The Charlotte News

Wednesday, April 27, 1955


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the President had said at his press conference this date that the U.S. was willing to confer alone with Communist China regarding a cease-fire in the Formosa area, but not on matters related to Nationalist China. The statement backed up Secretary of State Dulles, who had said the same thing the previous day. The President said that insofar as the Nationalist Government was concerned, the matter of a cease-fire was academic, as the Nationalist forces were firing in the Formosa area at present, based on what he knew, only in defense against Communist attacks. He said that it might have been an overstatement for the State Department to have said the previous Saturday that it would "insist on free China's participation as an equal in any discussion" concerning the Formosa area. That statement had been made by Assistant Secretary Herbert Hoover, Jr., after consulting with the President by telephone from his farm in Gettysburg. The President said that the U.S. would also be willing to negotiate with Communist China regarding such matters as the release of the 15 American airmen being held by the Communists, 11 of whom were held on claimed charges of espionage, denied by the State Department.

Prior to the press conference, Senator Alexander Smith of New Jersey, a strong supporter of the Nationalist Chinese and a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, endorsed a move for face-to-face talks with the Communist Chinese regarding a potential cease-fire. He said that he believed that Secretary Dulles had taken the right position the previous day.

The statement of the Secretary had been received with approval by officials in Britain and France, but in Taipeh, a Nationalist Government spokesman indicated disappointment in the statement, saying that they strongly believed that any contact with the Communists would be fruitless.

The President also said at his press conference this date that he had conducted private correspondence with Soviet Defense Minister Georgi Zhukov within the previous three weeks, and that the correspondence held out some slim hope of improvement in U.S.-Soviet relations, though declining to provide details. He also said, however, that it was possible to counterbalance every positive development in relations with Russia, such as its willingness to agree to the Austrian peace treaty after ten years, with an adverse development, such as the Communist Chinese air build-up in the vicinity of Formosa, supplied by the Soviets. He stated that at the present time, he saw no reason for a meeting of the Big Four heads of state regarding the Austrian treaty negotiations, but said that a meeting of that sort was always possible. The Big Three foreign ministers had scheduled a meeting for May 8 in Paris to discuss an agenda for a future meeting with the Soviets, regarding settlement of the treaty.

The President stated in a special message to Congress this date that he wanted to undertake a "many-sided attack" on the problems of low-income farmers. The message contained recommendations by Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson, which the President said had his "general approval". Among other things, it urged 30 million dollars of lending authority and strengthening of off-farm employment opportunities for farmers barely able to make a living. The Secretary's proposals had been based on a study requested by the President more than a year earlier, and a report on that study was attached to the message.

In Survival City, Nev., the Atomic Energy Commission announced this date at the last moment that it was postponing the planned nuclear civil defense test scheduled for the early morning because of unfavorable weather conditions, the second 24-hour delay of the test, originally scheduled for the previous day. It would be the first test in which women would participate as observers, with 2,000 civilians and WAC's participating, both in the front-line trenches and at News Nob as reporters, as well as serving food following the test.

Senator John W. Bricker of Ohio said this date in testimony prepared for the start of new hearings before the Senate Judiciary subcommittee considering his renewed proposal to curb the treaty-making power of the President as provided under the Constitution, that the proposed amendment sought to block the designs of "advocates of world government" who sought repeal of the "American Declaration of Independence". He contended that such persons were attempting to achieve world government in various ways, including amendment of the U.N. Charter, by all of which, the U.S. would cease to be a sovereign, independent nation, in which case, it would lose its liberties. He thus urged passage of the Constitutional amendment, which he had previously sponsored but which had been killed in the previous Congress, the Administration adamantly having opposed it.

In Pittsburgh, the United Steelworkers this date notified 96 basic steel producing companies that it intended to seek unspecified pay increases for 600,000 members employed in the basic steel industry. David McDonald, president of the 1.25 million-member union, said that the notices had been mailed the previous day. Under the 1954 contract, the steel companies were required to begin negotiations within 30 days after receipt of the notice. The contract would run for two additional years, but contained a provision for wage renegotiation, and allowed the union to strike if no agreement could be reached by the end of June 30.

