The Charlotte News

Friday, August 26, 1955


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Senators Walter George of Georgia and Eugene Millikin of Colorado had said this date that they would favor tax reduction the following year provided the Administration approached a balanced budget in the ensuing fiscal year. Secretary of the Treasury George Humphrey had said the previous day that "barring some unforeseen development, we think that we should and that we can balance the budget this year." He said that it was too early, however, to talk of tax cuts. Senator George spoke by telephone from his home in Georgia, saying that he believed it was "entirely possible" that the budget would be balanced in the present fiscal year, and Senator Millikin said that he would favor some tax reduction provided the budget was within approximate balance. Senator George said that tax cuts ought be limited to individual income taxes, possibly through an increase in personal exemptions and some adjustment in the rates, but did not believe that consideration should be given to reduction of general business and corporate taxes. He said that some excise taxes on individual items which were unusually high could also be reduced without resulting in much revenue reduction. He said that the reduction in foreign spending and further cuts which could be made could lead to balancing of the budget. Meanwhile, the official summer budget revision by the Treasury Department predicted a deficit of 1.7 billion dollars by the end of the current fiscal year, 700 million lower than the figure which the President had forecast in his budget message to Congress the prior January.

In Aix Les Bains, France, Sultan Muhammad Ben Moulay Arafa stated this date at the French-Moroccan conference that he did not intend to abdicate his throne, gravely complicating the efforts of French Premier Edgar Faure to settle the Moroccan crisis in a deal with Moroccan Nationalists, who had been demanding the removal of the current Sultan. An agreement whereby he would leave the throne had been reported by high French officials as being nearly finalized. The agreement provided that he would be replaced by a Council of the Throne and that the government would be run by a representative coalition. The French Defense Minister, Pierre Koenig, was adamantly opposed to use of force to remove the Sultan, and M. Koenig's views represented an important part of the coalition Government of Premier Faure in Paris.

A photograph appears of Senator Lyndon Johnson of Texas as he and his wife, Lady Bird, boarded a plane in Washington to return to Texas, following his rapid recovery from his July 2 heart attack, which had prevented him from attending his duties as Majority Leader of the Senate during the last weeks of the session as he recovered at Bethesda Naval Hospital.

In Raleigh, Governor Luther Hodges this date announced the membership of a nine-person commission created by the Legislature earlier in the year to study the problem of legislative reapportionment. He also announced that he was allocating nearly a million dollars from the highway surplus fund for improvements of the Prison Department.

In New York, a 24-year old blonde woman had found her 29-year old husband in another woman's room in the wee hours of the morning, the other woman being a 65-year old grandmother. The man's wife hit the grandmother over the head with one of the husband's shoes, as the husband, trousers in hand, ran out the back door of the rooming house where all three lived, the wife returning to bed, but waking up two hours later and hearing noise in the kitchen which the three people shared. Upon peeking in, her husband was with the grandmother again, at which point the husband punched his wife in the eye for butting in, leading to him being charged with assault. The three had imparted the description of the events to a magistrate in Brooklyn Felony Court the previous day, with the wife having also been charged with felonious assault on the grandmother. The magistrate advised the wife to move away from the rooming house, as she had "heavy competition" and a "beautiful shiner", would not want another. The wife responded that her husband should at least get a younger woman.

In Hickory, N.C., about 40 laborers at the 20 million dollar G.E. plant under construction had gone on strike this date for more pay and better working conditions, with their peaceful picket line being honored by some 300 organized construction workers. The personnel director of their employer, J. A. Jones Construction Co. of Charlotte, said that the strike had taken the company by surprise and that the strikers had not made their demands or complaints clear. He said that the firm had surveyed wage rates in five counties of the area before establishing its pay schedule and considered the pay fair. He said that the laborers were not organized as far as he knew, and the Hickory Daily Record had stated that some of the strikers indicated that they were not members of any union. Some stated that they were seeking $1.10 per hour against the 90 cents currently being paid them, but the company spokesman said that no specific demand had been made.

