The Charlotte News
Wednesday, July 20, 1955
Site Ed. Note: The front page reports from Geneva that the Big Four leaders at the summit conference had taken up the broad question of European security this date, with the President having summoned top military advisers to consult on the matter, including Joint Chiefs chairman, Admiral Arthur Radford, General Alfred Gruenther, NATO supreme commander, Robert Anderson, Deputy Secretary of Defense, Harold Stassen and future Governor of New York and Vice-President Nelson Rockefeller, the latter being presidential assistants dealing with disarmament and propaganda. The heads of state met for their fourth session this date, and for two hours the foreign ministers had sought to reach agreement regarding recommendations on the German problem, with one Western source indicating that they just argued in circles and had gotten into the European security problem to such an extent that the Western leaders became convinced it would be difficult to keep the issues separate. The West had finally agreed to recommend that the summit talks move on to the second agenda item, regarding security, and it was anticipated that the two questions would be discussed at the same time. Western leaders recognized the close link between the German issue and that of security, but having won top priority status the previous day for German reunification, which they considered the most vital problem in Europe at present, wanted first to consider that issue. But after a day of discussion of it, the Russians wanted to move on to the second item on the agenda. Agreement on Germany appeared now remote, according to one American source, but that person also indicated that the shift to the second issue did not preclude discussion of German reunification. The Russians had proposed the previous day that the issue of German reunification be dropped until West Germany would withdraw from NATO.
In Washington, the House Education and Labor Committee this date defeated, by a vote of 17 to 10, a move to bar Federal school construction funds to states or local school districts which continued to practice racial segregation in the public schools. The vote cleared the way for final Committee approval, possibly the following day, of a bill which provided 1.6 billion dollars over the ensuing four years for construction of new schools, in conjunction with the states. Nine Democrats and eight Republicans teamed up to vote against the anti-segregation amendment, which had been proposed by Representative Adam Clayton Powell of New York and Representative Stuyvesant Wainwright of New York, backed by three other Republicans and six Democrats on the Committee. Two members abstained and the proxy of one member, voting in favor of the amendment, had been ruled out of order.
In Saigon, South Vietnam, thousands
of anti-Communist students had sacked the city's top hotel this date,
but one guest, Perle Mesta, former U.S. Minister to Luxembourg, had
out-talked them when they took axes to her door. The students were
In Detroit, a Federal grand jury this date indicted the UAW on charges of violation of the Federal Corrupt Practices Act for allegedly using general union funds to finance political activities in the 1954 midterm Congressional elections. Patrick McNamara, supported by UAW and other labor groups, had defeated Senator Homer Ferguson in that election. A weekly union-sponsored radio program was involved in the investigation of charges brought by the Michigan Republican Central committee. None of the officers of the union were named in the indictment.
In Cleveland, O., Dr. Samuel Sheppard, who had been convicted the previous December of the second-degree murder of his wife, Marilyn, and sentenced to life imprisonment, was now set to enter prison, nearly one year after he had been arrested the previous early August for the crime which had taken place in the wee hours of the morning of July 4. He was transported to the penitentiary in Columbus this date from the county jail where he had been held in custody. An Ohio appellate court this date had turned down his second and final motion for new trial and one of his attorneys stated that the doctor believed he would get more exercise and privileges in the state prison than he presently received in the county jail. His motion for new trial had been based primarily on a criminology professor's affidavit that he had discovered new evidence that a left-handed sex fiend had killed Mrs. Sheppard, whereas the doctor was right-handed. The 41-page opinion of the appellate court discounted the affidavit, however, calling it "highly speculative and fallacious", "guesswork" and "sheer supposition", and, moreover, determined that the evidence could have been adduced with due diligence at the time of trial and thus was not "newly discovered" for purposes of the statute authorizing the grant of a new trial.
