The Charlotte News

Wednesday, May 11, 1955


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports from Moscow that the Soviet Union had unveiled this date a world peace plan, calling for the immediate withdrawal of most foreign troops from both East and West Germany, major arms cuts and a controlled ban on atomic weaponry. It had been made public a few hours prior to top Soviet officials having gathered in Warsaw with leaders of the seven East European allied nations to establish a unified NATO-type of alliance under a Russian commander, to become, by the end of the month, the Warsaw Pact. The announcement also came shortly after delivery by the Big Three Western powers of invitations to Soviet Premier Nikolai Bulganin to meet with President Eisenhower, British Prime Minister Anthony Eden and French Premier Edgar Faure, for an informal discussion of world problems sometime during the mid-summer. There had been no immediate Soviet reaction to that invitation, but it was believed in Moscow that Mr. Bulganin would accept. The peace plan had been circulated by Tass, the official Soviet news agency, which said that the proposals were contained in two declarations submitted as a resolution to the U.N. subcommittee on disarmament, which was presently holding closed sessions in London. Many of the provisions were similar to prior Soviet proposals along the same lines. The first plan called on the U.N. General Assembly to declare that "a weakening of international tension can be achieved by the immediate evacuation of troops of the Big Four powers from German territory, leaving limited contingents and police forces." It said that those remaining contingents should be allowed to stay "pending the conclusion of an agreement on their full withdrawal." The second declaration contained specific disarmament proposals, full prohibition of the use and production of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction and diversion of that potential energy to peaceful uses, substantial reduction of all of the armed forces and conventional arms, and the setting up of a control organ with the right and authority for effective observation by all countries of that prohibition and reduction. Regarding international control and inspection, it said that "in the existing situation, when many states display legitimate concern for their security, it is difficult to expect that these states will trustfully give other states access to their industrial and other resources which are of vital importance to their security." The West had been pressing for ironclad controls which would permit international inspectors free access to all areas to ensure observance of bans on atomic weapons production, while the Russians had suggested instead an international control agency operating under the U.N., which would have posts at big ports, railway junctions and airbases.

The President, at his press conference this date, said that he agreed with having a top-level Big Four conference, in the hope of clarifying the international atmosphere and to test Russia's sincerity in its peace tenders. The President emphasized that there was nothing definite as to whether there would be such a meeting of the heads of state, the invitation to which having only been extended to the Soviets the previous day. He also said that he did not know where such a conference might be held, but said that he would prefer it take place in one of the neutral countries. In response to a question as to why he had changed his mind, having previously suggested that there would first need to be a foreign ministers conference preceding any meeting of the heads of state, the President stated that there presently appeared to be cogent reasons for a meeting of the heads of state and that it might permit some clarification, as well as affording a means of finding out whether Russia was sincere about wanting to relieve world tensions.

In Paris, the NATO Council expressed the formal hope this date for an end to hostilities and no further resort to force in the Far East. While Formosa was not specifically mentioned, the only warring armies in the Far East presently were the Chinese Communists and Nationalists in the Formosa area.

In Takamatsu, Japan, two large ferry boats had crashed together in thick fog this date, throwing 779 passengers, half of whom had been schoolchildren, into the cold waters of Japan's inland sea. One of the boats, with a gaping hole in its side, had sunk in only five minutes, and there had been panic and chaos in the mad scramble to disembark. A total of 143 persons had either died or had not yet been found. A commander of a U.S. Army mercy mission, Maj. Robert Dobson of Charlotte, said that he believed that about 50 of the passengers had gone down with the ship or were pulled down with it. He led three Army ambulance helicopters and two liaison planes in helping to evacuate the injured and to search for the missing. Little hope was held out for the missing, and 65 bodies had thus far been recovered. Six hundred and ninety-two persons had been saved, including 51 injured. Apparently, the larger of the two ferries had swerved in heavy fog to avoid hitting a small fishing vessel and had collided with the steel bows of the rail car ferry. It was Japan's worst sea disaster since the prior September during a typhoon, which had drowned 1,600 persons of Hokkaido in five ship sinkings, including the capsizing of a huge ocean ferry, which had taken 1,200 lives.

