The Charlotte News

Monday, March 14, 1955


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that William Martin, chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, had stated this date to the Senate Banking Committee that he saw signs of "unhealthy tendencies when businessmen or the public generally become unduly preoccupied with the stock market and stock prices," that "an unsound speculative psychology may then develop that can have adverse effects throughout the economy." He did not say what the Board might be considering in terms of raising margin requirements for purchase of stocks. The stock market had its sharpest decline in 15 years the previous week after the Banking Committee, chaired by Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, had started its "friendly study" of the sharp rise in stock prices during the prior 18 months. It was widely debated whether the inquiry itself was influencing the decline. Mr. Martin said that margin requirements alone might not be able to halt excessive speculation. The Board had increased margin requirements from 50 to 60 percent the prior January, and the Committee had received conflicting views on whether credit buying of stocks should be halted by raising the margin requirements to 100 percent. Mr. Martin said that loans to purchase stocks through brokers had risen to 2.6 billion dollars, the highest level since the figures were first maintained in 1931. He said that loans on securities totaled 7.2 billion dollars, an increase of around two billion since the end of 1946. He indicated that the increase had to be viewed in the light of the whole picture of credit outstanding in the economy, that the total increase in credit since 1946 had been nearly 200 billion dollars worth, such that stock loans only made up about one percent of that eight-year increase.

In Atlanta, Southern Bell Telephone Co. workers in nine states went on strike this date after more than eight months of negotiations had failed to produce a new contract satisfactory to both sides. A continuous 20-hour session between the company and Communications Workers of America union representatives had failed to reach agreement by the early morning, and would be resumed in the afternoon. CWA leaders said they believed the walkout was nearly 100 percent effective among the 50,000 employees eligible for union membership, albeit with some workers remaining on the job. Two main telephone cables into Birmingham had been cut this date as Southern Bell employees had gone on strike, and the company offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the sabotage. Additionally, a main cable between Birmingham and an industrial suburb, 12 miles south, had also been cut. In Charlotte, mostly young women workers were populating the picket lines at the Southern Bell offices, where it was estimated by the CWA local union official that there were more than 1,000 employees on strike, of the 1,400 eligible for membership. Telephone service in the city remained normal by early afternoon. Picketing was peaceful.

In Louisville, Ky., the non-operating employees of the 13-state Louisville & Nashville Railroad Co., and two of its subsidiaries, had struck this date regarding a health and welfare issue, the strike expected to idle 25,000 employees. Shortly after the start of the strike, a spokesman for the L. & N., said that it would continue to operate its trains.

In Hong Kong, General Maxwell Taylor, future chairman of the Joint Chiefs under President Kennedy, would take over as Far East commander on April 1, arriving this date by air from Saigon, and would leave the following day from Manila en route to Tokyo.

In Moscow, a husky gunman shot his way into the British Embassy the previous night, seriously wounding a Russian police guard who had tried to stop him. He was overpowered and disarmed by two unarmed Embassy attaches after forcing his way into the living quarters of Ambassador Sir William and Lady Hayter, who were in the country skiing at the time, returning just as the man was being turned over to Russian police. There was no motive reported for the invasion.

In Kingstree, S.C., it was reported that a passenger had fallen out of a Navy jet plane when the canopy blew off during the previous night's violent wind, hail and thunderstorm in the central part of the state.

The violent hailstorm had hit a five-county area in South Carolina the previous night, killing a 60-year old man and a three-year old girl who had been trapped when a concrete block house had blown in on them. The storm had dumped up to five inches of hail at Batesburg and four inches at York and Rock Hill.

Dick Young of The News reports that the way had been cleared this date for initiation of a study to develop a master plan for the Charlotte Municipal Airport.

"The Phantom" comic strip premiered this date in The News. Be sure to catch it on page 10-B.

Not on the front page, in the NCAA basketball tournament regional finals held the prior Saturday, 1954 national champion La Salle walloped Canisius 99 to 64 in the Eastern Regional, Iowa beat Marquette 86 to 81 in the Mideast, Colorado beat Bradley 93 to 81 in the Midwest, and the University of San Francisco, with star Bill Russell, nipped Oregon State 57 to 56 in the Western Regional. The national semi-finals would be held the following Friday night and the finals, Saturday night.

On the editorial page, "Tidy Up That Governmental Attic" finds that North Carolina had many agencies it could do without, such as the School Health Coordinating Service, which cost the state $500,000 per year to operate, created by the 1949 General Assembly. The job it did was not unnecessary, but could be done better and at less expense by the State Board of Health. Federal matching funds for the agency had never arrived and so it was reliant only on state funding through the Board of Health and the State Board of Education.

It indicates that News reporter Harry Shuford had pointed out that local school and health authorities had put available funds to use in varying ways, some spending the money for personnel to broaden health training in the schools, while in other areas, most of the money was spent for correction of defects, but sometimes without regard to whether those assisted were needy or not. There appeared to be no well-regulated statewide system at all, and so there was no real coordination performed by the Coordinating Service. The State Dental Society, cooperating with the medical society, had seriously questioned the wisdom of continuing the program in its present form, wanting the State Board of Health to take control of the functions.

