The Charlotte News

Thursday, March 17, 1955


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Government's publication this date of the record of the February, 1945 Yalta conference between the U.S., Britain and the Soviet Union, previously retained in confidence, had failed to still the controversy which had raged for a decade over the meeting. The State Department had made the record of the conference public the previous night, reportedly over the objection of Prime Minister Churchill, who had been a participant along with FDR and Joseph Stalin. The prior Tuesday, Secretary of State Dulles had said that the 834-page record should not be made public at present. The record disclosed that Premier Stalin had made a veiled threat of "difficulty" in taking Russia into the war against Japan, unless President Roosevelt would agree to many concessions, as he did, providing Russia new strategic positions in the northwest Pacific and a powerful hand in Manchuria. The President had told Premier Stalin and Prime Minister Churchill that it was "very embarrassing" to him to have to yield to another Russian demand for Ukrainian and White Russian membership in the not yet chartered U.N., giving Russia three votes in the General Assembly. The records disclosed long arguments between the President, Mr. Churchill and Stalin regarding their demands for creation of free governments in postwar Poland and other liberated Eastern European countries, with Stalin agreeing to declarations and procedures for setting up democratic regimes, but then within a few years, establishing Communist rule from the Baltic to the Black Sea. The record showed that the three leaders had agreed on the dismemberment of Germany in principle, though not on how it would be divided. The overriding problem discussed was Russia's prospect of entry to the war in the Pacific after the conclusion of the European war, with Russia agreeing to enter the Pacific war after the defeat of Germany. Russia had finally entered the war against Japan on August 9, 1945, three days after the U.S. had dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, and the same day it had dropped the second atomic bomb on Nagasaki, with Japan then surrendering on August 14. Many Republican Senators had, during the previous decade, denounced FDR's concessions to Stalin as an unnecessary grant of position and power, while the President's defenders had replied that it was the price he had to pay to assure Russian military action against Japan, five months before the successful detonation of the first atomic device at the Trinity test site, near Los Alamos, N.M., not occurring until three months after the President's death on April 12. The overlooked historical fact by the Republicans in their argument premised on the faulty principle of post hoc, ergo propter hoc, was that without "Fat Man" and "Little Boy", the prospects in February, 1945 at Yalta had been for a bloody invasion of Japan, estimated to cost as many as 100,000 American lives and untold lives of the Japanese, with Tojo, supported at the time by Emperor Hirohito, having vowed to fight to the last man if necessary to defend the island nation. It was being reported that State Department officials believed that publication of the record would bring the longstanding dispute to an end, but there was evidence that it might have only fueled the controversy further. Senator Homer Capehart of Indiana, the Wurlitzer King, said that President Roosevelt's actions in agreeing to the Far East demands of Stalin were "an almost unpardonable error", while Senator Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota said that the publication was designed "to satisfy the more vitriolic elements of the Republican Party." The State Department said that there were some omissions made in the record for purposes of national security or to eliminate repetitious material, or avoid "needless offense" to foreign nations or to individuals.

In London, it was reported that Prime Minister Churchill had told Commons this date that the Yalta record was "of course the American version and in no sense an agreed official record of the powers concerned." He said that he had not seen anything except the extracts which were presently appearing in the press and that even those had disclosed some serious errors. He expressed to members his displeasure with the publication, stating that if it became an established practice, "it might hamper the free exchange of views at future conferences", that, in any event, it would be a good thing to consult together on the text of any publication undertaken during the lifetime of any of the participants. Britons were generally shocked and angered by the disclosures, particularly that regarding President Roosevelt's suggestion that Hong Kong, under a 99-year lease by the British since 1898, should be turned over to China. The British Foreign Office had originally been opposed to the publication while any of the principals were still alive, but the Government had given its consent when the U.S. had asked for it. But Prime Minister Churchill said that the consent did not imply accepted responsibility for the accuracy of the American version and that when they received the full text, they would determine whether there were any corrections necessary.

The Senate had confirmed Judge John Harlan as a new Justice to the Supreme Court the previous date by a vote of 71 to 11, clearing the way for oral argument to be scheduled in the implementing decision in Brown v. Board of Education, postponed by Chief Justice Earl Warren the prior November 22 until the Court had its full complement, the legal portion of the decision having been decided the prior May 17.

