The Charlotte News

Monday, September 5, 1955


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports from Cairo that Israel and Egypt had resumed fighting the previous night in the Gaza Strip, shortly after both countries had separately assured the U.N. Truce Commission that they would adhere to their cease-fire agreements and would shoot back only if fired upon. The Egyptians claimed that 20 Israeli troops had invaded the Strip and began firing 4 1/2 hours later, at midnight, at Egyptian troops in Tabet El Assra, and that the Egyptians had returned fire, killing four Israelis, with no Egyptian casualties. The Egyptians claimed that in between the time the patrol was first sighted on Egyptian territory and the firing had begun, the Israelis had been warned to withdraw within two hours or would be fired upon. An Israeli Army spokesman in Jerusalem acknowledged that a patrol had crossed the border, losing its way in the sand dunes and encountering Egyptian troops, with Armistice Commission sources having reported two Israelis killed and a third taken prisoner. U.N. sources in Jerusalem said that the border crossing had been accidental and that they did not believe the shooting would affect the cease-fire, that no other incidents had been reported during the night or the morning. The Israeli Foreign Office had advised U.N. officials that it had no information regarding the reported troops in Egyptian territory before the firing began. Egypt had also charged that five Israeli tanks had been reported on the Egyptian side of the frontier at Sheik Moran. The head of the Truce Commission, Maj. General E. L. M. Burns, had appealed to both countries to renew their cease-fire pledges after the fighting had begun in the Gaza area on Saturday, and both sides had responded that they were committed to the cease-fire except in self-defense.

Meanwhile, in Israel, an Israeli fighter plane had forced down a U.S. Air Force transport the previous day with a burst of machine-gun fire as a warning, with the Israeli Foreign Office having stated that the American pilots had ignored radio orders to land at Lydda Airport. After being questioned at the airport, the crew of the military mission, en route from Cairo to Ankara, Turkey, were allowed to proceed.

In Denver, the President interrupted his holiday for a top-secret conference with Vice-President Nixon on important national security problems, probably having to do with the Israeli-Arab violence. The Vice-President told newsmen that his trip from Washington had no emergency aspect to it, but probably would deal with important security matters, having to do with a National Security Council meeting to be held in Washington the following Thursday at which Mr. Nixon would preside in the President's absence. He said that, while he was not at liberty to discuss specific matters, everyone in Washington was watching developments closely in the Near East situation and hoping that the present crisis would begin to iron itself out in the near future.

In Berlin, the Soviet Union this date released three Americans who had spent years in captivity, turning them over to the U.S. military police. The Army had confirmed their identities as being an Army private who had been reported missing in Vienna more than seven years earlier, a man from Brooklyn who had disappeared from a constabulary unit in West Germany in 1948, identifying himself as a corporal who had been in the Army under another name, and a civilian about whom the State Department had no information. An Army spokesman said that all three men appeared to be in good health but would be held incommunicado until it was decided what action would be taken against the two soldiers, both of whom had been listed as deserters. Earlier in the year, the Soviets had released two soldiers and a civilian, who had been in slave labor camps in the Arctic. One of the soldiers had been convicted of desertion and sentenced to 12 years, while the other had been acquitted and fined for unofficial absence.

In Washington, Government and labor leaders saluted workers this Labor Day, with the President issuing a declaration that the day was "set aside to salute the men and women who, with their heads, hands and hearts, produce the wealth of the nation." Secretary of Labor James Mitchell announced that the nation had set an employment record again in August when some 65.5 million Americans had been employed, becoming the third consecutive month to register a new employment record. Secretary Mitchell released another Presidential message the previous day, stating that discrimination against hiring of older workers had to end, that refusing to hire those 45 and older was "a waste of valuable skills and talents." AFL president George Meany and CIO president Walter Reuther issued statements predicting that their scheduled December merger would mean an increase in union political activity. John L. Lewis, head of the UMW, said in a CBS television and radio interview that "unless something is done that is disturbing in the future, the country can look forward to a continued period of reasonable prosperity." Meanwhile, a week-old strike at Bendix Aviation Corp. involving 20,000 workers had been settled the previous night, the third labor-management agreement reached in Detroit in four days.

