The Charlotte News

Saturday, April 30, 1955


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports from Saigon that a revolutionary committee temporarily had taken control of South Vietnam this night and announced that it had deposed Chief of State Bao Dai, backing Premier Ngo Dinh Diem, whom Bao Dai had wanted out. The committee had forced General Nguyen Van Vy, whom Bao Dai the prior Thursday had named as commander-in-chief of the Army, to make a statement that he agreed with their action and had renounced the position to which he had been appointed. The committee had met in Saigon's City Hall, with the backing of the Cabinet, and had torn down the photograph of Bao Dai from the wall and trampled on it. The action had occurred after the Premier had declared a military victory the previous day over the rebel Binh Xuyen army of 5,000, following two days of bloody fighting in the streets of Saigon and its adjoining Chinese suburb, Cho Lon, headquarters to the rebel group. It was not clear what legal authority the revolutionary committee had to dismiss Bao Dai as Chief of State, as his authority had derived from an agreement signed in Paris in 1949, giving Vietnam its independence as a state within the French Union of Indo-China, which included Laos and Cambodia, Vietnam having been partitioned the previous summer into North and South by the armistice ending the war between the French and the Communists in Indo-China, control of the North having been provided temporarily to the Communists, pending elections to be held in the country prior to mid-1956. Eighteen small political parties and groups and persons had formed the revolutionary committee, which had also dissolved the Diem Government the previous day, while entrusting the Premier with the formation of a new government, which would have the goals of repressing the rebels and reestablishing order and security, recovering the total independence of the country, calling for the withdrawal of the French expeditionary corps, and urgently organizing an elected national assembly to turn over power to the people. The civil revolt had quieted the previous night after the shattered remnants of the Binh Xuyen forces had retreated across the Chinese arroyo, a canal separating Saigon from Cho Lon. Military sources said that more than 500 soldiers and civilians had been killed and an estimated 1,500 wounded in the battle with the green-bereted rebel troops. Listed among the casualties had been the director of the U.S. Aid Program's Photo Service, from Texas, shot down while flying in a light plane over the rebel area, with his exact fate still being unknown.

Correspondent John Scali reports that Secretary of State Dulles this date had been reported to be planning to meet in Paris with top French leaders the following weekend in a personal move to reconcile conflicting French-American policies toward South Vietnam. The Secretary would leave the following Friday for Paris to attend a Western Big Three foreign ministers meeting regarding NATO, and reportedly was willing to engage in separate discussions with the French regarding Vietnam. French Embassy officials in Washington reported that both Foreign Minister Antoine Pinay and probably Premier Edgar Faure were anxious to meet with the Secretary on the issue of restoring order in Saigon. A split between France and the U.S. had been disclosed publicly the previous day when the State Department reaffirmed its backing for Premier Diem, whose ouster the French Government favored on the basis that the latter was no longer capable of governing. It was reported that Secretary Dulles and other top U.S. officials were wavering in their support of the Premier, but nevertheless were unwilling to withdraw support in favor of any new candidate on the grounds that none had been suggested yet who would be acceptable to the anti-Communist Indochinese patriots. It was learned that special ambassador, J. Lawton Collins, who was returning to his post in Saigon, had been instructed to try to convince Premier Diem to broaden his Government, if possible, to include rival religious groups. The absence of Chief of State Bao Dai, who was living on the French Riviera, was becoming of increasing importance in behind-the-scenes jockeying, with Bao Dai reported to be determined to oust Diem, despite an American warning that it could cause U.S. aid to be terminated. The State Department the previous day had left the way open for a possible decision to ignore or sidetrack any intervention by Bao Dai, as the Department's press officer had declined to indicate whether the Department continued to recognize him as the legal authority for naming the premier. Senators Mike Mansfield of Montana and Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota, members of the Foreign Relations Committee, had both called the previous day for support of Diem over Bao Dai.

The President would join other public and labor officials this date to lay the cornerstone for the new headquarters building for the AFL, across Lafayette Square from the White House, expected to be completed the following December.

The President this date had selected John Hollister, a Cincinnati Republican lawyer, to head the International Cooperation Administration, a new agency which would take over most of the foreign aid activities starting on July 1, when the current Foreign Operations Administration would go out of existence. The new agency would become a semi-autonomous unit within the State Department and would supervise the economic phase of foreign assistance. The Defense Department would retain its supervisory capacity over military aid, and Harold Stassen, present director of FOA, would continue for the time being in that post while holding his new assignment as special assistant to the President on disarmament plans. Mr. Hollister was presently executive director of the Hoover Commission to make recommendations on reorganization of the executive branch of the Government.

