The Charlotte News

Monday, November 21, 1949


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the U.S., through Secretary of State Acheson, had appealed to 30 nations, including Russia, to intervene with the Chinese Communists on behalf of the imprisoned American consul general, Angus Ward, and four members of his staff. They had been jailed and held incommunicado since October 24.

In Budapest, an American I.T.&T. company executive was reported to have been arrested the prior Friday by Hungarian police. His wife said that she had no idea why he had been arrested.

Senator Ed Johnson of Colorado, member of the joint Atomic Energy Committee, said that the chance of a nuclear attack on the United States was about a million to one in the ensuing twenty years. Others of the Committee, including Senator Brien McMahon, chairman, had stressed the need for civilian defense programs.

Field Marshal Viscount Bernard Montgomery was arriving in the U.S. this date for a round of unofficial meetings with top-ranking American military personnel. He would visit with Generals Eisenhower, Omar Bradley, Joseph Collins, and others, likely to discuss the plans for NATO. He was chairman of the Western Union Defense Alliance between Britain, France, Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg. Officially, he was in the country as the guest of the English-speaking Union in New York.

Near Oslo, Norway, a DC-3 carrying 28 undernourished Jewish refugee children from Tunis in North Africa was missing and believed to have crashed in a forest near the city. The plane also had seven crew members. Searchers were combing the area. The children were to be provided rest and rejuvenation in Norway before going on to Israel. Another plane, with 27 refugee children aboard, had arrived safely.

In Hamilton, Bermuda, eighteen survivors of a B-29, which was forced to ditch in the sea after running out of fuel, told of their harrowing 79 hours aboard two six-man life rafts awaiting rescue in the middle of the ocean. A destroyer had picked them up on Saturday after a B-17 search plane had spotted them 400 miles northeast of Bermuda. Two of the men had drowned initially trying to reach the life rafts amid swells. Most of the survivors were in good condition, some on stretchers.

In New York, in the second trial of Alger Hiss for perjury, Whittaker Chambers testified that Mr. Hiss took a job in the Department of Justice in 1936 after learning that the Communist Party wanted him to do so. Mr. Chambers said that he discussed the matter with J. Peters, whom he claimed was the head of the Communist underground in the country, after Mr. Hiss had asked Mr. Chambers what he thought about his taking the job. Mr. Chambers also told of traveling to England in 1935 to work for the Soviet apparatus, under the name David Breen, on a passport obtained through the assistance of the Communist Party.

The Supreme Court threw out Gerhard Eisler's appeal from his conviction for contempt of Congress for refusing to answer questions on whether he was a Communist. The one-time top Communist in the country had skipped bail earlier in the year and stowed away on a Polish ship bound for Germany. He had been discovered in England but the country refused extradition to the U.S. and permitted him to go on his way to East Germany.

The Supreme Court of Canada blamed the owners and master of the cruise ship Noronic for the flash fire which claimed 118 lives while the ship was at anchor in Toronto the prior September 7. The court suspended the master's license of the captain and recommended a series of measures to tighten safety regulations. It also imposed costs for the 17-day investigation on the ship's owners. One witness claimed that the captain appeared to be under the influence of alcohol at the time of the fire, but others said that he behaved normally. The captain denied the charge.

John L. Lewis met with the other two trustees of the coal welfare and pensions fund to discuss its dwindling proceeds.

Near Fresno, California, the dead body was found of an eighteen-month old girl who had been raped and then smothered in the mud. She had been kidnaped from her parents' car parked in front of a dance hall at Huron.

In Brockton, Mass., a rejected suitor shot a 25-year old woman to death in front of several witnesses, was shortly thereafter arrested after a crowd had given chase and the man then shot himself in the chest. He was in critical condition. He was a former postal truck driver.

On the editorial page, "Drunk Driving Acquittals" tells of a solicitor in Dunn becoming frustrated after what he believed was an open-and-shut case against a defendant for drunk driving resulted in an acquittal. The defense attorney argued that the man, drunk at the scene of an accident when the police arrived to investigate, had become intoxicated during the hour it took the police to arrive and was not drunk at the time he was driving when the accident occurred. The solicitor then dismissed the rest of the drunk driving cases on the calendar, saying that he could not hope to obtain convictions from the jury and would not waste his time trying.

