The Charlotte News

Tuesday, March 18, 1947


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Secretary of State Marshall and Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin rebuked Foreign Commissar Molotov at the Foreign Ministers Council meeting in Moscow for his recent charges that the Western powers had removed ten billion dollars worth of assets, including lumber, coal, and gold, from the Western occupation zones of Germany. Mr. Bevin said that the charge was untrue, that much of the gold had been returned to its rightful owner, Hungary, while the rest had been vested with the Inter-Allied Reparations Agency awaiting return, and the other assets were merely liquidated to provide funding for the occupation zones.

Prime Minister Stalin was scheduled to hold his traditional vodka reception for the foreign ministers and diplomats this night at 10:00, with V. M. Molotov acting as host for the function. The toasts would be plentiful and the vodka therefore freely would flow. Some, the piece says, had not survived.

The Navy announced that a task force, led by the carrier Leyte, would visit the Dardanelles in Turkey the following month. The carrier would also call at Suda Bay in Crete, 150 miles from Athens, and at several other stops in the Mediterranean.

In Tewksbury, Mass., a fire had erupted in a bedroom in which five children resided because of the housing shortage, killing all four boys and a girl. The parents slept on a couch on another floor of the same house.

In Albany, N.Y., the funeral took place of an eight-year old boy who had been hung by a fourteen-year old boy. If convicted, the latter potentially faced death in the electric chair.

Swift and sure justice was the rule of the day in those days, eye for eye, tooth for tooth—and it sure did reduce crime, now, didn't it? Why, you hardly see any at all being reported, save a few drunks and hubcap thieves here and there.

In New York, William C. Durant, one of the organizers of General Motors in 1908, died at age 85. He had been ill since 1942. He had declared bankruptcy in 1936, listing assets of $250 against liabilities totaling $914,000. He had begun the company with the manufacture of the Buick. He was forced out of GM in 1910 during the panic of that year. He then founded Chevrolet and began buying GM stock. By 1915, he controlled the company. He left again, however, during the panic of 1920-21. He then headed Consolidated Motors by 1927, manufacturing the Durant, the Star, the Mason, and the Locomobile. His association with the automobile business ended with the Crash of 1929. He lost everything in the Depression and never recovered.

You have not lived until you have driven a Locomobile. We've had a couple or three. They practically drive themselves, until the Crash into the Mason's work.

In New York, wheat rose above $3 per bushel in price, then dropped the daily permissible limit of ten cents, off as much as 18.5 cents from its high of the day.

In Charlotte, five of the eighteen dairymen implicated in the adulteration of milk with water were indicted on the charges by the Mecklenburg Grand Jury.

The moral is: Don't water the milk.

Tom Fesperman tells of the circuitous journey to obtain the facts on the deaths of Charlotte businessman Banks Funderburk and a friend and the captain of the Funderburk yacht, while they were on the Inland Waterway, after the escape of deadly carbon monoxide fumes from the engine exhaust into the cabin.

In Hollywood, comedienne Peggy Ryan married actor James Cross. Actor Jackie Coogan was best man.

On the editorial page, "The Matter of Tax Reduction" examines the proposed twenty percent tax reduction being sponsored by Congressman Harold Knutson of Minnesota, chairman of the Ways & Means Committee, and how the President's new foreign policy, inevitably necessitating maintenance of troop strength in Greece and Turkey, would impact it and the budget reductions being sought by the Republican Congress.

It would be a long and expensive process to try to defeat Communism on the world stage. The people did not appear eager to embrace Mr. Knutson's plan, especially when placed against the backdrop of the troubled postwar world.

"Evasion of Judicial Responsibility" agrees with the Winston-Salem Journal that North Carolina judges should not impose suspended sentences on condition that the defendant, usually arrested multiple times for drunk and disorderly conduct, would leave the state and not return. Such sentences avoided responsibility and merely pushed the state's problems onto its neighbors.

"To Fix Gubernatorial Succession" hopes for success of a bill before the Legislature to amend the State Constitution to provide for gubernatorial succession in the case, as had occurred in December with Eugene Talmadge in Georgia, of the death of the governor-elect prior to taking office. The bill would provide for the succession by the lieutenant governor-elect. North Carolina's Constitution appeared at the time as muddled on the subject as was Georgia's, the outcome of the Governor's contest between Legislature-elected Herman Talmadge and Lieutenant Governor M. E. Thompson still pending in the Georgia courts.

A piece from the Louisville Courier-Journal, titled "Fourth of July at Vicksburg", tells of General Eisenhower having been invited by the town of Vicksburg, Mississippi, to address it on July 4, 1947, the first celebration of Independence Day in the town since the Civil War. July 4, 1863 had marked the day the town was surrendered to General Grant by General Pemberton and so had left a bitter taste with the inhabitants. General Eisenhower, the piece remarks, was a good symbol for the establishment of a new tradition.

