The Charlotte News

Monday, August 22, 1955


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the death toll in the Northeast from the floods following Hurricane Diane had mounted to nearly 200 by this date, with the known dead numbered at 188 and additional persons missing, the final death toll likely to rise well above 200. The hardest hit states had been Pennsylvania and Connecticut, where a total of nearly 130 persons remained missing. In Pennsylvania, 93 were known to have died, while in Connecticut, 68 known deaths had occurred. In Massachusetts, there were 13 known dead, in Rhode Island, one, in New Jersey, six, in New York, four, and in Virginia, three. As the streams and rivers began to recede, the damage was being revealed, running into the billions of dollars. Homes had been wrecked or were completely gone, factories damaged, some beyond repair, and bridges and roads washed out. Flood survivors in most areas had been ordered to boil the drinking water and emergency anti-typhoid serums had been flown into isolated communities by helicopter. Dry ice had been commandeered to refrigerate vital food supplies where regular refrigerators were without electrical power. Many people had lost their regular jobs at least temporarily because of the flood damage, and some buildings which apparently had survived, had been found to be so weakened that they had to be condemned. In Torrington, Conn., once a thriving industrial city of 28,000, dozens of stores had been smashed and factories put out of order, with bridges gone and vital supplies flown in by helicopter using a schoolyard for an emergency landing field. Three people had lost their lives there and many others were left homeless. In Putnam, Conn., floods and uncontrollable magnesium fires had combined to wreck the town. The worst single tragedy had occurred near Stroudsburg, Pa., where Brodhead Creek swept over a summer vacation camp and carried away 40 persons, mostly women and children, nine persons having survived to tell of the horror of the flash flood which had collapsed a building in which the campers had sought refuge.

In Connecticut, in addition to the 68 persons known dead, there were 70 still missing, according to State police, as the flooding had reached unprecedented proportions. Governor Abraham Ribicoff had said that there was well over a billion dollars worth of damage. People had been literally washed from their beds as the Naugatuck River had swollen under 12 inches of rains from the hurricane, washing through Waterbury, Shelton, Ansonia and Torrington in the Naugatuck Valley of western Connecticut. In Naugatuck, the U.S. Rubber Co. reported ten million dollars in damage to three plants, employing 5,000 persons. In all, an estimated 30,000 persons were left jobless by the floods across the state. Of the deaths statewide, 19, plus 50 of the missing, had occurred in Waterbury, largest of the stricken towns and cities. Winsted remained cut off. Governor Ribicoff said that it was the worst disaster ever to strike Connecticut and that the destruction was "almost beyond comprehension". The President designated Connecticut a major disaster area, making it eligible for Federal aid.

In Pennsylvania, by nightfall, some 8,000 persons in Stroudsburg had been inoculated against typhoid, and in Bucks County, south of the town, polluted water had been blamed for an outbreak of dysentery, but thus far there were no reported cases of typhoid. The streams of the Pocono Mountains had filled with rain in the backlash from Diane, and the rushing water had picked up momentum and roared through the narrow Brodhead Valley, tearing out dams, demolishing houses and killing some 75 persons in that area, including the 25 vacationers at the private summer camp a few miles north of Stroudsburg. All bridges in the area had been washed out and Bailey bridges were being brought in by the Army Corps of Engineers. A twilight curfew had been imposed and armed National Guardsmen were patrolling the streets during the night to prevent looting. Guardsmen also patrolled at Scranton, to the northwest, and in other flood-damaged cities.

The President, currently vacationing in Colorado, would make a six-state aerial inspection tour of the flood damage the following day, and would confer with the chairman of the American Red Cross in Connecticut, with the governors of the six impacted states having been invited to attend. The President appealed to people everywhere in the country to "pitch in and help" the Red Cross relief efforts.

In Seoul, South Korea, a high U.S. official said this night that there had been "no consideration of any military action" against Lt. Guy Bumpas for statements the Communists claimed he had made in North Korea. He had piloted a small, unarmed plane which had been shot down the previous week near the demilitarized zone, accompanied by an observer passenger, who had been killed. The U.S. official, who asked that his name be withheld, attributed to "irresponsible Communist propagandists" a statement quoting the lieutenant as contradicting the U.N. Command's claim that he was on a routine flight, charging instead that he was reconnoitering over North Korea. After he had been held prisoner by the Communists for six days, he and the body of the passenger would be returned to allied lines the following day. The passenger had been killed by the crash, according to the Communists, and the lieutenant had suffered a possible skull fracture.