Charles Kuralt of The News, in the third of a series of articles on aging, tells of an old woman slowly climbing the stairs at the Welfare Department the previous week, stopping at the switchboard operator's desk and then walking down to her caseworker's door. She complained that while her daughter-in-law was quite good to her, she would not let her do anything, that she could wash dishes, but her daughter-in-law thought that she would break them, that she was not able to do anything around the house, with the result that she just sat from morning until night wishing there was some little thing she could do. The caseworker had heard the same story before, as many of the 11,000 people over age 65 in Mecklenburg County, even among the fortunate 9,000 who lived with relatives, had empty and lonely lives at home because they could not wash dishes, go shopping or make decisions for themselves. A Welfare Department supervisor said that they wanted to be wanted and feel that they were still necessary to the happiness and welfare of their families and communities. Fifty years earlier, such problems would likely not have arisen, but now with increasing urbanization and industrialization of the South, older people in the family were denied familiar chores of the farm. Cities provided little work for retired wage earners, who thus faced inactivity and marginal living, even though they were being fed and housed by their children. A half-century earlier, no one would question the right or even duty of an old woman to help around the house. In 1950, 83,000 of the 230,000 people in North Carolina over age 65 had no income at all, and only about 44,000 of the remainder had an income of more than $1,000 per year, with less than 10 percent being self-supporting. Most of those lived with relatives, numbering about 9,000 in Mecklenburg County, with another 1,000 or so living alone, tenaciously clinging to their own homes or insisting on independence in an apartment. About 400 others lived in rooming houses or boarding houses, while another 300, most of whom were senile, lived in nursing homes and hospitals. About 165 lived in the Methodist Home and about 155 lived in the County Home. As the numbers of people over 65 increased at the rate of one per day in the county, all of those facilities, already overcrowded, had to stretch. The number of nursing homes in the city had grown to eight, with three more inside the county. Mr. Kuralt's father, incidentally, Wallace Kuralt, was head of the Welfare Department.
Julian Scheer of The News indicates that Charlotte had no youth gang problem, according to three local authorities on juvenile matters, the detective who headed the Youth Bureau of the Police Department, the Juvenile Court judge, and an aide to the Park and Recreation Commission. While the city had not been completely free of the threat of gangs, there was not the type of gang activity which was running rampant in New York City. Police officials said that Charlotte had such gangs as the "Brooklyn Giants", but police had been able to intervene and crack them in short order. The detective had picked up four black youths who had identified themselves as members of that gang the previous Monday night, and had charged them with assault with intent to commit rape, after two black women had been beaten by the gang members, one on July 11, and the other, two days later, both shortly before midnight. One woman had described it as her second attack by members of the gang. The detective said that the gang operations were not a problem presently in the city and that the Youth Bureau kept close tabs on them, including planting of informers within the gangs. The aide to the Park and Recreation Commission said that he was surprised to read about gangs in the city and personally did not believe they were present. The Juvenile Court judge said that there was definitely no major gang problem in the city.
In Charlotte, a 25-year old professional gospel singer who claimed he was merely trying to get in touch with a girlfriend for a late date, had been arrested this date on charges of first-degree burglary, after he said that he had gone to the wrong house and awakened the wrong girl. He was arrested in the wee hours of the morning, when police spotted him running across Independence Boulevard a few minutes after the alleged burglary had been reported, initially telling the officers that he had been running because he was a boxer and was in training, but later stating his occupation as a singer with the Oak Ridge Quartet, part of the Wally Fowler All-Night Gospel Sing organization. Police said that he was identified by a 14-year old girl, who charged that she was awakened shortly after 3:00 a.m. by a man who raised the screen on her bedroom window, reached his arm through the window and touched her. She was visiting that home at the time. The man told police that he mistook the house for the home of a young woman he was planning to date that evening, that he thought he knew the girl and was seeking to awaken her by whispering to her, that when it did not succeed, he had raised the screen and touched her, at which point she had awakened, sat up in bed, and then looked at him as though horrified, which scared him and prompted him to run. He told officers that he had planned to obtain a date with a young woman the previous evening but had telephoned and found that she was out until a late hour, had seen a light on in the house which he thought was her home, and stood beside the window, trying to awaken the girl. A warrant was issued charging first-degree burglary signed by the girl, and a preliminary hearing was set for the following morning in Recorder's Court.
In Daytona Beach, Fla., a North Carolina couple from Gastonia spent their first night there separately after registering in a motel on Monday afternoon, the husband then going for a walk, but upon his return, could not remember the motel where he had departed from his wife, sought the help of police officers who also failed to locate the motel. He had thus spent the night in another hotel, until his wife saw a story in the newspaper on Tuesday, went to the sheriff's office and reunited with her husband.
