The Charlotte News

Saturday, March 12, 1955


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports from Bombay that a 32-year old rickshaw man wielding a six-inch clasp knife had jumped onto the running board of Prime Minister Nehru's automobile near Nagpur this date, and the Prime Minister had pushed him off, whereupon the police, fearing an assassination attempt, arrested the man along with another man. The knife-wielding man was from the same area wherein the assassin of Mohandas K. Gandhi had lived at the time of the 1948 assassination, and the other man was not immediately identified. There was no statement of any motive. The Prime Minister, 65, was unhurt and appeared unperturbed, commenting that it had been "a very small knife and not at all dangerous," saying that he could have taken the knife away from the man, but in the meantime, police had attacked the man and removed him from the scene. He called the person a "crank" and said the whole episode had lasted only about ten seconds, appearing jovial about the episode when talking of it with reporters later in the day. The Government issued a statement declaring that the incident could not be called an assassination attempt, that the knife-wielding man might have been angry at someone else in the Prime Minister's car, such as the chief minister who controlled rickshaws through a licensing system.

In Rome, Italy lined up this date with the nations backing West German rearmament, as its Senate decisively approved of the Paris accords, over bitter Communist opposition, following two weeks of heated debates, climaxed by Communist street riots. The vote the previous night had been 139 to 82, making Italy the eighth to ratify out of the 15 nations who were signatories to the treaties. The lower house of the Italian Parliament had approved the pacts the previous December and so they now awaited only the signature of Italy's President.

Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, said this date that he believed the Committee's stock market inquiry had demolished a Wall Street argument that the capital gains tax had a lot to do with keeping stock prices high. The inquiry had heard conflicting testimony about the tax, with several witnesses from the financial community arguing that it forced stock prices up because stockholders did not want to sell their stock if they had to pay a tax on the profits, resulting in fewer stocks for sale and consequent higher prices, calling for reduction or even elimination of the capital gains tax.

Democratic and Republican leaders in Congress took steps to guard against absentee voters on the issue of the income tax cut, headed for a close vote, with the showdown coming either the following Tuesday or Wednesday. The New York Times, in a dispatch from Washington by William S. White, had stated that the President was determined to veto any Democratic income tax-cutting legislation, should it pass, despite the fact that it would be embodied in a bill extending the corporate and excise taxes, as the President favored. Senator Harry F. Byrd of Virginia and Republican Senate leaders continued to express confidence that they had the votes to defeat the individual tax cut plan by a slim margin, but Democratic leaders were still trying to muster votes for the proposed 908 million dollar annual income tax reduction for lower-income families. Both sides had agreed the previous day to limit debate, starting Tuesday, to four hours on the tax-cut plan. There was little controversy over the extension of the corporate and excise tax rates, set to expire April 1, for an additional year, as part of that bill. In the second day of floor debate the previous day, Senators Russell Long of Louisiana, Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota, Richard Neuberger of Oregon, Alben Barkley of Kentucky and Albert Gore of Tennessee, among others, had spoken in favor of the individual tax cut plan. It appeared that each side would lack one of its votes, as Senator Margaret Chase Smith of Maine was traveling in the Far East and Senator John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts was still in Florida convalescing from his major back surgery the previous fall. Senator Humphrey asked Senator William Langer of North Dakota, a proponent of the measure, to try to attract two other Republicans to vote for the individual tax cut to enable it to pass, but Senator Langer responded that he was lucky to have his own vote. Some Democratic sources hinted that there was hope of obtaining the vote of Senator McCarthy, who had not yet taken a position on the measure.

In Glasgow, Scotland, two Scottish preachers this date suggested that American evangelist Billy Graham's visit should be used "to touch off a grassroots religious revival in Scotland." The Rev. Graham would open his six-week crusade March 21 in Glasgow's Kelvin Hall, which had already sold out all of its 11,500 seats for the entire crusade. The sermons would be carried by land lines to amplifiers in hundreds of churches throughout the country. The two ministers said that ministers of all denominations in the country should hold personal interviews and consultations at manses and vestries, with churchgoers and non-churchgoers, and contact men and women at their daily work in offices, shops, factories, on farms and in the mining pits to spark the revival.