CIO secretary-treasurer James Carey told the Senate Banking Committee this date, in the stock market inquiry, that there were disturbing elements in the present market, with evidence that the Administration had "conspired to boost stock prices" until they were out of line with the rest of the economy. He stated that Secretary of the Treasury George Humphrey's recent cautionary statement to the Committee had been a confession that the Administration's economic policies were "built on a will-of-the-wisp." Ferdinand Eberstadt, an investment banker, told the Committee that no one could say for sure whether stock prices had gone too high, but that the more disturbing facts were the securities frauds and sales of securities which were not technically fraudulent but were so worthless as to have the same effect on the buyer, with the Committee's inquiry already having placed a damper on those practices.

In Atlanta, the FBI had joined the union and company officials this date in hunting for the perpetrator of vandalism against cables and equipment belonging to Southern Bell Telephone Co., coincident with the beginning of the strike against the company by an estimated 50,000 workers belonging to the Communications Workers of America union. Another cable serving several Government offices in West Palm Beach, Fla., had been cut the previous day, causing the FBI to enter the case. Union officials encouraged strikers to prevent vandalism, but at Jacksonville, Fla., a CWA strike chairman said that the company was making up some of the vandalism and damage.

In New York, testimony continued in the trial of margarine heir Mickey Jelke, accused of inducing two women into prostitution, with one of the two women still testifying for the State this date, stating that she had made between $10,000 and $15,000 as a call girl, turning most of the money over to Mr. Jelke, while she shared his East Side apartment in Manhattan for several months during the winter of 1951-52. The previous day, she had named several men who had paid her between $50 and $200 each for her sexual favors. She said that originally, Mr. Jelke was planning to take her to Florida in February, 1952, but changed his mind because of the Mann Act, which made it a felony to transport a woman across state lines for immoral purposes. She said that he decided to go alone to Florida, and that when she would get enough money together, she would then come down separately, in the meantime staying with another call girl in New York. You can go to the Daily News if you want to hear all of the grittier details of the blah-blah-blahs....

In Raleigh, a bill, requiring all boats operating on Catawba Lake between Gaston and Mecklenburg Counties to carry life preservers, had been approved by the State House Wildlife Committee this date. The bill also required that boats have mufflers, a requirement which would be waived on sponsored race days. You can make as much damn noise as you want on race days, if that thing passes.

Also in Raleigh, freshman State Senator Robert Morgan, who would later become State Attorney General and then would succeed Senator Sam Ervin in 1975 for a term in the U.S. Senate, this date introduced bills to increase the state's individual and corporate income taxes, proposing to increase individual taxes across all brackets by a percent, making the range 4 to 8 percent instead of the present 3 to 7 percent, and changing the corporate tax from its present across-the-board 6 percent to 6 percent on net income to $25,000 and then to 7 percent on net income above $25,000. He estimated that the proposals would increase revenue from individual income taxes by 9.5 million dollars per year and from corporate taxes, by 6 million. An identical measure had been introduced in the State House the previous week.

On the editorial page, "Tar Heel Legislature Should Close 'The Case of the Bartered Ballot'" tells of the State Board of Elections having stated its unanimous opinion that absentee voting ought be repealed in the state by the current General Assembly, the piece agreeing because of its abuse, resulting in election problems consisting of bartered ballots on occasion in the state. Governor Luther Hodges had also expressed support for elimination of the absentee ballot because the problems it caused had outweighed its beneficial effects.

A bill had been recently introduced in the State Senate which would retain the absentee ballot only for persons in the military, their wives when they were residing temporarily with their husbands outside their home county, members of the merchant marine, civilians attached to the armed forces, and discharged veterans in Government hospitals. But thus far, there had been no rush to support the bill and there was evidence that the Democrats were a little sensitive about the subject, still unhappy about the previous fall's scandals and the political capital made from them by the Republicans.

