The Charlotte News

Wednesday, July 13, 1955


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare Oveta Culp Hobby had resigned her post, effective August 1, and the President had appointed Marion Folsom, presently the Undersecretary of the Treasury, to succeed her. The President had called a special news conference to announce the decision, paying warm tribute to Secretary Hobby, as she sat beside him in the room. Her resignation had been anticipated, as she had indicated several months earlier that she wanted to resign because of her husband's ill health. The President recalled the day in 1942 when she had arrived in London to take command of the Women's Army Corps, at a time when General Eisenhower was preparing to lead the Allied forces in Europe, praising her service in that regard.

Near Merced, Calif., 11 men had died this date when a four-engine tanker plane had crashed after leaving Castle Air Force Base, with no survivors. Fire had broken out on the plane as it reached an altitude of about 1,500 feet, and it crashed within a moment or two afterward, exploding as it hit the ground. It had been on a routine refueling mission from the base when the accident occurred.

In Port of Spain, Trinidad, one body had been recovered among 21 crewmen missing from a freighter, following a collision this date with another freighter. The dead man was identified as being from Barbados and the rest of the missing crew included 15 West Indians and five Europeans, out of a total of 42 crewmen. No cause for the collision was indicated.

In Flint, Mich., a drinking truck driver, irritated by the "laughing and giggling" of fellow patrons, shot two couples in the head in a neighborhood tavern the previous night, according to state police, resulting in the deaths of two women and a man, with a second man near death. The truck driver, 30, was arrested a short time later near Pontiac, 25 miles from the scene, with police indicating that he readily admitted the shootings and provided no explanation other than the irritation which the other patrons had caused him. The officers said that he had been drinking but was not drunk. The four victims were total strangers to him. Witnesses said that he had been sitting at the bar drinking beer, had gone to the restroom, and when he came back out, walked up to the two couples without speaking a word, and began firing point-blank with a .38-caliber automatic pistol. The sole survivor of the two couples, who was in critical condition, was a student at Flint Junior College.

In London, Ruth Ellis, 28-year old divorcee and mother of two children, was hanged this date for the Easter Sunday homicide of a lover who had jilted her. The former model and nightclub hostess had been the 14th woman to be hanged in Britain during the 20th Century and the third since World War II, reviving a nationwide controversy over capital punishment. A crowd of 1,000 persons, some of whom were weeping while others were laughing, stood in a grimy north London street outside the ivy-covered, red-brick Holloway Prison, as the hangman pulled the trap door, the sound of which had touched off cries from other inmates in the prison. Ms. Ellis had maintained a stoic calm during her trial in June, but, according to prison sources, had cried herself to sleep the previous night, screaming, "I don't want to die." The execution would be the last of a female in England, which would abolish the death penalty in 1969. At the time, a conviction of murder automatically provided for the death penalty. She had admitted killing her lover in a jealous rage outside a London bar, but the court had refused to accord her an instruction on manslaughter as a lesser included offense, and the jury took only 24 minutes to deliberate her fate, finding her guilty of murder on June 21. She did not take an appeal and did not seek mercy. Home Secretary Gwilym Lloyd-George, the only person who could recommend royal clemency, had turned down petitions signed by more than 25,000 persons earlier in the week.

In Barium Springs, N.C., the North Carolina Presbyterian Synod voted down a surprise motion this date to delay action on the 11 recommendations made in a report by the committee on educational institutions, including increased support of all Presbyterian colleges and the establishment of a permanent advisory committee to act as a liaison between the Synod and its colleges.

In Charlotte, salary increases of five percent for Charlotte school teachers and a school tax rate of 48 cents per $100 of property valuation, an increase of three cents over the previous year's 45 cents, were approved by the City School Board this date. The five percent salary increase was not as much as requested by the teachers several months earlier, amounting to approximately seven percent.

