The Charlotte News

Monday, August 29, 1955


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports from Cairo that the first aerial clash had been reported this date in the renewed fighting along the tense Gaza Strip frontier between Egypt and Israel, where six had been killed the previous day. A reliable source in Israel-controlled Jerusalem had said that the encounter between planes of the two countries had begun when four Egyptian jets had flown over Israeli territory east of Rafa, near the juncture of the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula. One Egyptian plane had been hit by fire from two Israeli planes, according to the source, while an Israeli Army spokesman in Jerusalem had reported only that Egyptian planes which had penetrated Israeli territory had been driven back to their own territory. An Egyptian Government source had said earlier that there was a two-hour exchange of gunfire by border troops this date and that no Egyptian casualties had been reported. It was the fifth successive day of fighting along the frontier, with Egyptian authorities indicating the previous day that fighting had brought the total dead during the previous week to seven Egyptians and 13 Israelis. Each side had blamed the other the previous day for the continuing bloodshed, with an Egyptian Army communiqué having said that the Israelis had fired on five Egyptian outposts east of Gaza city, and the Egyptians had returned fire, resulting in four Egyptians killed and six wounded, along with many Israeli soldiers, while in Jerusalem, the Israeli Government claimed that an Egyptian attack on an Israeli patrol near the village of Beeri, had resulted in the wounding of two Israelis, that the mining of two Israeli Army cars near the same village had resulted in the deaths of two Israeli soldiers and the wounding of three, and that another Egyptian attack on a patrol near another village had also occurred. An Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman said that the Egyptian aggression had reached dimensions without precedent since the conclusion of the armistice agreement in 1949. He warned that his Government would take all measures of self-defense for the protection of the lives of its citizens.

The clashes had come as the Arab and Israeli governments were studying the proposals made by Secretary of State Dulles for finally settling the seven-year Jewish-Arab deadlock over a peace treaty, with as yet no official Arab reaction to the proposal. Western diplomats had been encouraged at least by the careful study of the proposals, with the Arab League set to meet in Cairo the following Saturday to discuss the proposals, which included an international guarantee of the borders of Israel and the Arab states, and an international loan to compensate the 900,000 Arab refugees from territory held by Israel. Unofficial reaction from Arabs, including most newspaper commentary, had ranged from coolness to outright opposition to the proposals.

In Paris, the French Government had decided this date to try to form a new and representative Moroccan government through negotiations with Moroccan Nationalist leaders, with the decision made to try to accomplish that result before September 12, in an effort to bring peace to French Morocco, beset by bloody violence during the previous two weeks. The French minister for Tunisian and Moroccan affairs had told a press conference after a Cabinet meeting this date that the Government had completed its examination of reports submitted by the "Committee of Five" on Moroccan affairs, which had been drafted on the basis of talks the previous week with Moroccan leaders. He said that the Cabinet members had unanimously endorsed the general Moroccan policy and authorized Premier Edgar Faure and himself to continue negotiations with the Nationalists. He said that they wanted to make the new government as representative as possible and that talks with the Independence party and other Moroccans started the previous week would be continued in Paris, providing no definite date for the renewed discussions.

Charles Kuralt of The News reports of a proposal that the Chief Justice address a joint session of Congress each year on the needs of the Federal judiciary, and its being forwarded to the ABA by U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge John J. Parker of Charlotte. Enlarging on a suggestion by Deputy Attorney General William Rogers, future Attorney General under President Eisenhower and future Secretary of State under President Nixon, Judge Parker had spoken the previous Wednesday to the ABA section on judicial administration in Philadelphia, indicating that the idea of having the Chief Justice provide such an annual address was one of the most important proposals affecting the judiciary to be made since the time of the Founding. Such an address would advise Congress of needs of the courts and attract the attention of the general public to the importance of giving the work of the courts adequate support. Presently, recommendations to Congress from the judicial branch were heard only by Congressional subcommittees, with the exception of rare instances. Judge Parker had cited several examples of legislation which might be expedited by such an address by the Chief Justice, including the need for creation of additional judgeships to handle the increasing backlog of litigation, legislation to cure the abuse of habeas corpus petitions by prisoners who had been convicted in state courts, appropriations for travel and courtroom improvement, and support for the system of probation and parole. Judge Parker rejected suggestions that such an address might encourage political activity on the part of a chief justice, indicating that no political capital could be had by simply talking about the needs and problems of the Federal judiciary.

