The Charlotte News

Saturday, May 28, 1955


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Belgrade, informed sources said this date that the Russians had fallen back to a second line in their talks with the Yugoslavs in an attempt to persuade President Tito to accept a role of "passive coexistence" in the Cold War, with Tito said to be resisting the latest Soviet proposal which had been advanced after the Russians had failed to lure Yugoslavia into a quick return to the Soviet orbit. Yugoslavia had been kicked out of the Cominform in 1948 for following an independent brand of Communism, unacceptable to the Kremlin, and the Soviets were now trying to get them to accept an Austrian-type of neutrality in world affairs. But, according to an informant, Tito had informed the Russians that Yugoslavia wanted to play a leading role in uniting nations opposed to dividing the world into two ideological camps. This night there would be a gala reception given by Tito in Belgrade and afterward the top Russian and Yugoslav leaders would leave for Tito's secluded Adriatic island retreat to continue the talks. Tito was said to be rejecting any Soviet bid for closer party ties between Yugoslavia and Russia, and was said to have demanded that the talks be strictly on a governmental plane, apparently directing his remarks specifically at Communist Party chairman Nikita Khrushchev, who was reported to have taken a solicitous attitude toward appeal to Yugoslavs for closer political relations with the Soviets. Informed sources said that sour Soviet countenances among the Russian delegates might have resulted from the speed with which Tito had rejected their efforts to win him back, while Tito appeared with a self-confident bearing.

In London, Prime Minister Anthony Eden and his Conservative Cabinet ministers sought ways this date to avert chaos anticipated to follow a threatened nationwide rail strike, coming just two days after the general election which had given the Conservatives an increased number of seats in Commons. Britons were rushing by train from London and other cities to the seashore for their annual three-day Whitson weekend, ignoring the prospect that the nationalized rail lines might be operating only a skeletal service after midnight this night. In thanking the nation for the votes, Mr. Eden had warned the previous night that "industrial disputes … are already causing us great concern." In addition to the threatened rail strike, a week-long walkout by longshoremen continued at four of Britain's largest ports, slowing cargo handling. The rail strike, however, would be more serious, called by a union of locomotive engineers and firemen to enforce demands for pay increases to preserve the traditional differentials over less skilled workers. The 70,000 railway workers rejected an offer made the previous day by the Labor Ministry to set up a conciliation board to hear the dispute, finding it too late, with the secretary of the union stating that a strike appeared inevitable.

U.S. Surgeon General Leonard Scheele stated late the previous day that the polio vaccination program, delayed while manufacturers' supplies were being checked following the reports of breakthrough cases in which a relative few polio infections occurred after receipt of the vaccine shot, might resume as early as the following week. He said that he hoped that the second shot could be administered to 9 million schoolchildren prior to the late summer when the polio season would be at its peak. He said that it was virtually certain that some of the vaccine supplies which had been held up for nearly three weeks would be released the following week, with releases done progressively thereafter following approval of the supplies by the Public Health Service. The assistant director of the National Institutes of Health said that stiffer requirements were now in place than had been present previously, as worked out by a committee of scientists, calling for more frequent and sensitive testing, with tests to be conducted after the vaccine had been poured into dispensing bottles ready for shipment, designed to make certain that no living polio virus had gotten into the vaccine after completion of other tests, not likely to add much production time after the program got underway again.

In Udall, Kans., it was reported that weather conditions which had produced the disastrous tornadoes which had ripped through Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma were headed into the central and upper Mississippi Valley this date, while flattened Udall, the hardest hit town by the tornadoes of Wednesday night, was being rebuilt. The danger of more tornadoes in Kansas, Nebraska and Oklahoma appeared to have passed, while frightened residents of Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma had ducked for cover the previous night as funnel clouds whipped around the Plains states. A third straight day of tornado activity had been accompanied by severe thunderstorms, heavy rain and hail in some areas, but there were no reported deaths or serious injuries and property damage appeared minor, as many of the funnels did not touch ground. In Udall, a frame structure, to serve as a government communications center, had been constructed the previous day. Relief workers continued to arrive to help in the clean-up and reconstruction of the virtually devastated town. An estimated 500 persons were still missing in Udall, but it was believed that many of them might have gone to live with others. The Red Cross reported that 170 homes had been completely wrecked, with 18 of them so damaged that they were no longer habitable and would have to be razed, with only one home escaping relatively unscathed and only three businesses and public buildings not leveled, all three of which were no longer usable. Flood waters this date hit Blackwell, Okla., the second most damaged city by the tornadoes.

