The Charlotte News
Tuesday, September 20, 1955
Site Ed. Note: The front page reports from Buenos Aires that Argentina's new Army Government had begun peace talks this date with the rebel forces whose revolt had resulted in El Presidente Juan Peron stepping down from his ten-year dictatorship of the country and reportedly fleeing into exile in Paraguay in a Paraguayan gunboat to Asuncion, with the rebel Argentine radio broadcasting a call this date for the insurgent navy to intercept him. The independent newspaper, Clarin, reported that the dictator's arrest had been decided in an all-night session of top military leaders, but that El Presidente had been forewarned of the prospect so that he could flee the presidential palace and the country by air, presumably to Paraguay. The Army junta had taken command of the Government after four days of revolt, leading to the coup. The junta moved rapidly to tighten their control on Buenos Aires, following rebel reports that the six million-member General Federation of Labor, the backbone of El Presidente's popular support, was planning a general strike. Such a strike had led to the return of Sr. Peron to power in 1945 after a military clique had jailed him at that time. The State radio had broadcast a message that there would be no work in Buenos Aires this date, but several hours later, following a broadcast communiqué from the junta, had called on the workers to remain calm and resume work, informing of the talks having begun with the rebels.
At the U.N. in New York, as delegates gathered for the opening day of the tenth General Assembly, the U.S. marshaled support to sidetrack any fresh Soviet bid to seat Communist China, as the effort, which was perennial, was expected to have another test as soon as the acting president brought the session to order. U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., expressed confidence that the U.S. had enough support against admission of Communist China to defeat any such move, and he had prepared a resolution to table the action during the session, a maneuver which had worked in 1954. Diplomats anticipated that Soviet Foreign Minister V. M. Molotov, present for the first time at an Assembly meeting since 1946, would make the annual effort to unseat the Chinese Nationalists from the Security Council and replace them with Communist China, although there was some speculation that they might leave the effort up to some other power sympathetic to Communist China. An East-West test of strength was also thought to be shaping up between the U.S.-backed Philippines and the Soviet-backed Poland for a Security Council seat among the rotating temporary members outside the permanent five-member Security Council. A number of the European members were reported to be favoring another Soviet bloc member on the Council, opposed by the U.S. It was anticipated that Chile's José Maza would be elected president of the session.
In Paris, it was reported that France this date had officially resolved to remove the Sultan of Morocco and replace him with a three-man regency for an indefinite period of governmental reform. In a stormy three-hour meeting of the French Cabinet, it was determined that authorization would be provided to Premier Edgar Faure and his minister for Moroccan and Tunisian affairs to name the three regents. The decision was made after the French nominee, General Mohammed Si Kittani Ben Hammon, had formally refused a post as regent. Both Premier Faure and his minister indicated to newsmen that they would make their choice of regents this date.
In Sumner, Miss., an all-male, all-white jury had been selected and approved by the State and the defense this date in the trial of the two half-brothers, Roy Bryant and J. W. Milam, for the murder of 14-year old Emmett Till on August 28, the date of his forcible abduction from the home of his uncle where he had been staying for two weeks while visiting from his home in Chicago. The jury consisted of nine farmers, one carpenter, an insurance salesman and a retired carpenter. (As newspaper reports out of Mississippi had indicated the previous day, the jury had been selected from a pool of veniremen which, by state law, excluded females from jury service, and which contained no black members, and thus there was no opportunity for either side to select either female jurors or black jurors. The particular reason why the venire did not have any black members was not provided in the reports, but presumably had to do with the administrative procedures for selecting the venire, which, probably by design, excluded black members, as among the requirements for jury service in Mississippi at the time, a citizen had to be able to read and write and be a registered voter, the latter requirement meaning that most black people of the area were ineligible for jury service, a key to the ability of such reprobates as the two defendants in this case ultimately to get away with murder—to which they would freely admit the following January to reporter William Bradford Huie in a piece for Look Magazine—, an old trend which would continue in Mississippi for at least another decade, the murders with impunity by white people of black people or of open sympathizers to equal civil rights, especially the right to vote, culminating in June, 1964, in the murders of the three civil rights workers, Andrew Goodman, Mickey Schwerner and James Chaney outside of Philadelphia, Miss., which garnered the national attention in a way that the murder of young Emmett Till had not in 1955.) Emmett's mother, Mamie Bradley of Chicago, had arrived in the Sumner courthouse during the morning to testify as a witness for the State. As she sat down, the large Sheriff of Tallahatchie County, H. C. Strider, who had come up with the bizarre theories, on which he had expounded freely for the press, that the body recovered from the Tallahatchie River might not be that of Emmett Till, that it appeared to be the body of a much older man, and that it might have been a body planted by some organization bent on "outside agitation", designedly wishing to stir up controversy, approached Mrs. Bradley as soon as she sat down in the courtroom and served her with a subpoena, saying: "You are now in the State of Mississippi. You will come under all rules of the State of Mississippi."
