The Charlotte News
Tuesday, May 10, 1955
Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Paris, the Western Big Three powers, backed by unanimous consent of the other 12 NATO member nations, extended an invitation to the Soviet Union this date for a conference of the heads of state regarding East-West problems in Europe, to be scheduled for some time during the summer. The conference, which would include President Eisenhower, Soviet Premier Nikolai Bulganin, British Prime Minister Anthony Eden and French Premier Edgar Faure, would be preceded by a two or three-day meeting between the foreign ministers, Secretary of State Dulles, British Foreign Secretary Harold Macmillan, French Foreign Minister Antoine Pinay, and Soviet Foreign Minister V. M. Molotov. The heads of state would then confer for perhaps three or four days to set an outline for a conference of the foreign ministers, during which the heads of state would not be expected to make decisions on substance or render any binding agreements, only effecting agreement on an agenda and designating representatives of their respective nations. The invitation to the Soviets was to be couched in general terms, the details of which would be discussed with Mr. Molotov by the Big Three foreign ministers when they would meet in Vienna the following Saturday, just before signing the Austrian treaty on Sunday. The White House indicated that Secretary Dulles had been given full authority to arrange the meetings of the heads of state, provided he thought it "feasible and useful". Informants had indicated previously that the Western Allies would propose that type of conference, wherein the heads of state would meet in mid-July in neutral Switzerland without a fixed agenda to attempt to formulate broad directives aimed at settling specific causes of tension between East and West in Europe, that those general directives would then be passed to the foreign ministers to be translated into detailed agreements, and that the heads of state would depart the conference immediately after determining a list of talking points and possible ways of resolving them.
The President, in an informal talk to a national conference of Republican women in Washington, said this date that he stood ready to "do anything—meet with anyone, anywhere" in the interest of world peace, with the only condition being that such a meeting would have to confer and maintain U.S. "self-respect". He made no particular reference to the proposed conference of the heads of state during the summer or of the ongoing Paris meetings of the Big Three foreign ministers, but did say that the country would not stand on "minor points of protocol if there is the slightest chance to bring about a better world for our children and those who come after them." The statement elicited cheers from the 1,500 women present. He said further that the Administration had two main objectives, widespread prosperity at home and peace abroad, that the Communists had achieved unity by force, "a knife in the back," that they conformed to the whims of the dictators or were eliminated.
In Tokyo, U.S. Sabre jets had shot down two Russian-built MIG jets between North Korea and Communist China, and probably destroyed another during the morning, according to an Air Force announcement, after 12 to 16 Communist jets had attacked eight U.S. jets over international waters of the Yellow Sea. All of the U.S. jets had returned safely to South Korean bases. The announcement did not state the nationality of the MIGs, which were used by the air forces of North Korea, Communist China and Russia. It said that the MIGs had fired first, and that two of the Communist pilots had bailed out, while the third plane was last seen diving straight down, trailing smoke. It was the third nearly identical incident in the same general area during the previous 16 months. On January 22, 1954, U.S. Sabre jets escorting an RB-45 jet reconnaissance bomber had shot down one MIG-15 after a flight of Communist planes had attacked off the west coast of North Korea. The ensuing February 5, Sabres escorting another such reconnaissance bomber had shot down two more MIGs in a similar battle. The U.N. Command at Panmunjom charged that the MIGs in the latter incident had originated from North Korean airbases, the presence of which constituted a violation of the July, 1953 Armistice. But the North Koreans protested that the U.S. patrol flight had violated North Korean territory, after which the U.S. demanded that truce inspection teams check the charge that North Korea was building its jet fighter strength at North Korean airfields in violation of the Armistice. North Korea rejected the inspection demand, calling it "trickery which cannot be permitted." International law recognized only a three-mile limit off a nation's coast as territorial waters, whereas the Communist nations habitually claimed 12 miles or more.
