The Charlotte News

Friday, August 12, 1955


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Hurricane Connie, while losing some of its force, though remaining a menace, had moved northward along the North Carolina coast this date still packing 75 mph winds and destructive high tides, having moved inland at 9:00 a.m. near Morehead City, while, two hours later, was positioned 60 miles west of Cape Hatteras, lashing at small fishing villages along the Carolina capes and the mainland along Pamlico Sound. Cherry Point, the site of the Camp Lejeune Marine Base, just north of Morehead City, had reported top wind speeds of 75 mph, reduced from the 100 mph the hurricane had at its center as it approached land. At 11:00 a.m., the hurricane continued to have hurricane force winds extending outward 50 miles east of its center and a shorter distance in other directions, with gale force winds extending 250 miles to the northeast and 150 miles to the southwest. Continued northward movement, according to the Weather Bureau, was anticipated at about 12 mph, and the storm was expected gradually to weaken after another six hours. Hurricane warning flags were posted from Myrtle Beach, S.C., to the Delaware Breakwater and Northeast storm warnings extended to Provincetown, Mass. The hurricane was expected to be in southeastern Virginia by about midnight this date. More than 14,000 persons had been forced to evacuate their homes or vacation resorts the previous night by the dangerous winds and pounding tides, taking refuge within 79 emergency shelters along the coastal regions of the Carolinas, including converted schools, churches, and other safe inland buildings. The damage caused thus far appeared less than that caused by Hurricane Hazel the previous mid-October. Many of the destroyed or damaged structures had only recently been rebuilt from that previous hurricane. Wrightsville, Carolina and Kure beaches, near Wilmington, had been the first to be hit hard. Farther northeast, in New Bern, it was a common sight to see parents standing in shoulder-deep water, handing children over their heads to National Guard rescuers. More than 2,000 persons had been evacuated from waterfront homes and thousands of residents had fled toward Kinston on the only highway left open. National Civil Air Patrol headquarters said that 50 mobile radio cars had been moved into Wilmington and New Bern, teaming up with amateur radio operators to provide contact between the storm battered cities and the outside world. Fishing piers, beachfront housing and businesses, and public facilities had been seriously damaged by the hurricane, but no one yet had been able to make an estimate of the damage, with it continuing to mount as the hurricane moved northward from the South Carolina border. About half of the $75,000 Fisherman's Steel Pier at Carolina Beach had been destroyed.

Julian Scheer of The News reports from Myrtle Beach that the Grand Strand had been ready on this occasion and was deserted during the approach of Connie, which had been gentle to the community. Preparedness from Cherry Grove southward to Myrtle had been the watchword, the residents and tourists having learned from Hazel the prior year. Cherry Grove had been vacant by late afternoon the previous day and only Horry County police and National Guard members were present in Myrtle. Winds gusted to 35 mph. People were happy that the hurricane had bypassed Myrtle this time.

South Carolina beaches were returning to normal this date and many persons were returning to their homes and in other sections of the Carolinas, while early this date, it was reported that roads leading to resorts were open and that motorists would be able to drive safely to their destinations. Buses operating between Charlotte and Myrtle Beach were on normal schedules, having been stopped at Marion, S.C., the previous day. Piedmont Air Lines, which operated flights to both North and South Carolina coastal communities, said that it expected to resume its flights from Charlotte to Wilmington this date.

At Fort Fisher, it was reported that Yankee 15-pound cannonballs left over from the Civil War, placed in front of the Battle Acres, had been scattered by the force of the hurricane.

Emery Wister of The News indicates that Connie, having altered its course this date, impacting the coastal areas but ignoring areas inland, changed the local weather completely, with the predicted heavy rains locally not occurring. New Bern had 8 1/2 inches of rain in less than 24 hours, but Charlotte, having experienced a lot of rain from Hazel, received only .12 inch, occurring in a thunderstorm the previous day.

Meanwhile, another tropical hurricane, Diane, was now reported to have 80 to 90 mph winds and was situated 1,150 miles due east of Miami, Fla., moving northwest or north-northwest at about 11 mph. The chief forecaster in Miami said that any threat to the mainland coast in the Southeast from that hurricane appeared to have ended, but that it remained a question as to whether it would threaten the Northeast.

