The Charlotte News

Tuesday, March 15, 1955


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Secretary of State Dulles said this date at a press conference that he imagined the U.S. would use tactical nuclear weapons if it became engaged in any major military clash anywhere around the world, but would not say whether such weapons would specifically be used in defense of the Nationalist Chinese outpost islands of Quemoy and Matsu, should the U.S. decide to assist the Nationalist forces in holding those islands against Communist attack. He stated that if the Chinese Communists were to make a major effort to take the islands and if such an effort were aimed at conquest of Formosa, the U.S. might intervene with sea and air forces equipped with atomic weapons. The President had said that he would reserve to himself the decision to use U.S. forces to defend the outpost islands. Mr. Dulles said that he had in mind tactical nuclear weapons, used against only military targets. He said that the use of the most powerful nuclear weapons decreased as the prospect of use of such tactical nuclear weapons increased. (Perhaps, this press conference statement marked the beginning of what later became known as the Dulles foreign policy of "brinksmanship", eventually utilized regarding Quemoy and Matsu in 1958, eventuating in its most crucial test, following the discovery in October, 1962 of nearly operational offensive MRBM's and potential launching sites under construction for ICBM's 90 miles off the coast of the U.S. in Cuba, dramatically decreasing the delivery time and increasing the potential accuracy of such missiles against U.S. prime targets such as Washington and New York, reaching so far as U.S. missile bases in the Western part of the country, with President Kennedy asking the advice and help of then-former CIA director Allen Dulles in resolving that crisis.)

Republican Congressional leaders told the President this date that they were confident that the Democratic-sponsored proposal to cut individual income taxes by $20 per person among lower income families would be defeated in the Senate and eventually in the House. Senator William Knowland of California stated that he had advised the President that he believed the Senate would reject the proposal. Representative Joseph Martin of Massachusetts, the Minority Leader in the House, said that he believed there were votes to reverse an earlier House vote in favor of the tax cuts. A compromise proposal in the Senate would provide for a $20 reduction to families with incomes under $5,000 per year, plus a $10 reduction for each dependent other than a spouse. The House had passed a measure to provide the $20 reduction generally to individual taxpayers.

Secretary of the Treasury George Humphrey told the Senate Banking Committee this date that its stock market inquiry might be undermining public confidence in the U.S. economy. The statements prompted Senator Homer Capehart of Indiana to demand an end to the inquiry. Committee chairman J. William Fulbright of Arkansas responded that the Committee had a duty to provide caution to the public, if warranted, regarding excessive speculation in the stock market, driving prices to record levels. Secretary Humphrey said that the nation was "on sound economic ground, based on sound principles," that the present month might be one of the highest months of business activity in the nation's history and that there was no reason for the economy not to progress forward unless confidence was badly injured or destroyed.

In Los Angeles, the flashbulb of an amateur photographer had exploded with unusual force, sounding like a pistol shot, providing a tense moment during a public appearance of Vice-President Nixon, as he was walking through the lobby of a new wing of a hospital. He suddenly stopped and recoiled at the sound. Bits of exploded flashbulb had fallen on his blue suit and there was complete silence in the room, as the amateur photographer's mouth flew open and she began to shake. At that point, Mr. Nixon stated, "I'm glad nobody is hurt," and walked on to his dedication speech for the wing. Actually, a detective who was walking near the Vice-President had been injured when some of the glass had entered his eye. The picture which the woman had taken had not been very clear, as there were streaks of flying glass across it.

In Las Vegas, it was reported that an atomic test which was expected to be the largest in the current 1955 series of tests, had been called off shortly before it was scheduled to occur during the early morning hours. The Atomic Energy Commission announced that the cancellation had taken place because of unfavorable weather conditions, and did not indicate when the next scheduled test would occur. It would have been the sixth test in the current series and was intended to detonate a device from atop a 500-foot tower, usually utilized for larger tests.

In Atlanta, it was reported that a widespread search was ongoing for persons who had deliberately cut telephone lines in Alabama and Georgia shortly after the start of the Southern Bell Telephone Co. strike of employees in nine Southern states. Communications Workers of America union officials denied any knowledge of the incidents, which had occurred the previous day, involving the cutting of a cable between Birmingham and New Orleans, and other incidents in Atlanta, the cutting of a cable in the driveway entrance to police headquarters, partially paralyzing police communications for a short time, as well as the damaging of two other cables in the area. The company described the acts as sabotage and offered a $5,000 reward for the arrest and conviction of those involved. The union said that it neither initiated nor condoned such incidents. The union also said that the strike was nearly 100 percent effective.

