The Charlotte News

Friday, October 21, 1949


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Federal District Court Judge Harold Medina, in New York, sentenced ten of the eleven top American Communist defendants convicted of violations of the Smith Act to five years each in prison and the eleventh to three years. Each was also fined $10,000. The U.S. Attorney had sought ten-year sentences based on the law in effect at the time of the indictment, but the Judge refused, as the law had been amended in September, 1948, prior to the start of trial, to provide a five-year maximum. He said that he would have imposed more than five years but for the change in the law. The lower sentence for the eleventh defendant, Robert Thompson, was based on his war record. Most of the defendants smiled at the sentencing hearing.

Elton C. Fay tells of Air Force chief of staff General Hoyt Vandenberg testifying to the House Armed Services Committee that in a future war, the Air Force and Navy planes of the Strategic Air Command, formed in 1946 and headed by Lt. General Curtis LeMay, would be directly controlled by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, not by the Air Force or Navy. The targets and target systems, he said, would also be chosen by the Joint Chiefs as part of the national war plans. It was the first time that the Joint Chiefs had its own force to carry out strategic decisions, a determination made the previous April 11, shortly after Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson assumed the post. SAC's primary weapon at present was four air groups of B-36 long-range jets, but it also had a dozen groups comprised of outmoded B-29's and B-50's.

Secretary of Defense Johnson testified to the Committee that he was running the Department in the interests of the American people and world peace, that he would continue to do so despite "straw men" and "false rumors" from the Navy. He attributed the problems over unification primarily to the traditional separate roles of the branches of service and their traditional competition with one another.

Former Secretary of State Marshall said that money was at the root of the trouble in the armed forces, as all commanders wanted more than they could get. He favored economy.

Yugoslavia, short on food, had agreed to send 1,500 tons of wheat to feed a half million children in Beirut, Lebanon, as part of the U.N. International Children's Emergency Fund, an unusual move for a country short on food.

The Congress made counter-proposals to the President's plan to raise taxes, Senator Walter George of Georgia proposing cuts in the budget and tax incentives to encourage production to grow the economy as the means to eliminate the projected five billion dollar deficit. House Minority Leader Joe Martin said that the President wanted to raise taxes to put his "Socialist schemes over on the American people". He believed that an increase in taxes could lead to a depression.

In White Sulphur Springs, W. Va., northern and western mine operators, producers of about 60 percent of the nation's soft coal, walked out of the negotiations to try to settle the bituminous coal strike. They blamed John L. Lewis for impoverishing the miners with the strike, seeking higher contributions to the welfare fund. UMW leaders blamed the operators for refusing agreement to try to force Government intervention.

The United Electrical Workers, the largest holdout union regarding submission of non-Communist affidavits by its officers, required under Taft-Hartley to qualify for NLRB collective bargaining, submitted the affidavits.

In Frankfurt, Germany, an American woman was charged with first degree murder in the death of her husband, an Air Force lieutenant, shot through the heart in their living room the previous night, following a party at the home of friends, at which the wife had quarreled with one of the women present and driven the family car home. She allegedly shot her husband as he walked through the door.

In Sandisfield, Mass., five persons, including three small children, were found dead in their home, believed the victims of carbon monoxide poisoning from a gas hot water heater.

In New Brunswick, N.J., radio listeners complained that the planes buzzing the Rutgers football games were making too much noise, interfering with the broadcasts. Instead, the radio station discovered a nest of wasps in the stadium broadcast booth.

On the editorial page, "Full Use of Parking Space" tells of the City Council planning to employ a squad of women to check parking meters as there was widespread violation, causing the limited downtown parking to be taken up too much by violators. Raleigh had achieved success with such a program and Pittsburgh was preparing to implement one.

"Davidson's Parade of Progress" tells of the building program which had been started a year earlier at Davidson College near Charlotte, with a new gymnasium and plans for a new church, fine arts center, and dormitory on the campus. The Development Program had set a goal of 2.5 million dollars and was receiving help from local residents in meeting it.

