The Charlotte News

Wednesday, July 2, 1947


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Foreign Ministers Conference in Paris to discuss the Marshall Plan had ended in failure after six days, as the Russians refused to cooperate with the Plan. The British and French stated that they would continue to study the plan with any European nations who wished to join them. V. M. Molotov predicted that the Plan would divide Europe and not lead to good results. The French and British wanted to establish a steering committee for the aid. The Russians objected to the aid on the ground that it would allow the Americans to dictate internal policies through the steering committee.

UNRRA commended Marshal Tito of Yugoslavia for his cooperation in administering the aid program during the previous two years.

Thirty-two heavily armed escaped convicts had the previous night taken control of Calapan, capital of Mindoro Island in the Philippines, but order had been restored earlier this date after the rebel leader and two others had been killed in a gunfight with military police. Ten of the escapees had been captured and nineteen were still at large.

Secretary of the Treasury John W. Snyder reported a surplus at the end of the fiscal year, the first since 1930, at 754 million dollars. The surplus was applied to the national debt. The total amount of debt retirement for the year had been 11.5 billion dollars, with the remaining debt being 258.4 billion, 21 billion below the historic peak reached a few months earlier.

Former OPA administrator Leon Henderson stated to a Senate committee that the Taft plan for a Federal contribution to state health funds would be a "political sop to the demands for a better medical system."

Senator Kenneth Wherry of Nebraska demanded that President Truman back up his charges that the Congress had been influenced by real estate lobbyists acting against the public interest and stated that if he had no such evidence, he should apologize to Congress. The President had made the charge the previous Monday as he reluctantly signed the rent control extension bill, allowing 15 percent increases in rent where a landlord and tenant signed a lease through 1948.

Secretary of State Marshall urged the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to pass a bill to expand the foreign information program as vital to the success of foreign policy.

In Washington, the case of war contracts graft against former Congressman Andrew May of Kentucky and the Garsson brothers was about to be sent to the jury following summations by the attorneys and instructions by the judge in the Federal case.

The Mississippi River in the vicinity of St. Louis appeared to have reached its crest at 40.3 feet, the highest since 1844 when it reached 41.3 feet. A town 100 miles south of St. Louis suffered flooding when a levee broke, causing 320 families to flee their homes.

In Falconer, N.Y., a woman was sentenced to ten months in jail for assault after admitting that she had used pliers on the tongue of a seven-year old boy to extract an admission that he had misplaced a baseball bat. The old bat had also been accused of using a knife on the boy's tongue.

In Charlotte, the Mercy Hospital campaign for contributions had met and exceeded its goal for the present point in the campaign, having taken in $102,000, one-fifth of the goal, a fifth of the way through the drive. The various collections of contributions are provided.

Tom Watkins tells of nude bathing couples in the Catawba River on summer nights causing problems for the County Police Department, as they had trouble catching the culprits at night in sixteen feet of water. Neighbors complained of splashing couples on moonlit nights making noise and visible in plain view from river bridges. Not all of them were young people. Some were stripping and diving in during daylight hours. There were some complaints of general immorality as well. Police advised the swimmers to find another way of keeping cool.

The most popular spot, it says, was at Cornelius, should the reader wish to join the fun or just have a look-see.

Experienced pilot Richard Rankin, with 7,000 hours of flying time, said that on June 23, near Bakersfield, California, he had seen ten flying disks going 300 to 400 mph, heading north. And then when they reversed course and headed south, they numbered only seven, meaning three went to market or stayed home with the purple people eater who ate all the ice cream and then had a banana split, left with a rolling pin on his head, sat on some flowers, then contended that he was heading to Cornelius to play music from the horn in his head for the bathers there.

Mr. Rankin initially assumed that he had seen the experimental XF5U-1, the Navy's "Flying Flapjack". But the Navy said that the experimental plane remained in Connecticut and that there was only one such prototype. Mr. Rankin made his observations from the ground—as good as any stepladder might be.

Other reports of similar sightings came in from Astoria, Madras, and Portland, Oregon.

Run for your lives. The End is near.

We are done for, now. Perhaps, even Verdun, moor foredone upon than not, verdant, mordant; Ford d'n't win for he won once too much in idee fixe, better than the exploding horsy. We should never have messed with that atom-splitting stuff, or gone in the drink at Cornelius au naturel.

Earth's faint hope rests in the hands of Hal Boyle, who, we understand, has been speedily dispatched to the scene to provide his breath-taking first person account of the matter. Stay tuned, keep your short-wave revved up, and plenty of drinking water and salt tablets handy.

On the editorial page, "Notes on a Swinging Pendulum" discusses the indications by AFL and CIO that they intended to fight Taft-Hartley in the courts. Lawyers for the unions had already staked out territory on which to attack parts of the bill as unconstitutional, while intending to seek court interpretation of other parts. It was exactly the reaction which management had taken in 1935 after the passage of the Wagner Act, taking away the ability of the company to fire employees for organizing and protecting the right of collective bargaining under law.

It had taken two years to finally get a decision from the Supreme Court upholding the Wagner Act. During the interim, employers sought injunctions at every turn and generally refused to implement the law until a definitive ruling could be had. The same practice would follow on the part of the unions under the initial phases of Taft-Hartley.

The Act would become the lightning rod in the 1948 elections, as both CIO and AFL had vowed to seek the defeat of each and every member of Congress who had voted for it.

Eventually, the jockeying back and forth might produce a fair labor code. The Congress had reserved action on Taft-Hartley for the future. Comfort could be taken in the fact that business in a democracy normally followed such a course.