On the editorial page, "The Rover Boys Track a Tornado" indicates that seldom had there been such a response in Charlotte to a weather forecaster's routine storm warning, as when the local Weather Bureau had reported properly a weather advisory regarding possible tornadoes via radio and television stations two nights earlier. The report had often been coupled with bad advice about what to do in the event a tornado touched down, resulting in confusion, and, in some cases, hysteria.
Some reports had stated that tornadoes were approaching Charlotte and likely would strike within minutes. One report had advised citizens to close all doors and windows in their houses, bad advice, as during a tornado barometric pressure dropped rapidly, causing houses to blow apart from the outward pressure of the air inside, with sealing of doors and windows apt to make matters worse. At one point, a radio disc jockey had told listeners that a tornado would not hit Charlotte, that it had turned around and headed to sea, never indicating where he got the information. As far as the Weather Bureau was concerned, there had never been a tornado, and the forecasters continued repeating during the evening the advice that "conditions are favorable" for the development of a tornado, admitting the previous day that a tornado might have passed over the city without touching ground, but that there had been no real sign of one at any altitude.
One person on the radio had said that a tornado was exactly the same thing as a cyclone. But in fact, cyclone was the term applied to an area of relatively low pressure with revolving air circulation, usually 50 to 1,000 miles in diameter, whereas a tornado was a small, extremely violent, twisting cloud appendage, a rotating storm which left behind devastation along a path seldom more than a few hundred yards in width and 10 to 40 miles in length.
It finds that warnings about conditions which could produce a tornado were necessary evils, but that the reports of it ought be handled reasonably and not in the manner which might stampede the citizenry, that radio, television stations, and newspapers ought be prepared with authoritative data and equipped to pass the reports along quickly, calmly, constructively and intelligently, as preparations for natural catastrophes were as important as preparations for civil defense, and that the tornado scare had underlined the need for pre-disaster planning in Charlotte.
"Is State Government Losing Its Grip?" tells of a report just issued by the President's Commission on Intergovernmental Relations having contained a section, titled "Importance of Reapportionment", which ought be required reading for North Carolina politicians who had blocked legislative redistricting the previous March in the State Legislature, in defiance of the State Constitution.
The result of the General Assembly not having acted on the matter meant that rural votes from the east were overwhelmingly in control of one legislative house, the Senate, and unfairly allotted, if not dominant, in the State House. For example, the 20th Senatorial District, made up solely of Mecklenburg County, had a 1950 population of 197,000, but only one State Senator, whereas the Second Senatorial District, comprising seven counties with a 1950 population of only 105,000, had two State Senators. The State Constitution called for re-apportionment every ten years, after each census, but had been ignored since the 1950 census.
The President's commission had pointed out that since action of legislatures was required for redistricting, the legislatures had to be farsighted and the citizenry had to reconcile their special interests with the general good, that reapportionment should not be conceived only in terms of conflict of interest between urban and rural areas, that in the long-run, the interests of all in an equitable system of representation would strengthen state government, a far more important goal than temporary advantage to given areas of a state.
It finds that rule to be very clearly stated and that if urban areas, such as Mecklenburg County, did not receive their proper representation, the tendency would be toward more direct Federal-municipal dealings, and as such inequities would increase, the power and influence of the state government would decrease. It concludes that the Legislature ought to be representative of all of the people and undertake a proper interest in urban problems and metropolitan government, and that it could only occur through redistricting.
"Germany: A Weather Vane at Geneva" indicates that the friendly spirit being demonstrated initially at the Big Four summit conference by the Russians was important only as an indication of whether they would carry the same attitude from the buffet table into the conference room. The West had succeeded in getting the problem of German reunification placed at the top of the agenda, and the resolution of that problem, if any, would provide a fair indication, given the differing points of view on the subject between East and West, of the progress which could be expected otherwise from the conference.
Russia wanted Germany neutralized while the West wanted it armed, with East Germany as an unarmed neutral buffer zone. The West believed that with Russian troops withdrawn from Germany, they would still be within an hour's march of the positions abandoned, while U.S. and British troops would have to be removed from the continent. Russia wanted NATO dissolved, while the West had stressed the defensive characteristic of the organization and had refused to sacrifice it.