In Detroit, former President Truman told a labor union audience this date that the Administration was "afraid of labor" because of what it would do in the 1956 elections, asking the audience to support the Democratic candidate for the presidency, who would, he said, "not be the kind of man who gives you a big smile and some nice promises in the political campaign, and then turns you over to your enemies for the next four years." The speech before the Detroit and Wayne County Federation of Labor had been short and lacked some of the fire of the former President's earlier speeches. He singled out the guaranteed annual wage as a notable achievement in the field of collective bargaining, describing it as "a stout blow against communism." He said that among the Administration's actions revealing fear of labor was an indictment against the CIO in Michigan for an alleged violation of the Taft-Hartley provision forbidding unions from making political expenditures, which he said he understood had been the result of a union broadcast in which Michigan Senator Patrick McNamara had appeared.

In Nashville, the monthly Southern School News, published by the Southern Education Reporting Service, a regional news service devoted exclusively to impartial and factual reporting of developments arising from the Supreme Court decisions on school desegregation, reported that at least 362 school districts and counties in eight Southern and border states would begin the new school year with integrated classes. It said that the seven states of Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North and South Carolina, and Virginia were "hardened against" desegregation, with only Virginia among them not having either a constitutional or statutory provision permitting abolition of the public school system or assignment of pupils. In Virginia, six counties had arranged their school finances so that public funding could be dropped immediately were the courts to order integration. It reported desegregation during the fall in 60 school districts in south and west Texas, where San Antonio and Amarillo had subsequently, however, delayed plans for desegregation, also in 88 districts in Oklahoma, including Oklahoma City with a heavy black population, in at least ten counties and four of the larger cities of Kentucky, in 44 of 55 counties in West Virginia, and in 114 districts in Missouri out of 244 with black enrollment. Petitions from black parents, usually supported by local branches of the NAACP, were appearing throughout the South, according to the publication.

In Brownsville, Tex., it was reported that tropical storm Gladys was headed for the Mexican coast this date, bringing flood warnings for the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. The storm was expected to hit inland 75 miles from the Texas border and had already caused the evacuation of thousands of vacationers from Padre Island and ruined the holiday in the south Texas resort area. Two young sisters had drowned on Sunday in the surf on the bay side of Padre Island after they had been swept into deep water. Winds of around 50 mph swirled at the storm's center, with 75 mph winds being the minimum for a hurricane. The storm was moving at a rate of between seven and ten mph. Meanwhile, Hurricane Flora was spinning in the Atlantic, so far from land that it did not pose any threat except to shipping at present.

The traffic death toll had reached 310 thus far during the Labor Day weekend, far ahead of estimates, and a traffic safety expert predicted that a new death record would be set for the highways. In addition to traffic deaths, 51 persons had drowned and 55 had died in miscellaneous accidents. The 78-hour holiday period would end at midnight this night. The National Safety Council had predicted that 400 would die in auto accidents during that time, but the president of the Council stated this date that it was now likely that there would be a number exceeding the previous record of 461 traffic deaths, set in 1951. By comparison to a non-holiday test period of the same duration between August 19 and 22, traffic deaths had totaled 385, with 67 drownings and 85 miscellaneous accidental deaths. The 1951 record had a total of 658 accidental deaths, with the three-day holiday record being 805 deaths, set during the Independence Day weekend of 1955. In North Carolina, at least 16 persons had been killed in violence, including homicides, not included in the national accident statistics, with the majority of the deaths resulting from auto accidents.

In Altadena, Calif., an owl clad in Bermuda shorts was observed strolling under a tree the previous day, prompting a man to catch the creature, now in the Pasadena Animal Shelter, which was seeking its owner.

On the editorial page, "Labor Movement Reaches a New Peak" tells of labor reaching a new peak of achievement in 1955, as further covered in the column of Drew Pearson this date, with wages setting new records and the principle of year-round security having been accepted by the major automakers, rendering labor closer than ever to being recognized as a partner with management in that mainstay industry.

