The Charlotte News

Thursday, August 4, 1955


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports from Moscow that Soviet Premier Nikolai Bulganin this date had turned down the President's plan for a swap of military blueprints and mutual aerial inspection of each other's territories for defense bases as a means of verification of disarmament, describing the plan as "unrealistic". Deputies to the Supreme Soviet, the parliament, burst into laughter when the Premier said that the real effect of the proposal would not be considerable because "both countries have limitless territories in which one could hide anything." The proposal had been presented by the President at the Geneva Big Four summit conference on July 21, saying that it was designed to convince everyone of "the great sincerity of the United States in approaching this problem of disarmament." Mr. Bulganin had spoken to 1,500 deputies assembled in the Supreme Soviet. He made three principal points about the summit conference, that it had helped to ease international tensions, that personal contact had proved fruitful, and that it marked the beginning of the end of the cold war, pledging that the Soviet Union would do everything within its power to facilitate that end. He said that the Soviet plan for arms inspection and control, as published in London the prior May 10, and repeated by him at Geneva, was "more realistic", but also stating that he agreed with the President that it was necessary to follow a constructive and not a negative line in world affairs. The Premier praised the proposal of Senator Walter George of Georgia for suggesting a conference of foreign ministers, with Communist China's Premier and Foreign Minister Chou En-lai participating.

The Atomic Energy Commission announced this date that the Russians had resumed testing of nuclear weapons during the previous few days and that it might mean the beginning of a new test series. The most recent previous announcement of Soviet tests had been on October 26, 1954 and before that, in August, 1953, when the AEC confirmed Russian claims that it had conducted a thermonuclear experiment involving a hydrogen bomb. This date's announcement did not specify whether the new explosion was a fission-type atomic bomb or a fusion-type hydrogen bomb. The AEC had said on June 24 that it had no evidence of a major nuclear blast by the Russians in almost a year. A nuclear scientist had written, however, that it could be revealed that the Soviets had conducted at least two super bomb tests during the prior spring, with nongovernmental scientists having picked up strong radioactive indications of an explosion in May. The AEC, in commenting on that statement, said that it had consistently followed the policy of informing the American people of its tests of nuclear weapons and of the tests by the Soviets, and that there had been no change in that policy.

In Manila, the 11 American airmen who had been freed by the Communist Chinese after being imprisoned since being shot down 2 1/2 years earlier during the Korean War and charged with and convicted afterward of espionage, arrived at Clark Air Force Base from Hong Kong this date, met by the commander of the U.S. 13th Air Force, Brig. General William Lee, and by U.S. Ambassador Homer Ferguson. They would fly the next day to Tokyo and then to the U.S., arriving near Seattle for a reunion with their families, before being transported to Travis Air Force Base near San Francisco. The spokesman for the group had briefly addressed the press during their stopover in Hong Kong, stating, "Peiping is not entitled to a damn thing" for their release, indicating that his B-29 had been shot down 35 to 40 miles south of the Yalu River border with China while on a routine leaflet-dropping mission over North Korea, that all members of the crew had bailed out and were captured in North Korean territory, effectively denying the Communist Chinese claim that they had strayed over Chinese territory. Two medical checks by three doctors indicated that they were in fairly good condition. One of the crewmen was on crutches, stating that his left leg had been wounded when the plane had been shot down in January, 1953 and that he had then suffered frostbite. They indicated that they did not want to look back anymore at Communist China and the experience they had there. All appeared to be in excellent mental health.

In Geneva, the ambassadorial conference between the U.S. and Communist China took another recess until Monday, with no word being presented as to whether Communist China had agreed to release the 40 American civilians it still held in varying forms of restraint, from imprisonment to house arrest to denial of exit visas. The two representatives talked for 90 minutes on the question of the civilians this date, but neither would indicate what progress, if any, had been made. The additional recess, following an earlier one for 48 hours, suggested that one side or the other had to consult with their government before proceeding.

In Gelsenkirchen, Germany, located in the Ruhr region, 41 German coal miners were believed to have died this date in a fire and explosion, with another 44 miners having been injured, some seriously. Mine officials stated that 25 workers were still missing below ground and were presumed dead. Rescue workers had brought up 16 bodies before the fire had driven them out of the mine.

