The Charlotte News

Saturday, May 14, 1955


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports from Warsaw that the Soviet Union and seven East European allies had established a unified military command this date to rival NATO and had made Soviet Marshal Ivan Konev supreme commander. They had signed a 20-year mutual security and friendship treaty and a protocol placing their military forces under a single command. Deputy commanders would be the defense ministers or other military leaders of the participating nations, including, in addition to Russia, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Hungary, Albania, Rumania, Bulgaria and East Germany. West European diplomats believed that the actual signing of the pact did not change the existing situation, that the Soviets had been in overall command of the military among their satellites for some time, but that the pact did give the Russians a legal framework under which Soviet troops could remain in the satellite countries through individual treaties with each satellite. Politically, the Eastern Communist nations had been linked through the Cominform, dominated by the Soviets. A preamble to the treaty declared that the eight nations had decided to intensify their measures for defense in the face of West Germany's admission to NATO. The treaty would take effect when the last participating nation had ratified it. The first of the 11 articles declared that the participating nations would undertake, in conformity with the U.N. Charter, to refrain "from the threat or use of force, and to settle their international disputes peacefully and in such manner as will not jeopardize international peace and security." (The British Pathe newsreel linked above, incidentally, reporting that East Germany was not initially part of the Warsaw Pact but could become so in the future, was factually misinformed.)

In Vienna, Soviet Foreign Minister V. M. Molotov arrived this date from Warsaw to join the Big Three Western foreign ministers in the signing of the Austrian treaty of independence, set for the following day. Secretary of State Dulles held a brief morning meeting with British Foreign Secretary Harold Macmillan and French Foreign Minister Antoine Pinay, preparatory to a meeting subsequently with Mr. Molotov. The three Western foreign ministers discussed the significance to the Western world of the Soviet announcement that Soviet leaders would visit later during the month in Belgrade with President Tito, and informed officials said that they appeared to agree that Premier Nikolai Bulganin and Communist Party Secretary Nikita Khrushchev were planning the mission in the hope of pushing a drive to neutralize Yugoslavia in the Cold War and effect reconciliation with Tito, their former ally in the Cominform. The first task of the foreign ministers would be to examine the completed text of the Austrian independence treaty and if they approved it, it would be signed on Sunday shortly before noon, with no impediment expected. This night, the four ministers would devote their session to discussion of a meeting of the Big Four heads of state for some time in July, though Western informants believed that Mr. Molotov would seek a different sort of conference from that being sought by the West, that the Soviets were ready to accept in principle the Western call to explore new paths of negotiation in quest of peace, but preferred something more comprehensive than the West's idea of a three or four-day conference between the heads of state, which would then be followed by a prolonged meeting of the foreign ministers to try to reach agreement on the issues prescribed by the agenda set by the heads of state.

In Washington, Surgeon General Leonard Scheele had announced late the previous day that a Public Health Service team of investigative scientists had completed their recheck of 4,250,000 cc's of the Salk polio vaccine manufactured by Parke-Davis & Co., approving it for safety and releasing it for vaccination of more than a million additional schoolchildren, prompting several state health officers to approve immediate resumption of their mass inoculation program, some states set to resume vaccination the following Monday. One lot of the vaccine made by Parke-Davis was retained for further review of the tests. An estimated 5.5 million children had already received the free first shot, being administered to first and second-grade children, the most vulnerable to the disease. Michigan and Utah had not halted their inoculation programs following the recommended temporary suspension of the program a week earlier, in the wake of some 67 breakthrough cases of children who contracted the disease within a few days after receiving the vaccine, with it being hypothesized that it was probably a pre-existing infection which was at fault, rather than the vaccine, given that the breakthrough cases had been diagnosed within a shorter time after receipt of the shot than the normal 10-14 day gestation period for polio following exposure.