It finds, however, that the state could not trust the absentee ballot any longer because of the fraud often associated with it, as the ballots were sometimes bought and sold, and that even when they were not, the losing candidate would often cry foul anyway. While it was difficult to deprive a person of the franchise when he or she was stuck at home sick or a job forced the voter out of town on election day, the potential harm outweighed the good, and the source of the problem needed to be removed. The civilian absentee ballot had been abolished in North Carolina's primaries in 1939 and it favors extending that abolition to general elections.

"The Test Is Quality—Not Quantity" indicates that it was an old tradition in Washington that new Senators were to be seen and not heard, and that new Senator Kerr Scott of North Carolina was not proving any exception to that rule, that he had remained fairly quiet during his first two and a half months in office, not introducing a single bill thus far, the only member of the Senate not yet to do so.

It suggests that perhaps he had learned an important political lesson, that a legislator was judged by the quality of the legislation he sponsored, and not its quantity. According to Robert Albright, writing in the Washington Post & Times-Herald, seasoned legislators, such as Senators Alben Barkley of Kentucky, Clifford Case of New Jersey, and Stuart Symington of Missouri, had sponsored only one bill each during the first weeks of the session, and Senators with no more than two bills to their name included Harry F. Byrd of Virginia, John Stennis of Mississippi, and John Pastore of Rhode Island. The Senator who had thus far introduced the most bills was William Langer of North Dakota, who had presented 69.

"Shamrock Saga: St. Patrick & All That" tells of the St. Patrick's Day custom in Irish households of placing a plateful of shamrocks on the dining table for luck and that the master of the house was expected to "down the shamrock" with generous draughts of whiskey and then send the bottle to the kitchen for the servants. Inns in every Irish hamlet were honor-bound to serve "Patrick's pot" of beer and whiskey, with a small amount of oaten bread and fish, free to all comers. St. Patrick was reputed to have taught Ireland the art of distilling and all full-blooded Irishmen liked to believe that story.

But the Saint was better known for his missionary work in transforming Ireland's barbaric hordes into an enlightened nation, as well as for driving all the snakes from the country during the fourth century. One story had it that Patrick had sought to banish one snake in Lough Dilveen, which had refused to leave, and so Patrick promised to return on Monday but forgot to do so, and residents of the area claimed that the serpent still lived in the lough and that on each Monday, rose to the surface, looked around and muttered, "It's been a long Monday, Patrick," then returned to his hant.

According to another story, Patrick had provoked the High King of Ireland by kindling a sacred fire at Eastertide and then was forced to match miracle for miracle with the Druid priests, Patrick using light and the Druids, darkness, which they could not dispel, but which Patrick chased away with a wave of his hand and thereby won the King's permission to preach anywhere in the kingdom. Yet, because Druid antagonism was so great, he had to curse the pagan lands, which then became dreary bogs, also cursing their kettles so that no amount of fire would roil a boil, and later cursing the Druids, themselves, so that the earth opened up and swallowed them.

Experts were not certain whether March 17 was the anniversary of Patrick's birth or death, but some contended that he had lived to be 120 and that when he died, the sun did not set on Ireland for 12 days and nights. There was additional controversy over whether he was born in Ireland, Scotland, England or France, or whether there were really a half dozen Patricks. He was credited with founding 365 churches and baptizing 12,000 Irishmen.

It concludes that all over Ireland this date, they were singing:

"'Twas on the top o' this high hill St. Patrick preached the sarmint./ That drove the frogs into the bogs and bothered all the varmint."

Drew Pearson indicates that country living at Gettysburg and elsewhere had dominated the recent conversation between the President and Democratic farmer-Congressman Lester Johnson of Wisconsin, with Mr. Johnson wondering if the President's farm near Gettysburg was making money, explaining that he had tried to operate a farm while living in the city but had found it not very profitable and finally had sold out to his tenant. The President had told him that he would be satisfied with a small profit from his farm after leaving the White House, because he liked living in the country and did not plan to work too hard at farming. He indicated that his farm was mostly pasture land for grazing beef cattle, that there was a lot of erosion in that part of Pennsylvania because of its having been farmed so hard in the past, and so he did not think it worthwhile to try to raise crops on a large scale. He said that his limited farming experience had sharpened his interest in soil conservation, and after reading a book on the subject, he was even more convinced that the basic solution was to control water at its source instead of building large dams in areas prone to flooding.

