The Charlotte News

Wednesday, September 28, 1955


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports from Denver that the President's doctors had reported this date that he had a second consecutive comfortable night of sleep and was undergoing satisfactory progress toward full recovery from his heart attack of the previous Saturday. Among the Eisenhower team, therefore, it was believed that the President would be able to resume his duties of office within 30 days, while during the interim, top aides reportedly were prepared to continue business as usual on the basis of policy decisions which the President had made prior to the heart attack. Doctors had stated that the first ten days to two weeks of the recovery represented the critical time for attacks of the type suffered by the President, a "moderate" form of heart attack. Tension over the President's illness continued to ease a bit in Washington as hopes improved that he would be able fully to recover. Messages wishing the President a speedy recovery had been received at the Army hospital in Denver from all over the world, with one of the latest having come from the President's old friend during World War II, Soviet Marshal Georgi Zhukov.

Indicative of the lighter air around the President's aides had been the laughter which had been elicited the previous afternoon at a press conference after White House press secretary James Hagerty had announced that the President had been served fresh fruit cocktail at lunch, prompting a reporter to ask whether there was a comma between "fruit" and "cocktail". A record player reportedly had also been installed for the President the previous day in the hospital room and a messenger had delivered several records to the President's son, who had made arrangements to return to Washington this date for resumption of his Army duties at Fort Belvoir in Virginia where he was stationed.

In New York, heavy trading this date had enabled stock market prices to rebound further after Monday's large losses in the wake of the initial reports of the President's heart attack. Gains had run as high as between one dollar and four dollars per share and the tickertape, which normally reported transactions within seconds, was taking three minutes during the first ten minutes of trading. Stock analysts were stating that they believed the worst of the sell-off was over.

In Stockton, Calif., it was reported that the woman who had kidnaped a baby only two days old from a San Francisco hospital had surrendered the now 11-day old infant to a Catholic priest this date after telephoning the physician father of the child and asking him to meet her at the Catholic church in Stockton, some 75 miles from San Francisco. She explained to law enforcement officers that she had stolen the child from the hospital nursery because of having deceived her husband and friends into believing that she had been pregnant and had given birth to the child. The infant's father was grinning for the first time since his son had been taken, saying: "We feel in our hearts he is ours. We are 99 percent certain. But we will await footprint checks and blood tests." The child's mother, whose parents and sibling had been killed during World War II in a Nazi concentration camp, had been near collapse since the kidnaping, but had made the trip along with her husband to Stockton to reunite with their child. The kidnaper, sobbing in near hysteria when taken to the Stockton police station, had been booked on a technical holding charge, with the understanding that San Francisco authorities would charge her with kidnaping. To ensure safe return of the infant, the father of the child had promised the woman that he would not prosecute her, and when asked about that assurance, stated that he believed the woman was psychologically disturbed and that he had no further concern with her other than to offer his thanks for the return of their child. The kidnaper was the wife of a prosperous publisher of a Filipino weekly newspaper. Her husband had not been aware of her ruse about being pregnant and had not become suspicious until the previous night, at which time he had gone to the police, almost at the same time his wife was telephoning the baby's father from Stockton. The woman said that she had been gaining weight several months earlier, that friends had begun to tease her about being pregnant and so to stop the kidding, she had said that she was pregnant. At the point when the baby would have normally arrived, she had gone to Los Angeles to visit her mother, who had placed her on a diet enabling her to lose several pounds before returning to her home in Stockton, telling her husband that the baby was sick and that she could pick him up in a couple of days. When the husband had begun passing out cigars, she had gone to San Francisco, looked over the Mt. Zion Hospital nursery and taken the child, choosing it because it bore the same first name as that of her husband. During what was possibly the greatest manhunt in the history of the Bay Area, she had driven back to Stockton with the infant and had kept it in her three-room apartment. She said she loved the baby and wanted to keep him, but eventually became conscience-stricken and so phoned the father. (The story does not account for the interlude between the woman in San Jose and the blonde woman with an infant who sought milk. Perhaps, the kidnaper did not know the way. Part of the problem in finding the woman may have been the result of the apparent inaccuracy in the original reporting of the story, describing the baby as being three days old when he was in fact only two days old, as any observant person seeking to aid the professional detectives can discern the difference, probably having led many people to ignore women with two-day old infants. Did the infant, in such an early stage of introduction to the world, bond to any degree with the surrogate "mother" in such a way that he thought he was going be a Stocktonite (or, if the kidnaper and blonde were one and the same, with interludes of surrogate nourishment in San Jose), rather than a San Franciscan?)