AFL president George Meany, who would head the merged CIO and AFL organizations come December, had stated the prior Sunday that the merger would lead to an intensification of the political activities of labor and free the union movement of "the shackles forged by the political power of big business", referring to the laws in 18 states which prohibited union shops in which all workers had to join the union. It indicates that Mr. Meany had overlooked another factor, labor's inability thus far to sell the advantages of union membership to many workers, particularly in the South. It suggests that until its membership was much more than 15 million, talk of a labor party would be purely academic and that even if it had the membership necessary for such a party to be a viable political force, it would be a doubtful means of achieving labor's goals.

It quotes Adlai Stevenson in an article from Look, that under the two-party system in the country, one party did not usually represent solely the political left and the other the political right, that when one party did fall under the domination of a single interest, it soon lost public confidence and therefore power.

It concludes that while the talk of a labor third party was premature, nothing better attested to the strength the labor movement had built through the years through such leaders as Mr. Meany and Walter Reuther, head of CIO and the UAW.

"September" indicates that the new month would bring with it leaves to clog the gutters and drains, some "young rooster" to call a fellow first grade student a "sissy" only to find that it was a mistake, some backfield star winding up warming the bench, alumni driving 200 miles only to see their team chased from the field, and hearing "September" played a million times on jukeboxes. But, it finds, recalling the color of sumac and hickory, sun-drenched haze and the sound of a hound at a persimmon tree, that September was welcome, regardless of it having been wet.

"Adenauer To Test Geneva Spirit" finds that, contrary to the general world view since the Big Four summit conference in Geneva the prior July, the so-called "spirit of Geneva" had been an ill wind to West Germans, blowing contrary to their hopes for early reunification of Germany by its tacit agreement to a status quo in world affairs.

During the week, West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer would visit Moscow to discuss "normalization" of relations between West Germany and the Soviets, the visit being in a sense the first major test of what had occurred at Geneva, whether the Soviets intended to extend their accommodation on trivialities to the real sources of tension in the world, one of the most serious being the division of Germany, or whether the recent smiles emanating from Russian leaders had merely been a ploy to obtain the old objectives more easily.

The Administration was cognizant of the West German dissatisfaction with the Geneva outcome and many believed that the West German fears had set the tone for the President's recent speech to the ABA convention in Philadelphia, in which he had linked the division of Germany to his statement that the spirit of Geneva, if genuine and not spurious, had to inspire correction of all injustices and observance of human rights, with an end to subversion organized on a worldwide scale.

Previously, the Soviet price for reunification of Germany was that the Germans would withdraw from the NATO alliance and become neutral, rejected by Chancellor Adenauer as being too high, although acceptable to many elements within West Germany. Thus, unless Russia reduced that price, the "spirit of Geneva" would be significantly diminished.

"New Style Peace" indicates that Argentina's El Presidente Juan Peron had found a new formula for achieving peace, imposing it with ukases and troops. The citizen was granted the freedom from arrest if he did not spread a rumor, write or distribute a pamphlet, meet with fellow citizens for purposes other than "cultural, social, commercial, sporting or for enjoyment in premises authorized for such purposes," carry a weapon or do anything else deemed verboten by El Presidente.

It concludes: "Sometimes peace is not so wonderful and in all appearances means the same thing as slavery."

He did have a point about not carrying weapons.

A piece from the Chapel Hill News Leader, titled "Nothing To Brag About", indicates that of the present UNC summer school students, 83 percent were from within the state, a fact being trumpeted by some of the newspapers as if it were some sort of victory, while it was, in fact, a defeat. The piece regards it as no special virtue to have an all-North Carolina student body, that history had demonstrated that when the state was without outside influence or stimulation, it had been one of the most stagnant and backward of all the states, having begun to move forward only around the turn of the century when Governor Charles B. Aycock and a group of educational leaders had prodded the state out of its apathy and brought in new ideas.

The state's orators were likely to proclaim that it had the smallest percentage of foreign-born people in the country, but that was actually a drawback. The 1955 Legislature had inflicted added harm on the University by imposing higher tuition cost for out-of-state students, restricting the contributions needed most by the state. The University had always profited by bringing in professors from outside the state and the same principle applied to students. It thus suggests that instead of imposing a tax on those fresh approaches, the state ought to be paying a premium for them.

Harumph. Bunch of damned Yankees bringing in all them Commie views about integration and labelin' us back'ard down heya. Keep 'em up 'ere where they belong, in hell with their high crime and slums. 'Fore long, they'll have our classrooms down heya just like in "The Blackboard Jungle", combat zones so's your li'l child'll be threatened with knives ever' time they go down to the school. Keep 'em up 'ere.