The Memorial Day weekend began this date, with many celebrations taking place across the nation, and the annual Memorial Day parade in Newark, N.J., set to honor the 108-year old Albert Woolson, lone survivor of the Grand Army of the Republic from the Civil War, with Mr. Woolson planning to spend a quiet day at his home in Duluth, Minn. In the Hollywood Bowl, 700 musicians and vocalists would premiere "The Requiem" by Hector Berlioz, in a three-faith service. In Arlington National Cemetery, Vice-President Nixon would place a wreath at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier on Monday morning and then deliver an address. Such ceremonies would take place at national cemeteries across the nation. The President planned to spend a quiet weekend at his farm in Gettysburg, scene of the battle which was the origin for the commemoration on Memorial Day.

Since 6:00 p.m. on Friday at the official start of the holiday weekend, traffic fatalities had thus far numbered 25, with two others dying from drownings and one from a miscellaneous accident, as rain in the central areas of the country had possibly kept traffic volume down in the early part of the day. The National Safety Council estimated that 360 persons would die in traffic accidents during the 78-hour extended weekend, ending at midnight on Monday.

In San Francisco, as pictured, a runaway truck along steep Clay Street, starting at the intersection with Jones Street on Nob Hill, and winding up ten blocks later at the intersection with Chinatown at Grant Avenue in flaming wreckage, resulted in the deaths of seven people at the end of its travel.

Near Charlotte, two people had been killed and a third critically injured late during the morning when their car had plunged from a bridge in Gaston County near the Orthopedic Hospital, with a captain of the State Prisons Department on the scene saying that the car had landed upside down and was smashed "as flat as a sardine can", with the two men who had been killed apparently dying instantly.

In Mobile, Ala., a 17-year old mother indicated that she had been hypnotized and raped by a friend, then informed her husband, at which point he tried to place her under his own hypnotic spell, as he, also, was an amateur hypnotist, but found that she was blocked, although later succeeding in getting her into a trance so that she could recall what she had blotted out. A detective said that the husband had placed his wife in a trance at the detective bureau, and his wife repeated the story to officers. The detective said that he had never heard of a more fantastic case but that both the husband and wife were adamant that it was true. A 25-year old married salesman had been charged with rape the previous day in the matter. The female who alleged the rape said that she was in a suspended mental state at the time and was told by the man that she should not remember anything which had happened. The accused gave a signed statement indicating admission to having hypnotized the woman and having sexual relations with her while her husband was at work. The officers said that the two families were friends and that the accused had claimed it was not the first time she had submitted to him. The husband signed a statement saying that he often hypnotized his wife to allow her to rest from the strain of caring for their four-month old baby. He told police that he had been practicing hypnotism for about ten years and that while in the Navy, had hypnotized 12 men and had them swab the deck of the ship, that when they had come out of the trance, they were more refreshed than when they had started the work.

In Tampa, Fla., a year earlier, a traffic officer had been named the city's "most courteous cop of 1954", but the previous day, he had been assessed a $300 fine for looting parking meters of more than $49 in nickels and pennies, pleading guilty to petty theft, explaining to the judge that he had been ill and did not realize the seriousness of the offense. The officer had not been assigned to collections of parking meters but had found the key which unlocked the coin boxes, and had been caught the prior Thursday while collecting from a meter at 5:00 a.m., saying it was the first time he had done it. He escaped a felony charge of grand larceny only by 79 cents, the limit being $50. After signing a confession, he was fired after being on the force for 11 years. Gosh, they'll fire a person for anything, these days, won't they?

