of building projects, resulting in Federally insured loans much higher than the actual cost of the work.

Another hot topic of conversation in the nation's capital was the snub which former DNC chairman Stephen Mitchell had given to his vice-chairman, India Edwards, not inviting her to his farewell party, explaining it by the fact that he had paid for the party and decided to invite only his friends.

British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden might have seen his ambition to succeed Prime Minister Churchill gone a-glimmering by his complete support of the U.S. regarding Formosa. Immediately after the President had asked for the joint resolution of Congress, giving him a free hand around the Formosan Straits, Mr. Eden had indicated in a public statement his endorsement of the President's policy. The unprecedented gesture had been arranged in advance with Secretary of State Dulles, to provide vigorous allied support to the President's message. But after the British had begun looking at the joint resolution, even Mr. Eden's enthusiasm had cooled, as other British politicoes boiled, objecting to the part of the resolution which effectively would permit the U.S. to drop an atomic bomb on the Chinese mainland without a declaration of war, even if China only concentrated troops opposite Formosa. Former Prime Minister Clement Attlee had made a special trip to Washington during the Korean War to head off such a perceived possibility under the leadership of President Truman. As a result of the controversy, Mr. Eden had become a "political storm center", such that even his friend, Mr. Churchill, was upset that the policy imperiled the safety of Hong Kong. Thus, indicates Mr. Pearson, unless the President worked out his strategy of Communist Chinese diplomatic recognition and a cease-fire regarding Formosa, Mr. Eden might be disappointed in achieving his greatest ambition. He would, nevertheless, in early April, become the new Prime Minister upon the retirement of Mr. Churchill.

Vice-President Nixon, just before leaving on his tour of the Caribbean, had told one of his closest friends that the President did not intend to run for a second term in 1956, saying that the President would resist any effort to draft him at the convention on the basis that he was not the indispensable man and that a young, vigorous candidate could win for the Republicans. Mr. Pearson notes parenthetically that Mr. Nixon considered himself very young and very vigorous.

Thus, the column struck out this date on three predictions, even if getting it right on the basic shakeup in Russia.

James D. White, Associated Press correspondent, writes from San Francisco, positing that the shakeup in leadership in the Soviet Union likely would make Communist China bolder than ever, given that former Premier Georgi Malenkov had stood for a "coexistence" policy which, until recently, had inhibited China from undertaking aggressive action after the end of the Korean War. Mr. Malenkov had no experience with the Chinese other than his contacts with them in Moscow, while his replacement, Premier Bulganin, had paid an extended visit to Peiping several months earlier, accompanied by Communist Party chairman Khrushchev, "who looms as the big man in Russia".

Foreign Minister Molotov had also spent time in Peiping, and his remarks on nuclear warfare the previous day had tended to overshadow another new element of Soviet policy, that being Mr. Molotov's unqualified support of Communist China's claim to Formosa, for which Russia's support previously had only been lukewarm. Mr. Bulganin had a reputation among Asians as the first prominent Soviet figure to display a marked interest in Chinese possibilities since Russia had withdrawn from China in 1927. He reportedly had made a speech in eastern Siberia in 1946, in which he outlined a policy of developing Chinese Communist strength, proclaiming in 1952 a joint Sino-Soviet "Eurasian Monroe Doctrine", informing the rest of the world that it must keep its hands off both Europe and Asia. While that had not worked out, it fit with known ambitions of both Russia and China.

Mr. White indicates that he had on his desk for the previous month an unconfirmed report from Asia which had stated that under Mr. Malenkov's coexistence policy, the Russians had developed serious differences with China regarding Formosa, indicating that until the previous summer, the Chinese had been demanding arms and materiel, including submarines and jets, to support a 300,000-man invasion force against Formosa, to be undertaken before the end of 1954. But the Russians had disagreed on the timing and the Chinese strategy because it would inevitably involve a fight with the U.S. Seventh Fleet, and so they had proposed an invasion instead for the spring of 1957, the report concluding that by October, 1954, relations had reached a "new low" between China and Russia.

Since that time, the Chinese had, the prior December, suddenly announced conviction on "spy" charges of the 11 American airmen captured during the Korean War, and the previous month, had invaded the Nationalist-held outpost island of Yikiangshan, eight miles from the Nationalist-held Tachen Islands, bringing the latter within artillery range of the Chinese Communists. Thus those actions had undermined any chance of "coexistence".

Mr. White speculates, therefore, that it might have been the issue over Formosa which had caused the demotion of Premier Malenkov, rather than his somewhat outdated failures regarding Soviet agriculture, to which he had, in his resignation message, ascribed the basis for stepping down. Mr. White concludes that the Chinese had every incentive to use the opportunity to move more boldly and encourage thereby more Russian support.

The Congressional Quarterly indicates that Democrats hoped to give the Administration a "political hot-foot" during the year for alleged violations of the Civil Service system, with the principal stress thus far having been on the controversial Federal employee security program. The Senate Post Office and Civil Service Committee had also requested $75,000 for a probe of the administration of the civil service system. Committee chairman Olin Johnston of South Carolina had received an average of 40 complaints per day from Federal job-holders who were claiming that they were being railroaded out of their jobs by patronage-hungry Republicans. Another member of the Committee, Senator Mike Monroney of Oklahoma, had accused Republicans of "raping Civil Service".