In Raleigh, State Attorney General Harry McMullan told the State House Education Committee this date that he believed provisions of the State Constitution, requiring segregated schools, would be declared unconstitutional if tested in the courts. At that point, the Committee postponed indefinitely a measure which would have ordered the withholding of State educational funds from any school district which attempted to operate integrated schools. Mr. McMullan said that the Brown v. Board of Education decision of May 17, 1954 had overruled former decisions which permitted segregated schools on a separate-but-equal basis, that the decisions of the Supreme Court interpreting the Constitution represented the supreme law of the land, and would, therefore, necessarily result, when tested in the courts, in invalidating the provisions of the State Constitution to the contrary. He said that withdrawal of funding from the public schools on the basis of their integration would probably be deemed a violation of the 14th Amendment. He also stated that the State Constitution required "a general and uniform system of public schools" and that the bill in question would result in having a lack of uniformity in the public schools, probably to be deemed, therefore, a violation of the State Constitution. The sponsor of the bill, who had requested Mr. McMullan's opinion on the matter, moved for a favorable report for his measure, but the motion had lost when it failed to receive a second. The sponsor then made his own motion that the measure be postponed indefinitely. Members of the Education Committee had told the sponsor that they were just as determined to maintain segregation, if possible, as he was, but that nothing could be done until the Supreme Court would soon hand down its implementing decision in Brown. It was also pointed out that Governor Luther Hodges had promised to call the General Assembly into special session should the Court render a decision which would seriously disrupt the operation of the state's schools.

Also in Raleigh, a bill for State support of Charlotte College had been removed from the State House calendar this date and returned to the Appropriations Committee, as had been a similar measure regarding Asheville-Biltmore College, both of which eventually would become, respectively, the foundations for UNC-Charlotte and UNC-Asheville during the 1960's.

In Charlotte, Police Chief Frank Littlejohn said this date that insinuations and rumors resulting from arrests during the week of five men on morals charges had to be stopped immediately, that the gossip and name-calling had been brought to his attention by several persons during the morning, and that it had to desist before reputations of innocent people were damaged. He said that thus far, warrants had been drawn against six men only and that until other persons were formally charged, the "lewd insinuations" which were being tossed about by the "morbidly curious" could result in nothing but harm to innocent persons. Five men had been charged with crimes against nature, and a police detective said that four teenagers, described as "male prostitutes", who had been paid for their acts by the persons charged, would be formally arrested this night. The four teenagers had been picked up the previous week for investigation of crimes against nature.

In Pittsburgh, Alcoa announced this date that it would not renew a contract with CBS to sponsor Edward R. Murrow's "See It Now" television program, the final episode to be broadcast on July 5, as sponsored by Alcoa. It said that a new advertising and sales promotion program had prompted the decision.

In Oklahoma City, a young couple was on a second honeymoon this date because of mutual love for the Marine Corps. They had been married for a second time the previous night after having been married the first time the prior December 9, the day after which, the groom, an aircraft mechanic, had received notice to report to his draft board, whereupon he stated his choice of joining the Marines, except that the Marines would not accept a married man, and so the couple agreed to a friendly divorce, enabling him to participate in Marine training in San Diego for 17 weeks. They were then married the second time the previous night and she was going to join him in El Toro, Calif., following a one-week honeymoon.

On the editorial page, "Needed: Some Plain Talk about Polio" urges that it was time for the Government to talk some sense about the halt in the Salk vaccine inoculation shots, as now those who had been praying for an answer to polio for years were uncertain and confused after their recent rejoicing over the findings that the vaccine was safe and effective, only now to have it interrupted because of the small number of breakthrough cases until further study could be conducted of those patients. Parents were now wondering whether they should have relied on the determination that the vaccine was safe and effective and permitted their children to be vaccinated.

It urges that the President or HEW Secretary Oveta Culp Hobby immediately report, in simple terms, on the whole vaccination program, providing answers to the questions of whether the vaccine was safe, whether there had been problems in inspection and manufacture of it, and, if so, who had been at fault and what had been done to correct the mistakes.