In Buffalo, N.Y., two men were held without charge this date in connection with the armed robbery of a Brinks armored car carrying racetrack receipts, having been captured after a gun battle following the robbery the previous night. A third man was still being sought by police, and the $160,000 in stolen receipts had been recovered. The bandits, who had been clad in silk-stocking masks and armed with a submachine gun, had broken into the garage and vault of Brinks before the armored car arrived with nearly $498,000 in receipts from the Fort Erie racetrack just across the Niagara River in Canada. Three Brinks employees were on the truck. Two of the holdup men had been captured 30 minutes later after an 11-block running gun battle. One wounded guard said that he had thought he was a dead man. He had pulled his .38-caliber pistol, but before he could fire a shot, he was fired upon and hit.

In Raleigh, Governor Luther Hodges this date urged the people of the state to listen in when he would speak on radio and television the following Monday night on the school segregation issue, saying that part of his talk would be directed to the black citizens of the state. He said that he was "encouraged with the response" to the announcement of the speech, with many radio and television stations across the state having indicated their willingness to carry his message, to be broadcast at 10:00 p.m. He said it would be the longest address he had given thus far since becoming Governor, upon the death of Governor William B. Umstead in November, 1954, the speech scheduled to last 36 minutes.

In Charlotte, the City-County health officer, Dr. M. B. Bethel, issued a warning against drinking raw buttermilk, in the wake of a conviction of a Mecklenburg farmer who had pleaded guilty in City Police Court this date to selling raw buttermilk in the city, receiving a prayer for judgment continued on condition that he violate no city milk laws for one year. Investigation of two recent cases of typhoid in one area of the city had led the Health Department milk inspectors to that farmer living near Huntersville. The investigators had found that the two typhoid victims had been drinking raw buttermilk and that the farmer in question had been selling it to those families. While it had not been established that the raw buttermilk had actually caused the typhoid fever, there was, according to Dr. Bethel, a danger of typhoid infection from consumption of unpasteurized milk.

In Charlotte, shoppers during bargain days the following week would get an extra bonus, as local buses would offer free inbound rides to the midtown area on Thursday and Friday for an hour and a half each morning, making available 8,240 seats. "Shop in Charlotte Days" were set to begin the following Thursday through Saturday. They probably won't have "Another Side of Bob Dylan" yet, which we found in the cutout bin during bargain days in Winston-Salem in August, 1964, along with a record of abstracts of the speeches of President Kennedy. But, hang in there, Charlotte, and one day, you might be as hip as Winston-Salem. Or, did it mean that Winston-Salem was unhip for having those records in the cutout bin at the principal record retailer of the city in those days? Perhaps, one might have had to pay full price in Charlotte because the records were much more popular there. We never conducted the survey. "It's been Reznick's for records for years", but not in a long time.

In Miami, Fla., tropical storm Connie, the third of the year, was moving across the open Atlantic, 2,200 miles southeast of the mainland, with the Miami Weather Bureau indicating that the storm might already have reached hurricane force, warning steamships of its path. An Air Force hurricane hunter plane had been dispatched toward the storm from Bermuda during the day to gather additional information. Two steamships had provided reports the previous day indicating that a storm was forming. The previous night, one vessel reported 45 mph winds and a steadily falling barometer, with that ship still a great distance from the storm center, leading weathermen to believe that winds near the center had already reached the 75 mph minimum for a tropical hurricane. The storm was moving westward or west-northwestward at about ten mph, with its location being 770 miles east of the French West Indies island of Guadaloupe. It was so far away that it was thus far impossible to tell whether it would approach the mainland. Of the first two storms of the year, Alice, discovered January 2, had reached hurricane force but had died in the Caribbean Sea south of Puerto Rico, while the second storm, Brenda, of July 31, out of the Gulf of Mexico, had moved into Louisiana but failed to reach hurricane strength. Connie would reach the mainland eventually, coming ashore near Morehead City, N.C., packing 100 mph winds and doing significant damage in the state, killing 27 people.

In Paris, Christian Dior told a Sorbonne University audience the previous day that "fashion successively exaggerates one part after another of the female body to renew the attention of men." He addressed a French civilization course which had 1,500 students enrolled of 16 nationalities. The amphitheater of the University was packed to the third balcony for the occasion and dozens of photographers surrounded M. Dior on the stage, while police controlled crowds at the doors. He said further that "submission to fashion is not mere conformism," but that it gave women a feeling of security to be in style. He said that as a dressmaker, he had to follow the laws of architecture, that thanks to the secrets of cut, dresses of the present were actually allied to the simplicity of antique costumes, with ornaments and trimmings currently of little importance. To loud applause, his star models paraded as an example of the New Look, which had made his name famous in 1946. M. Dior was dressed in a conservative dark blue suit.

