The Charlotte News

Thursday, June 30, 1955


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that a New York Times reporter, Charles Grutzner, appearing before the Senate Internal Security subcommittee, said this date that he had been a Communist in the 1930's, but had quit the party in 1940 after being satisfied that it would not operate on democratic principles. He said that he was not ever a dedicated party member, that he could take it or leave it and had left when he got fed up. He said that he had been recruited into the party in 1937 by a fellow worker on the Brooklyn Eagle, an employee named by CBS correspondent Winston Burdett the previous day as a man known to him in the 1930's as a Communist. Mr. Burdett testified that he had been a member of a party unit on the Eagle and for two years had been a Communist spy in Europe. Mr. Grutzner also named one other fellow worker on the Eagle as a Communist, a person whom Mr. Burdett had also named, along with a dozen others. Another journalist, Victor Weingarten, identified himself as a self-employed publicity man in Pleasantville, N.Y., saying that he had not been a Communist since the November election of 1940, but refused to say whether he had known any of his former associates in the press, when he had earlier worked for the Eagle, to be party members since that time. He did so, despite a citation for contempt being threatened for his refusal to answer. The Committee was in its second day of hearings regarding Communist infiltration of the press.

In Charleston, S.C., the clerk of the U.S. District Court had received the Supreme Court implementing decision in Brown v. Board of Education, decided May 31, including its mandate ordering that the plaintiffs in the Clarendon County, S.C., segregation case be paid $1,714.21 for their costs, and had forwarded letters to the two remaining original judges of the special three-judge panel of the court which originally decided the Clarendon County case, apprising of the decision. The dissenting judge in the case, J. Waties Waring, had since retired, his dissent having been foundational to the 1954 original Supreme Court decision in Brown. The Supreme Court had, as part of its decrees pursuant to the implementing decision, ordered the admission of black children to the public schools in the the Summerton school district "on a racially nondiscriminatory basis with all deliberate speed" and directed the District Court to enforce the decree. Meanwhile, the Clarendon School District board of trustees had met the previous day in Charleston to discuss a plan of action. On Tuesday night, 400 residents of the Summerton School District had gathered in a mass meeting and voted to urge the board of trustees to open schools in the fall on the same segregated basis as in the past. One of the attorneys for the Clarendon trustees was quoted as saying that from a legal standpoint, it would be better to close the schools before district officials faced a court mandate calling for immediate desegregation. During the previous year, according to school records, there had been 2,559 students attending the three black schools in the Clarendon district, while there had only been 299 students at the one white school.

In Anchorage, Alaska, crew members of the Navy Neptune, which had been shot down by two Russian MIG jets the previous week over the Bering Sea, said that they were flying over international waters at the time. Their plane had crashed-landed and burned on St. Lawrence Island eight days earlier, and the 11 men aboard had scrambled to safety, with four of them soon returning to duty. The navigator of the crew said that he knew "damned well" that they were not within Russian territory when they were fired upon. The ordnance man said that he had no time to shout a warning to fellow crewmen after spotting the first Russian plane before it fired a bullet which hit their plane. The seven men spoke to the press from wheelchairs and their beds at the Air Force base hospital in Anchorage, providing high praise to two crewmen, one of whom had continued to ensure that fuel was supplying the one good engine while preventing it from leaking and burning the gas tanks, enabling the crippled plane to crash-land. The previous week in San Francisco at the tenth anniversary of the founding of the U.N., Soviet Foreign Minister V. M. Molotov had said that his Government regretted the shooting down of the plane and that they were willing to pay half the damages. The New York Times had stated this date that authoritative sources had said that U.S. air patrols over the Bering Sea had been suspended temporarily, apparently for the purpose of determining Russian motives in the attack and for studying possible protective measures for slow-flying planes in the future.

In Pittsburgh, I. W. Abel, secretary-treasurer of the United Steelworkers, said this date that the union president, David McDonald, had resumed wage talks with John Stephens, the chief negotiator for the U.S. Steel Corp. The threatened strike by the Steelworkers was set to go into effect at midnight this night if the two sides could not reach an agreement on a new contract. U.S. Steel had been holding firm at a dime increase per hour on average. Mr. McDonald said that the union had rejected that increase, that it was only half of the recent settlement by the auto industry with the UAW, suggesting that the Steelworkers were seeking to equal or better that settlement. Mr. Stephens had countered that the company's offer would place the steelworkers ahead of autoworkers in straight-time earnings, but that any settlement would require concessions from both the industry and the union, and that the company was prepared to make an improved offer. The bargaining would impact 600,000 workers in 96 basic steel and iron ore mining firms, who currently averaged earnings of $2.33 per hour.

Evangelist Billy Graham had definitely accepted an invitation to make the principal address at the dedication of Charlotte's new Coliseum and Auditorium, on September 11. Rev. Graham was continuing his crusade tour of Europe, currently in Rotterdam.

