The Charlotte News
Saturday, August 27, 1955
Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Administration this date had placed high hopes on a dramatic U.S. offer to guarantee the boundaries of Israel and rival Arab states, provided they would work out a permanent peace settlement, the offer having been made the previous day by Secretary of State Dulles in a speech before the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, stressing that the U.S. was acting as "a friend of both Israelis and Arabs." He said that he was acting with the authority of the President in making the proposals. The move was an unprecedented American bid to settle the longstanding Arab-Israeli conflict and was backed by other offers of U.S. aid which could run into many millions of dollars. The proposals had been worked out in the State Department after being approved by the National Security Council, perfected in conferences with the President during the week. The timing of the proposals had been influenced by reports during the previous several months that Russia had been seeking to extend its influence in the strategic, oil-rich Middle East with offers of economic assistance and military equipment. The Soviets appeared to be seeking to develop some type of neutral bloc in that region, and the goal of the U.S., Britain and France had been to create a defensive system allied with the West in the region. The roadblock in the way of the Western goal had been the continuing dispute between Israel and the Arab states. The 1949 armistice had brought an end to the full-scale war in the region, but there had been numerous border skirmishes and raids since that time. The previous day, an Egyptian military spokesman in Cairo had reported that 13 Israeli soldiers had been killed in two of three clashes during the week near the Egyptian-held Gaza Strip. The Voice of America had transmitted a special broadcast of the speech by Secretary Dulles to the Middle East and followed that with Arabic and Hebrew translations. There had been no immediate reaction from the Arab governments to the proposals, but Middle Eastern diplomats in Washington approached the plan cautiously, with the eight Arab League members expected to confer among themselves to prepare a joint formal reply. At the U.N., Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold welcomed the proposals, praising their "generous and constructive spirit."
In London, it was reported that the British Foreign Office welcomed the proposal of Secretary Dulles and offered to guarantee the security of Israel and the Arab states, provided they entered a permanent peace agreement. The Foreign Office said that Britain was also ready to join in the U.S.-proposed loan to assist Israel in paying compensation to Arab refugees in Palestine, and indicated that the Secretary's proposal had followed earlier British recommendations. It said that Britain would welcome a conference or at least an extension of good offices by the major powers to assist in effecting the peace agreement.
In Tokyo, Lt. Guy Bumpas, who had been released by the North Koreans recently after having been shot down near the demilitarized zone in Korea on August 17, while a passenger in his training plane was killed by the anti-aircraft fire of the North Koreans, had been flown to Seoul, South Korea, this date suffering from a severe compound skull fracture from the crash of the plane. An information officer for the Far East Air Forces headquarters in Tokyo said that he believed the lieutenant would be available on Tuesday for a press conference. The Air Force announced this date that the lieutenant had completely denied comments broadcast in his name over the Communist radio at Pyongyang, that the flight involved espionage. The body of his passenger, an Army captain, was now in Yokohama, Japan, en route home, having been turned over to U.S. authorities at the same time the lieutenant had been released.
In Torrington, Conn., it was reported that the flood disasters in the wake of Hurricane Diane earlier in the week had caused local politicians, such as water and sewer commissioners, as well as health officials, to have to work virtually without sleep. The President had visited the flood-stricken area and flown over the scene earlier in the week, interrupting his Colorado vacation, conferring with governors of the six affected states. In Connecticut, Governor Abraham Ribicoff had visited virtually every scene of the flooding, calling a special session of the Legislature, blocking the moving of prefabricated houses out of the state, and blasting any effort to woo industry from the area. Secretary of Commerce Sinclair Weeks had arrived in Hartford the previous day and had immediately released half a million pieces of machinery held in reserve in case of an atomic attack, justifying the release on the basis that there was a need to get the plants hit by the flood back in operation so that the idled workers could again report to work.
In Miami, Fla., the Weather Bureau reported that Hurricane Edith had begun to whip the open Atlantic with winds up to 100 mph, with its heaviest winds in the northern semicircle while its southern half showed signs of wrapping a little tighter around its center, and its eye becoming larger than in a well-developed hurricane and slightly open to the south, indicating the possibility of further development. The chief storm forecaster for the Bureau said that forces presently steering the storm on a slow north-northwesterly course would likely keep it clear of the South Atlantic and Middle Atlantic coasts. The previous day, Edith had crossed the path where Diane had been plotted August 12, with its immediately preceding Hurricane Connie having formed 2,200 miles southeast of Miami on August 3, following a more northwesterly course to move inland over North Carolina a week before Diane hit the area, the latter, however, leaving behind in the Carolinas much less damage, but causing substantial flooding along the entire Eastern Seaboard to the north of Wilmington, N.C., concentrated in the Northeast. Meanwhile, heavy rain squalls had hit the Mississippi and Louisiana coasts, as a low pressure center had moved inland, with the top winds being 50 mph, as the center had moved inland over the Mississippi sound, with tides being two to three feet above normal from Biloxi, Miss., to Pensacola, Fla.