Former Army Lt. Aldo Icardi was indicted by a Federal grand jury this date in Washington on eight charges of falsely denying any part in the alleged World War II slaying of Maj. William Holohan. The grand jury had been investigating the slaying for several weeks and the indictment alleged that the former lieutenant had given false testimony in eight instances when he appeared before a House Armed Services subcommittee in March, 1953. The major had been slain in northern Italy in 1944 while leading a group which had parachuted behind Axis lines, with the lieutenant having been a part of the secret mission, second in command to the major. The lieutenant and a third member of the party had been tried in absentia by an Italian court and convicted of the slaying of the major, but the two could not be extradited from the U.S. to serve the imposed sentences, which had been life for the lieutenant and 23 years for the other individual, who had not testified before the House subcommittee and was not involved in the present grand jury probe of the matter. Fourteen persons had been flown from Italy to testify before the grand jury during its investigation, including an American writer, Michael Stern, who had first broken the story of the slaying, and the police lieutenant who had recovered the body of the major from a lake in northern Italy in June, 1950, leading to the charges by the Italian authorities that the major had been murdered by his American companions on the mission. The witnesses claimed that a dispute had arisen between the major and the lieutenant regarding the distribution of arms to underground partisans in Italy, with the major having objected to supplying ammunition possibly to Communists, while the lieutenant favored equipping the partisans. Some of the witnesses accused the lieutenant of plotting the death of the major to obtain gold which the major had brought into the area. The House subcommittee had reported in July, 1953 that it had found sufficient evidence for an indictment against the two Americans accompanying the major, but said that there was no legal basis on which a prosecution could be conducted in the U.S. One of the perjury charges alleged against the lieutenant was that he had sworn falsely when denying any knowledge of poison being placed in soup given the major on the night of December 6, 1944.

In Whiting, Ind., the big fire at the refinery of the Standard Oil Co. of Indiana, resulting from an explosion two days earlier, was still burning this date, but from only two large storage tanks, with a company official indicating that the fire was under control and burning itself out to afford safety such that no volatile fluids would remain as a hazard during rehabilitation of the area. Life in the adjacent town had gotten back to normal, although some 500 families had awaited results of a check for explosive sewer gases before obtaining permission to return to their homes. The company opened a claims office in its administration and engineering building near the fire, and scores of residents had visited the office to inquire about compensation for damage and injuries. The fire loss was estimated by Standard Oil at ten million dollars and two persons had been reported killed, with 45 injured, three seriously. Some 950 families had been evacuated from large areas near the refinery on Saturday and were still being kept away from their homes as of the previous night. National Guardsmen patrolled the area.

In Miami, Fla., the Weather Bureau indicated that Hurricane Edith would not impact the East Coast and probably would not hit Bermuda with hurricane-force winds, as it had made its predicted turn to a north-northeasterly course, maintaining winds of between 80 to 85 mph, out into the open sea, with its only menace now being to shipping. It was expected to pass to the east of Bermuda late this afternoon or during the night.

In New York, actress Shelley Winters had undergone emergency minor surgery at Mount Sinai Hospital the previous day, according to a hospital spokesman, who indicated that she had been in considerable pain upon arrival at the hospital but was now doing fine and would remain in the hospital for about ten days. The spokesman did not disclose the nature of the ailment. She was probably down at the bottom of the river too long.

In Charleston, S.C., a man was being held, following his capture at Folly Beach on Saturday night by FBI agents, regarding a charge of first-degree murder stemming from a case in New York City involving a slaying on July 24, 1952 following an argument in a bar, and another charge of an assault with a deadly weapon against a guard during an escape from a Boston jail. The agents said that he did not offer resistance to arrest. He was being held in the county jail for a preliminary hearing Friday regarding extradition, under a bond of $100,000 on each of the two charges. The FBI believed that the arrest might lead to a suspect wanted by New York City authorities in connection with a $305,000 robbery of the Chase Manhattan Bank. If not that, it might at least lead to the discovery of Roy Rogers's horse.

