The Charlotte News

Thursday, June 23, 1955


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports from San Francisco that French Foreign Minister Antoine Pinay this date, in addressing the meeting commemorating the tenth anniversary of the founding of the U.N., had called for a unified Germany, but declared that the West had to reject the Soviet efforts to turn it into a neutral buffer. He favored giving West Germany the choice of being associated with a system of security, including reciprocal limitation and control of armaments. He regarded the German problem as one of the principal ones dividing East from West. He made no specific mention of the speech the previous day by Soviet Foreign Minister V. M. Molotov, but implicitly answered some of those points. He also stated that an agreement on disarmament was perhaps far ahead, as the basic question of control had not yet been resolved, but that agreement had been reached on certain fundamental notions, and there was resolve to leave no stone unturned to reach the goal of verifiable disarmament. He had only briefly touched on the forthcoming Big Four summit meeting at Geneva, to begin July 18.

General Maxwell Taylor, who arrived in Washington to take over as the new Army chief of staff, succeeding retiring General Matthew Ridgway, was greeted this date by officials of the Army, including General Ridgway and outgoing Army Secretary Robert Stevens, who had tendered his resignation the previous day. General Taylor had told newsmen that the problems with which he expected to deal included determination of the "proper role and contribution of the Army" to national defense. He expressed regret at the departure of his old friend General Ridgway and also of the departure of his friend, Secretary Stevens, but welcomed the opportunity to work with the latter's successor, Wilber Brucker. He said that he had gotten a lump in his throat upon leaving Japan and Korea, particularly Korea, where he had served in combat with his troops, stating that Japan required careful consideration in plans for the Far East. A 17-gun salute from a battery, and the traditional "ruffles and flourishes" of the Army band had greeted General Taylor after he emerged from the Air Force plane which had brought him from Japan. He made an inspection of the honor guard, stopping once to speak to a soldier.

A panel of medical experts, appearing before a House Commerce subcommittee, had voted 8 to 2 this date to continue the present program of inoculating youngsters with the Salk polio vaccine. One doctor of the University of Pittsburgh, where the vaccine was developed, who was not present, favored halting the program. Four of the 14 panel members did not vote on the question which was raised by Dr. Albert Sabin of the Children's Hospital Research Foundation of Cincinnati, whether the present vaccine was potentially too dangerous for use. Dr. Jonas Salk, developer of the vaccine, was present but did not vote. He said that he regarded himself as an investigator and did not wish to become involved in the vote which was sought by Representative Charles Wolverton of New Jersey. Dr. Salk later told newsmen that he saw no reason for halting the vaccination program, but said that, in accordance with the recommendations of Dr. Sabin, the vaccine might eventually be developed from a less virulent strain of polio virus. None of the experts disputed that the Salk vaccine was effective. Dr. Sabin was working toward development of a vaccine utilizing a live virus in lieu of the Salk vaccine, which used a dead virus.

Before the Senate Investigations subcommittee, investigating potential graft in the receipt of Government contracts for making Army uniforms, a wealthy cap-maker with a contract with the Government had refused this date to allow Senate investigators to examine his records on the grounds that they might incriminate him. His invoking of the Fifth Amendment privilege drew threats of a contempt citation and demands that the Government immediately cancel his outstanding contract and bar him from future contracts. He denied that he had paid $100,000 to an Army colonel and to civilian aides in connection with the 1950 contract to produce a half million service caps. His business was a rival to cap-maker Harry Lev, who had testified previously before the subcommittee. Mr. Lev had testified that he could not remember how he disposed of $214,000 in cash which had passed through his hands between 1952 and 1953, insisting, however, that none of it had been used to bribe Government employees as alleged by another rival, Leon Levy, head of a garment factory in New York. Senator John McClellan of Arkansas, chairman of the subcommittee, said that the investigation had shown "a nest of small grafters" profiting improperly from Government contracts for armed services uniform caps. He said that he had received no further report from Mr. Lev, who had promised on June 11 to submit an accounting explaining how he had spent the $214,000.

