The Charlotte News

Tuesday, August 2, 1955


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports from Geneva that the U.S. and Communist China had recessed their diplomatic talks at the ambassadorial level for 48 hours this date after exchanging views on the repatriation of 41 American civilians held by the Communist Chinese, and the Chinese students remaining in the U.S. There was no communiqué at the end of this date's talks, which lasted slightly less than an hour between U. Alexis Johnson of the U.S. and Wang Ping-nan of China, but a Chinese spokesman confirmed that the problem of the civilians had been discussed and that the next meeting would occur on Thursday morning. The source declined to say whether any concrete proposals had been made by either side, but it was assumed that the recess was to permit consultation with Washington and Peiping regarding proposals. Neither the Chinese nor the U.S. spokesman would disclose details.

Secretary of State Dulles said this date that the U.S. hoped eventually to obtain from Communist China a declaration renouncing the use of force, telling a press conference in Washington that such a broad commitment would clear the way for extensive negotiations on major problems between the two countries and other countries. He said that the U.S. would not negotiate with a pistol at its head, that the pistol needed to be permanently discarded. He also said that the apparent signs of change by the Communist Chinese, with the release of the 11 airmen, following earlier release of four additional airmen in May, could be misleading, but that the developments, along with a recent speech by Premier and Foreign Minister Chou En-lai could mark the beginning of a new phase in Chinese Communist relations with the rest of the world.

In Hong Kong, the U.S. Air Force ordered two C-54 transports to the city this date, presumably to bring home the 11 American airmen to be released by the Communist Chinese on Thursday, following more than two years of imprisonment. The men had already left Peiping. Upon arrival, the men would be medically examined at a plush jockey club and if doctors found them in good enough shape, would probably pose for still and motion pictures in new uniforms to be provided to them. They would then be driven to Hong Kong's airport for a brief press conference before leaving the city for Honolulu, the same procedure followed by the four earlier released airmen in May.

The House this date passed and sent to the President a housing bill unsatisfactory to him in several respects, and Republican leaders suggested that he might veto it and call a special session of Congress to pass a new one. The roll call vote was 187 to 168 in favor of the measure, supported by 153 Democrats and 34 Republicans, opposed by 37 Democrats and 131 Republicans. House Minority Leader Joseph Martin of Massachusetts said just prior to the vote that a special session might be necessary to obtain a bill satisfactory to the President. Housing administrator Albert Cole declared that the bill "totally distorts the principles and purposes of the Administration's objectives." It called for 45,000 new public housing units on a one-year program, whereas, according to Mr. Cole, the Administration wanted at least 70,000 units in a two-year program. The bill was finally drafted by a joint conference committee the previous day after the two houses had earlier passed sharply different versions, and the Senate had quickly approved the compromise. It included many relatively non-controversial items, such as extension of FHA-insured loans for houses and home repairs, a vast new housing program for servicemen, special programs for farm and college housing, and an increased slum clearance effort. Bitter fights had developed over the program for Federally assisted, low-rent public housing units for low-income persons, concentrated chiefly in the cities. The President had wanted the units authorized only to persons displaced by slum clearance and rehabilitation projects. The Senate had originally approved 135,000 units for each year of a four-year program. Republicans and Southern Democrats had joined to kill any public housing at all in the original House bill. The conference committee compromised on the 45,000 units for a one-year program. It knocked out the restriction confining the units to persons displaced by slum clearance, a provision which Republicans insisted needed to be preserved.

Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona, to become the 1964 Republican presidential nominee, said this date that "the American people will rebut" charges by Senator McCarthy that the President offered "friendship to tyrants and murderers" at the recent Big Four summit conference in Geneva. Senator McCarthy had the previous day denounced what he believed was the President's "profession of faith" in a statement of Russian leaders that they wanted peace, the Senator saying that he believed that a "sellout" to the Communists in Asia was in the making and that he intended to "take the issue to the American people." Senator Goldwater, head of the Republican Senatorial campaign committee, said that he regarded Senator McCarthy as a Republican asset, but that the American people would rebut him and that he did not believe they would "buy" the contention of the Senator that the conference had constituted a rout of the free world forces. He believed that the people were pleased with the outcome of the conference, even those who had some reservations about it, that the people were for peace and believed that a start had been made toward getting it. Senator McCarthy said that "the Eisenhower Administration has adopted every important plank of the Democrat party's foreign policy" and had reduced the 1952 Republican platform to "a scrap of paper". He said that most Republicans "in their hearts, I think, are opposed to the President's policies." (In your heart, you know he's right, but in your gut, you know he's nuts.) He found that Republicans believed that they could not win the White House in 1956 without the President at the head of the ticket and thus were "prepared to subordinate considerations of sound policy to those of political survival."