In Paris, for the first time in three years, the Folies Bergere had a completely new show, but the nude performers were still present, though the patrons had to wait almost 2 1/2 hours into the show before the first visible nude appeared, rowed on stage in a gondola, appearing in only six of the 40 tableaux and three of those showed them shimmering in the background under dim lights, wearing G-strings comprised of rhinestone fig leaves. (Were they linewomen for the county?) If the patron went downstairs during the intermission to see the Arabian belly dancers, it was likely that the gyrations would be closely supervised by three serious policemen in uniform. The story says that it was unlikely that most people would object to any part of the show, provided they were reasonably broad-minded, and that portion was over in about five minutes. There was little dialogue because so many of the customers were foreign tourists. "Two of the sketches are as clean as a new toothbrush and just about as stimulating." It suggests that the show was more likely to interest the settled matron than the young man on the town. Nevertheless, the current Folies was likely to be as successful as previous ones. Tickets for the premiere the previous night, in accordance with French custom, ran between 74 cents for standing room and a top price of $5.77.

In Yonkers, N.Y., a 75-year old man made a trip every Friday to the bank to deposit several hundred dollars for a knitting mill where he worked, placing the money in a brown paper bag and always following the same route on his return. The previous day, a thief who was apparently familiar with the routine, had waylaid the man, grabbed the bag and fled. The man told police, however, that he had made the trip to the bank four hours early the previous day, and the second trip was to obtain some strawberries, which he had in the stolen bag. He was probably just as pleased with that when he got home.

On the editorial page, "New Beginnings on a Shrunken Globe" suggests that too often, commencement speakers at this time of year included in their advice too much about the fears of the day and too little about faith and hope, which it posits were the building blocks of everything worthwhile. It finds that there was good reason for faith and hope at present for the current crop of graduates from college and high school, with unlimited opportunities for personal service and material gain ahead.

In the field of atomic energy, there were untold benefits, (perhaps, in time, at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania), and the shrinking of the globe provided opportunities for expanded culture as foreign countries became neighbors and alien peoples, friends. Graduates also had reason for confidence in their daily pursuits. Ten years earlier, graduates were dying on battlefields in Europe and the Pacific, and three years earlier, they were dying in Korea. Twenty years earlier, seniors had to look for work during the Depression, taking what they could get, while now rewarding jobs were numerous. It finds that the youths of the state were particularly fortunate, as it had rich soil to grow better crops, bigger industries to provide more jobs and wealth, and more widespread education to enlarge opportunity. "Today's seniors have the privilege of building a new state and a new world and they have the tools to do the job."

"Hospital Bills Should Be Collected" indicates that the Memorial Hospital in Charlotte was moving to collect payment for services rendered to those leaving the hospital without paying their bills in full and who were believed to be able to do so, having obtained judgments against 19 former patients for a total of $7,200, the largest single bill being a bit over $1,000, while the smallest had been a little over $200.

It indicates that while the hospital was reluctant to speak publicly about its collection practices, it was likely that it would continue to try to collect its past due bills from patients able to pay. It finds that the taxpayers were interested in the practice because Memorial handled charity patients with the local government paying the cost, and poor collections would result in increased costs of hospitalization for those indigents at taxpayer expense. It commends the management of the hospital for undertaking the collections.

"A Leader and an Alliance Strengthened" tells of the British people having strengthened their Conservative Government majority in Commons by Thursday's general election results. Since the Conservatives had returned to power in 1951, they had governed without popular consent as measured in the total vote, though the Conservatives had won a narrow majority in Commons among the districts while more people had voted for Labor than for the Conservatives. This time, the Conservatives increased their majority from 17 seats in 1951 to about 60 seats, while also achieving an overall popular vote victory. It suggests that the new British Government could therefore speak with renewed confidence at the upcoming Big Four summit conference.