In Seoul, South Korea, a South Korean was shot and killed this date and two other Koreans wounded as riots continued amid rising tension over President Syngman Rhee's demand that pro-Communist truce inspectors depart Korea by Saturday at midnight. An informed source said that President Rhee had advised the U.S. Government that he could not control South Korean demonstrators unless U.S. troops guarding the truce team personnel put away their weapons. An informed source said that General Lyman L. Lemnitzer, the U.N. commander in Korea, in a Thursday conference with President Rhee, had charged that the Korean demonstrations were Government-inspired, a claim which President Rhee vehemently denied. It had been common knowledge, however, that South Korean officials in the past had ordered supposed spontaneous demonstrations supporting other objectives of President Rhee. The source said that President Rhee had told General Lemnitzer that the U.S also had to promise to help in peaceful eviction of Communist members of the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission, those from Poland and Czechoslovakia. Other members of the Commission were from neutral Switzerland and Sweden. At Panmunjom, U.S. Maj. General Harlan Parks had told a session of the Military Armistice Commission that "illegal" activities by Polish and Czech NNSC members had provoked the demonstrations. An 8th Army spokesman said that a U.S. soldier guard aboard a ship in Inchon harbor had fired his carbine at three Koreans in a boat, when he spotted them trying to steal canned milk from a barge during the wee hours of the morning, but that the action had nothing to do with the anti-truce team demonstration by the South Koreans. The Korean national police insisted that three Korean fishermen had been hit by fire from a U.S. Army patrol boat guarding the island headquarters of the NNSC team. The 8th Army confirmed that a Korean had died of gunshot wounds and that his two wounded companions, found in a boat which had drifted into the U.S. Army anchorage at Inchon, had been hospitalized.

In Bangkok, Thailand, it was reported that a crash between a car and a truck had killed U.S. Ambassador John Peurifoy, 48, a diplomatic trouble-shooter who had resolved the 1954 Guatemala civil war, playing a major background role in the peace settlement of the spring of 1954, which put the leader of the anti-Communist forces, Carlos Castillo Armas, in power. The diplomat's Ford Thunderbird had collided head-on with a truck on a narrow bridge 120 miles south of Bangkok, and the elder son of Mr. Peurifoy, 14, was critically injured in the crash. The Ambassador had come to Thailand the previous November after brilliant service in Greece and Guatemala, having begun his Government service in 1935 as a $90 per month elevator operator in the Senate Office Building. He had arrived in a resort town the previous day with his wife and their two sons for a ten-day holiday. During the previous week, widespread rumors in Bangkok had credited Mr. Peurifoy's influence with having effected major political changes in the Thai Cabinet, placing the strongly pro-American Premier, P. Pibulsonggram, into undisputed leadership of the Government and moving his chief contender for power, a police general, to a secondary role. Mr. Peurifoy had been born in Walterboro, S.C., where his father had been district attorney, one of his uncles, a judge, and another, a lawyer. His father had died during his second year at West Point, an event which, coupled with ill health, had forced him to leave the Academy.

On the editorial page, "Death behind Prison Bars—Part II" recounts of the death a year earlier of 18-year old Eleanor Rush in Woman's Prison in North Carolina after she had been restrained, managing to break her own neck in an isolation cell, leading to an inquiry regarding her death and an eventual statement by the State Prisons director, W. F. Bailey, that the death could have been avoided "if some of our program had been completed".

It indicates that the Prison's new program, especially concerning the safety and protection of inmates, remained inadequate, as shown by a suicide which had occurred the prior Sunday of a prisoner, Alex Fulp, under treatment in Central Prison's hospital ward for mental patients. The case bore no close resemblance to that of Ms. Rush, as Mr. Fulp, according to newspaper accounts, had exhibited suicidal tendencies while in jail, having attempted twice the previous week to kill himself, in consequence of which, having been moved to the prison hospital, where he supposedly was to have received closer surveillance and care, but, nevertheless, was able, with very little trouble, to acquire a razor blade and slash himself, slowly bleeding to death in his bed.

It suggests that both cases exhibited an alarming laxness in supervision and care of persons incarcerated within the prison system. Mr. Fulp's death could also have been avoided, giving rise to the question of why it had not been. It urges further tightening of prison policies, as such carelessness could not be tolerated in a penal institution.