Dick Young of The News reports that Charlotte City Manager Henry Yancey had announced this date that May 1, 1956 had been fixed as the date for enforcement of the City's industrial waste ordinance in the Irwin Creek drainage area, as the sewage disposal plant for the area was expected to be completed by the following April. When additional facilities at the Sugar Creek disposal plant had been completed the previous spring, June 1 had been set as an effective date of the ordinance for the industrial plants in the territory east of the central business district of the city, but westside plants had been delayed because the Irwin Creek addition had still been under construction. Mr. Yancey warned that meanwhile, "the day of reckoning" was coming for waste disposal of industrial concerns in the Sugar Creek area.

On the editorial page, "Industry Needed, Even If Flooded" indicates that the story that North Carolina and other Southern states had sent agents into flooded Northern areas to seek industries damaged from the backlash of Hurricane Diane the prior week, should have died quickly after New England governors had expressed their shock and Southern officials, their indignant denials of the truth of the story. But instead, a Rhode Island state senator and a textile union official had breathed further hot air into the fib, the union official asking for a Senate investigation, though acknowledging that he had no verified report of such a raid.

It indicates that, nevertheless, it was possible that some of the industries which had been wrecked by the flooding would consider moving south before rebuilding. Governor Abraham Ribicoff of Connecticut had actually advised Connecticut industries damaged by the flood to consider whether there was a different area in which they should be located when they rebuilt. The head of North Carolina's Department of Conservation & Development, former Charlotte Mayor Ben Douglas, had said that if New England industries wanted to relocate to North Carolina, it would be happy to give them all the service the state could muster.

North Carolina needed new industry, with only four states, Georgia, Mississippi, New Hampshire and South Carolina, having lower ratings in terms of total value added by manufacture during 1953, the latest figures available, averaging $5,096 per manufacturing employee in the state, 72 percent of the national average. Total expenditure for new plants and equipment had dropped by four percent in 1953, while in the meantime, outlays nationally had increased by more than three percent.

It concludes that the state had a long way to go before it would have its share of the country's industry and should not be deterred in seeking it by sham reports "aimed at making the state look like a grave-robber."

"Tom Sawyer to the Contrary…" indicates that a sure sign of the end of summer and the beginning of school days was a newspaper or magazine picture of discarding of a fishing pole or some other symbol of the Huck Finn tradition, so much the better if the picture elicited a frown on a boy's face. Such pictures were customary and probably appreciated by adults who had spent long years paying for the child's education, and who had lived long enough to share Robert Frost's question: Ah, when to the heart of man/ Was it ever less than a treason/ To go with the drift of things,/ To yield with a grace to reason,/ And bow and accept the end/ Of a love or a season?

It suggests, however, that some of the children actually ran back to the schoolrooms rather than dragging their feet quite so mournfully as the pictures suggested, as there was more to school than figures and dates to be understood and remembered. There were friendships and rivalries to renew, eager ears for summer's tales, gossip to trade and games to play. "And when was a camping trip more adventurous than the skillful exchange of a note, the furtive bite of an apple, before the eyes of a watchful teacher?"

Unfortunately this date, for a 14-year old boy who was scheduled to return home to Chicago this week from his two-week vacation in Mississippi with his uncle and cousins, only his battered remains would go back to his mother, in a coffin contained in a sealed crate which a Mississippi sheriff, that of Tallahatchie County, would seek in the ensuing days to retain and bury in Mississippi, requiring the intervention of the boy's mother, seeking help from Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley, who would intervene on her behalf, enlisting the Governor of Illinois, and, with the further help of the NAACP, enabling her at least to get her boy's remains back home the following week. Young Emmett Till would have no reunion in the fall with old school chums.

"Will Margaret?" regards the question presented in the press as to whether Princess Margaret would marry Group Capt. Peter Townsend, with the British press insistent on an answer from Buckingham Palace. It regards it as a perfect example of people not knowing when they had a good thing, as it had been awhile since the world could follow a good soap opera without listening to a commercial.

