The Charlotte News

Wednesday, August 26, 1953


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Secretary of State Dulles said this date, in a speech before the ABA in Boston, that the "pre-atomic age charter" of the U.N. contained "serious inadequacies" and needed to undergo important alterations. He pointed out that the Charter had been drafted and signed at San Francisco in late June, 1945, before the successful test in mid-July of the first atomic bomb and the dropping of the first pair of bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and 9, 1945. He said that therefore it was obsolete before it had even become effective. He said that, as a person who was present at the Charter Conference, he could say with confidence that if the delegates had known of the power of the atom at the time, the provisions of the Charter dealing with disarmament and the regulation of armaments would have been "far more emphatic and realistic." He said that the second inadequacy of the Charter had been the placing of reliance on peacetime continuation of the wartime partnership of the U.S., Britain and Russia, with the result that power for action was concentrated in the Security Council, with its five permanent members having the unilateral veto, relegating the General Assembly to an advisory role. The third inadequacy, he said, was the fact that the Assembly had made only little progress in establishing fundamental law among nations embodying eternal principles of justice and morality. He advocated the calling of a Charter review meeting by the Assembly in 1955, and that the U.S. would vote in favor of such a conference. He also spoke about the proposed amendment to the Constitution to make it more difficult for the President to enter into treaties, making executive agreements subject to ratification, indicating that several treaties which had been approved by the Senate in the recently concluded 1953 session would have been rendered unconstitutional by the amendment because they dealt with matters of state jurisdiction, such as negotiable instruments law, local licensing laws, and the like. He believed that the amendment was not fully understood, even in the Senate.

The ABA house of delegates had adopted resolutions condemning "book burning" and pledging support for lawyers who, though personally anti-Communist, defended subversives as a matter of public duty. It found that freedom to read was corollary to the First Amendment right to freedom of the press. The resolution had also said that there was no good reason why overseas information libraries should include propaganda against the United States, but that the reasoning did not apply to domestic libraries, where truth could be counted upon to prevail in free competition of ideas.

At the U.N. in New York, Russia this date maneuvered to force the U.N. to vote first on the Soviet proposal for inviting six fighting countries and nine neutral nations to the upcoming Korean peace conference. Normally, such a resolution would be voted on last, as it had been submitted last, but Soviet lead delegate Andrei Vishinsky had submitted the revised proposal as an amendment to that sponsored by the U.S. and 14 other nations which had fought for the U.N. in Korea. That latter proposal had recommended that all of the fighting nations be invited to the conference, a proposal which normally would have been voted on first, but Assembly rules provided that amendments had first priority in voting. In other business, the Security Council met to determine whether to consider a complaint by Arab-Asian nations that France had illegally removed the Sultan of Morocco from his throne, a matter on which the U.S. had announced it would join Britain and France in voting against placing on the agenda, virtually dooming it.

In Bonn, West Germany, the British released nine war criminals from prison this date, reducing the number of such prisoners to 82 still held. No big names were among those freed. They included Germans convicted of killing Allied prisoners of war and mistreating prisoners in concentration camps.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported this date that the cost of living had reached a record high in mid-July, with enough of an increase to enable autoworkers, under their contract escalator clauses tied to colas, to receive a one-cent hourly wage increase. Higher prices for food, rent, transportation and medical care were principally responsible for the increase. The index had reached 114.7 percent of the 1947-49 baseline average, two-tenths of a percent higher than in mid-June. The index was a half percent above that of a year earlier and 12.7 percent above the level at the start of the Korean War in June, 1950.

In New York, the threat of a strike which would tie up the nation's entire long-distance telephone facilities was looming, while efforts to resolve the labor dispute continued. The New York City union local, which represented about a third of the nation's 22,000 long lines workers for Bell System affiliates, was threatening a walkout. Flareups of violence continued the previous day, with trunk cables being cut or damaged by bullets fired into them.

In New York, a Massachusetts stenographer, 25, sobbing hysterically, admitted to police that she had killed the 14-year old sister of a former boyfriend, saying that she had shot the girl in her home in Somerville, Mass., the prior Monday after the girl had told her that her former boyfriend was happy with his new wife. The young woman had been spotted by an alert policeman near Times Square the previous night and he had arrested her. She had initially protested her innocence during ten hours of continuous interrogation, but near dawn, according to police, she admitted that she had shot the girl several times.

In Long Beach, Calif., singer Anita O'Day, 33, was convicted the previous night of illegal possession of narcotics by a jury of six women and six men after deliberating five hours. She was scheduled for sentencing on September 28. She had been arrested in a nightclub on March 15, after vice squad officers said that they saw her inhale powder from a piece of paper, which a laboratory test determined to be heroin. In an initial trial, the jury had deadlocked.

