The Charlotte News

Monday, April 4, 1955


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Senator Alexander Wiley of Wisconsin, the ranking Republican member of the Foreign Relations Committee, had suggested in an interview this date that Congress "tend to its own knitting" and allow the President to decide what the U.S. should do regarding the area of Formosa, saying that he supported the President's position in declining to say what action the country would take should the Chinese Communists attack the offshore Nationalist-held islands of Quemoy and Matsu. He cited the Formosa resolution passed by the Congress earlier in the year, providing the President authority to make decisions regarding defense of Formosa and the Pescadores, in the event that an attack on other areas threatened Formosa, stressing that the President had to decide what was necessary to prevent Formosa from falling into unfriendly hands. His position was similar to that taken by Committee chairman Senator Walter George of Georgia the previous day, when he called for relaxing of the "heavy pressure" which he said was being placed on the President to declare the U.S. intent to defend or not to defend the two islands close to mainland China. The Senator said that to announce a decision to defend the islands would be "tantamount to a declaration of war" and that to declare a decision not to defend them would be "tantamount to an invitation to the Chinese Communists to come and take them."

Secretary of Defense Charles E. Wilson said this date that he was sticking to the plan for a further reduction in Army manpower, stating in testimony to a Senate Appropriations subcommittee that the plan was to reduce the Army to 1,027,000 men by the end of fiscal 1956, approximately the figure originally recommended by Secretary Wilson to the Budget Bureau. By the summer, the Army would be down from its present strength of about 1.25 million to 1.1 million. Army chief of staff General Matthew Ridgway had contended that a larger Army was necessary in battlefield fighting with atomic weapons, but the President had described General Ridgway's demands as "parochial". Present combat unit strength of the Army was 19 divisions, 12 regiments and 117 anti-aircraft battalions, to be reduced by June, 1956 by one division and one regiment, but with anti-aircraft strength increased to 136 battalions. Secretary Wilson said that the continued development by the Soviets of nuclear weapons posed a threat to the survival of the country and thus the primary objective had to be to maintain the capability, first, to deter an enemy from such an attack, and, second, to enable defense in the event of such an attack.

In Colima, Mexico, a holiday train wreck which caused three passenger cars to fall into a canyon had resulted in the deaths of at least 13 persons, nine of whom had been killed immediately and four others succumbing to their injuries, with an additional four persons in serious condition. The cars had fallen through a bridge on a mountain railway line the previous night. Other cars of the 15-car train had remained on the track and hundreds of persons in them had escaped without injury, with about 60 other persons injured slightly.

A fierce blizzard moved eastward across the Great Plains this date, sending temperatures to 20 degrees, and producing another surprise snowstorm for the Northeast, while ending the hope for crops in the drought-stricken plains of eastern Colorado and into Kansas, as the winds swirled dust 35,000 feet into the air. There were between eight and 18 inches of new snow in Wyoming and Montana, and between five and 17 inches through upstate New York, parts of Massachusetts, Connecticut and Vermont. The weekend weather was blamed for at least 12 deaths, including three persons who had died in the crash of a dust-blinded small airplane in Colorado on Saturday.

In Edinburgh, Scotland, the Rev. Billy Graham told several hundred British soldiers, sailors and airmen this date that unless there was a thorough spiritual revival, the world might expect hydrogen bomb warfare to break out almost anywhere at any time, that Hitler, in his last days, would not have hesitated to push the button and make the whole world a funeral pyre, had he the power to do so at the time. He said that during the previous 2,000 years, there had been a total of 277 years of peace and yet the world was looking for peace, but would not have it unless the "natures of enough people are transformed by letting Christ into their hearts." Many hands had been raised when Rev. Graham asked the servicemen how many wanted to "make decisions for Christ." The rally was held at Redford Barracks, and many high officers of the three services had attended.

