\(This report was written by Jack Anderson of Drew Pearson’s Washington staff during WASHINGTON Immigration Commissioner Joseph Swing is trying to hush it up, but this column can describe the shocking shipboard conditions that caused 40 Mexican “wetbacks” to leap over the side of the S. S. Mercurio into Tampico Harbor. Five reportedly drowned in an international incident that still has the Mexican press screaming “outrage.” Swing chartered the cargo vessel to ship “wetbacks” home from Texas. Conditions were so foul aboard the ship that Congressman Bob Mollohan even before the Tampico incident. From the Justice Department, Mollohan received a bland letter describing a’ trip aboard the S. S. Mercurio as a “delightful Caribbean cruise.” But the congressman got a starker ac count from the Military Sea Transport Service. In a confidential report, Vice Admiral J. M. Will, the M.S.T.S. Commander, disclosed that the Mercurio carried only two lifeboats. One was tested and found to leak. Though the ship also carried life-rafts, only 330 men could be crowded aboard them. This left 170 “wetbacks” with nothing to do but swim in case the ship sank. Filthy Conditions The hapless Mexicans were also cramped into sleeping space of less than six square feet each, barely enough room for them to curl up. The confidential report adds : “The ship shoWs inadequate maintenance. Weather decks, in general were pitted and rusty. Insides of hatches and trunks indicate practically no maintenance of these areas. Medical facilities are crude by American standards and consist of a small satchel containing a few instruments and an assortment of pills and medicines which the doctor stores loosely in small cardboard cartons in his stateroom,” the report declares. “Cleanliness of the galley, when compared with U.S.. standards, is unsatisfactory, although it is in keeping with the lack of cleanliness evident throughout those spaces assigned to the crew,” the report notes. M.S.T.S. investigators also found the crew’s toilet facilities “in a generally filthy condition,” while the drinking water aboard ship “by almost any standard is not palatable.” In a separate letter to Congressman Mollohan, Vice Admiral Alfred C. Richmond, the Coast Guard commander, denied any responsibility. The Coast Guard had not inspected the Mercurio, he wrote, though U.S. regulations require vessels carrying passengei’s to meet high standards. Commissioner Swing sought exemption from the regulations on the grounds the “wetback” voyages constituted a defense emergency. It is obvious, Congressman Mollohan says, that the “wetbacks” had anything but a “delightful Caribbean cruise.” AI* CONVERSATION FORT WORTH Depending on Who’s ‘ talking,. the likelihood of a Senate race between Ralph Yartiorough . arid: James Hart \(to say nothing,. for`tht moment, of or catastrophic. You hear in Fort Worth this week : “YarborOugh is a fighter;, you’ve got to say that, he’ would ‘Make a ‘good senator.” “By God, I think idealism is returning to Texas ; I’ve taken .all I can stand of Yarborough. Hart-Lhe’S 86” clean !” “The only time you hear from that damn Hart is when he’s getting ready to run for something.” “I’m for Yarborough for senator,’ ‘because it would be high man win, and anybody witha block of votes like his will win.” “Hart may be for integration, not for liberal reasons, but because he re :spects the law.” -“I don’t care what else is involved, Yarborough is identified more and more as a loser, again and ,again, and he just can’t win.” “Well, Hart’s for enforcing the law, on integration, he’s sure to lose.”‘ “I told Hart I would have to vote for him. I can’t help but do it.” “We’re all for Yarborough down my way. We never heard of Hart.” “It’ll be good for two liberals to be fighting each other in public. We haven’t had real liberal debate in Texas in how long?” “Yeah, but we may wind up with no liberals.” R.D. The Washington Merry-Go-Round By DREW PEARSON Ghastly Mistake To the Editor : As the Supreme Court integration decision, brought on primarily by the NAACP, begins to bear the fruits of violence, I wonder if you still favor immediate desegregation, no matter what the cost? …. No one objects to an organization devoted to the advancement of the colored race. But it is a matter of record that never, since its inception, has the NAACP sought to raise the standards of the southern Negro in culture, aesthetics, personal hygiene, and morals. Instead of working . for the betterment of the Negro, it has been the instrument for ceaseless agitation and stirring up of trouble between the races. It is an organization which a full investigation, I strongly suspect, would reveal as being communist inspired, communist backed and communist dominated …. To white Southerners, separation of the races is something that goes -far deeper than custom or mores … it is a way of life. They were born into it and it is going to take more than a decision by nine men to wipe it out. The violent action ‘they sometimes resort to I do not condone, but at least I can understand it. Which brings us around to the Supreme Court. I agree that they are due respect as the highest tribunal in the land. But they are nine mortal men, and as such, they are not infallible … Not to accept the decision would be flouting the law, you say ? Perhaps … but what else could o you expect when a man-made law conflicts with the deepest feelings of white Southerners? … What is the answer? Time. Each generation is being born less and less steeped in the way of life that says the races must be segregated. Eventually this feeling will die out altogether. This is the only way that desegregation is going to come without violence, without lasting scars … and with permanence. Time will also allow the Negro race to bring its culture nearer the level of white culture …. In the isolated instances where schools integrated in the past year or so, it was shown in every