Dick Young of The News reports that Mayor Philip Van Every had criticized this date the Charlotte Park & Recreation Commission's decision to lease heating and air-conditioning facilities for the new Park Center, following a special meeting the prior Monday night at which the Park board had awarded contracts for reconstruction of the fire-destroyed Armory Auditorium, after a legal ruling had permitted the board to pay an annual rental fee for the heating and air-conditioning facilities instead of contracting for those facilities at a low bid of $69,000. The Mayor had stated that the Commission had, in his opinion, served the public well on many occasions, but that in this instance, they should not have leased the equipment for the new armory, that it amounted to a subterfuge regarding the debt limit for the city, which, if used in other instances, could mortgage the future of the city forever, with no end to circumvention thereby of the State constitutional limits on municipal indebtedness.

Helen Parks of The News reports that at the Western North Carolina Conference of the Methodist Church, being held at the Dilworth Methodist Church in Charlotte, the delegates were scheduled to vote during the morning on whether to establish a North Wilkesboro District during the afternoon, which would be composed of 95 charges and almost 10,000 members, bringing the conference to a total of 11 districts. It was generally felt that the conference would favorably vote on the resolution.

Also at the conference, pedestrians and motorists passing the Dilworth Methodist Church were becoming accustomed to the sight of lay and clerical delegates strolling about the grounds eating apples, a custom at every conference, as explained by a church staff member, stating that she did not know why or who had started the custom, but that apples were always available for the delegates. Sounds like they were openly in defiance of Biblical teaching, partaking of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Or, maybe that was not an apple, after all.

Reports from three widely separated locales, Charlotte, Greensboro and Troy, had indicated that white-eyed and red-eyed vireos were having a tough time in North Carolina skies, the birds having been dropping dead while in the air and plummeting to the ground, with no one knowing exactly what had befallen the birds. Speculation in Charlotte was that they had died from exhaustion after flying around a high-powered Weather Bureau light, called a ceilometer. But that could not have been the case in Greensboro, where the white-eyed variety had dropped into midtown streets, nowhere near the airport, as in Charlotte. A specialist from Woman's College in Greensboro had suggested that the birds had been numbed by the cold. It was not the first time that birds had run into trouble during their fall migrations south over the state, the previous year the same thing having happened in Greensboro and Raleigh. The birds showed no signs of having been injured, but simply died by the dozens and fell from the sky. North Carolina ornithologists were studying the problem.

In Nampa, Idaho, the Boy Scout fund-raising campaign had begun with a "kickoff" breakfast, at which an old-fashioned coal range had blown up, scattering coal and cast iron all over the hall—or, if one were not minding one's Boy Scout manners, all over the hell. No one had been injured and after things had quieted down, members of the Scout organization had taken what was left of the breakfast to a nearby restaurant, where it was cooked and brought back to the hall.

In Taipei, Formosa, it was reported that a 39-year old man was sentenced the previous day to six years in prison for biting off the tip of the nose of his neighbor, who had refused to marry him.

In Verona, Italy, it was recounted that a fish had stopped a passenger train the previous day, after a small boy who had gone fishing with a long, cane pole had felt a nibble and pulled, with the fish then landing in the electrical power line along which the electric trains' trolleys ran, with a train having come along at that moment and hit the fish, producing a short circuit, stopping the train, taking a half hour to get the express underway again. Sounds like another Italian fish story.

In the opening game of the World Series, home runs by Carl Furillo and Duke Snider had given the Brooklyn Dodgers a 3 to 2 lead in the third inning over the New York Yankees, while a home run by Elston Howard, with Joe Collins on base, had supplied the Yankees with their two circuits around the bags in the second inning.