Dick Young of The News tells of the City Council having authorized the widening of Kings Drive, producing almost immediate opposition to it. The Council had acted on the recommendation of the City engineer, who said that only six trees would have to be removed to widen the street to 44 feet. But complaints began pouring into the engineering department and the complainants said that they would appear in protest at the following Wednesday's Council meeting, complaining that their street was being made into a thoroughfare. At present, the street was 32 feet in width, allowing driving lanes of only eight feet in width, whereas the widening would permit 11-foot wide lanes.

Julian Scheer of The News indicates that starting the following day, requirements for brake fluids would go into effect throughout the state, that only heavy duty brake fluids could be sold, with the DMV responsible for enforcing the regulations. Unregulated fluids would continue to be sold. The new measure had passed the 1955 General Assembly, before which there had been no brake fluid regulations within the state. They would now be required to have a rating system of SAE 70-R-1 or better to be sold for use in the state. DMV commissioner Ed Scheidt said that his department was setting up the means by which to enforce the new law, but that firms would be given time to obtain approval for their fluids. Query whether Mr. Scheer, once he becomes coordinator for publicity for NASA in 1962, might be dealing with some of the same or similar issues in his reporting.

John Borchert of The News reports that Randy Mears of Augusta, Ga., had won the local Soap Box Derby race the previous day, after there had been several photo finishes in the various heats. The last three residents of Charlotte had been eliminated in the quarterfinal round. The runner-up had been Olin Bankhead of Hamlet, in his first year of competition. One car had its front wheels torn off in a collision after it passed the finish line, putting the racer out of the race. The racer said that he would begin building for next year, that the other car's driver could not help what had happened, swerving in front of him, where they collided. There had been two other accidents as well after that one. This is a dangerous sport and should be banned. And we thought this was a local race. What gives? If you start letting those people from Georgia in, you might as well let everybody in.

On the editorial page, "Needed: A Balance Point for Tariffs" tells of State Department negotiations to reduce tariffs on textiles produced by other countries, principally Japan, having raised the ire of the Southern textile industry, which was predicting that it would cause the closure of many mills and harm the economy of the region and the country. Japan, dependent on a very low-paid labor force, would be able to produce textile goods much more cheaply than the American mills.

In response, North Carolina Senator Sam J. Ervin and South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond had proposed that the Tariff Commission be directed to assess the potential results of the tariff reductions before they would go into effect, so that the Administration would be able to impose them knowing fully what the consequences would be.

It regards it as a sensible solution to the problem, indicates that there were 152 communities with textile operations in North Carolina, employing 234,000 of the 464,000 employed in manufacturing jobs. It indicates that while it was not a happy fact that the Carolinas remained tied to the cotton economy, it nevertheless could not be ignored in striving for the worthy ideal of free trade. It finds that the textile industry had a strong case that it and those employed within it would be at risk by the tariff reductions, and that the Administration ought hear that case and weigh it against its trade policies. It concludes that a balance needed to be struck and so the proposal of the two Senators ought be supported.

"New Garments for a Growing Giant" indicates that the City had available for new street improvements $750,000 in bond money, which had been voted on May 3, but that the needs were far greater, perhaps requiring twice as much money to take care of everything on a list compiled by the City engineer, necessitating that certain projects be weeded out in favor of others.

During the previous day, the "pet projects" had been in evidence, but expert engineering advice had also been available. After an hour and 15 minutes of discussion, the City Council determined that there were ten acceptable projects, including $60,000 earmarked for bridges. It finds it a creditable job of selecting projects which deserved immediate attention. Other projects would have to remain on the drawing boards, while slowly but surely, Charlotte was taking care of its needs. "The growing giant is getting new garments as it can afford them. The civic tailors are clearly making progress."

"A Pastor in the True Sense" indicates that the Rev. Dr. R. S. Snyder, who had received many honors as a minister, lecturer, radio speaker and leader of a committee to study the local Police Department, would long be remembered in the community which he had served so faithfully. In the previous year, he had been in declining health but had never given up his interest and devotion to the people his church served.

He presented a radio program about Russia, titled "Know Your Enemy", and had a large and admiring audience for it. But those who had known him personally in the community admired him for his work as pastor at the Seigle Avenue Presbyterian Church. His church was in a part of the city which needed the "gentle hand and the strong spirit of a real pastor, a man willing at all times to be at the beck and call of the poor, the distressed, the sick and the handicapped."

It indicates that it had followed him on many of his errands of charity and mercy and found him to be the type of pastor and shepherd which it hopes would never vanish from the American scene.

On his way to a well deserved rest in Florida, he had died quietly in his sleep, and, it indicates, the community and the area would miss "a great Christian gentleman".

