The Charlotte News

Saturday, May 21, 1955


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Government was possibly contemplating this date further tightening of the safety standards for the Salk polio vaccine, potentially resulting in another slowdown of the inoculation program of schoolchildren in the first and second grades, the most vulnerable to the disease during the current polio season, lasting through the summer months. On advice of a panel of scientists, the Public Health Service had decided to continue with the same dosage and vaccination procedure which had been followed in the previous summer's field trials, after its advice had been sought by a group of epidemiologists as to whether the dosage might be reduced to enable the existing supply to stretch further. The Service also determined against curtailing inoculations during the summer, even though advising that the most favorable time for vaccination was prior to the height of the polio season, but stating the previous night that inoculation even during a polio outbreak had its place in prevention, responding to some doctors who had wondered whether administration of the vaccine during that period could actually encourage spread of the disease. Technical specialists of the five manufacturers of the vaccine had been called to a Monday conference to discuss new safety standards, and representatives of Parke-Davis of Detroit and Eli Lilly of Indianapolis said that they planned to send several of their top production and research men to that meeting. The Service had no comment on whether they had called such a meeting or what it might concern, but the representatives of the manufacturers had stated that there was the prospect for stiffer standards of safety which could require an additional 3 to 5 days of testing before release of new supplies of vaccine. They also indicated that it might be 4 to 5 weeks, if complete retesting was required of already manufactured vaccine, before it could be released. Supplies of the vaccine remained scarce and there was little prospect, given the need for retesting, of new supplies very soon. A third supplier, Pitman-Moore of Indianapolis, said that the Service had completed the retesting of its supply and that it had distributed 700,000 doses and now had on hand more than two million doses which, in their opinion, were eligible for release and could be shipped as soon as the approval for doing so was given.

In Paris, Robert Schuman, French Minister of Justice and former Foreign Minister, praised the concept of Atlantic Union and urged the establishment of an exploratory committee to meet regarding its formation, saying it was of highest importance to all of the 15 NATO nations. Senator Estes Kefauver read the statement to the Senate, along with the endorsement which General George Marshall had issued earlier in the week, in praise of recently deceased former Supreme Court Justice Owen Roberts, who had been a champion of Atlantic Union.

The U.S. celebrated its sixth Armed Forces Day this date, with a theme of "peace through power", accompanied by displays of some of the latest weaponry and parades of its fighting men. The gates of U.S. military installations across the country and abroad were opened to an anticipated five million visitors, and Navy war vessels at home and in foreign ports were also welcoming civilians aboard. Columns of soldiers marched through the streets of Washington, as well as in other cities across the country. In Huntington, W. Va., a civil defense drill was planned, and blood donor drives were planned for Salt Lake City and Ogden, Utah. Several of the Army's missiles and its 280-mm atomic cannon were on exhibition in Texas, but the public was to be given no look at the country's atomic or other secret weaponry. Speeches were given by Government officials throughout the country, with Secretary of Defense Charles E. Wilson having spoken the previous night of new weapons constituting "a force of tremendous power", and Admiral Robert Carney, chief of Naval Operations, mentioning Russia's recent conciliatory moves, saying that they had been the result of the "banded strength and unity of free peoples." General Nathan Twining, chief of staff of the Air Force, said that Soviet disarmament proposals were "aimed at the keystones of our strength."

In Atlanta, an agreement was signed between the Communications Workers of America and Southern Bell Telephone Co. to end a 68-day strike. The strike against the Louisville & Nashville Railroad, which had already reached agreement, was also ending, both strikes having begun on the same date, March 14, and affecting a total of 75,000 workers in many areas of the South, the telephone strike impacting nine states. Millions of dollars had been lost in wages and spreading strike violence had cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. The L&N strike had been the harder on the economy of the region, slowing freight shipments in some sections to a crawl and curtailing some passenger service, forcing some industries to use trucks to reach their markets, while telephone service had not been impacted most of the time. The 40,000 CWA workers still had to approve the agreement reached with Southern Bell.