We are glad in 2022, incidentally, that Queen Elizabeth has finally been interred for the ages, as we never thought the funeral, seeming to be interminable, would ever end. Enough with collectively mourning the dead, especially the elderly dead, for days and days and days on end, simply to provide the 24-hour news networks fodder for their programming, of interest only to boobs with fat between their ears. We even saw one headline online which read something to the effect that thousands mourned the "tragic death" of Queen Elizabeth. No, a death at 96 years of age by natural causes is not tragic, young one, rather more likely a relief from the weight of too heavy burdens for most at that stage of life. It does get rather ridiculous and, in the end, cheapens significantly dignified death and deprives a family of a more or less private period of grief. Enough! Get on with life, and understand what such extended funereal episodes of soap opera do to the psyche of the world, especially the very young. We recall in 1965, for instance, at the death of Winston Churchill, someone, unlike the Queen, who had actually substantially influenced world events, that while there was appropriately extensive television coverage of his life and accomplishments, and coverage of his funeral, it was all over in a matter of a couple of days. At even the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963, despite the unanticipated shock to the nation and the world that it was, extensive coverage of it was all over in four days, with programming returned to normal the following Tuesday, November 26, and only sporadic special programming and occasional updates of the story thereafter, enabling that Thanksgiving the ensuing Thursday to have, while remaining mindful of the terrible event of the prior week, at least a semblance of normalcy.

Stop preoccupying the young with death, especially that of a foreign monarch who had no actual power, though by the press coverage, one would think that the monarchy in Britain still controlled official state policy, convincing the ignorant of that possibility. There was too much talk associated with that funeral regarding fashion, hats, protocol and who got to sit in front of whom, who was entitled to be first in line among the former prime ministers, and the like, despicably so, rendering "journalism" a patent joke, with so many young journalists hardly worthy of the name nowadays as it is, hardly able to construct an English sentence or paragraph, or even apparently in some instances to use the Queen's English ab initio, consumed by such petty nonsense as dress and order in a queue, because their minds are full of mush, saturated by television and 24-hour newspeak for the last 40 odd years, becoming a self-perpetuating scheme to convince young aspiring journalists that fit fodder for their reports is such mindless verbiage, leading to more Fox Newspeak globally.

Enough! A state funeral is a blip on the screen, worthy of a day or two of coverage, and then we move on. There is only so much you can say about a given individual before it becomes mindless, blithering idiocy, rendering the subject of the reportage a virtual joke and turning a funeral into a satire of a society preoccupied with ephemera rather than substance. Bury the remains and move on, leaving the families of the deceased to their properly private grief and recovery from loss.

"The Paperbacks: A Literary Revival?" indicates that there were more than 260 million paperback editions being published each year, but no indication that the phenomenon was producing a great creative revival. As Delmore Schwartz had said, to speak of a renaissance before it had occurred was similar to discussing the future of an unborn child and the year 2055. Yet, the great number of paperback sales provided reassurance that people had not completely forgotten the art of solitary reading, that paperbacks might not always be good books, but at least opened the eyes of readers to a cultural enterprise possibly forgotten in the age of television.

It had increasingly become the notion that people who read a lot were somewhat odd, that the solitary reader was suspected of having other secret vices. But that notion was dissipating with the advent of the popularity of the paperback.