The Government was likely to increase its efforts to settle the two-month old telephone strike between the Communications Workers of America and Southern Bell Telephone Co., impacting nine Southeastern states, now that the railway strike against the Louisville & Nashville Railroad had been settled after the same length of time, the latter pending further determination in binding arbitration. The assistant director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service had gone to Atlanta this date to try to inject new life into the talks in the telephone strike. Senator Estes Kefauver of Tennessee had sent messages the previous day to CWA and telephone company officials, urging that the strike be submitted to binding arbitration, as the railroad strike, to prevent further interruption of telephone service in the affected states.
In Raleigh, cotton warehouse representatives this date argued for legislation to exempt from ad valorem property taxes agricultural products stored in interstate commerce under "transient privileges".
Also in Raleigh, the State Senate Finance subcommittee worked out a 9.7 million dollars per year tax package this date, including an additional two-cent per bottle tax on beer, which would raise 1.76 million, substituting for a revision of license tag fee increases on automobiles proposed by a House Finance subcommittee, which would have raised 1.45 million dollars per year. The state would need approximately ten million dollars per year in new taxes to balance its 640 million dollar budget during the ensuing two fiscal years.
Also in Raleigh, the Mecklenburg County Declaration of Independence, which had been a subject of controversy for more than a century because of its questionable provenance, the original having been destroyed in a fire in the early part of the 19th Century and recorded only thereafter by memory, was the subject of new debate this date before the State House Conservation and Development Committee. After a hearing, the Committee amended and then approved, by a 5 to 4 vote, a bill setting up a commission to gather materials on the matter, also providing that the Department of Archives and History would place the materials on display. An amendment to the first sentence of the bill, which originally had read, "The Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence was signed on May 20, 1775…", inserted "… is believed to have been signed…" Another change would add to the proposed six commission members named in the bill other members to be appointed by the Governor. Dr. Christopher Crittenden, director of the Archives and History Department, had led the opposition to the bill as it was introduced, arguing that the Assembly should not, by specific legislation, require the Department to take a stand on such a controversial matter. He made clear that he had never stated that the Declaration was a "myth", as reported, clarifying that there was insufficient evidence to prove the case either way, and that in the event an original would be produced or some other form of indisputable evidence adduced that the Declaration existed in the form in which it was later transcribed, he would have no objection to its inclusion in the Archives.
In Hope Mills, N.C., three persons had been killed and six injured, one critically, the previous night when a freight train hit a car which had stalled on a grade crossing.
In Las Vegas, actress Joan Crawford,
47, was married in a surprise ceremony early this date to Alfred
Steele, president of the Pepsi-Cola Co., the ceremony having been
performed in the wee hours of the morning in the penthouse of the
Flamingo Hotel, with a municipal judge officiating. After the
ceremony, Ms. Crawford said that it was "the happiest moment"
The reported reason, incidentally,
for former Vice-President Richard Nixon being in Dallas, Tex., on
November 21-22, 1963, departing Love Field approximately one hour
before the arrival of President and Mrs. Kennedy on that latter
fateful day, was for him to be present at a Pepsi-Cola bottlers meeting, along with Ms. Crawford,
whose husband had died in 1959,
Pepsi having been a major client of the law firm for which Mr. Nixon
then worked in New York. Whether there were other reasons for his
presence in Dallas that day, a notoriously disruptive presence given
the lingering doubts among some regarding the validity of the close
1960 election, in which Senator Kennedy had defeated the
Vice-President, and the fact that U.N. Ambassador Adlai Stevenson had
been spat upon during a trip to Dallas in late October, among other
expressions of hate toward Democrats and "Northern liberals"
emanating from residents of that area in those times, remains a
nagging question of history, almost always overlooked in favor of
absurd notions implicating Vice-President Johnson in the
assassination of President Kennedy, that latter effort intended to
obfuscate and distract from the painfully obvious question: Why
On the editorial page, "Small Business: A Helping Hand" tells of the South growing out of its agricultural adolescence rapidly, with a new accent firmly on big industry. The South was vying for big companies, such as General Electric, DuPont and Ford, and North Carolina had been particularly vigorous in that courtship. (You should not overlook G.M.)
But there had been a growing feeling among economists in the state that in its headlong quest for industrial bigness, it had perhaps overlooked the worth of small business, which could contribute much to the state's security and general well-being.