In Charlotte, telephone strikers continued their picketing, with a CWA representative stating that they would do so until the agreement was ratified, which would probably come later this date or on Monday. The president of the union local said that he had no doubt that it would be approved.

In Denver, Lt. John Conroy, 34, seeking to make the first round-trip plane flight coast-to-coast between sunrise and sunset of a single day, made a six-minute stop this date for refueling, landing his F-86A Sabre jet at the U.S. Naval Air Station at Buckley Field, east of Denver, in the early morning, and then taking off, having left Los Angeles one hour and 48 minutes before his arrival in Denver. The pilot drank a cup of coffee during his six-minute layover. The plane had to average 465 mph to meet the scheduled round-trip from Los Angeles to New York between sunrise and sunset. Lt. Conroy said that it was his conception to make the flight. He had flown jet fighters since joining the National Guard two years earlier, having flown bombers and won the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal and two clusters during World War II, before being shot down and imprisoned during his 19th mission over Germany. Following six years in the Air Force, he had piloted non-scheduled airlines and then began building swimming pools, some for celebrities, including singers Dinah Shore and Peggy Lee. He called his plane the "California Boomerang".

In Jacksonville, Ala., an alert across the South was issued for the search for four armed robbers who had gotten away with nearly $87,000 the previous day in a bank robbery, after having kidnaped the vice-president of the bank and forced him at gunpoint to open the safe, while two of the robbers held his wife and children in their home. It was the largest bank robbery in the history of the state. The vice-president said that he knew the robbers meant business as they had silencers on their pistols.

In Raleigh, the State House gave its final approval early this date to the 9.768 million dollar tax increase measure for each of the ensuing two fiscal years of the biennium, most of the increase coming from a hike of tax by a penny per bottle on beer. The compromise measure had been worked out earlier in the week by a joint conference of confreres and would come before the Senate on Monday night for its final approval, at which point it would become law. After that point, the General Assembly would likely adjourn.

In Merstham, England, a railroad conductor had been racing through the countryside in a cab the previous night, trying to catch up with his job. Because of the length of the railroad platform in the town, trains usually stopped twice, the first time for passengers in the front cars to disembark and the second, for those in the rear carriages to exit the train. When the conductor's train pulled in the previous night, he had hopped out with his whistle and lantern to supervise the operation and after the first group of passengers had left the train, he waved at the engineer to move the train up the track so that the others could alight. But the train had not stopped, and so the conductor had to catch a cab to beat the train to the next stop, costing him the equivalent of 32 cents.

On the editorial page, "Bigness Means Responsibilities" comments on the report issued by the City Treasurer during the week, in which Charlotte had compared favorably to 16 other municipalities being scrutinized by New York bond buyers, ranking second on several economic factors which the piece lists.

With the estimated population at around 150,000, the city and the whole surrounding metropolitan area was growing very fast, so fast since the end of the war that few residents had fully grasped its significance in placing new demands on government, public education, municipal services and the entire civic superstructure.

The American Society of Planning Officials had developed a guide sheet which could help residents in focusing on the problems which would arise from that growth, showing what happened in a medium to large city when 100 new families moved in, with their children creating the need for 2.2 more elementary school classrooms and 1.65 additional high school classrooms, costing about $120,000, with about 50 of the children being in grammar school, 25 in junior high, and the same number in senior high. In consequence, more school teachers would also be needed, with about $30,000 per year to be added to the schools' operating budget. There would also be a need for new municipal services, and governmental agencies would have to purchase more land to accommodate housing, new parks and schools for the 100 new families. It estimated that .84 new employees in the police department and two-thirds of a new fireman would have to be added as well, plus other functionaries to the city's payroll, increasing the general payroll by between $12,000 and $15,000. There would also be needs for new hospital beds and library books, plus a fraction of a new cell for the city jail.

