The Charlotte News

Thursday, April 27, 1950


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that former American Communist Party head Earl Browder testified to the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee that, to the best of his knowledge, there were no Communists in the State Department and that he had never met Owen Lattimore, accused by Senator Joseph McCarthy of being the top Communist spy in the country. He refused to answer a question propounded by Senator Bourke Hickenlooper regarding whether Mr. Lattimore, John Service, John Carter Vincent, and Philip Jaffe had been present at a 1945 meeting between Mr. Browder and a Chinese Communist in the U.S. Mr. Browder accused Senator Hickenlooper of conducting a "fishing expedition". Mr. Browder had been expelled from the American Communist Party in 1946. He said that he would say if there were Communists in the State Department but would refuse to provide their names.

The President expressed support for a proposal of Senator Tom Connally to set up eight Senate Foreign Relations subcommittees to try to bring about a truly bipartisan foreign policy.

Frank Costello, gambling kingpin, told the Senate Commerce subcommittee investigating whether to approve a bill to ban interstate transmission of gambling information, that he was not qualified or equipped to provide information about big-time gambling in the country, for "maybe" he did not know about gambling or book-making. He said that he had once owned 500 to 600 illegal slot machines in New Orleans but no longer operated any such devices anywhere. He denied that he had ever arranged payoffs to enable operation of slot machines, bribed local officials to avoid arrest, or been a member of a crime syndicate. He said he also owned oil interests in Texas.

The police chief of Youngstown, O., who had led a successful crusade in 1948 to close 18 bookie joints in the city, testified that Mr. Costello was no more than a "glorified goon" who owed his position in the underworld to corrupt politicians. He said that Federal laws would assist local law enforcement in eradicating gambling operations.

The House Ways & Means Committee voted not to recommend a cut of the 20 percent excise tax on nightclubs, club dues, initiation fees, and safe deposit box leases, or on coin-operated devices, bowling alleys, billiard and pool tables. Thus far, it had recommended cuts of about 978 million dollars worth of excise taxes, more than the 190 million sought by the President.

A CIO official told the House committee investigating lobbying activities that two Republican Congressmen, Noah Mason of Illinois and Ralph Gwinn of New York, had used their Government franking privileges to send out four million reprints of speeches against rent control, public housing and Federal aid to education. Mr. Mason denied the claim.

In Belgrade, Marshal Tito announced to the new Parliament that Yugoslavia was ready to resume normal diplomatic relations with Greece and that he hoped for better relations also with Italy and Austria. The U.N. had previously accused Yugoslavia of aiding the Greek Communist rebellion, along with Albania and Bulgaria, by serving as a supply base. Yugoslavia's relations with Greece had improved, however, since Tito had been expelled from the Cominform for straying from doctrinaire Soviet ideology. His speech included a nine-point plan for cooperative relations with the West.

In New York, a strike of elevator operators and other building service employees began, impacting the 250,000 New Yorkers who lived in high-rise apartment buildings. Many service employees, as milkmen, had refused to cross the picket lines and children were unable to get downstairs to go to school, causing school buses to depart virtually empty.

World War I flying ace Eddie Rickenbacker, now president of Eastern Airlines, recommends not brooding about death lest one hasten his demise. "Think positively and masterfully, with confidence and faith, more fraught with action, richer in achievement and experience."

Once, he recounts, while flying to Chicago in the middle of December in bad, foggy weather, he and his crew had lost their radio beam, cruised around for seven hours trying to relocate it, until finally, nearing darkness, they brought the plane down to one hundred feet and saw the lights of cars on a four-lane highway, observed the gleam of a river, followed it and finally came to Toledo where they were able to land safely, with eleven minutes of fuel remaining. He liked to think of the guiding device in such emergent episodes as the "Big Radio", to which one had to remain attuned and in communication, while believing in prayer.

Mack Bell of The News tells of the North Carolina Baptist Convention voting in Charlotte this date to sell the Wake Forest College campus in Wake Forest, N.C., for use as the new theological seminary for the Southeast, following the prospective move of the College to Winston-Salem.

After heated discussion, no decision was yet reached on whether the Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem could receive State and Federal funds for a new wing, one Federal judge arguing that in accordance with the 1890 State Supreme Court case of Baptist Female University v. Borden, the hospital was required to accept the funding, as many contributors had given money on the belief that the hospital would accept government funds.

