The Charlotte News

Wednesday, November 30, 1949


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Secretary of State Acheson warned American ships that they entered the Nationalist-blockaded port of Shanghai at their own risk, indirectly rebuking the Isbrandtsen steamship line for sending its merchant vessels into the area, two of which had been shelled in recent days. He said that the American Government had rejected the company's requests for Navy escorts. He also said, however, that he had sent to the Nationalist Government a new, strongly worded protest against the shelling of the ships, possibly laying the foundation for a legal claim by the company against the Nationalist Government. Part of the shelling of the second ship had taken place outside territorial waters, according to Secretary Acheson, and so violated international law. He praised the other shipping companies for restraint in staying away from the blockaded Communist-controlled ports.

In Chungking, Communist forces were moving in on the provisional capital, now abandoned by Nationalist officials. Generalissimo Chiang Kai-Shek's headquarters said that the city had fallen at noon. Chiang had arrived at the new provisional capital at Chengtu shortly prior to noon. A dispatch from Chungking said that 20,000 Communist troops had crossed the Yangtze River at 1:00 a.m. and entered the outskirts of the city.

Acting President Li Tsung-Jen, who was planning to go to the U.S. for medical treatment, was reported to have turned down Chiang's request to relinquish the presidency. It was believed that Chiang would be forced to take over the presidency again in two or three days. He had retired the previous January and Li had then assumed the role of Acting President.

It appeared certain that a resumption of the soft coal strike would begin at midnight, at the end of the three-week hiatus, with no settlement having been reached in the coal dispute, regarding primarily demands for increased contributions to the UMW welfare and pension fund.

In Washington, Congressman J. Parnell Thomas, former HUAC chairman, on trial for defrauding the Government in receiving salary kickbacks from his staff, changed his plea from not guilty to nolo contendere and threw himself on the mercy of the court. The court then dismissed a charge of conspiracy against Mr. Thomas's secretary and set December 9 for sentencing of the Congressman. He faced up to 32 years in prison and $40,000 in fines. He continued to be free on a $1,000 bond pending sentencing. The change of plea came as the Government planned to present testimony of Mr. Thomas's niece and her maid regarding the niece's lack of any real work for the salary she received, depositing her paycheck through the maid into an account for the benefit of Mr. Thomas. He claimed that the change of plea was for family and personal health considerations.

In New York, Whittaker Chambers finished his testimony in the second perjury trial of Alger Hiss, as two documents Mr. Chambers had prepared came into evidence mentioning former State Department official Laurence Duggan, who had died the previous December 20 in a fall from his 16th floor office window in Manhattan. At the time, not made public until after the death, a witness before HUAC had implicated Mr. Duggan as an associate of Whittaker Chambers but Mr. Chambers subsequently denied knowing Mr. Duggan. The references to him came in a report to former Assistant Secretary of State Adolph Berle in 1945, in which Mr. Chambers described Mr. Duggan as a member at large of the Communist Party but not a member of the underground. He claimed in the report that Mr. Duggan and another State Department official had provided any information the Party operative wanted.

Also in New York, the trial judge in the Judy Coplon espionage case ordered all FBI agents who had investigated the matter to appear the following Monday and ordered the Government to show cause why all wire-tapping evidence in the case should not be suppressed and the indictment against Ms. Coplon dismissed. She had been convicted in Washington earlier in the year of taking the documents from her place of employment at the Justice Department. The second trial, with a Russian co-defendant, charged attempted transfer to the Russian of the confidential documents for purposes of espionage.

In York, S.C., the State sought to prove that defendant Nathan Corn, accused of murder of his employer, had been embezzling money from the victim and killed him to cover it up. He had been previously convicted of the murder and sentenced to death but the State Supreme Court had reversed the conviction and ordered a new trial because the trial judge had failed to instruct the jury regarding alibi evidence admitted in the case.

In Raleigh, the North Carolina Supreme Court found no error in the murder conviction and death sentence of John Robert Bridges, found guilty of bludgeoning a man to death with the butt of a rifle and then burying him alive in his backyard. Mr. Bridges was set to die in the gas chamber on December 16, absent intervention by the Governor.

John Daly of The News reports that, according to estimates of the Southern Bell Telephone Co., Charlotte's metropolitan area, with a population in 1949 of 173,000, was expected to grow to 237,000 by 1965. A chart is provided of the growth of the area from 1925, when the population stood at 80,600, increasing by 50 percent by 1940 and to 148,000 by 1945. Telephone statistics are also provided.