The following month, incidentally, as indicated in our note following the September 11, 1954 editorial, the State Industrial Commission would award the family of Ms. Rush $3,000 after the Commission found negligence on the part of prison personnel in applying the restraints and in leaving her alone after their application, a decision subsequently upheld in 1957 by the State Supreme Court. The Commission was limited by law to a finding of $8,000 in damages. A lone dissenter in the Supreme Court case found that the alleged hollering and generally disruptive behavior of Ms. Rush, prompting the application of the restraints, had been sufficient evidence to warrant a finding of contributory negligence on her part, an absolute defense to a tort claim of negligence under North Carolina law at the time, and that therefore the Commission erred in finding no contributory negligence.

"An Awful Decade Ends in Hope" tells of the city of Nagasaki in Japan having honored the prior Tuesday those who had died in the second detonation of an atomic bomb on a populated target on August 9, 1945, while in Geneva, American, Soviet and British scientists were meeting in the first international conference regarding peaceful uses of atomic energy, discussing ways of converting nuclear fuel into cheap electrical energy.

It posits that the difference between the two events was the difference between darkness and light, life and death.

In the meeting of the atomic scientists, a British scientist had predicted that by using the more abundant thorium instead of uranium as fuel, nuclear electrical plants within a few years could be cheaper to operate than coal-fired facilities in many areas.

It finds it significant that until recently, the nuclear capacity of thorium had been a top secret and that Russia was now enthusiastically participating in the conference, with Soviet scientists having described in detail the operation of their nuclear power plant. It thus finds the conference one of the more hopeful things which had happened in the decade since the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The presence of 1,800 delegates from 72 countries and hundreds of unofficial observers demonstrated the universal pressure for peaceful uses of atomic energy, which could have unlimited effects on the living standards of developing countries in the world, reducing starvation, disease and poverty, which bred communism and war.

Now, the scientists had hope that research for constructive uses of nuclear energy would be accelerated by the interchange of ideas between nations and would harness the monster they created for making war. "At Geneva, the decade that began over Hiroshima and Nagasaki has ended in fresh, strong hope that the atom can be trained up in the ways of peace."

"To Col. Blimp, Care of Pentagon" indicates that its suspicion that the legendary Colonel Blimp had left England sometime earlier and moved into the Pentagon had now been confirmed by publication of a pamphlet distributed to 400,000 members of British ground forces. In contrast to a similar Pentagon pamphlet, the British manual saw the press as a friend of the Army and recognized the right of the public to be informed. It added that the Army needed good public relations to maintain the confidence of the British public, ultimately the Army's employer.

To the contrary, to guide its field commands in handling requests for non-secret information, the Pentagon pamphlet had supplied a balance sheet so that in judging the information requested against such things as military power, industrial power, military morale, "other strategic angles" and "anything you can think of", an officer could arrive at a mathematical conclusion as to whether to answer questions. Some officers had said that using the balance sheet enabled refusal of disclosure of almost all information.

It indicates that the British pamphlet recognized the effect of such a policy, when it said: "It pays to be straightforward. The press generally finds out the truth anyway." The piece concludes by asking whether Col. Blimp was there to hear that advice.

Gad, sir, Trumpie-Dumpy-Do has been right all along. The truth is that it was those rotten antifas and BLM's, not the semi-fascist MAGAT's, who broke into the Capitol on January 6.

"A Lot of Ham about the Yam" indicates that the Atlanta Journal had declared the yam a noble work of nature divinely designed to give man release of spirit and strength of body for his daily labors, referring to it as "rib-sticking goodness that is appealing", particularly when baked.

But the piece indicates that having slipped, shaded, watered, dug and hilled sweet potatoes "with the attendant ache in back, stain on hand, pine straw dust in nose and, finally, eaten them," it declines the Journal's universal invitation to ask for second helpings.

"With us, a cold, baked 'tater ranks just ahead of thicknin' gravy and sowbelly and just behind the biscuit full of sorghum."

A piece from the Washington Post & Times-Herald, titled "Automative Homes", indicates that automation now promised the housewife new relief from drudgery. But the new gadgetry in the home appeared to keep women as busy as ever looking after the gadgets, ensuring that they were cleaned and in proper repair. That new drudgery, however, might also soon be eliminated through the automative principle of having machines operate machines.

Thermal eyes were being installed to ensure that the kettle or the coffee pot did not boil over, and there were machines to empty and refill the washing machine.