William Hendrix Palmer, 71, former chief of the Charlotte Fire Department, had died at a local hospital during the morning. He had served the fire department as a firefighter and then chief for 44 years, retiring in May, 1948.

Donald MacDonald of The News reports of a confessed holdup man having told City detectives this date that he had robbed a truck driver on June 19, the same robbery on which two men from Gastonia had been brought to preliminary hearing in Recorder's Court. The man had admitted robberies of a finance company on June 25 and the North 29 Drive-In Theater on June 7, saying also that he and a companion had committed the June 19 robbery, in which the truck driver had identified the two men from Gastonia as having been the pair who had stolen $200 and his automobile. The originally accused pair had earlier denied the charges and the Recorder's Court judge had refused to bind them over to Superior Court for jury trial. The man in question who admitted to that robbery said that he and his identified accomplice had taken only about two dollars from the truck driver. The man had been arrested by Durham police on Monday, charged with an August 12 robbery of a Durham service station operator, along with the same accomplice he had implicated in the other robberies.

John Borchert of The News reports that the Executive Committee of the United Community Services in Charlotte had this date recommended a maximum goal for the fall campaign of $930,000. The United Appeal had raised $881,000 the previous year, after raising $837,000 during its regular campaign the prior fall against a goal of $952,000, the additional amount having been raised from a telethon presented by WBTV late in the year. In 1953, the Appeal had raised $820,000 from the fall campaign. The campaign would begin on October 10 and last through November 3. Be sure, like blood, to give until it hurts.

In Charlotte, in the USGA Women's Amateur Championship, Jane Nelson of Indianapolis and Pat Lesser of Seattle had three under par rounds, the best of the tournament thus far, as they advanced to the semifinals this afternoon, with the 36-hole final round set for the following day. The field had now been narrowed to four remaining golfers.

In Miami, Fla., the Weather Bureau indicated that Hurricane Edith was still packing 80 mph winds, with all of its hurricane force winds concentrated on its northeast side with only gale force winds to the southwest. It was developing more slowly than most such storms. The previous night, it was within 100 miles of the area where Hurricane Diane had been plotted on August 12, eventually hitting North Carolina, albeit without nearly as much damage as caused by the immediately preceding Hurricane Connie, but leaving behind heavy flood damage all along the Eastern Seaboard, concentrated in the Northeast.

Senators Kerr Scott and Sam Ervin of North Carolina, along with Governor Hodges, would headline the list of speakers at a Democratic "report to the people" rally in Winston-Salem the following day. Senator Scott was expected to outline his proposal for a world food bank, and Senator Ervin, a member of the Military Affairs Committee, would discuss the new military reserve act, while the Governor was expected to discuss the Democratic Party's problems and prospects for 1956. Most of the state's Congressional delegation and top party officials were expected to attend the rally.

In Springfield, Mass., the "Terrors", a softball team, had challenged a local Navy team to a game, promising to enlist if the sailors were to win. This date, the ten-man squad enlisted en masse at the local recruiting station and would be shipped to Bainbridge, Md., for basic training, after they were defeated 9 to 7 the previous night, and their captain had stayed true to their word and led his teammates into the recruiting station this morning.

On the editorial page, "Individual Freedom in Jeopardy" suggests that disturbing evidence of jeopardy to individual freedom, the basic principle on which the country was founded, was becoming more frequent in occurrence and more worthy of attention from people outside government. Recent instances, it finds, had been the denial of a commission to a cadet of the Merchant Marine Academy because his mother had been a member of the Communist Party several years earlier, and recent investigation by HUAC of suspected Communists in the theatrical world—not to mention, as previously pointed out, folk singers... Some of those subversives sung some highly controversial songs.

