The Charlotte News

Friday, September 9, 1955


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the U.S. and Communist China were reported at the point of final agreement this date on the release of the remaining 25 Americans held in jail by the Chinese for several years and three others under house arrest, with still others whose status remained uncertain. An announcement of the final agreement might come from Geneva when U.S. Ambassador Alexis Johnson and the Communist Chinese Ambassador would meet the following day. It was understood that the agreement thus far provided that Communist China's assurances that all Americans who wished to leave the country could do so "expeditiously", subject to Chinese Communist judicial processes, presumably indicating that those currently incarcerated would be subject to court action for parole, deportation or other process enabling them to depart, with the U.S. seeking a clearer indication of what the word "expeditiously" meant to the Chinese. In addition, the U.S. would assure that the Chinese in the U.S. who wished to depart and return to Communist China were permitted to do so, a policy which had been declared by the Government for months. There were some Chinese students who had originally come to the U.S. from Nationalist China prior to the revolution in 1949, and who had said that they wished to return to the Chinese mainland but had not yet departed. A further understood part of the agreement was the designation of the Indian Embassy as a representative of any Chinese remaining in the U.S. who believed that they could not obtain a fair break by making arrangements directly with U.S. authorities for return to Communist China. Additionally, employment of the offices of the British Embassy in Communist China would be made to protect the interests of Americans there on a basis similar to that provided by the Indian Embassy in the U.S. Once the return of the Americans was finally agreed on, the next item on the agenda was "other practical matters at issue between the two sides", with it expected that the Chinese might bring up the desire for greater trade with the West under that topic.

In Moscow, it was reported that West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer had called on the top Soviet leaders this date to release German war prisoners still held in Russia, as a prelude to "normalization" of relations between the two countries. He pleaded with Soviet Premier Nikolai Bulganin, Communist Party Secretary Nikita Khrushchev and Foreign Minister V. M. Molotov to "dedicate all your energies" to speedy conclusion with the Western Big Three of an agreement to reunify Germany. Premier Bulganin, in response, ignored the question of the war prisoners and repeated the Russian claim that West German membership in NATO and the Western European Union formed a major barrier to reunification of Germany. He urged the establishment of normal diplomatic relations between West Germany and the Soviet Union, asserting that closer diplomatic contacts would help in finding a resolution to the unification problem. Chancellor Adenauer said that it was unthinkable to establish normal relations between the two countries as long as the question of the prisoners remained unresolved. He said: "It is an unbearable thought that more than ten years after the end of hostilities, human beings who, one way or another, were drawn into the maelstrom of war events should be kept away from their families, their homes and their normal, peaceful work." The West German Government claimed that there were nearly 100,000 Germans still in Soviet custody, while the Russians and East Germany insisted that the number was less than 5,000. The Chancellor said that the current talks would be only the first of a long series which would be necessary to arrange relations between the Soviet Union and West Germany, that he regarded the purpose of the talks as being to treat as a whole the problem of normalization of relations in the context he had explained, regarding the release of the German prisoners.

In New York, two additional ports, at Norfolk and Boston, had been idled this date in sympathy strikes with the New York waterfront strike by the independent International Longshoremen's Association, in a dispute with the New York-New Jersey Waterfront Commission, with the Association contending that the Commission had used discriminatory practices toward the Association in the regulation of employment, the Commission having been formed by the two states to clean up the rackets which had proliferated for years on the waterfront. Scores of ships were idle and cargoes were piling up on piers, with some 70 ships tied up in New York Harbor. The strike had immobilized 20 million dollars worth per day of export and import shipping along the New York and New Jersey waterfront. Twenty vessels were stranded by a one-day "holiday" by the Boston longshoremen, who would return to work the following day. Eleven vessels were idled in Norfolk, where the longshoremen were attending a series of meetings to hear reports on the New York situation. In New York, the head of the ILA told a meeting of dockworkers that whatever was going on in other ports, they could be sure that the strategy was working, but that he could not say much more at present. The shipping firms and the Commission had sought permanent injunctions against the strike. One temporary restraining order had already issued against the ILA in New York state court, but, according to the head of the union the previous day, it had not yet been received by the union and so the strike continued. The association of shipping firms was seeking a contempt citation against the union this date for not having recognized that restraining order.