It indicates that the lesson was that in a growing city, the residents could not just sit back and allow it to happen, that there were responsibilities which went along with growth, requiring constant adjustment, the choice being between progress and decay, a community of satisfied people in pleasant homes with thriving industry and attractive landscapes, in contrast with urban blight, squalor and the threat of steady decline.

"A Bribe, or a Gift, or a Loan or…" tells of the Senate Investigations subcommittee hearing such words as "innocent gift", "loans" and "advances", as it sought to discover whether bribery had entered into the purchasing operations of the armed forces. One witness had stated: "I have never paid a payoff." It made the editors wonder whether he had ever paid a bribe, a gift or an advance. He had admitted purchasing a coat for a military procurement official at a time when he was seeking contracts for his company, but claimed that the coat was a Christmas gift about which the official's husband had known.

The testimony reminded the piece of the comment of a high Government official who, when asked about how he had been able to deposit a fortune in the bank during the Teapot Dome scandal while drawing a small salary, had replied: "By the strictest economy, sir."

It indicates that the essential fact of testimony before the subcommittee thus far was that money, coats and refrigerators had moved from the hands of people who wanted contracts into the hands of those who had given contracts, that even if the practices did not constitute bribery, they were still "bad, wrong and crooked."

"Public Schools: Music in the Air" tells of music assuming new importance in the public schools, with Charlotte having made it an integral part of the learning process, probably as much so as any city in the country.

During the current week at Freedom Park, Charlotte educators had demonstrated how successful the program had been, with more than 4,000 students, representing all 44 city schools, having participated in a four-day spring festival of music and dance which had ended the previous night with band and vocal numbers played and sung by a large group of the students.

It finds that schools had a responsibility to introduce the children of the country to the joys of music and to all of the fine arts, that merely teaching reading, writing and arithmetic was not enough, that the spiritual nourishment afforded by high culture was also necessary. While the teaching of music had to remain at a rudimentary level in primary and secondary schooling, albeit with a great natural talent and prodigy occasionally discovered in the process, the schools could go much further in encouraging the appreciation of good music and nurturing an esthetic sense in the minds of youth. That did not necessarily mean forcing on children the intricacies of the late Beethoven quartets, Schoenberg's 12-tone system or Bach's sonatas for unaccompanied cello, but there were many delightful works composed by the masters which could serve as cultural springboards, whether from Mozart, Haydn or Prokofiev.

"Music is a spiritual exercise and one of civilization's greatest delights. If the public schools can help Americans to enjoy it more, they will be performing a warm and wonderful service."

A piece from the Greensboro Record, titled "Southern Viewpoint", comments on a recent News editorial which had inveighed good-naturedly against those who were forever talking about "the Southern viewpoint", contending that there was no such thing and that the South consisted of many things and many voices, finding that a long list of Southerners, whom it had named, did not agree on any major or minor issue.

The piece takes a different view, stating that there was a Southern viewpoint, even if not everyone in the South conformed to it, as there would always be iconoclasts within any society, finding, however, a consensus of agreement among Southerners on several things: that desegregation would not work; that nothing beat cornbread, country ham, collards, black-eyed peas and cold buttermilk as pleasing to the stomach; that compared with the South, all other parts of the country remained in the Stone Age; that it was a shame that radio, television, the movies and transplanted Yankees were diluting the purity of the Southern dialect; that Robert E. Lee was the greatest American to date and probably of all time, including the future; that New York was a good place to visit but not to live; that the only worthwhile thing the North had which the South lacked was skiing; and that in the South, the sunsets were "prettier, the trees taller, the mountains lovelier, the men more virile, the women more devastatingly feminine, the beach resorts nicer and the hunting and fishing better."

Those were the things, it finds, therefore, which constituted the "Southern viewpoint" and asks whether there was any argument.

Probably not in 1955, but, by 1965, there would be plenty.

