The Charlotte News

Thursday, June 9, 1955


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Senate leaders had moved this date for quick action on extension of the peacetime draft and the separate act regarding drafting of doctors, both of which were set to expire at the end of the month. They delayed a decision on an appeal by the President to rescue the Administration's manpower reserve program, designed to increase the size of the reserve to enable cutbacks in active-duty personnel. Senate Armed Services Committee chairman, Senator Richard Russell of Georgia, invited opposition witnesses before the Committee to testify on extension of the separate laws, the general draft bill allowing for drafting of those between ages 18 and 26, and the physician draft bill, allowing for drafting of medical specialists up to age 50. Senate Minority Leader William Knowland of California had said that discussions were underway regarding the reserve manpower measure in the Senate. It had been shelved by the House, when Representative Adam Clayton Powell of New York had successfully moved to attach a provision which would forbid racial segregation in reserve and National Guard units. The President had stated at the previous date's press conference that the reserve plan was vital to the nation's security, and stated that while the Administration had a good record on eliminating segregation, he did not think it proper to tack on unrelated riders regarding elimination of segregation to bills which were vital to the security of the country. Mr. Powell said that he believed the President had been "ill-advised and when he thinks it over, he will say that the amendment is necessary." Representative Overton Brooks of Louisiana said that the reserve measure was dead in the House for the present time.

The Senate Investigations subcommittee, investigating graft in the procurement of uniforms for the armed services, heard again testimony this date from hat maker Harry Lev, who stated that he was able to "guarantee" in advance that Government procurement officers with whom he had been friendly would approve a change in specifications for a big Air Force contract, but insisted that there was nothing wrong or strange about the tacit agreement. Attempting to inject an air of mirth into the atmosphere, he invited Senator George Bender of Ohio, one of his severest critics on the subcommittee, to be his guest in Puerto Rico for a meal of green turtle steak, claiming that the food had peculiar virtues. Even Senator Bender had laughed at the exchange, wiping away tears, saying that he did not have that kind of money. Mr. Lev conceded that he had made more than one million dollars in profit from his Government contracts and could afford turtle steak in Puerto Rico. Senator John McClellan of Arkansas, chairman of the subcommittee, said that Mr. Lev still had a lot to explain following his two days of testimony. The Air Force had announced the previous night that it had filed court-martial charges against Capt. Raymond Wool, who had formerly headed the military clothing procurement program, charging him with permitting doctors bills to be paid for him by an Air Force contractor.

Representatives Samuel McConnell and Augustine Kelly, both of Pennsylvania, and both high-ranking members of the House Labor Committee, the former a Republican and the latter a Democrat, told newsmen this date that they expected the Committee to approve a bill for a one-dollar per hour minimum wage and that the entire House would approve it. The chairman of the Committee, Graham Barden of North Carolina, said that he was backing the Administration recommendation for a 95-cent minimum wage. The Senate had called up the minimum wage bill the previous day and hastily passed it without a record vote. The increase, if passed and signed into law, would be effective the following January 1 and would impact 2.1 million covered workers presently making less than a dollar per hour. A move by Senator Alexander Smith of New Jersey to raise the minimum wage to 90 cents for the first year and then by a nickel each year for two successive years, had lost in a voice vote before the Senate. The present minimum wage was 75 cents per hour.

If passed, the one-dollar minimum wage would impact, according to the State Labor commissioner Frank Crane, approximately 169,200 North Carolina workers, more than one-fourth of the state's industrial workers.

In Richmond, the Richmond News Leader reported that Virginia's Commission on Public Education this date was nearing an agreement regarding a statewide policy of classifying school pupils by such factors as scholastic attainment, health and public welfare. The various school boards would have set up, prior to registration by each pupil, some schools staffed with all-black faculties and others with all-white faculties. After the registration, the boards would assign pupils to schools on the basis of health, educational attainment and considerations of the community's welfare. If the plan were approved by the Commission, it would be recommended to Governor Thomas Stanley as a policy to substitute for the state's outlawed segregated system. The Governor had said that he would follow the Commission's advice. The Commission reportedly was considering recommendations to repeal the state's compulsory school attendance laws and reduce the State Board of Education's powers to set educational standards and instead vest those powers in local school authorities. The Defenders of State Sovereignty and Individual Liberty had presented to the Commission this date a "plan for Virginia", whereby segregated schools would be maintained, calling for a special session of the Virginia General Assembly by no later than mid-July, which would amend the State Constitution to empower the Assembly to "adopt such laws in regulation to schools as the welfare of the people requires." It would also authorize use of public funds to subsidize private schools in localities where "it becomes necessary" to close the public schools.