In Miami, the Weather Bureau reported that Hurricane Janet had hit British Honduras early this date, coming ashore with 115 mph winds, moving at a forward pace of 23 mph. It had earlier hit Quintana Roo, the easternmost strip of Mexico along a lonely stretch of coastline, picking up forward speed in between the two strikes on land. The latest advisory from the previous night had indicated that the highest winds of the storm were registered at 135 mph, while the Bureau advisory at 5:00 a.m. said that the winds were back down to 115 mph, with the winds from the center spanning out 60 to 70 miles, while gales extended 225 miles to the north and 100 miles to the south across land and sea. The hurricane had buffeted the Yucatán Peninsula after completing a destructive course across the Caribbean, and its course was expected to be somewhat erratic as it swept further inland. The Bureau stated that any strength it might lose in its journey over land would be regained when it reached the open waters of the Bay of Campeche, and that the worst of it was yet to come. The hurricane had already claimed about 200 lives across the Caribbean, among whom were possibly nine U.S. Navy men and two Canadians aboard a hurricane hunter plane which had flown into the storm on Monday morning and had been missing since.

On the editorial page, "Care More Important Than Quarters" indicates that, incrementally, the public had improved its attitude toward the problem of mental illness, with care and prevention having also been improved to eliminate some of the "snakepit" conditions which once had flourished amid public ignorance and indifference. But there remained a large gap between what was being done and what ought to be done for the mentally ill.

It offers as example a new state law which indicated that mentally disturbed persons could be maintained in a jail while awaiting transfer to a State institution only "during an extreme emergency", but that in Mecklenburg County, there were no other facilities and thus it appeared that the "emergency" would continue there unabated.

It indicates that a violently disturbed person had to be restrained for their own safety and that of others, regardless of whether being retained in a jail or hospital, requiring a locked door at a minimum. Deputies and turnkeys could not be expected or entrusted to handle psychiatric cases, as proper care and treatment could only be provided by trained personnel. The problem of interim incarceration and treatment was not limited to Charlotte, as it had been debated all over the country, with the solution always proving quite costly. It posits, however, that if such treatment was to be extended to all, the public had to bear a great part of the cost and that until such treatment was provided, no community could claim a completely sane attitude toward the problem of mental illness.

"Fuzzy Language but Clear Intent" quotes from the Twentieth Amendment to the Constitution regarding the question of presidential authority when, other than by death or resignation, the President became unable to perform the duties of the office, that the duties would fall on the Vice-President, allowing Congress to provide for the possibility of both the President and Vice-President being removed, dying, resigning or becoming unable to perform the duties of office, then declaring what officer would act as President until such disability was removed or a new President elected in the normal course.

It indicates that President Eisenhower's heart attack, despite being "moderate", had caused a controversy over what the Constitution meant regarding incapacity of the President. Former Attorney General J. Howard McGrath, who had served under President Truman, had stated to the press the previous day that there was no precedent under which a Vice-President had taken over the authority of the President while the latter was still alive. There remained the possibility that President Eisenhower could resume some of his administrative work within a few weeks, with the White House team able to handle the job in the meantime.

Congress had never provided by law a method for determining when a President was unable to discharge the duties of office, and because of some of the fuzziness of the language in the Constitution, it remained unsettled whether the Vice-President actually became the President when succeeding to the "powers and duties" of the office. While in the six prior instances of death of the President in office, three by assassination, starting with the death early in his Administration of President William Henry Harrison in 1841, the Vice-President had taken on the title of President as well as the duties of the office, potentially offering a precedent for the situation where the Vice-President was only called upon, during a temporary disability of the President, to undertake the duties of the office. It appeared clearly not the intent of the framers of the amendment to provide that the President would be permanently displaced in the office by a temporary disability, expressly providing for the eventuality of the disability passing, and that in the meantime, the Vice-President was only to "act as President".

Parenthetically, in the wake of the assassination of President Kennedy, the Constitution would be amended again by the Twenty-Fifth Amendment to enable the new President to appoint a Vice-President, subject to confirmation by the Senate, so that there would continue to be a Vice-President after the President was permanently removed from office either by death, impeachment, or resignation, as well as clarifying and providing with particularity the procedures for determining whether the President is able to continue his duties in office under a temporary disability.