Dr. Jonas Salk was reported working with other medical experts this date on a case-by-case study of the 29 children who had been afflicted with polio after receiving the vaccine, working under the aegis of the Public Health Service, including 11 outside experts on polio and immunology, plus technical representatives of the manufacturers of the vaccine. Consultants were reviewing the epidemiological and medical histories of the polio cases, all except one of whom had received doses of the vaccine manufactured by Cutter Laboratories of Berkeley, Calif. That part of the vaccine had been withdrawn pending the study, to determine whether the vaccine was at fault or whether the children already had the disease before receiving the shots. Twelve new cases had been reported the previous day, raising the total to 29, the new ones having included seven children in Idaho, two each in San Diego and Washington State, and one in St. Louis, with the total having included 14 children from California, nine from Idaho, two from Washington and one each from Illinois, Colorado, Missouri and Georgia. The five from San Diego were among 26,000 and the nine in Idaho, 33,000, who had received the vaccine in those locations, and so the percentage of children thus infected had been very small. Only the Georgia case had involved vaccine not manufactured by Cutter, that dose having been from the Eli Lilly Co. All of the infections had occurred, however, within about a week of receiving the shots, when the normal gestation period for polio was 10 to 14 days following exposure.

Admiral John H. Towers, retired, 70, the Navy's senior flier, had died of cancer this date in St. Albans Naval Hospital in New York. He had commanded an expedition which made the first airplane flight across the Atlantic in 1919, although his own plane had been forced down. The expedition had flown from Newfoundland to the Azores and from there to Portugal. He was appointed commander-in-chief of the Pacific Fleet in 1945 at the time of a Navy reorganization which had provided recognition to the increasing importance of air power.

In North Lawrence, N.Y., a 200-man posse this date combed a ten square-mile area of swamp and tangled woods searching for three escaped convicts, who, according to police, still had 20 rounds of ammunition after a gun battle the previous day in which a trooper had been wounded and a fourth escapee had been captured. The four had escaped the prior Wednesday from a jail at Canton, about 30 miles to the southwest, taking with them two pistols. They had been located in an abandoned farmhouse early the previous afternoon, at which time one of the two officers who had found them had been wounded in the leg and shoulder while his partner had gone to the car to radio for help in making the arrests. Three of the men were then able to get away through a broken window while the fourth was found still in the farmhouse. Bloodhounds deployed on the trail of the three men had lost the scent at a point in the swampy soil, and the search was abandoned at nightfall.

Dick Young of The News provides a breakdown of the ballot measures to be decided in the local special bond election the following Tuesday, with 5 million dollars in county school bonds and 8.8 million in municipal improvement bonds on the ballot. Be sure to read it if you plan to vote.

In Tokyo, mothers had launched a door-to-door campaign against obscene literature, and a truck would pick up such matter the following day, the mothers advising that every wife had an important, difficult task, to find out where her husband was hiding the obscene material.

On the editorial page, "Taxation: No More Virgin Sources" indicates that shirt-washing was about the only thing left to be taxed in North Carolina, quoting a legislator from 1790 that the practice was about the only thing left on which no tax was paid. That fact made the job of the present Legislature tough in trying to find sources of revenue to balance the budget.

A few days earlier, it appeared that a tobacco tax would be imposed to make up the difference, a good source as it was a luxury and not a necessity, and the state, unlike most states, had never imposed a tax on it because of its dependence on the crop and its products. But the tobacco lobby had gotten busy and the tax was nixed.

It was next determined that a special licensing fee of five dollars would be imposed on motor vehicles, but the highway users lobby then immediately began opposing that tax.

It questions, therefore, from where the tax revenue would derive. It points out that both motor vehicles and tobacco were already heavily taxed by various levels of government. Preliminary estimates of revenue derived in 1954 from consumer taxes on tobacco in the 41 other states which did tax it amounted to 464 million dollars, and Federal taxation had amounted to about 1.6 billion. And the Federal automotive excise tax had brought in more than 900 million dollars in 1953.

It indicates the belief that a tax on certain luxuries, such as tobacco, was better than some of the taxation schemes which had been mentioned earlier in the legislative session, that it would be a bad mistake, for example, to raise either the individual income tax or the corporate tax, placing additional taxes on either necessities or potentially adversely affecting the state's economic progress. But it concludes that the state had long ago passed the point where it could tap by way of taxation previously untapped sources and so it was now a matter of raising somewhat more revenue from areas which would do the least harm. It urges that the General Assembly had to make its mind up on the point soon, prior to the end of the 1955 biennial session.

"Equal Justice under Law: A Myth?" tells of Senator Sam J. Ervin of North Carolina having questioned the qualifications of Supreme Court Justices by indicating that no member of the Court, as presently constituted, had ever served as a judge of a court of general jurisdiction, either at the state or Federal level, that no member had served as a judge of a state appellate court, that only two of the present members had ever served as a Federal appellate judge and few had devoted their major efforts to the actual practice of law.