The President had accepted the resignation of Secretary of the Air Force Harold Talbott the previous day, who would leave office a week from Saturday, to avoid his profits from outside business interests becoming an embarrassment to the Administration. The President had told Mr. Talbott that his decision had been the right one. Some members of Congress, including at least one Democrat, found that he had done a good job as Secretary, but no one in Washington had said publicly that he should not have quit. During a 2 1/2 year period since becoming Secretary, he had received over $132,000 from an engineering firm in which he was a partner, which dealt with Air Force contracts, giving rise to an investigation by the Senate Investigations subcommittee as to whether there had been a conflict of interest. DNC chairman Paul Butler and some of his fellow party members had called on the President to fire Mr. Talbott, asserting that he had used his official position for personal gain, a charge which Mr. Talbott had disputed. The President did not discuss the ethics of the situation in a reply letter to the Secretary's resignation. The Secretary said that he was "clear in my mind and conscience that my actions have been within the bounds of ethics."

A piece by Jean Kramer of the Associated Press, the first of a series of three articles, tells of Hiroshima and Nagasaki ten years after the first deployed atomic bombs had been dropped on the two cities, August 6 and 9, 1945, respectively. Whatever the people of both cities thought about politics, they agreed that the atom bombs which had virtually leveled their cities had to be the last. One doctor, whose clothing had been completely burned off by the flash as he slept a mile from ground zero in Hiroshima, stated that only God knew how many had really died. Mayor Tadao Watanabe would release hundreds of peace doves on the tenth anniversary, as church bells would ring and whistles would blow, while the gathering crowd would kneel in silent prayer for peace around the Cenotaph, a white stone arch which stood as a memorial to the dead. Its inscription read: "Rest Ye in Peace. For We Shall Never Repeat the Mistake." Hiroshima's people said that the "mistake" had not been made by any single country, but by humanity. The estimates of the death toll ranged from a police count conducted on November 30, 1945, of 78,150 civilians, to 260,000, a figure contained in the Hiroshima museum's official booklet. An accurate count was considered impossible. The population of the city had been 312,277 prior to the blast, and 171,912 two months afterward, presently standing at an estimated 360,000. Opposite the Cenotaph were the nearly completed Peace Memorial Hall, the Atomic Bomb Museum and a modernistic auditorium-hotel building. It had been a typical Japanese neighborhood of tiny houses and shops crowded into narrow winding lanes 11 years earlier, but had been reduced to a "holocaust of flame and death" at the time of the dropping of the atom bomb. It was slowly being transformed from "a desert of stunted trees and muddy or dusty ground to a landscaped park."

In Los Angeles, a man who had been living under an assumed name for eight years since he had walked away from an Alabama penitentiary farm gang after serving two years of a one to five-year sentence on a conviction for embezzlement of $150, proclaimed his innocence, and had become a model citizen, according to neighbors, since that time, having married and fathered a six-year old son, the family now living in their own home. On July 8, he had been arrested on the fugitive warrant, at which point his wife learned for the first time of his past. She had met him on a blind date and they were married three months later. She remained steadfastly by him, saying that he had been a wonderful husband and father. The operator of a restaurant chain for which he had worked as a manager had declared that he trusted him and would continue to trust him, that it was a miracle when one found a man who worked as hard as he did. The operator of the restaurant chain provided the bail for the man and retained an attorney for him, writing letters of recommendation to Alabama authorities, describing the life he had led since coming to California. In Los Angeles Municipal Court the previous day, a letter was received from Governor James Folsom of Alabama, indicating that the State had decided not to seek extradition, effectively freeing the man. As he left the courtroom grinning, he said that his assumed name would become his legalized name and that his nightmare under his prior name would be no more.