In Casablanca, Morocco, French troops and foreign legionnaires, using tanks and fighter planes, had blasted nationalist rebel bands this date, following a bloody weekend of raids, riots and guerrilla fighting, leaving an estimated 1,000 dead in North Africa. Sporadic rioting had been reported all over Morocco, but most of the outbreaks had been small, involving nationalist violence. There were no dependable casualty figures, with one Paris newspaper having estimated the death toll at 1,341, as conservative, semiofficial figures placed it at about 800, while experienced reporters in North Africa said it was more likely at around 1,000. The exact number would likely never be known because the rebels carried away many of their dead. French Premier Edgar Faure and Foreign Minister Antoine Pinay opened a week of talks with Moroccan leaders at the French resort of Aix les Bains, their aim being to afford greater self-government for the protectorate. French tanks had initiated a major operation during the morning against the rebel tribesmen who had massacred about 80 French at Oued Zem, a mining center in the Tadia region south of Casablanca. Authorities feared that French residents of Morocco might launch reprisals of their own, as they had done the previous month after a bomb had killed seven French residents in Casablanca. Many fires had been set in buildings around Marrakesh, and in previously quiet Algerian cities along the Mediterranean coast, streets were deserted except for police cars and trucks loaded with troops. In the Constantine area of Algeria, the Government announced a death toll of 485 terrorists and 69 French, with 210 dead in Morocco, 90 European civilians, 20 French and native troops, and more than 100 Moroccan rebels. U.S. airbases in Morocco had apparently escaped without damage.

In New York, Robert Hutchins, president of the Fund for the Republic, said in the Fund's first report that there was "cause for alarm" regarding civil liberties in the country, describing the atmosphere better in some particulars than it had been five years earlier regarding the misunderstanding of civil liberties, the indifference to them and the violations of them, while still causing alarm. The Fund had been authorized by the Ford Foundation in 1951 to issue a report on the matter, having received grants of 15 million dollars and incorporated in 1952. Mr. Hutchins, former president of the University of Chicago, said that the Fund had spent 2.5 million dollars since its inception, and the report listed 34 programs which it had aided financially. The report said that the cold war had thrown the civil liberties problem into "unusual disorder", that the "range of suspected persons has been enormously extended by resort to guilt by association." It continued that the evidence offered to show that a man was a danger to American institutions had often been "farcically remote", and that treatment accorded suspected persons in Congressional investigations and administrative hearings had not always been in accord with constitutional protections.

A Washington rooming house proprietor was indicted this date on a charge of falsely accusing a White House clerk of being a subversive, after the man had sent a letter on White House stationery to the White House the previous April 1 saying that a 29-year old employee had, on occasions, visited the Russian Embassy "with official White House documents." The man was indicted under the Federal criminal libel law, providing for up to five years in prison and a $1,000 fine upon conviction. The indictment contended that the letter had been sent "with intent to defame and injure" the reputation of the White House employee and to expose him "to public ridicule, hatred and contempt." The assistant U.S. attorney said that the defendant had admitted that the allegations contained in the letter had been false, and the attorney declined to discuss his motive. It was not clear how he had managed to obtain White House stationery. His obvious defense would be that it was an April Fool's joke.

By the way, just so that ever hopeful Trumpies, given to delusions of falsehood when either truth or an absence of malicious intent would be a defense in any event, won't get their hopes up, the criminal libel statute has long ago been repealed. Query whether the indictment of the defendant—who would subsequently plead guilty—would have withstood constitutional scrutiny under the First Amendment had it been brought after the above-cited case involving district attorney Jim Garrison.

In Charlotte, 104 outstanding golfers from the U.S., England, Canada and Hawaii would begin a week-long tournament on the 6,413-yard Myers Park Country Club course for the Women's National Amateur Championship, a match which would conclude with 36 holes on Saturday. Barbara Romack of Sacramento, the defending champion, headed the list of competitors, along with four former U.S. champions, as well as British, Canadian, intercollegiate and other champions.

On the editorial page, "A Political Weapon That Backfired" comments on the suggestion that a Republican President would invade the South to help a Democratic Senator win renomination the following year in a Democratic primary, as expressed in a Washington dispatch on Sunday regarding Senator Walter George of Georgia, assuming that both men would be candidates in 1956. Senator George would face strong opposition from former Governor Herman Talmadge and the purpose of the President's support for Senator George would be to show his appreciation for the Senator's foreign policy support, with the ulterior purpose of swinging some of the Senator's supporters to the President.

