The Charlotte News

Saturday, November 19, 1949


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that chief of Naval operations Admiral Forrest Sherman said that the case of Captain John Crommelin, who had been reprimanded for releasing secret correspondence between the admirals critical of the Air Force and unification, was closed, meaning that the reprimand would stand and that Captain Crommelin would not receive the court martial he had sought to try to clear his record. He had responded to the reprimand by stating in writing that the Pentagon was "totalitarian in organization and administration", compared it to the Nazi Reich, and hoped Congress would renew its investigation of the armed forces.

Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy and Representative James Sutton of Tennessee, both war veterans, had come to his side, supporting the captain's request for a court martial to show, according to Senator McCarthy, the "entire picture to the American people".

Commm-mmm-mmmunists abound in the Government and in the military. They are even in the bourbon, in the steak sauce.

A part of the country's B-29 force was grounded for inspection by order of General Hoyt Vandenberg, Air Force chief of staff, after a series of 27 crashes of the Superfortresses had killed 120 men during the previous twelve weeks. Six accidents had occurred in the previous 16 days, with a known death toll of 35 and 20 still missing. It was estimated that 60 B-29's had crashed since the war. Planning by the Air Force for the fiscal year took into account the probability of loss of 61 B-29's through all kinds of accidents.

For the second time in three weeks, the Russian Government had demanded the recall to Moscow of Yugoslavia's Charge d'Affaires, acting head of the Embassy staff. The Soviet news agency Tass reported that he had been expelled. The previous month, Moscow had accused the Ambassador of subversive activities and demanded that he be recalled. He had returned to Yugoslavia in August. The Charge d'Affaires had left Moscow at the end of October and was presently in Yugoslavia. Tass said that Yugoslavia had ordered out the Russian consul at Zagreb and second military attache at Belgrade for claimed anti-Yugoslav activities.

Senator Clinton Anderson of New Mexico expressed confidence that the Democrats would re-nominate President Truman in 1952 and that he would be elected to another four-year term. He was also confident, after touring the West, that the Democrats would increase their majority in the Senate in the 1950 mid-term elections.

In Pasco, Wash., a temporary restraining order was issued by a State court, blocking publication by the Tri-City Herald of a story on shoddy construction of a housing project next to the Hanford atomic plant. The company claimed that the story constituted obstruction of justice and contempt of court and was libelous regarding its lawsuit against a veteran and a school teacher who was, according to the Herald, seeking to have the construction faults of the project corrected. It was believed to be the first instance in the state of a prior restraint on press publication. A hearing was set for the following week to determine whether a temporary injunction should issue.

In Detroit, a twin-engined DC-3 freight plane coming in for a landing crashed into a two-story house killing the crew of two. An elderly woman and her son who lived in the house were rescued with serious burns. Three others of a family in the house managed escape, as the father rescued his wife and daughter and pushed the elderly woman also to safety.

In Twin Falls, Idaho, a sixteen-year old high school athlete confessed the previous night to a thrill-killing of a seven-year old girl in the first grade. He said in his confession that he hit her with a tire jack and threw the body into a canal. A car he had borrowed was found with blood in the trunk. He denied raping the girl but an autopsy revealed that she had been sexually assaulted. He was arraigned for first degree murder in an open field at the county limits because of fear of injury to him if arraigned in town.

In Durham, N.C., an intern and a senior medical student at Duke Hospital were killed in an automobile accident when their car left the road and hit two trees before overturning. A third person in the car suffered injuries but was reported to be in good condition.

In Charlotte, the Jefferson Standard Life Insurance Company, owners of WBT, WBT-FM and WBTV, filed a half-million dollar libel suit against the CIO, charging that since October 27, it had maliciously slandered and libeled Jefferson Standard through its North Carolina director, based on letters sent to advertisers supporting the fight against the station by a local of the AFL-affiliated International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, and accusing the company of unfair practices by refusing to allot fair radio time to the CIO cause plus censorship of scripts. The firm had dismissed ten technicians in September and in response, the union filed a complaint with the NLRB, claiming the dismissal resulted from the men peacefully picketing the company. The company claimed that the men were attempting to prejudice advertisers, the public and the FCC against the company.

In Lowell, Mass., a volunteer fireman admitted starting a series of 35 fires so that he could obtain his $1 per hour pay, to catch up with maternity bills for his seven children. He had been indicted on arson charges.

Great balls of fire.

In London, actor Errol Flynn announced his intended marriage to Rumanian Princess Gica, 20.

In Hollywood, actress Joan Crawford was ill and in bed, suffering, according to her doctor, from heat exhaustion and a severe cold.

Wood or wire?