"Espionage: Facts of Life and War" indicates that the bland assumption that a repatriated American was lying when he said that U.S. authorities had told him to "keep his eyes open" while in Communist China was the height of naïveté, that despite such individuals having perhaps been brainwashed by the Communists, it was unrealistic to believe that the U.S. had no secret sources of information about occurrences outside its borders, as no major power could survive long in such a world without that sort of intelligence network. There were, it asserts, informal spies, as well as the full-time variety, and occasionally the informants would be caught.

It finds that to suggest that there was no such thing as U.S. espionage was a libel against the Government, as the country would be "in pretty bad shape" without them, as they would not know how far Soviet development of nuclear energy had progressed otherwise or where the prime military targets in the Soviet Union were located, or have a realistic estimate of the strength of Communist military power around the globe. It finds that it was reasonable to assume that the President would not have been able to handle things as he had during the Formosa crisis regarding the offshore islands of Quemoy and Matsu without intelligence reports available to him, assembled through a network of spies working for the U.S.

It concludes that the nation had to acquire information about its enemies and that such information had to come from a variety of people, some of whom were not very smart and might fall into enemy hands, even switching sides and succumbing to brainwashing. (Whether or not one accepts the lone-nut theory, was it so with Lee Harvey Oswald during the course of his defection to Russia?) Those, it finds, were facts of life and war and that there was no need to be fooled about them anymore.

"The Design of the Driver Is Important" indicates that it was easy to talk about traffic safety but much more challenging to help to attain it through performance and organized effort. As it had editorially emphasized the prior Saturday, government had to take the lead in safety promotion, with all segments of society sharing in that responsibility, including business.

One industrial giant had begun doing something during the week about the promotion of highway safety, the Shell Oil Co., initiating a drive in Charlotte and Tacoma, Wash., to promote a series of public service advertisements designed to help motorists think seriously about safe and sane driving. The advertisements, scientifically prepared in cooperation with the Automotive Safety Foundation, were in the form of quizzes, designed to test reflexes, vision, knowledge of basic traffic rules and driving techniques—such as, perhaps, spotting a low-slung, silver-grey Porsche blending with the late afternoon sunshine.

It indicates that the first such quiz had appeared in the newspaper the previous day and that another would appear the following day, with four more scheduled for appearance during the first two weeks of October. It indicates that all were skillfully prepared, and all could make a direct contribution to the cause of safe driving. It finds it a commendable example of the industry's acceptance of some of the burden in a serious nationwide project.

But despite those efforts to improve the design of automobiles to make them safer, it finds it unfortunate that the design of the driver had received little attention, failing in crucial tests of judgment and skill during actual traffic situations. It suggests that the design of the driver was important and that the Shell safety series would help to promote that improvement.

It was too bad that the series did not also include Tulare, California, in its initial roll-out.

A piece from the Wall Street Journal, titled "Done and Over With", indicates that a young boy had joined the Boy Scouts and his family was very happy about the way the youngster had taken up his new duties, such as doing a good turn each day and behaving much better around the family, with his one bad habit of procrastination becoming a thing of the past. One day, his father had said to him that he could see that he had finally broken his old habit of procrastination, to which the reply was: "That's right, that's why I always do my good deed the first thing in the morning and get the darn thing over with."

Drew Pearson indicates that the President's heart attack, coming simultaneously with the publication of former President Truman's memoirs, pointed to two vital facts in the lives of Presidents, that politicians did not want the public to know the truth about any President's health, and that medical checkups ought be given every presidential candidate in advance, with more specialized medical care given the President after taking office. It had long been known to intimates of President Eisenhower and to newspapermen covering the White House that he had high blood pressure, just as it had been known during the election campaign of 1944 to intimates of FDR that the wear and tear of public office had severely impacted his health. But politicians of both parties had hushed up the real facts, with President Eisenhower having been the only man who had been frank about it, having consistently and repeatedly informed politicians who wanted him to run again that they could not depend on one man, and that if re-elected he would be the oldest President ever to hold the office, presently just short of age 65. He had come as close as possible to telling them that all was not well with his health.

