The Charlotte News

Friday, October 9, 1953


Site ed. Note: The front page reports that in Georgetown, British Guiana, Britain had removed the Prime Minister, Jeddie Jagan, and five other Cabinet members this date, to prevent Communists from taking over the Government of the colony. Governor Sir Alfred Savage declared a state of emergency under which the six-month old constitution was to be scrapped, the British charging that there was a Communist plot to turn the rum and sugar colony into a "totalitarian state subservient to Moscow". British troops had arrived at the colony the previous day to maintain order. It was Britain's only holding on the South American continent. Nearly half of its population came from or traced their ancestry to India, with most of the others being either of African or American Indian ancestry. The Prime Minister and the ousted ministers threatened to take the dispute to London, Washington and the U.N. The Prime Minister, married to an American, had denied being Communist or that the left-wing People's Progressive Party, of which he was the leader, was dominated by Moscow. The party had won a majority of seats in the parliamentary elections the prior April. The British, in a statement issued in Georgetown and in London, named the Jagans as being among the ringleaders of a Communist plot aimed at subverting the colonial government and creating "a dangerous crisis both in public order and in economic affairs". The announcement of a state of emergency by the Governor had been received by the population quietly.

In Belgrade, new demonstrations had broken out against the U.S., Britain and Italy, as President Tito and his Cabinet met to formulate new protests against Italian occupation of northern Trieste. Rifle-bearing troops on horseback restrained throngs who swarmed in front of the three embassies in angry protest against the British-American announcement the previous day that they would withdraw their troops from Trieste City and turn over to Italy the zone which they had occupied since the determination of Trieste as a free port after the war, with the remainder of the area continuing under Yugoslavian oversight. The mobs threw stones at the embassies, smashing windows and damaging automobiles, but no major casualties were reported. The Foreign Office apologized to the three Western governments for the violence to their property. Tito summoned his Cabinet into emergency session and the Government was expected to deliver a strong note of protest to Britain and the U.S. later in the day. Yugoslav radio had said that a note had already been delivered to the two countries, warning that Yugoslavia would "take all measures at its disposal to protect its interests and the interests of Trieste Slovenes" within the British-American zone. Reports from Trieste indicated that the Yugoslavs had closed the border between the southern half of the territory which they occupied and the northern part, which was the British-American zone. There was speculation that Tito might rush troops to the border in an effort to delay the British-American withdrawal. Yugoslavia was already planning to appeal to the U.N. The last public statement by Marshal Tito had been that Trieste City, the current zone overseen by Britain and the U.S., should be internationalized and the rest of the territory given to Yugoslavia. Italy had called for a plebiscite by the disputed area's inhabitants to determine their future.

In Bonn, West Germany, Chancellor Konrad Adenauer was elected to a second four-year term this date by an overwhelming vote of the Bundestag, the lower house of parliament, receiving 304 of the 466 votes cast. Four years earlier, the Chancellor had been elected by a margin of only one vote, his own. He received on this date the largest vote of confidence ever granted to a democratic German chancellor.

A report out of Miami indicates that an experimental polio vaccine developed the previous spring by Dr. Jonas Salk of the University of Pittsburgh, working under a March of Dimes grant, had been approved for nationwide vaccination tests on hundreds of thousands of children, perhaps as early as 1954. The tests would determine whether the vaccine was ready for general use. Additional preliminary research on humans since the previous spring had strengthened hopes that the vaccine would be effective against the crippling disease. Dr. Salk had reported to the American Academy of Pediatrics that the vaccine had been tested in 637 humans, including 13 described in his original report the previous spring, and that the tests had repeatedly demonstrated that the vaccine could produce antibodies theoretically protective against the major viruses of polio. He also reported that the vaccine was safe. He stressed, however, that it was still necessary to determine whether the vaccine could protect against the disease in nature. The announcement prompted the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis to begin plans for the nationwide tests, for which the organization had earmarked 7.5 million dollars for the purpose.

James P. Mitchell was sworn in this date as the new Secretary of Labor, replacing resigned Martin Durkin, who had left the Cabinet because, he contended, the President had reneged on a pledge to present 19 amendments to Taft-Hartley to Congress. The new Secretary was a former New York City department store executive with long experience in labor relations. He had been Assistant Secretary of the Army prior to the appointment. Mr. Mitchell declined to discuss with newsmen the Taft-Hartley controversy.

