The Charlotte News

Thursday, March 31, 1955


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee this date voted unanimously to request Secretary of State Dulles to appear before it in a closed-door session to discuss the recent release of the controversial Yalta conference report from February, 1945. The unexpected action had been announced by Senator Walter George of Georgia, the Committee chairman, saying that the purpose of the inquiry was to question the Secretary at the earliest convenient time on why the report had been published on March 16, including informal remarks and materials, as well as papers dealing directly with the formal decisions made at that conference. The Senator stressed that it was not an investigation. Some Democrats had demanded that Secretary Dulles be summoned to explain why the papers were released and how it had happened that the New York Times had obtained an advance copy a day before official publication. Senator John Sparkman of Alabama had stated prior to Senator George's announcement that a Republican summary of the papers, compiled by the staff of the Senate Republican policy committee and released late the previous day, had been an attempt to disgrace former President Roosevelt, and predicted that the document would boomerang against the party, as the American people would recall the great leadership of FDR in winning one of "the most terrible wars in history". The Republican summary of the report indicated that FDR had known three months prior to February, 1945 that Russia was prepared to enter the war against Japan and that the U.S. would eventually obtain the atomic bomb, that he had the bomb "in his pocket" at that point, as well that Alger Hiss was "given all documents and top-secret files which set forth what the United States delegation planned to do at Yalta." Senator Sparkman said that the summary was "replete with misrepresentations and distortions of facts." Senator Mike Mansfield of Montana, also a Democrat, said in a separate interview that the Republican policy committee staff should reread the Yalta papers and "report their findings on the basis of fact and not myth".

A Government-sponsored committee this date proposed repeal of "fair trade" laws designed to prevent cut-rate retail sales of nationally advertised, brand name products. If the Administration and Congress followed the recommendation, the way would be open for discount houses to spring up everywhere and merchants would be able to charge whatever they wanted for various forms of merchandise, regardless of the prices set by the manufacturers. Representative Emanuel Celler of New York and Senator John Sparkman of Alabama, both Democrats, praised the work of the committee while Representative Wright Patman of Texas, also a Democrat, a longtime advocate against price-fixing, especially among chain drugstores, criticized portions of the report. The committee had also called for legislative curbs on labor union activities which might restrict trade and competition. It condemned any merger resulting in an appreciable movement in some market toward monopoly power, but said that a merger, in itself, was not necessarily an evil and that each case should be judged on its own merits. It stood pat on present laws covering mergers. The committee of 60 persons, most of whom were lawyers and economists, had been named by Attorney General Herbert Brownell in August, 1953, with the aim that its findings would be used as the basis for legislative and administrative action in the antitrust field. It made some 70 recommendations, a dozen of which would involve legislation and the rest, administration and enforcement of existing laws. The gist of the recommendations had leaked several weeks earlier. The co-chairmen of the committee, Stanley Barnes, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Justice Department's antitrust division, and S. Chesterfield Oppenheimer, University of Michigan law professor, had said at a news conference that the net result of the recommendations, if enacted, would be to strengthen rather than weaken antitrust enforcement.

In New York, Dr. Thomas Francis, Jr., head of the ultra-secret task force charged with compiling the results of the Salk polio vaccine trials, said this date that the official report, scheduled for release on April 12—coincident with the tenth anniversary of the death of FDR—, had not yet been written, and that they knew nothing about a New York World-Telegram and Sun story, claiming to have received its information from an "unimpeachable source", reporting that the vaccine trials had been 100 percent effective. Reports from New Orleans, Washington, Oklahoma and Indiana indicated that several youngsters who had received the vaccine during the previous summer's major trials had nevertheless contracted polio. But the result could mean that the vaccine was still useful, as a total of 1.83 million children in 217 areas of the country had taken part in the trials, with 440,000 receiving the vaccine, while placebo control shots were administered to 210,000, and the remainder had received nothing. Dr. Jonas Salk, developer of the vaccine, had not yet seen the report on the findings, according to a spokesman for the University of Pittsburg medical center, where Dr. Salk had developed the vaccine.