In Whiting, Ind., a 26-story high-octane gasoline cracking installation had blown to bits with terrific force this date, killing at least two persons, one a three-year old boy, and injuring ten others, including the dead boy's brother, age 8, and their father, also smashing property in a widespread area. A fire had followed the explosion in the Standard Oil Co. of Indiana plant, sending black smoke miles into the air. At least 50 houses in the proximity of the plant had been badly damaged and three had collapsed completely, with windows shattered in a town 20 miles away. The smoke was clearly visible from Chicago, 16 miles to the northwest. The explosion had shattered the world's largest hydroformer, used to convert low octane gasoline into high octane fuel, capable of producing 50,000 barrels of 100-octane gasoline per day, having twice the capacity of the ordinary catalytic cracker.
In Chicago, a 35-year old housewife, who was fighting a strike called by her union-official husband, had said this date that she planned no further effort to end the walkout of the UAW local against the Harrison Sheet Metal Co., that she had done all she could and was through trying. Her husband, she said, was partially to blame for more than 400 men being out of work and was now locked out of their home, and that if the men were not back on the job the following Monday, he would be locked out permanently, as she intended to file for divorce. She contended that the workers should end the strike because their children needed milk, and when the president of the union local had walked up to her and a female companion with a carton of milk, offering it to them, Mrs. Quigley had shoved it back at the man and a grappling match ensued, the president of the local contending that she had torn off his shirt and scratched his shoulder, the woman saying that it had taken two cops to pull her off the man, and that it was a good thing they had, or she would have scratched his eyes out.
In Taipei, Formosa, people had been accustomed to reading divorce notices in the city's newspapers, but not one as that which had appeared this date, in which a woman stated that she was married to a particular man six years earlier, that recently, she had often left home and had not carried out the "duties of a wife", stating: "It seems possible that I have been unfaithful. With [her husband's] consent, I have obtained a divorce from him."
In Newark, N.J., a courtroom was cleared when a stripper started to describe her dance steps the previous day, with the magistrate indicating that in his judgment, the testimony was such that the general public should not be admitted to the courtroom. The defendant, 29, was charged with giving a lewd and indecent performance at the Empire Theater on the prior August 5. She said that she had demonstrated one of her steps during the secret session and had also exhibited her stage costume, denying in her earlier public testimony that she had been completely nude on stage. Two members of the chorus had testified that they were in the wings of the theater, catching the stripper's clothing as she disrobed, and that when her act ended, she was wearing a bra, panties and a G-string. That is probably why the cops charged her, as she had not gone far enough to satisfy their curiosity, leaving them hanging in the lurch.
Ronald Green of The News reports on the USGA Women's Golf Championship Tournament taking place at Myers Park Country Club, with the final 36-hole competition between the two leading golfers set for this date. Pat Lesser of Seattle had taken a three shot lead over Jane Nelson of Indianapolis, after 15 holes during the morning match, and Ms. Nelson had fallen two more strokes behind on the 17th and 18th holes, with Ms. Lesser therefore favored to win the tournament in the afternoon match starting at 2:00. Had the latter been paired in the finals with a Ms. Moore, it would have made for an interesting headline.
On the editorial page, "Income Tax Cut in the Picture" indicates that Secretary of the Treasury George Humphrey's statement that it was likely the Federal budget could be balanced the following year made a tax cut appear almost certain, even if the Secretary had said that it was still too early to discuss such a reduction.
But Democrats had made it clear that they would renew their unsuccessful effort of the current year to reduce individual income taxes, in the upcoming session starting in January. In an election year, Republicans could be anticipated to vie with the Democrats for introducing the necessary legislation for such a tax cut, provided that the budget balancing would proceed as currently predicted.
Senators Walter George and Eugene Millikin, the former a Democrat and the latter a Republican, had both said the previous day that if the Administration approached a balanced budget in the coming year, tax reduction would be likely, at least to some extent, though not extending to business and corporate taxes. Senator Harry F. Byrd of Virginia, the chairman of the Finance Committee, had said, however, that "it would be foolhardy to balance the budget and then unbalance it by premature reduction of taxes".
The piece indicates that though the latter statement was sound policy, sound policies were not necessarily winners in an election year, and it appeared at this juncture that there would be tax reductions in 1956, even if they might have to be withdrawn later.
