The Charlotte News

Tuesday, October 25, 1949


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson met with the President following a meeting with the civilian heads of the three branches of the military regarding lessons to be gleaned from the recent Congressional inquiries on dissension between the branches and low morale in the Navy. Secretary Johnson refused to say to reporters whether the meetings suggested an imminent shakeup in the Navy high command.

Barney Livingstone provides the second in a series of articles on the controversy between the Air Force and the Navy regarding unification and the stress on the B-36 long-range strategic bomber over the abandoned supercarrier project. The Air Force and Army planners believed that strategic long-range bombers were the only effective means of controlling the air in the event of war with Russia, being the only method by which penetration could be achieved into the heart of that vast country. It quotes from General Omar Bradley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, that there would be little need for an island-hopping campaign in such a war, as had characterized the Pacific war, relegating the Navy to a secondary role of anti-submarine and convoy duty. He also did not believe that large-scale amphibious operations, as at Normandy and Okinawa, would be necessary again in modern war.

Those facts angered the admirals and other Naval officers. The admirals had argued that the inaccuracy of strategic bombing and the vulnerability of the big jets to fighters rendered the Air Force ineffective as the primary means of enemy infiltration, would result in an immoral war against civilian targets, one that, at best, would end in a stalemate and war of attrition on both sides. Admiral Arthur Radford favored instead small, fast bombers and high performance fighters, launched from forward bases or carriers when necessary.

In Mexico City, Major Albert Bauer of the U.S. Army Surgeon General's Office, speaking at the international congress of military medicine and pharmacy, said that there was no chance of surviving an atom bomb blast within a half mile of ground-zero, but that a radius of four miles practically assured escape unharmed. At a half mile, the odds were 50-50. The Major, along with Captain John Hogness, had prepared a report on the Hiroshima bombing of August 6, 1945, with emphasis on the medical effects from the bomb. They recommended preparedness which differed little from that for conventional bombing. They viewed shelter as superfluous because the attacks by atom bomb would come virtually without warning, not enabling access to such a shelter in sufficient time to afford succor from the blast, itself.

Duck and cover. The last thing you will see is that little crack between the linoleum tiles on the classroom floor. Just concentrate on that crack and it will all be over soon. No, don't let your mind wander onto the wavy patterns in the tile and what they mean or what idiot might have designed such a banal expression of color and decor, as that could drive you crazy in your last moments alive.

In Montgomery, Ala., delegates to the National Guard Association's annual conference heard the president of the Reserve Officers' Association speak out strongly against Federalization of the Guard, favoring instead a closer working relationship between the states and the Organized Reserve Corps. The ROA had been one of the most outspoken advocates for Federalization.

A House Judiciary subcommittee reopened an examination of monopolies in business and organized labor, hearings on which having occurred in early summer. The earlier hearings had suggested three possible remedies: amendments to the Clayton Act to limit corporate mergers where the merger would produce a threatened monopoly; repeal of exemptions from antitrust laws for certain types of businesses, such as railroads; and imposition of some limitation on the size of corporations, similar to that imposed by the ICC, the FCC, and other such regulatory bodies.

Coal retailers dispatched a telegram to the President urging intervention in the coal strike, as many homeowners, it said, were unable to buy heating fuel. A warmer than normal October had prevented an earlier crisis.

Freezing weather came to the Southern plains states, in Texas and Oklahoma, following heavy rains which had taken the lives of at least three persons. Even lower temperatures were recorded in the Northeast and Midwest, with the season's first snowfall occurring in some areas.

In Waterford, Mich., a farmer went berserk, shot up two taverns with a single-shot shotgun the previous night before killing himself. Two women, related, whose family owned one of the bars, were critically wounded, among six shot during the ten to twelve-minute rampage.

The incident brought to mind the murderous rampage of Howard Unruh, who had killed thirteen people in Camden, N.J., in early September, and recently been determined to be criminally insane and committed to the State mental hospital at Trenton—where he would die in 2009 at age 88.

In Ottawa, Canada, a woman and her son were driving in their brand new car when she heard a clanging sound underneath. She lugged a big steel disc into the trunk, which she assumed had fallen off the car, and drove home, showed the "missing part" of the car to her husband, who then suggested that she return the manhole cover to the City.

Actually, he was wrong. It was one of the new squirrel-cage covers they were attaching as a dealer-installed option to many new cars for awhile in 1949-50, to provide a little extra horsepower going up hills in squirrel-gear. It was cheaper to use discarded municipal manhole covers for the purpose, thus understandably confusing the man.

In London, the DeHavilland Comet 36-passenger plane flew from London to Tripoli and back on its maiden overseas flight, averaging 451 mph during an averaged three hour and eighteen minute flight each way.

Enjoy your flight.

