The Charlotte News

Monday, December 10, 1949


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the U.S., Britain, and Canada had virtually completed a proposed partnership on development of atomic energy and atom bombs. The State Department would next take it up with Congress, though it was believed by the Administration that the President could make the agreement without Congressional approval. Production would continue to be concentrated in the U.S., with Canadian and British scientists participating in the work. Britain would abandon its plan to produce atomic bombs, as it appeared to have already done, ending the threat of the British obtaining a larger share of the uranium from the Belgian Congo, most of which currently went to the U.S. Canada and Britain would also continue their research into atomic energy and would be privy to more U.S. atomic secrets than in recent years.

Consular General at Mukden, Angus Ward, related of his story of arrest and captivity for four weeks by the Chinese Communists for allegedly beating a Chinese employee of the consulate. The employee had resigned and the following day came to collect his last pay, was offered pay for nine working days plus two months of severance pay, an amount he refused as insufficient. Two weeks later, he was found hiding in a consulate storeroom. As Mr. Ward led him downstairs, the man suddenly grabbed Mr. Ward's coat with both hands, prompting Mr. Ward to remove one hand and ask a member of his staff to remove the other. The man's brother then appeared on the stairwell and began pounding on Mr. Ward's neck and shoulder. He was eventually removed by a member of the staff, but then returned to the scene with a two-by-four piece of wood which he brandished menacingly. Mr. Ward then let go of the employee who then, in frustration, banged his own head on the iron railing of the stair, the only injuries he sustained.

It was on that basis that the four staff members and Mr. Ward had been arrested and eventually convicted by the people's court, given a suspended sentence on condition that they leave the country, as they had done.

The Supreme Court upheld the 1949 Federal Rent Control Act in an 8-0 per curiam decision, reversing a U.S. District Court holding that the Act was Constitutionally infirm for Congress having delegated improperly Federal power to the states and localities, which under the Act could set up their own rent control or abandon it completely. Justice William O. Douglas took no part in the decision.

In New York, the Government rested its case at 12:27 p.m. this date in the fifteenth court day of the retrial of Alger Hiss for perjury. The last Government witness was the former wife of Gerhard Eisler, who testified that Mr. Hiss was a member of the Communist underground when he worked in the State Department. She said that she believed that Mr. Hiss had broken with the Communist Party since that time. She was the only Government witness corroborating the claim of Whittaker Chambers that Mr. Hiss was tied to the Communist underground.

HUAC wanted to hear more testimony from Maj. General Leslie Groves, wartime military head of the Manhattan Project, and from former Major G. Racey Jordan, regarding the latter's allegations of wartime leaks of atomic materials and information to the Russians. Representative Burr Harrison of Virginia said that he had made the request so that Republicans on the Committee would not feel that there was an effort, as they had charged, to "whitewash" the connections of the late FDR aide, Harry Hopkins, to the matter.

The New York Times reported that most of the nation's soft coal miners might be on strike again on January 1 as the operators might force the strike even if John L. Lewis did not call it. The operators wanted to return to the five-day week, and a full suspension of operations during the winter would force the Administration's hand to enjoin the strike under Taft-Hartley and thus get the mines back to full production.

During the weekend, more than twenty persons died in a series of fires and explosions across the country, in Harlem, Wellsville, Rensselaer, and Oswego County, N. Y., Union City, N.J., Birmingham, Mich., Germantown and Cascade, Pa., Spur, Tex., and Tacoma, Wash.

During the weekend, eleven persons had died in storms, most of the fatalities in Arkansas and Missouri, with extensive property damage also in Oklahoma and Illinois. A blizzard hit the Rockies and moved, with diminished force, into northern Minnesota.

The Government canceled the tax-exempt status of the educational foundation of segregationist George W. Armstrong after he had recently offered income from his oil lands to Jefferson Military College in Natchez, Mississippi, on condition that it teach the supremacy of the "Anglo-Saxon and Latin American races" and bar students of "African or Asiatic origin". The school declined the offer. Presumably the revocation, not explained by the IRB, regarded the provision of the law which required such foundations not to carry on propaganda or attempt to influence legislation.

In Franklin, Tenn., a woman's body was found with a cut throat near the Franklin High School gymnasium, discovered by students. Cuts on her hands and arms indicated a struggle had preceded her death.