The Smith Act provided that membership in the Communist Party was prima facie evidence of a threatened conspiracy against the Government, subjecting those who advocated or taught the overthrow of the Government by force or violence to criminal penalties. It finds that hardened members of the Communist Party were likely the conspirators which the Act had in mind, and it indicates it was not concerned about those individuals, who had fed strategic information to Russia before and during World War II through a network of spies. But to investigate those who had merely dabbled in Communism much earlier based on naivete, indiscretion, silliness or personal peeve, menaced the liberties of everyone.

It quotes the definition of treason from the Constitution, Article III, Section 3, that is levying war against the United States or adhering to its enemies, giving them aid and comfort, and requiring the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act or a confession in open court before a conviction on treason could be had.

It reminds that there had been no action for treason against "such conspirators" as Alger Hiss—primarily because there was no declared enemy involved or war extant at the time of his alleged provision of innocuous State Department documents to confessed Communist courier Whittaker Chambers in 1938, his denials of association with Mr. Chambers during that period having resulted in his perjury conviction, and the statute of limitations had expired by 1948, at the time of his indictment for perjury, for crimes under the 1917 Espionage Act. It indicates that, nevertheless, Congressional committees and other agencies of the Government could do about as much harm to individuals as a criminal conviction, and so suggests that they should be restrained by the spirit of the Constitution, if not its letter.

"It is the safeguarding of democratic institutions and practices that concerns us more than the protection of individuals, but if it be realized that the two are part and parcel of each other, then surely the one cannot be jeopardized without placing the other in equal jeopardy. The time has come to make sure that democracy's guarantees are still valid."

"Will Russian Farm Experts Tell All?" indicates that the Russian newspapers, Pravda and Izvestia, had factually reported the speeches of the Western representatives at the July Big Four summit conference in Geneva, including the President's reference to international Communism as a force seeking to subvert lawful governments, a surprising achievement for Russian journalism. Western observers had correctly indicated that it was to be attributed to Communist Party Secretary Nikita Khrushchev and Premier Nikolai Bulganin putting on the face of Soviet policy to try to convince the West of their sincerity in their peace overtures.

It finds that the unaccustomed objectivity had not been a true test of whether the Communist newspapers had turned a new page of truth for their readers, and neither had been the reversal of policy which permitted the gossipy coverage of the picnic near Moscow, at which the Soviet leaders had picked raspberries, gone boating, sang folk songs and generally acted like human beings, careful the while to remain in full view of reporters and photographers.

It finds that the real test of whether the Soviets would dare let their people know what was going on in the world would come when the touring Russian farm experts, who had just completed their tour of American farms, would return home. If their story were truthfully told, millions of Russians could receive a much needed education and reorientation after a decade of propaganda portraying the American farmer as an ignorant and starving tool of Wall Street. But a worker on a collective farm in Russia was unlikely to learn that his standard of living was about a tenth of that of the average U.S. farmer, that his scarce farm machinery was 20 years behind the American machines, or that the American farmer paid taxes according to earnings and not, as under the Russian system, on a flat percentage applicable to rich and poor alike.

It posits that even if the Russians remained in the dark regarding the facts of American life, the Russian farmers probably would benefit from the exchange of the delegations because the Russian group, through their questions and study of American methods, had indicated that they would apply those methods at home. If the exchange of delegations was to serve the larger purpose of understanding between the two countries, the delegates had to be permitted to observe and report on behalf of their countrymen, that if they could not do so, the Russian delegation would be little more than parasites on the American agricultural experience.

It agrees with the President that broadening of interpersonal exchange was one of the brightest hopes toward reduction of tensions promised by the Geneva summit conference, but finds that the Soviets had yet to demonstrate that it would permit its delegations to serve the vital purpose intended by the program.

"Let's See What's Going on Down In…" suggests that people rationalized rainfall by saying it was good for the farmers, bravely slogging to work under an umbrella and wearing a raincoat and galoshes.