It finds it a gentlemanly and nonpartisan proposal, but one which was fraught with risks for both the President and the Senator, as political endorsements had built-in backfires. It recounts that in the summer of 1936 at Barnesville, Ga., while sitting on a platform with another popular President, FDR, and two opponents, Senator George heard FDR damn him with faint praise and then ask Georgians to cast their ballots for Lindley Camp, a U.S. Attorney. The third candidate on the platform had been Eugene Talmadge, father of Herman, who was contesting Senator George following his two terms as Governor. Mr. Camp's candidacy never got off the ground, and the Senator and Mr. Talmadge split the bulk of the votes, with many of the latter's supporters contending that he would have won but for the support built up for Senator George by the attempt of FDR to purge him for not sufficiently supporting the New Deal. The Senator had faced no serious opposition since that election, and in succeeding years, no Georgia gubernatorial candidate who had been openly endorsed by a former or incumbent Governor had ever been elected. Current Governor Marvin Griffin had carefully avoided an endorsement speech from former Governor Talmadge, his predecessor. In Georgia, endorsers customarily became campaign targets themselves.

It posits that more recent examples of backfiring endorsements had come in the election of A. B. "Happy" Chandler as Governor of Kentucky over a politically clean judge, endorsed by both Senators Alben Barkley and Earle Clements, both of whom had been attacked by Mr. Chandler.

The white supremacist Mr. Talmadge could use an Eisenhower endorsement as a basis on which to attack both the President and the Senator on the race issue, and the President's endorsement might lend substance to the old charge that the Senator's domestic conservatism was nothing but disguised Republicanism. It concludes therefore that a Presidential endorsement of the Senator would likely not help him, especially as the President had finished only third in Georgia's presidential vote in 1952.

"Just a Line for the Homefolks" suggests taking any magazine and turning to the ads, where one would likely find a North Carolina firm being advertised, which communicated prosperity in the form of taxes, wages and sales for the state. On the same pages, one might find an advertisement for the Conservation & Development Department of the state, which was seeking to attract more industry.

It suggests that if the prosperous North Carolina firms would simply mention their home base in North Carolina, the promoters at C & D would have an easier time. Some firms were doing so, but not very many, most of which had general offices or sales offices in New York City, and wanted to promote their sales departments. It suggests that such North Carolina companies as Cannon, Burlington Mills, Reynolds Tobacco, Hanes, Drexel and others could give an advertising boost to the state by just putting into their ads a small line, "just about this size".

"Slow Pokes" indicates that the new artificial satellite would travel 18,000 mph in its orbit around the earth, that scientists at Princeton had produced a wind in one of its hypersonic wind tunnels which blew at the rate of 11,000 mph. Meanwhile, back home in "pokey old Charlotte", it still took suburbanites 30 minutes to get to work in the morning.

"Safety, Like Charity, Begins at Home" indicates that it was just as dangerous for residents of the county to be at home, at work or at play as it was for them to be out joyriding on the county's dangerous streets and highways, according to the North Carolina Board of Health, which found that only 50.52 percent of Mecklenburg's 97 accidental deaths in 1954 had anything to do with motor vehicles. It suggests that the nature of highway accidents made them easy to dramatize as a major source of death in the state, but safety in the home and on the farm, which were also areas deserving of special attention for safety, was difficult, if not impossible, to promote. Across the state the previous year, automobiles had accounted for 43.68 percent of the 2,541 fatal accidents in the state. Drownings, falls and burns accounted for the largest number of deaths otherwise.

It concludes that it was somewhat ironic that the pattern of accidents in the home, especially regarding children and housewives, almost invariably fell into a half-dozen categories which could be predicted, and yet those accidents persisted. It suggests that safety, like charity, begins at home.

A piece from the London Times, titled "Twice Shy", tells of meter readers employed by the Yorkshire Electricity Board receiving lessons from an inspector of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals regarding how to avoid being bitten by dogs. The woman who was chairman of the Doncaster branch of the RSPCA had given some general guidance in the matter by saying that if one did not want to get bitten, the person should approach the dog as one would a human being.