It cites conflicting statements from Surgeon General Leonard Scheele and those of the President, the former saying that the vaccine was safe while the latter had said that there had been suspicion on the part of scientists that when the disease reached its peak during the year, there should not be any vaccinations given at all. Moreover, the Surgeon General had appeared to disagree with himself during his statements the prior weekend, on the one hand saying that the vaccine which was already released was safe, but also that release of any more would be problematic pending the report of the committee of experts.

It wonders whether Secretary Hobby had been sitting on her hands, not wanting to meddle with the vaccine manufacturers, while the Health Service should have been doing earlier the exhaustive testing of the vaccine manufacturers which it was now performing. Most of the breakthrough cases had received the vaccine from Cutter Laboratories in Berkeley, Calif., and the Health Service had intensified its testing program. The vaccine used in the test program the prior summer had been checked not only by the manufacturers but also by inventor of the vaccine, Dr. Jonas Salk, and by the National Institute of Health.

Meanwhile, the House Banking Committee was considering several bills to place Federal controls over vaccine distribution and prices, a move which the Administration opposed. It finds that even in life-and-death matters of polio, it appeared that the question of Government interference had to be debated and a chance offered for political opportunism. It suggests that if the controls were necessary to assure prompt, safe vaccination of all children and adults who needed it, then the controls should be implemented and the Government should assume whatever power it needed to ensure that the program would proceed safely.

It finds in conclusion that the Administration had the duty and responsibility to be certain that the vaccine was safe and the further duty to provide for orderly distribution of it to those who needed it. It suggests that perhaps uncertainty and confusion had to result from the rush to begin the vaccinations before the polio season began during the summer, but that whatever the case was, the people deserved to know what the Government knew and right away.

"Efficiency in an Ungentle Game" indicates that the City revenue collector, John Mills, did not meet the standards for tax collection, as he was reasonable and had a reasonable nature, but, nevertheless, had proven to be a good tax collector. It finds that he deserved reappointment for another term, as under his administration, tax collections in the city had been considerably better than the normal expectation, that through the previous Friday, the City had collected 94.02 percent of the year's taxes, or nearly 6 million dollars, somewhat better than the 93.43 percent, or a little over 5 million, the prior year.

Mr. Mills had also been seeking uncollected taxes from previous fiscal years and had reported that taxes between 1944 and 1951 had been 99 percent collected and were close to that mark in 1952 and 1953.

As a result, there had been, for instance, a mid-year surplus permitting the City Council to proceed with job classification pay raises earlier than anticipated.

Mr. Mills had also done a good job of advertising the names of those citizens who were delinquent in their personal property taxes.

"Pride Cometh before Crittenden" tells of Lord Cornwallis having made one of his more memorable statements during the Revolution when he called Charlotte a "hornet's nest" and that Dr. Christopher Crittenden, director of the State Archives, had not learned from history or he would have known better than to stir the ire of Mecklenburg County residents regarding his questioning of the provenance of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence, which it says was "definitely" signed on May 20, 1775. His questioning of its authenticity had led to a bill before the Legislature to have it receive even more honor and esteem in Raleigh, as the State House Conservation & Development Committee had voted 5 to 4 the previous day to recommend a bill setting up a restoration commission, and by the end of the week, that bill probably would be law. The Committee had amended the measure to say that it "believed" that the Declaration had been signed on the date indicated.

It cannot understand why the entire state, and especially the Legislature, had refused to take statewide pride in the nation's first public expression of liberty. It urges them to get with Mecklenburg, that when it came to liberty, there was no reason for the state to have to import it.

Oh, yes there is.

A piece from the Toledo Blade, titled "Those Wheeled Rainbows", indicates that a person the editorial writer knew, who did not have an artistic bone in his body, had been observing the new cars passing by and said that he felt as if he had sampled all 26 ice cream flavors at once. (Aren't there 28, yet?) It suggests that when confronted by two-tone pastel colors of ocher and canary, watermelon pink and azure, burgundy and cinnamon, lavender and carmine, chartreuse and polka dot, he had become a bit queasy.