Julian Scheer of The News tells of the newsstands of the city becoming increasingly cleaner, as objectionable literature, mostly comic books, was beginning to disappear in a drive conducted by local police officials. Chief Frank Littlejohn had said this date that his department had a long-standing drive ongoing against the sale and display of lurid literature, and that it was paying off. He said that news distributors were playing a key role in keeping the newsstands free of objectionable magazines. The previous month, several new laws passed by the 1955 General Assembly had gone into effect, one such law making it a misdemeanor, punishable by fine or imprisonment, for any person, firm or corporation to sell any "crime comic books or publications which through the medium of pictures portray mayhem, acts of sex or use of narcotics." (Would not that include Superman comics?) At the time the measure had been introduced, many newspapers in the state had questioned its enforcement capability and others found it to be censorship which ought be conducted at the level of the publisher or the parents, not by law. Enforcement officers around the state had been puzzled as to how to enforce it, but in Charlotte, enforcement on a voluntary basis had been going on for quite some time. The previous year, the comic book industry had joined Judge Charles Murphy to draw up a voluntary Comic Code Authority, which reviewed all comic books in the industry and then, if approved, were provided the Authority's seal of approval. But not all publishers were members. Dixie News Co. of Charlotte, the largest distributor of comic books in the Carolinas, had refused to distribute books of publishers not included within the Authority. When the Code had been adopted, Dixie and other distributors had called on Chief Littlejohn and told him of the voluntary ban, with the Charlotte police since that time having maintained a close eye on publications on the newsstands. But what was unobjectionable to the industry was not necessarily so to Chief Littlejohn, and one of his detectives and his staff made periodic checks of the local stands and news distributors, with the firms having voluntarily pulled matter which was deemed objectionable to the police.

On the editorial page, "Coliseum Parking: A Sensible Solution" tells of the parking problem around the new Auditorium-Coliseum complex having shown that there would not be enough room to hold the thousands of automobiles expected for attendance of major events. The Coliseum held 10,000 people and the City owned space for only 1,200 cars in the adjacent lot. When larger attractions would occur, the parking overflow would flood the neighborhood around Independence Boulevard, unless special arrangements for additional off-street parking could be made.

It finds that a reasonable plan had been submitted during the previous week to the City Council, whereby an adjoining landowner, with room for an additional 1,800 cars, would contract with the City to provide parking and would share in the profits by a 60-40 ratio, equal to the relative space of his land versus that of the City. Formal action on the proposal, however, had been postponed, permitting critics of the complex to find evil in the proposal, which was actually a practical solution to a difficult problem, deserving of thoughtful consideration.

It details the proposal further and concludes that it was a sensible arrangement, with the adjoining property owner tied to a 20-year lease for the badly needed additional parking. It indicates that unless the Council could come up with something better, the agreement should be signed with the property owner.

"The Chinese Move the Pawns Again" finds that the announcement by the Communist Chinese the previous day that they were releasing the 11 American airmen who had been charged with and convicted of "espionage" the prior November, after having been shot down during the Korean War, had not been merely chance, but carefully timed to coincide with the opening of the ambassadorial conference at Geneva between the two countries.

It finds that because the Chinese had no right to hold the airmen, it was not truly a concession toward easing tensions in the Pacific. It might, however, signal willingness of the Chinese to negotiate "the fuse out of the explosive problems" in the Far East, suggesting that one of the jobs of the U.S. representatives at the conference would be to assess that willingness.

Communist Chinese Premier and Foreign Minister Chou En-lai already had said that the release of American civilians held in China ought be no problem, provided that the U.S. would be willing to release "thousands" of Chinese students. It finds that it left a void in the agenda for secret exploration of attitudes of the two countries on more provocative problems, such as the strategic blockade against China, the belligerence and threats to invade Formosa, the questions of a U.N. seat for Communist China and U.S. recognition of the regime. It suggests that discussion of those issues might presage another summit meeting on the Far East.