"Hendrix Palmer Helped Charlotte" laments the death of the former Fire Chief, who had "won and deserved the high respect paid to his leadership by this community." It indicates that much of that which he had accomplished had been behind the scenes, however, until his retirement in 1948. He had helped Charlotte grow through his 44 years of service, 21 years of which had been as chief, with the City government having been induced by him to provide better firefighting facilities and better trained personnel on a scale which had encouraged economic progress and confidence in property protection in the community.
He had helped organize the North Carolina Fire Chiefs Association, serving as its head for 11 years, and at one time had been president of the International Association of Fire Chiefs. He had also worked tirelessly for the Shriners Hospitals for Crippled Children and had inspired development of the Shrine Bowl football game for the benefit of the Shriners Hospital for Crippled Children in Greenville, S.C.
"Time for Backsliders To Arise" indicates that churches, like all institutions, were afflicted with summer slumps, even those of Charlotte, which prided itself on the size of its church population. Such backsliding during summer was a cause of concern for ministers, seeing their empty pews.
During August, the Jaycees had therefore been seeking to keep the churches uppermost in the minds of people concerned with vacations, picnics, camping trips and other such diversions, through distribution of letters, restaurant table cards, and other publicity materials, plus working toward their objective. The following day had been designated by the Jaycees and cooperating ministers as "Fill-The-Churches Sunday". It hopes that their efforts had justified their choice of the title.
There is irony in the fact that the day would happen to coincide with the day on which Emmett Till would be brutally murdered in Mississippi by two white half-brothers, out to avenge what they perceived as an affront to the wife of one of the brothers by the 14-year old boy the previous Wednesday at the general store operated by the brothers and their wives, and, according to their later statements in Look to reporter William Bradford Huie, because Emmett would not show them proper subservience in the face of their immediate threats, backed up with a gun, during the wee hours of Sunday morning, and as they subsequently administered a brutal pistol-whipping before shooting him in the head, weighting his body with a cotton gin fan—probably selected deliberately as a symbol of enslavement and resisted subservience to their will, supplanting themselves as demigods to the dehumanized "nigger"—and then dropping his body into the Tallahatchie River, where it would be discovered the following Wednesday after a search had been launched later the following day when Emmett did not return home to his uncle's residence where he had been staying during the last two weeks of the summer while visiting from his home in Chicago.
The coincidence with the "Fill-the-Churches Sunday" in Charlotte is further underscored in its irony by the fact that a man of the cloth, the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., would be thrust to the forefront of the new civil rights movement in the South and, eventually, throughout the nation, by the murder, after Rosa Parks, the following December, motivated by the brutality of the lynching, would refuse to surrender her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama, municipal bus to a white passenger, after being ordered to do so by the bus driver, thus being arrested and starting the Montgomery bus boycott, the leadership of which would be undertaken by Dr. King, whose pastorate at the time was in Montgomery.
Eight years from the following day, Dr. King would appeal to the conscience of the nation in a way never seen previously from a minister, and not witnessed since, with his statement of a Dream articulated from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, August 28, 1963, televised live across the nation. It was, of course, not an accident that the gathering on the Mall in front of the Memorial was set on the anniversary of the death of Emmett Till, whose young life was lost because, according to his slayers, he stood up manfully to them and refused to cow and beg for his life in the face of deadly threat, and whose memory stimulated the modern civil rights movement and whose life, therefore, was by no means lost in vain.
Young Emmett, of course, became a symbol for all of those persons through time, some known by name, some never known, who were the victims of lynching in this country after the Civil War, and whose lynchers had, as the half-brothers who executed Emmett Till, their brutality blinked by a jury engaged in nullification. But despite that history of brutality engaged by a few lawless individuals in the South, sometimes ignored, without conscious hint of artifice or connivance in the crime, by some of the better citizens of given communities, all spellbound in ignorance, focusing their collective psychological and economic frustrations of the post-Civil War era on a convenient, politically powerless minority as a scapegoat for their ills and to try to maintain a stratified society where poor whites had a class below them to subjugate, much as would Nazi Germany in the aftermath of World War I focus its economic and social frustrations on Jews, and despite the much more pervasive effort to deprive that same scapegoated minority group of their Constitutional rights to vote and generally to engage in the same social activities as the majority group, merely because of their minority status and lack of political and economic power enjoyed by the majority, Dr. King was able to urge to his fellow Americans on that fateful August afternoon in 1963: "I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice." That statement followed by only two and a half months the ambuscade killing of Medgar Evers, executive secretary of the Mississippi NAACP, on his doorstep in Decatur, Mississippi, and preceded by less than three months the assassination of President Kennedy on November 22 in Dallas.
