The Charlotte News

Monday, July 25, 1955


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the President, having returned to Washington after the Geneva Big Four conference, told 24 Congressional leaders of both parties this date that no secret agreements had been made at the meeting and no private papers had been initialed. White House press secretary James Hagerty confirmed that statement, saying also that the President had expressed the belief that the outstanding feature of the conference had been the apparent desire expressed by the Soviet delegation to discuss world problems in the future in an atmosphere of friendliness, expressing a willingness to sit down together to work out differences. The President had also said that it did not, however, warrant relaxation of the mutual security measures which the U.S. and its allies were presently pursuing. Secretary of State Dulles, according to Mr. Hagerty, had given the Congressional leaders a detailed presentation of the day-to-day discussions at Geneva and an analysis of the final directives to the Big Four foreign ministers who were to meet in October. This night, at 10:30 EDT, the President would address the nation by radio and television regarding the summit conference.

The U.S. and Communist China would send ambassadors to Geneva the following Monday to discuss repatriation of civilians who wanted to return to their own countries, plus other practical matters presently at issue. The State Department said that Alexis Johnson, Ambassador to Czechoslovakia, would represent the U.S., after consulting with Secretary of State Dulles before the beginning of the talks. The State Department reported that India and Burma had arranged for the meeting in backstage discussions with Communist China and the U.S. The U.S. wanted the release of about 51 Americans held in Communist China, including 11 additional American fliers. The first such meeting of the representatives of both sides would take place on August 1 at Geneva. The U.S. and Communist China had met at the consular level about 15 times in Geneva since June, 1954.

Senator Estes Kefauver of Tennessee stated this date that he was convinced that a proposed exploratory conference anent the Atlantic Union would help the free world in its present negotiations with Russia. He said that several prominent private citizens had appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to support the resolution, sponsored by the Senator and 14 other Senators, asking that the President invite six other North Atlantic nations, Canada, Britain, France and the Benelux countries, which had sponsored the NATO treaty, to name delegates to such a meeting. The delegates would explore and report the extent to which their peoples might unite within the framework of the U.N. and agree to form, federally or otherwise, a defense, economic and political union. The resolution only called for exploration and recommendations, not any form of commitment.

In Dover, Del., Bryant Bowles, NAAWP head, was scheduled to appear in Superior Court this date to appeal his conviction on charges of violating state school laws, stemming from his resistance to desegregation of the public schools in Milford the previous September, having been fined $600 after disturbances had erupted at Milford High School. The previous week, he had announced that he would resign as the head of the organization he had founded, but then said he had changed his mind the prior Saturday night. He had originally resigned in response to only a handful of people having shown up for a meeting in Harrington, Del., but then changed his mind when 600 persons jammed his home near Milford on Saturday night, while hundreds more were outside in parked cars. The 14-member board of the organization had also refused his resignation. Mr. Bowles said that some of the crowd on Saturday night had burned a 15-foot cross near his home.

In Morehead City, N.C., North Carolina Governor Luther Hodges told the State Board of Conservation and Development this date that State officials had not begun to scratch the surface as to what they could do to make it a better state. He urged raising the per capita income and said that he would devote more of his time in doing so, as the state ranked 44th nationally in that category. He said that he planned to announce soon the appointment of a water commission, as authorized by the 1955 General Assembly, stating that the state would be the first in the Southeast to make a start on conservation and wiser use of its water resources, meaning much to the development of large and small industry alike.

In Greenville, N.C., a 51-year old man from Norfolk, Va., was charged with manslaughter in the death of his daughter, fatally injured the previous day while returning from the funeral of her husband at Kinston, a lieutenant in the armed forces, who had drowned in Moses Lakes, Wash., the previous week. He was charged with failing to yield the right-of-way at the time of the accident, causing a collision with another vehicle. His daughter had been pregnant and efforts to save the baby had failed.

In Old Buckenham, England, a 350-pound tombstone had toppled over and killed a nine-year old boy as he had left church the previous day.