Also in Charlotte, chief of police Frank Littlejohn this date promised a thorough investigation of a case of a police officer who had been hired despite a record of conviction on a charge of assault with a deadly weapon, resulting from picket line incidents in the recent Bell Telephone strike in Charlotte. He had been fined $10 plus court costs after the conviction. City Manager Henry Yancey said that a memorandum supplied to him prior to the appointment had listed the individual as having no police record.

Also in Charlotte, woman gave birth to a baby boy on Saturday morning, the baby having RH negative blood, which was often replaced with new blood, and so the infant had been given exchange transfusions which were successful. The father had given blood nine times at three-month intervals, and with his child out of danger, made his regular visit to the blood center to donate a pint.

In Fort Worth, Tex., the Air Force claimed a new passenger-carrying record this date for land-based planes, with the XC99 transport landing at the Convair plant the previous day with 212 persons aboard on a flight from San Antonio.

On Capri in Italy, Greta Garbo and her hosts, Mr. and Mrs. Aristotle Onassis, of oil tanker fame, called on Gracie Fields, darling of the British music halls, for lunch this date. Ms. Garbo was cruising with the Onassis family on their yacht, the Christina. Ms. Fields lived on Capri in semi-retirement.

On the editorial page, "Heart Program Must Not Be Destroyed" indicates that the Heart Association of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, which had been separated from its parent state organization, deserved the full support of the United Community Services, that the community should not be deprived of the local heart program merely because the state Association disapproved of federated fund-raising.

The state Association had accepted Charlotte's money but had withdrawn the charter of the local association and tied up its funds because the Charlotte-Mecklenburg unit had refused to quit the United Appeal as ordered.

It indicates that there was time enough for the state Association to reconsider its position and reinstate the local group, which the piece prefers would happen, but that if it did not, the duty of the UCS was clear, to help the local heart association meet the need for a vigorous, effective heart program in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, thus acting on behalf of the thousands of residents who had given generously to the United Appeal to provide basic health and welfare services in the community.

"Short, Unhappy Life of Dixon-Yates" indicates that the Dixon-Yates utility combine contract with the Government was dead and the joy was unrestrained at its demise. The President, who had fought for its life, was happy because the City of Memphis had decided to kill the contract by building its own power plant. The Democratic leadership was happy because it had scotched an attack on public power. The partners in Dixon-Yates had no regrets because their actions had been, according to their description, on a patriotic and ethical level and they expected the Government to repay them "several million dollars" which they had spent on some premature engineering and ground-breaking for the project.

It indicates that at no time had it appeared that the project was a part of a conscientious effort to develop a new concept of public power's place in the nation, and that it was better that the contract had died aborning. It had merely been accidental that it had forced Memphis to stop leaning on subsidized power and face its municipal responsibilities. Otherwise, it had been a "wild hare" leading the Administration and Congress astray from the real game. The cries of "creeping socialism" on the one hand and "government giveaway" on the other had echoed against a history that the "socialism" had crept into a void created by a dragging capitalism, and that public power, in itself, was a "giveaway" of taxpayer money to one region.

It suggests that the Administration and the Congress develop a new definition for the role of public power in the present economy, that it should be based on the recognition that plentiful, low-cost electrical energy was a necessity within the vast and interdependent U.S. economy, that the Government should provide it where private companies could not or would not on their own, and that public facilities ought repay the tax dollars spent to construct them. The definition should not be developed by the Budget Bureau, where Dixon-Yates had been developed, and it should not be determined by firms having a profit motive in the shaping of policy, as exemplified by the role of the architect of Dixon-Yates, Adolphe Wenzell, working within the Bureau.

The Hoover Commission had just completed a survey on the subject and would likely present its recommendations to Congress as a basis for a new public power policy, but that was apparently ruled out by the facts that the Commission membership was so overwhelmingly partisan that its recommendations were automatically pre-condemned by Democrats, and because the recommendations were so typical of Mr. Hoover that the Administration had started distancing itself from the report before it was issued. Thus, no long-term settlement of the power issue appeared possible in the current political arena.