We shall further parse the evidence presented at the time of trial of the half-brothers, between September 19 and September 23, at the time when we reach that juncture herein. Meanwhile, as would be expected, newspaper coverage of the disappearance and discovery of the brutalized body of Emmett Till was quite sporadic, until the time of the trial, attracting only spotty nationwide attention. The earliest reference to it we have found, after perusing representative newspapers available online, occurred on September 1, in a front page article in The News, the day after the discovery of the body, another story the same day on the front page of The Robesonian of Lumberton, N.C., the latter stressing the NAACP reaction to the murder and reporting that it was the first lynching recorded by the Tuskegee Institute since 1951, and still another story appearing on page 2 of the Charlotte Observer the same day, all of which, combined, provided a reasonably full account of the known facts of the case to that point in Associated Press stories which also appeared in other newspapers. The United Press story of September 1 regarding the discovery of the body presented some additional facts, as appearing on the front page of the St. Petersburg Times, for instance.
The following day, another front page story appeared in The Robesonian, including a statement of Mayor Richard J. Daley of Chicago, calling it "a brutal, terrible crime", and a statement of Governor Hugh White of Mississippi, saying that it was not a lynching but rather a "straight out murder". Another story the same day appeared in The Observer, again on page 2, regarding Governor White calling for a full investigation of the murder and expressing confidence that a jury would perform justice in the trial of the two arrested men charged with the murder. The same story, as carried by the St. Petersburg Times, carried a photograph of the cotton gin fan which was found tied to the body with barbed wire.
The next reference occurred on September 4, when, for instance, the Observer and, in a slightly longer presentation of the same story, the Durham Morning Herald both ran on an inside page an account, the former from the Associated Press and the latter from the United Press, indicating that the local sheriff of Tallahatchie County in Mississippi had expressed doubt that the body pulled from the Tallahatchie River on August 31 had in fact been that of Emmett Till, who had been known to be missing since early on August 28, after his uncle reported that he did not return, having been abducted at gunpoint at around 2:30 a.m. by the half-brothers, Roy Bryant and J. W. Milam, who subsequently claimed to the Sheriff of LeFlore County, George Smith, that they had merely sought to scare Emmett, then had let him out at their store during the morning of that Sunday, and had not seen him since, assuming that he knew his way home, as Sheriff Smith recounted in his testimony at the trial. After Emmett's bloated and mutilated body was identified by his uncle upon being pulled from the Tallahatchie on Wednesday morning, the two half-brothers were arrested and their trial followed some three weeks later.
A day after the September 4 stories, which included the Tallahatchie County sheriff's preposterous surmise, reminiscent of the same sort of surmise accompanying the subsequent disappearance of the three civil rights workers near Philadelphia, Miss., in June, 1964, that the NAACP had made up the disappearance, a version with which the LeFlore County deputy sheriff disagreed, confirming that Emmett's uncle had positively identified the body as that of his nephew, a story would appear on the front page of the September 5 Robesonian and a similar story on an inside page of the Observer, regarding threats to the two half-brothers from various anonymous sources while they sat in jail, prompting extra guards and National Guardsmen to be posted around the jail.
The next front page treatment of the story which we have found, after the News story of September 1, similar treatment in other newspapers of that date, and the Robesonian stories of September 1, 2 and 5, occurred in The Robesonian on September 7, regarding the indictment of the two half-brothers the previous day and the entry of their pleas of not guilty, the same story the same date, with a different accompanying photograph, appearing in the Columbus (Ga.) Ledger. A front page story appeared the following day in the Raleigh News & Observer, regarding the call by the NAACP, issued in the form of a petition to the Justice Department, to act immediately to halt what the Association referred to as a "state of jungle fury" in Mississippi, anent not only the murder of Emmett Till, but before him, the murder of Lamar Smith on the courthouse grounds in Lincoln County, Miss., on August 13, and the death of the Rev. George W. Lee of Belzoni, Miss., the prior May 7, the responsible party or parties for the latter death and its circumstances having not been ascertained, while three individuals had been arrested for the cold-blooded shooting of Mr. Smith, which had occurred in broad daylight in front of numerous witnesses.
The earliest editorial treatment of the murder which we have found appeared on September 5 in the Robesonian, primarily taking issue with the description of the murder as a lynching by the Tuskegee Institute and with the NAACP's statement that the killers felt free to lynch in Mississippi because of the absence of any "restraining influence" at any level in the state and that the state had "decided to maintain white supremacy by murdering children", finding the former statement a "gross exaggeration" and the latter "needlessly inflammatory".