He had been considering purchase of a new model and had decided to take along his wife to handle the artistic part of the selection while he examined the machinery. He hoped that the dealership had a good fashion stylist to work with the salesman, as he did not think he could put much stock in what a salesman told him about suspension, valves and horsepower if the same man also advised his wife on whether salmon and purple went better with her complexion than an emerald cream model.

Drew Pearson indicates that Governor Goodwin Knight of California, once a darling of California big business, had spent his time during the governors conference the previous week in Washington making friends where Republicans badly needed them, in labor, holding a breakfast, dinner and lunch with top labor leaders in Washington and then going to Philadelphia for a meeting with labor leaders of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. Dick Grey, head of the Building and Construction Trades Union, found him to be a man who could run for president. Other impressed labor leaders included the head of the Retail Clerks Local 1360 in Camden, N.J., and the director of the combined Political League for New Jersey, Joe McComb.

Earlier in the week, Governor Knight had lunch at the White House with chief of staff Sherman Adams, who looked down his nose at people who were not from New England, with the Governor being no exception, treating him as sort of the Republican Al Jolson from California, asking him where he studied law, to which the Governor responded Stanford and Cornell, whereupon Mr. Adams asked him where he lived at Cornell, to which the Governor had responded at the Alpha Delta Phi house, causing the former Governor of New Hampshire gradually to find Governor Knight more acceptable. The Governor had told Mr. Adams that he had achieved his large majority in California by obtaining the endorsement of labor, which had also raised money for his campaign.

He did not cover in detail, however, his conferences in Washington with the labor leaders, and if he had, Vice-President Nixon might have had a fit. For the Governor had dinner with Bill Schnitzler, secretary-treasurer of the AFL, and with Jim McDevitt, head of the AFL Labor League for Political Rights. He had driven to Philadelphia with Jim Suffridge, secretary of the Retail Clerks, and had an hour-long conference with Dave Beck, head of the Teamsters, in the latter's gleaming office right under the nose of Congress.

Labor leaders had been emphatic that they would not have any part of a Republican ticket if Mr. Nixon remained on it in any capacity, finding his proximity to the Presidency as Vice-President too foreboding, especially when the President was well over 50.

The Congressional Quarterly examines the cost of the operations of Congress, indicating that it had more than doubled during the previous decade, from 15.4 million dollars in 1944 to 37.8 million the previous year, with nearly 41.2 million appropriated for fiscal 1955. The Congressional pay increase, while having little effect on the current fiscal year, would raise the amount by about 4.9 million in subsequent years. Legislative expenses made up only a small portion of the total cost of the Federal Government, about .002 percent in fiscal 1944 and .01 percent in fiscal 1954, to rise to about .06 percent in the present fiscal year. That equated to about 11 cents per person in fiscal 1944 and 23 cents per person in fiscal 1954, with the cost equating to about 26 cents per person in the current fiscal year.

Since 1900, the cost of operating Congress had jumped about 800 percent, having cost 4.4 million in fiscal 1900, at the time about .09 percent of all Federal expenditures, with a per capita cost of 6 cents.

Those costs included salaries for members and staff, expenses of committees and investigations, postage, telephones, furniture, and other such housekeeping expenses. It did not include the money spent for new construction, maintenance of buildings and grounds, printing the Congressional Record and other documents, or maintaining the Library of Congress.

The reason for the rise in costs was partially the result of inflation, but a major factor was the increase in staffs brought about by the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946, which increased staffs of committees as well as of individual members, to allow Congress to keep abreast of the complexities of modern government. In 1944, Congressional officers and employees accounted for nearly 7.4 million dollars of total legislative expenses, while in fiscal 1954, it was 22 million. Money paid for legislative counsels had increased by more than 300 percent during the interim decade, from $71,000 in 1944 to $232,000 in 1955. Larger committee staffs permitted more investigations of the expanded executive branch, expenses for which increasing from $833,000 in 1944 to 2.7 million in 1954.