"An Ethridge in the Driver's Seat" tells of Mark Ethridge, Jr., son of the publisher of the Louisville Courier-Journal, Mark Ethridge, and Willie Snow Ethridge, well-known author and lecturer, having become during the week the editor of the Raleigh Times. He had already made a name for himself in journalism, having had a leading role in Newsday's campaign against labor racketeering and political corruption, which had won the newspaper a Pulitzer Prize for public service in 1954. He graduated from Princeton after World War II and made his home in Winston-Salem until May, 1950, where he had been a news copy editor on the Journal and Sentinel. He also had experience on the London Daily Mail and the Washington Post.

It indicates that he was a vigorous, knowledgeable young editor who would contribute much to the North Carolina scene in his new role. The Times, under new ownership, and with its new editor, could look forward to an era of continued growth and public service.

A piece from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, titled "Cadillacs 'Mid the Ivy", indicates that in Iowa, where enthusiastic football fans sometimes gave Cadillacs to coaches, official answer had been given to the base canard that nobody ever gave Cadillacs to professors, as students and alumni at Iowa State College had presented one to the dean.

It finds it good that someone on the academic side was receiving as much recognition as a favorite coach might obtain, but is not sure that such gifts were the right form of reward for academic effort. If the principle were to become established, students might be tempted to shower a professor's podium with silver after a particularly rousing lecture on Shakespeare, in the manner which fans recognized a star at minor-league baseball games. Academic distinction might come to depend on whether a faculty member had been given a Cadillac or some lesser token of appreciation by the students.

It concludes that a better way to recognize professors would be to raise faculty salaries.

Drew Pearson indicates that despite the 77 to 4 defeat in the Senate recently of Senator McCarthy's proposed resolution which would have required the President at the forthcoming Big Four summit conference to have raised the issue with the Soviets of their satellite states in Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Poland, McCarthyism still thrived in certain places. Former Congressman Charles Kersten of Wisconsin, the closest Congressional friend of the Senator, had just been appointed a White House aide at $50 per day. He had been defeated for re-election in 1954 in the wave of anti-McCarthyism which had swept parts of Wisconsin, and since that time had been looking for a job, failing to obtain one at the State Department. But now he had been hired as an adviser on the staff of Nelson Rockefeller, in charge of the President's psychological warfare program. The future Governor of New York and Vice-President had vigorously opposed Senator McCarthy and all for which he stood, and White House insiders had said that he had not wanted to have the strong McCarthy supporter on his staff. But it had been considered good political strategy.

Sometime earlier, when Christian Rogers, former aide to Senator McCarthy, had been appointed assistant to the chairman of the FCC, it was denied that he would have any influence. Two friends of the Senator were already on the FCC, Robert E. Lee, who had helped mastermind the Senator's below-the-belt campaign against Senator Millard Tydings in 1950, and John Doerfer of Wisconsin. Now, Mr. Rogers was slated to fill one of the key positions in the FCC, the chief of the Broadcast Bureau. Presently, that position was filled by Curtis Plummer, a Republican from Maine, who had been appointed by the Democrats and promoted by the Democrats, despite being a good Republican. He had become suspect, however, because of the Democratic approval, and would probably be sent to safety and special radio services, considered Siberia in the FCC. Mr. Rogers would, in the position, rule upon which applicants would receive radio and television licenses worth millions of dollars, the most important job in the FCC outside of being a member of the Commission, itself.