The vote had clearly rejected the calls for neutrality and distancing from American leadership, as Aneurin Bevan, leader of a minority faction within Labor, had sought.

It suggests that the rejection underscored the courage and common sense of the British people and showed that they took their government seriously, rejecting any effort of Communists to gain a foothold in the government. There had been a 75 percent turnout at the polls, though light by British standards, with 82.6 percent having voted in 1951. By comparison, U.S. turnout in the 1948 and 1952 presidential elections had been 52 percent and 61 percent, respectively. It suggests that contrast as a lesson for the nation generally and for Charlotte in particular.

A piece from the Greensboro Daily News, titled "Study the New Evidence", discusses new evidence bearing on the authenticity of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence, putatively signed May 20, 1775, discovered by Dr. Archibald Henderson, and asserts that it ought be given more consideration by historians than had been the case. It was agreed that there was no original of the Declaration, destroyed in a fire in 1800, and so the question was whether the copy compiled from the memory of John McKnitt Alexander, custodian of the original records until the fire at his home, was accurate. Mr. Alexander had sent the copy, prepared in part in his own handwriting, to General William Davie in 1800. It quotes verbatim from that copy, with Mr. Alexander indicating that it might not literally correspond with the original records because of the fire. But, according to Dr. Henderson, Mr. Alexander had lined through the words "delegation &" in his statement that the original records of the transcription of the "delegation & Court of Inquiry" might not correspond, implying that the records of the delegation's meeting would correspond to the copy.

The piece finds that the evidence raised questions worthy of scrutiny by professional historians as to whether the deletion was furnished by the same pen and ink as the rest of the document and had been made at about the same time when Mr. Alexander had made his notation on the copy, and if so, what the meaning of the deletion was and whether Mr. Alexander could be regarded as a credible witness to the authenticity of the copy.

In 1853, Dr. Charles Phillips of the UNC faculty had written an article in which he quoted the notation of Mr. Alexander but failed to indicate that the words "delegation &" had been lined through. The purported copy from 1800 with that notation had been lost, causing historians to assume that Mr. Alexander had said that the whole copy might not correspond with the original records. But in 1917, Dr. J. G. deR. Hamilton of UNC found the purported copy among the papers of Dr. Kemp P. Battle, bearing the deletion. Dr. Henderson had written various articles since that time contending that the evidence available, when properly read and considered, pointed to Mr. Alexander having sent the copy to General Davie in a form which he considered to be correct as to the first five resolves of the Declaration, of which he was in a position to know, having been a member of the original delegation.

It finds that if that was correct, it was more than a scintilla of evidence of authenticity and placed on historians the burden of meeting the issue and either refuting the contentions of Dr. Henderson or agreeing with them.

As indicated in a piece by LeGette Blythe on May 14, when the matter first surfaced in a Raleigh newspaper and was then transmitted up and down the East Coast in May, 1819, Thomas Jefferson had written a letter in July of that year to John Adams, indicating Mr. Jefferson's belief that the matter lacked credibility as the Congress then meeting in Philadelphia had never received word of such a declaration, which he found suspect as it would have been seized upon to try to still the tory rhetoric of John Dickinson and others. But, if people wish to believe in fairy tales, that is their prerogative, it really not mattering much one way or the other in the final analysis.

Americans declared their independence in July, 1776 and ultimately won the Revolution. Those are the salient facts, rather than who got there first with the most or whether Captain Jack of Mecklenburg, dispatched by the delegation to transmit word of the Declaration to the Congress, returning to Charlotte Town claiming that he had accomplished his mission, was instead waylaid along the road by pirates or highwaymen or possibly just stopped at one too many inns, partaking of one too many jugs, never in consequence reaching his intended destination.