The President said that all of his cattle were Black Angus, and another Congressman present, E. Keith Thomson of Wyoming, suggested that he should have settled on white-faced Herefords, to which the President said that he almost had, as Hereford breeders had offered to donate to him a herd picked from different states, but that he had finally turned them down and decided on the Black Angus because they did not require as much care as dairy cattle and because all of his neighbors had the same cattle and so it would be easier to exchange sires with them.

Mr. Johnson, who opposed Senator McCarthy, had related to the President a story, saying that his Republican opponent had played up the fact that October 13, 1953 was the President's birthday, urging voters to send his opponent to Washington as a "birthday present for Ike", but that, instead, the voters had given him a Democratic birthday present.

The President grinned but was noncommittal toward two of his Democratic guests, freshmen Congressmen James Quigley of Pennsylvania and Herbert Zelenko of New York, when both claimed him as their constituent. The President had laughed heartily when Mr. Zelenko suggested that it was the first time he had been invited to lunch by a constituent who did not ask him for a favor.

A closed-doors session of the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy had revealed that the latest appointee to the Atomic Energy Commission, Dr. John von Neumann of Princeton, had the same kind of background as Dr. Robert Oppenheimer, but the AEC chairman, Admiral Lewis Strauss, did not plan to persecute him as he had Dr. Oppenheimer, because he did not want to antagonize the scientists again. Dr. Neumann had come to the defense of Israel Halperin when the latter had been tried as a member of the Soviet espionage ring in Canada, but unlike Dr. Oppenheimer, had not been accused of guilt by association. Mr. Halperin had later been acquitted when he refused to testify and the court could not produce evidence that he had provided any information to the espionage ring. Dr. Neumann told a Congressional committee that he had sent a telegram to the Prime Minister of Canada, urging a fair trial for Mr. Halperin and expressing confidence in his innocence. He agreed that he had betrayed "a considerable lack of caution" in doing so, similar to the words used by Dr. Oppenheimer regarding his past dabbling in the American Communist Party during the 1930's because it had presented itself as the enemy of Nazism in Europe.

Marquis Childs tells of an Administration effort behind the scenes to obtain agreement on a new and dramatic move in the atomic field, in anticipation of the anti-American propaganda which would accompany the Afro-Asian conference in Indonesia the following month. Two proposals were being considered, with the objective being to emphasize U.S. concern over the effects of nuclear weapons and to dramatize the desire to share peacetime uses of the atom as widely as possible.

The first proposal was for a U.S. initiative to obtain approval of a U.N. commission for study of the effects of fallout of radioactive material following a hydrogen bomb detonation. Such a commission might also be empowered to appraise the consequences of radioactivity at present from hydrogen bomb tests conducted by the Soviet Union, Britain and the U.S.

The second proposal was for U.S. leadership outside the U.N., regarding peaceful uses of the atom in friendly countries of Asia, possibly taking the form of a commission of U.S. atomic experts who would visit Asia for a cooperative survey of the potential for nuclear reactors in areas where fuels were scarce and costly and hydroelectric power was unavailable.

It was becoming evident that Communist China's delegates to the Indonesian conference would seek to claim that the U.S. was threatening nuclear warfare, designed to frighten the Asian neutral nations and some friendly nations, such as Japan. Moscow's official Government newspaper, Izvestia, had just denounced the atoms-for-peace proposal of the President, placed before the U.N. in December, 1953, calling the plan a propaganda screen obscuring an American effort to obtain control of atomic materials all over the world. The line was believed to be the one which would be taken at the conference in Indonesia, where no Western power would attend. Nations friendly to the West, such as Pakistan, the Philippines and Thailand, would, however, speak out against the Communist effort to brand the U.S. as an aggressor and warmonger.

It was believed in Washington that the Communist propaganda effort would be linked to U.S. policy on Formosa and the fears of an Asian war, that the conference would be related to the conflict over Formosa and the offshore islands of Quemoy and Matsu. The Communist Chinese continued to reiterate their intention to attack Formosa in 1955, which might be merely bluff, but those who were taking the threat seriously saw a relationship to the Indonesian conference. The Communist Chinese would not launch an attack on any scale which could trigger U.S. intervention prior to the Indonesian meeting, set to begin April 18. The propaganda would seek to convince Asians and Africans that the U.S. intended to use nuclear weapons at will against the defenseless masses in Asian cities, and against that propaganda build-up, the Communists would then attack in force and thus precipitate U.S. intervention.