In Laramie, Wyo., six men had been killed early this date in a fire which flashed through an old two-story hotel, with all of the dead having suffocated from either smoke or heat. The fire chief said that it was the worst loss of life in the history of Laramie. No cause of the fire is reported.

In Raleigh, a bill calling for increased sentences for sex deviates and treatment in the state's mental hospitals of psychiatrically determined candidates, was killed this date by the House Mental Institutions Committee, while it favorably reported a measure aimed at expediting the admission and proper handling of persons committed to State hospitals for the mentally ill. The general superintendent of the State hospitals board of control and the superintendent of Butner State Hospital had both opposed sending sexual psychopaths to the state's mental hospitals, as they said that they were not equipped with proper personnel to provide treatment and that such treatment had to be voluntary, not compulsory, or it would not work. There was some approval by the doctors expressed, however, for erecting a special institution to keep and treat sexual psychopaths.

In Charlotte, a proposal was made by the president of Radio Center, Inc., that the Park & Recreation Commission purchase the Radio Center building on South Boulevard as an alternative to erecting a new auditorium, offering the building for sale to the City for $400,000. The proposal also included an agreement by the company to pay $160,000 in rentals for the building for 12 weeks per year for trade shows and other bookings already made for the building. Effectively, therefore, the City would pay only $240,000 for the building, leaving the Commission with about $100,000 left from the money obtained from insurance after the Armory-Auditorium fire which destroyed the old building a year earlier. Will the Commission accept the offer? We know you are on the edge of your seats regarding this important issue. Time will tell.

As indicated in the below editorial, Hazel Trotter of The News, in the first of two articles, asks whether Charlotte was in danger of losing industries because of its high tax rate, reports that City and tax officials had answered in the negative, while some of Charlotte's leading manufacturing executives had answered in the affirmative. She finds that some manufacturers were considering leaving the city, in one instance because of inadequate access to water, and in others, because of high taxes.

On the editorial page, "Charlotte Industry: Folding Tents?" indicates that Ms. Trotter was examining the subject of manufacturers relocating from Charlotte to escape high taxes, the editorial suggesting that unless the city could compete favorably with other Southern cities, it would lose valuable industrial payrolls, resulting in retarded economic growth. The amount of taxes was not the only consideration being made by the manufacturers in the decisions to relocate. The tax rate could be maintained low by deficit financing, perpetuating an illusion, or by keeping municipal expenses unduly low through neglect of the city's physical plant or provision of public services. It offers that the city had to continue to progress, but also had to remain efficient in its spending, concluding that local government could do much to shape the environment and psychology which bred confidence and success in the city.

"Sense & Nonsense about Redistricting" addresses the subject of the necessity, under the State Constitution, to redistrict the State Senatorial districts every ten years based on the latest decennial census, something which the General Assembly had failed to do in 1951 and 1953. Now the specious argument was being advanced in the Legislature that because of that failing, it would be unconstitutional for the 1955 Assembly to meddle in the matter. A former Mayor of Greensboro had asked, in response, when it had become illegal to pay an overdue note, a rejoinder which the piece finds quite apt, urges the Assembly to perform its duty under the State Constitution.

"Avoiding the Datelines of Disaster" quotes from headlines, that Secretary of State Dulles would be "vaguely firm", with another questioning whether the U.S. would or would not go to war over the offshore Nationalist Chinese islands, finding that around the world, confusion was abundant as to U.S. policy toward the Formosa area.

The policy prompted a question as to whether the confusion was intentional to drive the Communists into a state of frustration, a form of psychological warfare. But, it finds, such was not the case, that Secretary Dulles only sounded vague and uncertain in discussing the policy, which was vague and uncertain. While the chief aim was to avoid war, no one in the Government appeared to know how to preserve the peace and the nation's self-respect at the same time. Thus, there were veiled threats abounding, with Mr. Dulles alternately appearing vaguely firm or firmly vague.

It urges that a line needed to be drawn in the Pacific, beyond which Communist expansion could not go, and that such a line should include Formosa and the Pescadores, but not Quemoy and Matsu, which it finds not much different from the abandoned Tachen Islands, not very important even to Formosa. It believes that the two outpost islands should not become a casus belli or the next "international datelines of disaster", and thus that the Government should not oblige itself to defend those islands against Communist attack.