On the editorial page, "Segregation and Christianity" tells of the North Carolina Baptist Convention having adopted unanimously a report of the committee on service and civic righteousness which stated that all persons were equal and that minority groups were citizens with equal privileges and entitled to equal treatment before the law, that minorities had a right to be represented in bodies, as police, education, and the courts, which dealt with the general welfare of the community. It further stated that Christians should protest injustices to any group and strive to promote community good will, eliminating from speech degrading terms. The resolution also recommended limited occasional integration of churches by exchanging pastors and choirs.

But the proponent of the resolution, Dr. E. McNeill Poteat of Raleigh, felt that it improperly omitted condemnation of segregation, the very basis of the evils practiced against minorities.

The piece suggests that most thoughtful Americans who believed segregation was an evil also believed that it could not be abolished by law, that it had to come from a change in the minds and hearts of people, that there could be no such change as long as discrimination remained the rule in the churches and religious organizations. "If segregation is ever to be abolished in The South, it must first be abolished in the House of the Lord."

Nevertheless, it concludes, the Baptist State Convention's resolution was some progress and it was better than nothing.

"Laxity of the Law" finds it astounding that two days after being convicted of manslaughter in the death of Margaret Mitchell, the man responsible was still permitted to drive, such that he had an accident, albeit not his fault and causing no injuries. He had been charged with 22 traffic violations, eight of which had been dismissed or suspended, during his time as a cab driver prior to running down Ms. Mitchell while off duty, speeding along Peachtree Street on the wrong side of the road in downtown Atlanta.

The piece believes the situation the result of laxity of the law.

"Ghost of Prohibition" tells of Virginius Dabney, editor of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, writing in Collier's an article titled "Prohibition's Ghost Walks Again", finds it true, even in North Carolina. He told of the new strategy of the Drys being to work through localities and then states, and when enough states would finally vote to go dry, to seek a new Federal prohibition law.

Oklahoma had been held in the dry ranks, but the Dry forces were having their greatest success in North Carolina and Kentucky, county by county. They hoped, Mr. Dabney found, that the American people had a short memory regarding the pitfalls of the Great Experiment, when bootleg gangs infested the cities and "hypocrisy, graft and contempt for the law reached an all-time high in American history." He concluded that the Drys were sure that the "evils of Prohibition can be hidden in a fog of pretended morality."

The piece finds the situation incredible.

A piece from the New York Times, titled "Perpetual Forests", tells of the Supreme Court having refused review and thus let stand a Washington Supreme Court decision that a Washington statute was constitutional, requiring proprietors of land used for commercial logging to provide for its reforestation. It thus endorsed the principle that private owners were not at liberty to destroy the country's natural resources as they deemed fit. Washington was one of the few states with such a law.

But cutting of saw-timber was running 50 percent higher than annual growth and so it was only a matter of time until the nation's timber forests would be plundered. The problem was thus urgent and if the states were unwilling to act, the Federal Government would have to do so.

The Washington court, it suggests, had well-phrased the issue, that the "inviolate compact" between the dead, the living and the unborn, required that "we leave to the unborn something more than debts and depleted natural resources", that "constitutional morality" required preservation of those resources for future generations.

The Trumpies, though, masquerading in their fine "morality", say, essentially, live for today, take all you can, for tomorrow we might set off an atom bomb and kill everybody.

Drew Pearson, still in Los Angeles, reports that when Paul Robeson had come to the city following the riots at Peekskill, N.Y., during the summer, it was expected that another riot might take place. It was said that he had picked Los Angeles for its Communist enclave, which he hoped would spark another riot in response. But nothing had happened and no propaganda was thus given to Moscow to promote. He finds it the result of the efforts of the new Chief of Police, William Worton, a Marine Corps Major General during the war.

He had come to office as his predecessor had been indicted, though later acquitted. Mickey Cohen had been shot and recordings from a hidden microphone at his house had surfaced after lying in a police lieutenant's garage for months, copies of the dictabelt having been sold to various underworld leaders before being shown to the new Chief. When he tried to fire the head of his detective division, he discovered that he couldn't because of Civil Service protection. If charges were brought, they were to be heard by fellow officers whose watchword was self-protection. A police union had formed in Los Angeles which was as tightly controlled as the UMW under John L. Lewis.

The city had filled up during the war with war workers from the Midwest, pension-hunting elderly, and migrant Mexican workers, making his job difficult. But it was also made difficult because large sections of the city were not under his control. Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Pasadena and a half dozen other cities in the metropolitan area had their own police forces. Los Angeles County, where gambling flourished, also had its own 3,000-person force.

The Sheriff of the County, Eugene Biscailuz, became no more excited about a gangland slaying than the gambling which attracted crowds to Sunset Strip. He had sought to reenact the shooting of Mickey Cohen for the press, but no witnesses showed up for the event, and so he lamely offered the excuse that they must have been tired or maybe went to the fights. He then had his picture taken with the bullet holes in front of the nightclub where the shooting took place, went home. Nevertheless, the local press seemed to love him and took little note of the wide open atmosphere which he tolerated. Recently, he had thrown a lavish party with young newsmen present. No one bothered to ask how he could afford it.