As preposterous as the Strider theories were, following the verdict of not guilty on Friday after only an hour of deliberation, the jury foreman would say to the press that uppermost in their decision had been their determination that the prosecution had not proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the body pulled from the river was that of Emmett Till and that they found convincing the "outside agitator" theory, while also saying that they completely dismissed all of the testimony of Emmett's uncle and a percipient witness, Willie Reed, who would testify, starting at page 210 of the trial transcript, that he had seen four unidentified white men in the passenger compartment and three unidentified black men with a person, whom he thought resembled the subsequently published newspaper pictures of Emmett, in the bed of a 1955 Chevrolet green and white pickup truck proceeding down a road on Sunday morning at around 8:00, and had thereafter seen Mr. Milam, whom the witness recognized, with a pistol exit a shed, from which were emanating loud screams of pain, and go to a nearby well for a drink of water—the jury also of necessity blinking the testimony of the LeFlore sheriff and his deputy regarding the brothers' admissions of Emmett's abduction, and the consequent inference that they were therefore the last known persons to have seen Emmett alive. The prosecution did not present evidence tying the ownership of the described pickup truck to anyone associated with the half-brothers, and Willie Reed stated, at page 228, that he did not see Mr. Milam in the truck. Mr. Milam would admit in the Look piece, however, that he and his half-brother did go to the Wright home in the 1955 Chevrolet pickup and carried Emmett in the back during the entire abduction to the time of the murder, interrupted only by the beating in the shed, the events having transpired over an approximately eight-hour period, not admitting, at least in the final printed version of the story, to the presence of any accomplices.
Mrs. Bradley said to the press this date that she would prefer to have a police guard but that no one thus far had molested her after she arrived in the South. She said that she had received some 2,000 letters regarding the death of her son, and that only a very few had been "nasty and threatening". It was anticipated that the State would call as its first witness, Mose Wright, the uncle of Emmett, who would impart in his testimony, beginning at page 4 of the transcript, as he had already stated to the press, that Mr. Milam, equipped with a pistol, had come to his door at around 2:30 a.m. on Sunday morning, August 28, and demanded to have produced "the two boys from Chicago", as one of them had "done some talking" at the family store on the prior Wednesday evening, August 24, of which Mr. Wright had already become aware. Mr. Wright would testify that he had two nephews visiting from Chicago and that he had imparted that information to Mr. Milam. Though not so testifying, Mr. Wright had stated earlier to the press that after they had determined that Emmett fit the description they had and had ordered him to accompany them, Mr. Wright had begged them not to take Emmett, who, he told them, was "not right", meaning only that he stammered, that he had asked them to take him out into the yard and whip him. He testified that there was a second person, and possibly a third, with Mr. Milam at the door, the second person he believed to be the half-brother, Roy Bryant, who identified himself initially but was not known to Mr. Wright as was Mr. Milam. He identified both men in the courtroom as the abductors. He could not identify the third person, who had remained outside and appeared to Mr. Wright possibly to have been black. He testified that the two men took away Emmett, after going room to room in the house and excluding others. Mr. Milam, still brandishing a pistol, told Mr. Wright that if he wanted to live to see his next birthday, he would keep quiet about the abduction, and that they would return Emmett if they found he was not the boy who had been doing "all the talking". Mr. Wright testified that his wife had offered the two men money not to take Emmett, that Mr. Bryant had initially paused at the offer, but Mr. Milam had insisted that they were going to take Emmett and that the aunt should remain quiet about the matter. Mr. Wright also testified, at pages 19-20, that when the men took Emmett to the awaiting car outside, Mr. Milam had inquired of an occupant of the vehicle whether Emmett was the boy in question, and "a lighter voice", which he thought might be female but could not be sure, had stated in response, that he was.
