The Man Who Didn’t Come to Dinner by Neil Caldwell OBSERVATIONS MR. HOLC MB CHECKS AT U.S.C. Page 3 June 20, 1955 THE TEXAS OBSERVER . 1.1 C 411Z _ . Reminiscence on Bascom’s Happier Days AUSTIN People keep telling me Bascom Giles is coming to trial soon, but I don’t for a moment believe them. The feeling is that this land business is all a naughty dream everybody had one night last fall. But here we have this old fellow, John Cass Adrian, already coming to trial. The feds, of course, work faster, and an extortion rap is, I should think, a bit more serious than a few real estate transactions and the commissions therefrom. And Adrian, in addition, is accused of trying to extort upwards \\., of three-quarters of a million dollars from our ex-Land Commis .. sioner, who is himself accused of lifting a few hundred thousand thousand from the public coffers by one way or another. I remember Bascom, by George I do. Back there when I was in the majorsworking with the pros in the big daily fieldI used to come across Mr. Giles every now and then. He was an intense, idealistic man, it is recalled, fond of people, politics, and tidelands oil. forever mumbling the inscrutable wisdom of the Old South. He liked newspaper people; liked to have them around: liked to talk to them; liked to see his name in the stories. He got damn near truculent, in fact, if the name didn’t get in. , A Routine Assignment Once, on a dull summer morning. I was sent to the Commissioner’s office on some hollow pretense of getting a feature about the veterans’ land program. The idea, as Mr. Giles had related by telephone, was that numerous veterans had overnight turned filthy capitalists through veterans land purchases. Oil or uranium or wombat’s milk or something spectacular had been discovered on the land. It turned out that some pretty good features were found. \(There were some really colossal features quick to turn me ‘over to one of his clerks, who in turn related how a chicken farmer in South Texas, for instance, was now an oil baron as a result of Mr. Giles’s fine program. The first story was written, and it appeared in the next day’s paper. Mr. Giles was on the telephone early that morning, and I was soon back in the Commissioner’s office. He said it was a good story, that there were plenty more where that came from \(this has since wowed me as the ultimate in understateomission. “Next time,” he said, “let’s make sure the Commissioner gets a little credit. We ought to get the commissioner’s name in there somewhere, shouldn’t we?” Yes, I guess we should, I said, and departed. Mr. Giles, incidentally, was never one in those days to stampede for cover should a photographer heave into view. His cheery countenance was almost militantly available when any shutterwork was afoot. And So It Went The next time I faced Mr. Giles was at a meeting of the Veterans’ Land Board and the School Land Board. I had never heard of the things until that very day. The major matter of business had something to do with tidelands oil. The Federal Government had just taken it away, or given it back again, or something. Anyhow, it was pretty hot , stuff, as Mr. Giles related. Bob Trotti, Mr. Shepperd’s assistant attorney general, and Maurice Acers, the Governor’s administrative assistant, were on hand that day, although they didn’t exactly join in the repartee at any great length. The scheme of things on the boards, as I recall, was pretty set. Mr. Giles would say something. Mr. Trotti and Mr. Acers would nod. And so it went. AUSTIN University of Texas students interested in as many controversial speakers and subjects as possible for their “Great Issues” lecture series have the conservative Texas Press and Governor Allan Shivers on the record nowand they’re going to hold them to it. UT students liked nothing better when the Texas press scolded students at the University of Southern California for showing “illiberalism” in their protest of the Governor’s commencement address at USC last week. Better than that was the Governor’s statement about USC students: “They have a right to express their opinions. They, too, if they believe in their right, must recognize their duty to hear the views of all.” Some students at the University of Texas, still bitterly disappointed because Eleanor Roosevelt was not allowed to speak at U T in 1953, pounced on these statements with glee. Wrote Willie Morris, editor of the Daily Texan: “Certainly Governor Shiver s should have been allowed to speak in California. At the same time, however, Eleanor Roosevelt should have been allowed to speak here in 1953. “Shivers and the newspapermen said open-mindedness should have prevailed. We will remember their stand. “With this same open-minded It went, in fact, for several hours. By that time, most of the newsmen were out of cigarettes, so they departed to write their leads for the afternoon papers. The story seemed to be tidelands oil leases, although no one was quite sure. None of us, of course, paid any attention to that veterans’ land mishmash. The afternoon papers carried stories about a zillion or so dollars worth of tidelands oil had now been returned to the school children of Texas. I haven’t seen Mr. Giles since then, except for those funny pictures in the papers. Once, a friend of mine and a friend of his told me: “He’s a funny guy. His lifelong ambition has been to be Governor of Texas. He wants it with a passion. He’s always been held up along the line, though. It looks like he may be getting a few breaks now. He’s getting a lot of publicity.” He still is that. Sic transit gloria Bascom. BB ness, we would welcome to our campus men of such divergent philosophies as Henry Wallace and Joe McCarthy, Robert Oppenheimer and William Knowland, Aneurin Bevan and Bob Talmadge, Adlai Stevenson and Estes Kefauver. … The mandate is concrete: upcountry liberals as well as downcountry conservatives should be invited here to speak on the most truly controversial issue of the day, whatever that issue may be at the time. “The campus of a state university is a place where an honest search for the truth should prevail. Controversy is the essence of truth. Open-mindedness is the essence of controversy. “We will remember.” By PAUL HOLCOMB Special to The Texas Observer LOS ANGELES I arrived here in Los Angeles Saturday afternoon, and the newspapers all were telling of the visit of that “Grate Man from Texas,” who spoke to the graduates of the University of Southern California the day before. While all of the big newspapers are GOP or Dixiecratjust the same as they