In Washington, the trade association of the scheduled airlines had proposed this date that they limit sale of liquor while in the air and bar or remove drunks from airplanes. The Civil Aeronautics Board had said that public protests against drinking aboard airlines were becoming more frequent and hinted that it might take corrective steps if there were no voluntary steps taken by the airlines. Under the proposed rules, no alcoholic beverages would be served on planes on Sundays or national election days, to minors or intoxicated persons. Sales would be limited to flights of more than two hours and to the hours between noon and midnight. Passengers who became drunk and noisy during a flight would be deplaned at the first stop. How about just opening one of the exit doors at a sufficiently low altitude to enable depressurization of the cabin and inform the drunk that it is the entrance to the bar?

Also in Washington, Confidential Magazine had been banned from the mails by the Post Office Department, as disclosed this date when the publication had sought in U.S. District Court an order lifting the ban. Attorney Edward Bennett Williams was representing the magazine, which he said had a circulation of 4.5 million copies per issue. The Post Office had five days to answer the magazine's motion for an injunction, with the suit indicating that the order had been sent out without informing the magazine, without providing grounds for holding up its mailing, and without any hearing, all constituting violations of the Constitution and Federal laws, according to the lawsuit. The magazine had gone into business in 1952 and published on a bimonthly basis. Numerous stories which it had carried had prompted vigorous denials as to their accuracy from persons named therein, and libel suits, seeking millions of dollars in damages, were pending against it. Among those who had sued were Doris Duke, the tobacco heiress, and actor Robert Mitchum, who was suing over the story that he had appeared the previous spring at a costume party, thrown to celebrate completion of the filming of "The Night of the Hunter", in the nude covered in ketchup, saying that he was a hamburger, which he and the host of the party, Charles Laughton, director of the picture, vehemently denied. Whether he was a ham on rye, however, was another question.

In Philadelphia, the mother of the 22-year old young woman who had died after a botched attempt at an illegal abortion on August 24, while the mother and daughter visited an apartment occupied by a butcher and his wife, with the abortion attempt having been made by an unknown person or persons, was indicted for conspiracy and being an accessory before the fact in the abortion attempt. The district attorney said that the mother's testimony was the cornerstone in the homicide investigation, apparently the reason for the charges, to try to get her to talk. Her husband was the vice-president of the Food Fair supermarket chain, one of the largest at the time in the country. No charges had yet been filed against the couple who occupied the apartment where the daughter died. She had eloped the previous spring with a Miami Beach motorcycle officer, who had remained in Florida at the time of the death.

In Atlantic City, N.J., the Miss America contest continued into the final round of preliminary competition this date, with four contestants from the South, Oklahoma and Hawaii leading the 45 other entrants. Miss Oklahoma and Miss Florida had respectively won the bathing suit and talent contests the previous night, with results of the evening gown competition being maintained in secret. Miss Alabama and Miss Hawaii, who had won contests on Wednesday night, shared the front-runner spots. The third and final round of the bathing suit and talent competitions, as well as the evening gown competition, would occur this night. Miss America for the previous year, Lee Meriwether of San Francisco, would crown the new Miss America on Saturday and the winner would receive $50,000 in prizes and personal appearance fees.