"A Shortage of Barefoot Boys" finds that it was increasingly difficult to find rags-to-riches stories among males of the Horatio Alger type. A recent analysis of 300 notable Americans chosen for the Encyclopedia of American History had found that at least 204 of the entries had come from privileged backgrounds and few had risen from the status of poverty. Thus, it finds, there never had been really much of the Horatio Alger story at work in American culture, but wonders why it had become so prominent in the folklore, suggesting that it could be traced to the persistent conviction that the roots of American democracy had been nurtured in the backwoods and farmlands of the nation and to the idea that the self-made man had always been an American hero.

It concludes, however, that while such was a pretty picture, most of the nation's rich traced their beginnings "to the day a latter-day Huck Finn marries the boss's daughter, picks up a stake in a floating crap game or awakes in his birth bed to find a silver spoon in his mouth."

A piece from the Richmond Times-Dispatch, titled "Under the Hood", tells of a number of cities conducting a 12-hour course to teach women the rudiments of automotive mechanics, with the student paying a one-dollar enrollment fee and then attending six two-hour sessions, receiving an orchid and a diploma at graduation. The course was not designed to train women to become professional mechanics but rather to give them basic knowledge of an automobile's operations so that they could be prepared for minor breakdowns on the highway.

As females were increasing their driving time, the course, dreamed up by an automotive lubricant manufacturer, made sense. But it wonders what would happen to the husband of the family, who prided himself, to the exclusion of his wife, on knowing what was going on with the automobile. It confides that, actually, the husband might not know the difference between a carburetor and a fuel pump, but was able to put on a show by raising the hood, fumbling with a few wires and gadgets to get his hands dirty, and then engaging in some technical-sounding double-talk until the tow truck arrived. It imagines, however, what might occur after a wife who had taken the course in question looked under the hood, herself, to discover what was actually wrong with the car.

Drew Pearson indicates that a delegation of rebel Democrats in the House had come to visit Speaker Sam Rayburn, after Democratic House Whip John McCormick of Boston had warned them not to do so. They were against the manner in which the Democratic leadership was going about passing the resolution on Formosa, providing the President unlimited power without debate. Mr. Rayburn had replied that the President did not need the resolution because he already had the power embodied therein, but stated that he wanted to show the world that the U.S. was united. The visiting Democrats, however, believed that it was a method of involving the Democrats in whatever trouble occurred in the Formosa area. Mr. Rayburn replied that it might be the case, but that the country came first and that he would not play politics with foreign policy, recalling how Republicans had agreed with President Truman when he first had gone into Korea in 1950 and then kicked him in the pants afterward, assuring that the Democrats would not do so with respect to President Eisenhower. Congressman Jack Shelley of San Francisco said that they would pass the resolution, but only after a couple of days of debate to give the country the facts. The Speaker adamantly refused, however, saying that they were not going to debate the measure, and so the resolution had passed with only one Democrat voting against it.

In another episode, Speaker Rayburn had been seated as a guest of honor at the White House correspondents dinner, three seats away from the guest of honor, the President. No conversation transpired between the President and the Speaker, with the President eventually excusing himself, passing right by the Speaker and not greeting him as he did so. At the end of the dinner, the President had walked by him again and again snubbed him. The President was upset with the Speaker because he had proposed the $20 per person individual tax cut, which the President believed was "irresponsible", as part of the same measure to extend the corporate and excise taxes, as favored by the President.

Sid Richardson, the big Texas oil man who was very close to the President, had telephoned Speaker Rayburn recently, just after the President had denounced the individual tax cut. Mr. Rayburn wondered what the President had meant by saying that he was irresponsible, that he had passed the Formosa resolution for the President and the extension of the reciprocal trade treaty, also favored by the White House. Mr. Richardson had replied that the trouble with the President was probably that he did not know that the Speaker was responsible for passing the reciprocal trade treaty extension, as the President never read the newspapers and the men around the President probably had forgotten to inform him.

