The Charlotte News

Saturday, May 7, 1955


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports from Paris that West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, meeting in his first international conference as head of a sovereign nation, had met this date with Secretary of State Dulles to plan West Germany's role in Western diplomatic strategy, expected to evaluate a new Western approach to the Soviet Union, with likely issuance of a request for a four-power conference which could reunify Germany and lead to an all-German peace treaty. The U.S., Britain and France had virtually decided to suggest such a meeting for the very near future. The primary Western concern was the effect in Germany of the Austrian settlement, which now appeared to be forthcoming, and would prevent Austria from joining any military alliance such as NATO, per the demands of the Soviets in their recently concluded bilateral pact with Austria. West Germany had already joined NATO and Chancellor Adenauer was scheduled to join the NATO Council the following Monday, after putting the new seven-nation military alliance forming the Western European Union into effect this night, the WEU having pre-existed as a six-nation organization, including Britain, France, Italy and the Benelux countries. Western leaders, including Chancellor Adenauer, did not want the Austrian treaty to set a precedent for West Germany, as neutralization of the latter would destroy the diplomatic and military shield which the West had presently assembled in NATO and the WEU. U.S. Ambassador to Austria, Llewellyn Thompson, representing the U.S. in the Vienna discussions of an Austrian treaty, had flown to Paris this date to confer with Secretary Dulles regarding his meeting with Chancellor Adenauer. The Secretary would engage in five days of negotiations and discussions covering the West's global strategy from Formosa to the NATO area, and would include British Foreign Secretary Harold Macmillan. Secretary Dulles had spoken with optimism regarding the chances for resolving international issues.

In Reims, France, a story tells of it having been ten years since Germany's armed forces were surrendered by General Alfred Jodl at Allied headquarters, the big red-brick trade school near the railway cut, which had once been General Eisenhower's headquarters. The surrender room was maintained as it had been that day, with huge colored maps covering the walls, showing the advance of the Allied forces. The Germans had sought to give up to the Western powers alone, maintaining that there were six million German refugees in Eastern Europe who had to continue fighting the Russians to protect the refugees, but Allied policy had called for unconditional surrender of the Germans, and General Eisenhower had insisted that they give up to all of the Allies at once, which they then did. The Western Allies sought to hold up news of the surrender for 24 hours, to enable a Soviet announcement at the same time, but had failed because of a newsmen's leak of the story. Eastern Europe still celebrated the anniversary on May 9, the date of the Soviet signature at Berlin. Because of the position West Germany had achieved during the week as a sovereign partner of the West, few Allied officials were expected to attend the anniversary ceremonies in Western Europe. In Reims, the celebration was muted, with arrangements calling for dedication of a plaque on the house where General Eisenhower had lived, and dedication of a memorial to the French Resistance.

In Survival City, Nev., Bill Becker of the Associated Press reports that the man-made constructed shelters for the atomic test, "Operation Cue", conducted the prior Thursday morning, were yielding results which could be helpful to the Civil Defense Administration in determining what types of structures could withstand an atomic blast. Two dogs in a concrete bathroom shelter had lived through the blast, which had leveled the rest of that house, positioned seven-eighths of a mile from ground zero, and mannequins within shelters inside another shredded house had been unaffected. The commander of a tank task force which had been positioned 3,100 yards from ground zero said that they might have been twice as close without danger. Scores of test dogs, rats, rabbits, guinea pigs and mice had survived the blast in shelters, both on the surface and underground, from distances between 1,050 and 2,750 feet from the blast site. Two concrete-block houses had withstood the blast, situated seven-eighths of a mile away. Army tank experts suggested that tanks and other large, track-laying vehicles, such as armored personnel carriers, could be valuable in helping to remove civilians from a bombed city. There was clearly a need for protection inside homes from flying glass and other debris, as even in the homes which had withstood the blast, the mannequins, draperies and walls had been riddled or pitted with slivers of glass, and floors had been covered with glass pellets. Thus, shelters or ducking into protected corners could protect from that threat. The use of the animals was designed to determine the effects of the blast and pressure resulting from it on living beings, despite being in closed in shelters. Are they having funeral services yet for the Darlings? as there are many who would like to attend.