The House Banking Committee had voted the previous day to recommend a low-rent public housing program of the size which the President had sought, 35,000 units in each of the ensuing two years. Democratic leadership in the Senate, however, had pushed through a bill to authorize 135,000 new units in each of the ensuing four years.

The director of the Charlotte Housing Authority told the newspaper that there were no new public housing projects currently being planned for the city at present, and that there was no pressure for such projects in addition to the four housing projects which were already extant.

In Rome, President Giovanni Gronchi began searching this date for a new premier to replace Mario Scelba, the fourth Premier in the previous two years, who had resigned the previous day after 15 months in office, a victim of revolt from within his own Christian Democrat Party. Following parliamentary custom, the President had asked the Premier and his Cabinet to stay on until a successor was found. The next premier would almost certainly come from the Christian Democrats, the largest single faction of the Chamber of Deputies.

Donald MacDonald of The News tells of an estranged husband in Charlotte who had shot to death one of his in-laws with a shotgun this date, killing his wife's sister and wounding her mother, then killing himself. The mother-in-law was in critical condition in the hospital, having suffered loss of blood from a wound in the right arm between the shoulder and elbow. The estranged wife was treated at the hospital for shock and bruises of the face and chest, telling police that her husband had struck her in the face and chest with the butt of the shotgun while she begged for her life. The assailant was a truck driver for a mattress company and was to have come to trial in Domestic Relations Court on this morning on a charge of assaulting his wife on June 17. Police said that the couple had been separated since the start of the year. His wife said that he had called her in the early morning hours, sounding as though he had been drinking. A short while afterward, he knocked on the door of the home where his wife had been staying with her mother and sisters since their separation. He then barged in and as his wife's sister ran into the living room to see what was going on, he fatally shot her in the left side below the heart, then walked into a bedroom where his mother-in-law was in bed and shot her in the right arm. He then walked out of the house to the front sidewalk, and fatally shot himself.

Ann Sawyer of The News, tells of former acting County police chief Henry Severs and county captain Joe Whitley being discussed this date as a possible successor to Chief Stanhope Lineberry, who was reported to be planning to resign as of August 1. Contacted at his office, the chief would neither confirm nor deny the report, but explained that any formal announcement would come after he discussed the matter with the Civil Service Commission and the Board of County Commissioners. It was reliably reported that the chief would go into a high position in private industry in Charlotte. He had spent 29 years in law enforcement.

Harry Shuford of The News indicates that a civil defense test, calling for complete evacuation of the Charlotte business district, would be held within the ensuing few months, according to the city-county civil defense director, with no definite date having yet been set. He said that about 250,000 pamphlets were being prepared for distribution in the city and county explaining the drill and what to do in the event of an actual emergency. People being evacuated in the test would be channeled to four pickup stations which had been designated, and from there would be taken by bus, truck, car and train to escape routes at least 15 miles from the center of the city. How do you get tickets?

On the editorial page, "Tax Consolidation: The Only Remedy" tells of a joint meeting of the City Council and County Board of Commissioners the previous afternoon at which was discussed the relative merits of separate tax collection agencies between the City and County versus consolidation.

It finds that there should be consolidation, which ought remove much of the friction which was plaguing the twin operations and provide for more efficient and perhaps more economical service to taxpayers. That remedy had been discussed for a decade or more, but little progress had been made toward realizing it.

Other communities within the state had been quite successful at consolidating the operations, with the result having been a sense that there was more efficiency and less expense to the taxpayer. According to the Institute of Government in Chapel Hill, part of that feeling had arisen from the fact that the individual city resident was pleased to pay tax bills at one place, in another part, from the general impression that the elimination of two agencies and substituting for them one represented good, modern business practice. There was also a general impression that by removing collection from two different governments and placing it in the hands of a separate agency, it was removed from political pressure.