In Charlotte, two young boys had been arrested in connection with the murder of a practical nurse on the night of August 2, as the nurse walked home from work along Elizabeth Avenue near the Presbyterian Hospital. The boys, ages 14 and 16, had, according to detectives, admitted that the older boy had plunged a pocket knife into the nurse's chest, with the intent of robbing her, after laying in wait for her as she walked down the street. They had ridden a bicycle to a point beside the doctor's office where the nurse worked, and saw her walk diagonally across Elizabeth Avenue. They then confronted her and the older boy, who had dropped out of school in the eighth grade and had been arrested previously for store-breaking, stabbed her. Less than two weeks after the killing, another woman's purse had been snatched on the same street, two blocks away from where the nurse had been killed, and the victim in that case said that at least one juvenile was involved. The two suspects had been arrested in connection with the investigation of recent burglaries at the Charlotte Country Club and a car wash, where the older boy had worked. Questioning about the nurse's murder had led the older boy to confess, saying that he had "stuck" her, after which the younger boy asked her where her purse was, to which the nurse had responded that she did not have one. They said that the lights of an approaching car frightened them and they jumped on the bicycle and left. The nurse had $115 in cash on her person, her life savings, hidden in her undergarments, discovered after she was transported to the hospital where she died. If convicted, they potentially faced the death penalty for first-degree murder. The older boy had waived a preliminary hearing in Recorder's Court.

A Charlotte detective had dressed up as a woman the prior weekend and walked around in the area of the slaying, to try to lure the purse-snatcher, but was unsuccessful in doing so, though saying that he had come to realize that there were plenty of "wolves" on the street, leading him to be more sympathetic with women in general.

Mayor Philip Van Every sent a letter congratulating Police Chief Frank Littlejohn and the detective division for apprehending the suspects.

It should be noted that there were at least a couple of inconsistencies between the confessions and the original report of the incident, that the victim had stated in her barely audible dying breaths that a black "man" had been chasing her and she had believed she had eluded him, and that the coroner had determined that the murder weapon was a knife of the switchblade type. Chief Littlejohn had said, a couple of days after the homicide, however, that the nurse's statement, based on statements obtained from the nurse's family members, was likely a confused dying recollection of a prior incident in which she had been followed by a man some months earlier, causing her fear. We mention it because prolonged police interrogation of suspects, a common practice in the days before Miranda warnings, constitutionally mandated under the Fifth and Sixth Amendments since 1966 prior to police questioning of suspects anent a crime, could result in confessions to anything, including the Chicago fire, lending at least some reasonable ground for skepticism regarding any admissions so obtained, especially of juvenile suspects. But, they were Negro boys...

On the editorial page, "From a Muddle to a Fiasco" finds that Governor William B. Umstead had made a mess of the prison situation by firing the director of Prisons, Walter Anderson, and naming in his stead the civil defense director, William Bailey. He had also rebuked the Prisons Advisory Council for exceeding its authority and stating a "threat" against the Governor. He said that he would recommend to the 1955 General Assembly that the prisons be divorced from the State Highway & Public Works Commission.

It finds that Mr. Anderson had been badly treated after devoted service toward reforming and rehabilitating the prison system, that program now suffering a serious setback. The independence of prison administration, which had been established by former Governor Kerr Scott, had been destroyed and authority reasserted for the head of the Highway Commission, A. H. Graham. The judgment of the Advisory Council had been rejected and its future usefulness was thereby limited. Politics had returned as the governing rule of the prison system. Ronie Sheffield, director of the Woman's Prison in Raleigh, had been fired in favor of Ivan Hinton, whose 20 years as director of the Caledonia Prison Farm had given no hint of any aptitude or training for the new post.

It regards the matter as a black chapter in the new Administration of Governor Umstead and for the state, with the only hopeful development being the Governor's pledge to separate the prison system from the highway department in 1955, which, if done, would atone for the inept handling of the current controversy.

It recommends an article on the page by Dr. Howard Odum of UNC, who was a member of the Advisory Council.

"Alton Lennon as a Campaigner" indicates that Senator Lennon had called his recent trip to Charlotte a "get-acquainted" tour, while actually it had been a campaign visit, though not customary to speak in such terms so far in advance of the spring, 1954 Democratic primary. It finds that he had performed well in front of several important Charlotte audiences, that he was an imposing figure, with a good face, a strong voice, a firm handshake and plenty of energy and stamina. He spoke with earnestness and conviction, exhibiting a sense of humor, but relied too heavily sometimes on political platitudes and rhetorical flourishes, although the shortcoming had not appeared to trouble his audiences.

He appeared slightly to the right of Senator Clyde Hoey in his recorded roll call votes thus far in his three weeks in office.

He was already running against former Governor Scott and his biggest task ahead was to make himself known in every part of the state, a task on which, it ventures, he had made considerable progress during the current week.