Surgeon General Leonard Scheele this date called for a halt to the mass inoculations against polio, following a two-day session of six medical experts meeting to investigate the manufacture and testing of the Salk vaccine, in the wake of reports of a few breakthrough cases, concentrated in the Western United States. He had said the previous day that the Public Health Service had temporarily withheld clearance of all new batches of the vaccine, but suggested that the vaccines could continue to be administered from existing stocks which had already been approved. Public health officials declined to elaborate further on his early morning announcement this date, which recommended halting completely the inoculations. Some states had already held up their campaign to vaccinate first and second-grade children, the most at-risk group, receiving free inoculations through the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis. Vaccine stocks had already been exhausted in several states and others had completed their first round of shots, with most having no plans for Saturday and Sunday vaccinations in any event. Oakland County in Michigan had scheduled shots for this date, but canceled them on the basis of the Surgeon General's statement, while assuring that they had ample evidence that in Michigan, the vaccine was safe and effective. One additional case of a breakthrough patient had been reported from Detroit, with a six-year old boy having become stricken with polio 11 days following inoculation, with that vaccine having been manufactured by Parke, Davis & Co. laboratories. Previously, most of the breakthrough cases had resulted in patients vaccinated from batches manufactured by Cutter Laboratories of Berkeley, Calif., with one case reported from Georgia, involving vaccine manufactured by Eli Lilly Co. About 44 breakthrough cases, 41 of them paralytic, had been reported as of the previous day. The Health Service said that there had been four deaths, two in Idaho and one each in Louisiana and Hawaii among those cases. The cases reported were thought to have been from pre-existing infections of polio, contracted prior to administration of the vaccine.

Some Republicans in Washington had stated this date that a new gain in employment, if the trend continued, would undermine a potential Democratic issue in the 1956 presidential campaign, while some Democrats insisted that an April figure of 61.7 million persons working on civilian jobs was "misleading", arguing that there was still critical unemployment in many areas of the country. A joint report the previous day released by the Labor and Commerce Departments had stated that unemployment had dropped by 200,000 to about 2.96 million in April. Senator Irving Ives of New York said that the report that employment had risen by a record 1.2 million from early March to early April justified predictions of the Administration from the previous year when Democrats had been "crying depression". Senator Thomas Kuchel of California said in a separate interview that if the trend continued, it would destroy a Democratic campaign issue for 1956. Senator Harley Kilgore, however, contended that the Government report overlooked what he said was serious unemployment in many regions, which would hurt the Republicans in 1956, that no matter what statistics stated, one could not convince a man that he had a job if he did not have one. Senator Lister Hill of Alabama said that the total employment figure was misleading because it did not take into account an increase in the total labor supply, noting that factory jobs were still well below the postwar record for April, 1953. He said that despite the statistics, they still had a considerable amount of unemployment in Alabama, which was only part of the picture.

In Los Angeles, it was reported that dry bones in an ash pit in southern Nevada could hold the answer to what the earliest American had looked like, according to archaeologist Mark Harrington, curator of the Southwest Museum in Los Angeles, who was leaving this date with a scientific expedition to investigate the ash pit, the location of which the archaeologists were maintaining in secret to avoid having tourists tramp over it. Bones of giant sloths and other extinct animals had been found among the ashes, indicating that the animals had been eaten by man. Carbon-14 tests of the ashes had determined that they were more than 23,800 years old, suggesting that the early evidence of man on the continent was buried in the pit. Finley Hunter, representing the American Museum of National History, had originally discovered the ash pit. The American Museum had given Mr. Harrington and his expedition the right to investigate the pit. The latter had indicated that it was the oldest scientifically dated human campground in the Western Hemisphere, causing him to have hope of finding some evidence of ancient man there. He would not speculate on what such persons would have looked like, but was certain that they liked to whoop it up now and then at a giant sloth barbecue.

It was likely that the 14-state strike of the Louisville & Nashville Railroad would end the following Monday, having begun in mid-March, as the result of all-night efforts to reach an agreement proving fruitful. Final details would not be released until later this date. Nevertheless, new dynamite blasts had caused more damage to railway property, as two freight trains were derailed in Kentucky and a mainline bridge had been damaged in Alabama.

In the nine-state Southern Bell Telephone Co. strike, which had also begun in mid-March, another explosion had taken place this date in Chattanooga, Tenn., causing considerable damage to local circuits. There was no new positive development in that strike.