It agrees and urges the Assembly to do so.

"Scrap Heaps for Senior Citizens?" finds that employers regularly told potential employees that they were not useful if they were over age 40, that they would not be hired, a typical response in Charlotte's cold business world. But often, the successful entrepreneur who uttered the words was perhaps between 65 and 70, himself.

It informs that all over the country, older people were mobilizing to meet the problem of age discrimination, organizing the Forty-Plus Club, a cooperative nonprofit organization of mature men who worked without compensation for one another.

It indicates that age discrimination had already resulted in millions of healthy, active, middle-aged men and women becoming unemployed after age 40. The unrealistic custom automatically denied the nation of the talents, wisdom and ability of individuals who still had much to offer the community, and deprived the nation of a large reservoir of useful people at a time when manpower problems were serious. Progress in medical science was increasing life expectancy of the average American, with the Census Bureau estimating that by 1975, the number of people over 45 would exceed 63 million, and curtailed wages for those people would mean curtailed spending power, which could seriously impact the U.S. economy.

It, therefore, urges that industry, education, economics and politics develop new psychological attitudes toward senior citizens of the country and halt the ridiculous waste of manpower.

"Youth's Cry: 'Information, Please'" finds that there was a need for data to be made available on all reserve and active armed forces groups via collection in a handbook and its distribution among high school and college graduates for the purposes of intelligently determining their draft eligibility. For upon completion of education, young males were faced with the problem of whether they should allow the Army to draft them into the service or voluntarily enlist in one of the other branches, having to pick from among a long list of service organizations and programs if choosing the latter alternative. The handbook eliminated the guesswork in doing so.

It indicates that the Department of Defense owed it to the youth of the country to compile such a handbook of all accumulated information on every branch of service, reserve and active, through which a person might complete the selective service requirements.

A piece from the Sherman (Tex.) Democrat, titled "What Is 'Elderly'?" tells of a Dallas newspaper writer being perplexed over when a woman became elderly, after a story appeared of a woman in Washington state who was 59 years old and was referred to in the story as "elderly". It was reported that the Associated Press used a rule of thumb, whereby a person was young until age 35, middle-aged between 35 and 65, and elderly thereafter.

At that point, Mason Walsh of the Dallas Times-Herald had taken exception, saying that those under 35 might accept the designation of "young" willingly, but that there were many people, men and women, in the 35 to 45 bracket who would resent being called middle-aged, including the writer. He had gone on to say that one could get by calling anyone under the age of two a "baby" or "infant", but no three-year old would stand for it, as they were big boys and girls by that point and barely tolerated the description of being referred to as a "child". By the time they were 12, the latter term was completely unwelcome, having to refer to them as "sub-teenagers" and then "teenagers", becoming by midteens, "youth" for boys, while girls could still apparently be referred to as "girls". He had also questioned whether an 18-year old male was a youth, a boy or a young man, being, under the Federal Government's view, a juvenile until reaching the age of 18, while under the Texas definition, being a juvenile until age 21 for boys and 18 for girls.

"Legally, too, of course, a man is a man at 21. And, as any man knows, a woman's a woman all the time."

Drew Pearson indicates that the Burmese Government had provided a confidential, highly important report to the State Department regarding an exchange between Chinese Foreign Minister Chou En-lai and Burmese President U Nu, shedding light on how U.S. policy of waving the big stick had failed in the Far East, with Nu telling Chou recently that the former was convinced that the U.S. meant business and would now fight to defend Formosa and its surrounding area, to which Chou had laughed, saying that the U.S. had been cutting its military budget at the same time it was shaking the big stick and that he was not the least bit worried. Mr. Pearson indicates that he believes the warnings which had been issued by the President, the Vice-President and Secretary of State Dulles were all being viewed as massive bluff by the Chinese, for every time there had been a warning, the U.S. had backed down, whether in Indo-China or enabling the withdrawal of Chinese Nationalist troops from the Tachen Islands or cutting the budget further, as detailed in the column the previous week. Now, even if Mr. Dulles meant what he said, and the Chinese Communists still did not believe him, it could result in war.

Since Secretary Dulles had gone to the Far East recently, he had recommended to the President that the U.S. should defend the offshore islands of Quemoy and Matsu, which he had previously opposed defending. The President, prior to making any final decision on the matter, had ordered the Joint Chiefs to review the military consequences of defending those two islands, and the Chiefs had been meeting almost continuously during the previous week. Inevitably, they would likely be split, with Army chief of staff General Matthew Ridgway being opposed to getting bogged down in those islands, just four to five miles from the mainland of China. He had argued that the Chinese could easily attack U.S. installations on the islands with both aerial bombs and artillery, destroying their defenses, that it would be folly to try to defend them, resulting in the loss of thousands of U.S. troops, that instead the current garrison of the Nationalists on the islands ought to be evacuated immediately. Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Robert Carney, who had just returned from the Far East, had also reported that the Navy could not operate between the two islands and the mainland and so could not throw a cordon around the islands and isolate them in case of a battle.