On the sports page, sports editor Furman Bisher recognized Wake Forest for its victory over William & Mary, 55-38, the previous Saturday. Sportswriter Bob Quincy recognized Wofford College for its 14-7 victory over Presbyterian College. Ronald Green congratulated Children's Home of Winston Salem for defeating an unnamed Raleigh high school, 40-18.

We should pay tribute to the longtime football coach of R. J. Reynolds High School in Winston-Salem, Herman Bryson, who passed away November 20, 2015 at age 90. He lived at Children's Home from 1937 through high school and played football and other sports there. Mr. Bryson always had a good sense of humor, such that if a student or player called him "Poohaw", a reference to his part Cherokee heritage, there would be no repercussions—provided the student or player could run fast enough.

On the editorial page, "The Shoe That Pinches" tells of the New York Times and the Herald Tribune having endorsed Senator John Foster Dulles in the special election to retain the seat to which he had been appointed after the retirement of Senator Robert Wagner for ill health earlier in the year. His opponent, who was not disparaged by either newspaper, was former Governor Herbert Lehman, also well-qualified for the Senate. The newspapers liked Mr. Dulles for his long and distinguished career in foreign relations.

The piece believes that the New York voters would, however, choose the domestic shoe as better fitting their understanding than the foreign relations shoe, and so would lean to Governor Lehman, a solid Fair Dealer and liberal. It views the impact of the election in November to be a harbinger of the 1950 mid-term elections and the next session of Congress. The election promised to bring into sharp focus the domestic policy differences of the two candidates, and the piece thinks it good to have such differentiation, as the two prior presidential races, with Mr. Dewey as the GOP nominee both times, had shown little difference between the domestic policies of the Republican and either President Roosevelt or President Truman.

Governor Lehman would win the race and then win election to a full term in 1950, electing not to run again in 1956. Mr. Dulles would later be named Secretary of State by President Eisenhower in 1953 and serve until his death in 1959.

"A Way to Mental Health" finds informative a ten-page brochure titled "Mental Health in the Queen City", published by the Charlotte Mental Hygiene Society, founded in 1933. It told the story of what proper psychological and psychiatric facilities could do to prevent mental illness and to aid those already suffering from various neuroses or psychoses. One in ten persons would need psychiatric care at some point in their lives and one in twenty would need institutionalization for treatment. The public was beginning to wake up to the notion of the need for preventative work in mental health. It hopes that proper preventative care would lead to downward revision of the cited figures.

"R. Horace Johnston" tells of the death by heart attack Saturday of the 59-year old son of Charles Worth Johnston, after whom the new gymnasium at Davidson College had been dedicated Saturday. The younger Mr. Johnston suffered the attack while looking over his horses on Saturday afternoon, the other of his hobbies besides Davidson, both of which he had therefore pursued on the last day of his life. He had been a good family man and active in his church and the community.

A piece from the Durham Herald, titled "A Disgrace to North Carolina", tells of the Henderson Dispatch having commented in an editorial that it was amazing that more accidents had not occurred along Route 15, the 11-mile stretch of road connecting Chapel Hill and Durham. The piece agrees that the road was dangerous and had resulted in numerous fatalities, was a disgrace to the state, with twists and turns, and curves banked the wrong way, "an engineering monstrosity".

It finds that Governor Kerr Scott's reference to the road as a "football highway" to be the product of ignorance and deserving of a sentence of two weeks traveling daily over the road. But, it also adds, it appeared that he had modified his view, acknowledging that a new road would one day be built.

Eventually, they conjoined the road with 501 and made it straight and true, save for one long curve into Durham, and put a nice, broad grassy median strip down the middle of the four lanes. Since the 1950's, you have been able to drive along there at a constant rate of 140 miles per hour without mishap, except in rain and snow, when the speed has to drop down to a more sensible 85.

Drew Pearson tells of Vice-President Barkley, as he adjourned Congress, having intimated, sheepishly, in response to invitation by Senator Forrest Donnell, that he might be spending some time in Missouri, presumably to visit the St. Louis widow with whom he had been seen of late.

J. P. Morgan, owning a controlling interest in U.S. Steel, and Andrew Mellon, controlling Pittsburgh Consolidation Coal Co., had been primarily responsible for the current coal and steel strikes by agreeing in 1947 to John L. Lewis's demands for a 45-cent per hour wage increase and a welfare and pensions fund maintained exclusively by company contributions based on tons of coal mined. Smaller coal operators then had to follow suit. It had come on the heels of criticism by the coal operators of Secretary of Interior Julius Krug for having given Mr. Lewis an 18.5 cents per hour raise in 1946, the same as that given other major industries.

The hidden motive for the 1947 deal, it was then said, was so that Mr. Lewis, twice found in contempt in Federal Court and fined at the behest of the Truman Justice Department regarding refusals to heed Court orders to end strikes, would then line up labor behind Thomas Dewey and against President Truman, and because the steel industry was able to pass on the increased cost to the consumer.

Now, those liberal terms provided to UMW had become the reason for demands by steel and autoworkers for establishment of similar welfare and pension funds, free of worker contributions just as the UMW fund.