The piece suggests that most solicitors in the state probably had the same frustration, as juries were reluctant to convict on drunk driving. One problem was that juries many times were found to be comprised of felons, convicted drunk drivers and persons who had been arrested for public drunkenness. Moreover, on most juries, there was usually one member who had driven while drunk at least once, thus had sympathy for the defendant. The intoximeters in use were not accepted as "conclusive evidence" by courts—nor could they be constitutionally without violating the presumption of innocence. (Under American jurisprudence, no evidence proffered against the accused in a criminal case can be considered, by instructions to a jury, to be "conclusive evidence" of guilt, even if prosecutors may so argue, as long as they do not express personal beliefs in the guilt of the accused, verboten for its implied argument beyond the evidence. Any time the court directs a verdict against the accused through any instruction which negates the presumption of innocence and invades the province of the jury, it is considered to be plain error, meriting reversal automatically.)

The piece continues that the net result was that many citizens drove drunk with impunity. The solicitor in question had a duty to prosecute the remaining cases on his calendar even if he believed they would not result in convictions. But his decision to dismiss was understandable in light of the reluctance of juries to convict in drunk driving cases.

"The New Kerr Scott" tells of the Governor having provided a reasoned, prepared speech as a report on the progress of the state since he had taken office the previous January, finding it progressing and making great strides without major obstacles in the years ahead. It had been a speech to all of the people of the state, devoid of the sarcasm and bombast of his prior speeches since taking office, and addressed to all of the people, even those who had opposed his "Go Forward" program.

The editorial suggests that perhaps he had learned that an essential ingredient in a healthy democracy was an articulate opposition and that those who did not always agree with him were more apt to respond to "logic than demagoguery".

"Congressional Seniority" finds many North Carolina newspapers expressing umbrage at the suggestion of the Washington Post that House Ways & Means Committee chairman Robert Doughton resign his post for his advancing age of 86.

While the seniority system produced sometimes men of distinction, as Mr. Doughton, who many contended was more vigorous than many men much younger, it also anointed with committee chairmanships the likes of Senators Kenneth McKellar of Tennessee and Pat McCarran of Nevada, as well as Representative John Rankin of Mississippi. As a result, it supports the Post's idea of eliminating or modifying the seniority system.

"The Baruch Bequest" tells of Bernard Baruch announcing that he would leave his entire estate to the promotion of physical medicine, that branch of medical research dedicated to such things as teaching people born without legs to walk and become part of the community. The important branch of medicine, it projects, would benefit markedly from Mr. Baruch's largess.

A piece from the Baltimore Evening Sun, titled "Change the Contract", tells of a hearing in the city to determine whether to change the contract with the SPCA to provide unwanted dogs, slated to be put to sleep, to the medical schools for medical research. The SPCA and its proponents wanted to stop giving the dogs for the purpose, were greeted with enthusiasm by the attendees of the meeting. The medical school representatives and patients who had been saved by the canine research were received with boos and catcalls.

At the end of the meeting, however, not one doggone valid, reasoned argument had been adduced by the SPCA and its supporters for not providing the dogs. Only sentimental statements were made, full of misinformation.

Drew Pearson tells of Senators Elmer Thomas of Oklahoma and John McClellan of Arkansas having bristled at Sweden not greeting them with pomp and ceremony during their European junket, with both suggesting, therefore, that Sweden might not obtain Marshall Plan aid. Mrs. McClellan had written of the royal treatment provided them during their trip otherwise in Europe, stressing the many amenities afforded them by Norway and that she and Senator McClellan were having their second honeymoon. Mr. Pearson reminds that it was at taxpayer expense.

General Eisenhower, who as a five-star general was entitled to a permanent office at the Pentagon, had nevertheless lost his place among the exclusive outer ring of offices, had been relegated to an average room, squeezed out by the plethora of active generals.