In Othello, Washington, there had been nearly 200 earthquakes since January 1, causing the farm towers to sway, walls to crack and household pictures to shift on their hooks. Geologists, however, said that the Columbia Basin shifting was nothing about which to be concerned, as it was not an earthquake zone, that the movement was caused by subterranean rock shifting because of the weight of the new irrigation in the Basin, affecting a 10 to 12 square-mile wheat-growing area. A geologist said that the shakes would probably continue for some time and were apt to develop elsewhere in the Basin, but that there would be no serious problem.

In Atlanta, negotiations continued between Southern Bell Telephone Co. and employees who were members of the Communications Workers of America union, regarding a new contract, to try to avert the threatened walkout of 50,000 Southern Bell employees in nine states starting Sunday at midnight. Both sides expressed hope that a settlement might be reached at sessions this date or throughout the following day if necessary, with the previous night's negotiations having lasted until the wee hours. The company contended that the major roadblock to agreement was its insistence on a no-strike clause in the new contract, with the union spokesmen saying that while that was a real issue, wages remained the basic point of difference, the company having offered an aggregate raise of 6 million dollars annually. The union had no direct comment on that offer, but a previous offer had been condemned as only benefiting a few of the better paid employees and leaving the bulk of the employees with little or no improvement.

In Birmingham, former chief deputy sheriff Albert Fuller of Phenix City had been found guilty by a jury of the murder of A. L. Patterson, assassinated the prior June in the immediate wake of his Democratic primary victory to become State Attorney General, after running on a campaign platform of cleaning up the vice-ridden Phenix City. Mr. Fuller was sentenced to life in prison, on the recommendation of the jury, which had the choice of a life sentence or death. The jury deliberated over 22 hours before returning its verdict. The prosecutor stated that Arch Ferrell, who had been the district attorney in Phenix City during the same time when Mr. Fuller had been chief deputy sheriff, would be tried in about two weeks for the murder. Former State Attorney General Si Garrett would also be tried separately for the murder at a subsequent time.

Also in Birmingham, it was reported that a complaint that a union organizer had been escorted out of Haleyville, Ala., by a group of about 30 persons, had been referred to the U.S. Attorney by the FBI.

In Sydney, Australia, the Sydney Sun-Herald this date quoted RAF group Capt. Peter Townsend as saying that "if a situation should demand my exile and that of a certain lady, we should of course accept it," referring to the newspaper reports that he and Princess Margaret were to be wed, despite his being a commoner. He refused, however, to say precisely what his feelings were about Princess Margaret, saying that he was "sick and tired of lurking around" in his flat as if he were a criminal, saying that he was afraid to move for fear of cross-questioning, that he had kept his mouth shut for a long period, but was now opening it just a little.

The winter season's most severe dust storms in the Southern and Central Great Plains appeared to have caused the heaviest monetary damage of the season, with Colorado having suffered a loss of half of its three million acres of winter wheat, estimated to be worth 50 million dollars. Tornadoes, wind and thunderstorms, which had struck across the Midwest and Eastern areas the previous day, had caused extensive property damage in Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania, where winds reached up to 92 mph across much of the area.

In Charlotte, nugget-sized hailstones hit the area early this date as part of a driving electrical storm, with the Weather Bureau stating that .68 inches of rain had fallen during the early morning hours, leaving large marble-sized hailstones on the ground in some places at daylight. It was the worst hailstorm seen in Charlotte in at least 17 years, according to the chief of the Bureau, who had been in the position for that period. High temperatures would continue in the 70's this date, after the high of 78 the previous day, with 76 predicted as the high for this date and 72 for Sunday. Lows would be in the 50's.