Drew Pearson writes an open letter to his daughter, starting with his care of his infant grandson who was visiting and was having his first birthday as he wrote. He says that it was not the fault of the children of the world who would grow up to face the prospect of an atomic war that their elders had bungled the situation or that the elders had so perfected the weapons of war that if one should occur, it could destroy all of civilization. But now, he began to detect signs of hope on the horizon, not so much from the leadership in Washington but rather from the Kremlin's failures in Russia. He views the coming Big Four summit conference during the summer as holding great prospect for the future of his infant grandson and the latter's two older brothers, but states that the U.S. had backed into it by accident instead of leading the world to it.

He states that Secretary of State Dulles had agreed to the conference only because the British Conservative Government had insisted on it as an election gesture and because Prime Minister Anthony Eden was worried that he might be defeated in the general elections, to take place the following Thursday. He says that politics was not a good reason for holding vitally important diplomatic conferences and yet politics was governing at present the nation's foreign policy, both domestic politics and politics to assist allies abroad.

Mr. Pearson recalls an assignment from the New York Times in 1928 to accompany Secretary of State Frank Kellogg to Paris for the signing of the Kellogg-Briand Pact which outlawed war. Secretary Kellogg was proud of the treaty but did not want it to be hailed as a Republican victory, rather as an American victory for peace, and so from his ship on his way home, had radioed the editor of the Times, Frederick Birchell, asking him to radio to Mr. Pearson a query as to whether Mr. Kellogg was going to let the treaty become a political football, which Mr. Birchell then did, Mr. Pearson then showing it to Mr. Kellogg, who then provided Mr. Pearson an emphatic statement which was picked up by all of the newspapers. After they returned to Washington, Secretary Kellogg sent for Mr. Pearson and told him that then-Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover had bawled him out because of Mr. Pearson's story, with Mr. Kellogg suggesting for a moment that the story had been too strong, but finally conceding that he was glad Mr. Pearson had written it that way.

He comments to his daughter that he longed for such bipartisanship at present, but in contrast, when Secretary Dulles went abroad, he and the President were more concerned about what Senator William Knowland, the Minority Leader, would think than what was good for the future of the country. He regards that which Senator Knowland might say about Quemoy and Matsu to be relatively unimportant and whether the President would be elected again likewise of relative unimportance, compared to the importance of what would happen to millions of children in the event of another war.

According to his information, the reason the Soviets had become conciliatory of late was because the people of Russia and those otherwise behind the Iron Curtain were becoming restive, engaged nearly in silent revolt, leading to the prospects for peace despite the U.S. falling behind on many types of weaponry. He concludes that in the long run, one could usually depend on people to react the right way and that the restless stirrings behind the Iron Curtain against the Soviet leadership constituted the most important development since the end of World War II, which was why he felt hopeful that his infant grandson might grow up in a happier, more peaceful world.

Walter Lippmann comments on the "performance" which had been staged at the White House the prior Tuesday evening for a national television audience, with the President and Secretary of State Dulles presenting a "stage-managed" show, replete with props made from White House furniture and live officials reciting or reading the "script", not amounting to new and advanced journalism or true reporting but rather "a fiction and theater meant to give the illusion that they are true reporting." He also found that the picture presented by Secretary Dulles, that the Soviet Union was receding because of the unity and strength of the Western nations, had omitted one of the determinative developments of the time, the increasing tendency of the smaller and most vulnerable nations to pull away from the military orbits of both of the two atomic powers. Thus, he found that the discussion presented only half of the truth, with the other half being that the Soviets enjoyed good prospects of attracting wide popular support in Europe and Asia, Mr. Dulles not providing even a hint of those developments.

He finds it disturbing because in the coming talks with the Soviets and Communist China, American opinion would be focused on that half truth presented by Secretary Dulles, in consequence of which the Administration would not have the type of informed support in Congress and among the people which it would need.

Marquis Childs, in London, indicates that the issue on which the forthcoming British elections were to have been fought had been taken away by the agreement reached in Paris to hold the Big Four summit meeting sometime during the summer, removing from the table the urgency of whether there would be peace or war, the issue on which the Labor Party had intended to focus during the elections, and without which, lacked virtually any other major issue with which to oppose the Conservative Party Government of Prime Minister Anthony Eden.