In Chicago, the first survivor of an operation to separate Siamese twins joined at their heads, performed 2 1/2 years earlier, was now in grave condition following an unexpected setback. The 3 1/2-year old boy had suffered a brain hemorrhage which doctors had been unable to arrest, and had lapsed into a coma early the previous day. The doctors said there was no apparent injury to his brain, which had been without a skullcap or other hard covering since the operation, and had been unable to determine the cause of the bleeding. He had been living a normal life with his family in Illinois but was returned to the hospital the prior Tuesday after his parents noticed that he had become lethargic and did not run and play as usual. Surgeons had discovered the internal bleeding during an exploratory operation the prior Thursday, but the setback had not been made public until the previous night. The twins had been born in September, 1951, and were separated after a 12-hour operation when they were 14 months old, in December, 1952. The surviving twin had been withstanding the operation better than the other, and a difficult decision was made by the 15-person surgical team that their common sagittal sinus, the main vein which drains blood from the brain, would have to be given to the survivor, causing the other twin to die 34 days after the surgery. Since that surgery, Siamese twin girls, who were also head-joined, had been separated the prior April 21, and both were given an excellent chance of survival.

In Rochester, Minn., the wife of Dallas, Tex., oilman H. L. Hunt, reputedly one of the richest men in the world, had died the previous night after a short illness at age 66. She had been flown to Rochester from Dallas the prior Monday for special treatment after suffering a stroke several days earlier.

In parts of the mid-continent this date, it was wet and windy, but generally dry and pleasant spring-type weather was promised for most of the country this date.

A photograph appears of a giant mosquito, said to be attacking some towns and villages across the country, appearing to aim especially at those who cannot yet read.

On the editorial page, "Let Us Now Honor Mothers", a bylined piece by author LeGette Blythe from his Bold Galilean, celebrates Sunday's Mothers Day, offering praise to Mary, the mother of Christ, concluding: "Yet even then, [after having accompanied him "that terrible Friday up the ugly Hill of the Skull", where she had seen her first-born nailed to a cross, and in the "glorious after-morning" when she had observed the stone rolled back from the tomb], this little Galilean mother little understood what she had given to earth. Perhaps it is best that mothers are not permitted to understand completely but only to love and be loved."

"Time for Educational Statesmanship" indicates that in a period of deep uncertainty about the directions of North Carolina higher education, the voice of the State House Appropriations Committee had sounded bold and clear during the week, approving legislation to establish a new State-supported college in Charlotte and to appropriate $150,000 to operate it during the coming biennium. It had raised Charlotte's hope for obtaining a State-supported college and gave timely support to the argument that a system of regional colleges was the answer to the state's booming population increases among those of college age.

The measure would now go to the State House floor for action, where a lively skirmish was anticipated, as the purse strings were getting tighter by the minute, with the end of the session in sight.

Beginning in 1958, the first of the babies born during the World War II would reach college age, causing the demand for higher education to increase sharply, particularly among the large population centers such as Charlotte. North Carolina's higher educational facilities were already pressed by heavy enrollments, with over 15 percent of the college-aged population attending, and a much higher ratio anticipated during the ensuing few years. The primary problem was one of capacity, with the anticipated need across the country in the ensuing 15 years being for as many new college buildings as had already been built since Harvard had been founded over 300 years earlier. There had already been discussion of limiting enrollment to young people of the highest aptitudes, which the piece finds fundamentally wrong, as higher education should be provided for as many people as possible.

It indicates that one of the more sensible ways to do that would be through a regional college plan, with the establishment of institutions of higher learning in major population centers so that students could live at home and commute to nearby classrooms daily. Populous Mecklenburg County would be a logical place to start with such a regional college system, and it had the assets and facilities of the struggling Charlotte College with which to start. It finds, therefore, that there was an opportunity for far-sighted educational statesmanship to be demonstrated by the General Assembly.

A piece from the Boston Herald, titled, "That Country Store Fragrance", indicates that just once more, a man would like to open the door to the old-fashioned general country store and whiff the distinctive fragrances he had recalled from youth. Some of the aromas were individual and some were blends, including the pungent odors emanating from the big cartwheel cheese, pickled herring and salted codfish, mingled with the smell of fresh ground coffee, not capable of being manufactured artificially. It goes on reminiscing about those odors, observing that there were millions who remembered the general stores as more than mere marts of trade.

Drew Pearson indicates that top Republican governors in Washington during the week were rebelling privately against the idea of accepting Vice-President Nixon as the Republican candidate, should the President decide not to run again in 1956. After being informed that the President had been trying to sell "his boy Dick", the Republican governors had thrown up their hands in exasperation, remembering the recent Gallup poll which showed Senator Estes Kefauver running far ahead of Mr. Nixon in a test presidential heat. The governors were making it plain that they did not like the Vice-President, no matter how much the President liked him.