This date's report indicates that it was anticipated that the defense would first contend that the body recovered from the Tallahatchie River was not that of Emmett Till, that they would put the State to the proof beyond a reasonable doubt that it was. Beyond that, it was anticipated that they would present the testimony of Mrs. Bryant, who was expected to testify that Emmett had made insulting remarks to her when they were alone briefly in the family general store on the evening of August 24, and had placed his hands on her hips in an assaultive manner while making "unprintable" comments and addressing her as "baby". The court, however, would rule that her testimony was inadmissible under Mississippi law on the basis that there had to be evidence that the victim of a homicide had engaged in conduct prompting legal self-defense or defense of others, or some other defense, before the conduct of the victim could come into evidence, and that such evidence was not present in the case—as self-defense and defense of others require the immediacy of assaultive conduct before defensive action can take place. The defense of the half-brothers, in addition to alleged failure of proper identification of the body, consisted of their statements, which would come into the case through the Sheriff of neighboring LeFlore County, George Smith, and his deputy, John Ed Cothran, who would testify as part of the State's case, starting respectively at page 116 and page 141 of the transcript, that each of the half-brothers had admitted to the abduction of Emmett at the Wright home, but claimed that after Mrs. Bryant had failed to identify Emmett as the boy in question, had released him near their store and assumed that he would know his way home, had not seen him thereafter. Neither of the two brothers would testify. The testimony of Mrs. Bryant regarding the events inside the store, as contained in the transcript of the trial at pages 265-277, was only a defense proffer for the sake of making a record on appeal in case the brothers were convicted, after the judge ruled that her testimony was inadmissible. The jury would not hear that testimony. It had been, however, generally reported in the nearby Mississippi press prior to the trial and so, presumably, was known to some, if not all, of the jurors. The case was labeled "the wolf whistle" case in the press, as Emmett had whistled at Mrs. Bryant after he exited the store, when she left the store to go to her sister-in-law's vehicle to retrieve a pistol kept there, as she said she felt threatened and afraid after the encounter with Emmett in the store. The whistle was taken up by the press as the purported reason for his murder, while there were involved also the informal allegations of minor assaultive conduct, though, in any civilized community, not the ground, obviously, for any form of physical retribution, especially not toward a 14-year old boy, worthy at most, even if the allegations, subsequently recanted by Mrs. Bryant, had been true, of a visit to juvenile court. According to press accounts published the following Saturday, one of the two prosecutors assigned to the case would argue to the jury during final summation, not included in the available transcript, that the remedy, in his experience, for such conduct as the wolf-whistle was to take the boy to the shed for a spanking with a razor-strop.
The two half-brothers were being charged at present only with first-degree murder, which carried the possibility of the death penalty, regardless of whether the State actively sought it or not, which the prosecution elected not to do in this instance. But the jury would have a choice of either recommending a life sentence or leaving it to the court to determine the sentence, in which latter event, the law mandated a death sentence after conviction for first-degree murder. Though the two half-brothers had admitted all of the elements necessary for a kidnaping, the prosecutors of Tallahatchie and LeFlore Counties had apparently entered into an agreement whereby the prosecution for kidnaping would await indictment in LeFlore, though there was an indictment handed down by the grand jury for kidnaping in Tallahatchie, apparently basing the agreement on a jurisdictional issue, one of venue, because the initial point of the kidnaping had been in LeFlore, whereas Emmett's body was discovered in the river in Tallahatchie County. That begs the question as to why that was considered an issue, as it would be so stated by the court in dismissing the Tallahatchie indictment for kidnaping following the acquittal of the two half-brothers, at the request of the Tallahatchie prosecutor, with the understanding that an indictment would be sought and obtained in LeFlore for kidnaping the following November, at which time the grand jury would be meeting. At that later time, however, for whatever reason, the grand jury would refuse to indict on kidnaping. Under the facts of the case, a kidnaping would be considered a continuous crime across county lines, assuming that the murder was committed in Tallahatchie County, with the asportation requirement of the kidnaping being a continuous transaction through the murder, complicated, however, in this case, by the acquittal in Tallahatchie County for murder, and the contention by the defendants, as introduced into evidence through the LeFlore sheriff and his deputy, that they had released Emmett while still in LeFlore County, probably accounting for the agreement between the prosecutors that the kidnaping would be prosecuted only in LeFlore and not in Tallahatchie. For if, as would turn out to be the case, the largely circumstantial murder case resulted in an acquittal, LeFlore County could still resort to kidnaping charges, which carried also the potential for a death sentence or life imprisonment. There was some confusing mention in some of the press accounts of kidnaping carrying a ten-year maximum sentence, but that related to a type of kidnaping having to do with transporting of women for the purpose of prostitution, while the separate statute enacted in 1932, in the wake of the Lindbergh baby kidnaping, which provided for the death penalty or a life sentence, or a sentence up to 30 years, depending on whether the verdict of the jury specifically provided for the death penalty or life imprisonment, was directed at other types of cases involving kidnaping. That history and distinction of the two available statutes, Sections 2237 and 2238 of the Mississippi Code Annotated, in effect in 1955, are elucidated in a subsequent Mississippi Supreme Court case from 1970, at the section of the opinion beginning, "Considering the third error assigned..." But we shall flesh out the kidnaping charge a little further down the line, following the conclusion of the trial.