In contrast to that unnecessarily quibbling piece, on September 9, an editorial titled, "The Seeds of Terror Are Planted", appeared in The Charlotte Observer, the new editor of which was Pete McKnight, formerly editor of The News, the piece unstintingly condemning the murder and the white supremacist organizations, the Klan, the Citizens Councils, the "Patriot" groups, likely responsible for it, as "murder in its more sickening form, heartless, emotional, inflamed, senseless, stupid."
At the other end of the editorial spectrum, not surprisingly for its source, appearing below a banner sporting a facsimile of a Confederate flag, an insensitive, blockheaded editorial would appear in the Clarion-Ledger of Jackson, Miss., on September 11. The writer presciently might have added as an additional sentence: "This column's expressed thinking and overtly racist rhetoric, appearing in a Mississippi newspaper of general circulation, is precisely why in 12 days an all-white jury will feel perfectly justified in acquitting the malefactors after an hour of deliberations, saying afterward that they would have taken less time but for a break for soft drinks." This dimwit, incidentally, was still at it, sans the Confederate flag, 13 years later, attacking Senator Robert Kennedy during his presidential campaign in 1968, 26 days after the assassination of Martin Luther King in Memphis, 36 days before the fatal shooting in Los Angeles of Senator Kennedy. On the following June 7, the columnist would condemn in four brief paragraphs "the tragic, and utterly senseless assassination" of the Senator, but also stated in the same breath that he had been, "in a sense the victim of the 'Revolution' and 'Permissiveness' atmosphere which his own ultraliberal philosophy helped to establish in America," that his assassination was the fault of "sick liberalism's values which put the rights of troublemakers above the rights of law-abiding citizens and public safety itself." Never mind that Sirhan Sirhan had never previously been in any trouble with the law. Following true to form, he had said nothing at all in his column regarding the assassination of Dr. King, though the newspaper had presented a milquetoast, mealy-mouthed editorial on April 6 expressing "regrets" at the assassination while also labeling Dr. King as having been a "controversial" figure who had courted controversy throughout his adult life, that "history will have to assess and assign Dr. King to his proper niche in the annals of the nation during these days of civil rights revolution."
The increasing amount of wanton violence and murder directed at black people in 1955 had occurred, of course, in an atmosphere of reaction to the previous May 31 implementing decision in Brown v. Board of Education, ordering the school districts practicing segregation to desegregate "with all deliberate speed", to be overseen by the Federal District Courts with due regard to local conditions and circumstances, prompting some Southern states to propose action to abolish the public schools to try to circumvent the ruling, despite the fact, as had been advised recently by the State Attorney General of North Carolina, W. B. Rodman, that such a move would not serve to avoid coming within the ambit of the Supreme Court decision in Brown, that, in other words, the private schools which would still practice segregation would be found to be involved in state action by the fact of the public schools having been abolished, just as had been the case in the Smith v. Allwright decision by the Supreme Court in 1944, regarding voting rights, invalidating the attempt of Texas to hold private party primaries and thereby restrict admission to the party of black voters. The same reasoning—as had been further explained, insofar as distinguishing state action from private action, by U.S. District Court Judge J. Waties Waring in 1947 in Elmore v. Rice, especially at page 527, regarding a similar attempt in South Carolina—, would be applicable to such a practice involving abolition of the public schools in favor of private schools.
Moreover, the 1954 decision in Brown had stated:
"Today, education is perhaps the most important function of state and local governments. Compulsory school attendance laws and the great expenditures for education both demonstrate our recognition of the importance of education to our democratic society. It is required in the performance of our most basic public responsibilities, even service in the armed forces. It is the very foundation of good citizenship. Today it is a principal instrument in awakening the child to cultural values, in preparing him for later professional training, and in helping him to adjust normally to his environment. In these days, it is doubtful that any child may reasonably be expected to succeed in life if he is denied the opportunity of an education. Such an opportunity, where the state has undertaken to provide it, is a right which must be made available to all on equal terms."
While the statement appears to qualify the opportunity for an education as a right to be conditioned on the state undertaking to provide the education in the first instance, the preceding sentences stating the centrality and importance in modern society of education meant inevitably that any attempt by a state to limit access to that education by abolishing the public schools and encouraging the development in their stead of a system of private schools, would have to be regarded as denying a fundamental liberty interest under the Constitution and being either a denial of Equal Protection, or, as held in Bolling v. Sharpe in 1954, regarding the District of Columbia schools, not subject to the Fourteenth Amendment, a violation of the Due Process Clause, in the case of the states, that of the Fourteenth Amendment rather than the Fifth Amendment.