In Atlanta, it was reported that an underground cable, carrying about 1,000 communications circuits, had been dynamited in South Carolina early this date, shortly after the nine-state strike against the Southern Bell Telephone Co. had started its 18th day, with Southern Bell officials saying that the cable was a coaxial type which carried long distance, press, government, radio and television service over a north-south route. Repair personnel had gone to the scene of the break within a few hours and had completed the repair shortly after daylight, with much of the service having been rerouted prior to the repair. The company said it was one of the largest cables damaged since the strike had begun on March 14 and that South Carolina law enforcement agencies were investigating it. In Brunswick, Ga., 18 wires on a circuit running between a town in South Carolina and Jacksonville, Fla., had been cut the previous night, but service had been rerouted and the breaks had been repaired this date. In Atlanta, where several cable cuttings had been reported two days earlier, no incidents were announced the previous day. Two men who had been arrested on charges of assault with intent to commit murder against a non-striking lineman in suburban East Point, Ga., had been released on $2,000 bonds.

White House press secretary James Hagerty said this date that on April 12, the President would receive an honorary doctor of laws degree from The Citadel in Charleston, S.C., and then would fly to Augusta, Ga., for several days of golf and rest, combined with work. The President intended to make a brief, informal speech after receiving the degree and would also review an honor guard of the corps of cadets at the institution while visiting the campus. (It is not clear how a military college without a law school would dispense an honorary doctor of laws degree with credulity, but we quibble, as it was only a fiction in any event.)

In St. Louis, Joseph Pulitzer, Jr., 70, editor and publisher of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, had died unexpectedly at around midnight from a ruptured blood vessel of the abdomen. The prior Tuesday, he had attended an annual gridiron dinner of the St. Louis Advertising Club and had been at his office the previous day, working at his desk throughout the day and leaving at his usual time, becoming ill during the night and rushed to a hospital where he died. He had been publisher of the Post-Dispatch for 43 years and prided himself as a working newspaperman. Under his leadership, the afternoon newspaper had become known as one of the great crusading newspapers of the nation and Mr. Pulitzer was known as a perfectionist who demanded and received good reporting. He was the son of the previous publisher of the Post-Dispatch, for whom the Pulitzer Prizes in journalism and literature are named, his father having died in 1911.

In Chicago, the condition of Col. Robert McCormick, 74, editor and publisher of the Chicago Tribune and longtime conservative isolationist, continued to be serious, according to his physicians, as he was frequently lapsing into periods of coma.

In Charlotte, News reporter Dick Young states that the dearth of candidates for the City Council provided no legal basis for calling off the scheduled municipal election set for April 25, that the chairman of the County Board of Elections had stated that the law provided for holding a municipal primary regardless of the number of candidates declared for the race. The paucity of declared candidates had been the basis for some calling for amendment to the City charter to provide for such a postponement. Under the existing charter, 14 candidates were eligible for election to the City Council, which was comprised of seven members, with four vacancies up for election in 1955. There were four places available on the City School Board as well. Only nine candidates had announced for the Council, including six incumbents, and there were eight announced candidates for the School Board vacancies. And thus far, only Mayor Philip Van Every had announced as a candidate for the mayoral race. Thus, all candidates would be eligible for election if no one else were to enter any of those three races.

In Raleigh, the State Highway Commission approved a resolution this date which would allow the widening of Providence Road in Charlotte to 60 feet, and work would begin as soon as possible on the project. That's a relief, and we know that you are relieved to hear it. The world can now proceed onward without fear of the ultimate cataclysm, collisions on Providence Road from a too narrow highway to afford its increasing volume of vehicles.

On the editorial page, "The New Fluidity in Approach" finds reasonable the legislation passed by the General Assembly to provide local school boards complete authority over enrollment and assignment of children, in response to Brown v. Board of Education, decided the prior May 17, and that the ease with which it had passed had been an indication of the new fluidity in thinking about race problems within the state.