A piece from the Wall Street Journal, titled "Information, Please", indicates that during the weekend, a man on a television program opened a large vault with diamonds in it by reading the minds of two different people, each of whom knew only half of the combination, then extracted information from Rocky Graziano, the prizefighter, who had been once quite skeptical of the individual's talents at mental telepathy. Mr. Graziano was asked to think of any sentence which appeared in his recently published book, and the mind reader, Joseph Dunninger, repeated it exactly. Mr. Graziano was then asked to think of what he had for breakfast and Mr. Dunninger told him exactly what it was. Mr. Graziano looked stunned.

It suggests that such talents deserved broader fields than merely television entertainment, that the President might consult Mr. Dunninger regarding the coming summit meeting at Geneva of the Big Four heads of state, employing fast interpreters to translate the Russian thoughts, that it would be useful to know what the Russians were thinking while saying something else. And even if he could not read the mind of Premier Nikolai Bulganin, he might at least get close enough to the President to determine whether he would run again in 1956.

Drew Pearson indicates that on June 13, the Securities and Exchange Commission had suspended hearings on the floating of bonds for the Dixon-Yates power project in conjunction with TVA, without stating a reason and not responding to press inquiries or inquiries from Senators about the suspension. Mr. Pearson provides facts to explain the mystery, however, indicating that the House had been about to vote on a 6.5 million dollar appropriation to build high-tension lines connecting Dixon-Yates with Memphis, designed to provide power through the utility combine to that area, normally supplied by TVA. Administration figures knew that it would be a close vote and that damaging evidence was about to be adduced before the SEC, and so the hearings were abruptly postponed. The House had voted on June 16, and the following day, the SEC hearings resumed with the testimony of a representative of the First Boston Corporation regarding how the bankers and certain key Eisenhower leaders had conspired to put across the Dixon-Yates project. It had long been rumored that a representative of Dixon-Yates had been secretly placed within the Budget Bureau to organize Government aspects of the project, then was removed to work on the private aspects. But when Mr. Pearson had telephoned former Budget director Joseph Dodge a year earlier to ask about that issue, the latter had hung up the phone and refused to take any further calls. When Senator Lister Hill of Alabama had written the new Budget director, Howland Hughes, to ask the same question, Mr. Hughes had deliberately evaded him. When a committee, chaired by Senator William Langer of North Dakota, had asked questions on the same subject, the Budget Bureau had lied about it.

Those lies and evasions had now been exposed in the testimony of Adolphe Wenzell, the person who had been placed in the Budget Bureau to help concoct the Dixon-Yates project. It was no wonder that leaders in the Administration did not want Congress to have the testimony heard prior the vote.

He briefly summarizes the testimony of Mr. Wenzell, explaining how he had arranged the groundwork for the project.

Donald I. Rogers, business and financial editor for the New York Herald Tribune, discusses some of the positive economic aspects of tobacco, relating that it accounted for a steady flow of income to two million tobacco growers, was the largest single selling package product in retail food stores, serving more than two-thirds of all retail outlets in the country, sustaining thousands of small businesses by providing the foundation for consistent sales, in turn, supporting the sale of thousands of other products.

While cigarette taxes varied from state to state, a couple in Louisiana, for example, who smoked a total of three packs per day paid an annual tax on cigarette stamps which was more than three times the amount the average worker paid each year in Federal income tax. P. Lorillard & Co. had recently determined that Federal taxes collected through the revenue stamps only on its Old Gold cigarettes paid more than the entire cost of the legislative and judicial branches of the Federal Government, as well as all of its top administrative officers' salaries and expenses, including the President, the Vice-President, the Cabinet, all Senators, all Representatives, the Supreme Court, the Courts of Appeals, and even the secretaries of the branches of the armed services.

The cigarette industry contributed five billion dollars worth of finished products to the Gross National Product, and consumption of cigarettes accounted for 4.3 percent of all consumer expenditures.

Joseph Kolodny, founder and managing director of the National Association of Tobacco Distributors, said that of the 1.3 million small retail outlets which handled cigarettes, 93 percent were privately owned and represented the typical American small business enterprise. Customers made more visits to cigarette counters than to any other retail spot, causing cigarette retailers to become the chief salesmen for thousands of other items. There were some 5,400 wholesale houses in the nation which distributed, in addition to tobacco as a base, 4,800 to 5,000 other products sold at cigarette counters.

The industry's biggest year to date had been in 1952, when Americans had smoked more than 394 billion cigarettes, compared to 1940, when they had smoked more than 180 billion cigarettes. In 1953, sales had begun to drop and did so through most of 1954, but were increasing again thus far in 1955, with Americans having smoked 33.4 billion cigarettes during the first four months of the year, a billion more than during the comparable period of 1954. Americans were also smoking more cigars and consuming more pipe tobacco.