The fact that the ultimate form of violence had now been directed in such brutal fashion against a 14-year old boy over a wolf-whistle and other claimed conduct, none of which, even if the subsequently recanted part alleged by Carolyn Bryant to have transpired inside the store had been true, had amounted to more than a misdemeanor assault, had formed the indelible imagery to galvanize a movement in the country which would, after numerous instances of further outrageous violence against blacks and whites alike working for civil rights during the ensuing decade, ultimately lead to passage by Congress of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, both promulgated by President Kennedy in the last nine months of his life and pushed through by his successor, President Johnson, after the assassination.
was time, indeed, for "backsliders", the atavists among the congregations, to arise, as the
times were changing
H. Clay Ferree, writing in the Winston-Salem Journal & Sentinel, in a piece titled "What Is the South?" indicates that the region was "a garden full of roses wet with the morning dew of May"; "the old Huguenot cemetery in St. Augustine; the iron grilled work on the porticoes of old houses in the Latin quarter of once languorous New Orleans; the magnificence of old Charleston's magnolia gardens and the look of puzzlement and pleased surprise on the face of restored Williamsburg." And he goes on with such descriptions.
"It is William Faulkner, Erskine Caldwell, Paul Green, James Street, Eudora Welty, brooding Tom Wolfe, and all the rest of the moderns who see the South as it is today, as well as the romanticism of another era who magnified the grandeur of a South that never existed." They had sought to define and explain the South, but in the end had admitted that it defied definition and was largely inexplicable.
"But certainly it is a pleasant land populated by a hospitable, warm-hearted people who do not take life quite so easily or leisurely as once they did. They are a people both bound and free, courageous yet presently apprehensive of the impact of new social forces—wise in their way and determined yet plagued by deep uncertainties.
"Yet because the South is San Juan Hill as well as Appomattox, Normandy Beachhead and Okinawa as well as Vicksburg and Atlanta, her people go forward now in faith, confident that the same vision, warm humanity, wisdom and courage which mastered disaster in the past can help the new South to dissipate her fears and blow the fogs of doubt away."
He appears to have been paraphrasing, consciously or unconsciously, the last paragraphs of The Mind of the South by W. J. Cash, from 1941, a book which had garnered renewed readership starting in 1954 with the publication of the first paperback edition by Knopf, in the wake of the initial Brown decision of May of that year.
Drew Pearson indicates that to understand the battle over hydroelectric power and the lobbying pressures behind it required recalling the days when any utility could go to any river and build a dam wherever it wanted, regardless of the impact on people downstream or elsewhere. In 1920, Congress had stopped that laissez-faire approach, citing the provision of the Constitution which provided Congress power to regulate navigable streams which flowed through more than one state. It provided for regulation of leasing of water-powered dam sites and established the Federal Power Commission to issue those leases, limiting the leases to no more than 50 years, after which the utility would have amortized its investment and made a profit, enabling the dam site then to become available for public use.
Despite that limitation, the FPC under the Eisenhower Administration was now in the process of forming leases for 99 years, without any change in the law in the meantime. He cites as example Alcoa, controlled by the Mellon family, once having had a complete monopoly on aluminum and having been the object of a Justice Department suit to break up that monopoly. In 1941, the company had refused to build a power plant on the Little Tennessee River, despite the approaching world war and the urgent need for aluminum in the airplane industry. On October 1, 1940, Alcoa had filed a declaration of intent to build a power plant, but had finally withdrawn it rather than submit to Federal regulation. The FPC had stated on March 8, 1941, that notwithstanding the public interest, Alcoa, through its subsidiaries, had demonstrated that it was unwilling to accept the reasonable limitations on unearned increment in the value of its power project provided by Congress, in the national interest of the defense effort. It stated that the refusal of Alcoa's subsidiaries to construct the Fontana dam project after being required to obtain a license, indicated that not even the urgent demand of national defense could alter Alcoa's determination not to submit to Federal law in regulating hydroelectric projects. Meanwhile, Alcoa bucked the Commission regarding the licensing of three power plants already built on the Little Tennessee and Cheoah Rivers, near the Tennessee-North Carolina border. When Andrew Mellon had been Secretary of the Treasury, Alcoa could get away with that conduct, but in 1941, the FPC under President Roosevelt had taken steps to compel the license. Thirteen years of bitter litigation followed, until the prior October when the new commissioners under President Eisenhower granted Alcoa a license for the entire package, including the three old, unlicensed projects combined with a new "Tallassee" development, leases which would not expire until 2005.