In New York, a few nights earlier, a patrolman had ticketed a car parked by a fire hydrant in front of a chop house and tavern on the Avenue of the Americas, near Rockefeller Center, after which, on later rounds, the patrolman was amazed to find that the fire plug had disappeared. He decided that he must have confused the location with another, until he returned the following night and found that the hydrant had reappeared. He then went to the hydrant and discovered that it was made of wood and plastic. He took it to the police station and presented it to his superiors, and it was finally ascertained that a man had paid $10 for a dummy fire hydrant about a month earlier to discourage cars from parking in front of his establishment, which, he said, worked better than a doorman. The police said it would be difficult to fine someone for parking in front of a fire plug that was not in fact a fire plug.

On the editorial page, "A 'Real Desire' To Clear the Air" finds that the offer of Cincinnati's Coal Producers Committee for Smoke Abatement to conduct a free survey of air pollution in Charlotte was a first step in a long civic journey. The only condition attached to the offer was that the city show a real desire to do something about its air pollution problem.

It indicates that the City Council had a record of indifference on the matter, after an earlier attempt at smoke abatement had failed. The previous month, members of the Council showed individually and collectively that they would like to do something about the problem at long last. But it questions whether they meant it, indicating the hope that they did. It finds that the problem was soluble but would take great determination on the part of the Council to make a new program work, that it would have to be solved in a cooperative, community manner, as nearly everyone contributed to the problem, not just mills and factories, but individuals driving their cars improperly, or burning piles of leaves in the backyard. The first task was to educate the public thoroughly to the problem and then undertake joint action, under the firm supervision of a competent smoke abatement engineer. Ways to solve the problem were known through extensive research, and cooperative determination was the only element which needed to be supplied by the community.

"Inner Agonies Are Exposed" indicates that after DNC chairman Paul Butler had discussed newspaper reports about Mamie Eisenhower's health and its possible effect on the President's decision to run in 1956, Republican leaders were horrified, calling it "a personal attack upon the Eisenhowers" and "an out-and-out smear".

It finds that Mr. Butler's comments had not properly merited the response, but that the unusual rage they had provoked had been significant, revealing certain inner agonies on both sides of the party fences, illustrating the Democratic fear that the President would run again and the Republican fear that he would not. Democrats were fairly convinced that the President would run again and would win, and, other than Adlai Stevenson, the 1952 party nominee, no other Democrats were being groomed for the race, and were doing little other than hoping that the President might decide not to run, as Mr. Butler had only suggested aloud.

"North Carolina—Any Way You Slice It" indicates that a high school student had inquired of the newspaper what district Mecklenburg County was in, for a school paper, and the temptation having been to say that it was in the 10th Congressional District, the 14th State Judicial District, the same State Solicitorial District and the 20th State Senatorial District.

It tells of Mecklenburg being no different from any other county of the state, that there were 100 counties which sent 120 representatives to the State House and 50 State Senators. Eight of the counties got two representatives, three received three and Guilford and Mecklenburg each received four. Of the State Senators, five counties each had its own, including Mecklenburg.

Of the 12 Congressional districts, each had a U.S. Representative, and the State judicial districts were divided between Eastern and Western, while the three Federal judicial districts were divided between Eastern, Middle and Western. The General Assembly the previous week had expanded the number of judicial districts in the state from 21 to 30, without rearranging the previously corresponding solicitorial districts.

It finds that trying to figure out the lines of the various districts was akin to playing Scrabble with missing letters. It uses Mecklenburg County as an example, that the Congressional districts did not coincide with the judicial districts, State or Federal. It says that as the state would grow, there would be moves to tamper with district lines again, with the overriding attempt being to improve the efficiency of government. It advises the student making the original inquiry to return the call to the newspaper when she became a freshman in college.

A piece from the Christian Science Monitor, titled "Hurricanes, Dusters and Kipling", quotes from Rudyard Kipling: "For the female of the species is more deadly than the male," a line which had made outward enemies of half the women who had not read the remainder of the poem, and, it suspects, secret friends of some of them and all of the remainder. It suggests that when the Weather Bureau had decided to give feminine names to the Atlantic hurricanes, it had provoked the same response, and when it decided to do it again in 1955, despite the outcry, it probably aroused the same suspicions. The new hurricane season would begin with Alice and end somewhere before reaching Zelda.