In Frackville, Pa., a man angered by a pending divorce shot two of his relatives and then held his mother hostage for four hours until a neighbor surprised and disarmed him early this date. The man was wounded by a fusillade of police bullets as he attempted to flee the scene after being disarmed. He had jeered defiantly at the police, who had demanded his surrender, and when he was captured, said that he was not sorry for what he had done. He had gone to the home of his sister-in-law late the previous night and kicked in the front door, as the sister-in-law had told police as she was being rushed to a hospital for treatment of critical wounds to her head. Her sister, also in the house at the time, had initiated the divorce action against the assailant. When he had drawn the gun, refusing to discuss matters at the urging of his sister-in-law, his wife sought to push a table against him, but he had pinned her to the wall and then shot his sister-in-law, who was running to telephone the police, as well as the 15-year old daughter of the sister-in-law, who had been fleeing the house at the time. The latter was wounded in the arm. They could use some family counseling.

In Buffalo, N.Y., a 73-year old man had died the previous night of injuries, which his doctor said he had received when a female wrestler had fallen on him, as he was seated in the first row at a wrestling match in Bradenton, Fla., on February 14. At the time of the incident, one of the female wrestlers had tossed the other out of the ring, and she had landed on the elderly man. He had been committed to a Buffalo hospital since shortly after the accident and had undergone an operation which had revealed a blood clot in his brain caused by the accident, eventually proving fatal.

In Raleigh, the proposed state minimum wage legislation was killed by the House Committee on Manufacturing and Labor this date, by a vote of 16 to 11. The measure had been supported by Governor Luther Hodges and would have set the state minimum wage at 55 cents per hour for approximately 45,000 workers in the state not covered by the Federal minimum wage law because of holding jobs not considered to be in interstate commerce. The proposed law would not have covered workers in agriculture, dairying, domestic services, outside salesmen and persons receiving part of their pay in tips and gratuities.

On the editorial page, "Small Claims Court Needed Now" indicates that the General Assembly had put finishing touches the previous day on the new legislation which would permit the Board of County Commissioners in Mecklenburg to establish a small claims court to alleviate the logjam of cases in the regular civil court, permitting cases involving $3,000 in claimed damages or less to be heard in the new court.

It finds the advice of the Mecklenburg County Bar Association to establish such a court to have been sound and that plans for appropriate action to implement it ought be made at the next meeting of the Board the following Monday.

"But the Problem Is Still with Us" indicates that State Senator F. J. Blythe of Mecklenburg County, who had earlier introduced a bill in the Legislature to clean up Charlotte's problematic Sugar Creek, clogged with industrial and other types of waste, producing a foul odor for persons living in its general vicinity, had announced that he would let the bill die in committee.

It finds it a wise decision, as the controversial measure would have allowed the Board of County Commissioners to order construction of a culvert and then tax the area residents within a half-mile radius of the creek with the full cost of it at the rate of five cents per square foot of their owned real property. It finds that it had overlooked the important fact that the creek was the responsibility of the whole community, not just the immediate residents nearby.

It indicates that the problem caused by the creek, however, remained, and a proper approach, involving the entire community, needed to be found and placed high on the agenda of the city.

"Fighting Delinquency: A Partnership" indicates that Charlotte could be proud of its pioneering efforts in combating juvenile crime, a campaign which had received a boost the previous day when the Police Department had reinforced its Youth Bureau with two additional experienced patrolmen.

A report had recently issued from the Senate subcommittee to investigate juvenile delinquency, indicating that the essential defenses against it were "weak, inadequate to the task, poorly manned and, in some measure, even totally lacking in every community in the nation." The FBI had, the previous day, released its annual Uniform Crime Reports, showing juvenile arrests had increased by 2.3 percent in 1954, while adult arrests had decreased by 1.9 percent, and that cities over population of 25,000 had dominated the increase in arrests of juveniles.

It indicates that it was not contending that the Police Department was the only instrument which the county had to combat juvenile delinquency, that on the contrary, it was but one of many necessary parts, which included the courts, schools, churches, correctional institutions, youth organizations, child and foster care agencies, newspapers, radio, television, and movies. It indicates that the campaign against juvenile delinquency in the city or any other city was a cooperative project, which had to be nourished by citizen interest and action.