In Kansas City, the funeral was held this date for six-year old Bobby Greenlease, kidnapped and murdered on September 28, his body having been discovered in a shallow grave three days earlier, behind a house in St. Joseph occupied by the two confessed kidnapers. About 100 close friends of the family attended a silent prayer service at a funeral chapel, after which a Requiem High Mass was conducted in the St. Agnes Catholic Church. During the Mass of the Angels, usually said for children, the doors of the church remained open, permitting an overflow crowd of about 750 people outside, with heads bowed in prayer, to hear. About 45 pupils from the Catholic school which the boy had attended and from which the kidnapping had taken place, filed into the chapel in pairs for the service. Meanwhile, at about the same time, the two kidnappers were being arraigned and were ordered held on $100,000 bail each, for the present charged with extortion under Federal law. Both waived a preliminary hearing. The Justice Department announced the previous day that the State of Missouri would be given jurisdiction as it appeared that no state lines had been crossed by the kidnapers. Missouri had the death penalty for both murder and kidnaping, regardless of whether harm came to the victim of the kidnaping. No decision had been reached on whether the suspects would be charged with murder in St. Joseph or kidnaping in Kansas City. Eventually, for reasons yet to be revealed, possibly because of the mixed venue issue and the presence of Federal jurisdiction because of the use of interstate modalities to communicate the ransom demand and to transport the body of the victim, the suspects would plead guilty to murder and kidnaping in Federal District Court, and a jury would be empaneled for the purpose of recommending their punishment. The defense may have also believed that the defendants would fare better in the Federal system than in the state system. Nevertheless, both would be sentenced to death and would be executed on December 18. The FBI had withheld a nationwide alert on a third suspect, pending clarification of inconsistencies in the statements of the two primary suspects. Eventually, the male would admit that he had fabricated his story that the third person had killed the boy, admitting that he had committed the murder. The third suspect had no part in the kidnaping.

In Knoxville, Tenn., a truck driver created a disturbance in a café two nights earlier and was ejected, then returned the previous night, apologized to the restaurant manager and then departed, but returned a few minutes later, shouting, "You're the guy I've been looking for," and fired three times, striking the restaurant manager in the arms, legs and stomach, at which point the manager opened fire with a pistol, hitting the truck driver in the head and side. Both men died.

In Raleigh, a commission authorized by the 1953 Legislature began studying this date the possibility of reorganizing state government. Albert Coates, director of the Institute of Government in Chapel Hill, reported to the commission on preliminary work which the Institute's staff had accomplished regarding governmental reorganization, saying that the Institute had conducted a survey of similar reorganization commissions in other states and the results which they had accomplished.

Gale-force winds of 50 mph and heavy rain hit a wide section of Florida this date, as a tropical force bore down on the Gulf west coast near Fort Myers, with more heavy rain forecast. An advisory on the storm, named Hazel, said that its center was only 25 miles northwest of Fort Myers. The storm should not be confused with the major hurricane of the following October, also named Hazel.

In Albuquerque, a report indicated that throughout the world, professional and amateur astronomers possibly would be treated to the spectacle of a meteor shower, not seen for seven years. The director of the Western world's only Institute of Meteorites, located at the University of New Mexico, said that there were good reasons to believe that a respectable shower would occur this night, but that unlike an eclipse, it could not be predicted for certain. The earth had to be at its node for the shower to be visible, generated by the earth passing through the tail of Giacobini's comet, the last occurrence having been in 1946, when approximately 200 shooting stars were observable within a minute in the Southwestern U.S. between Albuquerque and the West Coast, whereas the average was about 60 per hour. The rest of the country, lying under heavy cloud cover and a full moon, had not been able to observe anything out of the ordinary. Several Eastern universities had prepared for years for the spectacle but had missed it because of the clouds. This time, there would be no new moon to obscure the shower. The comet had first been discovered at the beginning of the 20th Century, and one of the largest showers ever observed had been over Europe in 1933—therefore, perhaps, suggestive of a somewhat ominous portent.

In Adelaide, Australia, British and Australian scientists were reported to be awaiting favorable winds from the southeast to conduct Britain's second atomic test in the south Australian desert, the scientists wanting the winds to carry radioactive clouds away from inhabited areas.

In Salt Lake City, a burglar, dubbed by the local press "Cinderella", had left both of his shoes behind as he fled a home after the occupants surprised him as he was tiptoeing through their bedroom.

