The Charlotte News

Monday, December 19, 1949


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Britain, the U.S., and Canada announced a plan for standardization of their military training, to eliminate problems of cooperation which had adversely affected the alliance during the war.

In Hamburg, a British military tribunal sentenced former German Field Marshal Erich von Manstein to eighteen years in prison for atrocities during the war against Poles and Russians. Found guilty of nine charges and acquitted of eight, he was the last of Hitler's generals to be tried by the Allies. Winston Churchill and other prominent Britons had contributed to his defense fund.

In Canberra, the new Australian coalition Government, under the leadership of Premier Robert Menzies, began its tenure.

Democrats expected a showdown with Southern Democrats regarding the Fair Employment Practices Commission bill, which Senate Majority Leader Scott Lucas intended to call up for action early in the new session. Democrats expressed the notion that there would be political profit, however, from the confrontation with conservative Republicans on the matter.

The Supreme Court agreed to hear a case which challenged on free speech grounds the constitutionality of a Washington State law which limited union picketing.

The Public Utilities Commission approved use of radio receivers in streetcars and buses in Washington.

In Emmett, Mich., five children died in a house fire. The parents escaped the burning farmhouse with five of their eleven children. One child was away. The fire apparently started in a heating stove.

In Chattanooga, Tenn., the young wife of a doctor died from taking an overdose of sleeping pills and the doctor was found in a "dying condition" also from an overdose, but had improved and was expected to recover. They left a suicide note indicating financial troubles and that the double suicide was the only way to protect their two children, both of whom had been found playing in another room of the house.

In Birmingham, Ala., three streetcars collided injuring at least 20 persons.

In Oakland, Calif., an 88-year old woman was arrested for theft of two cubes of butter worth 38 cents. She claimed to have paid for everything she had. She would appear in police court for trial the next day.

Give her the juice. Stand pat. There is nothing worse than a butter thief.

Dick Young of The News tells of fresh opposition developing to the new location of the recreation center near Latta Park in Charlotte.

Tom Fesperman of The News continues his look at the potential for redevelopment of Charlotte's slums utilizing Federal money refused by the 1949 Legislature. The Federal money could be used to clear slums, to clear blighted industrial areas, and to acquire an open area to develop it for new residential housing. He explains how the process would work in Charlotte if the Legislature would approve receipt of the funds when it next would meet in 1951.

Dense fog covered much of the central U.S.

On the editorial page, "The Change in a Man" finds that as Senator, Frank Graham was much more careful in his responses to the press than he had been as president of UNC, typical of the effect which politics had on officeholders. It appeared also that he had tempered some of his theoretical positions with practical realities.

Many people in the state were staunch supporters of him and many were staunchly opposed, regardless of what he did. In between, there were many who were willing to grant him freedom of thought and action as the UNC president but not as their Senator. They expected their representatives in Congress to conform to the views of the people represented and reserved the right to express approval or disapproval at the ballot box.

"Housing Opportunity" tells of the decision by the City Council the previous week to end rent control on May 1 having prompted additional consideration of low income housing. It was believed that the following Wednesday, the Council would agree to revise the City's application to the Federal Government for 400 black housing units and ask instead for a thousand. It suggests that the larger number ought be broken up into smaller projects.

"Defense of Santa" tells of the Rev. John Sinett Martin, editor of The Catholic Review, official publication of the archdiocese of Washington and Baltimore, calling Santa Claus "an unholy fraud", "a cheap enchantment", "the usurper of the minds and hearts and imagination of children", and a bringer of "disillusionment, doubt". Santa, he believed, had become a rival to the Holy Child, sometimes to the exclusion of the latter.

The piece refuses to subscribe to the beliefs thus expressed, says that the Santa in which they believed was all smiles and the bringer of the spirit of Christmas, a time to remember the Christ child but also for "just plain secular delight in living, a delight which a rather grim world so seldom allows."

A piece from the Louisville Courier-Journal, titled "Scots Wha Hae in Kilties Chilled", finds the New York Times asking the chief kilter for King George what the average kilted Scotsman wore under the kilt, and doing so in a serious vein. The chief kilter responded, a little nonplussed by the temerity of the inquiry, that they wore a trews when it was cold, tight underbreeches of red, green or a suitable tartan, but that with a well-constructed kilt, there was no need to wear anything.