It suggests that, unfortunately, many of the paperbacks available were not worth the paper on which they were printed, amounted to "pure rubbish, spiced with liberal doses of sex and sadism and encased in lurid covers." Yet, while the average reader might not appreciate the subtle shades of artistic merit between great works of literature and those of Mickey Spillane, that person would read both, in itself, a triumph, for with more reading experience, the reader might become more discriminating. Millions of Americans had been introduced to the books of William Faulkner through paperback reprints, and works by Ernest Hemingway, Thomas Wolfe, John Steinbeck, Tennessee Williams, Robert Penn Warren, Carson McCullers, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Irwin Shaw, John Dos Passos, and Arthur Miller were now available in paperback editions. (There is your fall syllabus, young student. Get with it and finish it before the end of November, else you will not only fail the course, you will have that oft-recurring nightmare in which you are confronted with such ontologically challenging self-queries as: When is this next book report due? What is the book? Is it already past due? How many book reports have I to do yet? Where is the class? Where is my locker? Where are my books? Who is the teacher? What was the subject? Where is the library? India? You may have that nightmare despite completion of the assignments and receipt of an "A" in the course, but at least you will then have obtained the genuine literary advance incumbent on the reading adventure you will undertake and be able to awake with the sense of relief at your job long ago well accomplished and not with a sense of foreboding dread at the wishing-well, hoping for a drink of water from inside your reflection, yet realizing a sense the while that not only is the sucker-washer dry without the other part of your reflection having had the foresight to leave any primer in the nearby dipper per the note, but the past cheating through resort to Cliff, Sparkie or some movie version of the work, of questionable merit and completeness, or, worse, a friend's cheat-sheet for its diligently synopsized summary gleanings, replete with original marginal observations, which you "borrowed"—hiding the while from your reflection your actual intent to deprive its owner permanently of the right to claim exclusive authorship of its original and permissively copied content, thus amounting to theft under constructive intent theory—, is finally catching up with your dutiful ignorance, lassitude and indolence, if not your subconscious insolence toward your professor, retained, for inflicting such injury to your since ossified, nitwit brain.)

Modern masters, the piece continues, such as Andre Gide, D. H. Lawrence, James Joyce, Jean-Paul Sartre and George Bernard Shaw were also available in the form. New Italian novelists, such as Alberto Moravia, Elio Vittorini, Giuseppe Berto, Ennio Flaiano and Vasco Pratolini, had been introduced to the country through paperback books as well. Many of the classics, such as translations of Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, were also available in the form.

The publishing firm of Doubleday, under its Anchor Books imprint, offered authors, whose works had been acquired for paperback publication from various original imprints, such as Soren Kierkegaard, George Santayana, Henry James, Lionel Trilling, D. H. Lawrence, Joseph Conrad, Henri Alain-Fournier, Bernard Berenson, Edmund Wilson, Henry Green and W. J. Cash—the latter's paperback version of The Mind of the South, as indicated, having been published for the first time in 1954 because of renewed interest in it in light of the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court opinion and the great societal debate erupting in its wake regarding desegregation in the South.

It suggests that one of the most interesting developments had been the appearance of attractive literary samplers devoted to new fiction, poetry, drama and criticism. New World Writing had been the trailblazer, followed by Discovery, New Voices, Modern Writing and others. Even though many previously unpublished writers had been represented in those reviews, the most rewarding efforts had invariably been from such "old dependables" as Christopher Isherwood, Saul Bellow, Gore Vidal, Eleanor Clark, Jean Cocteau, Colette, Mark Schorer, Robie Macauley, Hortense Calisher and Dylan Thomas.

It concludes that the paperbacks had produced no genuinely new movements in literature, and that there were no recognizable avant garde entries represented in such works as New World Writing, that though there were original novels being published by several paperback firms, none had received any significant critical acclaim. It took more than mass production and mass purchasing power to produce a literary renaissance, as the 16th Century masters had done well without the power presses and sexy covers, requiring different factors in society to develop a great artistic tradition.

Drew Pearson's column, being written by members of his staff while he was on a brief vacation, indicates that even the enemies of Adlai Stevenson admitted that his best break in his comeback bid for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1956 had occurred when Governor Allan Shivers of Texas announced that he would continue to oppose him, as he had in 1952 when he supported General Eisenhower in the general election. For to regular Democrats, every knock was a boost from Governor Shivers, a Dixiecrat. Yet, he had said some things in his criticism of Mr. Stevenson with which many regular Democrats would agree but had left unsaid, things which the Democratic leaders, other than in the Stevenson camp, had been saying privately. One prominent Democrat, who did not wish to be quoted by name, stated that if Governor Stevenson would be a candidate at the 1956 Democratic convention, he would be strongly supported in the early balloting and would have many pledged delegates, including probably a sizable number from the South, but that after the third ballot, they would be looking for the exits, that Mr. Stevenson's problem would be controlling that process, reminding that he had made it by only one and a half votes in 1952.