In Paris, Soviet Foreign Minister V. M. Molotov arrived by plane this date for a luncheon with French Premier Edgar Faure and Foreign Minister Antoine Pinay, probably set to discuss both the Soviet invitation to West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer to visit Moscow and the projected Big Four summit conference, tentatively set for July 18 in Geneva. Mr. Molotov was en route to the U.S. to attend the tenth anniversary of the U.N., scheduled for San Francisco on June 20-26.

In Detroit, negotiators for G.M. and the UAW appeared confident this date that they would reach a contract settlement before the extended Sunday midnight deadline for expiration of the current contract and ensuing strike, but did not offer comment on the trend of the talks, with another bargaining session scheduled for early afternoon.

In Ramsgate, England, a Swedish tanker had burst into flames after an English Channel collision early this date, and 20 of the crewmen who leaped into the burning sea were feared lost. Of the 43 aboard, the ship's captain and several officers were believed among those lost.

In Raleigh, the State Revenue Department would lease space in the new internal revenue building in Greensboro so that it could check every Federal income tax return of North Carolina's self-employed persons.

Dick Young of The News indicates that almost $10,000 of city personal property delinquent taxes had been collected during the previous three weeks since a campaign by the City revenue collector had been undertaken to publish the names of delinquent personal property accounts.

In Louisa, Ky., an 88-year old woman, Grandma Large, started her day with a breakfast of eggs and hoecake prepared by her husband, Shorty, 28, as they marked their tenth anniversary. Grandma said that she had not been to a doctor in more than a year, accepted a cigar from newsmen, but admitted that her health was not what it once was, that she had the "rheumatiz and blood pressure", and it was all she could do to wash dishes and make beds in the morning. She would then sit by the window of their cabin and listen to the radio, while her husband often left at night to visit a neighbor's house to watch television. She did not like television, said, "It's of the devil." The couple's only regular income was her $33 per month old age pension, of which she stated, "You can breathe on it but you can't live on it." The only problem was that it was only their ninth anniversary, not their tenth, and he was only 27. Somebody had added a year along the way, perhaps trying to make them seem closer in age than they were.

On the editorial page, "Industrial Waste: Specific Data Needed" tells of the City Council hearing from local laundries, who believed that they were being unreasonably compelled to construct costly and perhaps unnecessary testing stations regarding their waste product, arguing that their waste was no different from household waste and should be so classified. The City maintained that laundry waste ought be classified as industrial waste, necessitating the testing stations to analyze its strength and holding tanks to regulate its flow into the sewage system.

The laundry operators had not presented chemical analyses of their waste to show that it was no different from household waste, whereas the City's consulting engineer reported figures indicating that the biological oxygen demand or strength of laundry waste generally was double that of domestic waste. His statistics, however, were old and there was no differentiation therein between domestic laundries and industrial laundries which handled heavier and dirtier materials, the figures representing merely averages among all types of laundries.

It suggests that the City ought put aside its outdated statistical data and conduct new tests of the waste of each individual laundry affected before determining whether each laundry should be classified as industrial or left under the general classification.

The problem was the result of industry dumping its waste for decades into Sugar Creek, with an ordinance which had gone into effect June 1, after five years in abeyance, providing that all industrial waste had to be tested and held in a holding tank before being injected into the City's sewage system, enacted after a new sewage filtration plant had gone into operation. It suggests that the laundries had ample opportunity to prepare for the mandate of the ordinance, but that the Council was being wise in allowing for every reasonable and helpful effort to be made for businessmen who understandably did not wish to spend the additional money unless absolutely necessary.