Drew Pearson tells of the President brooding over the defeat he suffered in reappointing Leland Olds to the Federal Power Commission. The President had recently become aware of a letter from Senator-elect Herbert Lehman of New York, not disclosed by Commerce Committee chairman Senator Ed Johnson of Colorado, endorsing Mr. Olds. The President sent it along to Vice-President Barkley, asking him to insert it in the Congressional Record.

He notes that since his appointment replacing Mr. Olds, the President's old friend Mon Wallgren had voted to give electric power from King's Canyon in the Central Valley of California to P. G. & E., in contravention of the President's policy favoring public power.

The armed forces provided defense contracts to big corporations, with the small businessman having virtually no chance to obtain one. The large companies thus were able to obtain monopolies through these large contracts with the Government. The law provided that all businesses were to be given an equal chance at obtaining contracts through competitive bidding, albeit with 17 minor exceptions which the military had stretched beyond their original meaning to cover 90 percent of procurement. Military necessity was cited during the war as the reason for dispensing with competitive bidding, but the practice had become an entrenched habit since the war. Big companies got the inside track by hiring military brass to be executives. He cites examples. They also got an edge through obtaining deliberately limited information on bidding.

He notes that Presidential aide General Harry Vaughan had been revealed in the Senate "five percenter" investigation as a major wire-puller from within the Administration, but at least was pulling wires only for small businesses.

He suggests that the investigation, if it continued in January as Investigating subcommittee chairman Senator Clyde Hoey had indicated it might, ought look at the monopoly on military contracts which was enjoyed by big business and thereby do a service for the public who as taxpayers paid more for Government contracts for the absence of competitive bidding.

Marquis Childs tells of the Committee for Economic Development recommending that civilians always exercise final control over defense of the country and that the people be kept informed lest military secrecy conceal profound changes to American life.

He cites as example of the latter secrecy the talks with Great Britain re sharing of atomic energy. The President had decided that Britain should be a full partner in atomic sharing and that the American public should be fully informed about the issue. AEC chairman David Lilienthal agreed, as did General Eisenhower.

But when the Senate hearing began on Senator Bourke Hickenlooper's charges of gross mismanagement at AEC, the President was persuaded that the public should not be provided information on the talks with Britain and as a consequence they were conducted in secrecy.

The previous week, an "authoritative source" had stated that agreement was reached to share atomic information while all weapons production would remain in the U.S. Few in the public appeared to realize that this policy was determinative of the whole future relationship between the U.S. and Britain. "In the murky fog of secrecy our future can be determined without ever a voice being raised in protest or in praise."

Joseph & Stewart Alsop tell of Czech Foreign Minister Vlado Klementis having taken passage back home to Prague recently from the U.N. General Assembly meeting and while appearing calm and friendly toward Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Vishinsky, Mr. Klementis knew that he was marked for purge once he returned to Czechoslovakia. He had been too disloyal to the Communists during the war.

He might choose to take asylum in Yugoslavia under Marshal Tito, but it did not appear a likely course as it would expose his old friend, Premier Klement Gottwald, to trouble if he did not return.

The former secretary-general of the Czech foreign office, Arnost Heydrich, had chosen to defect to America to escape the purge. But Mr. Klementis had a certain courage and independence which would probably force him to return even in the face of probable trial for treason and sentence to death.

Frederick C. Othman, substituting for vacationing Robert C. Ruark, tells of the press room at the Treasury Department having been cleaned up since he had been covering it some years earlier. At that time, pictures of artistically posed naked women adorned the walls, with their faces covered by those of prominent people. Blackjack games abounded and the water cooler was filled with gin. Women rarely visited the place. It was the most raucus press room since that depicted in "The Front Page".

Since Secretary John W. Snyder had taken over, however, the pictures had been removed at the behest of the Secretary, and though replaced after a time, they were now covered by maps. The water cooler now only held water. The correspondents spent their time in the room working.

Mr. Othman hopes that Secretary Snyder was satisfied. He says that he would boycott him if he were still covering Treasury, except for the fact that Mr. Snyder was in the business of manufacturing money.

Mr. Ruark, incidentally, may actually have been in the clink for his too revelatory piece of Saturday.

A pome appears from the Atlanta Journal, "In Which A Diagnosis Is Made Concerning The Cause Of A Prevalent Infantile Complaint:

"Too much frolic
Brings on colic."

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