The column indicates that some of the drawbacks for Mr. Stevenson were that he was defeated decisively in 1952 by the President and that even under the best of campaign conditions, a defeated candidate had a strike against him for trying again, that the Democrats who opposed him claimed that he was too much of a suave city-slicker type to compete successfully against the popular, earthy President, that the party needed a new personality to lead it in 1956 if it wanted to win, and that anti-Stevenson Democrats believed he could not carry the female vote in a battle with the President. In addition, Democrats believed that he was too closely aligned with the Americans for Democratic Action, the independent, liberal group which did not follow the party line of either major party and was often branded as "left-wing" by the conservatives in both parties.

The column posits that the charge that the ADA was leftist was highly disputable, but the charge that Mr. Stevenson was closely linked to the organization was a matter of record, with many Democrats resenting that association. A short time earlier, the Democratic leader quoted earlier in the column, one of the top liberals in the party, had been approached by an ADA official on behalf of Mr. Stevenson, seeking his support, but the Democratic leader told him that he opposed the nomination of Mr. Stevenson in 1952 and would be against him again in 1956 at the convention because he could not beat the President and because he was associated with the ADA, indicating that he did not believe the ADA was left wing or anything of that sort, but that the general public did.

Joseph Alsop indicates that the practical value of the Geneva Big Four summit conference was about to be tested for the first time at the meeting of the U.N. Disarmament Commission this date. Prior to the President having left for the Big Four July summit conference, U.S. policymakers had been divided on the subject of disarmament. Harold Stassen, who had been named as the President's disarmament specialist, favored bold action on disarmament at the summit conference, supported in that approach by the psychological warfare adviser, Nelson Rockefeller.

But at the Pentagon, all three services were unanimous in not wanting Mr. Stassen's plan for disarmament to be proposed and in not wanting the U.S. to offer any plan at all. Secretary of State Dulles maintained the skeptical attitude which marked his whole approach to the summit conference. As the conference approached, the President's attitude became increasingly enthusiastic about prospects for the conference, while those of Secretary Dulles continued to be skeptical, especially regarding disarmament, believing that tangible results were not to be anticipated from the conference. Since the Stassen-Rockefeller approach was diametrically opposed to that of the Pentagon, strong emotions had emerged during a meeting called by the President to try to work out a formula for disarmament prior to the summit conference. Secretary Dulles had sought to reconcile matters by saying that they would not attempt disarmament without adequate safeguards and that it was thus not worth arguing as to the type of disarmament acceptable until the Soviets accepted the right type of inspection, necessitating that the latter therefore be the area of focus. That approach had finally brought agreement among the participants, enabling the moral victory ultimately for the President at the conference from his proposal for mutual aerial inspection by the U.S. and Russia of their respective defense establishments. That which the President had actually proposed, therefore, at Geneva was not a method of disarmament but rather of inspection.

Likewise, that which the newspapers had discussed as a disarmament meeting starting this date at the U.N. was actually regarding inspection, with disarmament as an end to be subsequently achieved only after inspection and safeguards had been agreed upon. Insofar as the U.S., there was still the same disagreement between the policymakers with regard to disarmament. The post-Geneva approach of the U.S. appeared therefore to be still the same as that of the pre-Geneva policy, with only a detailed proposal for inspection and safeguards having been prepared for presentation at the U.N conference. That would entail both features proposed by the President at Geneva, that in addition to the mutual aerial inspection program, there would be group inspection teams stationed at key rail junctions and other points in both countries where preparations for aggression could be observed, reducing the possibility of any surprise attack.

Mr. Stassen had proposed an arms freeze at existing levels, vehemently opposed at the Pentagon, though that suggestion might be preferable to that of Secretary of Defense Charles E. Wilson's approach of gradual and continuous defense cuts. Mr. Stassen had concluded that there was little use any longer in seeking to control nuclear weapons because they were too easy to make and no amount of inspection could ensure their destruction on each side, as well that control of them would hamper civilian atomic development. Mr. Stassen thus favored control of the means of delivering nuclear weapons, which would mean sacrificing the Strategic Air Command, the only remaining American offensive power. But before that latter approach could be implemented, both the Pentagon and the American people would have a good deal to say about it. Thus, despite the approach of Mr. Stassen regarding disarmament, the country was not set on any policy, notwithstanding the fact that the U.S. was participating in the U.N. Disarmament Conference.