Governor Luther Hodges, addressing the State Bankers Association the previous day in Pinehurst, had delivered an economic prescription which was what the state needed, proposing the formation of a development credit corporation "as a facility for the promotion of small business" in the state. It would be set up as a private corporation, which would possibly be tax-exempt for a period of time, and would provide the venture capital which small business would need to get started or expand. By providing a source for possible long-term credit for approved small businesses, it would be an important addition to the state's resources and it finds the idea sound and well-tested, as New England already had such an organization and Governor Averell Harriman of New York had recommended establishment of a similar organization there.
It suggests that such an organization might find it advisable to go further by offering counsel on all sorts of problems faced by small businesses, financial or otherwise. By helping the small business establish in the state, the state would be helping itself as well as small business, while building a sound foundation on which a prosperous economic life could be constructed.
"Who Has the Fiscal Corkscrew?" indicates that the 1955 General Assembly had approved an enabling act to establish a small claims court in Mecklenburg County, with the law spelling out clearly the framework for that court, but that the law was meaningless unless the County Board of Commissioners decided to make use of it.
It urges that the need to relieve the logjam of litigation in the regular courts militated in favor of establishment of a small claims court in the county and that the law should therefore be utilized. Local attorneys had told the Board the previous day that it presently took between 12 and 18 months to get a case tried in the Superior Court civil division. The piece indicates that it was too long to wait for justice and that by removing the cases seeking less than $3,000 in damages and having them heard in small claims would relieve that pressure and afford more readily the right of a speedy trial—albeit only constitutionally prescribed for criminal cases.
It indicates that the request for a small claims court had been taken under advisement by the Board, as the commissioners had grumbled sometime earlier that there was not enough money or space at present for another court, and in the coming biennium budget approved the previous day, there was no appropriation for it. It asserts that for such a worthy project, money and space could be found if the commissioners wanted to do so. It hopes that it was not too late to act and urges that the small claims court be established.
"A Hasty Retreat on a Hard Problem" indicates that it could think of no other reason than anticipated political gains for members of Congress to have turned their backs on the program of flexible farm supports passed in the previous session, as the conditions which had brought about the flexible supports legislation had not changed in the interim, with overproduction stimulated by the fixed 90 percent supports, which the House now favored, still present. But a majority of the House apparently believed that the political climate had changed.
It reminds that the 1954 flexible supports legislation had provided for support on basic crops at between 82.5 and 90 percent of parity for the current year, with an expanded range of between 75 and 90 percent for the following year, designed to bring production into balance. It had not been given a chance to work, and would end unless the Senate refused to pass the same measure returning to the fixed 90 percent supports.
Flexible supports had been supported by many farm economy experts and farm organizations, both those aligned with Democrats and those aligned with Republicans. The current system was similar to that which Senator Clinton Anderson of New Mexico, former Secretary of Agriculture, had sponsored and had been passed by a Democratic Congress, that system also having never been permitted to operate.
Several Midwestern Congressmen had been advised by polls of farmer constituents to continue support of the flexible system, and it suggests that the slight shift in voter sentiment in the midterm elections of 1954 were not necessarily tied to the farm issue. A decline in farm income was reason for concern to both the farmer and the rest of the economy, but the decrease had not been shown by its opponents to be a result of the new support law, and the piece doubts that it would be.
It urges that the Senate take the responsible position of giving the law a chance to work to cure the problems inherent in the fixed-percentage price support system.
A piece from the Florida Times-Union, titled, "Rebuilt, Not 'Reconstructed'", indicates that while the people of the South were paying tribute this date to the men who died in the Civil War, they would be more aware of the "New South" than of the "Old South", that the states of the former Confederacy had never been too preoccupied with affairs of the day to pause in a moment of silence for the sacrifice of the men of the "thin gray line", but that the people of the South at present were not living in the past, rather looking to a bright future with a spirit "equally as potent as that which sustained their courage in the War Between the States."