Stewart Alsop, in Casablanca, indicates that either the French would get rid of their built-in paralysis in their system of government or all of North Africa would go the way of Indo-China, that is winding up in war, eventuating in Communist domination.
During the previous two years, following a French military clique having acted independently of the government and succeeded in getting rid of Moroccan Sultan Sidi Mohammed ben-Youssef, who had displayed a tendency to think for himself, and replacing him with an elderly Sultan, Sidi Mohammed ben-Moulay Arafa, the situation had left the deposed Sultan to become a symbol of nationalism for Moroccans and afford that nationalism the impetus needed to become the force which it had presently become, with conditions having become steadily worse since the deposition of the former Sultan.
Months earlier, it had become obvious that something had to be done about the situation and in June, French Premier Edgar Faure had sent Gilbert Grandval to become the resident-general of Morocco, with instructions to develop a plan of action. The latter had spent several weeks gleaning all types of opinion, including that of the nationalist leaders who had been jailed or exiled by the previous regime, eventually concluding that there were two possible policies to follow. The first would require absolute and brutal repression of the nationalist movement, but, warned M. Grandval, that policy, while it might work for some period of time, would eventually lead to another Indo-China. The second alternative was a policy of compromise with the nationalists while safeguarding French interests, that being the policy recommended by M. Grandval.
For the latter policy to succeed, he had warned, it would have to be done decisively and with a certain panache, by bringing back the former Sultan from Madagascar to France and installing him there in comfort and honor, while the present Sultan would have to be replaced by a regency council approved by the former Sultan. In addition, real reforms, providing genuine power in internal affairs to qualified Moroccan nationalists, would have to take place immediately thereafter. M. Grandval told the French leaders that those things would have to be accomplished prior to August 20, the second anniversary of the deposition of the former Sultan, or otherwise there would be bloodshed, making further rational negotiation difficult or impossible.
Premier Faure had agreed with that approach and said as much to U.S. Ambassador Douglas Dillon. But at that point, the built-in paralysis of the French political system began to operate, as powerful economic and political interests in Morocco began vigorously to oppose the Grandval plan, while equally powerful military and political leaders in France, such as General Juin and former Foreign Minister Georges Bidault, also brought pressure against the plan. The latter were joined by members of the Faure Cabinet, such as Defense Minister Pierre Koenig and, to a lesser extent, Foreign Minister Antoine Pinay. The opposition had been enough under the French political system to inhibit any decisive action.
As a result, transparent substitutes for real action had been adopted, with the first having been that the current Sultan was asked to form a "representative" government, which everyone knew he could not possibly accomplish. The nationalist leaders and other Moroccans were then invited to attend a conference with French Cabinet leaders, which was an equally futile gesture, as the views of all concerned had been known for months. Meanwhile, August 20 had come and gone and that which M. Grandval had foreseen had occurred. The responsible Moroccan nationalists had succeeded in preventing serious trouble in the large cities, where they had substantial authority, but not in the countryside, where there was terrible violence, as they had little authority in those areas.
The result was that the extremists on both sides were now seeking to take over power, while the responsible and moderate nationalists were in serious danger of losing the leadership of the nationalist movement to the most brutal terrorists, and ultimately, to the Communists. Meanwhile, both in Morocco and France, those who wanted to use violence to stop the nationalist movement had been greatly strengthened.
Walter Lippmann indicates that when the outgoing president of the ABA was cheered as he called for a "bloodless revolution" to be led by lawyers to restore the country's "ancient liberties", there was no doubt that the times had changed. He finds that the country was in the early stages of a popular reaction against the hysteria and demagoguery, lawlessness and cruel injustices, which had been rightly called "the era of McCarthyism".
There was underway or projected many investigations which amounted to reviews and reappraisals of what had been done in the name of security and patriotism, as well as anti-communism, to the detriment of liberties which Americans shared with other free and civilized peoples.
The majority of leaders of American opinion were no longer willing to stand for the theory that espionage, sabotage and subversion could be dealt with only by ignoring the Constitution and through conniving "at what is nakedly and simply lynch law." There were a minority who held that such was the danger of communism and that such was the threat to U.S. security that no patriot should question the methods or the results of the anti-Communist investigations and prosecutions, holding that nothing, not even the constitutional guarantees, should interfere with the detection, exposure and punishment of those who could be regarded as security risks. If in the process, according to those advocates, innocent men and women were tortured and ruined, those were unfortunate collateral results, not to be discussed very much, involving necessary victims of the effort to save the republic. Such advocates considered themselves the highest patriots in the country and viewed with suspicion anyone who questioned their values, suspecting such opposition even of being treasonous or, at very least, soft and blind.