A forest fire which had been burning for several days in Tyrrell and Hyde Counties was the largest ever seen in North Carolina and appeared to be getting larger, according to a representative of the state's forest service, that if the fire could not be contained within its present limits and the wind continued, there was nothing to prevent it from sweeping across northern Hyde County and into Dare County. (Don't you dare, you schizo fire from hell.) He said that the area was sparsely settled but that any buildings on farms near woodlands in the area were threatened. The fire had burned over an estimated 240,000 acres and, according to the representative, was larger than any of which he had ever heard in the entire South. He said they were not hopeful of getting it under control in the near future as no rain was presently forecast. The second largest forest fire in the state's history, in the Green Swamp area of Columbus County, was still under control but had not been completely extinguished, rain during the weekend having helped in that situation but not having been enough to put out the fire completely. There were also a number of other fires in other parts of the state.

In Raleigh, former Charlotte Mayor Ben Douglas, director of the State Department of Conservation and Development, announced that the A&P food store chain would construct a one million dollar warehouse near Raleigh, with about 100 square feet of floor space and employing between 150 and 200 people.

Ann Sawyer of The News indicates that State Senator F. J. Blythe's bill calling for local water authorities across the state had been unanimously endorsed this date by the Board of County Commissioners in Mecklenburg, with practically no discussion.

Dick Young of The News indicates that a movement for the establishment of a State-supported college in the Piedmont region of the state was headed toward the General Assembly, after the Charlotte City School Board had endorsed the proposal during the morning. Included in the proposal was the offer to transfer to the proposed college the assets and organization of Charlotte College, provided the institution would be located in Mecklenburg County. The proposal would eventuate in the establishment of UNC-Charlotte in 1965.

In Winston-Salem, principal W. B. Lord of Vienna School in western Forsyth County believed that he had a record within his student body of nine sets of twins and one of triplets, out of 297 students, with at least one set of twins in five of the eight grades at the school, and triplets in another grade, leaving only the sixth and eighth grades without duplicate siblings. He stated that all were present during the current week, which he found remarkable given the number of colds and infections of mumps being experienced in the schools.

On the editorial page, "Government by Remote Control" indicates that Guilford County State Representative Clyde Shreve had proposed legislation before the current General Assembly which had touched off one of the hottest political debates of the legislative session, submission of a proposed state constitutional amendment to voters in 1956, which, if approved, would permit counties to vote on the adoption of home rule charters.

North Carolina politicians had been grumbling about home rule for years, with the Legislature having to pass bills to enable county governing bodies to act on most issues. Nevertheless, when the time had come to surrender authority of the State Government to local governments, many legislators had balked, as they liked the power and prestige of calling the shots back home, such as in setting salaries for local government officials and local government fees.

State constitutional amendments had been produced on the matter in 1835, 1868 and in 1917, but the problem had survived those efforts. Between 1789 and 1835, about 74 percent of all laws passed by the General Assembly had been private, local or special acts, and 59 percent had been in that category between 1835 and 1868, with 49 percent between 1868 and 1917. The problem had only gotten worse between 1917 and 1947, with 68 percent falling in that category. In 1947, one legislator had commented to the Institute of Government in Chapel Hill that he was convinced that it was a method of evading responsibility and passing the buck, that it was absurd that a body of responsible men should sit in a committee and consider that the office space in a certain county needed rearranging, as well as considering other such petty matters, that the people locally could handle the matters and become interested therefore in their own local affairs.

The piece agrees, but notes that the Board of County Commissioners in Mecklenburg had shown little interest in home rule, even opposing one proposal for it during the prior mid-January.

It concludes that the present system of referring trivial matters to the Assembly for passage of laws regarding local matters was costly to the taxpayers, time-consuming for the legislators and unnecessary, and therefore favors Mr. Shreve's proposed bill.

"Kerr Scott's Double-Edged Sword" indicates that Senator Kerr Scott of North Carolina had waited long and patiently before presenting a major piece of legislation in his first year in the Senate, but had now served up a chef d'oeuvre, a bill to establish a World Food Bank, patterned after the successful International Bank for Reconstruction and Redevelopment, the "World Bank", cosponsored by Montana Senator James Murray—for whom, incidentally, News associate editor Vic Reinemer, a native of Montana, had just gone to work as executive secretary, departing his job at the newspaper during March. Senator Scott had mentioned the prospect of such a bill during his Senatorial campaign the previous year.