A piece from the Greensboro Daily News, titled "What Is the South?" indicates that it was hard to say what the South was, that like a woman, it was too much alive to be analyzed, that one could not dissect humor, pathos, love and life without having them disappear in the process.

But it finds that once in awhile, a description would appear which got some of the South into it, for instance in a poem titled "Little Dixie", by Albert Edmund Trombley, about a section of Missouri which was on the Southern side during the Civil War. It quotes extensively from the poem. Sample: "It's the heart of Missouri, blooded of three,/ Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee./ It's a tall spare man on a blue-grass hoss./ It's sugar-cured ham without raisin sauce./ It's coon dog, coon, persimmon tree,/ It's son or brother named Robert E. Lee./ It's tiger stalking a jayhawk bird./ It's the best hog-calling that ever you heard."

And so forth, and so on.

It indicates that although the South was changing, it could be pinned down by maps, graphs, charts and statistics of growth and development, and many people were doing that necessary and profitable work, but that which was pinned down was not the South, itself, rather "a lifeless simulacrum."

It relates that a young Southerner who was living in the North and was somewhat homesick, had written his parents recently that he wished he had been born in the South before the Civil War and been killed at Gettysburg. It finds it an uncommon sentiment at present, and one which had not been expressed very seriously, but that maybe it went further toward explaining the South than a "bushel of facts".

Drew Pearson tells of Karl Bickel, former president of the United Press Association, who had done more to sell unbiased American news around the world than any other single person, having some pungent things to say about the way the Administration was trying to influence the press, indicating that the State Department, and specifically Secretary Dulles, in providing the Yalta report to the New York Times before its general public release, had resorted to "the old vicious method the chanceries of Europe practiced after the Napoleonic wars and World War I when steam presses, roll paper, etc., began to make the press a great potential power." At that time, every government in Europe had begun controlling the press by controlling the news through bribery, with one of its chief forms being to slip important governmental news out to the favored organs and thus seek to kill off the opposition press. Mr. Bickel explained that it was how the press of Europe had finally become the great European press association consortium dominated by Reuters, Havas, Wolfe's, and Stefani, which, together, had largely caused World War I, and had finally been smashed in 1933. He said that pressure by favoritism had posed a threat to American institutions for 150 years and now the "sanctimonious" Mr. Dulles was trying to "seduce" the Times by giving them early access to the Yalta papers and, in the process, about a million dollars worth of publicity.

Mr. Pearson indicates that it had been Mr. Bickel who had broken him into column writing and says that he would be interested in another type of favoritism in reverse, as practiced now by White House press secretary James Hagerty, when he had summoned in reporter Ethel Payne, who worked for the widely circulated black newspaper, the Chicago Defender, and threatened her with loss of her White House credentials because she had been asking questions during Presidential press conferences regarding segregation, appearing to irritate the President. Mr. Hagerty had informed her that the President had thoroughly investigated her credentials, including her income tax returns, telling her that it was clear that she was paid by the CIO at the same time she was serving as an accredited news correspondent at the White House, indicating to her that they could not tolerate that practice as it was "against regulations", for the CIO PAC was a political organization and he would have to report it to the standing committee of correspondents. Ms. Payne told Mr. Hagerty that she had done some temporary work editing material for the PAC during the 1952 campaign, and was a full-time correspondent for the Defender. She said that she was no longer on the CIO payroll, but had received a payment from them in September, 1954, the last payment she had received, and had nothing to do with making policy. Mr. Hagerty told her that he would look into the matter and advise her of his decision.

Mr. Pearson indicates that under White House rules, Mr. Hagerty had been correct, that a correspondent paid for political services was not supposed to be accredited for press conference coverage. He indicates, however, that a columnist who was paid on the side by the National Association of Manufacturers and by Republic Steel, George Sokolsky, had received a total of nearly $30,000 from those two groups, plus another $3,400 for expenses, through a camouflaged arrangement with a public relations firm, such that no one was aware of the payments. Meanwhile, Mr. Sokolsky had continued to write his newspaper column, give lectures and appear on the radio, with the public not aware that he was being paid by a management-friendly organization to deliver his eloquent plea for an open shop in 1937. Mr. Pearson indicates that he did an effective job with his column and talks and probably had earned everything paid to him in the past. But he contrasts the treatment of Ms. Payne by saying that the only difference was that Mr. Sokolsky was paid a lot more and that she had worked for labor whereas he had worked for big business and followed a pattern of having been paid previously. Yet, no Government official had, insofar as Mr. Pearson was aware, challenged Mr. Sokolsky. He remained a close friend and adviser of Herbert Hoover, and his radio broadcasts had been more widely circulated than ever through ABC.