A football homecoming event, the Parade of Progress, was a rallying point for the final drive of the program.

"The Common Sense Man" marks the 90th birthday of philosopher and educator John Dewey, as he was working on a new introduction to his 1929 book, Experience and Nature, anent continuing re-examination of culture in light of new experience. His theory of education was to set problems forth for his pupils to solve and if they accepted the solutions of others, requiring that they explain how the conclusions were derived. The students shared with the teacher proposal, planning, execution, and adjudging of results.

His ideas on education had permeated the American system as well as influencing that in Japan, China, Turkey, Mexico and Russia, the latter having abandoned the anti-authoritarian Dewey method after realizing it did not dovetail with totalitarian aims.

It provides plaudits from South African leader Jan Christian Smuts and American poet Robert Hillyer.

A piece from the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, titled "Epicurean Hit and Error", takes umbrage at the description by a reporter regarding red-eye gravy being served over hickory-smoked Missouri ham biscuits at a breakfast attended by President Truman and Speaker Sam Rayburn. The reporter had described the gravy as a "sort of ham juice". It sets the record straight in succulent terms, reckoning it to be a dish fit for a King or a President. It concludes that Boston could boast of its cod and the South, of its "spoon bread and pot likker", but Missouri had its ham biscuits and red-eye gravy.

Drew Pearson tells of delays in prosecution of two tax evaders, Virginia companies who had paved the roads around the Pentagon under wartime contracts, then avoided a half million dollars in taxes by issuing false checks for expenditures and taking the deductions. The companies appeared to be shielded by the Byrd machine in Virginia.

The President had assured the head of the National Farmers Union that he remained committed to the Brannan farm program and that passage of 90 percent parity by the Congress had told the Administration where the leaders in Congress stood. He intended to take the farm program and the other Fair Deal programs to the people in 1950 during the Congressional campaigns, in accordance with the wishes of the head of the NFU.

Prices of most British and Canadian goods had come down since devaluation of the British pound, but Canadian newsprint, having risen 70 percent between 1945 and 1948, remained at the same price, despite high profits to the newsprint companies, increased by two and a half times in the same interim, as contrasted with a cut of 54 percent in profits to the U.S. newspapers dependent on the Canadian newsprint.

Russia wanted a showdown soon with Yugoslavia and intelligence reports had it that they were preparing to ship into Yugoslavia Bulgarian, Hungarian, and Rumanian troops to start a revolution against Tito, which would then be propagandized by the Russians as an internal revolt. American diplomats in the Iron Curtain countries had been summoned to London for a meeting regarding this situation.

Wall Street was quietly trying to end the steel strike, as U.S. Steel, Bethlehem Steel, and Jones & Laughlin Steel were not happy about it. The latter two companies put pressure on U.S. Steel to yield in its demand that there be worker contributions to a demanded United Steelworkers pension fund. Bethlehem and Jones & Laughlin had already established such a fund.

Prime Minister Nehru, during his visit in the U.S., would be a prime source of opinion for the State Department in its determination whether to recognize Red China.

The American embassy in Rumania had cabled the State Department that flying discs had been observed in the skies, not known whether secret Russian rockets or the product of someone's imagination. U.S. agents were checking.

Marquis Childs, in Oslo, tells of the Norwegian people being of sound nerve regarding their proximity to Russia, the only NATO country which shared a Soviet border. They had entered the NATO accord despite the threat of reprisal by the Soviets. They had learned from their experience during Nazi occupation during the war that neutrality was not a viable position. Sweden, by contrast, having preserved its neutrality through both world wars, remained aloof from the Pact.

Were the Soviets to march on Norway, then the U.S. would be placed in a position where it would have to defend it, potentially starting a war. The Atlantic coast of Norway, with its fjords, would prove invaluable as a location for hiding Russian submarines and so it was necessary to defend Norway to prevent the balance of power from shifting against the West.