But Mr. Kipling had also said in the same poem: "Man's timid heart is bursting with the things he must not say." In Midland, Tex., the local Chamber of Commerce had proclaimed that they had some of the finest sandstorms in the world, approving the idea of naming them after males. It again quotes from Mr. Kipling: "So it comes that Man, the coward, when he gathers to confer/ With his fellow braves in council, dare not leave a place for her." It indicates that the council in Midland had called on a female attorney to help them in naming the dust storms, and she had named the first one Adam.

Drew Pearson indicates that Secretary of State Dulles had informed U.S. ambassadors to 15 Asiatic countries the previous week that the time had come for the U.S. to stand firm against Asiatic Communism, having reaffirmed that notion during his address via nationwide radio and television during the current week. His warnings, however, had too often been reversed either by the President or by the Secretary's own policies or the policies of the Administration, through curtailing the military budget. The Chinese Communists listened to the radio and read the newspapers, and Mr. Pearson submits the record they had been reading.

Mr. Dulles had said to the American Legion in St. Louis in September, 1953 that there was a risk that, as in Korea, Communist China might send its own Army into Indo-China, warning that such a second aggression could not be confined to Indo-China and would have "grave consequences", a threat of war which was ignored by the Chinese Communists, who invaded Indo-China anyway. On January 12, 1954, Secretary Dulles had announced that the U.S. was prepared to meet aggression with instant retaliation "by means and places of our own choosing", depending primarily on "a great capacity to retaliate instantly", an oblique reference to the atomic bomb. The Chinese, however, had proceeded to take over more areas of Indo-China. Then, in August, 1953, in Seattle, the President had told the Governors Conference that if Indo-China should fall to the Communists, several things would happen immediately, that the tin and tungsten that the U.S. valued from the area would cease flowing, that all of India would be outflanked, and that Burma would be in no position for defense. Yet, his warning had fallen on deaf ears and the U.S. did nothing to back up the warning. Vice-President Nixon, in addressing the American Society of Newspaper Editors in April, 1954, had warned that the U.S. was ready to send land troops into Indo-China, but that warning was also ignored by the Communists. Two months before the latter warning, on February 10, 1954, the President had said that no one could be more bitterly opposed to getting the U.S. involved in a hot war in that area of the world than he was. Mr. Pearson suggests that perhaps the Communists had paid more attention to that latter statement than the statements of the Vice-President.

He concludes that the Chinese Communists had heard brave words from one quarter and compromising words from another, that it was therefore no wonder that they had gone ahead, first in Indo-China, and more recently regarding the islands of Quemoy, Matsu and Formosa, that it was doubtful, therefore, that the warnings of Secretary Dulles the prior Tuesday would have much effect on the Communist Chinese.

Business Week indicates that if business did not voluntarily provide financial aid to higher education, it appeared that soon they would be providing more financial support for higher education involuntarily, through taxation. If that latter possibility materialized, a well-balanced system of higher education, with strong, independent colleges and universities, could be dangerously weakened or destroyed, undermining in the process a potentially crucial bulwark for freedom of enterprise in the country.

There had been a rapid increase in the proportion of college and university students attending tax-supported public institutions. In the fall of 1952, such colleges and universities had an enrollment equal to about 7.5 percent more students than independent, privately supported institutions, and in 1953, that percentage had doubled, in 1954, rising to 26 percent. For students entering college for the first time, the relative growth of tax-supported institutions had been even greater, in 1952, being 35 percent more than private schools, and in 1954, 49 percent more. There were many reasons for that rapid increase, prime among which was the fact that the private institutions had been forced to make large increases in their tuitions, as the purchasing power of their endowment funds had been cut in half by inflation and the capacity of the wealthy to provide endowments had been limited by higher taxes, forcing the schools to rely increasingly on higher tuition rates to make ends meet. Since 1940, the private colleges and universities had raised their tuition fees by an average of around 60 percent, not enough to prevent faculty members from faring miserably in salaries, as inflation had risen about 100 percent since 1940. The increase in tuition was much greater, however, than that charged in public schools.