It posits that the German issue was ultimately tied to the second item on the agenda, European security, that an unarmed Germany would add to the buffer established by the satellite states with which the Soviets had surrounded themselves and would undoubtedly provide Russia with greater security, while the free European nations would be left helpless against Soviet aggression, absent an armed Germany within the context of NATO.
It finds those positions essentially irreconcilable, with the only way to bridge the gap being through creation of a bond of trust between East and West. The President the previous day had introduced the element of trust into the conference by declaring the defensive nature of NATO and that the U.S. would fight only if attacked. He had also appealed to his old friend, Soviet Defense Minister Georgi Zhukov, to believe him on the basis of their past friendship.
It finds the President's attitude typical and inspiring, but that the Russians had not shown anything thus far to indicate that it was realistic. Trust had been an item extinct in the Communist philosophy, and the question arose as to whether the U.S. was ready to trust counter-pledges made by Russia. It suggests that the record of postwar treaties indicated that only through faith could the U.S. proceed on Russian assurances, unsupported by action.
U.S. strength through atomic weaponry and its alliances remained the best argument of the West, it opines, against Russian recalcitrance, indicating that whether that strength had intimidated Russia into flexible, relaxing attitudes remained the major question to be answered during the conference.
A piece from the St. Petersburg Times, titled "Rank Injustice to Fat Men", indicates that a school official in the country had recently announced that he did not want any fat teachers teaching in that school district, and that an officer was making life miserable for fatter members of the 17th Air Force stationed at Wheelus Field in Tripoli, coming up with a diet plan, formed in consultation with dietitians and called "Operation Fatty", eliminating both alcohol and soft drinks from the diet, providing that each member of the command be weighed weekly and that those who remained overweight would be directed to the base hospital for trimming down via the diet plan.
It indicates that it was a tragic part of military life, that the commanding officer in question normally would not have anyone to whom to prescribe his diet, but in the military service, those who wanted to do things for the benefit of others were in "hog heaven", provided they were of sufficient rank. It maintains that a person's waistline was their own business, just as those who were fat never sought to campaign to make thin people gain weight. "In the name of justice, let each man regulate his own weight."
Drew Pearson, in Geneva, indicates that modern diplomacy had been referred to as being sometimes a system of controverted history, and the current summit conference in Geneva was engaged in the process of undoing things which the same statesmen had been engaged in doing just ten years earlier, and so he provides some flashbacks to the earlier time.
At General Eisenhower's headquarters outside London ten years earlier, with Germany in full retreat, he had lunch with Harry Dexter White, who subsequently died in August, 1948, shortly after having testified before the Senate Internal Security Committee and having it implied that he had Communist sympathies. The previous fall, Attorney General Herbert Brownell had branded Mr. White a traitor for having listened sympathetically to plans to divide Germany into two parts in 1945.
The second flashback had taken place in Berlin a little later, when General Eisenhower had sat with Georgi Zhukov in a Berlin nightclub watching German dancing girls and drinking a toast to total, perpetual dismemberment of Germany.
The third flashback had taken place in Stuttgart nine years earlier, when then-Secretary of State James Byrnes had made a speech which echoed around the world, proposing that Germany be neutralized and demilitarized for the ensuing 40 years.
The fourth flashback had taken place at about the same time, when General Eisenhower had agreed to an order specifying that German industry had to be destroyed and that Germany would become an agricultural state, never to rise to military power again, and began implementing that order.