In Hagerstown, Md., a man who had escaped from prisons in Maryland and Delaware 20 years earlier waited in the State Reformatory for Males this date, hopeful that Maryland authorities would consider his exemplary life in the meantime and parole him, as Delaware had done. The 47-year old man was backed up by the testimony of 49 residents of Richmond, Va., enabling him to receive a parole a week earlier from Delaware after it declined to press an escape charge against him. He waived extradition to Maryland and was returned to the reformatory from which he escaped in November, 1934 after serving less than eight months on a two-year term for breaking and entering. Shortly after that escape, he had been arrested in Delaware and was sentenced to 10 years for armed robbery. After serving about 10 months of that sentence, he had escaped. From that point until the previous January, according to officials, he had been an exemplary citizen in Richmond, had married and worked for several years as a sign painter. He had become maintenance supervisor at the Medical College of Virginia hospital, where he had been employed as a painter for two years. When he had visited his elderly father in Delaware the prior January, the local police chief had recognized him and arrested him. You can't go home again…

Donald MacDonald of The News indicates that a posse of about 25 persons and four bloodhounds had searched dense woods behind the Mecklenburg Sanatorium near Huntersville this date for two escaped long-term convicts from the Huntersville Prison Camp, having slipped through the gates when they were open to allow a supply truck to leave the grounds. Both men had been convicted of felonies, serving between five and seven years, one for armed robbery and the other for store-breaking and larceny. It was believed that the escapees might be heading toward Charlotte. It provides a description, in case you see them. Police said that once they had managed to get outside the gates of the prison camp, they had been "as fleet-footed as deer" making their way into the woods. Both were believed still to be unarmed—just as with most deer.

In Catania, Sicily, two fiery rivers of molten lava still oozed slowly this date from the 10,000-foot volcano atop Mount Etna, continuing its volcanic activity which had begun nearly a month earlier. Experts observing the eruption said that thus far there had been no imminent danger to villages in the path of the burning lava spewing from the volcano, the highest in the Europe.

On the editorial page, "The Pin Prick in a Barrier of Distrust" indicates that a pin prick had been made in the barrier of distrust between the Soviet Union and the Western Big Three nations at Geneva, with this sincere hope existing among Americans that the pin prick would enable a slim ray of light to emerge on the path to universal peace.

It posits that it was too early to assess the achievements or lack thereof at Geneva, that the important thing was that practical and pragmatic politicians had sat down together and discussed new concepts for achieving global peace and understanding. It finds that there had been no dreamers present at Geneva, but rather hard-headed realists, who developed principles worthy of deep thought and consideration. It finds that the road ahead was piled high with difficulties and that the road to peace was as rocky and risky as it ever had been.

"But if peace is a long way off, war also appears to be farther off than it seemed a few months ago."

"Cordell Hull: 'A Simple Duty'" tells of the former Secretary of State, who had died the prior Saturday, having served 12 years, longer than anyone else as Secretary, directing foreign affairs through most of World War II and during its preceding years, between March, 1933 and November, 1944. He had been both hated and admired across the world, but friends and detractors alike admitted that he was pretty tough and fought hard for the things in which he believed.

Many prior Secretaries of State had been household names in the country, John Quincy Adams, Daniel Webster, William Seward, Elihu Root, and John Hay, but few who had served before Mr. Hull, and none who had thus far served after him, had given the office such high prestige and respect. To FDR, he had been the "Father of the United Nations". Among his diplomatic achievements were the reciprocal trade agreements, the Good Neighbor policy with Mexico and South America, the 1943 Moscow declaration, and the Dumbarton Oaks agreement of 1944, prelude to founding the U.N. In 1945, after he left office, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Not all had gone smoothly during his tenure. In 1933, President Roosevelt had knocked the London Economic Conference out from under him. In 1941, he had been conferring with two solicitous Japanese diplomats in Washington, while Japanese planes were starting the attack at Pearl Harbor.

But, it concludes, in 51 years of public service, Mr. Hull had given everything he had to the nation, which he had described as "a simple duty", and had been sorely missed in Government since his retirement eleven years earlier for health reasons. "He will be long remembered as a great and honorable American."

"Free Enterprise?" indicates that cotton farmers living in the West could make money growing 20-cent or 25-cent cotton and were able to grow a lot of it, as the land was extensive and flat and the cotton which it yielded was picked by machines. Nevertheless, because cotton as a crop was comparatively new in that area, the allotment, when a marketing quota was imposed, cut the farmer down considerably, thus running up the cost per pound. The object was to maintain the traditional cotton-growing area, despite the land and soil making the crop more expensive to grow in the South than in the West.