RNC chairman Leonard Hall had told an audience in Birmingham, Ala., the previous night that the Democrats were badly split and that he had "every confidence" that the President would carry in 1956 more than the four Southern states he had carried in 1952, and that the Republicans would pick up between 10 and 15 Southern seats in Congress. Mr. Hall said that former DNC chairman Stephen Mitchell had a mission to keep out of the Democratic national convention all of those "Jeffersonian Democrats who refuse to take the so-called loyalty oath," the controversial oath which had sought to pledge all delegates to the party nominee, subsequently diluted in 1952 to require that they would use their best efforts to see to it that the party slate was included on their state's ballots. Senator Clinton Anderson of New Mexico said in an interview, however, that the trend was unquestionably Democratic, not only in the South but everywhere else in the country, and that even if the President ran again in 1956, he would carry fewer states than he had in 1952. Senator Walter George of Georgia had suggested that in saying the Republicans would give major attention to the South in 1956, Mr. Hall might be looking more for campaign contributions than for votes from the region. The President had carried Virginia, Florida, Texas and Tennessee among the Southern states in 1952. The Republicans presently had seven members of the House from the South, including two from normally Republican areas of Tennessee.

In Atlanta, negotiations in the strike of the Communications Workers of America union against the Southern Bell Telephone Co., impacting nine Southeastern states, were reported at a virtual standstill this date in the wake of new appeals that it be settled by submitting the remaining issues to binding arbitration, as had been the case in the recent settlement of the Louisville & Nashville Railroad strike, which had begun at the same time, the prior March 14. The previous day, Governor LeRoy Collins of Florida and Senator Estes Kefauver of Tennessee had issued requests to both sides that the strike be settled on that basis.

In Galveston, Tex., State Rangers were reported looking around the city's red light district, as Mayor-elect George Roy Clough faced increasing opposition to his expressed desire to reopen the district in order to rid prostitutes from the downtown hotels. The district attorney and police commissioner had said that they would not allow it, and they were backed by the Galveston Ministerial Association. The director of the Rangers and the State Police said that the city could not operate on its own as an open town, but declined to comment when asked how and whether he planned to enforce the law in Galveston. Mr. Clough was the owner and operator of radio station KLUF and he reiterated a post-election statement: "Christ couldn't do away with prostitution. Why should I try?" He also said that he would allow gambling to operate in the city, but would not allow slot machines, mere possession of which was against Texas law. He said that Galveston was a "wide open town and is going to remain that way." He said that payoffs, however, had to stop, having charged in a nine-month radio campaign that payoffs in the city had been widespread, though the outgoing Mayor and other City officials had stated that they knew nothing about that. While prostitution and all forms of gambling were against the law in Texas, both forms of vice had reportedly operated in Galveston with little interference, but State Police officials had repeatedly stated that vice and gambling in the city had been closed down.

In London, hundreds of people filled Wembley Stadium this date, hours before evangelist Billy Graham was set to preach the first sermon of his London crusade, with several hundred early arrivals having come by buses from towns in Wales and Yorkshire, an official having stated that more than 80,000 tickets had been requested for the meeting and that arrangements had been made to accommodate 110,000 people. Twenty-five special trains, each bringing between 600 and 1,000 persons, were due in London for the opening of the crusade. Rev. Graham said that he had been preparing his sermon in bed during the morning, stating that his sermon varied according to the weather, that if it was raining, it would last only 20 minutes, but otherwise about 35 minutes. ('e was 'aving a bed-in for peace, don't ye know. Upon arrival in Glasgow, 'e 'ad greeted crowds in his p.j.'s.) When asked to comment on the large crowds which attended his crusade in Scotland and the large numbers who were seeking tickets for the London meetings, he said: "There is a spiritual awakening in Britain which I believe is probably greater that in the last 100 years. It started long before we arrived and we are only grateful to be able to make some contribution to it. The spiritual awakening is contributing to the easing of world tension." Four thousand people would sing in the choir this night, volunteers from London churches, many of whom had sung at previous meetings of Rev. Graham. (The 'otel might save 'is linen and sell little pieces of it to the faithful, as spiritual souvenirs, all for a good cause.)