It finds that those facts presented a great deficiency in the Court, underscoring the overlooking of Charlotte's U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge John J. Parker, since his 1930 nomination to the Court had been derailed. It suggests that jurists of his caliber ought receive more consideration at the time of vacancies.

But it also finds that Senator Ervin, who had served on the North Carolina Supreme Court, had gone too far in suggesting that "Equal Justice Under Law" might be removed from the portals of the Supreme Court building in Washington. He had also charged that the Court had "usurped the power of the Congress and the states", obviously referring, in the immediate sense, to its decision the prior May in Brown v. Board of Education. He had recommended an amendment to the Constitution to make it certain that in the future men would be selected for service on the Court because of their "possession of what Alexander Hamilton called 'those qualifications which fit men for their station of judges' and because of their utility and willingness to subject themselves to the restraint inherent in the judicial process."

Despite the Senator's criticism, it finds that the Court administered the law with a high degree of fairness and that, for the most part, the Justices were committed to the guardianship of Constitutional rights, that if stricter qualifications were required for the Court, many of its greatest members of the past would not have been able to serve, such as Chief Justice John Marshall, who served in that capacity for 34 years until 1835, and Justice and later Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes, who served in the latter capacity for a decade between 1930 and 1941, after having been appointed to the Court by President William Howard Taft in 1910, resigning to run as a Republican for the presidency against President Wilson in 1916, later appointed as Chief by President Hoover, succeeding former President Taft in the position, appointed by President Harding.

It finds that members of the Court were not infallible and had rendered unjust decisions, some so obviously wrong that the Court had, subsequently, reversed them, but that it also had to be remembered that some of the decisions had also been reversed by Congress and the states through constitutional amendments. Yet, the prestige of the Court remained surprisingly high.

Gerald W. Johnson, journalist and historian who had spoken recently at Davidson College, had once written that there was "nothing in an appointment to the Supreme Court that sanctifies a man; yet this group for more than 150 years has dealt out substantial justice so consistently that today throughout the continental domain, the man who would defy its rulings would be regarded insane. It is evident that there must be some extremely powerful force operating to hold to the ideal of equal justice administered without fear or favor. To explain that this force consists in respect for a great office and for the judicial oath is to beg the question: What made the office great and the oath sacred? Unquestionably, the honorable record of the court in the past."

He had also noted that there was no appeal from the Supreme Court in the legal sense, but that there was in the sense of justice on the part of the average American, as the Court was aware, that a decision which did not square with the conscience of the average person would not stand, though valid in law for many years, and that the Court's care in avoidance of subjecting itself to such reversals by the commonweal had accounted for its record and high honor.

The piece adds that individuals on the Court had occasionally demonstrated "smallness of spirit and a lack of vision", but that the institution as a whole had demonstrated greatness because, despite its apparent remoteness, it was subject to correction by the American people.

It might be noted that the remaining three appointments to the Court by President Eisenhower, William Brennan in 1956, Charles Whittaker in 1957, and Potter Stewart, in 1958, had all come from the ranks of the judiciary, Justice Brennan having been a State Supreme Court Justice in New Jersey, and the latter two having been judges of U.S. Courts of Appeal. All of the appointees since the Nixon Administration, beginning in 1969, have had judicial experience before coming to the Supreme Court, though some of very limited duration after appointment to a Federal Court of Appeals by the President who then would nominate them for the high Court, as had been the case with the nomination in 1954 and confirmation in early 1955 of Justice John Harlan. Indeed, in 1993, when Justice Byron White retired from the Court, he remarked that it would be refreshing for a President to appoint a practicing attorney to the Court, which had been a deficiency since the appointment of then-Solicitor General Thurgood Marshall by President Johnson in 1967. Justice White believed that perspective was lacking and could be of benefit to the Court.

Much comment by the press and public has been transpiring in the past week regarding the leaked draft opinion of Justice Samuel Alito which purports to overrule the 49-year old precedent of Roe v. Wade and its reaffirmation, with some changes, in Planned Parenthood v. Casey in 1992. As this is only a draft opinion circulated to the other members of the Court in February, 2022, it is both subject to change and, potentially, to becoming only a dissent, and so there is no sense presently in discussing its contents or reasoning in any detail. That which is striking, however, should the basic holding become the majority decision, is that it would be the first time in American history that a decision of the Supreme Court would have both overturned a major precedent decided so long earlier while also abrogating a previously determined Constitutional right. No prior decision has taken away a right, once established by precedent. It would be the most political move by the Court since Bush v. Gore in 2000, deplorably deciding the outcome of the 2000 election by ordering the State of Florida to cease its recount of votes because of the failure to include all of the counties in the procedure and to provide uniform standards for conducting the recounts, regarded by the five-Justice majority in that decision as a violation of Fourteenth Amendment Equal Protection and Due Process.