It indicates that it was a worthy bill, offering, at least on the surface, hope for a sensible solution to the country's farm surplus problem, seeking also to aid in the eradication of the near-starvation and poverty in certain parts of the world and alleviate the large surpluses in other parts, redistributing the world's food supply appropriately. Surpluses would not be given away under the bill, but rather a bank would be created from which needy nations could draw when times were bad, with repayment allowed in cash or in kind.

There were some kinks in the scheme which needed straightening out, such as whether there were enough food-surplus nations to supply the demand of the needy nations and whether such an agency could deal in food as the World Bank dealt in cash. It concludes, however, that if perfected, the program could be an effective, double-edged weapon against the problems of hunger abroad and mounting surpluses at home.

"Southeastern Industry's Nuts & Volts" indicates that the people who counted kilowatt hours for the Edison Electric Institute had caused double takes by U.S. business editors, including J. A. Daily of The News, by reporting this date that for the week ending March 26, there had been a 25.3 percent increase in the electric power output for the Southeast when compared to the same period a year earlier, with no other region of the country approaching such a record, and the national average showing a 16.7 percent increase. The difference was not entirely the result of the South's atomic energy plants and was also not the result of the bumper baby crop which kept parents burning lights into the wee hours of the mornings. It was instead largely traceable to the Southeast industrial expansion and, to a degree, the steady gain in the number of electrically-operated household appliances being bought by the carload in the Southeast.

It indicates the belief that it showed the return of profitable prosperity to the region which had once been called in 1938 by the late professor Howard Odum of UNC, the nation's "No. 1 economic problem", echoed by FDR.

A piece from the Atlanta Journal, titled "Company for Dinner", indicates that older persons during a slower paced time of easy hospitality never felt right about not asking someone to accompany them for dinner when they were a visitor in a small town around meal time. A small town housewife seldom knew how many guests to expect but usually allowed for a little more food in case her husband would arrive for the midday meal with one or more guests, always the case on Sundays because it was the custom to invite folks from the church.

But, it remarks, such pleasantries had all but vanished, that sometimes the older people extended invitations to visitors at church, probably remembering the earlier times, but there was a tacit understanding that the invitation would be declined to avoid imposition on the potential hostess. The automobile and paved roads had led to reduction of the custom, though it had lingered for some time into the fast-transportation era. Higher food prices and reduction in availability of cheap domestic servants, plus wives going to work, however, had finally doomed the practice. So at present, it was only remembered by the older people.

Drew Pearson indicates that the President was reluctant to become embroiled in the issue of whether to defend Quemoy and Matsu if they were attacked by the Chinese Communists, because he had received a polite notice from Japanese Premier Ichiro Hatoyama that Japan would not permit the U.S. to use Japanese bases from which to launch attacks on Communist China, as Japan could not survive in that case. The President was also concerned about a notification from Canada that it would not support the U.S. in such a war over the two small islands and would withdraw the Canadian battalion from Korea if a war developed. The President had said that he did not believe in going to war without allies.

The President had thoroughly dressed down Admiral Robert Carney, chief of Naval Operations, for holding a dinner with newsmen in which he set April 15 as the date for a Chinese attack on the two islands. The President and Admiral Carney were old friends, having served in Paris at the European Allied Headquarters. The Admiral was mild-mannered, but the President had talked to him as he had once bawled out rookie troops when he was a young officer. Mr. Pearson indicates that the President had been unaware of the fact that it had been Joint Chiefs chairman Admiral Arthur Radford who had actually put Admiral Carney up to holding the press conference.