In Raleigh, a female shopper was fatally shot down the previous day in a parking lot by a pistol bullet fired from a downtown hotel room, and a textbook salesman, who had graduated from the University of Chicago at age 18 with a degree in anthropology, whose father was a Harvard University anthropology professor and whose mother was a Harvard lecturer in sociology, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder. He was held without bond and would be given a probable cause hearing early the following week. His mother, reached by telephone, expressed the firm belief, after she had talked with her son's lawyer, that the shooting was an accident. The accused had been doing graduate work at the University of Chicago and planned to marry a classmate in June. The victim was an employee of the Veterans Administration in Washington and had been visiting her mother in the nearby town of Broadway, shopping in Raleigh at the time she was killed. The accused was arrested in Chapel Hill about three hours after the shooting, and police indicated that the suspect told them that his pistol had discharged accidentally as he was toying with it in his Raleigh hotel room. A police detective described him as a gun fancier and that a German Luger, with an eight-inch barrel, had been found in his suitcase. He had checked out of the hotel within ten minutes after the shooting and had become a suspect when wadding, such as that used for gun clearing, and a bullet hole in a window screen, had been found in his vacated room.

In Charlotte, police were seeking a pyromaniac who had set fire to three Charlotte churches during the previous week, with a detective indicating that the fires also placed other public buildings in danger, possibly during the weekend. All three of the churches were within a few blocks of one another in the Oaklawn section of the city, and included the Church of God, which suffered only slight damage, the Second Calvary Church, which had $1,500 worth of damage, and the Oaklawn Community Center, used regularly for church services, which had several hundred dollars worth of damage. The detective theorized that someone with a grudge against churches had started the fires.

LeGette Blythe, author and historian of Mecklenburg County, discusses the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence, on which he had been nourished since his earliest childhood, listening to his grandmother's brother relate stories told by their mother regarding it and her two grandfathers, John McKnitt Alexander and Major John Davidson, and their fellow patriots. It had never occurred to him that there should be any doubt of its authenticity and he still had none. He realizes that 44 years after it had supposedly been signed on May 20, 1775, Thomas Jefferson had written to John Adams that he believed the document was "spurious", but added: "Nor do I affirm, positively, that this paper is a fabrication: because the proof of a negative can only be presumptive." There had been many scoffers at the document since that time and the controversy over it had raged intermittently. Now that the General Assembly wanted the North Carolina Department of Archives and History to assemble materials relating to the Declaration and require the Department to display those materials in the Archives, the controversy was again raised to the forefront, especially after the director of the Archives, Dr. Christopher Crittenden, a friend of Mr. Blythe, had indicated that he would be glad to display the materials, provided the document was authenticated, as it had not been, it being based on copies made from memory in the early 1800's, following a fire at John McKnitt's home, which destroyed the purported original. Dr. Crittenden thus opposed the resolution before the Assembly. At present, the Archives displayed nothing about the document. The Mecklenburg legislative delegation, while unable to legislate history, wanted at least some acknowledgment of the Declaration made in the Archives. Mr. Blythe finds some professional historians "amazingly illogical", including his friend, Dr. Crittenden, when they asked that either the original or an authenticated copy be produced, when everybody knew that the original had been destroyed in the fire. Mr. Blythe finds it analogous to authenticating the Ten Commandments. He says that the more he had studied the facts surrounding the signing of the document, he was convinced that there had been a Declaration signed on May 20, 1775, says that he would not go into those facts at present, but hopes that the scoffers would be willing to appraise the facts.

The point is that the whole matter is rather silly, as we do have the original from Philadelphia, and whether it was signed some 13 1/2 months after the Mecklenburg Declaration is completely irrelevant to anything, save perhaps the notion that history should be treated as a football game, with local bragging rights over who got there first, hardly emblematic of the collective "Spirit of '76". It is a controversy very much akin to trying to change the names of every building or college or university and remove statuary, merely because someone is offended by what it might symbolize to a very small number of insignificant peons, who cannot get over the Civil War and so dress in Confederate garb and prance up and down like idiots in a carnival sideshow every now and then in front of the statuary, while other idiots then come out and protest the prancing, thereby lending the prancers some gravitas by virtue of the second group of idiots purporting to take them seriously. The whole thing is idiotic and suggests people with far too much idle time on their hands.