Rus Peterson, former director of the Children's Nature Museum, tells of a visitor from England, a Barnacle goose, which made its home at Lockhart Gaddy's Wild Goose Refuge near Ansonville. An estimated 6,000 birds wintered at the Gaddy pond. Most were geese from Canada, but many American geese joined them as well.

It was not uncommon for European birds to reach America, usually spotted on Long Island or Cape Cod. Storms and peculiar wind currents often carried them across the pond. The Gaddy pond visitor probably had intended to go to England from Norway or Greenland and lost his way, turning right instead of left, following the flock. Perhaps a storm had swept him on across the ocean, and he then tagged along with the Canadian geese heading south.

Mr. Peterson concludes that the goose might soon become accustomed to Mr. Gaddy's Southern hospitality and honk with a trace of "ya'll".

On the other hand, some hunter might shoot him and cook him for dinner.

In London, Winston Churchill turned 75 this date. He planned to take his usual place in Commons and then later in the evening, have dinner with a few friends and family at his London home overlooking Hyde Park.

On the editorial page, "New Move Against Tito" comments on the denunciation of Tito, reported the previous day, by the Cominform, calling upon all Communists worldwide to join Yugoslav peasants and workers in the attempt to overthrow him from power. Observers viewed the resolution as suggesting that Russia might be seeking direct overthrow, failing which, forming a pretext for armed military intervention in Yugoslavia.

The best information obtainable from Yugoslavia was that it was more nationalistic than Communistic and that there was not likely any grassroots movement afoot among the peasants and workers to oust Tito. Russia's position was becoming more uncomfortable every month as Tito's independence was spreading to some of the satellite countries, endangering Moscow's hold.

Despite Tito being a dictator running a totalitarian regime, antithetical to democracy, it would be to the U.S. advantage if the Cominform's resolution failed as dismally as its previous such ukases.

"Cool Heads Needed" tells of most Americans, after reading of the jailing for a month by the Chinese Communists of Mukden Consul General Angus Ward and the shelling by the Nationalists of two American vessels off Shanghai, wished a pox on both their houses.

It suggests that the State Department was following the wisest course in showing patience and dignified protests in the face of such provocations, as the direct use of force in the region could lead to war. As irresponsible leaders appeared in charge of both the Chinese Communists and the Nationalists, it was inevitable that from time to time such incidents would occur.

It concludes that perhaps the day might come when the U.S. would decide to turn back the Communists in the Far East but until such time, it was as well to remain cool and take such incidents in stride. The thrust of American foreign policy remained stopping Soviet aggression and efficacious propaganda in Europe.

"Return of the Flapper" tells of most of the Flappers of the Twenties having become graying matrons who would rather iron shirts than risk a bad knee-cap from performing the Charleston again. They had sold their old clothing and donned the trappings of the conventional housewife.

"Vo-do-de-o" and "boop-boop-a-doop" were long extinct phrases.

The Stutz Bearcat-driving young man on the make with a raccoon coat had turned portly and dressed in blue serge suits.

But their daughters were now becoming flappers of sorts, with duck-tail haircuts and disordered dress reminiscent of the earlier time. The Charleston had made a comeback along with the melodies of the era.

It concludes that as the historians had said, "we are forever changing but forever the same".

"December Puzzler" finds it to be the traditional question: "What do you want for Christmas?" The only person in the family typically who knew the answer was junior, but the parents could not afford to buy an airplane and he was too young for a shotgun.

The answer is simple in hit-first-think-later-if-at-all Trumpland.

A piece from the Christian Science Monitor, titled "Busy as a Bee?", tells of W. A. Stephens of N.C. State finding that the bee was extremely busy as it took 150 million individual pollinations of flowers, 80 percent of which were by bees, to produce ten bushels of red clover seed generated on an acre of land. Thus, the attempt to analogize to the human was misplaced.

The bee analogy was, concludes the piece, more apropos to the activities of the average three-year old than to an adult.

Conrad P. Barnes, writing in the Washington Post, tells of the booming shopping center of Silver Spring, Md., thriving because of adequate parking, thanks to an $800,000 bond issue which provided funds for the municipality to purchase vacant land adjacent to businesses, to be used as free parking. The plan had been successful. Business planners were expanding their operations as a result, with the Silver Spring Shopping Center planning to build a ten-story department store, backing on a parking lot.

What a novel concept. That will catch on.