Since Norway had signed the Pact, Russia had made no overt moves toward it. Russia had added one division on the Russian-Finnish border. Russian propaganda had begun to attack Norway regarding joinder of the Pact. Occasionally, a farmer and his cow might stray across the Russian border and be detained and it would take three weeks to get him back. But otherwise, there had been no significant border incidents.

There were Communist propaganda reports in the northern section of the country which had it that the U.S. was preparing a base at Spitzbergen, an action which would be contrary to the Pact, thus arousing resentment among the people. But the rumor was untrue and the terms of the Pact had been strictly followed.

The Russo-Norwegian two-year old trade agreement, under which fish oils and fish were traded for Soviet grains, had been kept. It was unlikely, for economic reasons, however, that the trade would be increased.

The immediate Western goal was to build Norway's defenses, dependent on decisions in Washington and by the NATO defense council. Quietly, there was considerable cooperation taking place with the Swedish military.

The Norwegians found it hard to understand why Americans were so upset about Communism, believed the U.S. was using cannon to shoot at sparrows.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop discuss the "fake defense" of the country under the Truman-Louis Johnson cutbacks to defense. During 1948, the President had limited the military budget to 14.4 billion. Then Secretary of Defense James Forrestal had the task of paring down the submitted military budgets, totaling 30 billion, eventually, the previous November, reaching that which he considered a bare minimum, 16.9 billion.

The Joint Chiefs had decided to gamble with the President that there would be no war, that the Russians did not want a war and so the emphasis ought be on diplomatic action rather than military superiority. The Joint Chiefs had set forth a blueprint for a five-year military build-up through 1952, aimed at the presumption of Soviet possession of the atom bomb by that point. But the bomb had just been detonated in August, advancing that target date by three years.

To do less than the Joint Chiefs planned appeared dangerously imprudent, but the President had now ordered a ceiling on defense spending of 13 billion for the following fiscal year, 1950-51. The balance over that amount spent in 1949-50 would go instead toward the military aid program for Western Europe.

Former Secretary of State Marshall had agreed with the President's thinking in 1948, that deterrence through a spare defense program was sufficient to meet the Soviet threat. But that was before the advent of the Soviet atom bomb.

(The remainder of this piece, carried over to another page of The News, may be read here. Hal Boyle, incidentally, addresses on that page a question, no matter who coined the expression, which will likely prove apropos for the 2016 Republican presidential nominee within a few days. There will be no hard feelings or adverse post-election repercussions, as long as you properly lose. You can relax.)

The reduced program provided 15 percent less defense for the U.S., and therefore the NATO countries, despite the direct military aid, would receive no increased overall defense. In addition, Secretary of Defense Johnson had sought to reduce current year spending to that projected by the President for the following year, prompting the rebellion of the admirals for the cuts in the Navy.

No one had explained, however, why it was safe to operate on the hunch that there would be no war, despite the Soviets expanding their defense program, even more than the Nazi build-up of the 1930's, and being known to be aggressive as a nation.

A letter writer relates that the human hair found in a walnut tree in Cabarrus County, as imparted in an article in the newspaper by Leroy Simerly, was not a part of a voodoo ritual but rather a folk remedy for the "tizi" or the tussis, a form of asthma.

The same letter writer, in a separate letter, tells of motoring across Randolph County below Greensboro and encountering a man upset with Mr. Simerly for his ascription of voodoo to the lock of hair in the walnut tree. His friend who had told him that it was a cure for the "tizi", provided other folk remedies, for rheumatism, measles, and pneumonia, of which he informs.

A letter from the director of the North Carolina March of Dimes thanks the newspapers of the state for their support the previous January and hopes that it would be forthcoming again in the 1950 campaign.

A letter writer thanks the newspaper for its coverage of the Sesquicentennial celebration in Cabarrus County.

A letter from a physician thanks Bob Sain, Tom Fesperman, Jeep Hunter and the staff of The News for their support of the county Diabetic Week sponsored by the County Medical Society. They performed some 350 tests on persons during the week and had 500 visitors seeking information on the disease.

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