In Pendleton, N.C., a farmer, his wife and their 24-year old son were found dead, apparently of murder-suicide. A note and a discharged rifle were found near the bodies.

In Winston-Salem, N.C., Reynolds Tobacco Co. announced wage increases totaling two million dollars per year to go into effect on December 12 for wage-earners and piecework employees.

Despite being on vacation, Senator Frank Graham was touring the state making speeches, though admitting that he was still "green" at being a politician, having been appointed to the seat the previous March upon the death of new Senator J. Melville Broughton. Senator Graham would run in the special election in the spring primary.

In Toledo, O., a man had suffered from the hiccups for a month until he tried a suggested remedy of epsom salts followed by a chicken's leg. The hiccups stopped for a day but resumed on Sunday. Suggestions were pouring in from all over the country to aid him in ending the bout.

Swallow seven times while holding your breath. If that doesn't do it, jump off a thirteen-story building while holding your breath and shouting, "Death to the demon hiccoughs."

For the second successive day, fog enveloped New York City, hampering air and harbor transportation.

On the editorial page, "Death Struggle" discusses John L. Lewis bragging about getting small, independent companies to agree to his new contract, in the hope of inducing a split between the large producers to act as a wedge, as they needed to return to the five-day week during the colder months when demand for coal was highest. The industry had not yet succumbed to the bait because it realized that doing so would bring the industry a step closer to the need for Government subsidization or even nationalization.

It suggests that with greater mechanization, the industry could cut costs and then meet the competition from other, cheaper fuels. But the UMW maintained prices high through its practices of reducing work hours and demanding higher wages and royalty payments to the welfare and pension fund.

What was occurring was a death struggle between the producers and Mr. Lewis, who had usurped some of the prerogatives of management and appeared to hope to get others. If he won the struggle and the prices went up on coal, then the rush for other fuels would be accelerated, sooner or later requiring Government intervention in the coal industry.

Thus, it concludes, it was important to the nation's welfare that Mr. Lewis lose this round of demands for wage and royalty increases.

"Road Commission Harmony" finds that the harmonious progress being made by the Municipal Roads Commission toward equitable division of State highway money between urban and rural projects was satisfactory for the whole state. The State's municipalities were financially distressed and could not on their own repair and maintain their streets, causing the Commission's efforts to be possessed of urgency.

"The Pot and the Kettle" finds the objection by DNC chairman William Boyle, Jr., to the AMA compulsory assessment of $25 per member for a fund to combat the President's health care program to be well taken but not a charge which the DNC chairman could make without hypocrisy, as the President's compulsory health insurance plan was just as binding on the American people as the AMA assessment.

Mr. Boyle had also used party discipline to whip up support for reappointment of Leland Olds to the FPC, just as the AMA had done.

The piece concludes that it did not see any difference in the two approaches and liked neither.

"That Three-Day Week" finds that the Dayton Daily News had suggested that the nation perhaps owed a debt to John L. Lewis for putting in a three-day work week for the UMW miners as it might become the standard throughout society in a few years. As to the additional two days of leisure time, the Daily News had hearkened back to the glory of Greece in the time of Pericles, when philosophers and sculptors abounded.

The piece concludes that perhaps it was the answer, after all, for the most productive nation also to become the most thoughtful.

Or perhaps the additional time would just provide more traffic on the highways, more noise from the wireless, and "a poolroom pallor" on every citizen "from crouching before a television set in a darkened room..."

It asks what the reader would do with such additional time.

Read The News more closely. What else?

Drew Pearson urges the Justice Department, after getting a conviction and prison sentence against former HUAC chairman Congressman J. Parnell Thomas for defrauding the Government through salary kickbacks, to look at the finances of Congressman Victor Wickersham of Oklahoma, with his own real estate business in Washington and Oklahoma. One of his real estate agents was on the Government payroll, drawing a salary as part of Mr. Wickersham's staff, along with an employee of an Oklahoma equipment company, James Taylor. When the office of the Congressman was queried on the matter, they did not initially even recognize the name of Mr. Taylor and yet he was listed as the highest paid member of the staff. The office manager said the real estate agent had not been around the Congressional office.