For decades, starting with Brown, the cry from the right has been to stop the Supreme Court from legislating from the bench. But to restrict a state's right to determine its own recount procedures in a presidential election ultimately decided by 500 votes in the State of Florida for the national popular vote loser, and now, 22 years later, should the draft opinion become the final holding, to overturn established precedents in a restrictive manner, is nothing short of legislating from the bench for the sake of a purely political agenda, not, in the latter instance, siding with "states' rights" but rather siding with the state over the individual citizen's right to make their own choices, in the former having set aside both principles.

Roe was based on sound reasoning, that viability of the fetus is the most readily discernible factor available to modern science in determining when there is a separate life of a fetus in the mother's womb, capable of self-sustaining life apart from the mother, thus giving ground for the state to have an interest in the health of the fetus, in addition to the health of the mother. The point of viability was established, through available scientific evidence in 1973, to be at approximately 23 weeks into pregnancy. The right to protect the mother's ability to choose whether to end her pregnancy prior to viability was determined to be, therefore, not a matter for the state to decide, but rather her own private choice, with the state entering the picture to protect and regulate practices for the life and welfare of the fetus, as well as the mother, only after the point of viability. The right of privacy, recognized in Griswold v. Connecticut in 1965, the rights of a couple in that case to purchase and use contraceptives, was the competing Constitutional right deemed to protect the mother's right of choice as against intrusion by the state, as opposed to having the government making the choice for her during the time prior to viability, and that after viability, the interest of the state was such that it supersedes the right of privacy and enables regulation for the protection of the life of the fetus and the mother. That presented, not contraposition to a states' rights argument, as it is often couched by the "pro-life" pundits and others, but rather a competition between the individual rights of the citizen versus the government, or prevention of government intrusion into the private life of the individual, of which the Second Amendment advocates are always so zealously protective and assertive when it comes to gun "rights"—but not so, typically, when it comes to the right to choose to terminate an unwanted pregnancy prior to viability of the fetus, the ability of that tiny, developing, partially formed extension of the mother to live independently of the mother's womb. Thus far, medical science has not been able in the past half-century to advance enough to assure viability much before 23 weeks, though there has been some incremental, albeit exceptional, advance toward potential earlier viability by a couple of weeks or so.

Mere detection of a heartbeat in the fetus, typically by the twentieth week, is not a reliable indicator or any indicator of viability in the sense that the fetus could survive independently of the womb. It only indicates viability in the sense that the fetus remains capable eventually of developing, within the womb, to a point where survival outside the womb would be possible. While the heart is considered by some to be the place where love resides and grows, that is a sentimental, poetic concept, allegorical in nature, not based on medical science. The heart is a pump, which circulates the blood through the body, but during the period prior to about 23 weeks of pregnancy, the heart and the other developing organs of the fetus remain dependent on the mother's body for the animating life force, without which, the fetus would cease to function, just as with an organ of the mother. (Analogy to these concepts might be found in the mechanical structure of an automobile, the original paradigm for which was obviously premised on knowledge of how the human body, and that of other mammals, functions.)

The overriding point, however, is that the pregnancy in question, that subject to a desired abortion, is one unwanted, for any number of reasons, and without the right to choose to terminate the pregnancy prior to viability, the mother loses control of her own body for the completion of the nine-month gestation period normal for giving birth, regardless of adoption and other means of dealing with an unwanted child at the conclusion of a successful pregnancy. There are many reasons why the matter is monstrous to consider, in the climate before Roe, that a state, like Mississippi will be in 2022 with its 2007 "trigger law" to become operative should Roe and Casey be declared no longer good law, could force a girl or woman who becomes pregnant, practically regardless of the means, to carry a fetus to term, in spite of her desire to terminate the pregnancy prior to the point of viability.

Because it has become such a political touchstone through time, generating concomitant emotion along the way, many people do not actually understand what Roe concerns, other than that it is the decision which permits abortions. Because of superstition and misinformation over the course of five decades, the practice has become associated somehow in the minds of many people with "murder" of a living being, premised on the mystical belief that life begins at conception or quickening, based on the cult of the Pythagoreans and their belief in transmigration of souls, developed 500 years before Christ and Christianity and 2,400 years or more before abortion came to be regarded by some Christians as being tantamount to killing a living being and thus acquired moral overtones, the outlawing of the practice in many jurisdictions during the 19th Century having been for the cause of high mortality rates among mothers in midwife-induced abortion practices of that era, before modern sanitary practices accompanied any form of surgery, not for moral concerns. Thus, came the superstitition and the political furor, fueled by emotion and misinformation, and stoked by political chicanery to gain votes by opposing the practice, just as with the Prohibition movement a hundred years ago.