"A Basic Problem before Parents" indicates that the PTA and the Parents League would meet this night at Myers Park High School to discuss driver training in the schools, a program to permit students in the tenth grade in all city high schools to receive 30 hours of classroom training followed by six hours of in-car training. Presently, four of the five public high schools had optional, inadequate training systems.

It finds the proposal worthy and hopes that it would be adopted, with the aim of making younger drivers safe, though recognizing that there was no certain way to prevent reckless driving by youth or by adults.

Eventually, that regimen of training would be adopted statewide.

"Housing Bill Should Be Cut Back" indicates that the House had a duty to eliminate from the Senate version of a bill on public housing a provision for construction of 540,000 units of low-rent public housing in the ensuing four years. The Senate, under prodding from Democratic Senators John Sparkman, Herbert Lehman and Paul Douglas, had authorized 470,000 more units than recommended by the President, who had requested authority for construction of 70,000 units in the ensuing two years.

It asserts that it was no time for further ventures by the Federal Government into the field of subsidized housing, finding that past experience had demonstrated that the Government was careless with tax dollars when it ventured into areas normally undertaken by private business.

It finds that in Charlotte, for example, there was no ground for additional public housing to meet existing or anticipated emergencies. Private business was providing the necessary homes, as it should be. With the exception of housing needed for the military on Government bases, it does not find that there was any need for the Government to engage in additional public housing ventures, asserts trust that Representative Charles Jonas and the other members of the North Carolina House delegation would stand against any extension of Government housing for other than military personnel.

A piece from the Greensboro Daily News, titled "A Place To Sit", indicates that every town or city needed at least one park, plaza, village green or common where people could gather in relative peace and quiet when they were feeling sociable or merely tired. It finds it particularly applicable to the South, where there were fewer such amenities available.

Boston had its Commons and New York, its Washington Square, Paris, its numerous places, and every village south of the border had its plaza.

Walter Gropius, in his Scope of Architecture, had written on the subject, as quoted in another reprinted piece, from the Boston Herald a week earlier, leading it to conclude: "Trees, grass, benches and a fountain—are these too much for people in a city or town to ask for?"

Drew Pearson indicates that the White House had been rocked by a backstage battle over how far the President should enter the "polio mess", regarding the problems encountered by the vaccine, entailing relatively few breakthrough cases of infection after children had received the vaccine, though probably the result of pre-vaccination infection, nevertheless requiring a thorough examination of all of the extant vaccine supplies and the six manufacturers who were producing the vaccine, with a controversy having developed as to whether the Government should take over distribution of the vaccine to ensure that it was made available to all schoolchildren, following the free shots being administered by the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis to first and second-graders, deemed the most vulnerable to the crippling and sometimes fatal disease. Some advisers were telling the President that he should use his prestige to quiet the controversy, urging him to go on television to reassure the public, while others told him to stay away from the controversy and let his subordinates face the television cameras alone. The politicians were concerned that the voters might blame the Administration for polio deaths caused ostensibly by contaminated vaccine. Assistant Secretary of HEW, Dr. Chester Keefer, was directly responsible for overseeing the vaccine program and was presently chairman of the President's advisory committee on polio, though he wanted to back away from the position. Mr. Pearson informs that he had been placed with HEW by the AMA. A high-powered public relations expert, Robert Kennedy—not to be confused with the brother of Senator John F. Kennedy—, had been brought into HEW to whitewash the polio bungling. Cutter Laboratories of Berkeley, Calif., whose vaccine had been associated with most of the trouble, was the only producer which had refused to build special facilities to produce the vaccine.

In 1934-35 tests of another vaccine, it had caused several deaths, practically stopping all research on polio vaccines for a decade.

Government doctors believed that the polio vaccine could be improved so that it could be administered without painful injections, believing that the injection, itself, could cause associated paralysis by localizing all of the virus in the body around the point of injection. They hoped to develop a swab vaccine, to be administered orally.