The chief problem which President Eisenhower and Secretary of State Dulles were presently discussing at the summit conference was how Germany could be rearmed and how it could be united and become a power in the world again. Mr. Pearson muses that while Indo-China was rapidly falling to Communism and the Korean peace was being threatened by the Communists' arms build-up in North Korea, and while Quemoy and Matsu off the coast of mainland China were the objects of probable early attack, the U.S. delegation at the summit conference were still concerned almost exclusively with reunification of Germany. Mr. Pearson suggests that the President could say that he was only a soldier taking orders in 1945-46, and now, as President, was only taking the advice of Secretary Dulles. But the Secretary had earlier, in the 1920's, been giving advice on Germany which was just as bad or worse than critics of former Secretary of the Treasury under FDR, Henry Morgenthau, claimed the latter's advice had been in the 1940's, when he came up with the so-called Morgenthau Plan to render Germany an agricultural state. Mr. Dulles had been during the 1920's an attorney for the New York bankers who had returned from Europe repeatedly to announce that Germany was a sound investment and that its future was assured. After each statement by Mr. Dulles to that effect at that time, the German bond market had soared, only to end in one of the world's worst financial tragedies. Mr. Pearson indicates that Secretary Dulles might be right this time about Germany's long-range future, but for reasons which were opposite to his own desire that Germany be rebuilt into a strong military nation. While the top leaders of the world were haggling over Germany's future, the German people were expressing potent ideas of their own and did not relish the concept of making Germany into a military nation.
While newspapers acclaimed the new voluntary military bill being passed by the West German Parliament during the conference, the actual fact was that all of the debates in the Parliament showed that the German people were no more anxious for German militarism than was the average American youngster anxious to be drafted. The German military bill was one of the most unusual ever passed by any supposedly militaristic nation, as it provided for a committee of 38 anti-Hitler civilians to screen every general and colonel to make sure that person was not a former follower of Hitler, provided controls by Parliament over the Army, made provision for only 6,000 recruits by March, 1956, which would not worry the Russians, and provided for only 12 divisions during the ensuing six years, contrasted with Russia's 175 divisions.
Doris Fleeson tells of the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy and the Atomic Energy Commission having been at each other's throats the previous weekend behind closed doors, part of a recurring pattern. The source of the controversy in this instance was AEC chairman Lewis Strauss, based on his occupying three roles, as the chairman of the Commission, the atomic advisory member of the National Security Council and the atomic adviser to the President. Republicans on the Committee were pressuring Committee chairman Clinton Anderson of New Mexico to adopt a new decision on the President's proposal to build an atom-powered ship for display purposes, while Democrats on the Committee had previously rejected that proposal as a "showboat" scheme which would be outdated almost as soon as the ship was built, by the atomic cargo ships which were being developed.
Senator Anderson had agreed to meet informally with the other members of the Committee late on Friday to see if some agreement could be reached to protect face internationally for the President. The Senator stated that the AEC should not be present. The Senator understood that the Republicans wanted something for entry to the House debate on the atomic ship, which was scheduled to begin early in the current week, and was also aware that most of the Democrats on the Committee were out of town and unavailable even for proxy votes. When the meeting convened at noon, Senator Anderson realized that Republicans were lined up solidly, with only two Democrats present, along with chairman Strauss, the other AEC commissioners and a staff of eight principal AEC officers. Senator Anderson said that if anyone present thought it would be a regular meeting, he would walk out and hoped that the other two Democrats would as well. He proceeded to tell Admiral Strauss that he was canceling a visit to an atomic demonstration the following week because he would not ride in the same plane with an AEC chairman who constantly sought to double-cross the Committee. Admiral Strauss protested that he thought he was supposed to be present.
But, indicates Ms. Fleeson, Admiral Strauss had repeatedly been disingenuous when he had been trying to do what the President wanted, one example being that in a public hearing the previous week on the subject of Government liabilities in the now-canceled Dixon-Yates private utility contract with the AEC, the Committee had directed the AEC to handle the matter, to protect the Treasury Department. Admiral Strauss had left with the members the impression that he would obey that directive. But when members left the hearing, they learned from reporters that Attorney General Brownell had said that at the request of Admiral Strauss, the Attorney General would handle the cancellation liabilities, a matter of which the Admiral had made no mention.
She relates that the Admiral had bemoaned to friends his troubles and believed that the Committee was unfair, that he did not understand why he was receiving such bad press and wondered whether he ought to hire a press agent to straighten things out.