It indicates that only a person with ties to the Old South and a keen appreciation of what lay ahead in the New South could understand why citizens of New Orleans a couple of years earlier had abhorred the idea of the Robert E. Lee monument being "reconstructed" instead of rebuilt. It had been a bitter reminder of days following the Civil War and city officials had ordered it removed from the site.
Looking at the Civil War in perspective, there were many economists at present who declared the South to be benefiting from the former conflict, that it had been perhaps a boon to the section insofar as it tended to make people realize the value of their resources.
It indicates that, unfortunately, the words of Henry Grady anent a "New South" did not register as quickly as he had hoped they would with his fellow Southerners during those fateful "reconstruction" days. It observes that as a region, they had indulged too long in self-pity, but now had thrown off the shackles of tradition which had retarded progress. It finds that the knowledge of the South's history was essential to an understanding of the great empire below the Mason-Dixon Line, but that it should not obscure their "vision of the great realm" in which they lived, urges that the South should now think more about its legacy of supplying the nation's finest brains to harness its undeveloped resources.
Drew Pearson indicates that it had been seldom that so many alert young governors had gathered in Washington as during the recent gubernatorial conference, among whom had been Fred Hall of Kansas, Joe Foss of South Dakota, George Leader of Pennsylvania, future 1968 vice-presidential nominee and future Secretary of State under President Carter, Edmund Muskie of Maine, future Secretary of Agriculture under President Kennedy, Orville Freeman of Minnesota, John Simms of New Mexico, and Orval Faubus of Arkansas. There were other young governors who had already served several terms, such as G. Mennen Williams of Michigan, serving his fourth term, Robert Meyner of New Jersey, who acted like an old timer, and such elder statesmen as former Senator Ed Johnson of Colorado, in his seventies but having just been elected Governor, and former Senator and former Governor Ernest McFarland of Arizona.
"Delightful" Governor Faubus (whom Mr. Pearson undoubtedly would not consider so "delightful" by the fall of 1957 when he would begin showing his colors as a segregationist) had been attending a party given by the Arkansas Society and said: "When I was a kid I cut timber for the Fulbright Lumber Company, and didn't have the money to go to a university like the senior Senator from Arkansas. So I had to go to Commonwealth College." The statement aroused a roar from the Arkansas group as Senator J. William Fulbright, a distinguished Rhodes scholar and former university president, had made his money through a lumber company which paid notoriously low wages, and Commonwealth College had the reputation of being a pro-Communist institution, which former Governor Francis Cherry had used against Governor Faubus during the election campaign for his attendance there for nine days, that charge having backfired and Mr. Faubus having been able to defeat an incumbent Governor for re-election for the first time in 118 years in that state. Mr. Pearson indicates that the Governor and Senator Fulbright were good friends and Arkansans took pride in calling themselves hillbillies, but also in the fact that they were represented by a Rhodes scholar and former university president in the Senate.
Texas Governor Allan Shivers had flown to Washington in a chartered 34-seat Braniff airplane, with only his public relations man and the latter's two children accompanying him. He had wooed other governors at the conference and for the most part had won them over. He had conferred pleasantly with DNC chairman Paul Butler at a breakfast, and they had emerged arm in arm, after which Mr. Butler had issued a complimentary statement about the Governor. But Governor Shivers, when talking later to Texas newsmen, had indicated that he would not support Adlai Stevenson in 1956, having supported General Eisenhower in 1952. When asked what Mr. Stevenson would need to change other than his position on tidelands oil to gain the Governor's support, he responded by saying, "His name". Mr. Butler had said, when informed of those comments, that the Governor had not made such statements to him. Most Texas loyalists had been disappointed by the embrace given to him by Mr. Butler, but most figured Governor Shivers was washed up anyway, because of veterans' land scandals, insurance scandals, and other problems which would make it nearly impossible for him to run again.
Congressman Olin "Tiger" Teague of Texas was nervous when he presided over a luncheon with House Speaker Sam Rayburn to his right and Governor Shivers to his left, as Mr. Rayburn, unlike Senator Lyndon Johnson, had never forgiven Governor Shivers for his double-cross in 1952 and Mr. Teague was aware of that fact, in consequence of which he did not introduce Governor Shivers but invited Congressman Joe Kilgore, from the Governor's home district, to make the introduction instead.