He indicates that all was quiet now at the Pentagon, and if one asked a general what time it was, he would answer only in a whisper, as the President had tied the tongues of the brass so tightly that they would not speak a word to the press. The President had ordered Secretary of Defense Charles E. Wilson to cease all press conferences, speeches, statements, briefings, interviews and comments on military policy, throwing such a scare into the Secretary that he not only cut out the entire public information program, but abruptly had canceled a background briefing with Air Force chief of staff General Nathan Twining, and suspended a U.S. News & World Report interview with General Curtis LeMay, head of the Strategic Air Command.

Secretary of State Dulles played both sides when it came to tipping off the newspapers, having planted a copy of the supposedly secret Yalta papers from February, 1945 with the New York Times in advance of their recent release, evening the score for his sensational Yalta tip which he had provided to the rival New York Herald Tribune ten years earlier when he was the Republican consultant to the Democratic State Department under Secretary Edward Stettinius. At that earlier time, Mr. Dulles had tipped off the owner-publisher of the Herald Tribune, Mrs. Ogden Reid, telling her that Russia would be provided three votes in the U.N. while the U.S. and every other country would receive only one vote. That secret deal had been agreed at the Yalta conference over the protest of Alger Hiss, then a State Department aide to FDR during the conference. It had been one of the most carefully guarded secrets from the Yalta conference, so secret that then-Secretary Stettinius had told the Herald Tribune that it was not true. But Mr. Dulles had told the staff of the Herald Tribune to stick by the story.

Douglas Dillon, future Secretary of the Treasury under President Kennedy, had called on Secretary Dulles the previous week, telling him that he wanted to resign as U.S. Ambassador to France by June 1. He had never quite recovered from a back injury which he had suffered in Paris. It appeared that his successor would be Ambassador to Italy Clare Boothe Luce.

Senators were whispering about the backstage poker sessions being transacted by the two most devoted Senate poker players, Senators Herman Welker of Idaho and William Jenner of Indiana.

Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare Oveta Culp Hobby wanted a new name for her agency, blaming her poor publicity on the agency's awkward name. You can try Health and Human Services…

The Administration had found a new way to save money by ordering Government-subsidized shipping companies to stop serving their seamen fancy meals.

Stewart Alsop indicates that among the shrewdest observers within the Democratic Party, it was agreed that Adlai Stevenson could have the 1956 Democratic presidential nomination for the asking, but that he would have to make it known, at least tacitly, that he wanted the nomination by the following September or October, that subtle methods of so indicating would be acceptable, such as revival of the Citizens for Stevenson organization, already afoot. It was not that the former Governor of Illinois was universally loved within the party, for he was not, but he was at least reasonably acceptable to most sections of the party, more so than other potential candidates and so would avoid an inevitable fight which could weaken the party in the general election.

It was also believed that the nomination was not really worth very much in 1956, as a majority of Democrats privately believed that Governor Stevenson would again be beaten and worse than in 1952. But they also believed that anyone else as the party nominee would be beaten even worse than would be Governor Stevenson.

After a recent conference between Governor Stevenson and New York Governor Averell Harriman, it was indicated that they had reached a kind of unspoken agreement whereby Governor Harriman would be for Governor Stevenson if he were to run and Governor Harriman would be for himself if Mr. Stevenson chose not to run. Governor Stevenson could put Governor Harriman across as the party nominee if he did pass, based on Governor Harriman being the chief executive of the largest state, giving the Northern professionals, including Richard Daley of Chicago, just elected Mayor, who appeared as a kind of James Farley for Mr. Stevenson, a candidate around whom to rally should the latter decide not to run. They might also have the votes at the convention to nominate Governor Harriman over any opposition from the South.

But if Governor Stevenson suggested that he had not yet made up his mind and such a status continued, then the prospect of his nomination might well dim within a few months, causing support to crystallize around other potential candidates. Likewise, Governor Harriman could not wait indefinitely for Governor Stevenson to make up his mind, and Michigan Governor G. Mennen Williams was acting like he might become a candidate. A whole series of favorite-son candidates could also crop up during any period of delay by Governor Stevenson.