Drew Pearson indicates that on May 23, the column had reported that there was a revolt brewing inside the House Education and Labor Committee, chaired by Congressman Graham Barden of North Carolina, for his delay of the bill to provide funding for school construction and for sabotaging the minimum wage bill, to raise it from 75 to 90 cents. On May 24, when the Committee met, Mr. Barden was quite upset regarding the leak from the executive sessions of the Committee, prompting Congressman Lee Metcalf of Montana to deny that he had been the leaker, followed by like denials by Congressmen Cleveland Bailey of West Virginia and Roy Wier of Minnesota. But with his recalcitrance exposed by the column, Mr. Barden had decided to release the school construction bill for action on the House floor and to begin hearings as expeditiously as possible on the minimum wage bill. Mr. Metcalf had refused later to talk to the column and Mr. Pearson indicates that he, with the help of Congressmen Carl Perkins of Kentucky, Carl Elliott of Alabama, James Roosevelt of California, and Messrs. Bailey and Wier, had led the fight against the filibustering by Mr. Barden.

The New York Times had reported recently that Senator Walter George of Georgia had cowed three of his younger colleagues to defeat a provision of the Federal highway bill which would have allowed the Government to control advertising rights along the proposed highways. The reason for his opposition was that much of the billboard advertising would belong to Coca-Cola. The reason for the bill was to allow Southern states to be able to afford to purchase the right of ways, with the Federal Government assisting through the revenue raised from the control of the billboards. The former manager of the New York Herald Tribune, Bill Robinson, a golfing partner of the President, now headed Coca-Cola, and it was in large part because of that liaison that Senator George had become close to the President, having been his guest at Augusta.

But what Senator George and Coca-Cola had not known was that the provision of the bill was going to be dropped anyway, as Senators Lyndon Johnson and Albert Gore had already agreed the previous Monday to eliminate it, and so the bold stand of Senator George was regarding a battle which had already been won.

Senator Warren Magnuson of Washington, chairman of a Senate committee assigned to investigate the radio and television industry, was being pressured by the major networks, which initially had not wanted any investigation but later determined that a quick investigation would be preferred, knowing that a superficial probe would not have time to dig deeply. But Senator Magnuson was planning to spend a considerable amount of time in advance preparation and might begin a searching probe during the ensuing fall.

Stewart Alsop tells of Secretary of Defense Charles E. Wilson, at his press conference a few days earlier, having suggested, in response to a question regarding the status of U.S. air power versus that of Russia, that, according to one of his subordinates, technical know-how was the real key to superiority in the air and that he was confident that U.S. know-how was inherently superior to that of Russia. Mr. Alsop believes that he was being entirely sincere in his statement, that it was difficult for Americans to believe that the backward Russians were capable of surpassing the U.S. in technological achievement.

Nevertheless, the facts indicated that the Russians had done so and that the British were also ahead of the U.S. in air technology. The U.S. was reliant on Britain for the design of Sapphire jet engines, produced by Secretary Wilson's old company, G.M., and Russia, unquestionably, was ahead of Britain in its air technology.

While it was not cause for great despair, as the U.S. led in other areas of technology, there was evidence that Secretary Wilson and his associates were not only deceiving the people about the seriousness of the threat of Soviet air power, but were also deceiving themselves.

Walter Lippmann tells of the West German Government being exercised about the talk regarding German neutrality, instigated by Soviet Foreign Minister V. M. Molotov's speech at the signing of the Austrian treaty two weeks earlier and promoted by the President's remarks at the previous week's press conference, with the result being confusion inside the Western alliance. Mr. Lippmann ventures that the confusion was the result of the three governments who were vocal about the matter, the U.S., Russia and West Germany, talking about the superficial and unreal conception that Germany could be neutralized by decision and the force of the World War II victors. Those governments were considering what the newly sovereign West German nation might do in order to obtain its own unification within frontiers acceptable to the German people.

Mr. Lippmann indicates that the notion of a neutralized Germany was a fantasy, that the idea of Germany taking the initiative and acting with growing independence represented a reality.

Mr. Molotov had talked as if he believed that the Big Four could and should impose a neutral regime with strictly limited armaments for a reunited but controlled and supervised Germany. He knew better than that but was letting it be known that he was expecting ultimately to deal directly with the West Germans, and was talking for the innocent and naïve, as was the U.S. when it protested the talk. No one seriously believed that the strongest nation in Western Europe could be ruled at present by a coalition of foreign powers, divided among themselves by the cold war. The U.S. would not agree to such a settlement even if it were not such a practical absurdity.