Drew Pearson recounts some more of the ethical issues of New Jersey Congressman J. Parnell Thomas, enabling a soldier to avoid combat duty during the war as a quid pro quo for a campaign contribution. The Congressman had also helped a New Jersey contractor recover funds held in escrow by the FHA. Then when the contractor started a large apartment complex, Congressman Thomas wrote him a letter suggesting that he insure it through Congressman Thomas's insurance firm. The contractor complied.

Mr. Pearson had previously detailed these incidents.

The Swedes claimed that they had been only complying with the requests of Oklahoma Senator Elmer Thomas, when he had complained of less than royal treatment during his European junket. He had told the American Embassy in Stockholm that when the Senators arrived from Norway, they wanted to rest and not be burdened with a heavy schedule.

The President told Philip Murray, head of the United Steelworkers, that he had conducted himself as a "statesman" during the steel dispute and had won the strike himself.

U.S. military leaders were displeased with the CIA, complaining that agents had been acquiring trivial gossip and even information deliberately planted by the Kremlin, then passing it on without proper evaluation. Despite the complaints from the Pentagon, nothing had happened, as the CIA hid its inefficiency behind secrecy. He suggests that perhaps the Agency should take some cues from FBI director J. Edgar Hoover.

Marquis Childs, in London, discusses the many problems of a distinct minority of junketing Congressmen in Europe, taking up the time of the embassy staff in catering to their every whim. The majority were hard-working and genuinely interested in saving taxpayer money while providing appropriate aid. But many were abusing their privileges.

Most delegations demanded a visit to the Folies Bergere, the "most naked girl show" in Paris. A diplomatic official said, however, that after his twelfth visit there with visiting Congressmen, he found the entertainment wearing thin.

Before Senator Elmer Thomas had made public his statements about the lack of hospitality shown by the Swedes and that they risked thereby loss of further Marshall Plan aid, he had made such statements several times in private.

Senator Pat McCarran of Nevada used embassy cars to travel between European capitals, despite it being a violation of the law for the cars to leave the country the embassy served. In one instance, he was denied use of French funds which were matching ERP funds as required by law, for transportation to Madrid on the basis that such violated the law requiring that ERP funds remain in the country they served. Meanwhile, he was promoting at every turn admission of Spain to the Marshall Plan while befriending Generalissimo Francisco Franco. Former Congressman Charles Dewey, while acting as secretary to Senator McCarran, also was promoting amity toward Franco.

The delegation headed by Senator Allen Ellender of Louisiana had shown an earnest and hard-working interest in the conditions of Europe, but Senator Ellender had commited a faux pas when he suggested to the press that the U.S. was looking at military bases in Europe, then a day or two later, announced a trip to Yugoslavia, permitting Russian propaganda agents to seize on the reports as indicating that the U.S. was going to establish bases in Yugoslavia and that Tito had gone over fully to the West. Such unthinking statements by visiting members of Congress could do much harm.

American generosity through the Marshall Plan was greatly appreciated in Europe. It was all the more reason that American officials had to show restraint rather than demanding gratitude and immediate compliance with American wishes and whims.

Robert C. Ruark, in Salt Lake City, tells of interviewing Utah Governor Bracken Lee, a Republican, one of the few members of his party elected as governors in the 1948 Truman landslide. He said that he would stick by his beliefs even if he were run out on a rail. Some of his own henchmen were mad at him for refusing to compromise. He had tangled with labor, farmers, veterans, the education board, the liquor lobbies, the Federal welfare program and nearly all practical politicians on both sides. He had even cut old-age pensions to save money.

He strongly opposed Federal aid to the states and at the recent Western governors' conference was responsible for the defeat of two resolutions seeking more Federal money, and watering down a third. In the process, he was costing Utah millions of dollars in Federal matching funds.

He opposed a bonus for veterans and vetoed a bill to give them certain tax exemptions. He told the education board that they were already receiving more tax dollars per capita than any other state and refused to approve any more.

The Governor concluded that more people were talking about Utah than ever before and they could not take that fact away from him, even if they did ride him out on a rail in the end.

A letter writer finds that the arguments of her fellow Dilworth School area residents in Charlotte, opposing the building of a Latta Park recreational building, probably would make little difference in the end. She says that the center would be obsolete within a few years anyway and in the meantime would create traffic hazards and excessive noise in the area.

Well, what did you do when you were 16, stay at home and put a big stick in the mud?

We endorse this solution for the dilemma now facing our country, whether to allow the popular vote winner, now ahead by 2.3 million votes and still counting, to be defeated by the popular vote loser. If the recounts do not gain any ground, then perhaps appeals to conscience, to history, and the actual Constitutional purpose and intent of the electoral college might. In that, perhaps, would be the greatest revolution of all.

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