In an attempt to sell Mr. Nixon, the President had bowed out of the proposed trip to San Francisco for the tenth anniversary of the U.N. founding, offering the excuse of a crowded schedule in so doing. But San Francisco had checked his schedule and found that it was not at all crowded, that the President merely was pushing the Vice-President to the fore instead. Fore... Look out, Neighbor.

Mr. Pearson notes that simultaneous word from the White House continued to be that the President did not want to run and that it would take more than a team of horses to pull him into the race.

It appeared that the chief beneficiaries from the oyster digging by Navy men at Government expense near Newport News, Va., had been the admirals, as an investigation by the Navy at Cheatham Annex, Va., as recently reported by the column, had shown that for years, civilian workers had been employed by the Navy at taxpayer expense to dig for oysters and send them to the high brass in Washington and Norfolk. Vice Admiral "Oyster Forks Charley" Fox, Rear Admiral John Ends Wood, former commander of the Norfolk Supply Center, and Admiral T. Earl Hipp, stationed at Norfolk, all had been beneficiaries of the practice, according to the official report. Admiral Wood, who was now retired and living at Elkins Park, Pa., had frankly admitted that he relished oysters, telling the column that he had received a quart personally every once in a while, but that as far as he knew, they had been gathered during off-duty hours. Mr. Pearson indicates that the oyster digging by Navy personnel had cost the taxpayer about $2,000 per year.

Tom Buchanan, the hard-hitting former chairman of the Federal Power Commission, had returned to his hometown of Beaver, Pa., to run for judge of the court of common pleas. While FPC chairman, he had done almost more than any other single person to protect consumers of natural gas and electricity from the big gas and power companies, resulting in Senator Robert Kerr of Oklahoma, champion of the big gas companies and partner in Kerr-McGee, having helped to eliminate him from the FPC. Mr. Buchanan, however, was continuing his battle for the consumer by testifying currently against the new camouflaged Kerr bill, presently called the Harris bill, even at the risk of having Southwest oil and gas money injected to the campaign to defeat him in Pennsylvania.

He indicates that it was a safe prediction that new Prime Minister Anthony Eden would win the upcoming British elections, gaining about 90 seats for the Conservative Party.

The Federal Reserve Board was seriously considering increasing its margin rates on the stock market again, this time to 80 percent.

Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas would undertake a full probe of proxy fights, featuring the Wolfson battle to gain control of Montgomery Ward.

Arkansas residents were amused when Carroll Cone, Washington lobbyist and vice-president of Pan American Airways, had made a speech in Little Rock urging Senator John McClellan of Arkansas for the presidency. Had not Senator McClellan been featured in the Army-McCarthy hearings of the prior spring, he would have been a dead duck politically, even in Arkansas.

Solicitor General Simon Sobeloff, who had refused to sign one of Attorney General Herbert Brownell's "witch hunting" briefs before the Supreme Court, could have a judgeship any time he wanted it. Thurman Arnold, Mr. Pearson observes, while Assistant Attorney General, had received a position on the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals when he began prosecuting Pan American Airways during the Roosevelt Administration. Harlan Stone, Attorney General under President Coolidge, had been appointed to the Supreme Court when he began prosecution of Alcoa. Mr. Pearson remarks that Justice Department officials who were conscientious but did not conform politically, received judgeships, regardless of the political party in power.

Stewart Alsop addresses the hydrogen bomb and indicates that theoretically, the human race could, for all practical purposes, be eliminated for about 40 cents per person, give or take a few cents, based on a rough estimate made by Dr. Leo Szilard, the distinguished physicist, estimating the cost of covering the globe with lethal concentrations of radioactive fallout. In arriving at that estimate, he had emphasized that it was informal and subject to great revision, having used the Atomic Energy Commission's figure of 7,000 square miles of lethal radioactivity resultant of each thermonuclear weapon, that is, the hydrogen bomb. Drawing on his knowledge of the nature of the bomb, he had totaled the cost of the number of bombs needed to blanket the world, in terms of lithium, tritium, uranium and other materials, finding that it would take a billion dollars worth, give or take a few hundred million, and that given a population of about 2.4 billion people in the world, the result had been about 40 cents per person.

The estimate did not include the cost of delivery of the bomb or its attrition through defense, assuming the unlikely scenario of unopposed effort to commit global suicide. But it could not be simply dismissed as a peculiar sort of scientific joke either.