On the editorial page, "Police Censorship: Wrong in Principle" finds that the Charlotte Police Department was to be congratulated for cleaning up the newsstands of crime and horror books on a voluntary basis, with local magazine distributors providing full cooperation. Without that cooperation, officers might be descending on the newsstands pursuant to one of the most objectionable laws ever enacted by the General Assembly, passed in 1955, making it unlawful for any person or firm to sell "crime comic books" or publications which, through the medium of pictures, portrayed, among other things, "mayhem".

It finds that despite the vagueness of the statute's language, the effect of the new law amounted to government censorship, the sort of law Senator Estes Kefauver's subcommittee, investigating juvenile delinquency, had said should not be enacted at any level of government. It quotes from Senator Kefauver in an interim report to the Senate Judiciary Committee of the prior March 14, indicating that the subcommittee flatly rejected all suggestions of government censorship as "being totally out of keeping with the basic American concepts of free press operating in a free land for free people."

It finds that the shifting of responsibility for taste and morality from the producer of reading material to police agents was wrong, that the police agent could and should guard the citizenry against obviously pornographic and obscene material, but was not equipped to decide the subtle differences between material which might or might not be injurious to the ethical development of a child. It finds that the elimination of crime and horror comic books from the newsstands of the city was the responsibility of parents, assisted by citizens groups and competent experts. Complaints directed to the vendor and wholesaler, if repeated, would frequently result in removal of particular publications from the newsstands.

It finds the primary responsibility for the content of comic books to rest on the publisher. They had recognized that responsibility with the establishment the previous year of the Comics Magazine Association of America and the appointment of New York Judge Charles Murphy as the administrator of the code they developed. But comic books with the Association's seal of approval had recently carried some material which was questionable, in one depicting a horse being urged to stomp a man to death, in another, showing a man being prepared for a bath in molten steel, and in yet another, showing a corpse tossed in a river, while someone was brutally kicked in the jaw.

It finds that there was no doubt that comic books could be harmful to impressionable people and that most young people were impressionable, but it could not help but agree with Dr. John Cavanagh's recent comment on the subject: "Any undesirable comics would disappear off the newsstands if parents took sufficient interest to look over the comics their children read and to direct their reading."

"The Endless Cavern of Bureaucracy" remarks on the piece on the page regarding the time line for trying to get WSOC-TV, channel 9, on the air in Charlotte, and the bureaucratic hoops it had to pass through to do so. It finds the "bureaucratic nonsense" to have several regrettable aspects, one being that during nearly eight years of trying to get the station licensed and on the air, the community had been denied the enjoyment and variety of a second VHF television station, to complement channel 3, WBTV.

A rough estimate of the cost of the proceedings to the three applicants had been placed at $100,000 apiece, with the cost to the taxpayers being equally as large. The transcript of oral testimony consisted of 36 volumes, containing 4,297 typewritten pages. The presentation of the case for WSOC and the cross-examination of it had consumed five days and 942 pages of transcript. The hearing had been in progress for 38 days, stretched over a period of eight months. And it had not yet been determined. The examiner had issued an "initial decision" but the case would now go before the seven-member FCC, which could uphold or reverse the examiner. The process was expected to take the greater part of another year.

After that, any one of the parties had the right to appeal the FCC decision to the Federal District Court regarding points of law.

It finds that the process involved needless delay and that the bureaucratic red tape was part of the larger problem of inefficiency in government, demonstrating how badly the nation's political machinery was in need of repair.

"Flowing Oratory" tells of Senators exiting the chamber after adjournment, while Senator Wayne Morse of Oregon had remained, reading a long speech on Federal aid to education. It hopes that the President would not call a special session to deal with the highway legislation left on the table, but finds that a simple request would likely keep Senator Morse in session to deal with highways or any other matters which might need attention between the present time and January, when Congress would reconvene.

"H. G. Ashcraft, the Master Farmer" tells of the death of Mr. Ashcraft at age 82 during the week, having been a resident of the county for nearly 50 years. He had been one of the distinguished builders of the new county, although in the minds of many, representing the old county. N.C. State had labeled him the "master farmer" in 1936. He had specialized in dairy farming, but his knowledge and abilities had spanned many fields. He was appointed to the N.C. State Vocational Board by the late Governor Clyde Hoey and to the Soil Erosion Board by the late Governor O. Max Gardner. Frank Graham, while president of UNC, had named him to the board which helped formulate farming policies at N.C. State.

He had also been a former president of the State Farmers Convention and for 16 years had served as a member of the Mecklenburg Sanatorium Board, as well as being an active member of the Baptist Church.

It concludes that his influence would continue to be felt in the county and across the state, which would serve as "a fitting memorial to a fine citizen."