Stewart Alsop looks at the current session of Congress thus far, finding that the most striking aspect was that it was so boring, "the dullest session since the war." There had been no angry rows, with the tax contest having been little more than a tiff. He finds that the tedium told a lot about the present political situation, fault for which he attributes to the Democrats, partly because Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson and House Speaker Sam Rayburn were thoroughgoing professionals who were masters of the political and parliamentary process. "Thus the kind of bobbles and booberies and unnecessary collisions which have enlivened past sessions have been regrettably absent."

A more important reason for the boredom was that the Democrats had thus far failed to develop any real emotional issue. They had sought to make the proposed $20 per person individual tax cut such an issue, but Senator Walter George of Georgia, whose support was key in the Senate, would not go along with it and so the issue collapsed. The country had not shown much interest in the Dixon-Yates contract controversy or the problems with the Administration's security program, or even the public power controversies. The Democrats had once counted on exposing the security program, but since had developed second thoughts for appearing to be against security. The Dixon-Yates contract had shown itself to be too complicated and too local to be a good issue for public consumption, despite there having been passionate feelings about public power in the Pacific Northwest and in a few other areas, but not nationwide.

The farm program of Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson, involving a sliding-scale of price supports on certain crops as opposed to the former fixed supports, might become a gut issue in the future, he ventures, but at present, the Democratic Congressional leadership did not intend to start a fight on that issue because the program had not yet fully come into operation and they would wait until 1956, the election year, to begin criticizing it directly.

The Democrats were beginning to believe that there might be the needed gut issue in the Administration's Far East policy, especially with regard to the Nationalist-held islands off the coast of Communist China, Quemoy and Matsu, and the indecision thus far shown by the Administration on what it would do in the event of a direct attack on those islands by the Communists. The speech a couple of weeks earlier by Adlai Stevenson about the crisis had been "a brilliant political exercise, especially since, as one Democratic strategist has pointed out, it 'made it possible for both Walter George and Wayne Morse to say amen.'" But there was still a great sense of caution about making a major political issue out of a foreign crisis, and thus far, the Democrats in Congress had, for the most part, gone along with the Administration's foreign policy.

The same was true of the Administration's defense policy, although a few Senators, such as Stuart Symington of Missouri, had criticized the defense cutbacks, while others had privately felt uneasy about it. But, as one Senator had stated, it was difficult for individual members of the Senate to argue military matters with General Eisenhower.

Mr. Alsop points out that during the Roosevelt and Truman Administrations, excitement had been provided not only by heroic battles between the parties in Congress, but also by even more heroic contests between Congress and the White House. But President Eisenhower had made it clear that he did not want to do battle with Congress, the furthest he had gone having been to call the House individual tax cut bill "irresponsible", and the resulting flurry from that had died down quickly.

At the same time, the Democrats did not want to do battle with the President, as he remained too popular. The President was currently enjoying probably the longest honeymoon with Congress in the history of American politics, but some Democrats proclaimed that it was about to come to an end, as they intended for the remainder of the current session to place personal responsibility for whatever went wrong, whether farm prices or troubles in Asia, at the feet of the President.

Mr. Alsop ventures, however, that despite that talk, there was remarkably little disposition in Congress to tangle with the President, and the honeymoon would therefore likely continue absent a war or depression. He notes that honeymoons in politics tended to be dull, but as long as there was no war and prosperity continued, there would be no real gut issues to excite the people or divide them.