Those zealots were due for reappraisal, especially regarding their pretension that the lawlessness which they incited and defended was necessary to the country's security. Since Senator McCarthy had been riding high, it had been plain that he did more than the whole Communist propaganda apparatus to turn the world against the U.S. and destroy confidence in its leadership. His efforts had fed the country's enemies and silenced its allies. The Senator had carried his lawlessness to its logical end when he charged the Democratic Party with "20 years of treason" during the 1954 midterm campaigns, in an effort to divide the country and create an issue which pointed in the direction of civil war. At that point, the tide of American opinion had begun to turn against the Senator. But the zealots still believed in McCarthyism and continued to advocate and justify the lawlessness, while demanding and praising the subversion by Congressional committees and by private vigilantes of the Constitution's guarantees.
Mr. Lippmann posits that were they to prevail, which he ventures they would not, they would leave the innocent injured by their actions without lawful redress, paving the way to disorder. "For when a state subverts its own laws, it opens the way to violence."
At the same time that the reaction to McCarthyism was ongoing, there was a re-examination of the security program, itself. The first principal attack on the country's security was spying to obtain military secrets; the second, infiltration by secret agents to spy and influence policy; the third, organization of sabotage in case of war; and the fourth, subversion by propaganda and other means to build up a revolutionary opposition. Regarding the first of those, spying, there had been a change of public opinion, with the Geneva conference on nuclear energy having proved conclusively what scientists had been saying for some time, that scientific secrets could not last long, as other scientists could discover eventually what had already been discovered in the natural world. It was also evident that what was hidden from the Russians had also to be hidden from the country's own scientific community, with the result that preservation of scientific secrets was not as important as it once had appeared to be, as there were so few such genuine secrets. The real secret was not the types of weapons possessed by either side in the Cold War, but rather what each adversary was prepared to do with them.
Until recently, the U.S. had regarded the Iron Curtain as virtually permanent, thus feeling compelled to guard the country's secrets with its own improvised version of an iron curtain. But now, the country's policy had shifted to induce and encourage the Soviets to release its Iron Curtain, and the U.S. was in turn beginning to let down its own version, as it was no longer so worried about secrets.
Some of the reasons for this change were likely because Senator McCarthy had overplayed his hand in attacking the Democrats, ultimately redounding to the detriment of the Republican Party, and that the innate sense of decency of the people had been revolted by the cruelties and injustices resultant of McCarthyism. But the ultimate reason, Mr. Lippmann posits, was the emotional relief which had occurred since all of the great powers had acknowledged publicly that there was no alternative to peace and that they could no longer contemplate war.
A letter writer from Monroe indicates that he felt some compassion for the white supremacist, though an adversary, eliciting sympathy because of ignorance having led the supremacist against the "invincible march of progress", which was inevitably violent. "Progress is cruel. It commands ruthless power. It leaves in its wake upheaval and there is no possible compromise. Progress has a way of mercilessly crushing its arch enemies, the conservatives and reactionaries. Sometimes it moves slowly, but it is destined to triumph over its die-hard opponents." He suggests that the South was becoming two opposing forces, one struggling to obtain its inalienable rights and the other trying to keep from the oppressed the right to "exonerate itself from ungodly oppression". He suggests that the irony of the situation was that the two opposing forces both claimed to believe and follow an omnipotent force which was "intolerable toward intelligence". Both worshiped the same God and each petitioned that God for aid against the other. He shudders at the thought because "he who sows seeds of disaster shall reap a disastrous harvest." He finds it no wonder that the "white chauvinists" warred without victory, seeing "their sons slain and tortured by so-called inferior races and their sons languish on foreign soil as captives subjected to the same barbaric oppression that their fathers visited upon their darker brothers". He wonders whether divine retribution was beginning to catch up with the "so-called master races". "The southern white man has sown his disastrous seeds. I pity him, because retribution's harvest is devoid of mercy." He concludes that the South had been blessed but that instead of fully enjoying its blessings, the white supremacist had expended too much time and effort denying his "darker brothers" the opportunity of sharing in the good fortune, that the South was at the crossroads and it was time for it to examine its conscience. "An insincere constitution and distorted scripture embodies dragon seeds, and he who sows a dragon seed shall surely reap the violence of a dragon."
A letter writer responds to a previous letter writer and wonders whether the editors could not keep that "sort of junk" out of the newspaper.
He obviously does not like the Brownies, probably also detests Cub Scouts for never having gotten to be a Bobcat, a Wolf, a Bear or a Lion.
Links-Date — Links-Subj.