We have heard some distort the record by suggesting that prior precedent has been overturned by the Supreme Court on many occasions, notably in Brown. For anyone to compare blithely the overturning of the precedent in Roe with the overturning of the separate-but-equal doctrine of Plessy v. Ferguson, established in 1896, by the 1954 Brown decision, holding segregation in the public schools no longer capable of being Constitutionally viable by separate but equal facilities under the Fourteenth Amendment Equal Protection Clause because true equality could never be achieved under segregation, communicates a profound misunderstanding of the law or intellectual dissembling by those who would know better. Brown involved the expansion of rights under the Constitution after the previous system of "separate but equal" facilities had proved not only unworkable in practice but so failing to provide equality in society that the consequent system had shocked the conscience. No such comparison can be made to overruling Roe, which would be eliminating a Federal Constitutional right, leaving it up to the states to determine, in what had already proved, prior to 1973, to be an unworkable system, producing a confused patchwork of laws, creating disunion and winding up producing bootleg abortions, compromising the health of the mother, resulting sometimes in death or rendering the mother incapable of child-bearing into the future. That was the tawdry backdrop to Roe which had beset the society for decades, of which the anti-abortion advocates now have lost sight in the half century during which the practice has been permitted under medically supervised conditions.

No one advocates abortion, only the right of the female bearing the fetus to be able to make the individual, private decision, up to the point of viability, to end the pregnancy when it is unwanted. Indeed, it is despicable for the anti-abortion commentators and their followers to use such loaded language to describe those who understand the issue, that it is not abortion advocacy but advocacy of an individual's right to choose, up to a point, what they do with their body, as long as it does not compromise their own health or safety. Nothing is more sacrosanct for protection from intrusion by the state than that.

The inevitable counter to Roe, though left unstated by the anti-abortion advocates, is that the state is mother-superior to the individual mother in determining how she must behave as soon as she becomes aware of her pregnancy, regardless of whether there is any medico-legally definable separate life yet in being within her womb.

The issue is not one of morality but rather the interest of the state in protecting life and adopting a uniform, medically recognizable standard for when that life begins so that the state can formally recognize that life in being. To say it is at the point of conception is fine poetically for the wanted child, but that can be carried back to the "twinkle in the eye", even before the point of physical conception, to the point of formation of the idea of undertaking the act to procreate. That is not susceptible of recognition by the law, as it is not based on modern science, any more than "leering" was in those state cases to the mid-Twentieth Century where it was deemed an assault, not susceptible of creating a recognizable uniform standard which still protects the sanctity of the individual's right of personal choice. In earlier times, preceding the age of rationalism, when people literally believed in witches and their ability to work evil spells, legislatures, courts and jurists fumbled in the dark with these issues and made up laws which would be unthinkable today, including the countenancing of burning of witches at the stake and trial by ordeal. (After all, resort to Old Testament law for guidance, would have one believe, if taken literally: "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live," as commanded by Exodus 22:18. Thus, one would only need then to divine a method for determining who the "witch" is, and, voila, a perfect rationalization for justifiable homicide manifests itself.)

Thus to advert, as the draft opinion of Justice Alito did in February, to pre-Twentieth Century laws, before the age ushered in by the work of Louis Pasteur, Madame Curie, Alexander Fleming and other pioneers who contributed to modern medical practices we have taken for granted for a century and more, is to engage in little short of myopic cant, reaching for comfortable rationalization from within the dim, dark recesses of the law library, which, while making sense to a degree, perhaps, in some unchartered areas of the law, makes no sense in the premises when applied to issues of health and pregnancy or other matters transmuted through time by modern medical science, demonstrating, in so doing, a mind which is not thinking through the subject sensitively, as did Justice Harry Blackmun in 1973, but rather one responding either to political winds or a legacy of religious fervor, or a mixture thereof, neither having any place in legal jurisprudence.

We hope this draft opinion will not become the majority opinion, as it would be a dark day for the country and its democracy should it become so. As has been said many times in the last week, the most recent three appointees sitting presently on the Court, since 2017—the first and third of whom came to the Court through political machinations by the then-Senate Majority Leader, unheard of in the history of the country and utterly paradoxical and hypocritical in his claimed bases therefor—, all three of whom are presumed to be in agreement with the basic stance of the draft opinion last February, would have to be deemed, if those presumptions prove correct in the end, to have deceived the Senate and the American people in their confirmation hearings by repeatedly affirming, without qualification, that Roe is sound precedent and "established law". No mature, trained legal mind could possibly claim to have been changed on such a major, decades long well-publicized issue in such a short time as two to four years, and thus the American people could, in the event those Justices do ultimately vote to overrule Roe, justly consider such statements, made under oath, essentially a solemn pact made with the people, to have been untrue at the time they were made, rendering such Justices unfit to serve further in the courts. Judges can change their minds, of course, based on changed facts or new evidence presented in a case, or new and novel legal principles introduced by astute counsel arguing a particular case, but that has not occurred in this instance. The act by those Justices of overruling Roe would have to be deemed a betrayal of that solemn pact and pledge with the American people so recently, not just to the individual Senators to whom they made those statements in public hearings between 2017 and shortly before election day in 2020.