Doris Fleeson indicates that the President had been presented with what appeared to be an opportunity to negotiate the Formosa crisis and avert war. She finds that the State Department had almost been panic-stricken over the African-Asian conference in Indonesia and had sought to forbid all Americans, except the press, to go near it. But history had been made at the conference when the Acting Secretary of State of Liberia, Momolu Dukuly, had overborne the will of Prime Minister Nehru of India and demanded that the small nations be heard. Americans then learned that they had new friends in that area of the world, and it was demonstrated that the democratic ideal could still capture the minds of people of many races and cultural backgrounds.

The end result had been that Communist Chinese Premier Chou En-lai, who knew that his country could not afford to be conquered on its home ground, made peace overtures, which were received in Washington the prior weekend by an astonished State Department.

The Administration was acting cautiously, awaiting proof of the sincerity of the peace tenders, with evidence thereof to include such things as release of the American airmen being held by the Communist Chinese, or other such concrete moves. Nevertheless, the President had received a demonstration that the reservoir of good will created by the American system in practice had not been dissipated by postwar strains and clashes, and it was probable that the Supreme Court could also take some credit for its 1954 decision in Brown v. Board of Education, ending segregation in the public schools.

She concludes that efforts to bring about a creative political settlement in Asia could now begin.

Robert C. Ruark, in Paris, indicates that a friend who worked for TWA in Paris had told him that he had never seen such a crush of tourists so early in the year, and the same appeared to be true also of the steamship lines. The hotels in London and Paris, and even in Amsterdam, despite the tulip season not having yet started there, were crammed, as were the English bookshops, with Germans everywhere, "swinging their delicate cameras."

He finds it difficult to explain the mass urge to travel, believes that there was something motivating it more than simple prosperity, something more than idle curiosity, rather an inner restlessness which seemed to have been caused by the troubled times. It was as if people perceived that the world would end soon and that they wanted to see as much of it as possible before it happened.

People of all ages were traveling, moving around restlessly, "like the lemmings, and when many people move, or plan, aimless wanderers, like myself, who never plan, wind up sweating out a flight on their own home territory. Mind you, Paris is not bad waiting, but the professional roamer feels a little silly when the amateurs take away his play."

A letter writer begins by asserting that he was not a Communist and had never been one, had no intention of becoming one, and, insofar as he was aware, had never even talked to a Communist before, was rather a minister, a pacifist and did not believe that force and violence could accomplish any result. That said, he indicates that he believed that Junius Scales, who had been convicted and sentenced to six years in prison the previous week for a Smith Act violation, teaching and advocating the overthrow of the Government by force or violence by the fact of his membership in the Communist Party, had been wrongfully convicted in violation of his First Amendment right to free speech and free thought. He indicates that he did not believe someone could be convicted and penalized for teaching the overthrow of the Government, except where the evidence revealed proof beyond a reasonable doubt that the advocacy of force and violence constituted a clear, immediate and present danger to the national welfare, which he believes failed of proof in the Scales case. Alternatively, the Government had to prove that the defendant had committed overt acts, other than the expression of his views, in furtherance of his alleged desire to overthrow the Government, which he asserts the prosecution had also failed to show. He thus believes that the court should have directed a verdict for the defendant and further states that he believes the Supreme Court would eventually reverse the conviction.

As indicated, in 1957, the Supreme Court would reverse the conviction, but not on Constitutional grounds, rather on the basis of its holding in Jencks v. U.S., regarding the necessity of the Government to turn over to the defendant reports made by paid informants. After a second trial, Mr. Scales would be convicted again and again sentenced to six years in prison, would again have his appeal heard by the Supreme Court, which, in 1961, would reject his Constitutional arguments and other evidence-related contentions, affirming the conviction 5 to 4. Mr. Scales would serve 15 months of his sentence starting in 1961, but would have it commuted to time served by President Kennedy in December, 1962.

A letter writer from Paterson, N.J., a commissioner and the vice-president of the Board of Recreation of that city, indicates that he had spent a pleasant two days in Charlotte recently, writes particularly in response to the editorial, "Score Card", which had stated that given the previous week's headlines related to Dr. Jonas Salk having his polio vaccine approved as effective and the death of Dr. Albert Einstein, both men having been widely acclaimed for their accomplishments, it had been a bad week for the anti-Semites. He finds that the editorial exemplified "true Americanism" and compliments the editors and the newspaper for that expression, wishes that God would give them strength and wisdom in the fight against anti-Semitism.

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