The Institute in 1949 had listed three advantages which could be foreseen from consolidation, that 8 to 10 percent reduction would take place in the overall expense of tax collection, plus a substantial reduction in the overall expense of legal assistance, that taxpayers owning property within the corporate limits of Charlotte would find the matter of paying and adjusting bills simpler and more convenient, that while it was doubtful that consolidation would see any marked improvement in the collection of taxes, there was reason to believe that a consolidated system would function more efficiently in a period of depression.

It says that the people living in Mecklenburg County were ready for a change and that it should be started forthwith, with plans for full consolidation of the two tax offices delayed no longer.

"Exit an Earnest Public Servant" finds that the resignation of Secretary of the Army Robert Stevens had removed from the ranks of public servants an "earnest, sincere man". It finds that he had made no great mark as a government administrator, being overshadowed by the forceful personality of Secretary of Defense Charles E. Wilson, just as were the Secretaries of the Air Force and Navy.

The career of Mr. Stevens was best judged by his role in the Army-McCarthy hearings of spring, 1954, and in formulation of the Pentagon's new military program, including a cutback in standing Army strength, opposed by former Army chief of staff General Matthew Ridgway, representing a gamble between security and economy, a gamble which could not yet be assessed, just as the role of Mr. Stevens in it could not yet be determined.

It finds that during the Army-McCarthy hearings, the personal qualities of Secretary Stevens had served him well, as he ably communicated his decency and devotion to the Army, in great contrast with the "destructive ruthlessness" of Senator McCarthy. The public had reacted favorably to Mr. Stevens, as demonstrated by the wide acclaim he had received when he appeared in Charlotte, accompanying President Eisenhower, in May, 1954 while the hearings were still ongoing. It finds that had it not been for the Democratic members of the Senate Intelligence subcommittee which heard the matter, the tactics of Senator McCarthy might have obscured the fine personal qualities of the Secretary.

Now, he would presumably return to private business where he had a reputation as a successful and progressive executive, and the piece wishes him well. His successor would be Wilber Brucker, who appeared well-suited to the new job, having been the former Governor and Attorney General of Michigan, thus knowing better how politics worked than had Secretary Stevens, proving to be his shortcoming.

"Presbyterian Backs a Reputation" indicates that Presbyterian Hospital's projected expansion program represented a new chapter in Charlotte's already commendable record of providing medical care for its citizens. It was estimated on the basis of present population growth that the city needed 24 new hospital beds per year, and the 67 additional beds to be afforded by the new Presbyterian wing would thus take care of three years worth of growth.

While beds were not the only part of medical care, the plans for Presbyterian Hospital included other facilities, including an expanded department of radiology, a central sterile supply and three operating rooms.

It salutes Presbyterian for going forward in the spirit of the community, finds that the expansion would strengthen medical care also outside the city as hospitals in Charlotte served people in 22 other counties. The AMA the previous year had listed Charlotte as a first-rate medical center, and Presbyterian had now bolstered that reputation.

A piece from the Chicago Tribune, titled "Love That Suffix!" tells of being in the "rama" age, where it became a suffix for old words, such as motorama, futurama, cinerama, cutierama, and now Aquarama, the name of a new and palatial Great Lakes passenger liner.

It suggests that next to automobiles, Americans loved suffixes more than anything, cites the example of "burgers", having morphed into beefburgers, cheeseburgers, tomatoburgers, shrimpburgers and fishburgers. "Cade", which was not a suffix at all, the proper one being "ade", having nothing to do with motion, rather simply a Latin participle ending implying some type of action, such as "cannonade", "lemonade"—leaving out "fusillade", though pronounced differently. But now "-cade" had been picked up to become, since 1912, a "motorcade", in reference to an auto show originally, and since had developed into autocades, aquacades, icecapades, kitchencades, and cutiecades.

Someone had once discovered the word emporium and then developed the eatorium, restorium, shavatorium, suitatorium, and hatorium. Use of "-matic" had developed from automatic, "-athon" from marathon, and tv's "-wise".