It asserts that extremists had cried out in vain against it, with one State Representative denouncing the bill the prior Tuesday as "bad and dangerous", that it would "tear down our school system and provide for the integration which is the worst thing that can happen to the South", adding, "in a final burst of sophistry", "I think this thing will tear down Southern civilization".

But in the final showdown in the State House, only three or four State Representatives voted against the bill.

It finds the doubts and fears about the bill expressed by supporters of segregation to have been baseless, that while the new law was no final answer to the problem and was not intended to be, it would permit local adjustments to local situations when and if the time came. The bill was neither designed to speed nor block desegregation in the state's public schools, but would open the way for citizens closest to the scene of their difficulties to meet those difficulties in their own way. If they failed to satisfy the law in the process, the Supreme Court could deal directly with the offending local school bodies. It hopes that the Brown implementing decision, expected later in the spring, would permit local discretion for individual school boards in working out adjustments to the principles laid down in Brown.

It notes that the new law had originated from the recommendation of a commission which had both white and black membership, working apart from emotionalism. It finds it realistic and indicates that the next step would be up to the Supreme Court.

"Someday the Blindfold Will Come Off" finds that the State Senate Committee on Election Laws and Senatorial Districts, in killing a bill to abolish civilian absentee voting in general elections in the state, had thrown away a worthy piece of legislation. It expresses confidence that eventually the civilian absentee ballot law covering general elections in the state would, however, be repealed, just as the absentee ballot law for primaries had been repealed in 1939.

It posits that the evidence against the absentee ballot was strong, as it was the largest single cause of election problems within the state and the biggest source of embarrassment to the Democratic Party every two years. It suggests that the frauds involving whole Congressional districts could not be wished away, that eventually the party had to own up to its responsibility, and that the legislators would have to admit that the evil of the absentee system outweighed its good.

"Protecting Uncle Sam's Investment" indicates that in raising the pay of U.S. servicemen, Congress had given military morale a large boost and that the multi-million-dollar bill might even save taxpayers more than its cost. Military careers had been losing appeal to American youth since the previous pay raise six years earlier, causing trained soldiers, with skills acquired while in the military, to return to civilian life to capitalize on those skills. The huge turnover was costly, as it took $3,200 to obtain and train one replacement for a basic private, while costing $8,200 to replace a Navy electronics technician, and $120,000 to replace an F-94C pilot, $275,000 to replace a B-47 pilot.

U.S. News & World Report had stated during the week that the Army's reenlistment rate had dropped in six years from 41.2 percent to 11.6 percent, while in the same period, Navy reenlistments had fallen from 66 percent to 8.1 percent. It finds that the pay increase was designed to prevent the loss of such highly trained specialists to the armed forces, and that it had been long overdue.

"How Comical Can You Get?" tells of American comic books portraying a man prepared for a bath of molten steel, a corpse tossed into a river, a person brutally kicked in the jaw, and a horse being urged to stomp a man to death, all receiving the seal of approval from the Comics Magazine Association, following six months of self-regulation by the comic book publishers.

It thus concludes that the publishers were still using the familiar blood-and-thunder approach despite the claim of self-regulation, leaving many North Carolina parents not convinced that any new era of good taste was emerging in the field.

In New York, a Joint Legislative Committee to Study the Publication of Comics had recently stated that comic books bearing the publishers' seal of approval still contained the same type of material which had been termed objectionable by that authority and purportedly eliminated.

The piece finds that while the Association could not guarantee that no objectionable material would be published, as the censorship was voluntary, unless all of the publishers obeyed the code, which was praiseworthy, an aroused public would surely want to devise and enforce its own code.

A piece from the Richmond News Leader, titled "Teaching Commies about Corn" tells of the editor for the Des Moines Register having put his foot into things properly after hearing that Nikita Khrushchev, Communist Party Secretary, was worried about poor production of corn within the Soviet Union. The editor, Lauren Soth, had then written a piece suggesting that a delegation of Soviet farmers be sent to Iowa to learn how corn really should be grown, and was then subsequently a little surprised, though not astonished, when the editor of an official Russian publication, Soviet Agriculture, accepted the invitation and invited a group of Iowa farmers to return the visit to Russia.