In the House, Representative John Dingell of Michigan was seeking an investigation of Administration policies and practices which "weaken protection under civil service".

Republicans, by contrast, complained that not enough jobs had been opened up to political appointment, with Representative Charles Vursell of Illinois telling the Quarterly that only three Democratic-appointed postmasters had been removed in his district during the previous two years and that at least a dozen others ought be removed for incompetence.

When and if the probe were to get underway, Senators Johnston, Monroney and other Democrats intended to ask questions about a Civil Service Commission order removing some 1,000 jobs from the system, enabling patronage appointments, as well as a similar order impacting 900 deputy U.S. marshals. They would also probe the White House-sponsored "Jobs for Republicans" program, under which patronage seekers were referred to agencies with job openings, as well as an order for a new civil service examination for postmasters, the firing of some 350 postmasters and alleged threats made against others. The latter was of particular interest to Senator Monroney, who said that complaints filed with the Post Office Committee had stated that postmasters appointed by Democratic Administrations were being fired "on frivolous and trumped-up charges" or were being forced to resign under "threats or duress". Senators Monroney and Johnston also believed that the post office might be making appointments outside the Civil Service system and using vague standards, such as "community acceptability", to circumvent the preference laws applicable to veterans.

Speaking for the Administration, the Civil Service commissioner, George Moore, had told the Quarterly that "not a single postmaster was removed because of his political affiliation." Post Office officials said that each removal had been based on charges of improper conduct, with 119 based on embezzlement, and that only 226 postmasters had been removed during the first year of the Administration, compared to 1,700 during the first year of the Roosevelt Administration in 1933.

It concludes by indicating that Senate confirmations of postmasters nominated by President Eisenhower had totaled 1,852 from the beginning of his Administration through January 14, 1955.

A letter writer from Asheville indicates that Governor Luther Hodges had been quoted as being anxious to know why the per capita income in the state was so low and had in mind suggesting to the colleges that they make a survey to ascertain the reasons, indicating that the condition had long existed. He thinks that perhaps the state had been so long bragging of being the most progressive in the South that it had not heard the cries of despair from the masses regarding their low per capita income. Thus, he was happy that the Governor had become fully aware of that fact, but wonders why he would turn to the colleges for the information instead of calling a conference of the North Carolina State Federation of Labor, state officials of the CIO and the representatives of the railroad brotherhoods, plus randomly selected employees of the state's laundries, hotels, restaurants, cab operations and elderly who had clerked in stores at jobs not covered by the Federal wage-hour law, along with youth who were just out of school and seeking employment. He favors looking again at the "right to work law", finding it un-American, unjust, and un-Christian, despite the Governor having spoken tenderly of it a few days earlier. He finds that the purpose of the law had been to reduce wages of working people of the state, thus reducing per capita income, that the law had been written in Chicago "by a gang of corporation lawyers", with a copy of it sent to North Carolina. They had then gotten a young legislator who had served in the South Pacific during World War II to sponsor it, prostituting himself as a returned G.I., doing the bidding of the corporate lawyers. "The same influences that place the right-to-scab law upon our statute books are the same influences that have kept this state from enacting a minimum wage law for our workers who are not protected by the federal wage-hour law."

A letter from Bob Cherry, Jr., indicates that he shared a degree of the newspaper's concern in its editorial recently regarding Harvey Matusow having recanted much of his prior testimony implicating various people, including Owen Lattimore, as Communists or Communist sympathizers, says that he had a distaste for Mr. Matusow, and believes that his testimony ought to be reassessed where charges and convictions had resulted. But he does not believe the editorial was justified in inferring that the case of Mr. Matusow was typical of all former Communists. He finds that previously, the editorial column had defended the "sloppy liberalism or intellectualism of men like Oppenheimer, Oxnam, Lattimore, and others who are led by their 'innocent' noses (O, so willingly!) into Communist camps." Thus he cannot understand why they could not extend the same understanding and charity to the confused Mr. Matusow. And he goes on in that vein...

As usual, Mr. Cherry is quite confused and blinded by his continuing adoration of Senator McCarthy.

A letter writer tells of an automobile accident occurring in Los Angeles along Sunset Boulevard, as two vehicles which were being raced by young people collided with a car driven by an older couple, resulting in the deaths of four people, all "for the few moments' thrill of speed." He cautions that it could happen in Charlotte, suggesting that it was "the beginning of the end for speed-crazy demons on the streets of Los Angeles", as since that time, the teenage mechanical geniuses had their talents turned in a more sensible direction, through the aid of their parents and police supervision, to organized clubs meeting on dry lake beds, airplane landing strips, old abandoned stretches of highway and other such places where they could show off their driving abilities safely and intelligently. He indicates that there was such a club now in Charlotte of which he was a member, along with about 21 others and steadily growing, all of whom had the "car bug", teaching them cooperation, sportsmanship, safety and the ability to build a mechanical masterpiece with their own hands. They wanted their own dragstrip, a straight piece of road slightly longer than a quarter of a mile, where they could run their cars. He urges that they needed the people of Charlotte to help them by indicating where they might obtain a strip or a clubhouse and garage, providing phone numbers for members and the address for "Throttle Jockeys".

So, if you have the information, you can take down their numbers and address and write them. Who knows? Maybe they are still looking for a dragstrip and a clubhouse and garage.

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