Drew Pearson's column, being written by staff while Mr. Pearson was on vacation, indicates that the working people of the country had many reasons to count their blessings on this Labor Day, as never before in the country's history had the great craft and industrial unions faced the future with such confidence and solidarity. The coming December merger of the AFL and CIO would bring together approximately 15 million workers in a united movement which would dwarf the already formidable influence of the two organizations separately. The country had the highest wage standards by far of any country in the world, plus the new concept of health and retirement benefits for wage earners and their families, present in almost every new union contract. The guaranteed annual wage had become a reality with the signing of the recent contract between Ford and the UAW, and Congress had raised the minimum wage to one dollar per hour for most low-paid employees and had extended Social Security and survival benefits to all save a few.

Labor could look back with pride on its distinguished war record, in which it supported its sons on the frighting fronts with staggering production quotas in defense plants while the country fought two types of totalitarianism.

It tells of the different ways in which labor's top leaders were celebrating Labor Day, and indicates that the first such celebration had occurred in 1882 by the Knights of Labor, a forerunner of AFL, with a parade in New York City, followed by a resolution adopted by the Knights in 1884 that the first Monday in September would be proclaimed Labor Day, thereafter a drive having begun to make it a national holiday. The State of Oregon had passed the first law recognizing the day in 1887, and New York, New Jersey and Colorado had soon followed suit, such that on June 28, 1894, Congress had adopted a law establishing the day as a legal holiday throughout the nation. Unlike in Europe, all classes of Americans joined in celebrating the day.

At the next session of Congress in January, the White House would stage another drive for enactment of the Upper Colorado River power bill, sidetracked by the House just before the adjournment in August. There was, however, circulating around the White House a confidential memo which strategists wished had never been written, signed by five House Republicans, indicating that the Administration planned to make the Upper Colorado project another "giveaway" to private utilities. The column quotes verbatim from the memo and provides its signatories, commenting that those who had seen it agreed that it was either approved by the White House, as appeared likely, or that its five signers had taken drastic liberties in misquoting the President's views, with the memo indicating that there was no public versus private power controversy in the bill, that the President opposed Hell's Canyon because it was a public power project, and favored the Upper Colorado project because all of the power would be sold to private utilities, who had testified in favor of the measure.

Joseph Alsop tells of the President reigning as boss of the Administration during periods of crisis, but otherwise not a good deal of the time, that Secretary of the Treasury George Humphrey, on the other hand, never stopped ruling. The latter was the second most powerful man in the Administration, and the present time was when the various departments and agencies of the executive branch were struggling to determine which would get particular shares of the financial pie in the coming fiscal year. During this time, Secretary Humphrey, assisted by Budget director Rowland Hughes, exercised predominant influence in the Government, effectively shaping policy.

He often played a larger part in effecting foreign policy than the Secretary of State and a much larger role in defense policy than the Secretary of Defense, Charles E. Wilson. In the current year, Secretary Humphrey was seeking to do something more, not merely to balance the budget for the following fiscal year, but also for the current fiscal year, as his revenue estimates had been revised and raised such that if he could get the various departments to trim a little more, that goal might be realized. The sum sought to be saved in that manner was a little more than three percent of total spending. The major domestic spenders, such as the Veterans Administration and the Agriculture Department, were protected by domestic political pressures, requiring that the major cuts would come from the country's survival insurance, that is the foreign aid programs, where Mr. Alsop predicts 200 to 300 million dollars would be cut, despite the need in the Far East for an additional amount of aid. In addition, it was likely the Congress would cut about a billion dollars from defense, with 90 percent of that amount coming from vital areas.

The primary question would be how Secretary Humphrey would manage the task, with one part of the answer being that Secretary Wilson was a crony of Secretary Humphrey and had more the outlook of an assistant secretary of the treasury than of a Secretary of Defense. The second part of the answer, however, lay in the realm of personalities, with Secretary Humphrey having become the strongest man in the Administration for the reason that he was the strongest man, intelligent, charming and vital, surefooted but determined, cautious and singularly courageous in fighting for his position once established. His management of the domestic economy was probably the greatest single achievement of the Administration.