We hope this leak, delivered prematurely into the public discourse, was an exploratory opinion which ultimately will be rejected by the better wisdom of the majority of the Justices, including Justice Alito. Under all of the attendant circumstances, it would be otherwise below the level of any court, let alone the highest Court in the land, for which, in that event, the vast majority of the American people would lose virtually all respect for the majority of the Court so deciding. That would be a sad day for justice generally and for the Court, with no parallel whatsoever—"none, zero"—available for comparison by way of mitigation to the time and reaction to the Court in unanimously overruling Plessy in 1954, when, even then, the Court chose to soften its decision's impact by delaying the implementing decision for a year to hear from the affected states, after the case had been reargued in December, 1953, ordered before the death of Chief Justice Fred Vinson in September, 1953, a year after the initial argument in December, 1952, and having been preceded by 16 years of precedents which, while preserving Plessy for the time being, had made the direction of the Court plain. The two issues and the cases do not compare, except, of course, that the effects of Plessy, prior to 1954, had impacted the economically deprived citizen more than any other, just as an overruled Roe would do today.

A piece from the Chapel Hill News Leader, titled "Tom Wolfe & the Movies", finds it remarkable that it had taken so long, since the death of Mr. Wolfe in 1938, for Hollywood to discover the possibilities for his novels to be brought to the screen. One, unnamed, had been reported to be in production, to start filming late in the coming summer. It suggests that his novels would be natural for the movies as they had dramatic action and powerful characters. While his passages of reflection and philosophy would be beyond the capabilities of capture on film, there were many episodes lending themselves to the movies. Moreover, his novels had many fans among readers who would be ready to attend a film adaptation.

Parties of Wolfe readers had often amused themselves by imagining how certain scenes could be arranged and dramatized. One persistent reader had always wanted to begin by opening with the garret of a lonely writer, while another insisted on inclusion of a railroad train, with its exterior and interior filmed.

Some years earlier, Arthur Ripley of Hollywood had come to Chapel Hill to look over the alma mater of the writer, which he had dubbed "Pulpit Hill" in Look Homeward, Angel, and had acquired the film rights from the publisher, Scribner, had taken photographs of many campus scenes and classrooms, even getting some students to dress up in the clothes of the early 1920's, worn during Mr. Wolfe's student days. But Mr. Ripley had never been able to complete the project, and it was reported many years later that a Hollywood magazine had purchased the rights from him for $175,000. It was now being reported that Paul Gregory, who had produced the roadshow based on the Caine Mutiny, and William Goldman, had paid $300,000 for three later novels, with the rights to Look Homeward, Angel having been purchased by Paramount.

It concludes that those sums would have made Mr. Wolfe gasp.

Nevertheless, none of his novels have ever been, strictly speaking, committed to film, though the excellent dramatization of his life released in 2016, "Genius", necessarily conveyed semi-autobiographical scenes which derived from the novels, with the names and personages returned to their rightful owners, to the extent that they were actually roman à clef and not conflated, amalgamized characters in their inception, as most novel characters are, deriving inevitably from the artist's view of his or her surrounding environment, even if the setting of the novel is ostensibly on Mars, instead of in Pulpit Hill and Altamont.

Drew Pearson indicates that it had all but been announced that the President would give up the idea of defending the offshore islands of Quemoy and Matsu in exchange for a settlement of the Formosa situation, representing a triumph of his political advisers over his military advisers. A secret gathering of the White House braintrust had recently taken place, with the goal of impressing on the President the political implications of a war in the Far East. Included in the meeting were former Governor Thomas Dewey of New York, Attorney General Herbert Brownell, the President's Army crony, retired General Lucius Clay, the Vice-President, White House chief of staff Sherman Adams, and former Marshall Plan administrator Paul Hoffman. Led by Mr. Dewey, the group had reminded the President that he owed his election largely to the promise to end the Korean War and that it would be political suicide to present the voters with another Far Eastern war on the eve of the 1956 presidential election. They assured him that the China lobby, despite all of its noise, was in the minority and that the public did not want to fight a war over two remote islands off the Chinese mainland.

In contrast, the military advice to the President had been to draw a line at the two offshore islands, an opinion joined by Secretary of State Dulles. But the President had been reluctant to fight for the offshore islands unless the allies would stand behind such a defense. The President believed that Napoleon's reputation as a great military genius had been misrepresented because he had always fought against coalitions, and therefore believed strongly in having allies to support any military operation. Thus, with the added support of his political advisers, he had decided to stick to his original beliefs and overrule the military advice on the matter.

Secretary Dulles had been roundly criticized in closed-session hearings by Democratic Senators for having recently released the report on the Yalta conference of February, 1945, as Mr. Pearson had obtained a transcript of that hearing. The Secretary had admitted that the decision to release the report had been made before the British approval had been provided, and Senator Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota, during extensive questioning of the Secretary, elicited the admission from Mr. Dulles that the country needed Britain even more than Formosa, and that it had not been the best way to build up relations between the U.S. and its primary ally.