People are going to make up their own individual minds about history, in any event, regardless of what is said or not about certain parts of it, which, after all, is the embodiment of the Spirit of '76, individual, personal freedom within the boundaries of personal responsibility to the other, all of the others.

In Chicago, a grandmother, 43, was in the kitchen of her South Side restaurant early this date when she heard the front door open and, glancing through a peephole in the kitchen door, saw a man drawing a revolver from his pocket and indicating that it was a "stick-up", demanding that the woman come out of the kitchen. The woman replied: "Oh, yeah! You're not going to stick me up," whereupon she grabbed a .45-caliber pistol from a shelf and charged out to confront the gunman, who looked at the woman and her gun and ran.

In San Angelo, Tex., a 230-pound rancher from Corpus Christi paid $95 in fines for public drunkenness of four inmates of the local jail, including himself, and started home the previous day, with the rancher promising the other three jobs burning prickly pear for cattle fodder, telling the judge that the jail "stinks and is no fit place for a man." But two hours later, the rancher was again charged with public drunkenness and again committed to jail, and his three hired hands had to look for new jobs.

On the editorial page, "Raleigh: A Home Away from Home" tells of the effort by a State Representative of Guilford County having failed to permit home rule amendments to the State Constitution, so that matters which were local in nature could be decided locally and not have to be approved initially by the General Assembly.

It indicates that such an amendment would save the General Assembly time, energy, headaches and money, rather than having to deal with local issues, such as the use of live virus in the vaccination of hogs in Perquimans County or the establishment of a law library in Wayne County, and other such intrinsically local matters, further examples of which it lists. It concludes that such matters could and should be handled in the home counties.

"The Derby's Holding Its Own" tells of increased registration for the Charlotte Soap Box Derby demonstrating healthy interest in the competition which had become a tradition in the city, with the number of entrants running ahead of the same time the previous year, and registration of black boys having increased from seven the prior year to 20 at this point in time. The only lag in registration was from towns outside of Charlotte.

The goal for registration was 200 boys. The winner of the local race would get an educational trip to Akron, O., for the national finals, which dispensed prizes worth $15,000 and five college scholarships. Each of the boys participating in the local race would receive a prize and participate in a banquet at the General Motors Training Center. It was pleased that the Derby was holding the interest of youth and perhaps gaining in interest, and hopes that the registrations would continue to increase.

"Here's How To Finalize Inadvertency" finds that the unwritten rules of bureaucratic prose continued to be that one should never use a single word when ten would do and that one should never use a single syllable in place of five. The Hoover Commission was prodding Washington into further effort, having issued a booklet telling Federal employees how to write short letters. It consisted of 44 pages, adding substantially to the torrent of words already pouring forth from the Government, with one section containing a "watch list" of words and phrases which the Government could eliminate, including finalize, ameliorate, facilitate, initiate, predecease, pecuniarily interested, and inadvertency.

It recalls that a few years earlier, the Department of Agriculture had issued a pamphlet titled: "Cultural and Pathogenic Variability in Single-Condial and Hypaltip Isolates of Hemlin-Thosporium Turcicum Pass", about acorn leaf disease. Another Government department had recently issued a convoluted announcement, which it quotes, suggesting either that one could charge one's dentist bill to the Public Health Service or not, depending on its interpretation.

It concludes: "Gobbledygook, or bafflegab, is too well entrenched—even for an Eisenhower crusade."