The piece questions, however, what sort of human being she had in mind, as humans, like dogs, varied in their natures based on how well one knew another person. It also ventures that there was no evidence that dogs liked being treated as human beings any more than human beings did as dogs. "Is there really much future in asking an angry elk-hound if it has read any good books lately? Are French dogs less likely to bite one if one takes off one's hat to them?…" It suggests that lack of experience prevented it from knowing how to behave toward human beings who insisted on sniffing at their ankles, making a low rumbling noise the while.

It concludes that it was doubtful whether complete success could be achieved by the adoption of the suggested formula, and the real point was not for the meter readers to modify their attitude toward dogs, but for the dogs to modify their attitude toward the meter readers.

Drew Pearson tells of former President Truman having written a letter to Senator Estes Kefauver of Tennessee, showing that they were getting along famously after some displeasure of the former President with the Senator when the latter had entered the race for the presidency in 1952, the missive being on the subject of children. The Senator was chairman of the Committee on Juvenile Delinquency, and he had solicited the former President's views on the subject, Mr. Truman replying in his typical plain language: "The best cure is for the mamas and papas to stay home," that he did not believe in babysitters or sending children to boarding schools just because the parents were "too lazy to look after them. Besides, children nowadays have too many gadgets to fool with and not enough chores." Mr. Pearson provides the full text of the July 19 letter from the former President, which wished Senator Kefauver every success in his hearings. Senator Kefauver had commented that he had never seen the story "so succinctly told".

Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson had been keeping it quiet, but he had been forced to rehire six top Agriculture Department executives who had previously been fired, and provide them back pay amounting to about $100,000. The reversal had come as a result of his purge of the Farmers Home Administration, which was charged with aiding small farmers. Secretary Benson had kicked out or transferred the old civil service workers, replacing them with deserving Republicans. He had downgraded, transferred or fired most of the state directors of the FHA, by first changing their status to non-civil service Schedule A workers, which the Supreme Court had subsequently ruled was an illegal action, requiring the Secretary to make new jobs for the state directors whom he had fired. He had to rehire only six state directors, partly because some did not want to return and partly because some failed to read the Federal Register, which had published an order following the Supreme Court decision, stating that if employees terminated under a particular rule did not appeal within 90 days, they could not get their jobs back. The Register, a Government publication, was read by a small fraction of the 160 million people of the country, and some former Agriculture Department employees, now scattered throughout the country, had not received the notice and so did not appeal their firing until it was too late.

Mr. Pearson indicates that the tragedy of the FHA was not so much the upsetting of jobs and the extra $100,000 in back compensation which had to be paid, but the complete demoralization of an agency set up to aid small farmers. Secretary Benson was a friend of the large farmer and the large co-op, indicating that small farms might have to fall by the wayside, and would just as soon abolish the FHA completely. But whenever he sought to cut its budget, Congress rebuffed him. Thus, he had put the FHA in the hands of those not particularly sympathetic to small farmers. Its head, Robert McLeaish, was a citrus waste plant operator from Texas who acted as if small farmers were enemies. One of the first things he had done was to recommend a one percent increase in interest to farmers, though local banks whom he consulted opposed that move. The Secretary had appointed as director of loans to farmers William Mitchell, whom the President had fired as the head of the Small Business Administration on the recommendation of Senator Edward Thye of Minnesota, because of Mr. Mitchell's failure to loan money to small businessmen. He had applied the same policy to loans to farmers, and finally had resigned. In place of the career state directors whom Mr. Benson had fired, he appointed men who were neither particularly sympathetic to farmers nor well-versed in farm problems, such as Max Schwabe, the reactionary former Congressman who had become state director for Missouri, Kenneth Sawyer, of Oregon, who had for eight years been employed by the Portland Chamber of Commerce, and Carl Hansen of Montana, a former cattle buyer for the Swift Corporation.

Joseph Alsop tells of a "dangerous confidence trick" being played on the country by the present leadership at the Pentagon when high officials declared that the "American lead" in such fields as aircraft and missile development could never be challenged by the Russians. For, based on intelligence reports, notwithstanding heavy classification of Soviet technical progress, that was a false claim.

For instance, in the area of satellite technology, in which the U.S. had just made a decision to begin a program of development, that decision was hastened by the fact that the Soviets were reported already to be building a larger and more militarily significant satellite than that which was being planned by the U.S., a fact which the Soviets were apparently planning to announce soon to the world. The Soviets had also set up a Manhattan-type organization immediately after the war for the development of guided missiles, and that organization had been provided top priority insofar as men and matériel since that time. They had started with more Russian and captured German scientists experienced in rocketry than did the U.S., and while G.E. had been building one Chinese copy of a German V-2, the Soviets had been producing 1,000 improved models in their captured V-2 factory in East Germany, taking the lead in that area from the beginning.