Ann Sawyer of The News indicates that a 19-year old firebug, who had set fires and returned to fight them as a volunteer fireman, had been sentenced in the Superior Court in Charlotte this date to between 20 and 27 years in prison, after having been found guilty the previous day on nine charges of unlawful burning and on two charges of larceny. The burning spree had continued during a period of two years and he admitted setting fire to a black Baptist church, a school, barns and vacant buildings. He said that he knew that it was wrong when he did it but that he could not control the impulse. One of the largest losses had been suffered by the owner of a barn who valued its contents at over $5,000, with the owner not having any insurance. The defense had not denied that the young man had set the fires but contended that he had a mental disorder and was not responsible for his actions. He was also convicted of stealing cement from a construction company where he was employed. The judge had meted out sentences of between two and three years on each of the nine burning counts and a two-year sentence on the larceny conviction, running the sentences consecutively. He said that the youth should be given a thorough mental examination and transferred to the State hospital if the examination so indicated. His defense counsel gave notice of appeal.

In Hollywood, Rita Hayworth's lawyer, Bartley Crum, was visiting from New York to confer with her estranged husband, singer Dick Haymes, the couple having split up the previous week after an argument. Mr. Crum said that Ms. Hayward wanted more time to consider whether she would sue for divorce or reconcile with Mr. Haymes. Well, hurry up, as your fan base are awaiting with bated breath the news.

In North Tonawanda, N.Y., a young mongrel named Pooch had crawled into a sewer pipe the previous day and it had taken six town employees, a steam shovel and several drills 22 hours to remove it. Neighbors had heard the dog crying and called the SPCA, which in turn had called sewer workers in the Buffalo suburb. The dog's owner, a seven-year old girl, stood among the hundreds who had watched the rescue operation, pleading with the rescuers to hurry. A neighbor brought the dog's mother to the scene, but instead of coaxing it from the hole, it proceeded to lick the hands of the people in the crowd. It was all for naught, as Pooch died in the sewer pipe, all because of the glory-hound, the mongrel mother.

No, that's not true. It was washed into the river and lived happily ever after, if a bit smelly for the curiosity which nearly killed the dog. We were just preparing you for the possibility in the future that you might be taken prisoner by a Commie force and told, as part of your brainwashing regimen, that they received a letter from home saying that your dog had died after being stuck in a pipe for days, slowly suffocating the while, suffering as no animal had ever suffered, until death finally relieved it of its misery. Thus, we are performing a service for you so that you can resist such brainwashing efforts.

On the editorial page, "That They Shall Have Music" tells of David Ovens, the patron of the arts, philanthropist and citizen extraordinary who had worked tirelessly to ensure the construction of the new Coliseum-Auditorium complex, the Auditorium bearing his name. He had been best known as a business and civic leader who had given a fortune away to colleges, universities and a number of other worthy causes. He was a Canadian-born local merchant whose long career had an enormous impact on the cultural life of the community, particularly in the field of music.

Years earlier, he had personally organized many concert programs for the city, at one time arranging for the appearance of Enrico Caruso in Charlotte, one of the tenor's last public appearances. He and a few friends had organized the Charlotte Community Concert Association, becoming its president in 1932 and serving in that capacity until his retirement in 1950. During that time, he had brought dozens of great artists and concert groups to Charlotte, including Lauritz Melchior, Lotte Lehmann, Fritz Kreisler, Lawrence Tibbett, Helen Traubel, Yehudi Menuhin, Jussi Bjoerling and such famous orchestras as the Philadelphia and Cincinnati Symphonies.

It had been his desire to bring good music to Charlotte which, more than anything else, had prompted him to make the preliminary studies for establishment of a new auditorium, with former Mayor Victor Shaw, a close friend and admirer, appointing him as chairman of a citizens committee to conduct surveys and decide what Charlotte needed as a venue for musical performance, dramatic and sporting events, and other entertainment. The committee had worked for a year, finally determining that the needs were a 2,500-seat auditorium and a 10,000-seat coliseum. Mr. Ovens had been in ill health by the time the committee made its report to the City Council, which approved the recommendations without issue.

The previous night, as the bust of Mr. Ovens was unveiled in the lobby of the new Auditorium, 400 people had attended a ceremony honoring him, with it appropriately celebrated with music. The formal dedication of the complex would occur on Sunday, and it urges that Mr. Ovens deserved the salute of the entire community for his efforts.