"'Subsidy'" indicates that Senator Joseph McCarthy was complaining about the "subsidy" which newspapers obtained through low second-class mailing rates. It informs that an audit of The News for the year ending March 31, 1953 had shown that the newspaper had an average total net paid circulation of 68,463 per day. Of that total, 329 newspapers were sent to subscribers by mail, less than four-tenths of a percent of the total circulation. It concludes: "Some 'subsidy'!"

"Here We Go Again Dept." indicates that in a recent issue of the Wall Street Journal, it was reported that Chrysler's 1951 V-8 engine, with 180 hp, had an increase from 135 hp, and that the following year's model would increase from 220 hp to 235 hp. Similarly, Cadillac, which led all other cars in horsepower with 210, compared with 190 in 1952 and 160 in 1951, was not expected to take the increase by Chrysler lying down, as was the case, it found, also with Lincoln, which currently had 205 hp.

In 1939, Packard engines had led the way with 165 hp, while presently they put out 185 hp, and the next year would exceed 200—and so on down the list of cars, including Pontiacs, Fords, Mercurys, and Chevrolets.

The manufacturers argued that greater engine thrust did not necessarily mean higher speeds, that the extra power was generally geared to cause faster and surer acceleration at low and moderate speeds. It finds that claim to be only a rationalization, that anyone who traveled the highways was aware that higher power of postwar engines made cars go faster, in addition to providing quicker acceleration. And speed was one of the leading causes of highway fatalities.

It finds that the European who wondered why a two-ton vehicle pushed along by an engine of 200 hp was necessary to carry a 150-pound man, had not seen anything yet.

"Seating Arrangement" finds ridculous all of the controversy at the U.N. about who was going to be seated at the Korean peace conference and where they were going to sit. Western Europeans favored the round table approach, while the U.S. wanted two sides to the table, allied and Communist, with no non-belligerents present. Russia and India wanted seats some place at the table, and the U.S. would agree to Soviet participation provided that Communist China and North Korea approved. But South Korea had said that it would not take part unless India, whose participation it opposed, was seated on the Communist side. It wonders whether anybody could find hexagonal or diagonal tables so that the diplomats could sit down and argue about important things.

A piece from the New York Herald Tribune, titled "To the Couch, Jumbo", tells of news from Johannesburg, South Africa, that an elephant named Nona had remembered so much that it was going to be psychoanalyzed. A newspaper had blown across its face while it was transporting children around a zoo six months earlier, and since that time it had utterly refused to have anything to do with children, leading to psychoanalysis as a last resort.

It finds that psychoanalyzing an elephant would have obvious difficulties, necessitating an extra long reclining couch and great care not to provoke a strong physical reaction from the patient. After those difficulties were overcome, however, it suggests, such an examination might benefit everyone by determining whether size led to delusions of grandeur, floppy ears produced a sense of mortification, or working for peanuts impeded spiritual development.

It concludes that civilization owed the elephant something for having turned it into a bundle of neuroses, that it would be a "jumbo sized test" for psychoanalysis.

Dr. Howard W. Odum, in a piece from the Chapel Hill Weekly of August 21, as indicated in the above editorial, addresses the position of the State Prisons Advisory Council, of which he was a member, tells of North Carolina having been a leader among the states generally in public welfare reform, but not in the area of prison reform, still maintaining the prisons as part of the highway department, the only state still doing so, with the prisons being administered primarily on the basis of cost. The goal of rehabilitation was regarded as something for idealists, academics and clergy, with the aim instead being retributive punishment.

The Council had determined that there could be no successful prison system as presently administered, "in which human values and critical problems of public welfare and security appear to be secondary to fiscal matters and outmoded procedures in penology." There were huge costs and hazards to society by such neglect and maladministration.

As early as the 1920's, it had been universally assumed that relief could never be administered by public agencies because of political manipulation, graft and corruption, and the fact that charity patients were considered the proper constituents of charities and corrections. But North Carolina had made distinguished achievements in the area of public welfare and there was a newly created Federal Department of Health, Education and Welfare.

In administration of the prisons, there had been an assumption that the women's prison ought be administered by a female director, trained and experienced in education, public welfare, penology or other aspects of public service. There was a problem of dual administration and responsibility in the prison system which needed to be cleared up. There was also an accusation of politics playing a role, plus the assumption that ruthlessness in administration was justified as a mode of operation because of the belief that the function of prisons was to punish.

The Council had determined that the primary immediate issue was the appointment of a new director of Prisons by Governor Umstead, and it recommended reappointment of the current director, Walter Anderson, as no one could be found who was more experienced and qualified for the position. It recommended that he be given non-political status and executive status, that the Highway & Public Works Commission adopt rules and regulations submitted by the Council and worked out by Mr. Anderson and specialists, which would look toward rehabilitation of prisoners and more efficient running of the prisons. Dr. Odum also indicates that the Council protested the way in which the women's prison director had been dismissed, but indicates sympathy for Governor Umstead in the situation, for which he had received severe criticism for something with which he had nothing to do or of which he was even aware. "This is a part of what has been termed a muddle that needs to be cleared up."