It indicates that there was no easy solution to the problem, as for most companies, providing financial aid for higher education was complicated, leading some otherwise willing companies to relent. It suggests that if the leaders of business would contemplate seriously the only available alternative to voluntary aid, their determination to work out a satisfactory plan mutually with the institutions would be strengthened.

Minutes indicates that more than 8,000 young people between ages 15 and 24 would die in traffic accidents during 1955, with those drivers having five times as many accidents as some adult groups over age 24, with 25 percent of the fatalities involving people under 25. But, it indicates, before condemning all youthful drivers, the good ones should be examined, such as those who drove school buses in North Carolina.

About 450,000 pupils rode school buses in the state, more than in any other state. There were 7,000 buses and more than 6,000 of the drivers were high school students, with one of the best safety records in the nation. To qualify for the job, they had to pass a tough driving test supervised by the State Highway Patrol, as well as a written test on traffic problems and safety. Competition for the job was fierce, with drivers receiving $22.50 per month and being honored at the time of commencement along with the top scholars and star athletes of their school. In nearly every school district, there was a waiting list of such pupils.

In Mecklenburg County, the superintendent had never had to ask for volunteers and had been using only students as drivers since 1933. There were 175 buses in the county, transporting 11,500 students, and there had been no fatal school bus accident since the students had started as the drivers. The superintendent said that the young drivers had excellent reflexes, that the students drove more than a total of 5,000 miles per day, with some responsible for as many as 72 passengers.

About 825 of the state's student drivers were female, who had better safety records than the males. Training and supervision of the drivers were the responsibility of local boards of education. The State Highway Patrol inspected the buses at least once per month and drivers submitted daily reports, including on any accident. During the previous five years, there had been an average of only one accident for every 100,000 miles driven by the student drivers, about twice as good as the national average for all drivers.

Doris Fleeson tells of politicians being regularly blamed for not being more constructive in their investigations, but finds that the so-called "friendly" Senate stock market study, ongoing by the Senate Banking Committee, showed that the public preferred the destructive style, for only a handful of spectators were listening to those hearings. The Committee chairman, Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, was doing a good job of making the hearings interesting, despite there being no meeting of the minds on what the study ought to show, with the members of the Committee still fumbling for the reasons why the stock market's soaring status should be of any great concern.

The spokesmen for the various stock exchanges passed over that aspect in favor of the problems of the capital gains tax. That discussion had reminded John Harriman, financial editor of the Boston Globe, of a famous exchange between the late George Bernard Shaw and Samuel Goldwyn of the movies, that the latter, when asked how he got along with Mr. Shaw, stated: "It was no good at all. All he wanted to talk about was art and all I wanted to talk about was money."

A letter writer comments on the February 28 editorial, "The Awful Art of Tail-Swallowing", regarding veterans' bonuses. The self-described veteran wonders whether North Carolina was a forward or backward state, based on its low rank among the states in per capita income, and whether the proposal to have a veterans' bonus was a forward or backward move by the state, suggests that the veterans deserved the meager reward to show how much the people in the state appreciated their sacrifices during wartime. He wonders whether the state would ever "overthrow the back-slapping, political politicians and send real men to the Senate, the House, and the Governor's office of our state", predicting that one day, they would wake up when the state was dead last in per capita income, working "as slave laborers for a bunch of 4-F's", referring to those who did not qualify for the draft in World War II. He adds a P.S., that veterans could always move to a more forward-looking state.

A letter writer, who withholds his name, says that he was in the Mecklenburg County Jail and they were sending him to Raleigh for habitual drunkenness, that he did not understand why they had liquor stores, wonders whether it was for the purpose of paying taxes to go to "the pen", that if he had his choice of going to the pen or going to hell, he would take hell, stating that he had tried to commit suicide at the City Jail, and so they had brought him to the County Jail where they had some decent jailers. He compliments the judge of the Recorder's Court who had sentenced him and says that he believes they should close all of the liquor stores in Charlotte.

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