In Norfolk, Va., it was reported that Hurricane Ione had moved out to sea on an eastward course this date, ending virtually all remaining threats to the metropolitan Northeast, with most of its damage having been done in North Carolina, where five people had died and property and crop damage had run into the millions of dollars. Aside from some crop losses in Virginia, that state had escaped almost unscathed, as the storm's wind speeds, which had reached 120 miles per hour at its center, had subsided by nearly half by the time it had spun uncertainly for several hours off of Norfolk early this date, before veering out to the open sea. By mid-morning, the Weather Bureau placed the storm 200 miles east of Norfolk, with a small possibility remaining that it would curve to the north and brush the southeastern tip of New England, though a few more hours on its present course would carry it away from even that slight threat.
In Raleigh, it was reported that,
Howard Whitman, in the eighth of a
series of articles on the lost art of parenting, indicates that the
father of a child who had been a major behavioral problem had
complained to a probation worker in Los Angeles that he could not
understand his boy, to whom he had been a pal, with the probation
worker responding that he might have been a pal to his son but wanted
to know whether he had been a parent, a role which a child also
needed. Mr. Whitman had found that a common pattern throughout the
country. At the Family Service Organization of Louisville,
Ky., the director had commented that one of the greatest problems at
present was to get children to accept love and authority from the
same source, that because parents had been convinced of the notion
that they had to be "buddies" with their children, and
because "authority" had been made a naughty word, along
with "discipline", at least among several child
behavioral experts, a generation of children had grown up largely
deprived of parental leadership and strength. The result had been, he
says, many wishy-washy parents and a large number of child tyrants. A
therapist of the Child Psychiatric Clinic of an Evanston, Ill.,
hospital had said that there was quite a problem with parents who
were too long-suffering, letting the child get so bad that he was
really unlikable, and that they had to help them to be more strict in
a reasonable manner, "to be more like parents". A case
worker at the Washington Institute of Mental Hygiene had added that
some parents treated the child as though he or she were the authority
in the home, reacting to every whim, soon giving the child the idea
that he or she was a dictator. Mr. Whitman indicates that the
juvenile courts had seen the results of that trend, along with
parents reduced to flaccid ineffectiveness. A judge of the
Detroit Juvenile Court had commented that it was shocking to see
parents surrender to their own children, but many had given up, that
he had seen youngsters of 14 and 15 go out to drinking parties in the
woods and remain until 2:00 or 3:00 a.m., with the parents then
complaining that they could not do anything about it, that they could
not handle their teenager. He had added that it was what happened
when the child became the boss of the home, that at that point, the
home was lost. A sergeant of the Police Youth Bureau in Ann Arbor,
Mich., had reported that there were parents who pushed their
youngsters through the door of the police station, saying that the
police should handle them, that they could not do anything with them.
If you wish to know the police sergeant's response
On the editorial page, "Beware of Segregation's Bogs" tells of a September 27 conference upcoming in Charlotte regarding the public school problems for the present school year, one of six regional meetings across the state, preparatory for the White House Conference on Education.
It indicates that the state's racial predicament would inevitably arise at that meeting, and that the handling of the delicate matter would directly impact the way North Carolina communities approached virtually every school need. It suggests, however, that arguments over segregation should not preoccupy the conference as it sought to deal with the total picture of educational problems, dealing with questions as to what schools ought accomplish, how they could be organized more efficiently and economically, the necessity for additional school facilities, how to retain good teachers, how to finance the schools and how to maintain public interest in education. It indicates that those questions had to be answered soon and were too important to become bogged down in the emotion of the issue regarding segregation.
It indicates that City Schools superintendent, Dr. E. H. Garringer, had reminded Charlotte residents the previous day that by 1960, the nation's high school population would be increased by half, and that it would probably be even higher in Charlotte, as the city was growing faster than the national average.
It suggests that the job ahead consisted not only in building new facilities, but also in providing new ideas, if Americans were to be committed to having the highest possible quality in education for all, an ambitious goal not to be taken lightly, involving the basic element of the national strength and security, the nation's children.
