The Charlotte News

Tuesday, July 26, 1955


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the President, in his address to the nation the previous night on television and radio, said that a spark of world peace had been ignited at the Big Four summit conference in Geneva, but that much patience and sacrifice on each side would be needed to keep that spark alive.

Air Force general counsel John Johnson testified this date before the Senate Investigations subcommittee that he had, the previous January, discussed with Attorney General Herbert Brownell Air Force Secretary Harold Talbott's business interests, and that the Attorney General had expressed no disagreement with his opinion that they were legal. Mr. Johnson stated that he had written a draft memorandum on the subject after learning that RCA was questioning both the propriety and legality of doing business with a management engineering firm in which Secretary Talbott was a partner. He said that Mr. Brownell had stated that he wanted to consider the memo for a couple of days and that he would get back in touch with him, but had not done so since January. Paul Mulligan had testified the previous day that Secretary Talbott had received $132,000 in profits from the engineering firm since becoming Air Force Secretary in February, 1953. Senator John McClellan of Arkansas, chairman of the subcommittee, announced that Mr. Talbott had asked for permission to testify further in the inquiry and that the permission would be granted. The previous day, testimony was given that Mr. Johnson was representing Mr. Talbott in efforts to convince RCA of the propriety and legality of doing business with a firm in which he held an interest.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported this date that living costs had risen slightly in June, to the highest point during the year, but were still somewhat lower than during the same month the previous year. The increase, the first since the prior November, was attributed to small increases in food, housing, transportation, personal care and medical costs. The cost of living index had risen two-tenths of a percent between May and June, to 114.4 percent of the 1947-49 base period average. The increase was small and largely seasonal.

In Copenhagen, fire had raced through a Danish submarine this date, but several men trapped behind the wall of flames in the engine room had managed to escape through an emergency hatch, with three sailors injured in the fire. A short-circuit in the power cables had caused the fire.

In Grand Rapids, Mich., three gunmen had invaded a businessman's home and had fruitlessly sought a safe for 45 minutes, had tied up four members of the family and two neighbor boys, eventually fleeing on foot after receiving a lecture on morals, obtaining no money in the process. The 20-year old daughter of the auto accessories dealer, a philosophy student at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, had questioned one of the intruders who held her at gunpoint, asking him which of the nine types of criminals he was, professional or just an amateur. She stated that he had fumbled for a reply, saying that he would have a nice home like the family one day, whereupon the young woman responded that at the rate he was going, he would not. He said that he came from the wrong side of the tracks, at which point the daughter stated that it was a minor cause of criminality and then proceeded to lecture him on moral and religious scruples, and the evils of crime.

In Dayton, O., a 16-year old boy had been charged with grand larceny, along with four other teenagers, in the theft of $82,000 from the home of the 16-year old's father, a baker who had saved the money for 17 years and had hid it in three buckets in his basement along with baking materials. He had discovered his savings missing the previous Friday, and his eldest son had admitted taking $1,050, and that four other boys had shared in the remainder. Another of the boys had surrendered, also turning over nearly $20,000, while six other juveniles, two of whom were girls, had been released by police after questioning, but ordered to appear later as witnesses. All of the participants in the theft were from Dayton. The son of the baker told police that his friends had double-crossed him, that after he had taken the $1,050 from his father's money, he showed some friends where it was hidden, and three of them had returned later and taken the remaining money while the family was out of the home. One of the five charged teenagers had surrendered to police the previous day after having wrecked a $4,000 Cadillac convertible the prior Saturday, following a two-state police chase, then escaping. The car was believed to have been purchased with part of the stolen money.

Julian Scheer of The News tells of the Coast Guard studying the Catawba River patrol problem, with Representative Charles Jonas telling the newspaper that he had communicated with Coast Guard officials in Washington about the possibility of the armed forces handling the patrol of the river in Mecklenburg and Gaston Counties, as well as in York County, S.C. Mr. Jonas stated that while there was no precedent on similar issues of inland river patrol, the Coast Guard officials had not expressed any shock at the suggestion.

Emery Wister of The News indicates that a new parking lot, to provide space for 1,800 automobiles, was presently being constructed at the new Coliseum-Auditorium complex on Independence Boulevard.

In Las Vegas, comedian Joe E. Lewis had collapsed between shows at Hotel Rancho Vegas on Sunday, but was reported resting comfortably this date. His doctor did not disclose the ailment, but the comedian had undergone surgery for ulcers in New York the previous January.