A few days after the party, 200 deputy sheriff badges, "as big as Pepsi-Cola badges", were handed out to the press.

Chief Worton, by contrast, lived a lonely life, making surprise inspections of a police station every night after dinner. He was building better morale and loyalty while getting more work from his police force, many of whom were war veterans.

But under Civil Service rules, he could hold office for only four months and so the mobsters and corrupt politicians were glad that the greatest cleanup servant the city had ever known would only be Chief temporarily.

Chief Worton would serve until August, 1950. His successor, William Parker, served until mid-1966.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop discuss the potential candidacies of James Roosevelt for the Democratic nomination for Governor of California, practically assured, and that of FDR, Jr., Congressman from New York, for the gubernatorial nomination in that state, something which he was not seeking but could likely win if he were to throw his hat in the ring.

FDR, Jr., had the backing of upstate New York and had been an active and popular campaigner in the recent victory of former Governor Herbert Lehman over John Foster Dulles in the special Senate election. In many instances, Mr. Roosevelt drew larger crowds than did Mr. Dulles.

He did not, however, have the backing of labor kingpin David Dubinsky because he had supported New York City Mayor William O'Dwyer against Mr. Dubinsky's candidate in the mayoral race. But by backing Mayor O'Dwyer, he also had gained the support of Tammany and the regular Democrats, as well as Bronx boss Ed Flynn.

Another problem was that FDR, Jr., would only be 36 the following year and that placed him as a young upstart, who the political professionals did not like.

He had originally backed General Eisenhower for the Democratic nomination in 1948 but backed away when it became clear the General would not seek it, unlike brother James who stuck with the General through the convention. Thus, Franklin was more acceptable to the White House than James.

They conclude that both young Roosevelts might become their party's nominees in those gubernatorial races and that the Roosevelt-haters thus might have to begin looking out for "that Boy"—a reference to the derogatory "That Man", a phrase often used by his enemies to describe FDR when alive.

Marquis Childs, in Belgrade, tells of his journey into Yugoslavia, which travelers often described as perilous. Swiss Air flew into the country once per day but he and his wife decided initially to travel by sleeping car aboard the Orient Express from Trieste. They discovered a problem, however, in that to get from the sleeping car to the dining car aboard the train, one had to deboard onto the platform and walk from the last car to the front car.

They met a friend at the station who worked for Pathe News, however, and he had a new 1949 Chevrolet which he was driving to Belgrade, offered them a ride, which they decided to take. He describes the uneventful journey, with the villagers along the way ogling the new car which they had obviously never seen before as they still traveled by cart.

Mr. Childs and his wife traveled in the Chevrolet part of the way on the new superhighway from Zagreb to Belgrade, a key part of Tito's modernization program for the country, taking it in one fell swoop from the horse and buggy age into the modern era. The road was slated to open fully on November 28 and rivaled any modern superhighway, as the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

Tom Schlesinger of The News provides his weekly "Capital Roundup", tells of the prospects for the House seat held by Major Alfred Bulwinkle, in ill health, in the 11th Congressional district of the state, that C. O. Ridings, the district solicitor, was the man to beat, with stiff opposition supplied by Charles Flack. Mr. Bulwinkle had been an early champion of the Wages & Hours law, the only Congressional proponent from North Carolina, against substantial opposition at home, would be missed in the North Carolina delegation.

Despite Democratic gains in the special Senate race and in some special House races, the same split in both chambers continued as in January at the beginning of the 81st Congress, 54 to 42 in favor of the Democrats in the Senate and 263 to 171 plus one Labor Party member in the House.

Senator Frank Graham had attended the UNC-Notre Dame football game in Yankee Stadium the previous weekend, but Senator Clyde Hoey had missed it, despite his office having arranged for a special train to carry 300 fans.

Senator Graham would be in Charlotte in December for two speaking engagements. He averaged four talks per week while the Senate was not in session, Senator Hoey even more.

It was believed that state labor forces were behind the candidacy of former Senator Robert Rice Reynolds for the Senate seat of his successor, Mr. Hoey, because of the latter's vote against much of the legislation favored by labor. Former interim Senator William B. Umstead had not determined whether he would run against interim Senator Graham in the special election, as he believed that if he ran and lost, his political career would be at an end.

The latest cartoon on Senator Hoey's office wall was one by Washington Star cartoonist Jim Berryman, showing a caricature of Senator Hoey pulling the lanyard of a baby cannon bearing the label "5 per cent investigation", aimed at a blindfolded Presidential military aide General Harry Vaughan, with the caption, "You May Fire When Ready, Senator".

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