Many of them, however, appeared to us in the first grade to be content with tasting the paste, rather than placing it on the paper where it belonged, for some reason being drawn to the taste of paper paste. So, what will a teacher do to redress such poor habits, obviously acquired at home and not ameliorated by properly attentive parents? Such a question may supersede all others, including juvenile delinquency and segregation, as such nonsensical habituation to insalubrious practices, only leading inexorably in the future to more such aberrant and self-destructive behavior, appeared to exist irrespective of race, religion, ethnicity or sex, pervasive among a certain subset of pupils, known quietly to other pupils as perhaps being a little slow on the uptake. Lay off the paste, kids. It is not good for you.
"Eggheads in the Political Dustbin" indicates that the word "egghead" was about to be smothered in respectability after being relegated to the political dustbin for years, alongside such terms as "blatherskite", "demagogue", "windbag", "ward heeler", "scalawag" and "rapscallion", which had "bounced off the hides of seasoned campaigners like the puffballs they had become through monotonous scatter-gun usage."
But now had come RNC chairman Leonard Hall to resurrect "egghead", after Stewart Alsop, in his syndicated column, had introduced the word in 1952 as "not only capable of stirring deep emotion but fitted also to chameleon definition." At first, the word had connoted the polished collegiate attitude of some of the men around Adlai Stevenson during his run for the presidency that year, but had later become a symbol of intellectuals in general, gaining its greatest currency as "a sneering, derisive battle cry of the anti-intellectuals."
To Louis Bromfeld, aligned with Senator McCarthy, the word was a "wonderful new expression", meaning "a person of intellectual pretensions, often a professor or the protégé of a professor … superficial in approach to any problem … feminine … supercilious … surfeited with conceit … a doctrinaire … supporter of middle-European socialism … a self-conscious prig … a bleeding heart." The result had been some lively debates with former President Truman's "GOP dinosaurs trying to crack the eggheads".
It would all change, however, it posits, as the Republicans were now going to cut in on Mr. Stevenson's corner on intellectuals, according to Mr. Hall, who said that they were looking for people who could write, as they had not made their position clear on some of the major issues for the 1956 presidential campaign, would thus mobilize the people in the universities and elsewhere who could do the job. It supposes that the new strategy of the Republicans meant the end of the "egghead" reference as a political weapon, but that there was the consolation that bipartisan literacy would be its undoing.
"Turnabout" notes that a Chapel Hill professor had been elected president of Patriots of North Carolina, Inc., a pro-segregation group, finds it a blow to those who had always sought to label Chapel Hill as a hotbed of Communism, asking whether it meant that Chapel Hill "Reds" would burn a hammer and sickle on the professor's front lawn.
"An Answer To the Sexcast Blast" predicts only "stormy weather" for an Oklahoma meteorologist who believed that female charm should be revealed on television weather broadcasts, to seek to enliven an otherwise dull recitation of conditions and temperatures.
William Hardy, head of Oklahoma A&M's meteorology department, had complained that sexy lady weather announcers, such as CBS-TV's Carol Reed, had "lowered the standing of the meteorological profession in the eyes of the public."
It finds it to be nonsense, that it had "happened when the weather men began putting together a vast accumulation of equipment, not unlike the kitchen middens of the Great Andaman Islanders in appearance, and thought they could outdo grandpop's rheumatiz in foretelling rain. The result: Frequently a study in futility. Grandpop always had his shark oil and pet corn in reserve. The meteorologist had only science."
A piece from the Greensboro Daily News, titled "One for the Birds", tells of the Roanoke Times in Virginia having stated in a poetic piece on the approach of fall that there was a "subtle change in the habits of the birds. Already there is a new note in their song and some of them, such as the house wrens, seem to have departed. The blackbirds are congregating in flocks, preparatory to moving on."
It finds the passage causing wonder as to whether the habits of the birds and their schedules were any different in Virginia from what they were in North Carolina. Blackbirds covered a number of species, with the grackles always staying congregated, sounding in the aggregate as rusty hinges grating when congregating in one's front or backyard. The red winged blackbird was given to making its habitat in marsh grass and the like, and so it doubts that Roanoke and its immediate vicinity attracted them in noticeable numbers. It therefore suggests that perhaps the Times had confused blackbirds with various types of swallows, which led off in gathering for the fall and winter exodus and were already crowding rural telephone wires and other such gathering spots.
It indicates that birds had changed their habits, dating back several weeks, that prior to August, the birds began to molt, with their old feathers dropping out, gradually replaced by the new, taking place over the course of several weeks in preparation for the seasonal migration and its change of weather. During molting, the birds were still around, but were quiet and unseen, staying in the shrubbery or other cover because they were apparently ashamed of their bedraggled appearance or in need of conserving their strength, sapped by shedding the old and growing the new. That done, they were replenished by September, though still not making their presence known even into October.