The result was that fines were imposed of 17.7 cents per pound, half the parity price of cotton, for exceeding the Government quotas.

It concludes that the artificially priced U.S. cotton at 35.34 cents was likely, as a consequence, too high to compete in world trade.

"Fasten Safety Belts for the Future" indicates that having weathered the forecasts of H. G. Wells, George Orwell and Aldous Huxley, they were now facing a new barrage from New York's Twentieth Century Fund, a private foundation with an uncommonly large number of prognosticators on the payroll. It was only making predictions five years ahead, positing that in 1960, there would be push buttons all over the place, which the piece suggests would obviously be a Communist plot to wreck the nation's do-it-yourself bug and sap the vigor and energy of Americans, that there would be a single farm implement to do the work of 40 men, that most people would carry palm-sized radio sending and receiving equipment, that fertilizers no longer would smell bad, rather would perhaps have the fragrance of cologne, that mail would move with the speed of light, that homes would be lighted by tinted, vitamin-generating bulbs, and that vibrating sound waves would eliminate soap and water from the cleaning process. It finds fault with each of the predicted advances.

"Are we to be left with none of life's little bittersweet joys, the old-fashioned pleasures, the homespun virtues?" It concludes: "And, besides, the best road to the future is the nice gentle slope—the one without sign posts, please."

We predict that by 1959, there will be a program on television each Friday night, the introduction to which will speak of the "sign post up ahead".

A piece from the Sanford Herald, titled "First in White Liquor", indicates that North Carolinians had their pride hurt by statistics showing that the state ranked close to the bottom in annual average income, in literacy, and in general health. It points out that the state had the highest percentage of draft rejects during World War II.

The Alcohol Tax Unit in Washington, however, had indicated that the state ranked first in production of white liquor, passing West Virginia.

Many believed that North Carolina should eliminate its moonshiners and bootleggers through increased law enforcement and prosecution, meting out stricter sentences. They also believed that attracting higher-paying industries would enable North Carolinians to have better income and reduce underemployment on the farms, making the land more productive and giving the farmer a better life and better health. They contended that such improvements would make the uneasy existence of the moonshiner less attractive.

It indicates that not every North Carolinians was satisfied with that course, that some would prefer "to sit in a swampy place, guarded by dog and rifle and entertained by guitar and sampling jug, and watch the smoke from a submarine boiler blend with the night. To them, this is more than a livelihood and tradition, it is an expression of independence."

Drew Pearson, in Geneva, tells of one of the most significant of the many dinners which the President had attended in Geneva having been with General Alfred Gruenther, NATO supreme commander, and Admiral Arthur Radford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, which had highlighted the schism faced by the President during the Big Four conference, whether he should act as a soldier or a politician, with the aims of each role being opposite. As a soldier and commander-in-chief, the President had to safeguard the strength of the U.S. armed forces, while as an international politician, he had to ease the tension between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. The reason General Gruenther and Admiral Radford had unexpectedly rushed to Geneva was because military men perceived that the President was being too much the politician and falling too much for Soviet smiles. Mr. Pearson indicates that it did not mean that the two men were promoting war or opposing a relaxation of the tensions of the cold war, but that it did mean that when it came to inspiring Western unity and adequate armed defense, Stalin had been the best friend the U.S. had.

With the scowls of Stalin replaced by the smiles of Premier Nikolai Bulganin and Communist Party Secretary Nikita Khrushchev, the arms appropriations in Congress and the cooperation of NATO could be considerably slowed. The military was concerned that the President might run in 1956 on a platform of peace after having ended the cold war. While they liked Ike, they did not trust his politics.

Generally, the military received more money for weaponry from the Democrats than from the Republicans and had never forgotten that the Harding Administration had disposed of U.S. naval supremacy at the Washington arms conference, having succumbed to smiles.

Before the President had departed Washington for the conference in Geneva, he had received various memos from the Pentagon showing how the U.S. was falling behind Russia in certain types of weaponry. Among other things, Senator Henry Jackson of Washington had sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Charles E. Wilson, asking certain embarrassing questions about Soviet strength in jet bombers and intercontinental atomic bombers. The questions were so pointed that Secretary Wilson had refused to answer them.