But in foreign and defense policy, the President trusted the judgment of Secretary of State Dulles, and yet there was a wide temperamental difference between the pessimistic Mr. Dulles and the sanguine President. In the pre-Geneva summit conference period, the two men produced sharp policy differences, on one occasion the President having rebuked the Secretary for excessive caution, occurring at a large White House meeting.

Secretary of Defense Wilson, however, was rarely inclined to oppose Secretary Humphrey, and even on the rare occasions when he did, his influence with the President was not great. The President's interest in defense was wholly directed to the theoretical and strategic problems, whereas Mr. Wilson stressed administrative problems for which he had the experience from his time as head of General Motors.

Thus, Secretary Humphrey had greater influence within the Administration than almost all of the remainder of the Cabinet combined. Since the budget problem embraced all other problems, it was only natural, therefore, that the Secretary had become the predominant policymaker. The question remained, however, whether he would be able to make final judgments on foreign and defense policies with no problems in mind except those of the Treasury.

Robert C. Ruark, still in Palamos, Spain, tells of having gotten a great kick out of seeing a massive advertisement for kerosene hurricane lamps in New York newspapers, reaffirming his faith in old things, such as iceboxes. The advertisement had read: "Hurricanes strike suddenly! Remember power lines down—homes without light? A few of these lamps on hand guarantees vital, safe illumination. They stay lit for 24 hours..."

He tells of having made several experiments in living in recent years, including safaris to Africa and India, and in Spain, having encountered various problems in each place, in the latter, for instance, losing electricity from several to seven days each week during the fall and winter, forcing them to discover that ordinary evaporation and a canvas bag would keep the gin cold, that a pressure lamp provided a hard white light, while the old-fashioned icebox maintained the food sweeter, provided one could find the ice, and made the cold drinks taste better than the ice cubes produced in an electric refrigerator. There was also no comparison between homemade ice cream and the mass-produced version. They used candles quite a lot and found the soft light pleasant. He goes on providing their accommodations to the lack of electricity on occasion.

He tells of owning a house in the middle of the hurricane belt in North Carolina. "Since the big blows in recent years, whole beaches have blown away, and modern houses have been found floating between the Azores and Portugal. But my 70-odd-year-old house, and similar houses of my relatives still stand while the new stuff is carried away." Thus, he never worried anymore when a hurricane leveled parts of the coast, as his and his relatives' homes had been built for a time when the kerosene lamp and open fireplace were required, thus being tough and capable of riding out the storms.

"With all the TVs and the quiz shows and the global conferences, we're still not much smarter than the old folks." He posits that if one could acquire light, heat, cold and comfort, plus food and drink in the old-fashioned manner, then the progenitors appeared "just a touch smarter than the man in the grey final suit, with the mortgage, the ulcers, and the exaggerated importance of a simple thing, life, which always ends in death, whether you're Liberace or Willie Mays."

A letter writer from Marion indicates that he could not understand why so many readers of the newspaper and all other newspapers did not pay the paper delivery boy more promptly, as the latter had to pay the company every week whether he received anything from customers or not. He thus advises readers to set a good example before the little boys who delivered their newspapers.

A letter writer indicates that since the vote for or against annexation of Thomasboro, he had looked for a comment from the newspaper, the absence of which showed that the residents living within the current city limits were being overtaxed for the privilege of living in the city and so one could not blame those who were resisting annexation. He finds that there was too much money being wasted on such things as the new Coliseum, parks, playgrounds and other such facilities, wants it stopped soon.

But, as had been pointed out many times in the column through the years, those things which you mentioned made the city more attractive to outside industry and business, and therefore contributed to general progress in the community economically, as well as providing to current residents cultural and recreational benefits, even if some of the old codgers and shut-ins could have cared less about them, preferring to remain in the realm of yesterday as discussed by Mr. Ruark. Time moves on Liberace and Willie Mays, not to mention the up and coming Elvis, are real, and, to some, real gone, daddy-o. Say hey... So get with the program. Otherwise, your progeny will grow up to be fat slobs, not out and about getting their proper exercise and recreation in the parks, playgrounds and other such facilities.

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