"No Goodies in Adenauer's Pack" indicates that as West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer was meeting with the Soviets in Moscow, there were worried murmurs coming from Washington, which it regards as being as unseemly as they were unnecessary, as the Chancellor was not playing Red Riding Hood loaded with goodies for the Big Bad Wolf, but was rather a shrewd diplomat who did not intend to give anything away to the Soviets. He had repeatedly indicated to the West that he was fully prepared to match every offer they presented with a firm no. Thus, any agreement with the Soviets regarding reunification of Germany was quite unlikely as requiring too high of a price.

It indicates that even if some deal were proposed, it would require the assent of the Western powers, that while West Germany's sovereignty had been restored, the U.S., Britain and France had not surrendered their prerogative on reunification, reserving that right, which they planned to exercise at the forthcoming Big Four foreign ministers conference in Geneva. It thus regards the prospect of continuing partition of Germany as indefinite, "a kind of fragile, long-term coexistence policy operating between the two rival German states." With that in mind, the U.S. and its allies faced a stern responsibility to increase the material and moral value of the alliance with West Germany, as that alliance was essential to the West's security and needed to be bolstered.

"Too Much" indicates that Chiang Kai-shek of Nationalist China, according to U.S. News & World Report, was making it increasingly plain that he wanted his son, Lt. General Chiang Ching-kuo, to succeed him as the leader in Formosa. The son was reported to be picking generals for promotion and operating a system of anti-Communist political commissars within the Nationalist Army.

The piece is reminded of former Texas Senator Tom Connally's quip: "The trouble with ol' Chiang is that he don't generalissimo enough." It finds that the Senator had been wrong, that the trouble with Chiang was that he "generalissimos" too much.

"The Mind as a Military Target" discusses the report from Newsweek that the Pentagon was conducting an experimental training program to condition members of the armed forces to potential brainwashing as prisoners of war, as reported on the front page the previous day. After the Newsweek story had appeared, the Defense Department's spokesman admitted that "rather rough brainwashing procedures" were being employed in all of the branches, including the blindfolding of the servicemen, forcing them to march barefooted for long distances, and questioning them for long hours with little rest or water and no sleep. The magazine report had told of trainees being forced to spend hours in a dark hole up to their shoulders in water or in "sweat boxes", and of having to endure electrical shocks. The Air Force training had also entailed humiliation in an effort to get the airmen to talk.

It regards the "primitive brutality" as not being a method by which resistance and mental toughness would be inculcated and that the "savage verbal attacks" on the sanity of the men could do lasting harm, producing the opposite of the desired effect. Anything was possible when such torture was being administered by ignorant, totally untrained personnel. Given enough stress, most people would break down and develop neurotic manifestations. A person at an amateur, unstable point was liable to break down under very slight provocation, while a person at the other end of the endurance spectrum might be able to withstand incredible stresses before succumbing. But, it urges, haphazard, uncontrolled brainwashing could be extremely dangerous. Instead of toughening the subject, he might actually be weakened.

It suggests that there had to be better ways to harden fighting men so that they could withstand the rigors of war and potential capture as prisoners.

Roy Parker, Jr., writing in the Hertford County Herald, in a piece titled "When Preachers Made Brandy", tells of Lemuel Burkitt, the Sandy Run pastor who had been North Carolina's top Baptist preacher during the Revolutionary period and through the early years of the republic. An historical marker to him had been recently unveiled at Sandy Run Church in Roxobel. The previous week, Mr. Parker had found the inventory of the preacher's estate and the account of the sale of his property, after he had died in Northampton County in 1807. He discovered that brandy was one of the major items in the estate, with four barrels of peach and apple brandy having been sold off, with the going rate at the time having apparently been about $50 per barrel. The most valuable item in the estate, other than slaves, according to the inventory and sale, had been his "brandy still", bought by John Nixon for 55 pounds, the equivalent of about $275 at the time. No other item in the estate had sold at anything like that price, with the exception of various slaves.