Drew Pearson indicates that Governor Dewey of New York had a significant talk recently with House Minority Leader Sam Rayburn, indicating that the Governor, who had been instrumental in securing the Republican nomination for General Eisenhower the prior year, was pretty much relegated to the sidelines at present. The Governor had come to Washington to push legislation for cleaning up the New Jersey and New York waterfronts, seeking Democratic support through Mr. Rayburn, which the latter assured him he would receive. The Governor asked the former Speaker how he thought things were going in Washington and who in the new Cabinet was doing a good job, to which Mr. Rayburn had replied that Secretary of Defense Charles E. Wilson was no help, that Secretary of Interior Sinclair Weeks, Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson, and Secretary Dulles were in the same category. He believed that Secretary of the Treasury George Humphrey and Budget Office director Joseph Dodge were, however, good men and that Attorney General Herbert Brownell was doing "all right", but added that most of the people around the President did not understand politics. He suggested that the President needed some good political advice from Republicans who were skilled in politics, such as Governor Dewey, to which the Governor said that there was nothing so unappreciated as unsolicited advice.

When Undersecretary of Agriculture True D. Morse had told the President and the farmers of the Southwest in Denver recently that drought loan applications had been fewer in number than expected, he had referred to a puzzling phenomenon. Though Congress had appropriated 150 million dollars for the drought emergency, only a small number of loan applications had been received from the Southwestern farmers. Officials at the Agriculture Department theorized that the authorization for the loans must have stabilized conditions, enabling the banks to have new confidence to grant loans to the farmers directly, thus obviating the necessity to obtain the Government loans.

Senator Joseph McCarthy was so upset over the Senate report on his strange financial transactions that he personally stormed into a bookstore and tried to argue that they should cease selling copies of the report. When Senator William Jenner of Indiana had taken over the Senate Rules Committee, he had stopped the printing by the Government Printing Office of any further copies of the McCarthy report, but the Beacon Press of Boston had put out a special edition which was selling like hotcakes.

CIO president Walter Reuther had told top Democrats that they would obtain no CIO support or money if they made any deal with the Dixiecrats.

Dwight Palmer, a liberal businessman who was head of General Cable, might become the next chairman of the DNC.

The Congressional Quarterly examines the role of lobbies in the coming 1954 mid-term elections. Spokesmen for public power lobbies, interviewed by the Quarterly, had generally attacked the Administration's new power policy, which would place more responsibility for local power development in local hands, while the private utilities favored the policy. It would become a political issue in 1954. Among the most important bills to be considered by Congress was private development of the Niagara River power, which had already passed the House, with hearings scheduled in January in the Senate. Senator Estes Kefauver had said on August 19 that the policy would be destructive of public power operations and return the nation to the "power trust" days of 1933. The Senator was a member of the public power bloc in Congress, generally composed of Congressmen from areas where public power was important to the local economy, such as the Tennessee Valley and the Pacific Northwest.

The principal lobby representing private utilities was the National Association of Electric Companies, whose representatives said that it was studying the new policy closely.

It indicates that both sides would watch to see whether the new policy would speed completion of pending contracts between the Government and private companies for distribution of energy from Federal projects, those involved in the Southeastern and Southwestern Power Administrations, Bonneville and rural electric co-ops. Decisions made under those contracts would determine how far the Administration intended to go in favoring private utilities under the new policy.

Robert C. Ruark, in Rome, finds that a new U.S. patent number had been issued to a man who had invented a breakable paddle, capable of inflicting punishment but not so much that it would land parents of a paddled child in jail. He finds it a useful invention, one which he intended to purchase and distribute anonymously as Christmas gifts to those who had children. He believed in a certain amount of corporal punishment of children, that there was too much sparing of the rod embraced by modern child psychology, but that most of the mothers he knew thought of him as Attila the Hun. He relates that when he had been a boy, children had said "yes, sir" and "no, sir", "please" and "thank you". If they failed in conformity, then out would come the paddle. His mother had used a lath and whipped him with it until her hand got tired. (His mother may have been communicating an implied threat of being prepared to plaster the walls with his hind parts, a feeling with which, given some of his editorials, we can readily empathize.)

He would never forget an occasion when he was 17 and had sought to steal a kiss from the hired help, caught in the act by his mother, who then took the broom to him. He says it had saved him untold troubles through a succession of secretaries, for every time he started thinking about one of them, a vision of his mother sailing through the door with a broom came to him.

He finds the new invention the best thing since the whiskey-filled golf club and preservative for live worms.

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