He next indicates that it was no accident that many stories had come from Washington and Chicago recently stating that Adlai Stevenson would definitely run again for the presidency in 1956. The column, as early as April 20, had quoted Mr. Stevenson's son that his father would run again. The recent stories had come from Mr. Stevenson's law partner, who had stated that regardless of whether the President would run again, Mr. Stevenson would. Various other Democratic candidates had been lying low, waiting to see whether the President would run again, but Mr. Stevenson had decided not to wait, as he did not think it fair to other Democrats, such as Governor Averell Harriman of New York and Governor G. Mennen Williams of Michigan, both of whom his close friends and who would enter the race only if he did not run. He also believed it was only fair to the party to have its potential lineup known well in advance of the nominating convention.

The Commerce Department's new deputy undersecretary, Brig. General Thomas Wilson, had gone through the biggest Government investigation since the mink coat and deep freeze controversy of the so-called "five-percenters", Government wire-pullers, during the Truman Administration. A Portuguese firm had touched off the investigation by threatening to bring sensational corruption charges against General Wilson in connection with a 3.5 million dollar lawsuit, wherein the company was suing the Government for canceling a tungsten contract. Government agents had pursued the corruption charges all over Europe and had finally found proof that the whole story was a blackmail plot, clearing General Wilson's name in time for his promotion the previous month to the position in the Commerce Department. The clincher was a recorded conversation which the agents picked up over a secret microphone, a transcript of which the column had obtained, showing that a mysterious Spaniard, Rafael Duran, had talked with a third-party about blackmailing General Wilson and double-crossing the third-party's partner. Sr. Duran had suggested that an incriminating affidavit might be sold to General Wilson, who might pay the blackmail money to spare himself embarrassment.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop indicate that for many years, American correspondents in Moscow had wisely warned that their own dispatches were slanted because of Soviet censorship. They relate that, in their opinion, it was time for Washington correspondents to send out a similar warning, as the Eisenhower Administration was not yet using the conventional blue pencils for censorship but was, nevertheless, practicing widespread censorship, no less effective in slanting the news simply because it was indirect. All Washington reporters who were still doing their jobs to inform the public of important facts felt the pressure.

Facts which were vital to the American public were the very ones which were being interdicted. They cite as example, in the wake of Joseph Alsop having returned from a six-month tour of Asia, two of their oldest and best friends in Washington having proposed a family reunion, with the ladies of the three families having determined the plans. Then, on the eve of the reunion, a phone call had come to their two friends, both of whom held high posts in the same Government agency, telling them that their official positions would be compromised if the party were to proceed.

At the time, the Alsops had published a report regarding the problem of slow development of an American satellite in the face of the Soviet program already underway to build such a satellite, having placed their leading physicist in charge of the program. The National Security Council had taken a dim view of the disclosure regarding the retarded nature of the American program. It was of no moment to the NSC that the Alsops had no access to classified information. The head of the agency which employed their two friends was at the NSC meeting and promptly returned to his office and made the phone call to their two friends to cancel the reunion.

They indicate that they had never talked to their friends about their work in their Government agency or about any sensitive matters, understanding that in modern Washington, "which is more zoo than metropolis", wise men maintained their business and friendship strictly separate. If a person happened to be a friend and held information which was of public interest, the reporter made a formal appointment to obtain an interview. The head of the agency in question understood those ground rules and had later told the Alsops that he was confident the rules had always been strictly respected. He did not fear any unwarranted disclosures, rather fearing that an attack might occur on his agency if it were to become known that important subordinates had continued an old friendship with persons who had written about facts of the highest national importance, the retarded satellite program vis-à-vis the Soviets.

Undoubtedly, he was correct, they venture, and their friends had no other course open to them except to put the welfare of their agency ahead of their planned reunion with old friends, who happened to be reporters. But they find that what was not right was the mephitic, "almost psychotic atmosphere", which forced such an invasion of private life against reporters who were only carrying out their proper public duty to inform. It was also not right for indirect censorship to occur by threatened reprisal, and if carried so far, reporters who still did their jobs "must expect any kind of harassment, from old-fashioned security investigations to separation from their oldest friends and quite probably wiretapping and bug-planting."