Exactly who the hell cares? Do you not have anything better about which to write? It must be a slow day down there in Hertford County.

Drew Pearson's column, continuing to be written by staff during his vacation, tells of the arrest in San Antonio of a mysterious Frenchman who had gone by many names but was under a death sentence in France as Antoine D'Agostino, an international dope smuggler and a principal figure in the Mafia. During World War II, he had worked with the Nazis to undermine French health and morale with narcotics, and was later tried in absentia and sentenced to death for treason. He was wanted in a half dozen countries, from Europe to Canada, for narcotics violations. He had been picked up by Federal agents the moment he landed in San Antonio after coming across the Mexican border. It indicates that the full story of his arrest could not be told, but he had not come to the U.S. of his own volition. U.S. narcotics agents had tipped off Mexican authorities that he was using their country as a base for dope smuggling into the U.S. and Canada, and the Mexican officials quietly hustled him onto a plane bound for San Antonio. The narcotics agents were tipped that he was on his way. He was now in jail. It notes that Texas Senator Price Daniel, chairman of the Narcotics Investigating Committee, had been working with state and Federal authorities on the case.

To thousands of hunted and herded refugees, the World War II transport General W. M. Black was regarded as a sort of floating Statue of Liberty, but the ship had now been retired as of the previous month when it was towed into Suisun Bay at the mouth of California's Sacramento River to be mothballed. The ship had taken part in every important sea movement of political refugees since 1948, with its passengers having included displaced persons from Europe, White Russians from Shanghai, Dutch soldiers from Java and Poles stranded in Africa. Its latest major service had been helping to transport 310,000 anti-Communist refugees from North Vietnam to South Vietnam. Its sister ship, the General W. C. Langfitt, continued to sail as a refugee ship transporting people to freedom, under charter to the Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration. It notes that the Black had been named after Maj. General William Murray Black, a West Point graduate of 1877 and former chief of the Army Corps of Engineers, in charge of raising the battleship Maine from Havana Harbor in 1910-11.

Marquis Childs discusses the change in the Soviet system of government since the death of Joseph Stalin in March, 1953, evolving into a balanced form of governance by committee, with the competition for resources tending to balance the system inevitably toward more Western-type freedom, rather than the former iron hand of Stalin under which anyone stepping out of line would likely be liquidated.

Thus, Nikita Khrushchev, Secretary of the Communist Party, with his schemes for new farm production, had to compete for manpower and material with Georgi Zhukov, defense minister. The beginning of that revolution was small and for all of the atmosphere of harmony resulting from the Geneva Big Four summit conference in July, the Soviets continued to try to jam virtually all broadcasts from the West in Russian from penetrating the Iron Curtain, including even the comparatively objective news programs of the BBC, a very costly and complicated blocking effort.

Mr. Childs indicates that perhaps the most intensive part of the Cold War had been on the communications front, with the lead taken by Radio Free Europe, a private enterprise with the support of the U.S. Government, begun in 1950 with a single shortwave mobile transmitter, now expanded in number and volume of its broadcasts. Recently, monitoring stations at three points along the curtain had reported that 90 percent of the programming was being received with good or fair reception in Eastern European capitals.

Russia and its satellites maintained their isolation even more assiduously by keeping out foreign aircraft. Every other country in Europe had mutual air pacts, permitting commercial air travel, even including Yugoslavia permitting Swiss Air to make three flights per week from Zürich to Belgrade while Yugoslav airlines flew to Switzerland. But, with the exception of a few Swiss flights to one or two of the satellite capitals, the Communist bloc countries prevented any Western aircraft from entering their airspace.

A letter writer compliments a previous letter writer of August 13, who had written to complain about the annexation of the Thomasboro section to Charlotte a year or so earlier, indicating that until the City improved its police, fire and school services to compete with the superior services offered by the County, there would be resistance to further annexation, finding that the only real benefit to being part of the city was street lighting, that well water was quite adequate in the county, as well as septic tank facilities for sewage.