It finds that it raised a new social problem as to what women would do with their additional time. No thermal eye had yet replaced the need to drive the family car to run errands or operate the grocery cart, or answer the question, "Mamma, what'll I do next?"

Even those chores have now been replaced in some homes, as long as the self-driving car does not drive its operator into a wall and Alexa, popping her circuits, does not turn on every gadget at once to drive the instructor to distraction.

Drew Pearson indicates that some people had been surprised when the Federal Power Commission had waited two days until after Congress adjourned before announcing a decision to turn Hell's Canyon, the last remaining dam site in the U.S., over to the Idaho Power Co., but that anyone who understood the inside of the FPC and the lobbying forces at work on its members would not have been surprised at all.

A House committee had voted against turning the canyon over to the company and the Senate Interior Committee had been split evenly on the matter. FPC commissioner William Costello had recommended that it would be more efficient for the Federal Government to develop the natural reservoir on the Snake River than to provide for the piecemeal operation proposed by the power company. Three small dams proposed by the power company would yield 400,000 fewer kilowatts than the one high dam proposed by Senator Wayne Morse of Oregon and the proponents of Federal development.

But behind the FPC had been operating one of the most skillful lobbies in Washington, which wined and dined the commissioners and took them on free junkets around the country, spending around a half million dollars per year in lobbying Congress. No other lobby spent so much money in Washington. The FPC chairman, Jerome Kuykendall, was more friendly to the gas and electric lobbies than any previous chairman in history, Mr. Pearson detailing how he had come under the influence of the lobby as soon as he got to Washington.

He indicates that the FPC was supposed to be a judicial agency absolutely impartial in its decision-making, and in the past, its members had remained aloof from lobbyists and lobbying social functions, as their decisions affected the rates paid by the public for gas and electricity for future generations. But Mr. Kuykendall had allowed a couple, partners in a firm which represented the West Coast Transmission Co., to give a party in his honor, despite the fact that the company at that time was applying for a certificate to serve the Northwest with natural gas.

Walter Lippmann, as had Drew Pearson the previous day, discusses the President's continuing indecision as to whether or not to run for a second term, given that he would become the oldest President in U.S. history if elected again. While he appeared in late spring to give the impression that he would run again, given his recent talk with Senator George Bender of Ohio and other Ohio Republicans, he had not yet made up his mind based on the age issue. He needed to know what his health would be like and the state of the world before he could make the decision, apparently deferring the matter until early the following winter.

Mr. Lippmann thinks that he was making the decision more difficult than it had to be and that as he had posed the problem, was insoluble, as the following winter he would be scarcely more able than at present to foresee the state of the world or his own health between 1956 and 1960. He was deferring the decision because he wanted to know more about the future than he would be able to know, because he knew that much depended on his decision, as he had not trained and promoted an acceptable and adequate successor, which Mr. Lippmann views as probably troubling to his conscience. He, alone, was able to be elected among Republicans, but as he could not be certain of being able to complete his second term, it weighed on his conscience that he might be making a President whom the country did not want, one who could not carry on where he might leave off. The matter had placed him in a quandary. If he were to decide not to run, he would be consigning his party to almost certain defeat, whereas if he did run, he would be haunted by the notion that he might be using his own popularity to impose upon the country an unpopular successor.

If there were another strong Republican available for the vice-presidency acceptable to the mass of President Eisenhower's supporters, the President would be free from his principal difficulty, could, in good conscience, decide to run again, knowing that there would be a suitable successor should he die or become debilitated in office.

Given good health, age was not a disqualification, but did present a compelling reason for taking great care in the selection of a vice-presidential nominee. The trouble with Vice-President Nixon was that he was, at best, a recent convert to the Eisenhower type of Republicanism, having been, in both his political connections and as a political operator, in the opposition camp to the Eisenhower philosophy. The President had expanded the center until the fringes had become insignificant, while Mr. Nixon was close to the right fringe, unacceptable to Democrats, independents and to a large part of the Republican Party, those who made up the Eisenhower center. The Vice-President could not be elected if he were nominated in 1956 and would be defeated in a campaign which would divide and embitter the country. If he were to become President because of the death or disability of President Eisenhower, he would almost certainly divide the great coalition which the President had formed.