When the President had sent a message to Congress recently asking that it renew the Renegotiation Act to permit scaling down of defense contracts when they were too costly, a newspaperman called the White House to ask what had changed the President's mind, receiving the answer that they had read the column of Mr. Pearson which had stated that Secretary of Commerce Sinclair Weeks had persuaded the White House not to renew the Renegotiation Act, despite President Truman having always insisted that it be renewed. Mr. Pearson indicates that the truth, however, was probably that Secretary of the Air Force Harold Talbott had much more to do with the renewal of the Act than Mr. Pearson's column, for it was true that the President seldom read the newspapers. Secretary Talbott, a millionaire who had made plenty of money in airplanes, automobiles and other businesses, was a tough, forthright protector of the public interest now that he was in Government, and had been concerned about high profits of some airplane companies. He had thus written a strong memo to Secretary of Defense Charles E. Wilson, urging that the Renegotiation Act be continued.

Marquis Childs tells of Secretary of State Dulles having, at a closed session of the SEATO conference recently in Bangkok, Thailand, stated the scope of U.S. military strength in the Pacific, given its potential of modern weaponry, as having greater armed strength than at the peak of the Pacific build-up during World War II. He had not covered, however, the question of how much of that potential strength could be brought to bear short of all-out war, a question which was also pertinent to economic aid.

While the U.S. had the greatest industrial strength, technology and know-how in the world, the ability to share the development on any meaningful scale was a problem which had yet to be met except in a limited manner.

The Foreign Operations Administration, which administered technical assistance, refugee aid and other obligations, was set to end on June 30, unless extended by the Congress. Its functions would be taken over by some other agency. While it was aiding allies in the Pacific, the absence of aid to such uncommitted countries as India, Burma, Indonesia and Ceylon, appeared as discrimination, giving rise to the question of whether the U.S. really wanted to aid technological development in underdeveloped countries or whether it was using the aid to persuade uncommitted countries to form alliances with the U.S.

Stewart Alsop indicates that the present U.S. policy in the crisis regarding Formosa and the offshore islands had been much criticized as fuzzy and obscure, but was not so mysterious after all. The objective of the policy was to obtain a cease-fire in the Formosa Strait.

Secretary Dulles did not envision the Chinese Communists abandoning their claims to Formosa, but he did hope for a de facto, informal understanding to that effect in exchange for the Nationalists abandoning the offshore islands. When he had met with British Foreign Secretary Sir Anthony Eden in Bangkok recently, he had made it clear that he would accept that kind of arrangement and that to obtain it, the U.S. was prepared to persuade Chiang Kai-shek to withdraw his forces from the two offshore islands of Quemoy and Matsu, but that such could not be accomplished suddenly.

The mystery of U.S. policy was whether it would defend those offshore islands in case of Communist attack, and, if so, how it would defend the islands. The Joint Chiefs believed that the islands could be held, provided the U.S. was prepared to provide heavy air attack against mainland military installations, with use of nuclear weapons if necessary. Pentagon planning and that by the Nationalist Chinese included the use of small, tactical atomic bombs if necessary. But there had never been a formal decision on that point, one finally up to the President. He hoped that it would not be necessary to make that decision and that the tacit understanding with the Nationalist Chinese desired by Secretary Dulles could be, in time, worked out.

A letter writer congratulates the newspaper for its front page and inside page articles of March 9 on Sugar Creek, wants to know where it got the name, as it was ordinarily called Sugaw Creek. He provides a letter he had written to Mayor Philip Van Every the previous December and to the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce, suggesting beautification of the creek. He indicates that when he was in the city, he usually drove by the waterway several times each day and had given it a lot of thought, believes that Los Angeles would like to have such a creek flowing through the desert in which it was actually located, and that Miami would have already beautified it were it located there. He urges undertaking a beautification project.

A letter writer from Raleigh, the wildlife education representative of the State Wildlife Resources Commission, congratulates the newspaper on the same articles and hopes the newspaper would present more such articles.

A letter writer, who identifies himself as a Southern Bell customer who appreciated the union, refers to a prior letter writer regarding the subject of the Southern Bell employee strike, having criticized the union for its demands. He indicates that 95,000 employees in non-manufacturing industry, employing a total of 565,000 persons, had an average earnings of less than 75 cents per hour, while 45,000 earned less than 55 cents per hour, and that North Carolina ranked 47th among the 48 states in average weekly earnings and hourly earnings, the latter averaging $1.26. He prefers to "'live in a jungle'" if fighting for improved working conditions, sick leave, vacations, paid holidays and better pay was "'nauseating greed'".

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