A piece from the Baltimore Evening Sun, titled "Time's Watershed?" indicates that not long earlier, author C. S. Lewis had delivered his inaugural lecture as professor of Medieval and Renaissance English literature at the University of Cambridge, observing that the conjunction of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance in the title of the course had pleased him because modern scholarship had broken down the notion of antithesis between the periods and also because he welcomed "any increased flexibility in our conception of history." He urged that "all lines of demarcation between what we call periods should be subject to constant revision." Mr. Lewis had said that such divisions, while artificially imposed upon history, were needed because they provided a structure for particulars, then turned to the question of where to place the "great frontier" which once had been thought to run between the Medieval and Renaissance times, deciding that the cut-off point was in the age of Jane Austen and Walter Scott, citing the differences in politics, arts, religion, and the age of machines from the earlier time. He found it to be on the same level with the change from stone to bronze or from a pastoral to an agricultural economy. He believed that all which had gone before was "Old European or Old Western Culture", and stated that he did not know whether the present "human tragicomedy" was in Act I or Act V, that as a spokesman for "Old Western Culture", he was something of a dinosaur.

The piece concludes that his proposal for a new conception of the mightiest change and of the differentiation between the periods before the machine and after the machine was a stimulating and, perhaps, disturbing one, regardless of whether others accepted his thesis.

Drew Pearson, writing from Albany, N.Y., tells of former Governor Thomas Dewey of New York having been Governor for so long that some people had wondered whether Albany would ever be quite the same without him, that since January, when Averell Harriman had become Governor, the state, nevertheless, appeared to be doing pretty well, and possibly even a little better. Governor Harriman had become a multi-millionaire as head of the Union Pacific Railroad and other large corporations, had come to Washington in the early days of the New Deal to help put the nation's economy back on solid footing. He had been shy and diffident in those early days, and remained shy and retiring, still fumbled a bit during a speech and was still a hard-working New Deal Democrat. He was, however, no longer green, was confident, knew what he wanted and was going after it. He also had courage to fight for his principles and to stand by his old friends even when some of them were smeared and belittled. Those who had watched him in the early days of his career when he had been assistant to General "Iron Pants" Hugh Johnson, who had headed the National Recovery Administration, never would have predicted that he would have made a good chief executive of the largest state in the country, Mr. Pearson indicating that he had not thought so. But Mr. Harriman had the ability to learn and his sincerity and perseverance, with his devotion to the idea of dedicating himself to government, had pushed him through those early jobs, including being Ambassador to both England and Russia, Secretary of Commerce, the European coordinator of the Marshall Plan, the U.S. representative for NATO and the mutual security director. In contrast to Mr. Dewey who had become Governor at a young age after his only experience having been as District Attorney for Manhattan, Mr. Harriman was 63 and had accumulated a lot of experience, of a more varied nature than almost any man in the country.

Mr. Pearson had interviewed the Governor, and he had told him that General Eisenhower was very friendly with Marshal Zhukov when the General had visited Moscow while he was Ambassador, recalling that 80,000 Russians had stood and cheered until they were hoarse when it was announced that the two men were present in a large stadium in Moscow. They had been impressed by the friendship which existed at that time, and so the General could not understand why there should not be friendly relations between the two countries, testifying when he returned home in November, 1945, that nothing guided Russian policy so much as the desire for friendship with the U.S. Mr. Harriman thought that in light of the President's own misguided prior beliefs about Russia, it had not been fair for him to congratulate Vice-President Nixon and other Republican campaigners for suggesting that former President Truman had been soft on the Soviets.

Mr. Pearson had reminded Governor Harriman of a press conference Mr. Pearson had attended in San Francisco ten years earlier when the U.N. Charter was being formed, at which Ambassador Harriman was heavily critical of Russia at a time when it was popular to view Russia as an ally, resulting in Mr. Harriman having received a lot of criticism after the press conference. Governor Harriman recalled one sentence he had used, having stated that the U.S. had to recognize that its objectives and those of the Kremlin were irreconcilable. He had also remembered that there were a number of newspapermen who were quite shocked by what he had said, believing him to be a warmonger, and had walked out on him.

The Congressional Quarterly reports on the support given to President Eisenhower by particular members of Congress, indicating that Senator Sam J. Ervin of North Carolina had supported him on 62 percent of 21 roll call votes where the President had taken a position. Senator Kerr Scott of North Carolina had supported him 71 percent of the time.