Mr. Pearson indicates that General Eisenhower had made a statement to him in 1952 which seemed to be flat and unequivocal, that he would serve only one term, and in various conversations since that time, had never deviated from that general plan. Despite that insistence, politicians had refused to take his word, issuing misleading statements about the President's health. Approximately a year earlier at a stag dinner attended by Vice-President Nixon, Attorney General Herbert Brownell, RNC chairman Leonard Hall and other political advisers, the President had said that they should begin building up the new Republican leaders, saying that he would not announce his decision on whether to run again until the spring of 1956. Nevertheless, Mr. Nixon and Mr. Hall had both left that dinner making repeated statements that the President was certain to run again, even though he had stated the exact opposite. As recently as three weeks earlier, in Denver, Mr. Hall had told newsmen that the Republicans planned to defeat Senator Wayne Morse of Oregon because he had criticized the President.

Marquis Childs, in Denver, finds that the President's heart attack the prior Saturday would almost definitely put an end to his active public service, in a career marked by a succession of fortunate events, each one helping him toward the high place he presently occupied. He suggests that if the heart attack would allow him to retire, it might prove another piece of luck, that the pressure on him to have run for a second term would have been enormous and probably more than he could resist. He regards it as bad luck, however, for the nation.

He finds that during the previous three sessions of Congress, the President had been able to create a bipartisan coalition, overriding the problems within his own party and in the country, initiating an effort to end the cold war. He says that he, along with many others, believed that the President was the only person with the stature necessary, as a great military leader, to end the cold war. The President had begun that effort at the July Big Four summit conference in Geneva and had authorized the beginning of negotiations with Communist China which had resulted in the release of the American civilians held captive there. He had done so with some opposition from high officials who did not want tensions relaxed and the cold war ended, never openly opposing the President, but speaking against his policies in private. He regards the question at present to be whether there would be a continuing impetus to carry on what the President had begun.

He suggests that it would be like President Eisenhower, if he felt that his usefulness in office was seriously impaired, to resign in favor of Vice-President Nixon, although no previous President had ever done so. He suggests that it would provide the Vice-President a head start toward the nomination in 1956. All along, Mr. Nixon had been the President's favorite and resignation would enable the Vice-President to advance his command of the office before the nominating convention the following summer.

President Woodrow Wilson had lived on in the White House for the last 17 months of his Administration as a semi-invalid following his stroke in 1919, as a rebellious Congress, led by his enemies, took the nation back into isolationism after the conclusion of World War I. He suggests that President Eisenhower's many enemies, despite giving lip-service to their regret over his illness, were only too happy to begin sabotaging the President's policies. The President's prolonged vacation in Denver at a critical time in the power struggle with the Communists had already begun to draw criticism prior to his heart attack, with the President having been indifferent to that criticism because of his great desire to take a break.

Acting White House press secretary Murray Snyder had said that during each successive day of the five days of his fishing vacation recently, one could see the President relax a little more. Mr. Childs observes that the President had been like a boy let out of school as he got up before dawn to light the fires and start the coffee, enjoying his solitude, privacy, and the outdoors which 40 years in the Army had conditioned him to love. He had never really accepted the imprisonment of the Presidency, resented the constant demands that encroached on his time, one reason for his unfamiliarity with the complexities of such problems as the relationship of Federal aid to the need for schools and highways.

Mr. Childs indicates that one of the illusions of the office was the notion of an indispensable man, and when the President had warned the Republican political leaders at their rally in Denver recently against putting all of their money on him, arguing that there were other able men within the party, he had come closer to meaning it than many of his predecessors. He suggests that the President would not feel kindly toward those desperate men who would say that with a little rest he could recover and go forward to save the nation, and potentially the world.

He concludes that it could be the President's privilege to step aside at the top, with the nation never before more prosperous and having at least the promise of peace on the distant horizon, a privilege which few men in history had and of which even fewer had the courage to avail themselves.

Now we lay us down to sleep, here's hoping that the President will fully recover and save us mercifully from that Creep.