Mr. Lippmann, therefore, suggests that the President had the duty to examine "frankly, fearlessly and objectively" those political realities before deciding whether he would run for a second term, making sure that his vice-president would be acceptable to his following and competent to carry on in his stead. After doing so, the President's decision would no longer be dependent upon predictions about his health or the state of the world, certainties on which could never be truly known.

He views the idea that there was no second person available to the Republicans as inherently improbable. While the President was the indispensable candidate for the presidency, it could not be argued that Mr. Nixon was indispensable as a candidate for the vice-presidency. The only thing that could be said was that there was no one else at present running. But, with an entire year left before the nominating conventions, the President had virtually unlimited power to make a suitable and acceptable choice for the job. The President, posits Mr. Lippmann, could not, in fairness to himself, his party and the nation, leave the problem as he had presently framed it, keeping everyone guessing for another six months about matters which would not be any more certain at that time than they were at present.

We know what's going to happen in 1956 because we can see into the future.

Robert C. Ruark, in Barcelona, finds it curious that so many returning prisoners of war who had originally elected not to repatriate but had changed their minds about Communist China, had come from small country towns. Three prisoners who had just arrived back in the U.S. the previous week after changing their minds were from such towns, one from Dalton, Ga., another from Jacksonville, Tex., and the third from Hillsboro, Miss.

He suggests that one would more likely intuit that the seeds of treason might be more readily acquired in a city, where there were more evil associates and temptations around, whereas the hillbilly from a small town was more likely to be closer to God and wholesome influences.

Mr. Ruark tells, however, of having been raised in a small town, Southport, N.C., near Wilmington, and finds that he had learned a lot more deviltry than Wilmington had to offer, having met more ornery farmers than ornery city slickers, and been exposed to much more vicious gossip and intrigue, which stirred a small community to violence. He suggests that one could get a man lynched in a small town by starting a rumor. And it was not true that boys from the country had a kind of native shrewdness, that "some of the dumbest people" he had ever met were "crackers from the Erskine Caldwell belt—some of the shiftiest and most shiftless, as well." He indicates that the dullness of small-town life created a receptivity to any sort of suggestion that would put the brain's owner out of his routine rut, such as turpentining the cat or tying a can to the tail of the dog, manifestations of the boredom.

When he had been in the Navy during World War II, he found that slum kids caught on much faster and made much firmer fighting stock than did the country boys from Iowa and Georgia aboard ship, that most of the troublemakers had been people like himself, Southern boys from small towns.

He says that he felt sorry for the three dumb guys who probably thought Communism was a kind of game and that repatriation was punishment involving work. He thinks the Government should not be too vindictive toward them, because he would bet that none of them could spell "treason", let alone define it. He says that there were so many good kids who had no business going to Korea that it seemed to him that a few of the bad ones should be forgiven as unimportant to the general scheme.

A letter writer from Gastonia indicates that the next city election would produce a new city government and that they would get some of the things they did not have, such as pool rooms, Sunday movies, bowling, a YMCA, gas sold on Sundays between 11:00 a.m. and noon, and cafés. "How dead can a town get?"

A letter writer indicates that when he had read another letter—possibly this one, though it may have been another—, asking for help in solving the writer's problem concerning the Christian religion, he had been touched with a feeling of sympathy and wanted to pass on a few thoughts, that the Christian religion was a living experience of the soul, that the proof that there was a God and that His word is true, was not found through logic, theology or any other reasoning, but in God. He quotes several passages from the Bible to support his thesis.

But for some people, you are sounding a bit on the truistic side, capable therefore of rationalizing almost anything as God's will.

A letter writer indicates that he had been reading about the case of the fired Charlotte police officer after it had been discovered that he had recently been convicted of an assault with a deadly weapon during the recent Southern Bell Telephone Co. strike, finding that the whole thing did not smell right to him, that if the former police officer had committed an assault, he should not have been released on a fine of $10, wonders how he could commit an assault while sitting in his car and what had become of the gun he supposedly had. He wishes to have his questions answered by other letter writers, suggests that the Constitutional right of free speech and worship of religion and to work when and where one pleased had been superseded by "union dictators" who demanded that to work, one had to belong to a union, pay tribute and do as the union said. He says that there was no violence in Morganton of which he had heard during the Communication Workers strike, but he does not know whether there was opposition to the strike by some of the operators, has reason to believe that they were kept in line by threats while the union officials were trying and failed to get the things the strike had sought.

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