Senate Republicans averaged 74 percent support and Democrats, 60 percent.

On the 11 roll calls on issues of foreign policy, Senator Ervin had supported the President 82 percent of the time and Senator Scott, 100 percent. The Senate had supported the President more solidly on foreign policy alone than on all 21 roll call votes, and both parties had averaged 79 percent support.

Senator Ervin had voted against the President's position 29 percent of the time and had not voted on the other 9 percent of the roll calls. Senator Scott had opposed the President 24 percent of the time and had not voted on the other 5 percent.

House support had averaged lower than Senate support thus far during 1955, although the contrary had been true generally the previous year. Republican Representatives supported the President 61 percent of the time, while Democrats in the House provided 56 percent support on the 19 showdown roll calls in that body.

Republican Representative Charles R. Jonas of Mecklenburg County had supported the President 47 percent of the time. On the seven foreign policy roll call votes, he had scored 29 percent support, compared to the Republican average of 42 percent and the Democratic average of 65 percent. In mid-1954, Mr. Jonas had registered 73 percent support, when the Republican side of the House had averaged 77 percent and the Democrats, 39 percent. He had opposed the President 53 percent of the time thus far in 1955.

Among Republicans, three Representatives, Gerald R. Ford of Michigan, Hal Holmes of Washington, and Joel Broyhill of Virginia, had supported the President 100 percent of the time through May 3, 1955, while Senators Eugene Millikin of Colorado and Frederick Payne of Maine, led the Senate with 95 percent support. Among Democrats, Senator Spessard Holland of Florida provided the most support in the Senate, at 86 percent, while in the House, Representatives Herbert Bonner of North Carolina and Frank Smith of Mississippi led with 84 percent support.

Senator John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts had been too ill to attend any sessions during the year, recuperating in Florida from his back surgery the prior October. Thus, he had scored zero support. Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson had also been ill for much of the session in 1955 and so scored only 19 percent support. Senators Dennis Chavez of New Mexico and Wayne Morse of Oregon otherwise among Democrats had recorded the lowest support of the President, at 33 percent, while Senator William Langer of North Dakota registered the least support among Republicans, at 19 percent.

Among House Republicans, Representative Oliver Bolton of Ohio, who had also been ill, had scored 11 percent support, followed by Representatives Edmund Radwan of New York and Alvin O'Konski of Wisconsin, each with 21 percent, while Representative William Dawson of Illinois, among Democrats, registered the lowest score, with 16 percent support.

The President had gotten less support from Eastern Democratic Senators than from any other regional group, at 46 percent, and the most solid backing from Eastern and Western Republican Senators, at 79 percent. The lowest regional score for Republican support was among Eastern and Midwestern Representatives, at 60 percent, and among Democrats, Southern Senators led with 66 percent average support.

House Republicans of all four regions scored below 50 percent support on foreign policy and Republican Senators and Democrats in both chambers scored over 50 percent.

In the Senate, Eastern Republicans and Southern Democrats each backed the President 87 percent of the time, while the lowest scoring region among Democrats was in the East, at 60 percent in the Senate and 56 percent in the House.

Midwestern Republicans showed the least support in the party, with 40 percent in the House and 68 percent in the Senate. But Democrats from the Midwest led the other regions, with 80 percent in the House and were second, at 76 percent support, in the Senate.

A letter writer finds that the promises of economy by those who had run on such platforms at the Federal, state and county levels had been forgotten, as at each level they had voted themselves a raise.

A letter writer from Cheraw, S.C., favors raising the minimum wage, indicating that it was long overdue. He indicates that he admired former President Truman for having weighed advice and then making his own decisions, suffering the consequences if he stood alone on the matter, finding that such leadership was now needed, urges to live and let live, remembering God in the process.

A letter writer indicates that the "misrepresentatives" in the Legislature had again denied the citizens of the state their constitutional right to vote in a statewide liquor referendum, believes that the state did not have a representative form of government anymore, but only government by committees.

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