Mr. Soth then announced that the Russian delegation was coming to Iowa and suggested that a delegation of Iowa farmers reciprocate. But subsequently at a press conference, the President stated that while it was a good idea, there were major problems, including legal issues, in allowing the idea to go forward. First, the piece points out, the McCarran-Walter Immigration Act barred the entry of any Communist or Communist associate into the U.S. except on official business. Second, there was a new State Department order which barred any Communist or Communist associate who entered the U.S. from traveling in 27 percent of the country, an area which included Des Moines and six other counties within Iowa. The State Department also now intimated that it was not the purpose of the country to help the Kremlin solve any of its internal problems and that the editor of the Register might have made himself liable to prosecution under the Logan Act, which provided heavy penalties for any private citizen interfering in the conduct of foreign affairs.

The piece considers it all very sad, but that the editor should have known that no simple Iowa editor could understand the Government's purposes in dealing with the Kremlin at any given time.

Drew Pearson indicates that the President found himself in a paradoxical and difficult position as he conferred with Congressional leaders on U.S. policy toward Formosa, finding that almost all of his top military and diplomatic advisers, including Secretary of State Dulles, were in favor of defending the Nationalist offshore islands of Quemoy and Matsu, notwithstanding the risk of thereby precipitating a world war. In addition to the fact that the President had deep-seated personal views against war, he could not get away from the political fact that he had been elected in 1952 on a platform to keep the nation out of war, but was now confronted with the crisis in Formosa which, if the two small islands were to be defended, would almost certainly mean nuclear war against the Chinese mainland.

During the 1952 presidential campaign, Republican polls showed that the female vote in the country was slipping away from General Eisenhower, resulting in a top-level strategy meeting attended by the General, his future chief of staff and then Governor of New Hampshire, Sherman Adams, Henry Luce, publisher of Life, Time and Fortune, C. D. Jackson, an associate of Mr. Luce who later became the White House adviser on psychological propaganda, plus others, at which it was proposed that the General move to settle the Korean War and bring the American boys home. Mr. Adams had then phoned Senator Margaret Chase Smith of Maine and told her about the slipping women's vote, asking her to make a major speech promising women that a vote for the General would be a vote for bringing their sons and husbands home from Korea, but Senator Smith had refused, saying that she would be playing dangerous politics with peace if she were to do so because, as President, General Eisenhower might not be able to settle the war, in which case the promise to do so would boomerang. Subsequently, the General, himself, phoned Senator Smith and pleaded that he might lose the election unless the Republicans dramatized the issue of bringing peace in Korea, but the Senator still refused the request. At that point, the Republican high command switched its strategy and had the General make a speech promising to go to Korea personally to settle the war—something he did in December, 1952, shortly after the election.

Since the election, Republican strategists had credited the 1952 victory for General Eisenhower to the female vote and the campaign for peace. Early in 1954, Secretary Dulles had threatened "massive retaliation" against the Communists if they were to continue their aggression into Indo-China, with Vice-President Nixon stating that the U.S. was prepared to send ground troops to that war if Communist China entered it, all a part of a campaign to prepare the public for any eventuality in Indo-China. But at that point, letters began pouring into the White House from wives and mothers, indicating that Indo-China was not worth risking their sons and husbands, and so the planned tough policy was reversed. Later the same year, Republican strategists had stressed the peace theme during the fall midterm elections, waiting until just before those elections to have Republican speakers harp on the idea that the Democrats had gotten the U.S. into three wars and that only Republicans could be trusted to keep the peace.

Now that Democrats had gotten the blame for war, the political advisers to the President believed he was stuck with that peace policy, regardless of the beliefs of Secretary Dulles and the military advisers, unless the President could persuade Democratic leaders to endorse the policy of Secretary Dulles, risking war over Quemoy and Matsu.