Other major increases in legislative costs included mileage expenses, increasing from $218,000 in 1944 to 1.3 million in fiscal 1955, and in the expenditures of joint committees, rising from $101,000 in 1944 to $488,000 in 1955.

John Arden, writing in the London Spectator, tells of the Russian satirical magazine Krokodil having told of the state of affairs in Dniepropetrovsk regarding "a gang of pimply youths", hooligans and robbers, who began harassing the riders of tram cars at the approach of darkness, when the militia's time on patrol ended.

In response, the Soviet papers had been publishing revelations about similar widespread youthful hooliganism, usually transacted under the influence of drink, in most of the major towns of Russia, Rostov, Voronezh, Odessa, Saratov, Sverdlovsk, Orel and others. Crime was rarely reported in the Soviet press, aside from large-scale embezzlement. Such things as the illicit sale of two Moscow fire engines occasionally made the back page, but usually only when it reached quasi-political status. During the previous few months, there had been over 50 articles, however, in the central press devoted to youthful alcoholism and hooliganism.

The Young Communist organ, a division of Pravda, sometimes ran three per week, all on a high political level. That paper had twice rebuked a number of local youth papers for "sensationalism", for instance, in Orel, one having printed a photograph of a youth whose sole claim to fame had been that he had traveled without a shirt on a bus, thus revealing "the indecent inscription tattooed on his chest."

A letter writer, president of Local 375 of the National Federation of Post Office Clerks, responds to a story by the Associated Press appearing in the newspaper on April 25, suggesting that Post Office employees had been abusing their sick leave privileges. He indicates that the story contained a number of errors and proceeds to correct them, urges checking the Congressional Record.

A letter from a couple responds to two letters published May 2, one of which had come from J. R. Cherry, Jr., in reference to the candidacy for the School Board of the Rev. Edward A. Cahill, a Unitarian minister, an editorial on the subject having indicated that no religious discrimination should enter into political campaigns, as it had in that instance, with some having sought to suggest that he was aligned with Communism, which, whether spoken or unspoken, was the ordinarily consequential contention, given the current beliefs floating about the society, accompanying charges of lack of belief in the deity of Jesus and the belief that schools ought be integrated. The couple indicate that as charter members of the Unitarian Church of the Larger Fellowship in Charlotte, they had appreciated the newspaper's publication of the facts about Rev. Cahill and the "organized attack" against him. It suggests that the newspaper might wish to print an article on Unitarianism-Universalism to decrease the confusion about "churches" and creeds. They indicate that a recent article in Look Magazine, titled "What is a Unitarian?" had resulted in many phone calls, letters and visitors to their congregation. They indicate that as old Iowa farmers, they tried to "think straight" in general and as Unitarians "unbelieving" in all changeless "creeds", sought to live according to the precepts of the "simple, non-creedal 'religion' of Jesus and others of the world's 'teachers'."

A letter addressed to the Charlotte Fire Chief, Donald Charles, indicates that having handled explosives probably longer than anyone else in the city and having been familiar with the operation of the Fire Department for more than 60 years, he had been interested in the account of the gas explosion which had wrecked a bakery on East Trade Street the prior Sunday morning. He had cautioned many users about the danger of turning on an electric light in the kitchen or other parts of the house in the presence of dangerous gas fumes, as the electric spark from the light switch could potentially ignite them and cause an explosion. The bakery explosion had been caused by a match but could have been caused by the spark from a light switch, and so he wants to provide caution of that potential.

A letter writer compliments the newspaper for seeking to arouse the people to go to the polls in the municipal elections of the prior week, indicating that as a candidate for the City Council, he wished to thank the 3,500 citizens for their support and vote, as it had been his first experience in politics and recommends it for every citizen at least once. He states that the public had chosen well in filling the seven seats on the Council and he looked forward to watching the progress of the city for the ensuing two years.

A letter writer from Dallas, N.C., comments on the editorial by LeGette Blythe the prior Saturday, titled "Let Us Now Honor Mothers", having found it a beautiful appraisal of Mary, mother of Christ. She finds that in honoring her, Mr. Blythe had honored all good mothers, living or dead.

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