Drew Pearson indicates that two of the most distinguished members of Congress were Senator Alben Barkley of Kentucky, former Vice-President under President Truman, and House Speaker Sam Rayburn of Texas. He tells of Senator Barkley having remarked recently that he was getting tired of passing legislation primarily for the benefit of Texas and Oklahoma, referring to the ramrod tactics used to pass the Harris bill through the House and the proposal to jam it through the Senate, exempting natural gas producers from Federal regulation when shipping gas north in interstate commerce. It had passed the House by a narrow margin, 209 to 203, and represented a personal triumph for Mr. Rayburn, while nearly splitting the Democrats in two.

Mr. Rayburn had refused to pass the school construction bill, again causing a great cleavage within the Democratic Party. When the Speaker threw his weight and great prestige for or against a measure and asked fellow Democrats to stand with him and Texas, sidetracking the school bill, the cleavage stood out, despite Democrats trying to keep it under wraps. The result had House Majority Whip John McCormack of Massachusetts voting against the Speaker. As a result of the cleavage, Mr. Rayburn had called the House into session two hours early to pass the natural gas bill, while keeping the school construction bill waiting another year.

Mr. Pearson remarks that the cleavage would have to be dealt with by the Democrats if they were planning to win the presidential election in 1956.

The Congressional Quarterly assesses the votes during the first session of the 84th Congress of Senators Sam J. Ervin and Kerr Scott of North Carolina, finding that they had split on only one of nine key votes, that on the Upper Colorado reclamation project, while voting the same way on such issues as income tax cuts, reciprocal trade, foreign aid, and highway and housing programs.

Senator Scott had joined 30 Democrats and 27 Republicans in the vote for passage of the 1.1 billion dollar Upper Colorado project, while Senator Ervin joined 14 Democrats and eight Republicans who opposed it, with the final tally having been 58 to 23.

Both Senators opposed five key-vote measures, an amendment designed to confine to Formosa and the Pescadores the President's authority to use armed forces to protect the Chinese Nationalist-held territory, the unsuccessful effort to delete tightened "escape-clause" provisions from the bill to extend the reciprocal trade agreements, the proposed cut of 420 million dollars by the House from the foreign aid program, an amendment rejected June 7 which was designed to limit public housing starts to 35,000 units per year for two years, and the Administration's highway construction financing proposals, which would have been substituted for a Democratic pay-as-you-go plan.

Both Senators voted for three key-vote measures, a Democratic-sponsored proposal to grant a $20 income tax reduction while extending excise and corporate taxes, an unsuccessful attempt to override the President's veto of an 8.59 percent postal pay increase, and an amendment to increase the strength of the Marine Corps in the face of the President's military manpower reductions

The piece goes on to provide the nine key votes on which the comparisons were based, providing for each the roll call votes and the split between Democrats and Republicans for or against the particular proposal.

A timeline, as indicated in the above editorial, of the application process for WSOC-TV is presented, starting in December, 1947 and running thus far through August 2, 1955, when the FCC examiner had recommended that channel 9 be granted to Piedmont Electronics and Fixture Corp. Along the way, other companies had filed applications for channel 9 and had withdrawn them, while still other companies had filed applications opposing WSOC as being unfairly competitive to their area stations.

A letter writer addresses the question of the existence of God and the authority of the Bible, wants to approach it from a logical standpoint, assumes on the one hand the example of an atheist who lived out his life rejecting the teaching of the Bible, then died and discovered after death that he had made a dreadful mistake, finding that there was a God, a heaven and hell, and that everything in the Bible was true. The writer says that on the other, he lived his life according to the teachings of the Bible, believed in God, heaven and hell, and the promise of life everlasting from that faith, but that if he were to die and find that he had made a mistake, that none of it was true and that there was no God, heaven or hell or life after the grave, the results would be that he would know nothing of his mistake. He asks therefore who, between himself and the atheist, would be worse off after death.

But are you not now basing your belief system on logic rather than faith, and thus?

A letter writer takes issue with the assistant state health officer regarding children placing their parents in nursing homes, finds that a child who would do such a thing was mean. He says that before he would place his parents in a nursing home, he would give them an overdose of sleeping powders, that he would rather be "a dog in a countryman's backyard eating corn pone" than to go to a nursing home. He indicates that he was over 76 years old and that if one of his children should mention such a thing to him, he would order the child out of the house and that if they did not go, he would knock them out the door with the first thing he could lay his hands on. He says that there was no pleasure for old people in such a "damnable place" and that most went against their will. He finds that it was the duty before God and man to "honor thy parents that they days may be long upon the land, which the Lord thy God gave thee." He vows that no one would send him to such a place.

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