The Charlotte News

Monday, October 31, 1949


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Bethlehem Steel, third largest steel firm, had reportedly agreed with the United Steelworkers regarding the welfare and pensions fund payments, ending the 31-day strike at that company. Bethlehem had already established such a fund and reportedly agreed to increase the contributions. Jones & Laughlin was also rumored to have reached agreement.

The dispute over the welfare and pensions fund in the 43-day old coal strike, however, appeared still deadlocked.

Vice-Admiral Forrest Sherman was en route to Washington from his command post in the Mediterranean, suggesting that he might become the successor to Admiral Louis Denfeld as chief of Naval operations.

Former Secretary of State Edward Stettinius, Jr., who had overseen the creation of the U.N. in spring, 1945, had died of a heart attack at age 49 this date. He had been chairman of U.S. Steel and, for a short time, of G.M., before FDR tapped him to become first chairman of the War Resources Board in 1939 and then administrator of Lend-Lease in 1941. He was named Undersecretary of State in August, 1943, succeeding Sumner Welles, and then Secretary in November, 1944, upon the retirement of Cordell Hull. He was named the first Ambassador to the U.N. by President Truman in July, 1945 after the U.N. Charter had been formed, resigning as Secretary of State to be succeeded by James Byrnes. He had suffered from a heart condition since the previous spring. He was currently serving as rector of the University of Virginia.

The U.S. ousted two Czech officials in retaliation for the Czech Government having ousted two U.S. Embassy officials in Prague.

In Cleveland, at the CIO convention, Philip Murray, president of the organization, was cheered after he said that CIO would clean out all pro-Communists.

In Detroit, a 67-year old Toledo businessman killed his wife and mother-in-law with a hammer after having the urge, he told police, for some time because of his wife's greater devotion to teaching music than to him. He told police that he could not resist the urge any longer.

In Chester, England, the police issued pictures of heavy drinkers to local pubs, instructing them not to serve the depicted persons on penalty of a ten pound fine, pursuant to a law dating from 1903. The pictures were to be kept out of public sight.

In Los Angeles, the dentist fiance of actress June Haver died following surgery.

In Charlotte, a Superior Court judge issued a temporary restraining order against enforcement of a City ordinance, passed in 1946 but not enforced until its planned implementation on November 1, forbidding taxicab companies from renting cabs to drivers on a contract basis. A hearing would be held on the merits of the issue on November 14.

The Alger Hiss retrial for perjury was continued from November 1 until November 17 so that new counsel for Mr. Hiss could adequately prepare. He had sought a continuance until November 22.

Charlotte Chief of Police Frank Littlejohn warned vandals that on Halloween night the police would be out in doubled force to keep things in check, urged that young people "stay civilized". Several youth events were planned in the community. Some of the would-be rowdies are pictured.

In Jacksonboro, Ga., the last survivor of the town, a 105-year old former slave, had died, ending the town's storied history of curse. An itinerant minister had come to the town in 1830 and called upon its raucous residents to repent their sinful ways, for which he was pelted with eggs and refused a platform on which to preach. He then proclaimed the curse of Sodom and Gomorrah on the town as he shook the dust from his feet in leaving. Thereafter, windstorms and floods beset the town until the remaining settlers finally abandoned it. The former slave had been born in the town, was a young man when Sherman's troops marched through, burning all of the houses except the one in which he had been a slave.

The night he died, the piece imparts, there was an awful rustling in the trees and an old hound howled.


On the editorial page, "There Is Still Time" urges giving to the Community Chest, as there was time left in its current campaign, going reasonably well but not yet having met its goal for the year.

"A Project for Everyone" finds that no one yet knew what the Federal deficit for the year would be, only that it would come in somewhere between three and five billion dollars, typical of Government confusion when it came to financing. Neither the President nor the Congress had shown a willingeness to make cuts and the Government bureaucracy, full of waste and duplication, continued. It suggests that whether the Hoover Commission recommendations were finally implemented would depend largely on whether the people put pressure on Congress to make the necessary cuts. Some states had formed committees to focus public attention on the necessity. North Carolina had no such committee yet, but there were reports that a group was being formed.

"Our Stake in Berlin" finds instructive Brig. General Frank Howley's first piece in a series appearing in Collier's, regarding his experience as commandant of the American zone of Berlin until he recently had retired from the post.

He reported that the Americans had become disabused of their original take on the Russians, that they were fun-loving, jolly fellows, realizing that instead they were "colossal liars and swindlers", responded only to meeting their threats of force with counter-threats. He had concluded that Berlin, as a divided city of three million people, might be the most important in the world, for whatever happened to it would happen in turn to Germany as a whole. If Berlin were to fall to the Russians, so, too, would Germany soon afterward.

The piece finds that Americans were still in Germany thanks to the determination of persons as General Howley and because of the previous year's resourceful American-British air lift to thwart the Soviet blockade of Berlin. The recent formation of the East German state made the necessity of remaining the more necessary. It would jeopardize the whole Western postwar program to allow the Soviets ever to squeeze out the American occupation force.