Mr. Pearson then provides a transcript of his phone call to the man from the equipment company, who said that he worked as a clerk for the Congressman, answering letters, of which there were not many, for which he received $7,700 per year. He denied kicking back any portion of his salary to the Congressman. He did not want to discuss why he got the salary for answering a few letters.

He also provides a transcript of a conversation with the other staffer, who initially denied working in the Congressman's office until cornered about his staff salary. Then he said that he did secretarial work for the Congressman outside the office, but finally deferred to the Congressman for further information.

Mr. Pearson adds that the Congressman was too thrifty to support his own father but got him a job instead operating an elevator for the construction workers in the Capitol. He had previously been a watchman at the Library of Congress for seven years.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop discuss potential Truman Administration changes in atomic energy policy following the recommendations of the scientists of the general advisory committee of the Atomic Energy Commission, urging international control, with increased emphasis since the development of the Russian bomb the previous August. They estimated that the Soviets could produce a stockpile of about 50 bombs by late 1952.

They recommended bilateral talks with Russia, something the U.S. had resisted in deference to the U.N., but which the Russians had invited. Atomic weaponry would be outlawed under international inspection backed by an intelligence service. Some measure of general disarmament would also take place.

There was reason to believe that the Russians would be amenable to some version of this agreement, albeit without illusion that the Russians truly desired international control of atomic energy even under a modified plan. But the advisers believed that exploratory efforts should be at least undertaken to see what could be accomplished.

Even if it could be accomplished, it would be fraught with the risk of instilling complacency for the fact of a treaty.

Regardless of shortcomings, the Alsops believe that some effort was better than doing nothing while the Soviets built up their stockpile, that if the effort failed, then it would tell the two nations where they stood and provide a new look at the wisdom of the Truman disarmament program being undertaken for the sake of economy.

Robert C. Ruark, still in San Francisco, says he had been studying modern music recently, half "Mule Train" and half bop, pursues the jazz scene and promotes a singer he had discovered in a club called "Say When", Connie Jordan. Mr. Jordan packed in the patrons each night to hear his mellow voice and Mr. Ruark finds it especially entertaining as he sang on key, not in the more recently popular hep style, wandering "around the melody like a drunk in the subway."

"When Connie is singing hot he opens up his mouth like a sinner come to mourn, and he whacks his hands between phrasings, and when he rocks on his heels and whacks his hands and opens up his mouth you can see the whole jampacked crowd whack hands and rock on heels and follow him with silent, open mouths."

Be-bop had run its course in the clubs, so much so, according to bandleader Paul Weston, that when a player stood to take a solo break, all he had to do was stand there for most of his 32 bars and the "cool" audience applauded as heavily as if he were playing.

He concludes that while he did not normally go about discovering people, as it sometimes resulted in a rap on the snout or financial obligations, he broke the rule with respect to Mr. Jordan, thinking him the "hottest thing in the vocal business" since Bing Crosby had hair and Frank Sinatra was in his prime.

A letter writer from Florence, S.C., finds that the Jeffersonian Democrats as Pinckney, Ben Tillman, Wade Hampton, F. W. Dawson, Zebulon B. Vance, Furnifold Simmons and others, were not with Truman, Barkeley and Pepper, that Senator Pepper's criticism of James Byrnes was misplaced. The Truman Democrats had gained power through "subsidies, national employment, foreign aid, FEPC and national housing". Such programs would lead to the seeds of Communism and Socialism. He wants to put American "capital and labor on a sound and sane business system" based on "justice to all and special privileges to none". Then the magnolia would bloom again and its fragrance restored, "the fragrance of a Jefferson Democracy".

A letter from Cole Roberts, president of the Carolina Motor Club, tells of a resolution passed by the Club commending the press of the Carolinas for promotion of traffic safety.

A letter writer provides a poem telling of the plight of the landlord trying to eek out a living under rent control.

A letter writer finds ridiculous a statement made by a real estate man at the City Council meeting re rent control in which he had stated that the real estate interests paid more in municipal taxes than any other group. He says that the tenants paid the taxes in fact, in increased rents, and that the property owners would not have the property but for the tenants. He says that when the slum dwellings were ordered cleaned up, the landlords had put in water and bathing facilities, then increased rents substantially. If such were to happen after removal of rent control, then he hopes it would never be ended. He wants the real estate men to tell the renters what they wanted in increased rent and if fair, he suggests, the tenants might agree.

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