Walter Lippmann again looks at the Formosa situation, indicating that given the talk in Washington and in the aftermath of the Bandung Asian-African conference ending a week earlier, it was impossible to believe that the mission of Joint Chiefs chairman Admiral Arthur Radford and Assistant Secretary of State Walter Robertson had met with success in resolving the differences between the Nationalist Government and the U.S. regarding the possibility of a cease-fire with the Communist Chinese. Secretary of State Dulles had confirmed the prior Tuesday that likelihood by indicating that there were some differences of viewpoints between the Nationalists and the U.S. regarding the cease-fire, and that Secretary Robertson and Admiral Radford had not gone to Taipeh with the idea of exerting any "coercive pressure upon the Chinese Nationalists", but rather to converse as allies regarding the situation which was developing.

But while they had been talking, a contradiction had developed between the position taken by the State Department the previous Saturday, in the wake of the statements by Premier Chou En-lai at the Bandung conference, offering to sit down and seek to resolve differences on Formosa, and the statement of Secretary Dulles the following Tuesday, on Saturday, the State Department having stated that it would insist on Nationalist China participating as an equal in any discussions concerning the area of Formosa, while on Tuesday, the Secretary had said that the presence of the Nationalists would not be indispensable to negotiations regarding a cease-fire, which involved the possible interests of the U.S. Mr. Lippmann posits that such a contradiction could not have made life easy for Secretary Robertson, who was staying with Chiang Kai-shek, but Mr. Robertson, being an experienced diplomat, likely had explained to Chiang that the U.S. was willing to negotiate a cease-fire without his presence, but would keep him fully informed and would consult with him before agreeing to anything. Such reassurance would not, however, have changed the situation that the U.S. had expressed its willingness to negotiate a cease-fire without Chiang's consent.

Mr. Lippmann suggests that the immediate problem in Formosa would be to persuade Chiang to participate in a cease-fire if negotiated, effected without his consent. As the U.S. was not firing in the Formosa area, a cease-fire would involve the Communist forces and the Nationalist forces only, and so to negotiate such a cease-fire would require the U.S. to have Chiang on its side at the bargaining table. The more formal the agreements sought by the U.S. on a cease-fire, the more embarrassing it would be for Chiang. For while the U.S. could almost certainly induce him to give orders to his armed forces to stop firing or at least to order them not to hit anything, it would be difficult for him to provide public and formal consent to a cease-fire, as it would be a virtual renunciation of his hopes of returning to the mainland and would be tantamount to recognition that the Communist regime was the de facto government on the mainland.

That dilemma had been a part of U.S. policy for a considerable amount of time and there was no reason why the U.S. should be in a hurry about the matter, as it could allow, to a point, the facts and events to transpire as they would, the fact being that the treaty with the Nationalists for the defense of Formosa, indicating the U.S. decision not to assist Chiang in a decision, would have been accepted and taken for granted by the present time had not the confused maneuver occurred which had entangled the President in the matter of the defense of the offshore islands, Quemoy and Matsu. The defense of those islands might force the President to allow the U.S. to be drawn into a general war to overthrow Communist China, which he had always sought to avoid.

There was a considerable difference between the U.S. saying those things, however, and asking Chiang also to say them publicly, and so the latter should not be hurried into doing so, if the matter could be helped. The U.S. should therefore seek to delay, until after there was a cessation of the firing, the formal discussion of the future of Formosa. Chou might not agree to confidential discussions or a tacit cease-fire and moratorium on the Formosa problem, but the U.S. negotiators should at least try to effect it.

Senator William Knowland, the Minority Leader, might ask himself, suggests Mr. Lippmann, whether such a course was not in Chiang's interest as well as that of the U.S. and of the peace of the world. For if the U.S. was forced to deal with the long-term problem of Formosa, the contradictions and confusions of the U.S. political and legal relations with Chiang's Government would arise to plague the U.S., having arisen as much from the pressures of U.S. domestic politics as from the necessities and realities of U.S. interests in East Asia. The U.S. recognized Chiang's Government as the government of China, but had not yet recognized that Formosa had been legally ceded back to China, leaving Chiang as a sovereign on the mainland where he did not rule and not a sovereign on the island where he did rule. The future of Formosa was legally a matter in which the allies and associated powers had their reserved rights, and those issues had to be sorted out in the context of any final formal settlement. They could not, however, he asserts, be settled at present in a public conference and should be pushed aside until "the heat has gone out of them."