On the editorial page, "Immediate School Needs" finds that the City and County schools should undertake a single bond election to provide immediately for their pressing needs, as school enrollment was increasing off of the baby boom. While a lawsuit was pending to try to raise the county limit on borrowing, revaluation of property taxes would provide some much needed revenue for the purpose as well raising the borrowing limit, and some four to five million dollars remained available in borrowing capacity.

"Political Hospitals" praises Congressman Hamilton Jones of Charlotte for putting his votes on record for every one of the 54 roll call votes thus far in the year through the end of March, and having an 86 percent "on record" vote during 1949. He had been absent from Washington the prior Monday during the vote on V.A. hospital re-funding, but had told The News that he was in favor of the action because the Charlotte hospital, cut the previous year by the Administration along with several others as unnecessary, was one of the three more urgently needed units in the system.

The piece begs to differ on the importance of the unit, as the President, not given to economy, had nixed it along with the others in 1949. It finds the effort to restore the funding to smack of pork-barrel politics.

"Local Initiative" praises the new Dixie Wholesale & Retail Meat Co. for bucking the chain supermarket trend and opening a store in Charlotte formed by local and independent merchants. It had unfolded the story of its origin in a 32-page merchandising section of the newspaper, breaking a national newspaper record for the longest such section ever devoted to a single advertiser.

It wishes continued success to the new enterprise.

A piece from the Atlanta Constitution, titled "The Moral of Ben Massell", tells of the story of Mr. Massell, a Lithuanian immigrant, and his Horatio Alger rise to control a 30-million dollar building enterprise. It offers it as a challenge to both the Communist and Klan attacks on America, the former for finding no opportunity within capitalism, the latter, for myopically focusing on their brand of "Americanism", actually un-Americanism. And, it adds, Mr. Massell had done his building without Federal loans and subsidies.

It finds that it was the builder who normally took advantage of the Federal largess in this regard who then condemned slum clearance as excessive Federal interference in private enterprise.

Bill Sharpe, in his weekly "Turpentine Drippings", snippets from newspapers around the state, tells of one from the Franklin Press which had come out against raising teacher salaries because the teachers had been unable to read and count their ballots properly for president of the State Education Association.

The Sanford Herald told of a dairy farmer who told some representatives of the extension service that he had already been visited by State inspectors who told him that he needed concrete floors in his barn when, he said, all they needed to do was to dig with a shovel for six inches and they would have found that he already had concrete floors.

The Dunn Dispatch reported that worn-out plug mules were more valuable than young mules on tobacco farms because they did a better job of pulling tobacco sleds than young, energetic mules.

The Sanford Herald told of a man who spanked his two young children before bed one night and the next morning, found a note which read that he should be good to his children and his children would, in turn, be good to him, signed "God".

Jim Parker of the Chatham News told of a little boy who had two nickels to put in the collection plate on Sunday, but lost one when it rolled into a gutter, for which he beseeched the Lord for forgiveness as one of His nickels had gone down the drain.

And so, so, so on, so forth and so forth.

Drew Pearson discusses the Florida Democratic Senate primary race between two-term Congressman George Smathers and Senator Claude Pepper, the latter trying to hold onto his political life against charges of being inclined toward Communist associations. Mr. Smathers, who had funding from deep corporate pockets, had essentially adopted a Republican platform after coming to Congress originally as a Southern liberal "Sir Galahad", in the mold of Senator Pepper. Now, he was adopting the line of Governor Dewey in 1948 and appeared the part, dapper and sharp, while delivering the same speech, devoid of promises, every day.

His campaign had managed to convince many Floridians that Senator Pepper was a buddy of Josef Stalin. The Republican-leaning Saturday Evening Post, in a feature story published ten days before the May 2 primary, had placed Senator Pepper in the Henry Wallace camp by the summer of 1945, stating that it was at that point that Mr. Smathers decided to run for Congress in 1946. Yet, in fact, in early 1946, Mr. Smathers had written a letter to Senator Pepper's secretary referring to "our good friend Henry Wallace"—who, after all, a year earlier had still been Vice-President. Mr. Smathers also had written several letters in that period to Senator Pepper, asking for his help in getting out of the Marines during the ongoing war against Japan and in obtaining a job as an assistant U.S. attorney, and then, later, seeking the Senator's help in his initial run for Congress. The Post had not mentioned those facts and made it sound as if the public had been clamoring on their own for the services of young Mr. Smathers.