If the real question regarding German neutrality was whether to impose a settlement of the Potsdam type, then Chancellor of West Germany Konrad Adenauer would not be very concerned as he knew the time was long past for such possibilities. The real question was not what the allies might impose on the Germans but what the Germans would insist upon for themselves. Denials and assurances from Secretary of State Dulles and U.S. Ambassador to West Germany James B. Conant were addressed to the Germans who were considering the type of peace treaty to be negotiated with the Russians by them or the government to succeed that of Chancellor Adenauer.

He posits that the U.S. might go further and assume that the practical issue was not whether West Germany would negotiate with the Soviets but when it would negotiate and under what circumstances, whether it would be before West Germany was armed under NATO or two or three years hence, and if the negotiations were to take place at present, what the West Germans might be asked to do in exchange for unification, with that likely price being to remain virtually disarmed and to renounce the Western alliance and all claims to territory beyond the Potsdam armistice lines of 1945.

Chancellor Adenauer believed that within a few years, however, the West Germans might be able to negotiate, with an army and the support of the Western allies, for a revision of the eastern frontier with Poland. The political question inside Germany was whether Chancellor Adenauer could persuade the Germans to be patient and gamble on that long-term possibility.

Much depended on what Mr. Molotov was presently willing to offer the West Germans, something which Chancellor Adenauer would reject but that many West Germans would like to accept, or whether he might seek to do what he had done with respect to Austria, paying what was required to obtain a settlement at present.

Mr. Lippmann suggests that the alternatives for the U.S. might be either a Soviet coup in the form of an offer that the Germans could not and would not reject, or a five-power agreement for a new modus vivendi, or one which called for reduction of foreign troops, for redeployment away from the center of Germany of the troops which remained, for some slowdown in the rate of German rearmament, and for various arrangements and accommodations between East and West Germany.

It was likely not possible for Germany to pass from a divided country, occupied and dismembered, to an evacuated, united and satisfied country, as none of the governments, except possibly the Russians, would be able to agree to all the conditions which a sudden settlement would entail. It was doubtful that the Russians were at a point where they would offer West Germany the terms which settlement would require, including revision of the Potsdam frontier. For in that event, they would run the risk of alienating the Poles.

Thus, an intermediate settlement which would make progress toward unification and evacuation but not reach that point appeared to be the most sensible alternative to avoid the Polish-German frontier problem. It suggested something like a moratorium on declarations for West Germany and the U.S., for generalizations, abstractions and absolutes, when put to the practical test, meant so many different things to many different people.

Doris Fleeson tells of the situation in the Pentagon becoming somewhat confusing, as those who had led the revolt of the admirals against the Air Force B-36 bombers in 1949 were now riding high, flouting civilian authority so much that it had to be ironed out by a Congressional committee.

The Administration had insisted on team play to the extent that it had centralized control over military news through the Secretary of Defense, viewed as an implied rebuke to the services for fighting their intra-defense establishment battles in the newspapers.

The President had just appointed Rear Admiral Arleigh Burke, advanced over 92 fellow line officers of higher rank, to become chief of Naval Operations, succeeding Admiral Robert Carney, who had become embroiled in a controversy for his statements appearing to predict that the Communists would attack the offshore islands of Quemoy and Matsu by mid-April, then denying that he had ever made that statement as a prediction, only indicating capabilities. In addition, Army chief of staff Matthew Ridgway had retired in favor of General Maxwell Taylor, after General Ridgway had disagreed with the Administration over the Army reductions, which the Administration was now successfully pressing.

It was conceded that Joint Chiefs chairman Arthur Radford and the other Chiefs of staff were exceptionally able, and while the senior Navy officers who had lost out to the younger Admiral Burke would not like it, they would not dispute his brilliance.

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