Drew Pearson tells of Senator Prescott Bush of Connecticut having his record become a little worse than when Mr. Pearson had first reported on it the previous week, that it had developed that he not only had a secret expense fund raised by wealthy friends on Wall Street and was one of the wealthiest men in the Senate, but had also made two of the longest speeches against raising the salaries of members of Congress when that question was up for debate, making it clear during the debate that he thought membership in the Senate should be reserved for those who could afford it, without disclosing to his colleagues that his wealthy friends had raised over $25,000 for his television, radio and publicity, and that no record had been made of those contributions to the secretary of the Senate, as required by the Corrupt Practices Act.

Senator William Purtell of Connecticut had argued with Senator Bush at length on the floor, but the more Senator Bush had responded, the more it became clear that he thought that the body should be an exclusive millionaires' club. That had so surprised Senator Purtell that he asked Senator Bush whether one of the prerequisites for membership in the Congress ought be either inherited or acquired wealth, to which Senator Bush had responded that he did not think there should be such a test, prompting Senator Purtell to indicate that many members of the House with families had found it impossible to make ends meet while living in Washington, having two homes to maintain and trying to educate their children, while meeting the demands of constituents by going back and forth between their districts and Washington. At no time had Senator Bush intimated that his friends had raised the secret fund for him to finance his going back and forth to meet with his constituents. But in responding to Senator Purtell, he had said that such persons were not compelled by any requirements except their own preference to serve in the House, that there was no compulsion for them to remain if they did not believe the reward was satisfactory and that it caused hardship. Senator Purtell then asked him whether he thought that the salary should be so low that an opportunity to serve in Congress was precluded because those with families could not afford to serve. Senator Bush responded that he did not think the salary should be fixed at such a rate that anyone who wanted to do so should make money from service in Congress.

Mr. Pearson points out that Senator Bush was a former Wall Street banker who had raised a lot of money for the Republican Party, facts known to Senator Purtell. But whether the latter had known that Senator Bush had a secret expense fund was not known. He did know that prior to his election to the Senate, Senator Bush had been a director of CBS, the Vanadium Corporation of America, Prudential Insurance, the U.S. Guarantee Co., the Simmons Corp., Rockbestos Products and was chairman of Pennsylvania Water and Power. He concludes that few other sitting Senators had so many ties with big business when they ran for political office.

Had Mr. Pearson been completely clairvoyant insofar as the learning curve, and had read the News editorial column the previous day regarding HEW Secretary Oveta Culp Hobby of Texas, he would have, perhaps, described Senator Bush as having been born with a silver foot in his mouth.

Eric Sevareid, CBS correspondent who had won a Sidney Hillman Award for 1954, has a portion of his acceptance speech, "The Climate of Liberty", reprinted, suggests that the word "liberal" might be popular again. He finds that the behavior of its enemies was ensuring that fact, making clear daily that what they hated about liberalism was not its constant calling onward to newness, but rather its "conservatism, its harking back—to hoary ethics of tolerance, equality of man, dignity of the individual, to the Bill of Rights, the meaning of the great American revolution in this world, to the original vision of our country; it is because liberalism wishes to conserve these ancient traditions that its enemies hate it; and because its enemies are both the enemies of the radical right and the radical left, the people will learn again who it is that is really protecting America from subversion; they will learn again that it is the spirit of liberalism—and it is a spirit, not an ideology—that is the true governor, the gyroscope and compass that always brings a plunging ship of state back into balance, back upon its course."

People would learn that the real attack by the radicals of the right was against the liberals, not the Communists, that with the exception of technical espionage, American Communism was worn out as a political target, and so liberals had presented handy substitute targets, with observers cheering on liberals who threw back the missiles launched at them. The observant marksmen had noticed that fact and were quietly drifting to other targets. He finds that as a result, the ship of state was plunging and wrenching a little less each day.

Yet, he saw few positive administrative acts, save that of fighting back during the Army-McCarthy hearings, an act more of self-preservation than of courage and conviction, with the result, however, no less beneficent. Things were now better in Washington, at least in the short run.