Mr. Smathers, himself, claimed that during this time, he was disgusted by Senator Pepper's stand on Russia. The Senator probably regretted having conducted a widely published interview with Premier Stalin during mid-summer, 1945, at the time of the Potsdam Conference, urging cooperation between the U.S. and Russia, when such was still quite acceptable parlance.

But then, he points out, in mid-April, 1946—over a month after the "iron curtain" speech of Winston Churchill at Westminster College in Missouri—, Mr. Smathers had also advocated working with Russia and all nations to bring about a satisfactory peace.

Mr. Smathers had cast a vote against slum clearance while promoting the real estate lobby's notion of increasing their borrowing capacity from the Government up to $750,000, 90 percent of which to be guaranteed by the Government. He had also voted against Social Security benefits for traveling salesmen and others, against all minimum wage legislation, and for perpetuating the practice of pigeon-holing bills in the Rules Committee instead of allowing open debate on the House floor.

Marquis Childs tells of Thomas Finletter taking over as Secretary of the Air Force while outgoing Secretary Stuart Symington was to become head of the National Security Resources Board.

In 1950, 115 million dollars was being spent on the Air National Guard, whereas the ensuing year, 104 million would be spent, prompting him to conclude in an earlier column that the money was being wasted, which had, in turn, prompted a number of Air Guard officers to write to him challenging the conclusion. He says that he was merely passing on the expert opinions of high-ranking officers of all three services.

Many units of the Air Guard did not live up to the standards of the Air Force, serving in some instances as "holiday occasions" for World War II airmen who liked to fly.

The head of the Virginia Air Guard faced charges for a series of irregularities concerning use of Government property and Guard planes, but he was cleared by the adjutant-general of Virginia, despite his response having been to dismiss the complaining officers. At the same time, the Civil Aeronautics Administrator, D. W. Rentzel, issued a complaint specifying 24 charges against him, most relating to his work while leading an acrobatic team flying F-47's in a series of county fair airshows around the country.

Many instances had been reported of use of Air Guard planes by Governors for their private business, as when Governor Jim Folsom of Alabama was courting a daughter of Governor Earl Warren of California and used such a plane for the purpose, at $120 per hour.

He suggests, in conclusion, that Secretary Finletter ought examine all aspects of the Air Guard budget and its use, as well as the Air Force in general, and end waste where it was found.

Robert C. Ruark relates of the campaign of Congress, led by Senator Homer Capehart, to eliminate the sin of gambling from the country. The Senators intended to call bookies Frankie Erickson and Joe Adonis to testify, from whom they were not likely to obtain a whit of information for the fact of the "U.S. Mob guys" being "lineal descendants of the clam".

He suggests wiping out all of horse racing, baseball, football, and basketball, if they wanted to eliminate gambling, as those sports spawned it. Then, he goes further, it should be made a Federal crime to be a horse, to associate with a horse or with people who associate with horses. (It is too late, Mr. Ruark, to try to make amends for yesterday with humor about the subject of guilt by association; you were serious then and don't try to wiggle out of it.)

He also advises that craps would have to be eliminated, and to do that would mean getting rid of all newspaper executives who regularly played at the game. The same applied to stud poker. But he notes that he would, in fact, favor elimination, as an act of mercy, of "Boy Scout poker", with deuces, treys, red queens and one-eyed jacks wild, with a wild card in the middle for everyone to share.

But, he reckons, even after half the nation was wiped out to get at gambling, it would still thrive wherever two humans could get together and find something about which to gamble. He advises that the Senators check on that problem when Mr. Adonis came to tell them that he had not the faintest idea about what they were talking.

Let us remember that America was built not by government, but by peopleŚnot by welfare, but by workŚnot by shirking responsibility, but by seeking responsibility.

In our own lives, let each of us askŚnot just what will government do for me, but what can I do for myself?

In the challenges we face together, let each of us askŚnot just how can government help, but how can I help?

—Richard M. Nixon, January 20, 1973

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