As for wrens, both house and Carolina varieties, it says it does not know how it was in Virginia mountain country around Roanoke, but they were around the whole year in North Carolina, even in the most dismal weather, making their presence known. "Somehow we feel that our Virginia contemporary would do well to take another bird's eye view of this particular situation."
The piece, in short, appears to give the Roanoke Times resident ornithologist the bird.
Drew Pearson tells of a proposal to the Egyptian Embassy in Washington by a munitions broker in Maryland whereby the Arabs would purchase the same guns presently being used by Israeli troops, then capture Israeli ammunition and fire it back at the Israelis. The broker, W. H. Evans, Jr., of the Phoenix International Co., in College Park, had written letters to the military attaché of the Egyptian Embassy, seeking to sell to Egypt a long list of arms, ranging from 1,800 British Sten guns to 140 German machine guns. It had been known for some time that the arms had been leaving the U.S. for Arab countries, some of them supplied by the U.S. Government. But Secretary of State Dulles had a firm rule that though arms shipments from the U.S. had to be licensed, the amounts could not be made public, and so private arms brokers could operate effectively under Government secrecy.
The column, however, had obtained a copy of the secret letter of Mr. Evans to the Egyptian Embassy, which he provides verbatim, containing the proposals which he had indicated above. He states that the letterhead had contained the statement: "Implements of War Our Specialty".
Joseph Alsop discusses the Killian Report, by a subcommittee chaired by Dr. James Killian, president of MIT, which had stated to the President that the U.S. was falling behind the Soviet Union in the air-atomic arms race, that the current U.S. lead could be expected to turn into a Soviet lead between 1960 and 1965 at the current pace. By that later time, it predicted, the Soviets would have a decided superiority in intercontinental ballistic missiles, the multi-staged rockets capable of carrying atomic and hydrogen warheads at speeds of many thousands of miles per hour through the upper atmosphere from Soviet staging areas to U.S. targets.
The National Security Council had the report before it, including recommendations for reversing the trend and the consequent change otherwise in the balance of power, but those recommendations would be difficult, if not impossible, to implement without upsetting the Administration's budgetary and fiscal plans.
Mr. Alsop provides the other principal members of the group which comprised the subcommittee, set up by the National Security Council under direction from the President, in the wake of the aftermath of the second U.S. hydrogen bomb detonation on Eniwetok in spring, 1954. Technically, the committee was a subcommittee of the President's Scientific Advisory Committee, but in practice, the Killian Committee was virtually another name for the Scientific Advisory Committee. It had been given full access to the mass of information available to the Government and had worked for many months before issuing its report, on two occasions asking for additional time. About two months earlier, it had sent its report to the President, without dissent on any issue, and the President had submitted it to the NSC, which then distributed it to policymakers within the State Department, the armed services and the CIA. The comments of the latter groups would then be discussed and debated before the NSC at the point when the President would return from vacation.
The first fact which had caused the bleak report was the massive Soviet production of high-quality long and medium-range jet bombers, plus night and day jet fighters, the Farmer and the Flashlight, all of which had been observed the previous spring during the Moscow demonstration. The Russian strategic Air Force was rapidly re-equipping itself with Bisons and Badgers, the equivalent of the U.S. B-52 and B-47 bombers, improving the Soviet capability of striking U.S. targets and neutralizing overseas bases of the U.S., on which the Strategic Air Command was largely dependent. The increase in Soviet capability was commensurately decreasing the ability of the American Strategic Air Command to strike at Russian targets.
Meanwhile, the Soviet atomic and hydrogen bomb stockpile was also being increased, though by no means as great as the U.S. stockpile, but large enough to be decisive, while the means of delivery was the key.
Another factor which had influenced the report was the presumed Soviet progress in guided missile development, which had been organized since the end of World War II on the basis of a Manhattan-type project, under priority comparable to that given by the U.S. to its World War II atomic program.
While the Administration had increased outlays for missile development and important successes had been registered in that area, the U.S. effort toward development of guided missiles was organized on a business-as-usual basis. The U.S. was slated to have an intercontinental missile by 1960 under the Atlas project of the Air Force or the Navajo project for a long-range ramjet missile. Nevertheless, the Killian Committee had concluded that the Soviets would have predominance in intercontinental guided missiles sometime between 1960 and 1965. The judgment concerned relative strength and not absolute strength, but was nevertheless significant.