A letter writer says that in her opinion, the NAACP had "not considered the low culture of our colored race." As a colored person herself, she says that they should give thanks to God and to their fine white friends, that the colored people did not leave the South when they were freed from slavery, that they did not have enough culture to venture out into the world and loved their masters such that they did not wish to leave them. She says that it was only the ignorant ones who were seeking to destroy what they had worked so hard for with the help of their "good white friends". She says that the generation at present was too far removed from slavery to understand the meaning of the institution and appreciate their freedom, but remained in the South because they could not find any place like the South. "The good colored people live here because they know what it means to them to live among white friends." She suggests that there were a number of "good colored people who did not want changes in their schools", that the white children and black children were happy in their own schools. She urges loving their white friends for the great help given to them from slavery to the present time. She believes that they were doing more for black people than they could have ever done for themselves. She concludes: "Love is the master of hate. May God bring us together in love."

As previously indicated, the first editorial we have found to comment on the Emmett Till murder without also in the same breath finding ground to criticize the NAACP for potentially creating white backlash by supposedly over-dramatizing the case, appeared this date under the heading, "The Seeds of Terror Are Planted", in the Charlotte Observer, of which Pete McKnight, former editor of The News, had recently become editor. The only mention of the case thus far in The News had been a front page Associated Press story appearing September 1, regarding the finding of the body the previous day, three days after the murder on August 28. The News would, however, begin to carry stories on the case during the trial of the two arrested half-brothers, set to begin September 19, the point at which most newspapers, outside Mississippi and the national black press, began presenting more than scant coverage of the case.

A letter writer indicates that the people of the state should be congratulated for their common sense and wisdom, that in spite of the appeals to prejudice and hatred by various groups and politicians and despite the demands for abolition of the public school system, very few North Carolinians had responded positively to those calls. He indicates that there would always be a few highly vocal fanatics who thrived on hate, that they would grab a lot of headlines and attempt to hog the limelight, but believes that the vast majority of North Carolinians were sincerely interested in helping the state solve the segregation problem in the easiest and calmest way possible, without defiance of the law.

A letter writer indicates that he had seen that Joe DiMaggio said that the Brooklyn Dodgers would contrive to lose the World Series, regardless of how good they were. He gave as his reason for that conclusion that Brooklyn was afflicted with a deep-rooted sense of masochism which made them unconsciously desirous of humiliation by the Yankees or any other American League team. He had insisted that nothing short of brainwashing would cure them of that Freudian death-wish. This writer responds, "Nuts." He would take the roster of the Dodgers any day or night of the week. "It's Jolting Joe who should lie back down on the psychoanalyst's couch."

A letter writer from Birmingham, Ala., indicates that in earlier times in South Carolina, beginning with the colonial period, the people had assembled on Sundays and sometimes for several days at a time to sing together as a group or as a choir. The custom was still practiced in a few places, but there was an inclination on the part of audiences to keep trios, quartets and soloists on the stage during most of the day. He says that as a lover of gospel choir singing, he had the privilege of attending those sessions on several occasions in South Carolina and in other states, and had seen several thousand people assembled, including hundreds of singers, with the program devoted entirely to duet, trio, or quartet concerts. He found it a little discouraging as in those audiences, there were often accomplished song leaders, composers and visitors from different states, who were nevertheless deprived of any chance to lead the assembly in harmony. He finds that a thousand voices made better music, better balance and more harmony, creating a finer spirit, than produced by two or three or four voices, and expresses the hope that arrangements could be made to have singing conventions across the South and across the state which would be entirely devoted to congregational music.

A letter from the commander of the North Carolina Wing of the Civil Air Patrol thanks the newspaper for its coverage of the damage done by Hurricanes Connie and Diane in mid-August and for the emergency communications work by the North Carolina members of the CAP during the hurricanes.

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