Wendell Barnes, head of the Small Business Administration, was recently being cross-examined by the Senate Civil Service Committee, examining security risks who had been fired by the President, and the sometimes high-handed manner in which they had been fired. He had been asked by Senator Olin Johnston of South Carolina to provide the address of George McDavitt, and Mr. Barnes, after some reluctance, provided it, Mr. McDavitt being the chief security officer for the Small Business Administration, who, it was claimed, had been firing Civil Service employees as security risks merely because he wanted to make room for political friends. Mr. Barnes had initially been reluctant to provide the address because it was a building owned by the American Fascist and anti-Semite, Allen Zoll, founder of the American Patriots, who were on the Attorney General's list of subversive organizations as being Fascist. Mr. Barnes appeared to be on good terms with Mr. Zoll, disturbing to the Senators, given his position. Mr. Zoll had picketed radio station WMCA in New York when it had refused to permit Father Charles Coughlin to broadcast, had raised money for Merwin Hart and for Joe Kamp's Constitutional Educational League, and with the help of Senator McCarthy's friend, J. B. Matthews, had published the Educational Guardian, later, in anonymous co-authorship with Mr. Matthews, had published "How Red Is the Federal Council of Churches?", and had worked for the Arab cause regarding Palestine and claimed credit for firing Willard Goslin as superintendent of schools in Pasadena, because the school system had been integrated. During the 1952 campaign, Mr. Zoll had hung out at the headquarters of Gerald L. K. Smith, working for the nomination of General MacArthur for the presidency. Mr. McDavitt had testified that he had first met Mr. Zoll in 1949, renting a room in his building in 1954, but would not say whether his former wife had once worked for him. Mr. McDavitt had also stated that he maintained files on 75,000 persons, many of whom were not in the Government.

Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson had been predicting privately that the Senate would not act during the current year on rigid farm supports.

Government inspectors had found that some yellow dyes used in margarine were harmful to health. But the margarine producers had developed a new product, called acetin margarine, which would offer better competition to butter, would not go rancid or melt when hot.

The Pentagon had reported that the famed British Royal Air Force was in bad shape.

Stewart Alsop, in Moscow, tells of an airshow, with a county fair-like atmosphere, to demonstrate for both the Russian people and foreign observers the new large jet bomber capability of the Soviets, accompanied by MIG-17 jet fighters designed to perform at 40,000 feet and higher. Twelve Bisons, the Soviet equivalent of the U.S. B-52 bomber, designed for intercontinental nonstop and return missions, had been the highlight of the show. The number of the big planes disputed the theory of Secretary of Defense Charles E. Wilson that Soviet engineers had only developed "handmade prototypes", built to bemuse foreigners. And those had been followed by 54 Badgers, the equivalent of the U.S. B-47, followed by 50 all-weather fighters. Those were followed by the new day fighters, called the Farmer, which had worried the NATO command. Then came a single jet transport, which no Western observer had ever before seen, usable commercially or for refueling, with no comparable plane in the American Air Force.

He suggests that it might have been a good thing for Secretary Wilson to have been an observer of the airshow, watching the dozens of Badgers and Bisons thundering overhead. He indicates that long before the show had ended, "it had ceased to seem quite so much like a jolly country fair."

Doris Fleeson indicates that there was practically no praise or support which Carmine DeSapio, the New York political boss, could give Governor Averell Harriman which would bother Adlai Stevenson and his supporters, as long as it was confined to New York. She tells of Mr. DeSapio wanting to keep Governor Harriman in the potential mix for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1956 should Governor Stevenson decide not to run. Governor Harriman, himself, continued to support Mr. Stevenson and eschewed suggestions that he would get into the race for the nomination as long as Mr. Stevenson was running. Mr. DeSapio had been careful to speak only for himself, but, posits Ms. Fleeson, would probably like to encourage other leaders to be equally coy about Mr. Stevenson.

She indicates that of all the possible Democratic candidates for 1956, Governor Harriman knew the President best, and wanted to carry the fight to the President personally. That belligerence of Governor Harriman appealed to many organization politicians within the party.

Robert C. Ruark, in London, tells of having been bitten by some East Indian bug and winding up having to go to the hospital, where he underwent electrocardiograms, simple surgery, special nursing, X-rays, obtained bed, board and doctors, all for free under the socialized medical program, and found it to have worked extremely well, giving praise to the British system. The only thing he eventually had to pay for was a specialist, later on.

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