Labor candidates were hinting that it was a clever ruse carried out between Secretary of State Dulles and Mr. Eden to swing the elections toward the Conservatives, but whether it was that or high statesmanship, the fact of the forthcoming conference had altered the entire picture. Less than two months earlier, Mr. Eden, then Foreign Secretary, had openly opposed in Commons the proposal of Prime Minister Churchill to hold a Big Four summit meeting, and until ten days earlier, the U.S. point of view had been that the foreign ministers would be better equipped than the heads of state to reach agreement on major points of tension, which would then be ceremonially affirmed by the heads of state.

Now, the Labor candidates were having a difficult time persuading the people of England that the Tories might talk peace but could not be entrusted to bargain for it. The influential Economist had said that peacemongering had replaced warmongering, with both parties claiming that each alone could show the way to peace and plenty. Mr. Childs concludes that with the campaign warming up, peacemongering was now being pushed into extraordinary centrality.

Stewart Alsop, in a piece which purports to inform his brother Joseph, who had just returned from six months in the Far East, what had been occurring in Washington during the interim, begins by indicating that over the course of the previous six months, the questions had been repeatedly asked as to whether the President would run in 1956, whether Adlai Stevenson would run and, if so, whether the President could again beat Mr. Stevenson, with each of those questions being answered in the affirmative.

Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson, "no doubt the most thoroughly professional Congressional leader of our times", was slipping through legislation so quickly and quietly that no one noticed or cared very much, leading to some nostalgia over the departure from the political stage of Senator Joseph McCarthy, who now was not being heard from at all, whereas a year earlier, had been the major focus during the Army-McCarthy hearings and then during his subsequent censure hearings six months earlier. Mr. Alsop laments that there had been no good row during the current session of Congress thus far.

In foreign policy, 5 to 6 weeks earlier, Formosa and the crisis regarding the potential for a Communist attack on the offshore islands of Quemoy and Matsu had taken center stage, with Admiral Carney, chief of Naval Operations, having first predicted that there would be a war by April 15 because of an attack on those islands, then changing it to May 15, while now all of that talk had subsided after Communist Premier Chou En-lai had agreed to talk to the U.S., and the President and Secretary Dulles had expressed a willingness to reciprocate. That had led to a sigh of relief and the perception that the crisis was over, even if, in fact, it was not, as Mr. Alsop was sure his brother would point out in his "tactless way", as it was not considered tactful around Washington at present to bring up the matter again. All were in agreement that the best policy vis-à-vis the crisis in Asia was to pretend that it was not there anymore. Now, the talk was of peace in our time.

The same went for the discussion regarding the Soviets, in the wake of their having signed the Austrian treaty and agreed to the Big Four summit meeting. Initially, everyone approached that prospect cautiously, expressing the notion that miracles should not be anticipated from the meeting; but now, expressions were being heard that there really might be a Santa Claus in the offing and that the Soviets might actually be anxious to reach a settlement in Europe which the Western powers could accept.

He indicates that the Russians had been acting in a surprising way, including even approving a Russian visa for himself, when only a few weeks earlier, both he and his brother had been denounced in Pravda as warmongers.

But the Soviets had also demonstrated in their May Day parade that they had a well-equipped all-weather air defense system, a rapidly maturing strategic jet air force, and the ability to engage in midair refueling, such that they could now hit targets within the U.S. and return to base.

Only a year earlier, Secretary of Defense Charles E. Wilson had stated that Soviet war preparations were wholly defensive; but it was considered also to be lacking in tact to mention such things at present, with the focus instead on peace.

Mr. Alsop indicates that he had been in the Senate gallery recently when Senator Stuart Symington of Missouri had made a short but cogent speech in which he stated that the U.S. may have lost control of the air, urging a report by the President regarding the meaning of the Moscow overflights during the May Day parade. But the response had been general indifference. "It is much more popular, these days, to believe in Santa Claus. Cheaper, too, of course. Anyway, welcome home."

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