are in Texas they could not ignore nor conceal the fact that “ouah Governuh” got a very cool reception. Not one representative of USC met him at the airport, and a group of students picketed his hotel with placards saying, “Let’s give Shivers a chilly reception,” and another saying, “We shivers at the thought of you,” also, “Graduation is a time for cheer, Shivers gives it a tone of fear,” etc., etc. All in all it seems that California has all of the crackpots it needs and does not appreciate the man who has “Texas in the Palm of His Hand.” I called the information office of the University of Southern California over the telephone, trying to get the facts. It was very clear were as happy to hear from me as they would have been to have a large rusty nail in the foot. They “referred” me around from one to another, and finally I said: “Well, I’ll have to go down and talk to the newspaper boys,” and that shook them loose, and they connected me with the top brass of their publicity department. I don’t know when I’ve enjoyed a telephone conversation more. I could tell that that nice man \(I’ve “sweating blood.” I kept chuckling along while he was trying to “set me straight” on this dreadful matter until I had to apologize. I said: Trial by Accusation To the Editor: It is high time that the U. S. Senate did some soul-searching … on the way that they are using and abusing their individual powers and privileges. It is high time that the Senate remember not only that they have sworn to uphold the Constitution, but also that the Constitution, as amended, speaks not only of freedom of speech but also of trial by jury instead of “trial by accusation.” …. Those “flagwaving, 200 percent s u p e r-patriotic American” senators who shout the loudest about “Americanism” while making character assassinations are more often than not those who, by their own words and deeds, ignore some of the most basic principles of Americanism: namely, the right to criticize, the right to hold unpopular beliefs, the right to protest, the right of independent thought, and the … Bill of Rights, to mention only a few. .. Numerous Americans are weary of being afraid to speak their minds lest they be politically libeled as “Communists” or “Socialists” or “left-wingers” or “extreme Liberals” by their opponents. Freedom of speech is not what it formerly was in America …. KENNETH CATHEY Houston Courthouse Wisdom To the Editor: …. Here are some quips I heard on the courthouse lawn during the first part of the week. “Pardon me if I seem to be amused because I am amused and delighted.” I had the very extreme pleasure of “setting him right” on some of the misinformation he had acquired and really believe that I left him feeling somewhat relieved. In brief, the facts seem to be that “the Administration” \(the self to invite Shivers without consulting either students or faculty. The senate of the student body voted UNANIMOUSLY to repudi-j ate Shivers and to “boycott” him, and more than 100 faculty members had the courage to sign their “What goes with our on-again, off-again Governor today?” “Oh, he’s nursing some bumps he got from the graduation class at the University of California. “Did you say bumps or mumps?” …. Since the historical meeting in Speaker Rayburn’s kitchen at Washington, the public utterances put out by the Governor’s ghostwriters have sounded more like obituaries than eulogies …. FRANK SOWELL Mount Pleasant Fences To the Editor: As a new reader of the Texas Observer, congratulations, I don’t see a fence built around the political negligence of Shivers and Shepperd. THANKS. A press builds a fence and always fences out more than it fences in. Manhood, not negligence, should be the first aim of leadership, seems to me. L. S. ROBNETT KLONDIKE, TEXAS Too Good for Them To the Editor: When referring to the Dixiecrats, why not call them “Swervatives,” instead of “conservatives or “irregulars.” They love to be called “conservativesthe word is too good for them. A real Democrat is sufficiently conservative, not too liberalwell balanced in all directions. I like your paper. CLARA PATTILLO Dallas names to their protest. I told thei distressed publicity man that I wa “surprised that any university ha that many faculty members why had the guts to sign anything o that nature”and he agreed witl me heartily. The “powers that be” seem t have learned something and hav passed a rule not to invite anybod without consulting the faculty i the future. I have not been able to “feel th public pulse,” but having Nixon and Knowland, Californians should know all about stuffed shirts and phonies. Willie’s Got ’em on the Record And He Hopes to Keep ’em There TEXAS AT LARGE Texans Still Prefer Ike Over Adlai The latest Belden Poll of Texas could not do both because of the political opinion indicates that great detail and routine work ne among qualified voters in May, has been expected to perform. 1955, 41 percent favored Adlai Stev …. Texas CIO has F elected enson and 43 percent Dwight Ei Fred Schmidt of Cuero as executive senhower in a hypothetical 1956 re secretary of the Texas State CIO run of the 1952 campaign. Of all Council to replace D. Roy Harringadults, 44 percent favor Ike and 38 ton of Port Arthur. Harrington, percent Stevenson. Were Kefauver who has had the job since 1952, running against Eisenhower in 1956, quit to return to his job in th’ Ike would get 42 percent of the Texas Company refinery in Port qualified voters, Kefauver 37 per Arthur. Schmidt now lives in Dalcent, or 44 percent of all adults las but will move to Austin with against Kefauver’s 31 percent, Bel his family. CIO’s next state con den concludes. vention will be in Galveston in ….In Duval County, Donato September. Serna, a leader in the Freedom …. The League of United Latin been upheld as the legally proper elected Oscar Laurel of Laredo its auditor of Duval County after a national president in its Galveston legal fight that has lasted a year. convention. Frank Pinedo, past na H. H. Harris, nationallytional president, was defeated fo’ known architect who accepted the re-election. The LULACS adopted directorship of the School of Arci resolution that government ager tecture at the University of Texas cies should set standards for tram. in 1951 with the understanding he porting migratory faimi worker would be allowed to teach and who are often carried in overload maintain private practice of archi ancient trucks with no seating p tecture, has resigned declaring he visions, the resolution said.
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