On the editorial page, "Atlantic Resolution Should Be Adopted" indicates that despite the previous week's pleasantries at Geneva, there was still uncertainty in the free world. Amid that atmosphere, several distinguished Americans had appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee the previous day to plead for positive, practical ways to build a framework for universal peace and security. The occasion was a hearing on a resolution to hold an exploratory conference on the Atlantic Union concept. The resolution requested that the President invite the nations which had sponsored NATO, Britain, France and the Benelux countries, to name delegates to a conference patterned on the Constitutional convention of 1787, to be joined also by representatives of the U.S. At that conference, the delegates would explore and report to what extent their peoples might further unite within the framework of the U.N., and agree to form, federally or otherwise, a defense, economic and political union.

It finds it a necessary initial step toward any real solution to the current world problems stemming from insecurity and fear. What was needed was careful exploration by a group of prominent citizens to consider ways and means of achieving political union.

The chief spokesman for the idea was Senator Estes Kefauver of Tennessee, who, along with 12 other Senators, was sponsoring the resolution. It quotes from the Senator and states that there were other voices as well at the hearing, such as Governor Theodore McKeldin of Maryland, from whom it also quotes. Senator James Murray of Montana favored taking the offensive psychologically in the cold war, saying that minds of men could not be won by remaining on the defensive in the world of ideas. Elmo Roper, the public opinion analyst, stated that it would save the taxpayers billions of dollars to achieve unity and standardization of weaponry. Maj. General William Draper, Jr., chairman of Mexican Light & Power Co., stated that only the growing unity in NATO and among the other free nations had blunted Russian propaganda. The unity of purpose in the military, political and economic fields, he asserted, had to continue to grow if the U.S. and its allies were successfully to deal with the Communist world. Harold Urey, nuclear scientist, urged that world government would come in time and that the U.S. should see that it was a free and democratic one, which the Atlantic Union would start. Garrison Norton, former Assistant Secretary of State, also advocated for the conference. Dr. Ralph Epstein, professor and chairman of the University of Buffalo department of economics, favored the conference as being the most effective step which could be taken to meet the threat of aggression from totalitarian nations. Mrs. Chase Osborne, widow of a former Michigan Governor, also favored holding the conference.

"Ike Should Put Talbott to the Test" indicates that there was a clear way to clear up the dispute about Air Force Secretary Harold Talbott's potential conflict of interest in promoting business for an engineering firm which paid him $50,000 per year, that it was for the President to submit the Secretary to the "clean as a hound's tooth" test, and that if he failed it, he should be fired, that if he passed it, the President could stand behind him. The Senate Investigations subcommittee would then prove what it could against the Secretary, and the voters could handle the matter from there.

It finds that the Secretary's offer to quit the firm if the subcommittee thought it best was silly, that it was his and the President's responsibility, not that of the subcommittee. It demonstrated that the Secretary did not know whether his business activities had been right or wrong, and a person in such a high position ought know that he was correct, that anything less than that showed moral weakness.

In confirming Secretary Talbott in 1953, the Senate had permitted him to retain a partnership in the engineering firm in question, provided the firm would not do business with other companies engaged in defense work, but it had now turned out that the firm had worked for one company which was engaged in defense work. The New York Times had printed a series of letters which the Secretary had written to prominent industrialists suggesting that they consider retaining the services of that firm. The Secretary denied using his official influence to aid the firm, but it was hard to determine how he could transact any sort of business as Air Force Secretary without at least lending the color of his office to the transaction.

While the conflict of interest law had harsh effects on those with wealth, such as Defense Secretary Charles E. Wilson, who had to divest himself of several million dollars in order to hold his post, the law was necessary and merely required those in public service to have a sense of duty to their country. It concludes that while Secretary Talbott might not have violated the letter of the law, it did not appear that he was as clean as a hound's tooth, which, as the President had said, had to be the ultimate test.

"President Gained Stature at Geneva" indicates that no assessment of the Big Four meeting would be complete without emphasis on the emergence of the President as a world leader. The President had been the most commanding figure at the summit meeting, with his "fresh and dramatic advocacy" focusing the eyes of world opinion on the true image of "an American earnestly striving for peace, an image frequently distorted in the past by lesser men", including Secretary of State Dulles.

The President had remembered to state that the U.S. never believed in waging aggressive war, with the statement so confusing the Russians that they barely got their peace proposals off the ground during the conference, probably still fretting over the President's proposal to have mutual inspection of bases in each country to verify disarmament. It had a marked effect also on world opinion. The President had achieved a major propaganda victory which would enhance his prestige in future pronouncements.