Bertrand Russell, in an abstracted piece from Saturday Review, tells of mankind facing a momentous decision as to whether it would long survive or alternatively agree to abolish nuclear weapons and war generally under reasonable provisions to enable mutual inspection. He indicates that "very good authority" had stated that a bomb could now be manufactured which would be 25,000 times as powerful as that which had destroyed Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, and that such a bomb, if exploded near the ground or underwater, would produce fallout in the upper air, radioactive particles which would sink gradually and reach the surface of the earth in the form of deadly dust or rain. It had been that rain which had poisoned the Japanese fishermen during the 1954 hydrogen bomb test on Bikini Atoll. He indicates that no one at present knew how widely such fallout could be dispersed, but the best authorities were unanimous in saying that a war with hydrogen bombs would quite likely put an end to human life on earth, and it was feared that if many hydrogen bombs were used, there would be universal death, including all animal and plant life. So, no longer was humanity considering only the destruction of individual cities, but rather of all of humanity in such a devastating nuclear war.

There were recognized political obstacles in the East and in the West to reaching such agreement to abolish nuclear weapons and outlawing of war, as it would inevitably mean giving up some degree of sovereignty, leading to a charge against the leaders that they were engaging in "appeasement". But neutral nations had every right in their own self-interest to insist on abolishing war in the nuclear age, as it was highly unlikely that the inhabitants of even neutral nations would survive such a war. Mr. Russell says that he was not neutral, but favored the West. Yet, as a human being, he understood that issues had to be decided henceforth by means other than war, and that had to be understood on both sides of the Iron Curtain. He believed it was up to the neutral nations, therefore, to exert leadership toward that end.

Man had been around on the planet for at most a million years and had achieved enormous strides in the 6,000 years since the beginning of any semblance of civilization. Now, advances in science had enabled man "to end in trivial horror because so few are able to think of Man rather than of this or that group of men".

"I cannot believe that this is to be the end. I would have men forget their quarrels for a moment and reflect that, if they will allow themselves to survive, there is every reason to expect the triumphs of the future to exceed immeasurably the triumphs of the past. There lies before us, if we choose, continual progress and happiness, knowledge, and wisdom. Shall we, instead, choose death, because we cannot forget our quarrels? I appeal as a human being to human beings: remember your humanity, and forget the rest. If you can do so, the way lies open to a new Paradise; if you cannot, nothing lies before you but universal death."

H. L. Mencken, writing in The American Language, tells of how schoolmarms of the past had insisted that their pupils learn and speak correct English, but that the moment those pupils had left the school, they reverted to the looser and more natural speech habits of the home and workplace, even if acquiring a reading knowledge of the schoolmarm's correct English and the ability to speak it on occasion. He indicates that those efforts of the schoolmarm had received little support from her professional superiors, who had failed to make an adequate investigation of the folk-speech which the schoolmarm had sought to combat, "seeking to uncover its inner nature and account for its vitality", that while philologists had published admirable studies of many dialects within the U.S., including obscure Indian languages, they had yet to produce a grammar of the daily speech of Americans.

A letter writer indicates the hope that the newspaper would use its great influence to oppose the proposed tax of a half percent on all realty transactions.

A letter writer responds to the letter from a Charlotte teenager appearing the prior Monday, indicating that this writer had been a teenager a few years earlier and that things had been tough for her, perhaps tougher than for the previous writer, because she was a girl. Her parents thought that her way of dressing was sloppy and that her haircut was a disgrace, that when she laughed at something they did not find funny, she was thought to be silly, that when her thoughts were expressed in a serious vein and she retired to a quiet corner to think things out alone, she was called moody. Thus, she says to the prior writer that he should take heart, that his "slanguage" might sound a little different from the language older persons had spoken and their music might have a different beat, a constant remained that some older people would continue to forget that they had once been young and had to go through the same types of confusion characteristic of the teenage years.

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