Mr. Alsop concludes that there was always a false situation created when trying to decide by fiat highest questions of national policy, and that in the present situation, it was a dangerously false situation, as the Soviets did not want the inspection and safeguards which Mr. Stassen was prepared to discuss. The Soviets only wanted disarmament, which Mr. Stassen could not talk about with the authority of a national spokesman.

Marquis Childs, in Rome, indicates that a succession of U.S. ambassadors to Italy had sought to use every means of persuasion since 1945 to end that country's chronic unemployment and improve the miserable lot of the lowest third of its overly populated masses, with the U.S. having spent several billion dollars toward that end, and substantial aid in one form or another still forthcoming. Despite that approach, it appeared that the relationships in the country remained unchanged between the classes, with the rich getting richer and the poor becoming at least more aware of their poverty and more inclined as a result to fall for the promises of Communism.

The ownership class in the country was recklessly irresponsible, communicating their indifference to Italy's future. In recent years, the tax collector in Rome had published figures showing that the declared income of the wealthiest families, when compared to what the tax collector had estimated as their actual income, left a vast discrepancy. In one instance, the declaration of one of Rome's greatest aristocrats had shown income of $17,000, while the tax collector estimated that it was 1.3 million, as the wealthy prince could hardly have afforded to pay the wages of the grooms who exercised his horses on an income of $17,000. The custom had been to settle taxes for a relatively small sum based on the large discrepancies.

Notwithstanding those problems, Americans had felt that there were changes for the better in Italy. The policy introduced by U.S. Ambassador Clare Boothe Luce of enforcing the provision contained in U.S. aid legislation, requiring that no contracts be given to any plant with a Communist-dominated union, was beginning to have results, with the strength of those unions down by 50 percent from their peak of about 67 percent, reduced to 37 percent in the large Fiat plants in northern Italy. Part of that progress was mere window dressing for the benefit of the U.S., but much of it represented real gain for the free unions.

Land reform had been too little, too late, but it represented an enormous task, as of Italy's 9.5 million farmers, more than five million owned farms of less than an acre, while 3.5 million owned farms ranging from one to twelve acres, with only 500 individuals having farms over 2,500 acres. Under the land reform program, about six percent of the arable land, a third of the total, had been redistributed, taking some of the pressure off in southern Italy.

The real hope in the country now was oil, discovered in considerable amounts in a half dozen areas from the Po Valley in the north to Sicily in the south. Inevitably, those lands had become involved in politics, both Italian politics and that of big oil on a world scale. Prior to those discoveries, the Italian State Corporation, headed by a national hero for his part in the resistance movement during the war and because of his success in returning a large profit for the corporation, had discovered large natural gas deposits near the big industries in the north. The head of the corporation was determined that it should develop the oil as well as the gas, and he had the backing of many Christian Democrats, the liberal left of center, and the Communists conveniently supported him against "foreign oil imperialists". But several U.S. companies, including Standard Oil of New Jersey, were insisting on the right to participate, based on long previous exploration and the proposition that the Italian company lacked the capital to develop the oil properly. Compromise on the issue was now believed in sight, as the Government was sending a commission of experts to the U.S. to study state and Federal oil lease laws so that an agreement could be formulated with foreign companies for development of the deposits in Italy, except in the Po Valley, which, for the time being, would be left to the Italian State Corporation.

He concludes that if half the prognostications were true, it would mean the beginning of a new era for Italy, with royalties going to the state from the oil making possible an expanded program of social and economic reform. At least that was the hope.

Anton Chekhov, in an excerpt from his Selected Letters, urges bearing in mind that writers who were considered immortal or just good had a very important trait in common, that they were going somewhere and calling readers along with them, not just with the mind but with all of one's being. They had immediate aims, the abolition of serfdom, the liberation of their country, political matters, "beauty or just vodka", while others had more remote aims, God, life beyond the grave, the happiness of mankind, etc. He says that the best of them were realistic and painted life as it was, "but because every line is saturated with juice, with the sense of life, you feel, in addition to life as it is, life as it should be, and you are entranced."

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