It finds that if Communist China was willing to forgo force in the Formosa dispute, it was not likely that it would sign a formal cease-fire and thereby concede that it was not the rightful ruler of Formosa. Such an attitude might provide the ground for a meeting between Secretary of State Dulles and Chou, at which the general range of threatening problems could be considered.

It concludes that the released 11 airmen and the American civilians were still being held only as pawns and that granting their freedom could not be interpreted as acts of virtue, rather only moves on a chessboard of war and diplomacy.

"Between Corn and Cosmos, a Balance" indicates that through the weekend and the first days of the present week, it had been reflecting on Friday's front page which had announced the new earth satellite program. It had been news on Friday, but by now had become accepted by the public. One incredulous woman had been prompted to call the local fire department to check the rumor that there was a satellite hovering over Huntersville.

The satellite, however, had shared the front page with a picture of a corn stalk growing in the most unlikely place, on a traffic island in Independence Boulevard, and another story about the dislocation of Hunter's Store, moved to a new location to make way for the widening of Providence Road. On the same day, there had been stories predicting that the best farm crop in the county since 1947 would be enjoyed and that the deadliest hydrogen bomb would be detonated since 1954.

It finds therefore a front page of "precarious balance", finding it important that the satellite and the bomb had not overpowered the corn stalk or the farm crop or the country store. It weighs the speed of the satellite, 18,000 mph, against the growing speed of corn, an estimated five inches per week, and the moving distance of the store, 150 feet toward town and 30 or 40 feet back from the highway, finds it remarkable that they were on the same page but views it rightly so. It suggests that world affairs were just that evenly weighed between "the quiet, peaceful workings of community life" and the "cosmic events implied by a satellite or a bomb." It finds that in that way lay sanity, that the balance could be maintained, as the superhuman things set to go around the world shared the front page with the human things which made the world go around

Louis Graves, writing in the Chapel Hill Weekly, in a piece titled, "'Swell'—'Terrific'—What Next?" indicates that a few years earlier "swell" had been a fashionable word to express enthusiastic approval, but all of a sudden, it had gone out of favor and had been replaced by "terrific".

Mr. Graves indicates that when he was writing a piece recently, he had started to use the word "terrific" in the conventional sense, as something terrible, frightful, fearful or appalling, but had said to himself that he would not, as people would take it instead as a compliment of the thing, thus finding another word.

He questions whether fashions in slang moved in cycles, indicates that he did not know, but finds that if they did, perhaps people would come around again to use of words which were used long earlier. He cites as an example the word which Theodore Roosevelt had been fond of using, "bully", but finds that the course which language or slang would take would be anyone's guess and that all they could do would be to wait and see.

Drew Pearson indicates that the President would have invited Soviet Premier Nikolai Bulganin and his friend, Marshal Georgi Zhukov, to Washington during the Geneva conference had Secretary of State Dulles allowed him to do so. It had been discussed and the Russians were eager to make the trip, but Mr. Dulles had nixed it, despite the President becoming annoyed at times with the Secretary.

The reason behind the current talks with the Chinese Communists had been a repeated warning from CIA director Allen Dulles that the Communists would begin a devastating bombardment of the offshore islands of Quemoy and Matsu immediately after the Big Four summit conference, and the President decided that it would be better to talk than retreat. Previously, any suggestion that the President would open communication with the Chinese Communists without the representation of the Nationalist Chinese had brought anguish from the wing of the Republican Party represented by Senate Minority Leader William Knowland of California, those members still being irate but less vocal.

The State Department had been critical of Chiang Kai-shek's trigger-happy public relations men who had published stories about Chinese Communist planes piloted by Russians firing on Nationalist planes, when a lot of those incidents had not actually occurred. The State Department was trying to tone down the inflammatory news stories and there had been a lot fewer of late.

Just before Senator Lyndon Johnson had been stricken with a heart attack, friends, including Senators Richard Russell of Georgia, George Smathers of Florida, and Stuart Symington of Missouri, had planned to promote him for the presidency. They had been prepared to make the announcement when the Senator was stricken and taken to the hospital in early July.