"An Opportunity for Mr. Truman" discusses the ongoing prosecution of vote fraud in Jackson County, Missouri, in the President's home district, regarding the primary election the previous summer between incumbent Congressman Roger Slaughter and Truman-backed challenger Enos Axtell, also backed by the James Pendergast machine at the behest of the President. A Grand Jury had returned 71 indictments and stated that the election should have been carried by Mr. Slaughter, rather than by Mr. Axtell, who then lost in the general election. After the indictments in May, sealed and preserved ballot boxes had been stolen.

The Republicans in the Senate had sought to exploit the matter for political gain in 1948, as the Justice Department had been slow to take up the case, though was now apparently pursuing it with vigor. The matter provided the President with an opportunity to rid himself and the Democratic Party of the stigma of machine-based politics under the boss system. If prosecuted vigorously enough, the case could end the corrupt system of vote-stealing in the country once and for all.

It hopes that the President would avail himself of the opportunity and thereby dispense with any taint deriving from the fact that his career in politics had begun with the blessings of the late Tom Pendergast. Though he had always remained above machine politics and free from any actual taint, his political detractors were always seeking to tar him with that brush.

"A New Presidential Succession" favors the new presidential succession bill which had just passed the Senate, establishing the Speaker of the House as next in line of succession to the presidency after the Vice-President, replacing the Secretary of State in the third position. Most Democrats had voted against it, though initially supporting it when proposed by the President in 1945 shortly after coming to office. At the time, Sam Rayburn was Speaker and the relatively inexperienced Edward Stettinius was Secretary of State. But with the present change of House leadership to the Republicans and the Speaker being Joe Martin of Massachusetts, less well qualified to be President than Secretary of State Marshall, the Democratic support for the bill had withered on the vine.

The piece points out that the rationale for the change was that the third in line of succession would be an elected official, not an appointed Cabinet position. It thinks the rationale sound and that the bill ought therefore pass—as it would.

Drew Pearson tells of NLRB chairman Paul Herzog and the other two members of the Board offering their resignations to the President on the basis that they had recommended veto of Taft-Hartley and thus might be perceived as not fairly enforcing the bill now that it was law. The President refused, saying that he needed their experience in enforcing the Act and expected them to enforce it fairly and efficiently.

He next informs of former Congressman Jed Johnson of Oklahoma—regularly taken to task by former Secretary of Interior Harold Ickes in his column—becoming a U.S. Customs Court judge, sworn in by Chief Justice Fred Vinson. When Mr. Johnson began his introduction of a friend to another as a Republican, Chief Justice Vinson reminded him that he was a judge, and so he started the introduction again without the partisan reference.

Senator Owen Brewster of Maine believed that the big oil companies in the country were deliberately creating an oil shortage so that they could bring in half a million tons of Arabian oil during the summer, to convince Americans that hundreds of millions of dollars needed to be spent in the Middle East to protect American oil interests. Senator Brewster believed there to be no domestic oil shortage, the claim of which having prompted some companies to begin rationing oil to service stations.

A House Armed Services subcommittee was considering a bill to require one-third of each court martial panel to be comprised of enlisted men if a defendant requested it. Each court martial required a two-thirds majority for conviction.

When the Congress extended the life of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, it left out the power of the Government to buy G.I. loans, meaning that it could no longer guarantee the loans, consequently making it tougher for veterans to obtain financing for new housing. Chief defenders of the veterans loan guarantees were Senators John Sparkman of Alabama and Burnet Maybank of South Carolina.

Samuel Grafton discusses the dichotomous attitude of Americans toward foreigners. On the one hand, Americans challenged Russia whenever it moved westward, while refusing entry to the United States to 400,000 displaced persons in Europe. The country was behind the aid bill to Greece and Turkey, but then the Congress passed the wool tariff bill, subsequently vetoed, to keep foreign competition down in the small wool industry in the country. An attitude of caring for the world arose when confronting Russian aggression, but foreign aid prompted calls for Western Europe to take care of itself. When military issues were being discussed, the country spoke of its strength; when relief was at issue, the country put up a poor mouth.

Mr. Grafton thinks that the country's attitudes toward foreign nations were clearer in the early days of the republic when it understood the importance of Europe and welcomed Europeans to U.S. shores. That attitude was gone.

The country wanted to be a part of the Western world but not too familiar with it or sharing in its problems.

It caused wonder as to whether the country had really considered deeply the concept of abandoning isolation in favor of internationalism. It entailed a sense of destiny and living within a crowded house in the world.

Marquis Childs tells of a bill being pushed through the Congress to remove most of the regulation of public utilities under the Federal Power Commission, established during the Hoover Administration. The bill, backed by several major utilities, would deregulae about three-fourths of the utilities currently subject to the regulation. The regulation, as stiffened in 1935, had eliminated much of the over-valuation of the utilities which artificially had shot up rates. To allow the bill, sponsored by Representative William J. Miller of Connecticut, to slip through an inattentive Congress in the last part of the session, would damage considerably the public interest.

A letter writer forwards a copy of a letter she had sent to the Armed Services Board urging setting aside money for purchase of books and urging publishers to sell them at reduced prices, to enable the people of Eastern Europe to see Americans through media other than the movies and novels of such writers popular in Russia as Sinclair Lewis, John Steinbeck, William Faulkner, and Theodore Dreiser, rendering a portrait of the average American as either a gangster, ne'er do well Okie, or go-getter Babbitt. She urges the sending of other fare, examples of which she provides.

A letter from a barber licensed in South Carolina and a veteran of the Army seeks redress from the President and other national leaders for the author being excluded from the examination process in North Carolina, with the instruction that he would first need attend barber school. He had been a barber for over twenty years and believed that the State of North Carolina was depriving him of his right to earn a living.

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