Meanwhile, the farmers had also to endure the rain to try to reach their cows across the soaked barnyard and around their "liquid fields", viewing "the rapid growth and healthy green of beggar lice, jimpson weed, and cockle burr", smelling the molding hay, observing the "choking embrace of morning glory around tasseling corn." They saw in the cow pasture a new stand of bitter weed and at the edge of the cotton patch, could almost hear the "damp-loving weevil chewing the squares and gnawing the bolls." They also thought hard about suckers, shoots and second growth.

"'It's good for the farmer' is a good prop for rain-tired city folks, but it doesn't always jibe with what's going on down in Pine Ridge."

A piece from the Atlanta Journal, titled "Political Hams Are Hard To Cure", indicates that television might change the style of future presidential nominating conventions, as the Democrats were considering streamlining their 1956 convention to suit the nation's home viewers, having determined that the viewers were bored by the long, wearisome roll call ballots, deciding to speed up the process and to truncate the nominating speeches. It suggests also that something would need to be done about the requests to the convention chairman from state delegations that they be polled, interrupting roll calls.

The planners of the Democratic convention admitted that the job would not be easy as political hams were in their natural habitat on television and it would be hard to deny them their opportunity for the limelight. It suggests that if the Democrats could muzzle the pompous speechmakers, "more power to them", but that the home viewer remained a little skeptical and would maintain the hand on the channel selector, just in case.

Drew Pearson indicates that perhaps the most vital quasi-judicial agency in the Government was the Federal Power Commission, in terms of its decisions impacting consumer economics. Its five members decided who would develop the reservoirs built by nature as power sites, such as Hell's Canyon, what areas would receive oil and gas pipelines, and how much the public would pay for that gas, decisions running into the billions of dollars. Yet, some of the members of the FPC of late had been wined and dined by lobbyists, had taken a trip across the continent at the expense of a gas-oil lobby, and one commissioner had been guilty of conflict of interest. The latter was Seaborn Digby, a Democrat from Louisiana appointed by the President with the enthusiastic approval of the gas-oil industry. Before he had come to Washington, Mr. Digby had represented the Transcontinental Gas Pipeline Corp. As a member of the FPC, he had, on March 15, 1955, failed to disqualify himself when the case of his former client had come before the Commission. The vote had been four to one against Transcontinental, Mr. Digby having been the only member voting for the company on its request for approval of a rate increase based on a new financing scheme, which had been prepared with the help of Mr. Digby's law firm. The Commission voted to disallow the 5.4 million dollars which the company had included in its new rate base. When Mr. Pearson had asked Mr. Digby why he had not recused himself from the matter, he had replied that if he did not feel capable of voting as his best judgment dictated, he would not be on the Commission.

The new utility-dominated FPC had proceeded to hand out some of the most shocking giveaways of the previous three years, including hydroelectric dam sites to private utilities for as much as 100 years, in defiance of Federal law which limited such agreements to 50 years. Those companies included James Black's PG&E, with Mr. Black having been a guest at the President's now-confidential stag dinners and a member of Secretary of Commerce Sinclair Weeks's Business Advisory Council, the operations of which the Secretary would not reveal to the House Judiciary Committee.

Also included was Alcoa, controlled by the Mellon family, whose First Boston Corp. had a vice-president inside the Budget Bureau when the Dixon-Yates contract was being formed.

A third such company was the Montana Power Co., formed as part of the giant Electric Bond & Share Holding Co., which also helped to spawn the Dixon-Yates agreement.

The Congressional Quarterly tells of the 84th Congress, after the first session, possibly set to establish a record for investigations, described by Representative Usher Burdick of North Dakota the previous February as numbering more than the fleas on a dog. As of August 22, the Congress during the session had initiated 116 investigations, with another 21 scheduled for the start of the second session the following January. The 83rd Congress had initiated 83 investigations in its first eight months in 1953 and had a total of 228 for the two years. The 82nd Congress held the record at 236 investigations between 1951 and 1953. The costs had been commensurate with the number of investigations, with the current Congress thus far having spent 6.1 million dollars for the purpose, compared to 4.8 million for the comparable period in 1953 and a total of 8.1 million for the entire prior Congress.