Frederick C. Othman indicates that before the Senate Judiciary subcommittee was Barney Ross, who was the spitting image of the prosperous press agent which he had become, after having been the champion welterweight of the world and one of the Marine heroes at Guadalcanal during 1942. He was presently a press agent for singer Eddie Fisher and other clients of theatrical agent Milton Blackstone, and was a soldier-like citizen in the process, making it hard to imagine, even when he was talking about the experience, that he had once been a dope addict.

The Senators had asked him to provide first-hand, expert advice on how to combat opium addiction and Mr. Ross was more than willing to do so, saying that when a dope smuggler was caught, he should be strung up by the neck and not given a second chance. Senator Price Daniel of Texas had not been prepared for him to go quite that far, but said that he was glad to help pass a law providing the death penalty for importers of opium. At present under the law, they could only be jailed and Senator Daniel said that he regarded them as murderers on the installment plan.

Mr. Ross had taken up his drug habit while in a military hospital in the Pacific, had lost his wife, his self-respect and his will to live as a result of the addiction, but had emerged from it with the help of the U.S. Public Health Service doctors in the Lexington, Ky., Federal hospital, a story which he related again for the Senators. When he had suffered superficial shrapnel wounds in both legs, his condition had not been that serious, but the pain had been unbearable and doctors had administered a preliminary shot of morphine before he reported back to the battle line because of the shortage of men. As his legs began to hurt again, he was taken back to the hospital where the Medical Corpsmen again administered to him morphine, believing they were doing him a favor. He said that he was able eventually to give himself an injection because of the readily available supply of morphine laying around.

When he was finally brought home, he had developed a full addiction, but did not tell his wife, who wondered why he treated her as he did and so sought a divorce. He said that the pain was too horrible to give up the dope, that he would feel monkeys crawling on his back, an indescribable sensation, prompting him once to attempt suicide with a razor blade. He had been able to talk some of his physician friends into giving him an occasional shot to ease his pain, as no one of the physicians understood that the other five were also giving him morphine.

Eventually, he had told Mr. Blackstone about the addiction, and the latter had hired a plane to take him to the Federal narcotics hospital in Kentucky, where a doctor spent four months restoring him to normalcy. That had been eight years earlier, his former wife, after learning the truth, eventually remarrying him, and ever since, he had been working for his friend, Mr. Blackstone, spending most of his spare time speaking out against narcotics.

Mr. Othman concludes that it took a brave man to admit what Mr. Ross had done, braver even than facing Japanese guns during the war.

Erich Fromm, in The Sane Society, says that nothing was more common than the idea that the people living in the Western world of the 20th Century were eminently sane, that even the fact that a great number of individuals suffered from more or less severe forms of mental illness produced little doubt with respect to the general standard of mental health. He indicates that by introducing better methods of mental hygiene, improvement could take place even further in the state of the collective mental health of the Western world, that individual mental disturbances were viewed as individual incidents, albeit with some degree of amazement that so many such incidents had occurred in a culture supposedly so sane.

"Can we be so sure that we are not deceiving ourselves? Many an inmate of an insane asylum is convinced that everybody else is crazy, except himself."

A letter from the Southern director of the Textile Workers Union of America comments positively on a previous letter, urging all people involved in the problems created by the President's textile tariff concessions to "deluge Washington with letters of protest" to the Administration. He says that the textile workers and their union had been busily engaged in a program of protest for many months, that the legislative representative of the union had spent many hours preparing factual information and buttonholing Congressmen during the previous session, and had also taken the message to the union members in several Southern states during mass protest meetings. He had received excellent response everywhere except in central Alabama, where, despite a heavy concentration of textile mills, the only newspaper in Pell City and both of the newspapers in Sylacauga had refused to publish the union's opposition to the tariff concessions, as well as refusing to accept paid advertisements announcing the date and place of the protest meetings. That, however, was the only encountered lack of cooperation, surprising because all three of those newspapers had given full-page prominence to the tariff opposition expressed by the president of one of the mills in Sylacauga. He assures that the union was on the ball regarding the tariff dangers and that the membership would continue to bring the matter to public notice.

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