General Omar Bradley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, had scolded the Senate Appropriations Committee for leaking to the press secret information which he had imparted in executive session, that Russia had 175 divisions under arms and could increase the complement to 300 divisions within 90 days, eventually to 500 divisions. That compared to peak American strength of 91 divisions during the war. The General had also told the Committee in executive session that the Russians had 15,000 planes. The figures then showed up in newspapers the following day, leading the General to berate the Senators for their leaks. Senator Kenneth Wherry of Nebraska had responded that if the information was confidential, he had read it previously in a lot of other places. General Bradley then said that many people had accused him of war-mongering with the figures and that he bitterly resented the accusation. The Senators said nothing more.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop find that the burden of proof was on Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson to show that economizing on defense was wise in the face of warnings by Dr. Harold Urey, nuclear physicist, that the Soviets would be able within about two years to build a formidable stockpile of atomic weapons, which could exceed or at least equal that of the U.S., as well as the recent reiteration by Secretary of State Acheson, speaking at the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation, that the Russians were "aggressively imperialistic", echoing his remark two years earlier that they were "expanding and aggressive".

The Alsops suggest that perhaps Dr. Urey's prediction was wrong and Secretary Acheson's assessment also flawed, that the Russians would be deterred from war by American defense, even if pared by economic measures, cutting both manpower and development of modern equipment to achieve the defense economy desired by the Administration and implemented by Secretary Johnson, seeking even to cut the 14.4 billion dollar defense budget for the year, already pared down from 30 billion requested by the three military branches, to the 13 billion cap imposed by the President for the following year.

A democracy, they conclude, required leaders who told the people the truth. Thus, it was incumbent upon the President and Secretary Johnson to explain to the people why it was prudent to impair defense in a year in which the Soviets had successfully tested the atom bomb.

Robert C. Ruark tells of becoming nose-conscious since talking to Alfred Weill, French perfume executive. M. Weill said that de Maupassant had never known whether he was "hearing perfume or smelling music", the "true sensitivity".

Perfume "Noses" sniffed to determine the scent which would drive men wild. M. Weill said that such Noses, the "Big Noses", of which his nephew was one, were superior as tea-tasters, cognac-tasters or even dressmakers, because their work was so demanding of perfection. To be a Nose was nearly to rule the world as perfume made love go round. Perfume, he contended, could make a woman "as ugly as a crow" suddenly attractive through scent.

When a drop of perfume was dabbed on the hand, the instinct, he maintained, was to lift it and sniff. Then one would relax and feel pleasant, smile.

M. Weill thought that too little attention was paid to the nose. Decisions were often made based on smell. He then sniffed his cigar's aroma and his highball glass. He said that he found a woman who smelled good to be nicer than one who had no scent—provided, presumably, she does not smell too much as a cigar and a highball, low and inside, mixed together.

Mr. Ruark thinks him a bit prejudiced, however, because of his trade in perfume.

A letter from writer Harry Golden, editor of the Carolina Israelite, objects to the "half-truths" and generalities in "Tax-Spend-Elect" of October 22. For starters, he says, Harry Hopkins, to whom the piece had ascribed the quoted title, claimed never to have made the statement. He believes that assertion, as there had been many Roosevelt-haters who made up such slogans and ascribed them to various people, as the "clear it with Sydney" shibboleth which had gained currency during the 1944 presidential campaign, in reference to the CIO PAC headed by Sydney Hillman, which later, Mr. Golden says, Arthur Krock of the New York Times admitted having coined and attributed to FDR.

He concludes that such generalization could bring the bad luck of waking up one day with a Republican President again, which he finds to be a cold thought: "Brrrrr."

Ironically, Mr. Golden would, in 1974, receive a pardon from President Nixon for a mail fraud conviction he had suffered in relation to stock manipulation during the 1920's.

A letter writer objects to the winner-take-all notion of the electoral college and believes that each state ought have its electors vote proportionately based on the outcome of the popular vote in that state or based on the winner in each Congressional district.

He makes a sound point. But the winner-take-all notion is not part of the Constitution and each of the state legislatures determines the manner in which their electors cast their votes. Both Maine and Nebraska apportion their electors by Congressional districts. Each state could do so if it so wanted—or, as Senator Ted Cruz might like, just not cast a vote at all or even appoint any electors.

A letter writer says that there was justice meted to the eleven "Communist rats" convicted in New York under the Smith Act, but not enough justice, that they should have been handed over to the American people to deal with as they saw fit. "They need lynching," he thinks. He quickly adds that he does not believe in lynching, and thinks lynching is too good for them. It did not pay to be kind to Communists.

He thinks new laws ought be passed to enable deportation of any alien, whether Communist or not, who was not an "honest citizen". That person had to be a true Democrat, loyal to no other party. All "un-Americans" ought be done away with.

The editors respond: "Republicans, too?"

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