It suggests that the fact that the Congress was controlled by the Democrats and that there was a Republican President might or might not have determined the large number of investigations, with the previous Congress having been Republican, while the 82nd had been Democratic.

The subjects deemed ripe for investigation had shifted between the previous and current Congresses, with, however, the two subjects of leading interest during the first session of the prior Congress also remaining in the lead in the current Congress, those being, first, military programs, which accounted for 21 investigations in 1953 and 24 in 1955, and, second, Communism and subversives, the subject of 16 probes in each year. Agriculture had been third in 1953, with eight related probes, whereas relating to four in 1955. Business and businessmen was third in 1955, accounting for 13 probes. The largest political impact of the session had been the investigation of the Dixon-Yates utility combine contract with the Government and the private business interests of former Secretary of the Air Force Harold Talbott, the Secretary having resigned and the contract with the private utility combine having been canceled after the City of Memphis undertook to provide the electricity involved, to supplant that of TVA going to nuclear plants at Oak Ridge, Tenn., and Paducah, Ky.

The probe of the Secretary had been by the Senate Investigations subcommittee, chaired by Senator John McClellan of Arkansas, that subcommittee having launched only two probes into Communism, whereas that had been its dominant theme in the previous Congress when it was chaired by Senator McCarthy. The other 14 such inquiries in the current session had been handled by the Senate Judiciary Committee's Internal security subcommittee and by HUAC in the House.

In all, Senate committees had initiated 57 investigations in 1955 and another 50 were begun in the House, while nine were started by joint committees of both houses. The Senate Judiciary Committee had the largest allocation, authorized to spend 1.1 million dollars of the 3.65 million allocated to all Senate committees for investigations, but Judiciary had only spent about $211,000 as of June 30, while all Senate committees had spent something over $736,000.

In the House, the Government Operations Committee conducted 17 inquiries, the most of any House committee, but had been allotted $5,000 less than the $500,000 allocated to the Appropriations Committee. All House committees were allotted about 2.5 million dollars but had spent only $412,000 by June 30.

Allene E. Thornburgh, writing in the Christian Science Monitor, tells of the watermelon season in the South, recalling childhood years from age nine in North Carolina, after having a portion of an ice cold seedless melon the prior June. It had not been served as a dessert earlier as was now the custom and rarely was served in the dining room, usually consumed between meals on a rear porch or outdoors.

She goes on describing her earlier experiences with watermelon, including its season bringing parties on Saturday nights, with "candle-lit Japanese lanterns sparkling like jewels in the trees above the mounds of watermelons piled on the rough pine tables, cast[ing] a soft rosy glow over the scene."

"But whether those sun-ripened watermelons were bought from a farmer in the street, delivered with the groceries at the kitchen door, carted up country-style in wheelbarrowfuls, or served at weekend parties, watermelon time in North Carolina witnessed relaxed formalities in the gustatory enjoyment of the bounty and excellence of the South's most delightful summer fruit."

A letter writer indicates that as a member of the entertainment world of Charlotte, he believed that the local press was failing in its "dubious duty" of reviewing local entertainment. "When, on a rare occasion, a long-hair artist comes to town the program is apt to be given some objective attention." The same was true, he found, when the local symphony orchestra played, while showing less objectivity. But the only other reviews which he saw in the newspaper were those written by syndicated columnists about programs which often were neither seen nor heard in Charlotte. He indicates that critical analysis was to show business what competition was to business and asserts that a qualified critic could improve the quality of local programs or at least make the public aware of them. He adds that he was not suggesting that such a critic would be the savior of the masses or should attempt to educate people away from their inherent tastes. He realizes that it was a tall order for a regional newspaper to employ such a specialist, but comments that it had done so in its book reviews by having guest contributors who were considered well-informed on particular subject matter, suggests that the same could be done with entertainment reviews.

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