She suggests that his three roles might be irreconcilable. He told the NSC what security required in atomic matters, and then advised the President to do so, then sought to force the Commission to provide a rubber stamp to what the President did. That was not working. The Congress had created the Joint Committee because it did not regard the AEC as a commission subject to the direction of the President, with the law stating that the Commission had to be "fully and completely informed". She indicates that Admiral Strauss had tipped his hand when he sought to have himself declared the principal officer of the Commission, and with that effort having failed, had since influenced the appointment of two pure scientists as members of the Commission, with their only interest being the scientific aspects of the problem, and also a Republican politician, the latter having dropped out for reasons outside the control of the Admiral. The oldest and most experienced member of the Commission was Thomas Murray, a conservative Democrat, who favored private power but had opposed Dixon-Yates because it brought the AEC into the mix as a power broker and not a user of the power to be created. Mr. Murray had prophesied that it would interfere with AEC's vital primary mission and he had been proved, opines Ms. Fleeson, exactly right.
A letter writer, 76, regards "old age" as the silliest phrase of which he had ever heard and views it as completely uncalled for, saying, "Retire, Hell!" He never expected to do so after having resigned as a senior food and sanitation inspector with the Charlotte Health Department nine years earlier. He presently worked every day and still made a good living, saying that he had worked since he had begun milking cows at the age of seven. He indicates that people with sense employed an elderly man for that person's good judgment and knowledge, where they wanted results, "not some young scalawag with his shirt unbuttoned and a cigarette in his mouth." He finds that when a young man told him that he could not find work, he was either lazy, would not work or watched the clock and sought to tell his boss how to operate the business. He finds it a "man's world, a great nation", where a good man could always get a job, that no one would employ a playboy, pool shark, beer guzzler, crapshooter or card shark. He believes that the time for a man to retire was when God retired him. He indicates that he had never been drunk in his life, did not smoke or use tobacco, took no vitamins, ate the best food money could buy, which was loaded with vitamins. Thus, he wonders why waste half the front page of the newspaper with feature articles on aging, that a man was as old as he permitted himself to be. "Believe in God, believe in yourself and you will keep going. No one can stop you. I was born independent. I will die independent. I do not ask for anyone's sympathy when I am in a hurry. Just keep out of my way or I may run into you." He adds a P.S. that he had three jobs and had originated all three.
A letter writer indicates that there had to be some doubt in the mind of Bogumil Swoboda, who had slipped through the Iron Curtain and come to America, knowing from his experience with tyranny and oppression how the former system was, and making his way to America and to Charlotte. He indicates that perhaps he had believed that money would be growing on trees, finds that the Welfare Department should be commended for taking on his burden. He reminds that the Legislature, a few months earlier, had considered whether welfare departments ought care for illegitimate children of mothers who continued to have children out of wedlock, until the officials of the Charlotte Welfare Department had protested the proposed law as punishing little children, advising that no restrictions ought be placed on their receipt of welfare benefits, concluding in the proposed law not being passed. He relates that Mr. Swoboda had 12 children, all of whom were legitimate, and most of whom had been born in the U.S. The father could not speak English and the eldest son had been drafted into the Army, wanted to study for the ministry. They were essentially foreigners in any neighborhood in which they sought to live. Above all, Mr. Swoboda was a Christian and a Bible-reading refugee from Poland, the longest suffering country in Europe. The writer indicates that the current edition of the newspaper had a story that Mr. Swoboda was about to be deported, and he encloses a small gift for the family which he hopes the newspaper would forward to them.
A letter writer from Newton responds to a previous letter writer who had commented on the various species of birds and animals which did not mix voluntarily. He indicates that 15 years earlier, he had read a statement which had appeared in the press in New York and Philadelphia, that the American dream had failed and that the Melting Pot, which had succeeded in blending several European nationalities, had failed in the case of assimilating black people, that only when universal assimilation was completed could the American dream occur and the American race be accomplished. The piece had advised increasing the heat under the melting pot until every last bit was melted down, as the way to accomplish that result. He thinks that by the Supreme Court having decided in Brown v. Board of Education that segregation was per se unconstitutional under the 14th Amendment Equal Protection Clause, that heat had been turned up on the melting pot with respect to children attending public schools. But he did not understand how black people would benefit from desegregation. The previous writer to whom he responds had opposed integration and so did he. He indicates that turning up the heat had been ongoing for years to produce integration. "One thinks of the races of man, of the facts that they are a product of creation which goes back further than most of us can comprehend. Then he sees that questioned, and rejected, by living men whose life span be only very short at most. And then he wonders whether they can possibly, in their life time, have acquired the intelligence to reject the creative plan that made us as we are."
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