Charles R. Kelley, professor of psychology at N.C. State, in a piece from the Raleigh News & Observer, states that he had read with some amusement several weeks earlier of a North Carolina legislator caught for speeding by an electronic speed-checking device, then having introduced a bill to restrict the use of the "whammy" device, such that the Highway Patrol would have to make its presence plain to motorists. Dr. Kelley analogizes to a burglar caught burglarizing a building and wanting to limit the use of burglar alarms so that everyone could see it and that every nightwatchman or policeman who caught a burglar through an alarm would have to prove that he was an expert on burglar alarms before his testimony would be received in court. He was shocked to find that the bill was actually receiving serious consideration in the State Legislature.

He advises the legislators to consider the fact that electronic speed-checking devices were far more accurate than speedometers and could be operated accurately by anyone following simple instructions. The reason the bill proposed that the devices be placed in the open was so that speeders could avoid them by slowing down, thus rendering the devices ineffective in catching speeders. Speeding was the major preventable factor in highway fatalities, as at least one-third of all fatal accidents involved speeding, and thus anything which rendered law enforcement less effective in enforcing speed limits would increase highway fatalities. He also asserts that the proponents of the bill had resorted to lies to pass it, including the claim that Motor Vehicles commissioner Ed Scheidt's use of the devices amounted to "gestapo methods", that they were being used to catch innocent people, and that they were generating a climate of fear among drivers. He finds that the only fear among drivers was that of being caught for speeding, and that the speeders as a group killed more people than all murderers, thieves, arsonists and other major criminals combined.

He concludes that it was a "vicious, irresponsible attempt by a law-breaker to make it harder to catch others guilty of breaking the same law." He thinks it reflected adversely on the Legislature to take such a proposal seriously.

What does that have to do with psychology?

A letter writer indicates that though he was not a Southerner by birth, he had resided in North Carolina and raised a family there, and had been a resident of Charlotte and a subscriber to the News since 1942, had become interested recently in the history of the word "barbecue" and wants to know whether the newspaper or its readers could furnish the story.

The editors respond by asking the readers to respond.

Well, it all started on a ranch out in Texas called the "Bar B Q", located halfway betwixt here and yonder, and the rest, as they say...

A letter writer responds to a previous letter writer who had suggested lenience for Sgt. Olson, who had been dishonorably discharged from the Army and deprived of all pay and allowances after being found guilty by a Fort Bragg, N.C., court-martial of providing propaganda to the enemy while a prisoner of war in Korea, the previous writer thinking the punishment too stern to have dishonorably discharged him, this writer, who indicates that he was a veteran of World Wars I, II and Korea, finding that the punishment was quite meager in comparison to the charges and specifications against the sergeant, and that he should be thankful that he was not given the death penalty and shot. The sergeant had said that he would rather be shot than be dishonorably discharged, and this writer thinks that he could be favored with that alternative if some of his fellow prisoners of war were allowed to mete out their own punishment. He hopes that the punishment by the court-martial would be affirmed by the reviewing body. The writer adds that he was a practicing attorney.

A letter writer responds to the editorial, "Public, Picket Lines and Principles", suggesting that the title might have appropriately added "Principals, Pain and Poverty", suggests that resort to such immortals as Confucius, Mohammed, Buddha and Jesus, or more recently Mahatma Gandhi, would enable employers and employees to reach agreements without having to resort to strikes, and that wars also could be avoided. "The strike, then, takes the role of Beowulf, the hero of a celebrated Anglo-Saxon epic, who kills two man-eating semihuman monsters (Grendel and his mother), and at last slays a fiery dragon, only to die from the dragon's poisonous bite."

Those strikes sound exciting.

A letter writer from Rock Hill, S.C., expresses, as the secretary for Beta Alpha, thanks for allowing them to tour the newspaper recently, stating that they could have not had a nicer guide and were also pleased with the way their picture had appeared in the newspaper.

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