The best bet was that Mr. Stevenson would discreetly raise flags affirming fairly soon his intent to run. He was politically ambitious and knew that he could not duck the nomination and hope to survive politically. He was informing people that the President was not unbeatable, and the implication was that he was the man to prove it.

The Congressional Quarterly discusses the farm lobby, with the National Farmers Union teaming up with farm and labor allies to work for enactment of a House bill to replace the Administration's program of flexible price supports with a return to rigid supports of 90 percent of parity for five basic crops. The bill had been introduced by North Carolina Representative Harold Cooley, chairman of the Agriculture Committee, proposing to raise minimum dairy support prices from 75 to 80 percent of parity and to hold a farmers' referendum on a multiple-price plan under which wheat for use as domestic food would be at 100 percent of parity. Supporters of the bill indicated that net farm income in 1954 had been ten percent below that of 1953 and that, according to official calculations, further declines were expected in 1955 and 1956.

The bill sponsored by Mr. Cooley had been approved by a majority of the House Agriculture Committee the prior March 10. Farm lobbyists expected the House vote to be close and viewed its defeat in the Senate as nearly certain, but regarded the present fight as a preview of a larger fight for 1956. The American Farm Bureau Federation, the largest farm bloc, having long been a supporter of flexible price supports, vigorously opposed the bill and was expected to block any effort to upset the present Administration program, not wanting any program which would stimulate production beyond the needs of the marketplace, and telling members of Congress that high, rigid supports encouraged expanded production of foods already in surplus, reminding Congress and the public that price supports had been enacted during the Depression and had been raised to 90 percent of parity during World War II to boost food production, and that the present program marked a return to principles of earlier legislation.

The National Farmers Union had been a longstanding advocate of full parity price supports and believed that the Cooley bill had many defects, but were nevertheless supporting it as a step in the right direction. CIO and AFL joined them in that support, with labor spokesmen having told the Quarterly that their interest arose from concern regarding falling employment in industries dependent on farm buying power. They also hoped for support from Congressmen of rural districts in their bid to raise the minimum wage. The labor-farm coalition was concentrating on House Democrats from urban districts, hoping to reverse the 1954 vote in favor of substituting the flexible supports for rigid supports.

The National Milk Producers Federation also supported the Cooley bill, indicating that their group was chiefly responsible for inclusion of some of that bill's dairy provisions, while generally favoring flexible supports.

The National Grange, the other member of the farm bloc's "Big Four", was taking a neutral stance, but its officials were active in seeking member support for the proposed bill's multiple-price plan for wheat, which one Congressional expert regarded as having been inspired by the Grange.

Most of the farm bloc representatives who had been interviewed by the Quarterly agreed with the executive secretary of the National Milk Producers Federation, that practically no one was satisfied with the present program and farm groups were fighting for the Cooley bill only because it was the only bill available, but that eventually agriculture needed a broader, more comprehensive program.

A letter writer compliments the employees of Southern Bell who were maintaining local and long distance telephone service in operation during the nine-state strike by the Communications Workers of America, indicates that he had used long distance service many times to all sections of the country and had received exceptionally courteous and prompt service, not once having been delayed on a long distance call.

He must be a stockholder or something.

A letter writer objects to drivers using Charlotte's First Street as a racetrack when they got to Second Ward High School, indicates that his granddaughter attended the school and his grandson attended Myers Street School and asks drivers not to run them down. He also objects to speeders along Pearl Street, where the Pearl Street Playground was located. He advises, "Check your speed…" Casey Jones. Or he would be the first person to turn in the speeders and take the stand to help prosecute them. He suggests that it should go double for the pool rooms which allowed the kids under 18 to play pool, says the residents of Charlotte did not care to whom they sold whiskey and beer.

We got Trouble with a capital "T".

A letter from the president of the Junior League expresses appreciation to the newspaper for its news coverage of their activities during the year, helping them to serve the community.

A letter from the president of the Charlotte Board of Realtors thanks the newspaper for its courtesies to their national president, Henry Waltemede, during his visit to the city.

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