Dr. Szilard, working with the late Dr. Enrico Fermi, had made an enormous contribution to "man's foolhardy triumph over the atom."

The new type of thermonuclear weapon, which Mr. Alsop indicates should not properly be called a hydrogen bomb, represented a "quantum jump", according to scientists, at least as important as the first atomic bomb. U.S. and Russian scientists had done what had previously been thought to be inherently impossible, finding a way to use uranium 238 in its naturally occurring form for making nuclear weapons. That had been known since the Japanese had announced the presence of split atoms of U-238 within the fallout from the U.S. tests of thermonuclear weapons, no longer reliant, therefore, on the more rare and thus expensive U-235.

That fact had opened up the possibility of unlimited destruction at very low cost, and combined with fallout, transformed the world situation. Since the entire Soviet stockpile of atomic fission weapons could presently be used as mere triggers for the much more powerful fusion-based thermonuclear weapons, the Soviet stockpile had been multiplied by a factor estimated as high as 100. The Soviets had thus presumably entered the age of atomic plenty overnight.

The superiority of the U.S. Strategic Air Command over the Soviet "Long Range Air Army" still provided the U.S. with an important margin of superiority, albeit one which could not last indefinitely. When eventually it would be lost, the Soviets could theoretically visit unlimited destruction on the U.S., as presently the U.S. could on Russia, provided SAC would then be neutralized. The Air Force, itself, had recognized that as a serious possibility which needed to be addressed. Under the sponsorship of the Air War College, a study, dubbed "Operation Stand-Off", was presently going forward with an underlying assumption that both sides would fear to use thermonuclear weapons and that, therefore, any future war would only be a limited war.

Mr. Alsop indicates that the Air Force deserved credit for the courage to undertake such a study, as the assumption it was making struck at the very heart of American strategic doctrine and Air Force doctrine, that it had been previously considered heresy to suggest that SAC and the thermonuclear weapon might not be used in a future major war. Yet, he observes, if the suicidal nature of the new weapon were considered, it was a possibility which had, at least, to be taken into account.

Marquis Childs indicates that several distinguished public figures had testified in the Senate hearings on revision of the U.N. Charter, providing general, but cautious, approval to the U.N. in the process. In marked contrast to that cautious view was the testimony presented on behalf of those who were aware of the full and terrible measure of the destructiveness of the arsenal of atomic and hydrogen weaponry.

Professor John S. Toll, head of the physics department of the University of Maryland, testified on behalf of the Federation of American Scientists that a drastic revision of the Charter was due, to provide increased recognition to a world court with jurisdiction over all questions of atomic inspection and control. That testimony, however, had largely been ignored, perhaps because it appeared too remote from any changes in the Charter contemplated by anyone with authority. But as one of the younger generation of atomic physicists who had helped to unlock the secret of atomic fission and thereby make possible the atomic bomb, Dr. Toll shared a deep sense of responsibility for trying to prevent the mutual annihilation assured by another major war.

Mr. Childs finds it reminiscent of the reply which Albert Einstein was supposed to have made when asked for a prediction regarding the weapons which would likely be used in a third world war, saying that he could not say what weapons would be used, but that he could forecast that the weapons of a fourth world war would be rocks.

Mr. Childs concludes that while that which scientists had to say on the issue of life and death could have a visionary and impossible sound, there was nothing visionary about their knowledge of the fantastic destructiveness, thousands upon thousands of times greater than ever before, which man presently had at his disposal.

Robert C. Ruark, in Madrid, tells of having driven from Lisbon to Madrid in a taxi when he was supposed to be returning home from Amsterdam, ensuring that his wife would divorce him, as he had already had difficulty explaining his innocent weekend in Paris. He explains how it was that he had obtained a seat on a plane to Madrid, through the offices of two friends, only to discover that there was no plane available going the right way toward Paris, causing them to find that Air France had seats available for Lisbon and that "maybe if things didn't work out from Lisbon, I could buy a passage to America and maybe fly into Madrid via New York." This, he explains, as the reason he wound up in Lisbon, without an apparent way out, and so hired a taxi to Madrid.

He says that he had often hired a taxi, once having done so to take him from Rocky Mount, N.C., to Kingstree, S.C., but that the taxi from Lisbon to Madrid was more ambitious. He and the driver had settled on a flat fee in lieu of the meter, and it had been the method by which he had been able to determine a lot about the Spanish and Portuguese countryside in the process. "I ain't home to Mama yet and I really ain't going home. I got big dogs, and don't want them set on me."

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