The Supreme Court had issued its decisions on school desegregation and the Senate had censured Senator McCarthy such that "a political assault on the great foundations" had died of its "own poisons". The morale of the foreign service had begun to rise again. New blood was coming out of the colleges. A leading Republican, former Senator Harry Cain of Washington, had illuminated the security program from within, with the opposition party beginning a full-scale examination of that program, even if in its incipient stages. He had been correct in stating that a major problem with the security program was the low intellectual caliber of some of the personnel involved in it, who were still present, with "men of limited qualities" remaining entrenched with "much less limited power over the liberties of the people."

He suggests that there might soon be Supreme Court decisions which would go a long way to rescue public servants from their "moral abyss" as second-class citizens on permanent probation.

No government could indulge in years of "legalized brutality and cleanse itself overnight". The country had undergone a time when it had "exalted the soldier over the statesman, the policeman over the law-giver, the prosecutor over the judge."

He says that he had been really frightened only once during that time, when the "Minister of Justice" had made a speech in Chicago accusing former President Roosevelt of knowingly abetting treason, doing so by administrative fiat, all for partisan, political gain. He finds that from that point forward, it was not possible to go in any direction except up.

He finds that if the country were again to have a war against the Communist Chinese, even though the national security were not truly at risk, fear would again grip the country and close down personal and constitutional freedoms at home. Even if there would be no actual war and the tensions increased in the world, "the new weapons of nihilism pile up and up, if peace in our time is only the peace of mutual terror", in which case those concerned with civil liberties would have to work all of their lives to preserve them.

He thinks that in the schools would have to come the major effort, as ignorance was the primary enemy. And with increasing numbers of students enrolled and a shortage of teachers, academic standards steadily falling, there would be turned out highly trained Americans who were, nevertheless, ignorant of the country's history, its principles and civil rights, in spite of their schooling. He finds inherent in that "a slow, creeping, corroding flood tide of massive, established, respectable ignorance that can choke away our freedoms almost without our knowing what is going on. Unless we turn back this tide, beginning now. There, I should think, lies the fundamental task of all Americans who really comprehend the nature of liberty."

A letter writer, who indicates that she was black and had been born in Charlotte 45 years earlier, questions whether Charlotte had forgotten that it had adopted years earlier the slogan "The Friendly City", reading of a letter writer who said that hard labor was the answer to obtaining better homes, suggesting that if that letter writer belonged to a church whose members believed what she believed, it was best for her to stay home. She wonders what she was afraid of, whether it frightened her to think that black people might uncover the wrong her race had done to them when they were her grandparents' slaves. She cautions that she should be careful how she spoke of "the old Negroes", that they were "the lamp unto your feet", that while she might now sweat for the things she got, blacks had sweated for it first for her. She says that blacks would sweat for what they wanted and that was what they were doing at present, trying to get others to be fair, if they had the decency to let them. She indicates that "hate" was the worst four letter word of which she could think, and "love" was the most wonderful word ever known, advising to put a little bit of love where she had hate. "Be careful, search your race from start to where you are now and see if you have the time to sit down and criticize the other fellow."

A letter writer speaks on behalf of the six nursing homes of Charlotte which had received notice from the Building Inspections Department that they had only 30 days to correct a condition whereby the wood structures had two stories when city code required that they were to be of only one story. He finds that it was too bad that the City had such officials who were so low principled to make such drastic demands of those who were doing so much. He wonders where the City Council expected to find space for the 200 elderly patients who were in the nursing homes if those homes were forced to close, especially with the already overcrowded conditions of the hospitals. He says that he had been associated with one of the nursing homes and to his knowledge, the Fire Department had never condemned the building and the operator had complied with every request. The Health Department had issued a high rating and he had found that the patients had received excellent care during his time there. He finds that the Christian manner of doing things would have been to notify the operators of all of the nursing homes that the buildings did not comply with new laws and to advise them of the best method to handle the situation. He says he had not voted for the current members of the Council and would not vote to retain them, that he wanted to see justice done.

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