They conclude that it was a "radical change in the American political system", very nearly equating to an amendment to the Constitution being shoved through behind the backs of the American people, such a serious matter that it would be the subject of several of their subsequent reports.

The Congressional Quarterly tells of Democrats, who had campaigned successfully against "Hooverism" for 20 years, presently looking forward to a repeat performance in 1956, finding optimism from the alleged "big business" flavor of the proposals presently coming from the second Hoover Commission on Organization of the Executive Branch, which, like the first one under President Truman, had been headed by former President Hoover. Unlike the first one, however, the second one was going extensively into policy matters and recommending the liquidation of major Government enterprises on the ground that they competed with private business.

During the 1952 presidential campaign, General Eisenhower had gathered considerable support and possibly votes with his statements extolling the theme of "get government out of business". But as President, he had undertaken no policies as broad as those being proposed by the second Hoover Commission, that Government agencies be "mutualized" or turned into private enterprises. Nevertheless, the Democrats hoped to be able to link the Hoover Commission recommendations with the Administration and the Republican Party in the coming presidential campaign.

The President had appointed former President Hoover to the second Commission, which Congress had established in 1953. By contrast, the first Commission had been set up in 1947, and the former President had been appointed as a member by then-Speaker of the House Joe Martin, a Republican. Both the 1947 and 1953 laws had provided for the appointment of four commissioners each by the Speaker, the president of the Senate, and the President. Another fact cited by the Democrats was that President Eisenhower had deviated from the pattern of political bipartisanship set during the appointments to the first Commission, by naming three Republicans and only one Democrat to the second Commission, with the result that there were seven Republicans and only five Democrats.

The Quarterly indicates that the point was of dubious political value because in 1947, Congress had stipulated that the first Commission was to be drawn equally from both parties, a provision dropped from the 1953 law, passed by both houses without debate or dissent. Also, three of the President's four appointees had dissented from several of the Commission's more controversial recommendations. Representative Chet Holifield of California, a Democrat, had entered extensive and vociferous dissents on eight of the 12 recommendations thus far issued.

In addition to Mr. Hoover, the President had appointed Attorney General Herbert Brownell, Defense Mobilization director Arthur Flemming, and Democrat James Farley, former Postmaster General and DNC chairman under FDR. Both Messrs. Brownell and Flemming had registered dissents on a number of occasions when Commission proposals were against Administration policy. The Holifield dissents were expected to form the basis for much of the Democratic campaign material against the Commission. His dissents were against the proposals to curtail far-ranging Federal activities, from free hospital care for veterans with non-service-connected disabilities to the operation of cut-rate commissaries and post exchanges for servicemen.

Whether the President would lend credence to a Democratic campaign against a "return to Hooverism" by endorsing the Commission's more controversial proposals remained to be seen. As of June 6, the outlook for early action, either in Congress or the White House, regarding those proposals was poor. The President was still awaiting the recommendations of his own three-man advisory committee on Government organization, of which Mr. Flemming was a key member.

A letter writer praises the editorial on the dilemma of the creative arts in America, indicating that the unfortunate fact was that creative artists had little or no place in the American arts scene, providing creative talents little outlet for development. He cites the late American composer Charles Ives as having spent the major portion of his life making a living from the insurance business, with almost no opportunity to hear his own works actually performed. Conductors of orchestras and directors of art galleries were loath to present more than a token amount of modern music or art for fear that they would lose patronage of those who wanted only classical presentations. He agrees with the editorial in its urging a reappraisal of the system of values which had to be made before the society could expect Beethovens or Michelangelos to flourish, points out that Beethoven and Michelangelo, themselves, were scarcely accepted in their native countries as great artists and would not have flourished in all likelihood without wealthy patrons backing them. The work of Bach, in fact, he notes, had lain forgotten for many years after his death before being resurrected by Felix Mendelssohn. He hopes that the American people would recognize and remedy the shortsighted condition in American cultural life.

A letter writer, mother of a School Safety Patrol boy, thanks, on behalf of the members of the Patrol and their parents, Sgt. George Livingston for the time, patience and hard work he had devoted to sponsoring the organization, as well as his assistant, Mr. Hill.

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