Mr. Pearson concludes that it boiled down to the fact that there was only one way to defend the two islands, through the use of nuclear weapons. The Army had a store of small atomic bombs on hand, which could decimate troops without injuring civilians, as hinted by Secretary Dulles in his secret talks with Senators. The President therefore faced a decision as to whether to defend the two small islands, with the more momentous decision being inevitably to be faced as to whether to drop an atomic bomb for the first time since the two dropped on Japan a decade earlier.

Murray Kempton, in the New York Post, states that the public really did not need Harvey Matusow, the self-confessed former Communist, turned paid Government witness, to tell them that he had lied about supposed former Communists, that it had been evident long before he recanted his statements and testimony before Congress and grand juries. He had once told the Senate Internal Security Committee that he had known 10,000 New York Communist Party members by sight, when FBI director J. Edgar Hoover had estimated at the time that there were only 11,000 Communists in New York. During a Republican campaign speech in Montana in 1952, Mr. Matusow had stated that the Sunday section of the New York Times had 126 Communists on its staff when the Sunday Times had only 90 people on the whole payroll. Those statements alone showed that he was a liar. Yet, Senators who heard those statements had not raised the slightest question about them.

When the Alsops had cited the spurious Times figures as evidence of Mr. Matusow's dishonesty, Alfred Kohlberg, the head of the anti-anti-anti-Communist society, wrote to Mr. Matusow, offering help in a libel suit, which the latter had refused.

Vic Reinemer, Charlotte News associate editor, who had apparently become the "largest collector of Matusow curiosa alive", had, in 1953, assembled a few of his more glaring lies, contradictions and absurdities in two editorials, all of which suggested perjury, which Mr. Reinemer then sent to several Congressional committees and private organizations which had used Mr. Matusow's supposed revelations. Mr. Reinemer had recalled receiving only three responses, one from the late Senator Pat McCarran of Nevada, then outgoing chairman of the Internal Security Committee, who said that the best answer to persons who doubted Mr. Matusow's credibility was the fact that he had acted for more than a year as an informant for the FBI. But since Mr. Matusow had recanted, the FBI had disavowed trust in him.

Only one member of HUAC ever bothered to answer the collection of falsehoods assembled by Mr. Reinemer, that being Congressman Kit Clardy of Michigan, subsequently losing his bid for re-election. He had written back that it appeared to him to be typical Communist propaganda. Joseph Keeley, editor of the American Legion Weekly, which had featured articles by Mr. Matusow, had answered that the News had libeled Mr. Matusow.

Some had claimed that Mr. Matusow was a Communist plant, which Mr. Kempton says he would normally discount as nonsense, but that he does believe Mr. Matusow made fools out of Senator McCarran and all of the other Communist chasers. They were anxious to use his statements to send people to prison, but now professed indignation at his recanting and seeking to obtain the freedom of the people he had put in jail. Mr. Kempton suggests that it was, by their standards, honorable and patriotic to testify against an accused person, but that it was treason to testify on his behalf.

Attorney General Herbert Brownell had stated that he would investigate Mr. Matusow and Marie Natvig because they had admitted that they had lied to hurt people, suspecting that they were now lying to help people, the only form of perjury which appeared to disturb the Department of Justice.

Cyril Connolly, in Ideas and Places, suggests that the reputations of most writers famous between 1900 and 1930 would likely dwindle, including those of George Bernard Shaw, H. G. Wells, Arnold Bennett, John Galsworthy, Hilaire Belloc, and G. K. Chesterton. He found them to be splendid all-around writers who lacked verbal imagination, and he believes it would be the case for many of his contemporaries, though T. S. Eliot and Dylan Thomas might prove to be exceptions. He finds the first line of Dylan Thomas's poem, "A grief ago," to extend the limits of language and feeling. The clear thinking and fresh writing of Mr. Shaw, admirable in its time and original, would, however, become dated through passage of time.

He finds, as had been said by Sainte-Beuve, that writers had to write as if those who were going to read them would belong to a civilization more delicate and subtle than any previously known.

A letter from Bill Williams of Phoenix indicates that he had written a letter several months earlier about prospecting for gold and other precious metals in Arizona and says he was still receiving letters from people as far away from North Carolina as New York, Alabama and Texas regarding the prospect. He again goes on at length about the attributes of going out on the prairie and prospecting, riding horses, camping by the campfire, and so forth, urges all those who were interested to come to Arizona, not so much to look for gold and precious metals as to see the wonderful state which was worth seeing, cautioning that they should not expect to find him as a millionaire prospector, as he was still on his first million.

A letter from the executive secretary of the Charlotte Home Builders Association indicates that proposed legislation before the General Assembly to impose a one percent realty transfer tax in the state was unfair, explaining his position.

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