instance that the Negro students were far behind the white students, both scholastically and socially. It is to their good to attend schools tailored to their needs. Looking at the situation objectively, it seems to me that the wisest course to follow is for people of good will in both races in all the Southern states to petition the Supreme Court to rectify this ghastly mistake, reverse their decision, and let the passage of time set …. M. W. Kelly of Bastrop reports, and Jean Lee of Austin agrees, that Kelly, too, voted for Estes Kefauver for vice-presidential nominee in that off-the-floor caucus of the Democrats from Texas at the Chicago convention. Kelly has been catching cain locally because his name wasn’t listed with the others in the Observer. …. Gene Ritchie of Wichita Falls is putting out a small circular, “Draft Ralph Yarborough for U.S. Senator” which asks : “695,000 Loyal ‘Friends! Who Can Beat Him?’ …. While the’ Democrats have assigned Texas a $200,000 national campaign quota this year, Republican national committeeman Jack Porter is telling Ike supporters in Texas that the G 0 P expects $350,000 from Texas. …. Albert Martin, powerful Webb County leader who backed Eisenhower in 1952, will probably remain silent this year. …. Senator Chick Kazen of Laredo is prepared to defend the Supreme Court decision on the floor of the Texas Senate if necessary next session. . The Yarborough-Daniel runoff divided the local factions in Laredo. Reform Party sentiment for Yarborough was alloyed by some support for Daniel among cattlemen in the party; Independent Club endorsement of Daniel did not hold in line many Laredoans who did not approve of Daniel’s failure to resign from the Senate to make the governor’s race. …. In McAllen, Ed Idar, former American GI Forum executive secretary now a member of the firm of Sanchez, Idar, and Roel, says Latin leaders in the Valley are still chafing from Yarborough’s cancellation of appearances at two Laredo meetings. Latin liberal leaders were kept quiet, apparently for fear of alienating the South Texas Anglo vote more than it was already. Only one Spanish-speaking broadcast was heard in the Valley about the runoff, and it was made by a prominent Brownsville supporter of election right here,” Idar says. …. Bob Hall, Austin attorney who worked in Yarborough’s office and then in his campaign, is planning a move to a law firm in a southeastern Texas city. …. Lyman Jones, Tom Sutherland, and’ Lynwood Abram, all campaign aides of Yarborough’s, have formed “sja associates;” a public relations-firm in Austin. A sharp contrast showing how. much the point of view makes the difference is reflected in the current edition of “The Informer,” a weekly paper published in Houston. The overline reads : “Lone . Negro Defies Fort Worth Mob” and cutlines under a three-column picture report, “The brave Negro sat at one of the house’s front windows, and dared the mob to trespass on his property.” It seems needless to point out that “The Informer” is published and read principally by Negroes. …. Wes Izzard of the Amarillo Daily News says the big difference between the approaching , presidential election and that of 1952 is that there is practically no “against” vote this year. “Few people,” he reports, “are excited over voting against Ike. But four years ago, millions went to the polls to vote against Harry.” Editor Virgil E. Moore of the Eastland Telegram, noting that Secretary of State Torn Reavley advocates printing of pamphlets instead of the current system of state legal advertising, asks the pertinent question : “Who, sir, would print the pamphlets? The Mission Times ?” …. “Drastic situations demand drastic actions,” reports Editor Ernest Joiner of the Ralls Banner. “In order to prolong the fight to break up the Shivers-Daniel hold on Texas, this newspaper will actively support W. Lee O’Daniel as an independent candidate for governor …” God Pity . Us To the Editor: news item it became obvious that the -Rangers were instructed to arrest anyone, Negro or white, who were disturbing the peace. The implication that Negroes were involved in the mob demonstrationwhen the paper plainly stated that Negro citizens’ had left the town ! So this is a normal, God-fearing, law-abiding Texas town, is it ? If so, God pity our Lone Star State! The disturbing thing about the whole affair is that we will have a continuation of the same policies under Price Daniel. I wonder if the thousands of church folks who voted for him knew of his signing of the Southern Manifesto … MRS. A. A. LUCKENBACH Good Wishes To the Editor : With another two years of Shivercrat Republicanism a-la-Daniel facing us, we need such an organization as yours to shed a bit of badly needed light around 1200 Congress Avenue. RALPH H. WHITE 3310 Randolph Rd., Austin To the Editor: …. I would like to congratulate you and your staff on the fine work that is being done by the Observer to bring the truth about the political situation to the people of Texas. RAJA HASSEN Haskell Yarborough for Senator To the Editor : Sincerely hope that Ralph Yarborough will run for the Senate, if they count him out of the governor’s race …. The Senate race …. should not ‘be a hard campaign. Yarborough has picked up strength that even we did not know he had. There were plenty of people who did not vote for Ralph because they did not think he could win. That is ‘not true anymore. Everyone knows that he can win now. The only place that he would have to campaign would be San Antonio and maybe Dallas …. That San Antonio vote is very hard for me to understand. RAY J. MCKENZIE 7002 Mossrose, Houston 17 THE TEXAS OBSERVER Page 3 Sept. 12, 1956 tle the race problem peacefully and permanently. . I. J. WALDRON, JR. Huntsville The Listening Post
You May Also Like
The Texas Rangers are tasked with investigating corruption and crimes by public officials. Those officials are rarely held accountable.