Mr. Rogers concludes that since smoking was a controversial subject at present, in light of the reports that it contributed to cancer, it was well to consider another side of the argument, the great contribution tobacco and cigarettes made to the economy.

Of course, you could say the same about any legalized vice, including legalized prostitution and gambling. That does not make it a salutary enterprise or justify its existence.

Doris Fleeson indicates that the Justice Department was renewing its inquiries into the tax scandals of the Truman Administration, despite the Democratic Congress, as Democrats had pointed out, having revealed the matter while President Truman was still in the White House.

Leading members of the Truman Administration had been summoned the previous week before a Federal grand jury in St. Louis, with Willis Newcomb, a New York lawyer serving independently under Attorney General Herbert Brownell on a per diem pay basis, leading the investigation. The grand jury had heard from many witnesses who testified before two House committees during the previous Democratic Congress. The lead-off witness was Lamar Caudle, the former Assistant Attorney General in charge of the tax division. Another key witness was James Finnegan, who had been the St. Louis tax collector and had just finished an 18-month jail sentence after being convicted on a charge of conflict of interest, having taken money from private clients to obtain for them favorable treatment in tax matters over which he had jurisdiction.

The Justice Department declined to discuss the confidential grand jury proceedings, but described Mr. Newcomb as a tax expert whose last assignment had been to handle the case of Henry Grunewald, the "fixer" who got favors from politicians for businessmen, also previously convicted and presently imprisoned.

She lists the other important witnesses, who included President Truman's former appointments secretary, Matt Connolly, his administrative assistant, Donald Dawson, former Treasury Secretary John Snyder, former Undersecretary of the Treasury, Edward Foley, Assistant Secretary John Graham, and former DNC chairman William Boyle.

Democrats were not worried about the investigation since they had provided the basis for it with their own hearings during the Truman Administration, but were, nevertheless, remaining alert to the possibilities resulting from the grand jury proceedings.

A letter writer, sales manager for a real estate firm, commends the newspaper for an editorial which disapproved of the public housing bill currently pending before Congress, believes that other realtors of the city were also pleased with that stand. He also commends the newspaper for its excellent coverage of real estate news through its Saturday tabloid section.

A letter writer says that the newspaper was doing a public service by printing different viewpoints on the Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education and its implementing decision, the latter having been handed down on May 31, a year after the original decision which found that continued segregation in the public schools was violative of the 14th Amendment Equal Protection Clause. He addresses one particular letter writer, saying that he would not stoop so low as to point to a particular act of violence which had occurred within the white race, as it would not be fair to it, indicating that since the writer felt that his kind should not go to school with the class of this writer, he concludes that the previous writer did not have a class, because the Supreme Court decision applied only to civilized people, not people with feeble minds. He hopes that blacks would remain as they were in terms of trustworthiness, that people such as the previous writer were what the Communists liked, "country hayseeds without a class", as they provided the Communists with propaganda. He finds that the writer lived in the dark ages and that it was a mystery how he had become aware of the Court's decision. He says that he was not offended at the way the previous writer felt about his kind, realizing that civilization was new to him and so sympathized with him. He concludes that the Supreme Court had made a just decision.

A letter writer thanks God for the Supreme Court, having read some of the letters which had been sent to the newspaper regarding Brown, indicating that no one except the majority of white Southerners believed that the Court had done a great injustice. He finds that one letter writer was only interested in investigating the Court and the NAACP, commenting that the NAACP had been investigated a few years earlier and that no taint of Communism had been found. He finds that the Court needed no investigation because it had done the right thing, regardless of so-called "Southern traditions", which he finds were not traditions but rather hangovers from the Civil War. He notices how some writers insisted that blacks were no more than children, indicating that while some of them were like children, so were some whites, such as those who believed that time was going to stand still to serve their evil ends. He praises the Court, and Chief Justice Earl Warren "for being the wonderful person that only he could be."

A letter writer comments on the issue of sale of beer and liquor in the city, saying that she had seen where the City Council might again allow beer to be sold on the curb at drive-in restaurants, having previously determined that beer purchases at drive-ins would have to be made inside the restaurants and not through the carhops, so that identifications could be checked for age. She wonders how many members of the City Council were Christians and whether they realized that their lives were in God's hands, says that anyone who would allow beer and liquor to be sold any time ought never obtain a vote for office. She urges thinking of the mothers, wives and children going hungry because of broken homes, resulting from consumption of beer and liquor. She often wondered why a bomb had not been dropped on Charlotte because of the hundreds of people drinking and living a life of sin. She prays that America would return to God before it was too late, for God could end life on earth any time, but provided many chances to mankind for correction. She hopes and prays that every Christian would help fight the sale of beer on Sundays, especially sales to young boys and girls. She says that beer and liquor dealers would pay for selling something to hurt the boys and girls.

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