Propaganda victories did not determine the drift of events, however, and any lasting worth of the President's proposal had to be weighed against concrete results during the coming October negotiations between the Big Four foreign ministers.

It finds that in the President's report to the nation, broadcast the previous night, he had again shown his perception of the value of ideas in combating oppression, stressing agreement of the Russians in private talks for increased cultural and travel exchanges between the two countries. It suggests that it might be the most important thing to come out of the Geneva conference, reducing the "wall of hatred and suspicion" which Russia had built around itself, which could not be sustained in the face of free flow of ideas from free countries.

It concludes that the President and the nation he represented had demonstrated at Geneva rapid growth "toward maturity and world affairs."

Drew Pearson, in Geneva, indicates that Prime Minister Anthony Eden, responsible for having called the summit conference, had failed to be its dominant leader, having lost out to the charm and spontaneity of the President. He had also lost the balance of power position as an honest broker between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, the position which former Prime Minister Winston Churchill had long occupied.

The other important thing to emerge from the conference was that the President, with his air-reconnaissance inspection plan, proposing to allow both the U.S. and the Soviet Union to conduct flights over each country to inspect bases in the interest of an arms control agreement, had reverted, in principle, to the Russian-American alliance which Stalin had proposed toward the end of World War II and which FDR had rejected.

Though they did not say so publicly, the President's proposal had scared the British and had so horrified the German observers that they contacted Chancellor Konrad Adenauer the night after the proposal to warn against West Germany being left out in the cold by such an alliance and that Chancellor Adenauer had better do some dealing on the side with Russia. The President had deliberately ignored both the French and British, in proposing the mutual flyovers of Russia and the U.S.

Toward the end of World War II, Stalin had proposed to FDR that the two countries form an alliance and divide the world between them, with Stalin having reasoned that there were only two strong powers left in the world, Russia and the U.S., and therefore if they agreed to dominate the world, they could run it their own way and keep the peace. Among FDR's advisers at the time, Harry Hopkins and Ambassador Joseph Davies leaned toward acceptance of the proposal by Stalin, believing that the U.S. should be realistic, that the might of the British Empire was waning and that if the U.S. worked out an alliance with Russia, the peace of the world would be guaranteed for many years.

Averell Harriman, now Governor of New York, and the late James Forrestal, who had been Secretary of the Navy, were opposed to the plan, as was Prime Minister Churchill, who was its most adamant opponent. In the end, FDR had refused to go along with it, adopting instead the collective security of the yet to be founded U.N., which included all of the allies plus the smaller nations. FDR had suggested that Stalin and Prime Minister Churchill might agree on certain areas, and a division of the Balkans was actually worked out at Tehran between Stalin and Mr. Churchill, whereby Russia took into its sphere of influence Rumania and Bulgaria while Britain took over Greece and Yugoslavia. Stalin had even advised Prime Minister Churchill that the real ruler of Yugoslavia was Marshal Tito. It was that deal at Tehran which had caused the U.S. and Britain to confound the world by deserting Draja Mikailovitch for Tito.

Increasing irritations toward the end of the war had finally disrupted the agreement and many diplomatic observers believed that it was Stalin's suspicion of FDR's refusal to form the alliance which had contributed to the bitterness which erupted around the time of the end of the war in Europe in May, 1945. Stalin's suspicious reasoning regarding Asia had led him to the conclusion that if the U.S. would not form an alliance for world spheres of influence, then the U.S. automatically had to seek to disrupt Russia's spheres of influence.

President Eisenhower did not have the slightest intention of forming a Russian alliance when he made his air-inspection proposal, believing that the two most powerful nations should get together to keep the peace. Nevertheless, the proposal, along with the new friendships the President had personally formed with the Russians at the conference, had caused a lot of consternation among the allied diplomats who believed in divide and rule.

Stewart Alsop, in Geneva, indicates that looking back over the previous week, it could be logically argued that the men who had met at the Big Four summit conference might just as well have stayed in bed and saved the effort, as no formal agreement on any disputed issue of real importance had been achieved.

He does find, however, that both sides had recognized the reality of the current situation regarding Europe and had tacitly agreed to do nothing violent to alter those realities, with both sides having recognized the status quo. In official U.S. circles, it was not fashionable or popular to spell out that fact. Secretary of State Dulles had long opposed a summit conference because he understood that it would amount to a recognition of the status quo, believing earlier that pictures taken at such a conference of the leaders smiling together would be interpreted in the satellite countries that all hope of liberation was lost and that resistance to Communist rule was thus hopeless. At the current conference, there had been plenty of pictures taken of the President and Secretary Dulles in friendly conversations with Premier Nikolai Bulganin, Communist Party Secretary Nikita Khrushchev and others of the Russian delegation. Mr. Alsop suggests, therefore, that if the original objection to such a summit conference by Secretary Dulles had validity, those pictures would mean to the satellites that they were now abandoned.