Senator Robert Kerr of Oklahoma, one of the few who had taken on General MacArthur, was willing to accept the Senate leadership if either Senator Johnson or acting leader Earle Clements of Kentucky did not want to accept it the following year. Mr. Pearson indicates that he was willing and eager for the position.

Senator Estes Kefauver of Tennessee had made terrific strides toward the Democratic nomination for 1956 without exerting noticeable effort, having a knack for same.

Carmine De Sapio, head of Tammany Hall in New York and the political genius behind Governor Averell Harriman, was not wedded to Adlai Stevenson for the 1956 Democratic nomination, as was Governor Harriman, the former being for any good Democratic campaigner.

Republican leaders were feeling much happier about the prospects that the President would run again in 1956, believing that if they could keep him absorbed in international affairs and not worried about such controversies as that surrounding Air Force Secretary Harold Talbott or the ill-fated Dixon-Yates contract, he would be ready and willing to run again.

Senator George Bender of Ohio had again gotten his signals crossed, usually taking them from his good friend, Treasury Secretary George Humphrey, from Senator Bender's hometown, Cleveland. While Senator Bender had been the chief defender in the Senate of Secretary Talbott, Secretary Humphrey had been his chief critic in the Cabinet. Mr. Pearson remarks that once before, Senator Bender had gotten his signals crossed, regarding the St. Lawrence Seaway, and after vigorously opposing it, having found that Secretary Humphrey was its chief advocate and so switched to the other side. Secretary Humphrey had been his biggest campaign contributor.

Rumors persisted that Vice-President Nixon would not be on the ticket again in 1956 and would retire voluntarily to practice law, but all outward indications were to the contrary. The Vice-President had convinced the President to allow him to hold a Cabinet meeting in the absence of the President, a purely public relations stunt, as almost never were Cabinet meetings conducted by Vice-Presidents. But Mr. Nixon had not only conducted the meeting but had a photo to prove it. Mr. Pearson suggests that his grandchildren would be happy. The Vice-President's public relations build-up the previous month had been "gall-and-wormwood" to Senator Knowland, who had come down to the airport in the rain to welcome the President home from Geneva, not appearing happy, however, at seeing Mr. Nixon in charge of the welcoming arrangements.

Senator Knowland was expected to resign the Republican leadership in the Senate should the President go too far in dumping Chiang Kai-shek. Senator Leverett Saltonstall of Massachusetts was ready to take over the Republican leadership in the Senate should Senator Knowland step down.

The Republican Senate policy committee, meeting behind closed doors the previous week, had voted that Secretary Talbott should be forced out as a bad political security risk. Mr. Pearson remarks that "soft-hearted" Senator Symington had hated to see Secretary Talbott on the griddle as the Senator was a friend of the Secretary's wife and family.

The backstage reason why Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson had suddenly modified his plan to dump surplus cotton on the world market had been a story released by Mr. Pearson's column on July 14, disclosing that the Secretary's assistant, James McConnell, had met secretly with five Southern Senators at the Raleigh Hotel and had revealed his plan to dump the cotton. Economic repercussions from the story had been such that Secretary Benson reversed his decision, receiving tough warnings from political leaders to proceed slowly.

Stewart Alsop, in Kharkov, Russia, tells of touring two plants, a steel plant at Dnepropetrovsk and a tractor factory in Kharkov, finding the steel plant as a scene from Hell, "with the terrible heat of the open hearth furnaces and the endless clanging of metal on metal", while the tractor factory was a clean and seemingly well-run place, exhibiting, however, more similarities between the two than differences.

The workers worked very hard for six straight eight-hour days, left the factory only when their work cards were countersigned by management and earned minimum subsistence pay on a piece-work, or speed-up, system. Mr. Alsop had asked a manager of the tractor factory whether the workers might not think about striking for a 40-hour week, at which the manager appeared astonished, asking why should they strike when, if they had complaints, they could discuss them with management.