The Congressional Quarterly discusses East-West trade, with present plans by the Senate Investigations subcommittee to conduct an investigation of the effectiveness of controls maintained by the U.S. and other Western nations over the export of strategic goods to the Soviet bloc, with the possibility that it could extend to the question of non-strategic materials and East-West trade in general.
The Communists had exerted propaganda to the effect that but for U.S.-enforced trade controls, other countries might have greatly increased and profitable trade with the Soviet bloc. For instance, Denmark was being told that their port of Copenhagen was losing business to Hamburg because the Germans were not as strict as the Danes in their trade controls, while in Hamburg, the Communists contended the same line about Copenhagen. The approach was beginning, however, to lose its vitality, as Western authorities were now beginning to suspect that there was little substance behind the propaganda.
On March 30, 1954, the President had told Congress that "a greater exchange of peaceful goods [with the Soviets] should not cause us undue concern." Subsequently, the U.S. announced a reduction in the list of strategic items subject to international control, and as late as January 18, 1955, Secretary of Defense Charles E. Wilson had suggested trading surplus U.S. butter for Soviet manganese. But on April 15, Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson had said that the entire question of increased trade between the U.S. and the Soviet bloc was "academic and theoretical".
U.S. officials had been examining figures on free world exports and imports to and from the Soviet bloc, which included the Soviet Union, its European satellites and Communist China, and were beginning to think that the real barrier to substantially increased trade with that bloc was not Western trade controls, but rather the East's lack of foreign exchange and the capacity to earn it. The officials had noted that the total East-West trade was the same in 1954 as in 1947, before controls had been applied. In 1947, free world exports to the bloc had totaled two billion dollars and imports had totaled 1.4 billion, while in 1954, the estimated exports and imports were 1.7 billion each, rendering the same total trade. Fluctuations had occurred in the interim years, such that total exports to China had dropped from 672 million to 270 million, resulting from the embargo by the U.S. on all trade with China and a less severe U.N. embargo, while exports to the entire bloc in 1954 had risen by 300 million over a low of 1.4 billion in 1953. The overall fact of no change, however, tended to show, according to the experts, that there was a limited market for Soviet bloc exports in the free world and that without expanded exports, that bloc could not expand its imports unless by selling gold. That had occurred in 1954, when Soviet imports of 600 million exceeded exports by 150 million, forcing the Soviets to sell gold. Communist gold reserves were unknown, but specialists doubted that the Soviets would be willing to continue financing a trade deficit with gold.
If the West were to abandon its strategic trade controls, trade would likely not increase, according to the experts, as the Soviet bloc would simply transfer its free world purchases from nonstrategic to strategic goods. No one knew for certain how effective present controls were, although the Senate Investigations subcommittee intended to find out if possible.
It concludes that it was worth noting that the total East-West trade of 3.4 billion in 1954 constituted only 2.2 percent of all world trade.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge, in Table Talk, provides the definitions of good prose and good poetry, the former being "proper words in their proper places", the latter, "the most proper words in their proper places".