For analytical purposes, the committee had said that the first phase of the power balance between the U.S. and the Soviet Union had passed, with the unchallenged U.S. superiority in strategic air power and atomic bombs, during which, the U.S. had a superior bargaining position in all international dealings. The present phase was a transitional time, in which the U.S. still had superior strength, but with the Soviets fast catching up, leaving the U.S. with less but still some bargaining advantage for at least the ensuing two years, at which point the advantage would likely disappear or perhaps be surpassed by the Soviets, with a concomitant change for the worse in bargaining power of the U.S.
A third phase would be when the Soviets did surpass the U.S. in intercontinental guided missile technology, which would be the equivalent of the U.S. advantage during the first phase, and would provide the Soviets considerable advantage in the bargaining position vis-à-vis the U.S. and the whole free world.
From what could be gleaned, the Killian Committee had made no forecasts that the Soviets would launch a general war during that third phase, but would only use it as a threat to afford superior bargaining.
Many of the policymakers who had studied the report had indicated that if the analysis was correct, it suggested a special Soviet motive in prospect for the October Big Four meetings in Geneva between the foreign ministers, in the wake of the summit meeting of July between the heads of state, with the Soviets expected to promote a general relaxation of Western effort and alertness, to enable the Soviets time to continue their build-up to the point where they would have the advantage in bargaining.
The committee's report had recommended altering the projection of Soviet and U.S. curves of strength, but the details were unknown at this point, probably suggesting revision of the first NSC directive of 1955, which was issued each year. Mr. Alsop posits that the recommendations would necessitate a sharp reversal of present fiscal and budgetary trends, with a major intensification of the long-range guided missile program, to show up in the budget primarily in the form of increases in the Air Force research and development expenditures, as the missile projects were within the province of the Air Research and Development Command. A couple of months earlier, the assistant secretary of air for research and development had publicly declared that the Air Force's research and development budget ought be increased by 200 million dollars, but instead of granting that increase, Secretary of Defense Charles E. Wilson was asking for a decrease of 200 million in that budget. Mr. Alsop indicates that a Manhattan-type project with regard to intercontinental missile technology would require more than merely an additional 200 million dollars during the current fiscal year, and subsequently.
Presently, both the day and night fighters of the Air Defense Command were obsolete, or at least becoming so, vis-à-vis the Soviet jet bombers, requiring a crash program to build superior F-102 and F-104 jet bombers, while those two planes were presently receiving only scant funding. Moreover, the so-called Distant Early Warning line was already being built in the Canadian far north, but without provision for far northern bases, with therefore no means for aircraft or missiles to respond to the DEW early warning system. Such bases would be very costly. There was also the theoretical possibility of an anti-missile technology, capable of intercepting and destroying intercontinental ballistic missiles before they reentered the atmosphere following launch. A Manhattan-type program to produce such ABM's was also necessary, at least in a small way, constituting a double burden into the future, with both offensive and defensive long-range missiles necessary to be produced in quantity to assure adequate defense against the Soviet build-up.
He concludes that if the report of the Killian Committee was correct, it would produce several choices between fiscal restraint and proper defense, with a narrow window of opportunity available during the ensuing two to five year period, before the 1960-65 time of predicted Russian dominance, with all its negative implications. Thus, Mr. Alsop says that those choices could not be delayed even for a year without effectively rejecting the report's recommendations, as such delay would change the arc of the balance of power into the future.
Whether J. W. Milam, incidentally, who had been an Army major during World War II in France, had, perhaps, read earlier of the Farmer and the Flashlight of the Soviets, and decided, for some perverse reason, to emulate the nomenclature by appearing at the door of Mose Wright with a flashlight steadily aimed in his face, is, of course, not possible to determine. In any event, a member of the executive board of the NAACP, following the Friday verdict, would say that the jurors, nine of whom were farmers, "deserved a medal from the Kremlin for meritorious service in Communism's war against democracy."
A letter writer says that he had been reading the series by Howard Whitman on the lost art of parenting and was particularly interested in the article on juvenile delinquency, wishes to ask readers how the community would stop delinquency if the courts did nothing to help. He had read in the newspaper a few months earlier of "a bunch of Brooklyn teenagers" convicted of beating and criminally assaulting a black woman and receiving a sentence of 90 days on the roads, and also had read a few days earlier of some teenage boys in another area facing similar charges, receiving 30 days on the roads, wishes someone to explain to him whether those were steps toward encouraging or discouraging juvenile delinquency.