Doris Fleeson tells of Democrats being puzzled about Gordon Gray, former Secretary of the Army under President Truman, having accepted a relatively minor post as one of dozens of assistant secretaries, his position being that of liaison on international security between the State Department, the White House and Congress, suitable to his temperament.

She indicates that some light might have been shed on his motivation by his admission during the week to North Carolina reporters that he had voted for General Eisenhower in 1952, as his political antagonists at home had been hinting. He was also said to have personal reasons for leaving the presidency of UNC and returning to Washington.

She reflects back to 1940 during the Republican national convention, when President Roosevelt appointed two Republicans to his Cabinet, Henry Stimson as Secretary of War and Frank Knox as Secretary of the Navy, suggesting that it had been thought possible that President Eisenhower might appoint Mr. Gray to replace Secretary of Defense Wilson at about the time the Democrats would be gathering at their national convention the following summer, although she deems the speculation likely unfounded.

Mr. Gray would become National Security Adviser in mid-1958, remaining in that position until the end of the Eisenhower Administration.

A letter writer from Salisbury indicates that an educated person was able to differentiate and discriminate, to pick out essentially significant variables and show meaningful relationships, that to do so, one had to be able to use the scientific method without allowing personal predilections and prejudices to interfere. The writer thinks that a previous writer, who said he was a physician, had not taken the full benefit of his educational experience, based on his letter of July 19. This writer, also a doctor, says that the previous writer had exhibited no more sensitivity or understanding of the scientific method than did a gas station attendant. "A sane, cooperative, and objective approach by the members of both races is the only solution" to the issue of integration. He undertakes to dispute some of the fallacious material marshaled by the previous writer. He urges facing the issues objectively and reasonably.

A letter writer indicates that she had read where several people had been killed by lightning and that a lot of damage had been done, causing her to think of how good Christ was to everyone to provide rain and sunshine, as so many cursed and drank and lived in sin, never giving a thought to the Savior. She urges that although people could hide from the world, no one could not hide from God. She says that a business woman had said to her recently that if parents did not stop drinking and start living right, God would send something to stop them. She indicates that she had nothing about which to worry on that account as she had always sought to be a Christian mother to her children.

A letter writer from Gaffney, S.C., states that many people had written letters to the newspaper providing their views on Brown v. Board of Education, this writer indicating that the Supreme Court had violated the Constitution by making an effort to deprive the people of their rights to freedom of speech and a democratic voice in all major matters.

That happened way back after the Civil War, dumbbell, when three-fourths of the states ratified the 14th Amendment. Why don't you set about learning something about the nation rather than carping mindlessly, while citing Biblical verse perversely to justify your ignorance?

A letter writer from Myrtle Beach, S.C., the same writer to whom the first writer this date responded, says that while he was not a Biblical scholar, he was well-versed in the Bible, which had been rewritten and re-edited and misinterpreted by various religious sects through time. He indicates that bones of animals which were long extinct in the Western Hemisphere often washed ashore at Myrtle Beach. He says the fault was not in the facts related in the Bible but rather in the ignorant interpretation of those facts by partially educated people. He recommends for light reading several books, Ragnarok: The Age of Fire and Gravel, by Ignatius Donnelly, Atlantis: The Antediluvian World, by the same author, and Worlds in Collision by Immanuel Velikovsky, which he believes provided a scientific basis for Biblical stories.

A letter writer comments on the police officer who had been fired from the Police Department in Charlotte after it had been discovered that he had been charged and convicted with misdemeanor assault with a deadly weapon and fined $10 plus costs, based on pulling out a pistol during the recent strike by the Communications Workers of America against Southern Bell Telephone Co., the man having crossed picket lines and insisted on working during the strike, having contended in a letter written to the editor the previous Saturday that he had been threatened with violence and had endured several instances of harassment and being followed, resulting in his pulling a pistol on several of the strikers who were surrounding his car. This writer indicates that ten people had been present at the time of the alleged assault and had given accurate descriptions of the weapon, but that the complete investigation of the matter had not included those witnesses. She urges that such an individual had not belonged on the police force. She wants to know why Police Chief Frank Littlejohn had not talked with the witnesses, including the writer.

He was already convicted, and you cannot convict him again for the same crime, no matter how many witnesses there were. Moreover, he did not deny having a gun and pointing it at some of the strikers, asserting that it had been in self-defense after repeated incidents of harassment and threats.

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