John L. Lewis, Mr. Pearson predicts, would not renew the coal strike after the November 30 end to the three-week hiatus. The union members would not stand for another fine as in 1948. They had not had a full paycheck since June 30 and thus were grumbling. Several UMW locals had already returned to work before the truce took effect. The solid front by the operators was being maintained such that Mr. Lewis could not effect leverage for a settlement by settling with one company or group. Thus, he had lost the strike, would never recover in benefits the lost wages of the miners for 52 days of idleness. It would be the first time he would lose a strike since 1933.

Congressman Wayne Hays of Kansas had found a microphone hidden in the base of his telephone, and he and his clerk decided to give the listeners, whoever they were, an earful of gobbledygook.

An anti-Russian underground was developing among Russian army officers in Silesia in Eastern Germany, derailing trains and shooting many top Communists. It went by the initials "NTM", indicating "Death to the tyrants."

Joseph & Stewart Alsop tell of Georgi Malenkov being the next in line to succeed Josef Stalin, who would be 70 in December. Malenkov, at 46, had been selected in 1949 to deliver the primary address to commemorate the Russian Revolution, was now sitting next to Premier Stalin at major events, displacing V. M. Molotov, who, nevertheless, still remained a formidable personage within the Soviet Government.

The Alsops therefore examine the personality of Mr. Malenkov and find him very much a carbon copy of Stalin in manner and dress, as well being a person of action, a "maneuverer", rather than an intellectual. His rapid rise to power had begun in the Thirties during the great Stalin purges, in which he had played a prominent role. He gave two prominent speeches, one in early 1941, attacking as inefficient the whole system of Soviet industry and transportation, and the other taking to task overly orthodox Marxists. But then A.A. Zhdanov undertook to establish strict ideological orthodoxy and Malenkov was removed as secretary of the Communist central committee, was relegated to obscurity for two years. But upon the death of Zhdanov in August, 1948, and with the defiance by Tito to Moscow, Malenkov was restored to power, though he had opposed Zhdanov's plans for disciplining Tito.

There was no evidence, they stress, to assume that Mr. Malenkov was a moderate compared to Mr. Zhdanov. There were no moderates in fact at the Kremlin.

When Stalin would die, there might yet be a great internal struggle for power and it might shift the direction of Soviet policy. But whether Malenkov or Molotov or another inherited Stalin's power at that time, the world contest would likely continue, "not for years but for generations."

At the death of Stalin in early 1953, Mr. Malenkov would be made Premier and titular head of the Communist Party, roles he would retain for two years.

Robert C. Ruark, in Central City, Colo., tells of the history of the Glory Hole bar, so named for the mine where the original owner struck it rich, with a picture of a naked woman hanging over the bar, founded in 1859. It was run by Emmy Watson, granddaughter of the original owner, who sometimes wore ski pants and, in the summer, donned for the tourists Gay Nineties attire and Mae West hats. She enjoyed her bar, did not wish to return to Denver.

A letter writer finds the Republican Party in much the same situation as the Whig Party of the 1850's, which had then gone out of existence. It was engaged in "me-toosim" as the President advanced his program. He suggests that Americans demanded "in their leaders positive declarations of principle, a spirit of self-sacrifice, integrity and –'Guts'." He wants to hear a voice which could effectively oppose the Fair Deal. So far, he had not heard it.

Oh, you'll hear it soon enough. Its owner's name is Old Drunk Joe McCarthy.

A letter writer responds to the editorial anent Senator Frank Graham's speech in Shelby recently, agreeing with the editorial until its last statement when it said that Senator Graham had apparently come to realize the problems with Communism, which he had tolerated as president of UNC. The letter writer thinks this statement wrong, that Mr. Graham had never tolerated Communism at the University.

He believes that Mr. Graham was one of the greatest democrats of the time and should be elected to the remaining term in the Senate. He agrees with the Senator's views regarding the danger of Communism to the world.

A letter writer objects to the City spending over $21,000 to hire twelve meter maids to check parking meters. It was a tacit admission that the Police Department was not doing adequately the job of enforcing the parking regulations.

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