July 1-3, 1863, of course, had been the dates of the Battle of Gettysburg. General Eisenhower, in 1950, would move to a farm on the edge of the battlefield park, just the other side of the battle line for Pickett's Charge, following his retirement as Army chief of staff in 1948 and before becoming NATO commander in 1951.

Drew Pearson comments on the President having friends who gave him bad advice, presently making themselves known again with respect to the proposed aid to Greece and Turkey. John Maragon, a Greek-born former bootblack, received entree to the White House on a regular basis and had even accompanied the executive entourage to Potsdam in July, 1945. Mr. Maragon, a pro-Royalist, was sent on a special mission to Greece to examine the situation. His influence over the President began within an hour of FDR's death two years earlier.

During his Potsdam trip, Mr. Maragon was able to purchase a pocketful of diamonds, presumably bought on the black market. Since that time, he had made two other junkets to Europe, one to buy French perfume and the other to Greece, becoming a member of the Allied mission to observe the Greek elections.

Mr. Maragon had a police record including a guilty plea in 1920 to illegal transportation of liquor, on one occasion becoming embroiled in a fight in the Washington Senators' locker room, where members of the team beat him up. He was also a suspect in the murder of a police detective who was about to marry a woman, whom Mr. Maragon subsequently married. The death of the detective was labeled a suicide, though he was shot from out of the darkness. Mr. Maragon had an alibi.

He was an old friend of President Truman and had suddenly acquired influence when Mr. Truman became President. The previous summer, he had raised money for the President's candidate for the House, Enos Axtell, in the effort to defeat Congressman Roger Slaughter because Mr. Slaughter, a Democrat, had blocked the President's legislative agenda in committee.

Mr. Maragon was a close friend to Archbishop Athenagoras and Reverend Thomas Daniel, about whom Mr. Pearson had written the previous day, also closely advising the President on the Greek situation.

Mr. Maragon's influence on the President was said to be on the wane, but still waxing with the President's military aide, General Harry Vaughan. Mr. Pearson urges the public to be cautious of these Greek advisers around the President.

Marquis Childs discusses the efforts of Senator Joseph O'Mahoney of Wyoming to warn his colleagues that the large corporations were gobbling the smaller at an ever-increasing rate. The FTC had issued a report recently stating that 1,800 corporations had merged since 1940, representing five percent of the manufacturing wealth of the country. The rate of mergers was the greatest since 1931 during the height of the Depression. The end result, Senator O'Mahoney predicted, would be monopoly and finally Government control of the four or five colossus corporations remaining after the feast.

He proposed two solutions, one being to amend the Clayton Anti-Trust Act to prohibit mergers by either stock or asset acquisition, whereas currently, the prohibition extended only to stock merger. The other was to make corporations accountable to Government by licensing them.

He told his colleagues that 30 bills had been proposed during the first month of the 80th Congress, by both Republicans and Democrats, to expand the powers of Government, including one by Congressman Everett Dirksen of Illinois to establish a power administration in Washington.

The Congress, Mr. Childs insists, needed to heed the warning of Senator O'Mahoney to avoid ultimate Government takeover of free enterprise through the attrition of the fish fries.

Samuel Grafton suggests that the President's new foreign policy extending aid to Greece would result in more harm at home than improvement abroad. The old isolationists who had never trusted the concept of the U.N. now had new ammunition with which to work. The Midwestern bloc, as before World War II, again feared war with the Communists.

In the South, both Senators Harry Flood Byrd of Virginia and Claude Pepper of Florida, odd political bunkmates, were questioning the President's bypassing of the U.N. The new policy was one which had never been debated and on which the American people had never voiced their assent. The President, for two years, had been expressing the desire for joint action through the U.N., and now came the retrenchment to unilateral action.

Hungary and Korea were said to be the next two nations lining up for aid. The Wall Street Journal stated that the aid would fuel American inflation.

The President bypassed the U.N., according to his speech, because it could not act swiftly enough under its present circumstances to provide the necessary aid to Greece by the time of the British withdrawal on March 31. But Mr. Grafton thinks that it would have been wholly appropriate, nevertheless, to call upon the U.N. to give it a chance to work in concert to provide administration to Greece.

A letter from Phoenix from a former North Carolinian who had transplanted for his health to Arizona after serving there in the Teens as a soldier, invites explorers to come to Arizona for gold hunting, as he had done. But a man needed to bring his own beans. In Cleveland County, N.C., in the old days, they had called him "Rambling Bill" for his rambling since age 16. He advises that there was something more valuable within the Arizona backcountry than gold. "Rambling Bill" had written previously, the prior July.

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