Doris Fleeson indicates that Senator Estes Kefauver of Tennessee had scored a remarkable showing in the latest Gallup polls, reminding Democrats that any free and open convention in 1956 would have to take the Senator into account—that convention eventually nominating him in an open convention as the vice-presidential nominee, narrowly defeating Senator John F. Kennedy. She indicates that Senator Kefauver would not run against Adlai Stevenson for the nomination—eventually to become again the 1956 nominee. If for any reason, Mr. Stevenson would bow out or fall behind in the pre-nomination race, Senator Kefauver would fight for the nomination. Meanwhile, he was holding himself available but doing nothing to create an organization or raise campaign funds. He had only recently concluded his appearances for the purpose of fund-raising to pay off his 1952 primary campaign debts.

The new Gallup poll which had surprised Washington had shown him running almost as well against the President as Mr. Stevenson, and leading against the hypothetical nomination of Vice-President Nixon instead of the President, should the latter decide not to run again. The poll had the President leading Senator Kefauver 64 to 36 percent, while leading Mr. Stevenson 59 to 41 percent. The Vice-President trailed Mr. Stevenson 61 to 39 percent, while also trailing Senator Kefauver, 58 to 42 percent. Mr. Stevenson was well ahead among Democrats preferred for the nomination, but Senator Kefauver had a substantial following, while others had only a negligible amount of support.

The evidence that the Senator had made a durable impression on the grass roots was not palatable to either the party liberals, who focused on Mr. Stevenson, or to the Senate, which had other favorites from within its membership. They regarded the Senator as having garnered his popularity from his televised hearings on organized crime in 1950-51, but had forgotten that he had also spent months meeting people up and down the country during the 1952 primary campaign, meeting them, with his attractive wife, Nancy, in the old-fashioned way. It was hard work and took time but the people appeared to like and remember it.

There was nothing of late to attract public attention to the Senator and he was being diligent now within the Senate, meeting the complaints of his colleagues.

UAW president Walter Reuther was among the labor leaders who conceded that the rank-and-file probably preferred Senator Kefauver to Mr. Stevenson, but Mr. Reuther would continue to support Mr. Stevenson for the nomination, as he had in 1952.

Former President Truman had never forgiven Senator Kefauver for the hearings on crime, and was showing attention to a potential rival of the Senator, Governor Frank Clement of Tennessee, but had an uncanny sense for the grass roots and so might perceive that the Senator had a political strength which Washington was slow to recognize.

The Congressional Quarterly indicates that a three-way debate over revision of the Federal minimum wage law had produced organized labor's big "pitch" of the year, developing into a large-scale lobby contest. A Senate Labor and Public Welfare subcommittee was heading into its final hearings, while unions were pushing for a minimum wage of $1.25 per hour and extension of the minimum wage to several million additional workers. The Administration favored an increase from the present 75 to 90 cents, while business interests wanted to prevent any change.

Labor had called the present minimum wage "substandard" and wanted an increase to provide low-income families a "decent" living, which would also have the effect of bolstering the economy.

The Administration agreed with the wholesalers, retailers and manufacturers impacted by the extended coverage, and suggested that the economy would be hurt by raising the minimum wage to a level which some industries could not absorb, thus favoring the compromise 90-cent level.

Since 1938, when the Fair Labor Standards Act had been enacted, the minimum wage had been raised from 25 to 75 cents and presently covered 24 million workers in interstate commerce. Workers and chain stores, hotel systems and certain other businesses were exempt from the Act, and some of the nearly 50 bills presently before the House and Senate would eliminate some of those exemptions.

The House Education and Labor Committee was busy with school construction proposals and had made no plans to conduct hearings on the minimum wage proposals, thus leaving it to the Senate, where unions were pressuring for legislation similar to that contained in bills proposed by Senators Herbert Lehman of New York, co-sponsored by five other Senators, and James Murray of Montana, the former proposing to increase the minimum wage to $1.25 and extend coverage to 33 million additional workers, with provisions of the bill sponsored by Senator Murray being similar. There was also a proposal by Senator Alexander Smith of New Jersey, based on the Administration proposal, and other bills sponsored by Senators Margaret Chase Smith of Maine and Charles Potter of Michigan, to put the minimum wage at a dollar per hour.

Top leaders of both the AFL and CIO had testified in favor of the bills sponsored by Senators Lehman and Murray, and the Quarterly had been informed that the unions had a unified strategy.

Some farm groups which favored high support prices were also favoring a minimum wage increase along the lines favored by labor. But industrialists, wanting to preserve wage differentials and exemptions, along with other big business, opposed any change in the current law, while retail, farm and other interests whose workers were presently exempt, argued that "wage-fixing" tended to lead to other Government controls. Officials of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said that market competition should be relied on to increase wage rates, maintaining that a higher minimum wage would lead to "disemployment" of many workers and, consequently, higher prices to consumers. The Committee for Constitutional Government and other groups regarded a higher minimum wage to be "uneconomic".

Samuel Johnson, in The Rambler, regards that of which "the main of life" is composed...


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