Hard intelligence had been received at least a year earlier that the Soviets had successfully designed and produced a new rocket motor, the M-102, with a thrust of 264,000 pounds per second at sea level, clearly indicating a Soviet lead in high-powered rocket engine design. It was also accepted as certain that the Soviets had designed and produced a two-stage rocket, with the M-102 engine powering the first stage, with a range of about 1,500 miles, that rocket representing the penultimate step to successful design and production of the ultimate weapon, the ICBM or staged rocket, which could strike between continents.

The Russians thus appeared to be well ahead of the U.S. in that respect, which still had a program of development on a business-as-usual basis, when a Manhattan-type program was required. The American long-range guided missile project now consisted of the headquarters of an Air Force brigadier general, staffed with 100 persons, including clerks, plus the staff of a scientific-industrial corporation, the Ramo-Wooldridge Co., plus a chief scientist, Dr. John Von Neumann, who doubled as a member of the Atomic Energy Commission.

Compounding the problem, a struggle was presently ongoing within the Pentagon about whether an additional 200 million dollars should be provided the following year to accelerate the long-range missile program, with the Air Force begging for the money, but the chances being that they would not get more than half of that amount.

Mr. Alsop concludes that perhaps the new Secretary of the Air Force, Donald Quarles, would be able to take appropriate corrective steps, but that until such were undertaken, the claim of an "American lead" should not be made again.

Doris Fleeson, writing from Beirut, Lebanon, tells of the world having seen too much of the refugee problem in present times, stretching from the displaced persons camps of Germany, where could be found the Jewish remnant of refugees from the Nazis to the Palestine refugee camps resulting from the establishment of Israel. The U.S. and Great Britain had accepted major responsibility for the care of 905,986 registered Palestine refugees presently in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Gaza. The U.N. Relief and Works Administration was in charge of those refugees. Of its 205 million dollar budget, the U.S. provided 137 million and Britain, 38 million, with France and Canada and other nations providing relatively small amounts. Arab states contributed only 4.85 million dollars, compared to Saudi Arabia's oil royalties of 350 million dollars annually.

UNRWA officials replied that the tradition of helping the underdog did not exist in the Middle East, and that some local politicians did not want to liquidate the issue by resettling the refugees.

Lebanon, however, with an unemployment problem, had taken in 103,600 refugees, constituting nearly 8 percent of its total population. It had not made them citizens and they were not supposed to work, but probably some did. Jordan, nearly a British dependent, sheltered 500,000 refugees, a little more than half its total population. They were given citizenship and could work, if they could find it, which was not the usual case. Syria, with a total population of four million, had received 88,000 refugees, and Gaza, the bitterly disputed border area, had doubled its population, receiving 214,000 refugees.

She concludes that although many Palestinian refugees were poor farmers, they had reached a higher and better stage of evolutionary progress than Arabs in some states, enabling them to contribute to their resettlement problems, not wanting to pioneer the underdeveloped Arab areas but rather wishing to return home.

Robert C. Ruark, still in Palamos, Spain, tells of his old friend from Texas, Carl Little, who had written a piece recently about what happened to his father's ancient coonskin coat, which was being chopped up into Davy Crockett caps and fetching a large price from furriers. He hates to think that gross commercialism would tempt any man who had gone to school in his time to sell anything as cherishable as a coonskin coat, which he never had, but was in high school at the height of the coonskin coat era, causing him to envy anyone who returned home from college on vacation wearing one.

He wore wide pants, measuring 28 inches at the cuff, which stood out in front of the toes of his shoes. Neckties were tied in as big a knot as possible, and the shirt collar was always two sizes too large. Those who could afford one owned a beat-up jalopy with the top cut off, which bore mottos, as did the coonskin coats. His favorite was a sign on the rear which said: "Hit me easy, I'm getting old." They had been between the Charleston and the jitterbug dance crazes and so compromised on the shag. He says that he treasured few things from the past, such as his old Navy uniform, which recalled for him what being carefree for three years was really like, but that if he had had a coonskin coat, he would have it mounted and hung on the wall, remindful of youth and the names of several girls, with all of whom he had been desperately in love, "with youth's particular desperation."

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