A letter writer from Whiteville, a lawyer with over 50 years of active practice, much of which he says had been in defense of the personal liberties and property interests of black clients, responds to criticism of Senator Sam J. Ervin of North Carolina through correspondence appearing in the press following his remarks to the alumni association of the Harvard Law School recently, criticizing appointments to the Supreme Court as not having included during the previous 20 years very many men with significant prior judicial experience—even if that criticism was counterbalanced by prior letters praising the remarks. The writer finds that it brought to mind the observations of Jonathan Swift: "When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him." He ventures that the Supreme Court had no jurisdiction to amend the Constitution by the "dubious means of reconsidering and reversing a former decision of that court, deciding a constitutional question, such as separation of the races in public schools, such unauthorized amendment of our constitutional law being fully accomplished by the much over-advertised 'May 17th' [Brown v. Board of Education of the previous year], and miscalled 'law of the land' decision of the present, court-packed 'nine black robed men' in Washington." He indicates that within three years—actually, seven—after ratification of the Constitution, the Supreme Court, in Hylton v. U.S., had upheld the constitutionality of an act of Congress, at a time when every member of the Constitutional Convention was still alive, with not one having questioned the Court's jurisdiction to determine the constitutional issue raised in that case. Nine years later, actually seven, in 1803, Marbury v. Madison was decided by the Court, for the first time holding that an act of Congress was unconstitutional. By that point, 39 of the 55 members of the Constitutional Convention remained alive and none had questioned the Court's authority to determine the case accordingly. He further indicates that it had been the invariable rule of the Supreme Court and all of the state appellate courts never to reconsider and reverse a former decision deciding a constitutional question, as the Constitution should remain fixed and settled at all times and not subject to change by reason of changed membership of the Court and, second, that reconsidering and reversing a prior decision on a constitutional question amounted to a short-cut amendment, for which there was no legal authority vested in the courts. He indicates that in only one prior case since the Supreme Court had been organized in 1789, had there been a reconsideration and reversal of a decision formerly decided on a constitutional question, that having been in the legal tender cases during the Administration of President Ulysses S. Grant. There had been two vacancies on the Court at the time and the decision had gone against the Administration by only one vote, whereupon President Grant immediately nominated two new members to fill the vacancies and after their confirmation, the case was re-submitted to the Court, which then, by a single vote, reversed its previous decision. (Actually, the Congress had reduced the size of the Court to seven seats to prevent President Andrew Johnson from being able to fill vacancies, and then expanded it back to nine seats, to afford President Grant the two new appointments.) The people of the country at the time had been so disturbed by the reversal that the President was openly charged with packing the Court for the specific purpose of having the Constitution amended to suit the views and purposes of his Administration. The President had repeatedly denied that purpose as long as he lived. The writer finds that the present Court had done as much in reversing Plessy v. Ferguson of 1896, which had held, 8 to 1, that separate but equal facilities were sufficient to pass constitutional muster under the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. He urges amendment of the Constitution to prohibit the courts from reconsidering, overruling or reversing a former decision on constitutional questions, and also that any such decisions already handed down be declared void.
Again, there is a great difference
in overruling a prior decision which had proved completely unworkable
in practice in achieving its purported purposes of ensuring "separate but
equal" facilities, for decades prior to 1938 having resulted in deference to the states in determining how and to what extent they accorded Separate but Equal Protection, also at great expense, socially and economically, to the states
practicing segregation in trying to effect some semblance of "separate
but equal" facilities, that overturning of precedent thereby expanding a right under
the Constitution, and purporting to overturn a 49-year old precedent
which held that the Constitutional right of privacy extends to the
right of a mother to determine whether or not to terminate a
pregnancy prior to the time of medically determined viability of a
fetus inextricably dependent for the time on the womb for its sustenance
But, as indicated, the February draft opinion of Justice Samuel Alito, which has been leaked in the last two weeks in 2022, we can only hope, will not ultimately become the majority opinion of the Court, and that wisdom will finally prevail, either resulting in a rehearing of the case or in a decision upholding the established precedent in this instance. If not, it would, indeed, be the first time in the nation's history, including Brown, when the Court has overruled a prior, well-established decision and thereby narrowed an established individual Constitutional right, quite contrary to the overall spirit of the Constitution. Moreover, Brown was an unanimous decision, and the current decision in question would, if resulting in overruling Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, not come close to unanimity, probably winding up only in a 5 to 4 vote, rendering thereby such a majority of the Supreme Court little more than a cruel joke to most of the nation henceforth—worse even than the movie tastes attendant having been an aficionado in 1982 of "Fast Times at Ridgemont High", which, we suppose, even so, was more edifying than purple movie parodies regarding Long John Silver—, until that majority would be fundamentally changed. But, we shall await the outcome.
In 1982, incidentally, we were watching such films as "Gandhi" and "The Return of Martin Guerre". And even in 1968, we were attending such fare as "The Graduate", "Planet of the Apes", and "2001: A Space Odyssey", and the year before that, "In Cold Blood", "Up the Down Staircase" and "In the Heat of the Night". What were you watching?
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