There was a marked difference between the newly developed class of managers and the manual workers. In both factories, the managers wore clean, white linen smocks and were almost all engineers and members of the Communist Party. The interpreter for Mr. Alsop said that no one bowed for the managers, as if that lack of civility would astonish the visitor from a land practicing capitalism. In both factories, the average pay was about the same, 800 to 900 rubles per month, according to management, a universal average for Soviet factory workers. The official exchange rate was four rubles to the dollar, rendering an average monthly wage of $225, not high for an American worker but not terribly low either.

Russian workers, however, had to pay the equivalent of $250 for a second-hand suit, $60 for a pair of boots, $2.50 for a pound of fatty meat, when they could get it, $1.50 for a single cucumber and $850 for a television set.

John Fischer, editor-in-chief of Harper's, indicates that never before in history had any nation devoted so much share of its brains and resources to the sole purpose of keeping its women "greased, deodorized, corseted, enshrined in chrome convertibles, curled, slenderized, rejuvenated, and relieved of all physical labor." In other lands, women were still deluded into thinking that they ought to make life a little pleasanter and easier for their breadwinners, with only Americans practicing the reverse role, adopted by the male.

When the male would arrive home at the end of the day, he would face "Conversation Hour", the time to touch lightly on the need for a new vacuum cleaner, his gaucheries at the previous night's bridge party, the prospects for remedying his cultural poverty by a course of lectures at the Women's Club, and his duties at the PTA meeting, which would start in 20 minutes.

Since the robust chores of yesteryear were now passé for the woman of the household, she was free to focus her civilizing zeal on her husband. As a gauge of her success stood the fact that never in history had any country contained such a high proportion of cowed and "eunuchoid" males, "drilled with Prussian thoroughness to shun all household sins." They were never to drop cigar ashes in the icebox, prop their feet on the coffee table, leave an unwashed dish in the sink, kick a baby, or stuff a sofa cushion into the mouth of a babbling guest. They endured their marriages in mute docility, and died "mercifully early from ulcers and high blood pressure."

Mr. Fischer finds that occasionally, however, the domestic reform program proved unsatisfying because after awhile, the effort at reforming the husband ceased to be a challenge, leaving the wife almost certainly to turn her energies either to good works or to politics, both offering much the same thing, "a new field ripe for reform."

A letter writer from Spartanburg, S.C., indicates having read about the crackdown on enforcement in South Carolina against out-of-state liquor and cigarettes coming into that state without a proper tax stamp, believes it was pretty low when the South Carolina Legislature had passed such a law, and suggests that they would be remembered the following year at election time, recommends voting against everyone who had voted for the measure. The anonymous writer also believes the voters would remember Governor George Bell Timmerman, Jr., "for sending his troops or Gestapo out on the highways to stop motorists crossing the international border." The writer indicates earning a living through traveling between the two states several times each month, carrying in the process a fair sum of money for hotel bills and the like, and asserts that if men in plainclothes and unmarked cars were to follow, the writer would not halt, would wreck their cars if they blocked the road and would shoot it out with them, as the writer would believe it was a hold-up.

A letter from future First Lady Lady Bird Johnson, wife of Senator Lyndon Johnson, indicates her deep regret that she had not had the opportunity to thank the newspaper earlier for its splendid editorial of July 8, stating that it meant a lot to her husband during the early stages of his illness, following his heart attack. Senator Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota, the future Vice-President under President Johnson between 1965 and 1969, had inserted a copy of the editorial into the Congressional Record, and Mrs. Johnson was enclosing the page for the newspaper's files. She indicates that there had been some anxious moments after the heart attack, but that her husband was much better at present and well on the road to complete recovery. In the early stages, it had been important to find something cheerful to read to him, the editorial had fit that category, and she would always be grateful for it.

It might be noted that among the editorials introduced by Senator Humphrey, in addition to that from The News, as well as one from the Charlotte Observer, was one from the Raleigh News & Observer, edited by Jonathan Daniels, bringing to mind the fact that in August, 1964, Mr. Daniels would respond to a letter from W. J. Cash's first biographer, Joseph L. Morrison, asking about the friendship between Mr. Daniels and Cash, indicating at its end that he was off "to nominate Lyndon", as a member of the North Carolina delegation to the Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City, Mr. Daniels having been previously a national committeeman from the state and having served in various roles under Presidents Roosevelt and Truman.

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