A piece from the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, titled "Kaiser Loan Question", tells of the major automakers beginning to wonder whether the Reconstruction Finance Corporation was in effect subsidizing the Kaiser-Frazer automobile company as competition, having given it a loan of 34.4 million dollars and rumored to be ready to provide another 15 million to help dealers finance the cars between the factory and ultimate consumer.

It was the same thing other Government agencies had done with respect to the big power interests.

The RFC was now giving loans which individual banks could not afford to make, suggesting that the Government was becoming the principal source of funds for private businesses. That it had given loans to Kaiser, which had most readily signed labor contracts in line with Government recommendatuions, suggested also a form of pork-barrel politics at work.

It urges Congress to investigate these practices before giving RFC the means to make more such loans.

Drew Pearson provides a story in contrast to the big time tax chislers, who were often able to delay tax cases inteminably with the Justice Department. A former Government employee was found to owe taxes on $150 tax dividend, a total tax of $34.51. A lien was placed on his $28 weekly salary for the remaining $15.59 after he had paid $19 in $2 weekly payments. When his employer saw the tax lien, the man was fired from his job as a tax evader. His youngest child then became ill and died for want of medical care, was buried in Potter's Field.

Eventually, the IRB apologized for the mistake and told him to ignore any further collection efforts. Such was what happened to taxpayers who could not afford to hire lawyers.

Henry Blackmer, who had fled to Europe during the Teapot Dome scandal rather than face subsequent charges for perjury and tax evasion, had finally just returned to the U.S. after the death of Danny Sullivan, former Colorado politician who had found the evidence of tax evasion. Reportedly, Mr. Blackmer's lawyers had arranged for him to avoid jail time on the charges.

Marquis Childs, in Stockholm, tells of the many students, professors, Congressmen and ordinary citizens visiting Sweden coming away impressed with the country's welfare program. The Government had just pushed through a compulsory health insurance program to take effect in 1951, against a backdrop of voluntary health insurance, in place since 1911, and State-suppoted medicine going back 300 years. More than 60 percent of the population had been previously covered by a single Government-sponsored system, but it had not covered lower income groups. Thus, the new law was passed which added $5 per year to each taxpayer's bill for health insurance to meet about a third of the cost, the rest to come from general tax revenue.

The doctors had opposed the program, but even some Conservatives had supported it. The number of doctors for the population was considerably lower than in the U.S.

Children in the schools had received free medical examinations for many years and a large amount of free medical care. Hospital care had been subsidized to some degree by the Government, with the patient paying about 80 cents per day out of the actual $5.60 per day cost, including X-rays and medicine.

Insofar as the voluntary health insurance plan, the individual paid six-elevenths, the employer two-elevenths, the municipality, one-eleventh, and the central Government two elevenths.

Experience had shown that free medicine and free care was too much abused, threatening to bankrupt the system. So, the individual was made to pay half of the first doctor visit and a fraction of the second and third visits, to curb abuse. There had been a great effort to preserve the doctor-patient relationship. The patient paid the doctor directly, then was reimbursed by the insurance system.

Every mother was paid $50 per year for every child under 16 and most mothers and children were given vacation allowances by the State.

Most of the opposition to the program was based on cost. But given the long period of experimentation, the Government could at least approximate the cost of the system.

Robert C. Ruark tells of life in New York, that a pair of tickets for "South Pacific", for instance, could be had through scalpers at $50 each.

At the Stork Club, patrons paid high prices to look at one another, often not drinking hard liquor or even speaking.

The El Morocco had a dance floor, tables and zebra-skin divans. Recently, Humphrey Bogart and a friend had arrived with their "girlfreind" pandas and caused a stir when two females decided to cop the pandas, resulting in alleged pushing and shoving. (The charge against Mr. Bogart for assault was dismissed.)

The “21” restaurant had three rooms, each in series considered better than the other. Some patrons would commit suicide if demoted from the second to the third room.

Drinks and steaks were expensive everywhere, with the latter running nearly $5.

He wishes well the shearers of the sheep in their efforts to get what they could from customers, including those charging $50 for show tickets. He finds it ashamed that Texas Guinan, one of the wheeler-dealers of the Twenties, was not still around to gather his share of the loot.

A letter writer tells of giving $25 to the Community Chest but not having been solicited previously, wonders if other small organizations had likewise been skipped.

A letter writer responds to a letter of October 25, which had railed against the convicted eleven American Communists in New York, suggests that the letter writer should be the one deported. He adds that he is a Republican, not a Communist.

A letter writer disagrees with the claims of the trucking industry that railroads were trying to break their backs, provides contrasts between railroads and trucking, that the railroads paid their own way on their tracks, were not subidized by the state as were the trucks.

A letter writer thanks the newspaper for its coverage of the recent exhibit at the Mint Museum by the Piedmont Philatellic Association, of which the writer is president.

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