He indicates, however, that the satellites had been abandoned long earlier, when nothing was done at the time of the uprisings in Czechoslovakia and East Germany in June, 1953. The people of the satellite countries were quite aware that the U.S. was not going to war to liberate them and that they could not be liberated through radio propaganda or campaign speeches.

The reference by the President to the satellite countries in his opening statement at the conference had been just a formal exercise and was recognized as such by all concerned. His very presence had signaled to the Russians that the U.S. would do nothing violent to upset the Soviet satellite empire.

The Russian threats to fight against a rearmed West Germany had to be taken seriously because the rearmament was deadly serious to the Russians. Yet, at Geneva, they had made it clear that they would not fight to prevent the creation of a West German army. Thus the Soviets also now recognized the status quo, as the West had done previously vis-à-vis the satellite countries.

Mr. Alsop posits that the status quo in Europe might be altered by political rather than military means, that there were knowledgeable people who believed that the Russians were preparing to offer reunification to West Germany on their own terms, based on a promise not to join NATO. He remarks that Premier Bulganin probably meant what he said when he stated that it would take time to solve the German problem, and, if so, the recognition of the status quo at Geneva reduced the chance of war in Europe in the immediate future, and that was certainly a gain, even if settling nothing in the long run.

He also finds the possible gain that the President's offer of mutual aerial inspection of the U.S. and Russia by each of the two countries appeared likely to come to nothing, but both sides had at least recognized a mutual advantage in having some kind of warning system against surprise nuclear attack.

Despite such gains, he finds, it was not time to relax in the face of an assured peace. "For there has been a death's head at the feast here in Geneva. For a long time, it has been obvious that far greater danger of war lies in Asia rather than in Europe. And nothing meaningful whatsoever has been done here to deal with this far greater danger."

A letter writer from Birmingham, Ala., states that a North Carolina law, promulgated by the U.S. Public Health Service, puzzled him, with the Service stating that residents of the state married elsewhere had to take a blood test for syphilis within 60 days after their return to North Carolina. He wants to know how it would be determined when they got back and how long they had been back, as well as what would occur if there were no compliance. He also wants to know what would occur if they tested positive for syphilis. He says there was no accurate blood test for syphilis, refers to page 467 of the October 4, 1952 issue of the Journal of the AMA, plus the Saturday Evening Post of April 30, 1955, at page 27, and Your Health, from the summer quarter of 1955, page 62. He believes that the Health Service and the American Social Hygiene Association and its press agent, Dr. Walter Alvarez of the Mayo Clinic, had been peddling "a lot of baloney about blood tests." He says that Man's Magazine for August contained a quotation in an article by Harry Hursh which had defamed North Carolina and the Army by indicating that authorities in North Carolina had received a demonstration of how fast venereal disease could spread, occurring in Greensboro and Chadbourn, in the former traced to a young soldier, who, in six weeks, had spread the disease among 101 persons, while in the latter, 75 persons had been infected with syphilis and gonorrhea in less than two months.

A letter writer indicates that several days earlier a letter had appeared which warned black people not to push their rights too far, this writer finding the letter interesting for it had summarized the thinking of too many Southerners who had pledged themselves to the paternalistic attitude of the past. He believes that the matter had to be resolved through a Christian attitude of love and that the previous writer had demonstrated that he had been "kept in the backwoods of ignorance", that anyone who was a scholar in social and economic problems was aware that since 1619, blacks had advanced in unparalleled manner when compared to any racial group in history, having been removed from their indigenous home and brought to the U.S., after the middle passage. He responds to several more points brought up by the previous writer, in closing stating that the classification of "head hunter" given to blacks by the anonymous previous writer, who had identified him or herself as a teacher, was as erroneous as was a Hitler or Stalin seeking to classify Caucasians of the world. "It would be appropriate for a teacher to have a mind with the ability to discern fact from fallacy. Perhaps you might look within yourself in order to find the answer to your query."

A letter writer congratulates Julian Scheer of The News for his column, "Charlotte Close-Up" of July 20, regarding mothers-in-law, finding it a masterpiece which would long be remembered by every married man.

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