In Detroit, a woman testified in her divorce suit that her husband gave her periodic intelligence tests and branded her "stupid" if she scored less than 98 percent. She was granted the uncontested divorce. She said that he was "very proud of his college education". They had been married since May, 1951. Why did he want to marry a stupid person?

On the editorial page, "The Walrus Had a Word for It" suggests that the City Council, just for the novelty of it, ought adopt the agenda of the Walrus in Alice in Wonderland and talk "of shoes and ships and sealing wax, of cabbages and kings, and why the sea is boiling hot, and whether pigs have wings." Or, it suggests, it might follow the Mock Turtle and take up "Reeling and Writhing … and the different branches of Arithmetic—Ambition, Distraction, Uglification, and Derision." It finds that in either event, the session of the Council would be more entertaining and more instructive than listening redundantly to Councilman Basil Boyd's tiresome tirades against Drew Pearson anent the latter's lament about the study of the police department and the earlier relationship of Police Chief Frank Littlejohn to Miami associates of gambling kingpin Frank Costello.

It indicates that amid the clamor was an important issue, that on August 5, a member of the Council had moved that a committee of three Charlotte citizens be appointed to make recommendations to the Council for securing and maintaining proper personnel in the Police Department, with salaries comparable to private enterprise and advancement of officers periodically, for the retirement of officers on an adequate financial basis at certain age limits, and for an adequate and thorough training program, plus any other recommendations as appeared necessary. It trusts that the committee was proceeding with its work as set forth by the proposal creating it and had not been diverted by the hue and cry set up by Councilman Boyd and Mr. Pearson regarding matters beyond the committee's province, that its report would be helpful and constructive, as the common concern was to develop the best police department possible.

"Closer Supervision May End Jail Suicides" indicates that by keeping an officer on duty in the jail corridors at all times, the City could stop future suicide attempts by prisoners. Some weeks earlier, Mayor Philip Van Every had put a special committee to work on the problem, the committee having suggested covering the bars across the top of the cells with a perforated iron sheet or a heavy mesh wire to eliminate the possibility of a prisoner hanging a suspension device from the bars. But the State Board of Public Welfare had rejected that plan on the basis that the coverings would cut off too much light and ventilation to the cells, producing, it said, more criticism of City officials than had ever been caused by the infrequent suicides.

It indicates, for the benefit of the Board, that the officials' efforts in the city were motivated by something more than fear of criticism, that when the City placed a person behind bars, it assumed the obligation to protect the prisoner against harm, including self-harm. It was that end to which the adopted plan to provide constant supervision from the corridors had been directed. It would be expensive, it ventures, but would be worth prevention of further suicides.

"The Changing Scene in China" suggests that persons interested in U.S. policy toward China pay close attention to the series of articles by Joseph Alsop being written from Hong Kong, as Mr. Alsop had known China first-hand during its civil war and had maintained a keen eye on it since. It finds one statistic cited in a prior column particularly interesting, regarding the growth of the Trans-Siberian Railway connecting the Far East with Russia, indicating that it had an annual carrying capacity of 11 to 15 million tons per year, and that about 60,000 tons of merchandise was being brought into Chinese ports weekly in Soviet, satellite and neutral ships.

It finds that the oft-discussed trade sanctions against Communist China, applicable to the U.S. and its allies, no longer counted for much, given China's expanding means of communication and trade with Russia and its satellites. An attempted blockade of China, therefore, would not be nearly as effective as it was when the Trans-Siberian Railway was only a small operation. Thus, phrases long associated with the policy toward China, "economic sanction", "boycott", and "blockade", had lost much of their relevance.

"See Yourself" indicates that a man had come barreling into the newsroom "mad as a hornet" about having seen his picture on the editorial page, showing him getting out of his car on the traffic side, looking straight ahead, with the car door wide open—apparently the mad man owning a 1951 Chevrolet—, and the cut line beneath the picture indicating an absent-minded "fumble-wit". But, as he was quickly shown, the picture had been posed, using a News employee, and it was not the visitor at all. It suggests that perhaps he had a guilty conscience, as many had been guilty of such dangerous driving practices depicted in the series of pictures on the page, replacing for the nonce the editorial cartoons. It hopes that other persons would also see themselves in those pictures and become more mindful of their errors when driving and parking.