Well, it depends, does it not, on the ages of the boys and the circumstances and extent of the "beating", the extent of the actual injuries or potential injuries, and whether there were weapons involved, such as knives or brass knuckles or nunchucks, what have you, in subduing and accosting the victim, whether it amounted to a felony assault in the view of the prosecutor, or, in all likelihood, given the sentence, only a misdemeanor. The prior record of the individual juveniles would also be uppermost in the minds of prosecutors and courts in fixing the penalty. The fact that his cited examples apparently involved cross-racial assaults should have nothing to do with the ultimate sentencing, unless the conduct was plainly racially motivated. But he does not indicate that the perpetrators were of a different race from the victims, let alone whether there was evidence of any racial motivation. Thus, his point, if there is one, appears lost in his failure to provide some key details, as not every cross-racial dispute, if indeed one or both incidents were, which erupts into some form of violence can be attributed to any form of racial motivation. The absence of such does not obviously excuse the assault, but sentences of 90 days and 30 days in jail, contrary to the unthinking popular belief of some, are not inconsequential, especially for a young person, will obviously lead to an expulsion from school and loss of any job which the adolescent might have on the side, as well as limiting future opportunities, at least for awhile, unless the particular jurisdiction provides for sealing and expungement of the record of juveniles after reaching majority. All of society's ills cannot be resolved by exacting more severe punishment within the context of the criminal justice system, sometimes only making the problem far worse with an increase of punishment, not designed to fit the particular crime, but rather to fit the opinions of such people as this letter writer who does not pay attention to the details, where the devil always is.
A letter writer from Lynchburg, Va., tells of having stayed in Charlotte with his family the previous Sunday, a week earlier, to see the opening of the new Auditorium and Coliseum complex. He says that he and his family were disappointed that the Rev. Billy Graham had been given the major allotment of time in the dedication of the Coliseum, as many people did not believe in the gospel of Rev. Graham, or in his methods, the writer finding it too bad that the church was bigger than the government, as had been shown the prior Sunday, when Rev. Graham was elevated in stature over Governor Luther Hodges and officials of Charlotte.
A letter writer from Forest City indicates that while Democrats and Republicans were trying to decide who their nominees would be in 1956 for the presidency, he wishes to focus on Rev. Graham, as the nation needed God more than ever, that it had been led by businessmen and lawyers, and it was now time for "God's man to take a hand in this big job of running our government." He urges the drafting of Rev. Graham for the presidency and wants to know how others felt about it.
First of all, you had better consult with Rev. Graham, who probably would not wish to run. Moreover, the last thing the country needs is a theocracy, one of the principal reasons the Revolution was originally fought having been to get away from the Church of England and its considerable influence on the Crown, and thus the government of the colonies. That is why the First Amendment provides in the Establishment Clause that the Government shall not establish a religion, meaning, except to morons who cannot read the English language for its intent but focus rather on particular words or the absence of them, ignoring implied meaning through simple logic, that there is a separation of church and state. If the Government cannot establish a religion, then there has to be separation between church and state. It is as simple as that. That, of course, does not preclude a man of the cloth from being elected to public office, and there have been many who have been elected to Congress through the years who served honorably and did not permit their religious convictions to interfere with their governing responsibilities. But the letter writer appears to be proposing something else, a theocracy, which not only would most people, witness the immediately preceding letter writer, reject out of hand, but which would be quite unconstitutional and, indeed, would subject the practitioner at the executive level, whether as a governor or as a president, to impeachment for violating his or her oath of office. Voters in certain states in the upcoming 2022 midterm elections might want to take those precepts ingrained within the First Amendment to heart when casting their votes, especially given the fact that most politicians who wear their religion on their sleeves are the least religious of the lot, express in their views, such as support for unrestricted guns in the hands of children, anything but religious and moral values, instead counseling utter lawlessness and violence as an arbiter of societal problems.
While on the subject of religious fanaticism converting improperly twisted religious dogma into mere rationalization for any untoward conduct the practitioner wants to justify on the convenient handy-dandy that God ordained whatever the practitioner did or he or she would not have been able to do it with impunity, the statement in the above-linked Look article on the murder of Emmett Till, that Roy Bryant and his wife, as a central part of their social life, enjoyed visits on Sundays to the local Baptist church, gives rise to a question as to whether part of the rationalization for the murder might have come from the verses in Matthew, 5:27-28, which, quoting from the Sermon on the Mount by Jesus, say: “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart." That statement, when taken to literal extreme, given that the potential penalty for rape at the time in Mississippi was death, might have provided perverse justification to the half-brothers for their vigilante actions, knowing as they did that the law would not consider Emmett's conduct the equivalent of adultery or rape.
If so, they would conveniently have avoided the immediately preceding verses 21 through 26, plucking out of context the part they found most conducive to sustenance of their ill-conceived prejudices:
“Ye have heard that it was said of them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing."
Religious fanaticism can justify anything.
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