You probably, as a public service to people who might become witnesses to a bank robbery getaway vehicle, ought publish pictures of a 1947 Ford and a 1953 Chevrolet, showing the differences in outline and detail. Incidentally, the first Corvettes were about to be introduced for the 1954 model year, with the first T-Birds still a year away. You will be able to zoom away from the bank robberies in sporty style, even if the drive-trains were from the standard passenger cars, though so ostentatiously that you will be caught within a couple blocks. Better stick with the standard black sedans, blending with the other traffic. Also, remember to get a spray job right after the job.

A piece from the Greensboro Daily News, entitled "No Way To Prepare", indicates that there was further evidence of the old guard, with its outmoded attitude toward rehabilitation, taking over again in the state prison system, along with the reappointment of other second-rung officials who had lost out under the prior prison directorship of Walter Anderson. It names some of those officials, as reported by the Raleigh News & Observer.

It finds it difficult to fit such a reversion to old ways into the pattern of promised penal reform and preparation for separation of the prison system from the Highway Department, as promised by Governor William B. Umstead and the Highway Department chairman, A. H. Graham, and the current director of Prisons, William Bailey. It finds that the prison system needed enlightened management and a nonpartisan administration.

Pete Ivey of the Winston-Salem Journal tells of the North Carolina persimmon crop, finds them getting ripe early after a hot, dry summer, but assures that they would be available all through October as the fruit did not ripen at the same time. Some people were prejudiced against them and would not touch them before or after a frost. They had heard how sour they were, puckering the mouth and making chills run up and down the spine. He finds such people misinformed, as well as "unawakened to the delight of a ripened persimmon." He explains how he had become a devotee of persimmon pudding, in October, 1939 at a boarding house on Marshall Street in Winston-Salem. Stuart Rabb—who came from the Journal to the News in May, 1941 to replace W. J. Cash as associate editor, a position he held for only one year—also stayed at the boarding house at the time and had wondered aloud who had ever heard of "salmon pudding", when the waiter explained that they had two types of pudding as dessert, peach and salmon. Mr. Rabb thus selected peach, but Mr. Ivey decided to be daring and try the salmon, which turned out to be persimmon, mispronounced as "simmon", misheard as salmon. He liked the pudding and thereafter it was served often at the boarding house, as boarders who had been prejudiced against it since their childhood were cajoled into trying it, also finding it pleasing to the palate.

He indicates that bezoar was a disease caused in possums from eating persimmons, the astringent pulp of which remained in their stomach for a time and that some of the hair, which the possum licked from its fur and swallowed, eventually would congeal with the persimmon juice to form a hairball, which, when reaching a certain size, gave the possum bezoar, often resulting in death. Persimmons could cause pain in human stomachs as well if too much persimmon juice of the unripened variety was consumed. He quotes from The New Yorker a verse about such an unfortunate, who died of the "dread bezoar".

He provides the recipe for persimmon pudding and assures that the taste of it was unforgettable. He says that the moral to the story was that the state had a unique and wonderful crop of persimmons and that many were living out their lives without ever knowing or appreciating their true goodness.

Thank you very much, but we choose to pass. You can take your possum and your persimmons and climb a tree, along with the baked rattlesnake.

Drew Pearson indicates that former President Herbert Hoover had returned to the room where he had once held Cabinet sessions 21 years earlier, this time as a member of the new Commission on Government Reorganization. He was elected chairman by unanimous vote, and then proposed that the election of the vice-chairman be postponed because of unexplained difficulties. Mr. Pearson indicates that Mr. Hoover had planned to propose former Ambassador to England Joseph P. Kennedy to be the vice-chairman, as he believed it ought go to a Democrat and the former President regarded Mr. Kennedy as an anti-Stevenson Democrat—as he could not yet know that in 1956, the Ambassador's son, Senator John F. Kennedy, would nearly become the vice-presidential nominee on the Stevenson ticket, the selection of the second spot to be left to the convention by Mr. Stevenson. Mr. Pearson continues that at the last minute, Senator Homer Ferguson of Michigan told Mr. Hoover that he wanted to be vice-chairman, that it could give him the prestige he would need in a tough re-election race with Governor Mennen Williams in 1954. The former President was not too happy about that prospect as he had wanted a Democrat in the position, and several members of the Commission believed that if a Republican were to fill that role, it should be Congressman Clarence Brown of Ohio, who had written the reorganization legislation. Mr. Brown had made it clear that he did not regard highly Senator Ferguson, indicating that he was "bootlicking those fellows as if he knew all about reorganization", as the Senator posed for photographers with former President Hoover and Justice Harold Burton, who had sworn in the new commissioners. He further said that he wanted the photo to help him in his campaign and yet he had not even read the reorganization bill before it was tossed in the hopper, Mr. Brown having personally written the bill before providing it to Senator Ferguson to introduce as co-sponsor in the Senate. Meanwhile, the former President was trying to unravel the situation and determine who would be the vice-chairman before the next meeting of the Commission on November 16.

Mr. Pearson notes that there probably would have been no reorganization commission without Congressman Brown, as the President did not actually want one, having appointed Arthur Flemming and Nelson Rockefeller as his own committee to make recommendations of reorganization of the Government. But Mr. Brown had come to the White House and reminded the President that he would have to get his reorganization bill through Congress, and therefore the President had yielded and appointed the Commission.

Marquis Childs tells of four officials of the Administration, two of Cabinet rank, having compared notes during a flight to speaking engagements at a large convention, regarding their long hours of work, reporting to one another that they rarely got home before 8:30 p.m., and had to have dinner on a tray, as the family meal had long been over. Oveta Culp Hobby, the first Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, the only female member of the Cabinet, reported a similar experience.

Mr. Childs indicates that Mrs. Hobby had made 23 major speeches and some minor ones since entering the Cabinet eight months earlier, which, in addition to her ordinary responsibilities, created a demanding schedule. As part of her duties, she had to approve a program for the enlargement of the Social Security system, in keeping with campaign promises of 1952, and had to keep that program moderate, in accord with the President's philosophy. In one of her speeches, before the American Hospital Association in San Francisco, she had said that she believed most Americans were opposed to compulsory Federal health insurance, that most families could pay the bills for ordinary illness, but that there had been no method found to save the average family from destruction from the bills created by a catastrophic illness. Nor, she said, had there been a way found to ensure retired senior citizens security amid the increased illnesses accompanying age. She spoke of the need for more doctors, pointing out that medical schools in the country were graduating only 7,000 per year, as compared with about 6,000 prior to World War I, while the population had increased from 105 million to 160 million in the same period. Furthermore, a greater percentage of doctors were engaged in research presently than earlier. The speech had drawn an immediate response from the president of the AMA, who said that it was unnecessary for any family to suffer catastrophic financial loss from an extended or chronic illness, that the AMA had been working on the problem for years and that it was being solved, the main problem being that families suffering such a crisis did not know where to turn to obtain available help.

Mr. Childs indicates that Mrs. Hobby's modest proposal had met a deadend, as the middle of the road was a hard place to find, receiving brickbats from both sides and rewards not likely to be in proportion to the hours of effort.

Robert C. Ruark in Casablanca, French Morocco, indicates that it was an odd feeling to return to Casablanca after several years, that when he had seen it toward the start of World War II, it had been "a mysterious place full of veiled Arabs and sinister sounds and smells." It had since turned into a Pittsburgh with palm trees. It was the hub of U.S. big bomber bases, from which an atomic war against Russia might someday be launched. The bases had been under construction for a couple of years and were not yet finished, prompting Congressional investigations, as well as criticism from the press, whose members had rarely been given a glimpse of the bases. The Air Force had fought with the Corps of Engineers, with contractors, the Department of Defense, the Bureau of the Budget and the French Government.

"Casa was, and is, still flooded with hairy, hard-drinking, rough-voiced construction stiffs, who made more money than they ever saw, drove big cars, shot craps at the only real crap-game in town, flooded the economy with loose money and referred to all Arabs as 'rag-heads'. There is one place down by the wharves where an ex-GI makes a handy living selling fried chicken." It had been a boom town in the sense of the Gold Rush boom, as the U.S. abroad was the new gold mine, upon which everyone wanted a claim. The shops got rich off the wives of the construction workers, who had money to spend and spent it.

Plans for the Air Force bases had been canceled, redrawn, re-canceled and drawn again, with sites changed. Each aspect of the construction force was hamstringing the other. The bases had been ordered hurriedly a couple of years earlier, in case the country had to go immediately to war with Russia, and so operated as a crash program. There were runways at two of the bases where planes could take off and land, though the bumps were still being fixed. The airfields would probably cost about 500 million dollars, but, he concludes, the important thing was that the country got them, flaws and all.

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